Mystery plant a great gift for bodybuilders!

May 9, 2012

My green-fingered friend Zoe popped round earlier. She’s such a successful gardener, she always has seeds and plants to give away and, of course, she knows I’m a big veg-eater.

This time, amongst the tomatoes and chili plants, she had a new gift for me. Something which she thought would be particularly useful for a dieting bodybuilder. Here it is:

What can it be?

Hang on… is it… ?

Yes, it’s a Stevia plant! I’ve reviewed Stevia tablets before and of course my sponsors, GOOD Hemp Nutrition, recently launched a new version of their protein powder which is sweetened with Stevia. But I’ve never seen the actual plant, let alone owned one.

How exciting! Thanks, Zoe! 😀

Now, all I have to do is a) not kill the thing and b) work out what to do with it? I am not in possession of an industrial grinding machine with which to make Stevia powder. So… any ideas? Let me know if you know of a way to use the Stevia plant, perhaps as an infusion (<— always loved that word, great to be able to use it in a blog post) or in baking?

PS Are you going to Bodypower? I’m heading up there just for the Friday. I’d love to meet with Editors, clients, prospects, friends and blog readers. Drop me a line and let’s make it happen!

Mystery plant a great gift for bodybuilders! is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Competition winners! GOOD Hemp with Stevia

March 17, 2012

Thanks to those of you who left a comment on this post and on GOOD Hemp’s Facebook page in a bid to win one of five tubs of GOOD Hemp’s chocolate protein powder – now sweetened with Stevia.

*drum roll*

The winners, chosen out of a metaphorical hat, are:

ZoeS, Alice, Ildiko, Olivia B and Tara.

Well done! 🙂 Please email your postal addresses to me (nicola AT and I’ll pass them on to GOOD Hemp who will ship your tubs of protein out to you directly. I really hope you enjoy them! 😀

If you weren’t one of the five winners, remember you can still use the 25% discount code GOOD Hemp have offered readers of this blog. Put the code GOODN1 in at the checkout and you’ll get a whopping 25% off the new Gym Shake with Stevia (one code per reader).

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Please cross your fingers for my husband who is currently having his shoulder operated on (it was misdiagnosed as a dislocation a few weeks ago….!)

Competition winners! GOOD Hemp with Stevia is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Competition time and discount code: new GOOD Hemp with Stevia

March 12, 2012

Morning all! My sponsors, GOOD Hemp nutrition, have just reformulated their chocolate protein powder to use Stevia as a sweetener (previously Sucralose). Great news, as Stevia is far preferable (read why in this blog post).

There are all sorts of reasons why GOOD’s hemp protein powder is great for you: as well as helping you reach your protein requirements (regardless of whether or not you’re a bodybuilder, or even “sporty”), it’s full of really “GOOD” stuff (see what I did there?) including omega 3, dietary fibre and all the EAAs (essential amino acids) your body needs. It’s also much less likely (than dairy-based protein powders) to cause any digestive issues or bloating. Plus it’s reallyreallyreally chocolatey and great for baking as well as just in a shake! The new formulation tastes great and it’s good to know that GOOD have pioneered the way in using Stevia as a sweetener. Be gone, Sucralose!

GOOD Hemp giveaway competition and discount code

To celebrate the launch of the new formulation, GOOD have kindly given me five tubs to give away to five of you! And, on top of that, an exclusive discount code for readers of the blog.

Put the code GOODN1 in at the checkout and you’ll get a whopping 25% off the new Gym Shake with Stevia (one code per reader). It’s currently on an introductory offer of £26.99 (1kg) so the code will make it….erm….*gets abacus out*…. £20.25 (?) And you’ll get loyalty points too.

To win one of the five tubs of the new formulation Gym Shake, leave me a comment telling me why you want to try the product, and then head on over to GOOD Hemp’s Facebook page and pop a post on their wall saying you’ve entered thefitwriter blog competition to win one of the five tubs. That’s it! (Make sure you comment here, otherwise I won’t know you’ve entered).

Entries close this Friday night at 8pm UK time and I’ll pick the winners at random over the weekend. 🙂


– follow GOOD Hemp on Facebook (just click the link)
– follow GOOD Hemp on Twitter (click the link)

Competition time and discount code: new GOOD Hemp with Stevia is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Monday baking: dairy-free mocha muffins

January 16, 2012

Happy Monday, everyone! I’ve been meaning to bake for the blog, but weekends seem to fly by in a blur of training. Mondays are my day off, and also my “eat up!” days. The perfect time for baking.

