Life Additives: E-Numbers not included

One of the most salient lectures whilst studying for my teaching qualification was a lecture on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement was not something I had ever really thought about until that lecture, but it is the most useful and successful behavior management tool I have used, day in, day out of my teaching career. Positive reinforcement is the concept of ‘catching’ children being good, so, instead of telling a child to “stop talking”, I would, instead, recognize all the other students who are silent. I typically do this by thanking individual children or phrasing the expected behavior as a question, e.g. ‘I wonder who can stand quietly, exactly like Lucy?’ It sounds ridiculous, but suggesting or thanking, good behavior works timelessly, whether the child is 5 or 11 years old. Everyone likes to be thanked, praised or recognized and this extends to adulthood too. A genuine thank you resonates far more than any monetary gift. In fact, it was teacher appreciation week which made me really appreciate the value in positivity and thank yous and it also got me thinking…could positive reinforcement be practiced in all aspects of our lives to enable us to be happier and healthier?

Change is always scary, it, by definition, means we are going to have to step out of our routine and into the unknown. Sometimes change chooses us and sometimes we choose change. If it is the latter option, we often enter into change feeling positive, but if change chooses us, we can definitely be left feeling overwhelmed. How about if we purely focus on what the change can ‘add’ to our lives rather than what ‘subtractions’ the change is going to result in? After all, we are not in control of the outcome, but we are in control of the process. For example, you have realized it is time to embark on a healthy lifestyle. Instead of eliminating sweets, chips etc. focus on what you are going to add in instead. So, are you going to add a vegetable to every meal? Are you going to start drinking a cup of green tea? Are you going to add in a run on a Sunday? How about if you are relocating to a new place for work or otherwise? Instead of focusing on the people, or things, you think you are going to miss, why not see it as an opportunity to add a new tourist or local experience to your ‘to-do’ list? Why not Yelp the best local coffee house or attraction in the area and suggesting meeting there with new neighbours or co-workers?

There are many aspects of our lives that are beyond our control, our mood and outlook on life is one of the few aspects we can dictate. Life can be daunting, so let’s not add to it with focusing on what we are without, or our subtractions, but, instead, let’s ease the daily struggles and embrace change with additives. And not the E-numbers kind.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x



Quest Bars flavor reviews

So I am a big lover of protein bars, I often use them for my preworkout meal as I can eat them as I drive from work to the gym without making a mess! They also give me something sweet and tasty to look forward to after a day at work. Thought it was about time I reviewed the protein bars I have tasted and let you know my thoughts on them! This entry features the very popular Quest bars! Quest bars have a really good macro split, even when I began reverse dieting, I could still fit these into my leg day macros.

White chocolate and raspberry

Nutritional information: 200kcal; 9g fat, 21g carbs (14g fiber), 20g protein

Opinion: I have heard the white chocolate and raspberry flavor get a bit of a bad reputation, with lots of people preferring the Musclepharm version. Personally, I loved this bar. I had left it in my car so the white chocolate chunks had started to melt, which may have influenced my opinion, but the raspberry flavor came through really strongly without tasting artificial and there was a good balance between the two flavors. The texture was soft, with the right amount of bite!

Rating: Delicious – 9/10


Chocolate brownie

Nutritional information: 170kcal; 7g fat, 22g carbs (15g fiber), 20g protein

Opinion: I was really excited to try this flavor as I love chocolate. And brownies. But was actually very disappointed. I am definitely a lover of chunks and a variety of textures in a protein bar and this had neither. It wasn’t overly chocolatey either and tasted artificial and quite chewy. Sorry, Quest, I won’t be eating this one again.

Rating: Poor showing for Quest; 4/10.


Cookies and Cream

Nutritional information: 190kcal; 9g fat, 20g carbs (14g fiber), 21g protein.

Opinion: I absolutely love Oreos and was delighted when I opened the packet at all the chunks of cookies and cream. However, the taste was slightly artificial and not strong enough of the cookie aspect. The ‘cream’ part was deliciously light and crumbly and I loved the difference in textures between the cookie pieces, cream pieces and the bar itself.

Rating: Good in a Quest emergency, but prefer lots of the other flavors. 6/10.


Chocolate peanut butter

Nutritional information: 170kcal; 7g fat, 23g carbs (14g fiber), 20g protein.

Opinion: I am trying to frame this in a positive way….or to look for the good, but I am struggling. It was nice and soft feeling in the packet, but as soon as I opened the packet, I can’t say the aesthetics of the bar really tempted me. It smelt faintly of Reese’s cups, but the taste was bland and very artificial. I ate one bite and opted to do my workout without being fuelled by Quest! I would have much preferred there to have been chunks of either peanut butter or chocolate, I am definitely not keen on this chewy bar that some of these flavours seem to exude.

Rating: I can’t give a 0, as it was vaguely chocolate peanut butter. 1/10


Pumpkin pie

Nutritional information: 220kcal; 12g fat, 19g carbs (12g fiber), 21g protein.

Opinion: This was my last bar of these limited edition Quest bars, sniff, sniff. These have slightly higher fat macros, but slightly lower carb macros than a standard Quest bar so these normally fit into my upper body macro split better than my lower body split. This is the only coated Quest bar (as of right now!) and it is deeelicious. The orange coating is sweet and provides a nice contrast to the more chewy interior. I don’t get an overly pumpkin taste, more like a vanilla with a hint of pumpkin. So if you are a full on ‘fall pumpkin spice’ hashtagger, you may be disappointed. But I like my pumpkin in moderation so this is lovely. A bit sad that these are only seasonal!

Rating: Delicious, chunky, though not too pumpkin pie-esque. 7/10