10 non-powder protein alternatives


Sick of your regular protein shake? Here are 10 foods that will help you fill your protein quota.

Your exact protein needs will depend on factors including body weight and activity level and type, but think 10 to 35 per cent of daily kJs with no more than 20 to 30 g at a time. A meal replacement smoothie should contain 20 to 30 g of protein – twice the amount required for a snack. The nutrients in these wholefood protein sources are optimally bioavailable, but be aware that many are energy dense, and consider splitting your protein quotient between nuts and milk or protein powder.

 1. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese 

(½ cup)

Protein: 14 g // kJ: 340

Love: Creamy, thick texture


2. Hemp Seeds (2 Tbsp)

Protein: 9 g // kJ: 689 

Love: Slightly nutty taste


3. Almonds (28 g) or almond butter (2 tbsp)

kJ: 672 / 798  // Protein: 6 g / 7 g

Love: Monounsaturated fats and extra satiety


4. Tahini (2 tbsp)

Protein: 5.2 g // kJ: 790

Love: Creaminess and healthy fat; perfect in place of nut butter


5. Silken Tofu (60 g)

Protein: 5 g // kJ: 827

Love: Thick, creamy texture similar to dairy and perfect with fruit 


6. Pumpkin Seeds (2 tbsp)

Protein: 5 g // kJ: 529

Love: Nutty flavour (even tastier roasted); great with milk and cinnamon


7. Chia Seeds (2 Tbsp)

Protein: 4.7 g // kJ: 580

Love: Thickening capacity thanks to the gelatinous texture when wet. Just two tbsp of chia supplies 40 per cent of daily fibre needs.


8. Oats (½ cup)

Protein: 3 g // kJ: 672

Love: Thickening capacity and good carbs


9. Kale (1 cup, chopped)

Protein: 2.9 g // kJ: 139

Love: High in fibre and versatile enough to blend with fruits and yoghurt 


10. Avocado (½ cup)

Protein: 2.3 g // kJ: 806

Love: Healthy fats and protein equal feeling fuller for longer. Perfect with unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, dates and spinach

Not sure whether you’re eating enough protein? Find out here.



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4 detox tips from the experts


We turn to the experts for their tips on what to ditch and what to add to our regimes when it comes to detoxing.


The dietitian
LOSE: Booze // ADD: Salmon
“Being healthy is meant to make your life better – not worse,” Dietitian Lyndi Polivnick says. “Don’t compromise your health, happiness and relationship with food for a quick fix,” she advises. “A far better solution is to detox your body naturally and avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine and saturated fats in the first place,” suggests the dietitian. Still, if you’ve been unkind to your body in the past, Polivnick does have some recommendations. “If the damage is already done, make a plan to limit toxins like alcohol, coffee, saturated, trans fats, refined sugars and cigarettes from here on out,” she says. “Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and get half an hour of exercise a day instead. The ultimate diet does not consist of juice and laxatives; it contains foods rich in antioxidants and fibre like seeds and nuts, oily fish like salmon, whole grains, dark leafy green vegetables, fruit and vegetables in a variety of colours, and dairy foods.”

The naturopath
LOSE: Processed foods  // ADD: Low-glycaemic index carbs
For diet-related conditions like candida or a dependency on certain processed foods, Stewart recommends a wholefood approach. “Knowing how to use food as medicine, health goals are not only possible but achievable in a short period of time, even in a matter of days,” Karina Stewart, naturopath and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and co-founder of Kamalaya says. “This is true for clearing up skin conditions as well as for eliminating bloating and even food dependencies such as sugar addictions. A healthy detox cuisine based on whole foods, plant based, anti-inflammatory and low glycemic is all about using food as medicine to achieve health goals immediately, as well as provide a foundation for vibrant, long-term health.” Even difficult-to-treat health conditions can improve dramatically within a week, Stewart says.


The GP
LOSE: LOW-CAL PICKS // ADD: Whole grains
Don’t be fooled by the higher calorie counts of wholegrain products; they may contain fewer calories per gram, but processed versions will leave you craving, hungry and likely overeating. “For long-term results regarding health and weight management, it is a much better idea to eat a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein and enjoy regular exercise,” GP Dr Fran Bruce of Wesley LifeShape Clinic. “Don’t forget to also drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep to feel more refreshed.” If you have a diet-related dysfunction such as candida, see your GP. Whether your focus is symptom reduction or weight management, “Make lifestyle changes for the long term and seek support from experts including dietitians, exercise physiologists, psychologists and your GP,” Dr Bruce says.