Apologies as always for iPhone pics – I never said I was a food blogger 😉

I recently got hold of some brown rice protein powder (thanks to Anna at Protein Pow(d)er for the recommendation) and have been wondering how it would bake up alongside some GOOD Hemp Nutrition chocolate hemp protein powder. I used this recipe of Anna’s as a very vague base (OK, so it’s nothing like it, but browsing her amazing recipes got me inspired!)

By the way, GOOD Hemp Nutrition are currently offering a whopping 33% off new online orders, to celebrate the launch of their new website. Go and check the website out and then grab your 33% discount! (Available until 17th January using this link.)

My aim with this recipe was to create a baked thing which would go well with a mid-morning cup of tea/coffee, fit my macros but still be something which a non-bodybuildery type would eat. I love coffee and dark chocolate, so that was the flavour hit of choice. I wanted to use non-whey protein powders.

The resulting muffin was denser, rather than fluffy, but very tasty indeed, ideal with a coffee (even held up to the “dunk test”.)

Next time I might try:
– less egg white/more Kara
– one egg as well as egg whites
– and/or some kind of filling or topping (vanilla protein powder and liquid? Or – if you do dairy – quark/greek yoghurt?)

All in all, two thumbs up. Let me know if you give them a try!

Dairy-free mocha muffins

Assemble your ingredients:

Chocolate brown rice protein powder (I use Growing Naturals currently on offer here)
Chocolate hemp protein powder (I use GOOD Hemp’s)
Liquid egg whites (I use’s)
Non-dairy milk (I love Kara)
Coconut flour (I use Tiana)
Baking powder (I use…er… Tesco’s?)
Not pictured – because I forgot – ground espresso beans (the real stuff not powdered, and dry not ready to drink)

25g chocolate brown rice protein powder
25g chocolate hemp protein powder
150g liquid egg whites
5g coconut flour (a little goes a long way with this stuff)
Splash (aka 25g) non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso grinds (or to taste)

Use a blender or bowl ‘n whisk to mix it all together. I just do it in one go. Add the baking powder last.

Pour into muffin cakes (I use silicone ones). Sprinkle a little extra espresso on top if you like (I do).

Bake at gas 6 for 15-18 minutes.

Allow to cool (at least a little bit). Eat!

Stats per muffin (I got five out of this mix… even though there are only four in the picture… ahem):

Monday baking: dairy-free mocha muffins is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Quick and easy hemp protein mini loaves

December 18, 2011

Hello! Well, isn’t this lovely? The weekend before Christmas and it’s all about decorating the tree, wrapping presents and baking. There’s even one of those marathon “best of” TV shows on. This one’s about musicals. So, I’m baking and bellowing. (My husband is out and the dog is feigning deafness).

At this time of year, people tend to bang on about the fact that it’s so difficult to eat healthily. Poor old Christmas. It’s not Christmas dinner which is the problem. It’s everything else around it! Christmas dinner, at its basic level, is great. Plenty of veg (probably more than most people usually eat), and turkey. What’s not to love? However, when we add in bread sauce (WTF?), sausage rolls and all the desserts and cakes, we can see where the potential problem lies.

So I was wondering if a lower-carb, lower-fat, higher-protein alternative could be made for any of those little extras, particularly the ones we don’t really like in the first place. I thought I’d start from the beginning, with Christmas Day breakfast or canapes (if you get up too late for breakfast), by inventing a replacement for bread, blini or crackers.

Today, I baked up some high-protein “bread” made with my GOOD Hemp (plain) hemp protein powder. It was so quick and easy. I think I only missed out on “Cats” and “Fiddler on the Roof” in the TV musical countdown.

Quick and easy hemp protein mini loaves

Gather your ingredients:
– one egg
– 200g egg whites
– 4g coconut flour (sounds like hardly any but a little goes a very long way with this stuff. Buy it from your local health food shop or Holland and Barrett)
– 20g quinoa flakes (I got them from our local health food shop, I suspect you can get them in the “weirdy’ section of the supermarket, too. You could probably leave them out, maybe add a little more coconut flour, or substitute for oats/oat flour)
– 30g GOOD Hemp natural hemp protein powder
– pepper
– baking soda

– Put everything in a blender. Blend it.
– Pour it into mini loaf pan (I have a silicone one, it’s great). Top tip: half fill, then go round again and top them all up, because the heavier ingredients will sink to the bottom of your blender whilst you’re pouring.
– Bake at about gas 6 for about 20 mins or until a knife comes out of the middle of a loaf clean
– Allow to cool on a rack
– Pop out of the silicone mould, slice, top with whatever you like: a sliver of organic butter, cream cheese, smoked salmon, scrambled egg or sliced hardboiled egg, tahini…. ?

