We all understand the importance of protein, and know that it's a huge part of the 'body building' phenomenon - you've seen those massive vats of 'protein powder' which promise to boost stamina while honing your physique - but what if you don't want to look like Hulk Hogan? How (and why) should we increase our protein intake, and how do we increase our definition without adding excess bulk?

Inspiring, encouraging and effortlessly elegant, our nutritional expert {Karen Cummings-Palmer} took precious time out of her cuh-raaaazy-busy schedule, to chat to us about supplements, breakfast and (most importantly), working within the context of real life - we're all time-poor (something Karen knows only too well), but as she enthusiastically explained, there are short-cuts and work-arounds to help you stay healthy and beautiful.

"It's all about breakfast" said Karen, who was eager to stress that without the right fuel, your body focuses what little energy it has on keeping organs working. So, not only will you lack the extra get-up-and-go (which is why we feel compelled to turn to short term boosters such as caffeine), but your skin, hair and nails are deprived of the energy that drives cells - so you quickly start to look a little lack-lustre.

"Skipping breakfast is the single most ageing thing you can do" - which, as a regular breakfast fore-goer, appalled me much more than my everyday lethargy! Karen recommends eggs - boiled, poached, fried or mixed with vegetables to make an omelette - their protein-richness is the perfect kick-start your body needs; as well as being brilliant for beauty (because we're all a little superficial, sometimes). 

But why is protein so imperative? Well, if you're a regular gym bunny, protein provides fuel for your 'engines' (muscles) without which, your body begins to 'borrow' amino acids from lean tissue. The longer you exercise, the more muscle tissue is sacrificed, which not only increases risk of injury and can lead to performance problems during exercise (due to increased levels of fatigue–causing ammonia), but also compromises your recovery - increasing post-workout aches and stiffness. 

Struggling to get your protein quota? Karen recommends lacing your morning porridge or smoothie with a spoonful of KIKI Health's {Moringa Leaf Powder}. A potent source of protein (23g per 100g of powder) and fibre, it also contains eight of the body’s essential amino acids to increase endurance during exercise, improve stamina and help maintain a ‘normal’ blood pressure.

Or why not try Sonya Dakar's {Beauty Bootcamp Ultima Power Shake}? Designed to be enjoyed as a snack, or to supplement one of your meals, this soy protein shake is packed with all the nutrients and vitamins you need to stay in peak condition (and is ideal for helping you shed a few excess pounds) - all without spurious, synthetic additives.

And for those looking to boost both beauty and wellbeing, The Beauty Chef's {Body Inner Beauty Powder} contains a cocktail of supercharged ingredients to speed up your metabolism, improve your immunity and repair muscles after a gruelling workout. Available in either vanilla or chocolate flavours, it also aims to stabilise your blood sugar levels with the help of ginger and turmeric - just blend a teaspoon into water before hitting the treadmill.

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