The gastroenterologist
LOSE: flavoured waters // ADD: plain Water
“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” says Dr Phillip Chang from The Sydney Clinic for Gastrointestinal Diseases, adding that fibre is also high on the list of recommendations. Exercise is also essential. “Changing your diet and lifestyle is like being captain of a large ship; well considered and properly thought through alterations to diet and lifestyle are more effective than detox diets.”

NEXT: Try this simple 7 step detox plan to cleanse your body.





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Mediterranean diet – 24 hour meal plan


The Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, promoting longevity and improving gut health. Here’s your 24-hour sample diet plan.

Mediterranean diet 24-hour diet plan - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Why the Mediterranean diet?

Eating like you’re living on a Greek island or in a Spanish village can do more than give your taste buds a treat. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet (MD), which is high in olive oil, vegetables, leafy greens, tomatoes, seafood, nuts, fresh fruit, legumes, and wholegrain cereals, can have potent anti-inflammatory effects.

As a result, “The Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, promoting longevity and improving gut health,” says Antonia Thodis, a clinical and research dietitian currently studying the diet at La Trobe University.

“To maximise the anti-inflammatory benefits, replace two meat-based meals per week with two legume- or tofu-based dishes. Traditionally, in Mediterranean countries, red meat and chicken were eaten only in small portions.” Here’s what a day on the Mediterranean diet might look like:

Mediterranean diet - breakfast - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness


Two poached eggs with stewed tomatoes (drizzled with extra virgin olive oil) and one slice of wholegrain or sourdough bread. Add some dried oregano and/or chopped parsley and cracked pepper to taste. One Greek/espresso coffee.  
Dakos (Cretan bruschetta) with stewed tomatoes, olive oil dressing topped with about half a teaspoon of oregano and/or chopped parsley and cracked pepper and some crumbled goat’s cheese. One Greek espresso coffee.

Mediterranean dinner idea - Snapper - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness


One bowl of cannellini bean and vegetable soup (fassoulada) with a slice of dense wholegrain/sourdough bread. One apricot. Spice up the bean soup with the addition of turmeric or korma paste.  
Slow-cooked pea, carrot and beef casserole with half a cup of steamed or boiled rice. Cos lettuce salad (add olive oil/lemon juice and oregano dressing).

Mediterranean lunch - cannellini beans - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness


Oven-baked whole schnapper (add lemon juice/lemon slices/ oregano/salt and pepper to season before cooking), with one small baked potato and a salad of boiled green leafy vegetables. Select from endives, spinach or silverbeet; there are many green leafy vegetables available but make sure these are dressed with olive oil and lemon juice to taste.
One bowl of lentil soup, a bowl of Greek salad (drizzled with olive oil) and a slice of dense wholegrain/sourdough bread. Season with tumeric or cumin.

Mediterranean diet - Wine - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness


Lunch or dinner can be accompanied by a small glass of red wine or retsina.

Herbal teas such as chamomile or mountain tea, available from most delis are also beneficial.



Greey Yoghurt (about 200g) topped with honey and walnuts, one medium pear.

Dried dates (four or five), an orange or two mandarins and a small sesame bar (made with honey).

Recipe ideas adapted from The Mediterranean Diet by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos and You are what you cook by Dr Antigone Kouris.




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Split squats with dumbbells

Targets quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to

1.    Position yourself into a staggered stance with the rear foot elevated on a bench and front foot forward.
2.    Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and let it hang to your sides.
3.    Lower yourself by flexing your knee and hip. Maintain good posture throughout the movement, and keep the front knee in line with the foot as you perform the exercise.
4.    Once at the bottom of the movement, drive through the heel to extend the knee and hip to return to the starting position.
5.    Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

How many sets & reps?

Week 1–2    5 sets    20–25 reps
Week 3–4    4 sets   15–18 reps
Week 5–6    3 sets   10–12 reps

NEXT: Browse more A-list butt workouts>>

Workout from Nichelle Laus (pictured); photo credit: Dave Laus


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Getting Into ‘Proposal Shape’ Is the Latest Fitness Trend—Here’s Why That’s a Problem

Quick, what comes to mind when you think of a marriage proposal? Probably a man on bended knee. Well, now you need to add a lady doing squats to that image of betrothal bliss. Because the new trend out there is something called “proposal shape.” Yes, that’s right: Before you’re a shredded bride, you now need to be a fit fiancée.