I’m going to suggest to the husband that we have these as our Christmas breakfast with our eggs and salmon. They have a savoury, nutty taste and a light, spongey texture. You could, of course, bake the mixture in one large loaf tin and then slice the loaf up. I got 8 mini loaves out of this mixture.

Using hemp protein powder doesn’t just give these a lovely savoury taste. It packs the loaves full of omega 3 and all essential 10 amino acids, and (particularly alongside the coconut flour) lots of fibre, too. Oh, and they’re not too green! More of a brown colour, like brown bread. (Sorry for the rubbishy iPhone photos.)

Per loaf (if you get 8 from the mixture above) without toppings:

Enjoy! 🙂

For more protein powder-based bread recipes (including more using hemp), check out Anna’s blog Protein Pow(d)er – her recipes were my inspiration today.

Now, can anyone suggest a lower-carb alternative for devils on horseback? No? Me neither! 😉

Quick and easy hemp protein mini loaves is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Competition time: win GOOD Hemp protein samples

December 8, 2011

I’m glad you liked the guest posts from Hey Joob!, girlontheriver and Protein Pow(d)er whilst I was away. If you didn’t catch them, take a look. Joob wrote about rising obesity rates, girlontheriver made a case for rowing and Anna from Protein Pow(d)er gave us a recipe.

Today I’ve got a competition for you. Yes, even you in the USA. Anyone can enter, hooray!

Up for grabs are several sample packs of GOOD Hemp protein powders – my favourites in fact. After reading my recent review of the GOOD Hemp range, the kind folk over there sent me a load of sample sachets of my two favourites: the Gym shake in chocolate flavour and the Fit Shake in Strawberry flavour.

I want to spread the love, so I am giving away five sets of the two samples, as well as a money-off voucher to use should you want to place an order at any point.

Do you fancy trying my two favourite protein powders? Both are great just straight-up, mixed with water, but the chocolate one is great for baking with, too. They’re definitely not just for bodybuilder, gym-bunny types. Anyone sporty could use them, and even anyone non-sporty. I sent my sister some recently and she loves them in smoothies.

Here’s how to enter. All you have to do is one of the two options below – then come back here and leave me a comment to tell me you’ve done it. I’ll pick five winners at random from the comments.

– follow GOOD Hemp on Facebook (just click the link)
– follow GOOD Hemp on Twitter (click the link) and tweet a link to this blog post (something like “I’ve entered @thefitwriter ‘s blog giveaway for @goodhempnutri samples [link]” should do it!)

Closing date is this Sunday – December 11th – at midnight UK time. I’ll pick the winners on Monday!

Competition time: win GOOD Hemp protein samples is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Guest post: Anna from Protein Pow(d)er with a chocolate cake recipe

November 29, 2011

Today, Anna from Protein Pow(d)er gives us a very easy, very delicious recipe using hemp protein powder. As you know, GOOD Hemp kindly support my sporting endeavours, so I’m delighted to give you a variety of ways to use their products. I’ve got a recipe series up my sleeve, but I have to say this recipe from Anna is a fantastic one to kick us off! I urge to to try this… it’s fantastic.

When Nicola asked me whether I’d like to write a guest post, my first thought was ‘HELL YEAH!’ See, I’m a massive fan of her blog (and her absolute awesomeness! she’s a jaw-dropping champ and, as you guys already know, a tremendously inspiring person) so it was definite GO from me from the beginning. Knowing that Nicola is also a big fan of chocolate hemp protein powder, I thought it’d be appropriate to make a protein cake using it :-)))))

I love making protein cakes because they are so absurdly easy (you just blend everything together and, if you want, add some protein frosting) and, alongside a cup of coffee? Well, well, well *sigh* the whole thing can be quite disarming 😀 Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Chocolate protein cake with coconut vanilla frosting

1 medium sweet potato (111g)
3/8 cups of chocolate hemp protein powder (56g)
1 cup liquid egg whites (170g)
1/4 cup cocoa (20g)
1 medjool date (pitted)
3/8 cups of milk (75g)
1tsp of baking powder

1 tbsp quark (23g)
1/4 cup of dissecated coconut
1 scoop of vanilla whey (20g)
bit of water (or milk)

Mix all the cake ingredients together using a blender.
Bake at 160 degrees C for about 35 minutes (until a knife comes out clean.)
Take it out and let it cool.
When cool, mix together the frosting ingredients and top the baby up 🙂

Macros per 1 slice if you slice it into 4: 208kcals, 21g protein, 14g carbo (6g sugars), 7.8g fat (4g sat) and 5g fiber!

Yum, yum, thanks Anna! I have a few recipes of my own – using chocolate hemp – to share soon, lots of them inspired by your kitchen adventures!

Anna blogs at Protein Pow(d)er and also has a very active Facebook page.

“Guest post: Anna from Protein Pow(d)er with a chocolate cake recipe” is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: GOOD Hemp protein powders

November 8, 2011

Hello! Long time no blog. Sorry, I’m a rubbish blogger! Since my bodybuilding season ended, I’ve been purposefully catching up with life. You know: work, taking my husband out to dinner, that kind of thing. I have logged in to WordPress several times, started a post but then logged out again because there’s something more pressing to do.

However, I’m here now. And I’ve got a product review for you.

You may recall that I secured myself a sponsor of sorts a few months ago – hemp protein products producers GOOD Hemp. Poor souls, I don’t imagine they thought for one minute that they’d approach me and I’d say “yes, great idea. Only one hitch: I can’t actually test your stuff for ages because of my contest diet.”

Some sponsored athlete I am!

However, I am no longer on my strict contest diet and so I can taste, test and sample to my heart’s content.

I intend doing regular reviews of GOOD Hemp‘s products, using them in recipes and baking and all manner of inventive ways. For now, though, here’s a straight-up review of the products I’ve got, mixed with water as a post-training shake or as a meal replacement/snack.

Here are the main benefits of using hemp protein powders:
No lactose (particularly useful if you have allergies or intolerances but most people would see/feel a benefit)
Easy to digest (no bloating or… erm… gassiness *pardon me*)
Fibre – good for your intestinal tract
Lots of Essential Fatty Acids (including important Omega 3)
Produced without use of heat

*two thumbs up*

GOOD Hemp natural hemp powder

A lot of people seem to be a bit funny about the idea of hemp protein powder but I can assure you that it doesn’t taste gritty or earthy or “green”. It’s very nice. This is the unflavoured one, so obviously it’s not going to taste the same as your banoffee-choco-malt whey with bits of actual chocolate in. But that’s probably a good thing.

Check out the nutritionals on this bad boy.

per 30g serving
111 kcal
14.1 g protein
4.6 g carbs (1.6 g of which are sugar)
3.8 g fat (0.5g omega 9, 0.7 g omega 3, 2.2g omega 6)
6.3 g fibre
No sodium

Like all of GOOD Hemp’s products, this doesn’t cause me any bloating (whey and casein do) because there’s no lactose in there. In fact, the hemp products feel really calming to my system. It mixes up well and has quite a creamy texture, even mixed just with water.

Fit Shake in Strawberry flavour

This is a surprise favourite of mine. I don’t know what it is that I love so much about it but there’s just something about the taste… it’s really fresh and refreshing. I think it might be the green tea? This one is sweetened, but with xylitol which is generally accepted to be one of the better sugar subsitutes out there. It mixes really well, although does have a bit of a thinner mouth-feel (<— check me out!) than the others. There's a pretty simple solution to that one: use less water. I love it and think it will be a really refreshing post-workout option for hot summer days.

The nutritional stats:
per 30g serving
110 kcal
10g protein
11.5g carbs (1.2g sugar)
2.7g fat (0.3g omega 9, 0.5g omega 3, 1.6g omega 6)
4.5g fibre
And no sodium

Like all GOOD Hemp’s protein powders, this has a really impressive amino acid profile. That’s one of the many things I like about these products; they are actually good for you, quite apart from helping you meet your protein requirements.

Gym shake in chocolate flavour

My absolute favourite product (with the Fit shake coming a close second). This tastes rich, chocolatey and indulgent. The hemp flavour really works with the chocolate flavour, giving it a depth of flavour without making it too sweet. I like my chocolate dark and unsweetened and this protein powder suits me well. Some chocolate flavoured whey and casein powders can be far too sweet for me. This one is sweetened (with sucralose, which I’m not a huge fan of) but far less than many other protein powders I’ve come across. I’ve baked with this (as has Anna – with great results!), used it in pancakes… all sorts. It’s delicious, and so good for you. But this review is for the powder mixed straight-up, with water… and that’s great, too. Try it!