It’s no longer enough to be skinny when you say “I do.” A number of today’s women are pressuring themselves to be hard-bodied by the time they say “Yes.” As in, “Yes, I’ll marry you! Just let me do a few burpees before we take a selfie so I can tighten my glutes in this fantastically new, flattering bodycon dress I happened to throw on even though I had absolutely no idea you were going to propose this evening! Hold my kettlebell.”

RELATED: 11 Comfort Wedding Shoes You Can Actually Dance In

Proposal shape is a tight and curvy metaphor for how out of whack our expectations of the whole wedding process are and the ridiculous pressure women place on themselves during the whole bridal experience. Girlfriends who are pre-fiancées—let’s call them “preancées”—are spending big bucks to hire trainers and take extra core fusion and yoga classes to achieve what they perceive as an engagement-ready BMI.

I have strong suspicions that a man who wants to ask his girlfriend to spend the rest of their lives together truly doesn’t care—and may not even notice—if she’s dropped five pounds in anticipation. It’s safe to say that a woman focused on getting into proposal shape is doing it for herself. I think I can speak for most women when I say we’re excellent at convincing ourselves we need to alter the way we look in order to be worthy of a milestone. The girlfriend furiously attaining proposal shape thinks she’s not enough, or, rather, in the case of her body, is too much.

RELATED: 7 Wedding Gifts Fit Couples Actually Want

And maybe, just maybe, she’s thinking of her followers on social media. As a married lady (married twice, in fact), I’m relieved that my engagements took place before I was on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m in my 40s, and I got married and became a mother in my 40s, and I’m astonished by the compulsion brides have today to make every step of their relationship journey public. Not just public, but attractive, shiny, and filtered to perfection.

I’ve always thought the romance of a proposal comes from its intimacy, not from any kind of dramatic ring reveal or surprise wrangling of family and friends. Something about that life-changing promise to each other wants to be quiet and shouldn’t call for spectacle—including a spectacular body, no matter how hard-won.

Granted, there are those who want to drop weight and bolster strength for health reasons, which is a laudable goal. When you’re headed to the altar (or chuppah or courthouse) to vow to love each other “in sickness and in health,” you really want to tip the scales toward the health side for a long, happy life together. Those well-meaning preancées (and preancés, for that matter) aside, it’s the superficiality of the proposal shape quest that can get one’s athleisure in a wad. It dramatizes a lack of perspective on what really matters at a special time of your life. It’s a focus on selfies rather than “us-ies.”

RELATED: 5 Healthy Ways This Fitness Star Is Prepping for Her Wedding

Look, I understand wanting to feel beautiful when someone pops the question. When my husband proposed to me, I’d just had a miscarriage. I was slightly fleshier than I wanted to be, and both my body and heart were raw and vulnerable. But when I see the photo a Roman nun took of us in front of the fountain where we got engaged (no bended knee, just equal footing), all I see are our smiles. My proposal shape was happy and grateful.

Faith Salie is the author of the memoir Approval Junkie.

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Want to Lose Weight Walking? Do This One Thing

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Maybe you got a fitness tracker for the holidays and are feeling inspired to log a few extra miles a week. Or maybe you enjoy walking as a form of regular exercise, but are curious as to how you can slim down doing it. Whatever your reason, it’s easier than you think to torch serious calories by simply moving your right foot in front of your left.

So here’s how you take your walking routine to the next level: “Set mini goals for yourself during your walk. For example, if you’re taking your workout outdoors, try pacing as quickly as you can to the next stop sign. If you’re on a treadmill, do the same by setting a time goal that you can look forward to achieving,” advises Christine DiBugnara, National Director of Group Fitness and Programming, UFC GYM. “Not only will this feel great to achieve, but it will make your workout go by much quicker.”

If you’re walking with a friend or loved one, test each other to fun mini challenges along the way like walking as quickly as you can to your favorite workout tune while the other does walking lunges and then switching roles. As you set and break your mini goals, you’ll likely begin to burn more calories with every workout and build your endurance, too.

To steal a line from Hippocrates, “walking is man’s best medicine.” See, even the 5th century BC Greek physician knew it sure ain’t running.