Nutritional stats:
Per 40g serving
145 kcal
17.9 g protein
7.2 g carbs (2.0 g sugar)
4.9 g fat (0.5 g omega 9, 0.8 g omega 3, 2.8 g omega 6)
8.5 g fibre
No sodium

Last but not least is the Gym shake in strawberry flavour

Now, I do like this one, but not as much as some people do! I’ve sent a few friends little samples of GOOD Hemp’s products, and almost all of them rave about this strawberry Gym shake. I don’t know which one you’d like most! They’re both good, but to me the chocolate tastes richer. Both mix really well and taste creamy and smooth. This one isn’t a sweet, artificial strawberry taste. It’s quite subtle. All the great benefits are there in terms of omega 3/6/9, amino acids, dietary fibre and no lactose. It’s just a question of taste and flavour – which do you prefer?

Don’t forget, you can get £5 off purchases of GOOD Hemp protein products by putting NJ001 in at the checkout. Additionally, the company often have great offers on the website so keep a beady eye out. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter, too, to hear about special offers.

Have you tried hemp protein powder? What do you think? What would you like me to try and make as part of my GOOD Hemp recipe series?

Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: GOOD Hemp protein powders is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

thefitwriter gets a sponsor! GOOD Hemp nutrition

September 3, 2011

How exciting! I’ve got a sponsor!

As anyone who’s trained for bodybuilding knows only too well, this can be an expensive sport. Well, quite honestly, any sport can be as expensive as you want to make it, but this one can be particularly hard on the wallet: protein isn’t cheap, whether you’re buying eggs, meat, fish or protein powders. Then there’s all the fresh veg and, if you choose to take them, the supplements. It all adds up.

Every little helps. I’m lucky to have been sent a lot of products to test.

But getting a sponsor is where it’s at. And I’m delighted to say that, this week, I was contacted by a sports nutrition company who want me to come on board as a sponsored athlete/ambassador. In return, they will keep me in as much product as I need for the duration of our relationship.

Thank you, GOOD Hemp Nutrition!

I urge you to go and check out their website. GOOD Hemp produce health and wellbeing as well as sport-specific nutrition products, all – funnily enough – made with hemp. Hemp is a fantastic source of protein, suitable for vegans and vegetarians, famously gentle on the digestive system and rarely causing any gastric problems like other protein powders can. Being hemp, there’s no lactose, no soy, none of the things which can often cause bloating and other nasties.

In addition, hemp is a bit of a wonder-food, and hemp protein powders pack a nutritional punch: not just protein but all the Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) as well as good old omega 3 and dietary fibre.

What I really like about the GOOD Hemp products is that they’re really suitable for anyone who needs a convenient source of quality protein and omega 3 (and that’s most of us). The powders aren’t niche, sporty, muscle-monster products. They’re great for vegans, endurance athletes, gym-bunnies. I imagine they’d be a great “gateway” protein powder for anyone who’s never ventured down that route before.

I’ve been sent the GOOD Gym Shake with Hemp Protein (Chocolate), the GOOD Gym Shake with Hemp Protein (Strawberry), the GOOD Fit Shake with Hemp Protein (Strawberry) and the natural Hemp Protein Powder. I’m looking forward to trying them all! I’ve tried the Gym Shake in Chocolate flavour in the past and it’s fabulous for shakes, puddings, for baking and all sorts of kitchen adventures. It’s truly delicious and I love the fact that the nutritional stats and benefits are so great.

I can’t review the products until after my comp now as I’m too close to the shows and have cut protein powders out of my diet in favour of real foods.

But just as soon as I can, I’ll test all the products out and let you know what I think. In fact, I think I’m going to do a weekly blog post featuring a recipe incorporating one of my GOOD Hemp products. Can’t wait! If you have any requests for things you’d like me to try and make, or for types of recipes (shakes, smoothies, cakes, sweet breads, cookies, muffins…?), do let me know.

Until then, thank you GOOD Hemp for contacting me, I’m delighted to be one of your sponsored athletes.

GOOD Hemp’s products are all made from ingredients grown and produced in the UK. You can follow them on Twitter here and Facebook here (you’ll hear about lots of special offers!)

thefitwriter gets a sponsor! GOOD Hemp nutrition is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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