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This Man’s Breakup Letter to Planet Fitness Is Our New Favorite Way to Cancel a Membership

Ending any important relationship requires some care and attention—even if it’s just your relationship with your local gym.

That’s what Reddit user Mastrrbasser discovered when he attempted to cancel his membership at his neighborhood Planet Fitness.

Told he couldn’t cancel over the phone, he typed up one of the most magnificent breakup letters we’ve ever read and posted it on Reddit under the title: “Planet Fitness wouldn’t let me cancel over the phone and required a certified letter to cancel since I live in a different state now. I dropped this in the mail today.”

RELATED: 6 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Personal Trainer

The letter is truly a work of art. “It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that I write this letter,” he began. “Certain events in my life have put me in a different place, and while it was one of the more taxing decisions I’ve had to make of late, it is the right one. The purpose of this letter is to end my relationship with Planet Fitness Orange.”

He explains that he’s moved on—to a new gym in his apartment building “with a state-of-the-art whatchamacallit.” Like any classic breakup, he offers his condolences and expresses his lingering adoration. “I don’t want you to be jealous, or to judge me based on this decision. That’s not the Planet Fitness that I know and love. I still love you, but more like a friend at this point. I’m sorry things couldn’t have been better between us.”

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The gym does indeed state pretty clearly on its website that breaking up—err, canceling a membership—by phone or email isn’t allowed. “We hate to see you go! But if you must, the process is easy,” the website states, although Mastrrbasser might beg to differ. “You can fill out a cancellation form at the front desk of your home club, or send a letter (preferably via certified mail) to your club requesting cancellation. Memberships can’t, unfortunately, be canceled by email or phone.”

No word yet on whether or not Mastrrbasser has unfollowed Planet Fitness on Instagram and blocked its texts. But he did amend one final gem to his letter: “P.S. My wife also needs to cancel her membership.”

Update: Planet Fitness has responded–in style.

In an email to Health.com, a public relations representative said the gym “received the message loud and clear” and wanted to write back. The gym has graciously bowed out of this relationship with a classic line: “You know what they say though, if you love something set it free… You’ll come back, they always do.”

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7 Things to Know Before Trying Crossfit

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Crossfit is a lot like cilantro or Keeping Up With The Kardashians—you either love it or loathe it. Throwing barbells in the air, doing hundreds of pull ups, loud grunting, and a paleo diet—it’s not for everyone. But to the legions of committed Crossfitters hitting the rings right now as I write this, there is no better way to sweat. And the truth is, many who loathe it often just haven’t tried it yet.

Crossfit isn’t as frightening as you might think. In fact, it’s a great way to become stronger, lose weight, and yes, it can even be fun!

The heart-pounding workouts, sense of community, and amazing results are what keep people coming back for more, but you can’t truly know if it’s right for you until you give it a go and see for yourself. If you’re thinking about coming over to the other side, here are 7 things you should know before you take your first Crossfit class.

RELATED: How to Become an Exercise Addict

Anyone can do it, but not everyone should do it

Crossfit is hardcore. It is a high-intensity style of working out, and while anyone can do it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. At the end of the day, the only workout program you’ll stick to is one that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy Crossfit, then don’t force yourself to do it. Keep trying until you find something fun for you.

Crossfit Lingo

Crossfit might as well have it’s own dictionary. Like learning a new language, it’s easiest to learn when you’re immersed in the environment, but we’ll give you a head start with this cheat sheet:

Box: Crossfit gyms are called “boxes.”

WOD: Stands for Workout of the Day. This changes daily and is typically posted on a white board before class or on the Box’s website.

AMRAP: As many rounds as possible. This is a workout style that means you’ll complete as many rounds as possible of a series of exercises in an allotted time that is given by the coach.

RELATED: 17 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have No Time

Various names of people you don’t know: There are several benchmark WODs in Crossfit that are named after women (Helen, Fran, and Mary, for example). The creator of Crossfit did this because he said they “wreak havoc.” There are also another set of WODs called Hero WODs that are named after fallen soldiers (like Murph and McCluskey).

How to find a good coach

Do your homework before joining a Crossfit box. Not all are created equal and having a good coach will make or break your experience. Read their reviews, ask friends for referrals and see if you can try a class or two before you join to make sure it’s a good fit.

Injuries are rare, but they do happen

While a lot of hype has surrounded Crossfit and the potential injuries that can occur, as long as you’re in good hands and have a good coach, the risk is minimal. A good coach will know how quickly you should be progressing and will pay attention to your form to make sure you’re moving properly. Especially because you’ll be doing AMRAP in many cases, you have to listen to your body as well. Never push past your limit, and always stop or take breaks when you need.

With that said, expect a few blisters and bruises. Crossfit workouts are tough and it’s nearly impossible to come out completely unscathed. The good news is that these minor issues will likely go away within your first few classes. In the meantime, feel free to show off your battle wounds!

RELATED: 7 Double-Duty Workout Moves You Need to Try

Most Crossfitters are women

Surprised? While Crossfit may seem like a man’s world, over 60% of the Crossfit population is comprised of women, according to numbers from The American Council on Exercise.

Your classmates will become your friends

One of the best aspects of Crossfit is having the opportunity to be a part of a tight-knit community. Crossfit classes are a great way to make new friends, cheer on and be cheered on by your fellow athletes.

It can be pricey

Crossfit is fairly expensive when you compare it to a regular gym membership. However, unlike a regular group fitness setting, Crossfit classes are meant to be coached, not taught. This means that your coach should be going around to each person in the room and spending some one-on-one time with them in every class. The value for what you’re paying for (expect $100-$300 per month) can be worth it for those who can afford it when you look at the type of attention you’re getting from your coaches.

RELATED: 10 Fitness Trackers Worthy of a Spot on Your Wish List

Found this article helpful? Check out The Pros and Cons of Running on a Treadmill

Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s TodayExtraThe Doctors, and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on FacebookTwitterG+ and on Pinterest.

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This Device Turns Your Planks Into a Video Game–and It’s Actually Fun!

At first glance, the Stealth Core Trainer might remind you of a piece of workout gear from a late-night infomercial. (Anyone else remember the Ab Dolly?) But unlike the as-seen-on-TV equipment now gathering dust under countless beds around the country, the Stealth gadget involves an addictive video game that might just help you stick to a regular core workout. The device and its app actually make planks fun.

Skeptical? Here’s how it works: The Stealth is like a balance board. The platform sits on an unstable base, and you rest your forearms on top, in plank position. Between your arms, there is a slot for your phone.

Once you hit start on the video game, you play by changing your plank position ever so slightly to explode colorful targets. Each round consists of isometric plank holds, subtle forward and backward tilts, and twists and dips to work your obliques.

There are two models, the Personal ($199, amazon.com), which is a little smaller, a bit cheaper, and meant for at-home use; and the Professional ($299, amazon.com), which is designed for use in gyms.

Fresh off a recent plank challenge of my own, I was psyched when the folks at Stealth offered to send me a trainer to try. It took just a few attempts for me to get the hang of it. I learned quickly that the faster I shifted around in plank position, the more points I could rack up in the game before my core started trembling and I had to call it quits. Surprisingly, time flew by–and before I knew it, a minute was up. After two weeks, I could hold a plank for 90 seconds–and I had nearly tripled my score from 41 to 111.

RELATED: 27 Fat-Burning Ab Exercises (No Crunches!)

More than a little competitive, I felt a twinge of pride every time I hit a new record time, or a new high score. If I didn’t beat my score the following day, what was even the point of trying?! (Okay maybe I’m too competitive.) But seriously, knowing you can probably eke out a few more points each day may be enough to keep you coming back for more, too. 

I made an account so I could log onto the app and see how my scores compared to other Stealth plankers. I tinkered with the filters on the leaderboard, and found that sorting by age, sex, and location revealed some impressive stats: Other women my age in the U.S. were racking up hundreds and hundreds of points; some were holding planks for longer than five minutes. With some diligence, I figured I could crack the top 20–a new competitive drive to keep me hooked!

But there was one downside I discovered: While becoming hyper-focused on my score was 100% helpful in terms of distracting me from the slow tick-tock of the clock, I began sacrificing good plank form to score additional points in the game. On certain days, my arms and shoulders felt like they got a better workout than my core–and I knew I needed to refocus on dominating the game from my abs.

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If you have a competitive nature, it’s worth checking out the Stealth Core Trainer. Yes, it’s pricey (and takes up a good amount of space), but it might be the fun addition your core routine desperately needs.

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