Killing Bad Habits, Creating New Ones

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Part of achieving a lifestyle change and making it stick is killing old habits and creating new ones. When I began my weight loss journey a few years ago, I had to break some bad habits and adopt some new healthy ones. Everyone made it sound easy, like I could just flip a switch, but it was really hard. Along the way, I found some tricks and short-cuts that really helped me reinforce my behaviour changes. For anyone who has just started their weight-loss journey or is struggling to break bad habits, this post is for you.

Stop Snacking.

A lot of people who are overweight struggle to lose the weight because they are constantly eating, snacking, picking, grazing and consuming a few hundred extra calories on top of their regular meals. Food is a drug, it releases feel-good chemicals in our brain and our senses are heightened. Snacking is a bad habit when it is preventing you from losing weight or causing you to gain weight. But there are a few habits you can introduce that will help you stop your snacking habit. The most effective for me is chewing gum. I go through about 50 pieces of gum every 1-2 weeks. Yes, that’s a lot of gum. I also have very healthy teeth, according to my dentist, so maybe this gum-chewing habit is doing more good than I even realise. The second best habit to introduce is drinking more water. Every time you feel like a snack, drink a bottle of water. You will pee a lot more often so prepare for that, but your body will thank you for an increased intake of H2O. The third best habit to combat a bad snacking habit is introduce more physical activity. Change your routine. Are you snacking while watching Netflix in bed? Go to a class at the gym instead. Go for a walk and listen to a Podcast. Go walk to Starbuck’s and grab a decaf Americano. Replace your snacking with a different activity that will make you feel just as good, if not better, than that shitty kit-kat.

Drink less alcohol. 

Alcohol messes your body up. It sends your blood sugar levels sky-rocketing, only for them to crash and burn the next day. It is a depressant. It can change the composition of your gut bacteria. It increases your heart rate. So yes, it’s fun and it can make for a fantastic night out with friends, but it does not do the body good. If you struggle with your weight, alcohol may have an even greater impact on you than someone who doesn’t struggle with their weight. But there are a few new habits you can introduce to help kick the alcohol habit. Sign up for early morning gym classes on the weekend to avoid the temptation to go out boozing on a Friday night. Or sign up for a Friday evening gym class for the same effect. Alternate between champagne or red wine and water, so you consume half the amount of booze you normally would on a night out. If you’re going out for dinner, order a Diet Coke or sparkling water instead of boozing. You’ll still get a mental kick from the caffeine in the Diet Coke but without all the calories. Sounds boring, I know, but it will help you shed the pounds. Don’t stop socialising altogether, this isn’t good for your happiness, but find a way to cut down on booze while still being social.

Cut down (or out) refined sugar. 

When I was younger, I loved sugar. It was my drug. I drank it, in the form of Dr Pepper or Mountain Dew. I ate it, in the form of candy. I snacked on it, in the form of brownies, cookies and cakes. I had a terrible sugar habit and when my weight peaked at 210 lbs. in 2009, I knew I had to do something about it. It took years before I got to a place where I was consistently eating a low-sugar diet. I gradually cut down. Then I pretty much cut it out altogether. Then I got stuck in a restrict and binge cycle (e.g. no sugar for a week, followed by a big bag of Pic n’ Mix at the cinema on the weekend). Then I got to a place where I was having it semi-regularly but in extremely low amounts (e.g. a few squares of chocolate a couple of times a week). Refined sugar is the reason that most overweight people are overweight. So, how do you kick this habit when sugar is on pretty much every list of ingredients in the supermarket? Again, I go back to chewing gum (bubblegum flavour to be precise). Drink flavoured sparkling water (not too regularly though, it’s full of artificial sweeteners). Eat more berries or any other low-sugar fruit. Drink black coffee after large meals to help re-balance your blood sugar levels. Exercise more, to help maintain level blood-sugar levels. Eat complex carbohydrates like porridge or rye bread with breakfast for slow-release sugars and energy. Learn to think with your stomach and not your mind. Your stomach doesn’t want refined sugar, it will completely destroy the good bacteria in your gut. Your brain wants it because it’s a drug. My biggest piece of advice here is to not replace all sugar with artificial sweetener, because that’s not good for your body either. Also, don’t replace it with honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc. because those are all just different forms of sugar.

There is so much more I could write here. Instead, I’m giving you my perspective on the top three bad habits of overweight people and some top tips for creating and sustaining new healthy ones. I’ll save the rest of my thoughts for a future post! For now, you can check out fitness and food tips on my Instagram and Facebook page. Thanks for reading and have a happy Sunday!

Flexitarian: What the F***?

Last week, I noticed an Insta-celeb posting about a new diet he has designed for weight-loss and it’s called ‘The Sweet Potato Diet.’ This is when I realised that, with the help of marketing and advertising, we have truly taken the word “diet” to new extremes. It has become really, really fashionable to eat a diet that is gluten-free, dairy free, paleo, vegan, raw and the list goes on. The more you restrict your diet, the more trendy you are. And don’t get me started on how some people’s restrictions are simply a cover-up for eating disorders*. Oh, you’re dairy-free but you still eat fro-yo on Leg Day? Cool. Oh, you’re gluten-intolerant but you still allow yourself a granola bar after you’ve run an ultra-marathon and have “earned” the carbs? Sure. Picture that scene where your girlfriends look on in horror as you eat a piece of bread, as in “How could you put that poison into your sacred body?” Speaking as someone who has also demonized bread in the past and then realized that bread isn’t the enemy; all refined, processed foods are in fact the enemy! If the ingredients list is a mile long, it’s not really ‘real food’ is it? We have become obsessed with putting a label on our personal nutrition, branding it in a way that fits with our social image. This is something I have never advocated and will never support. Eat real food, eat foods that will nourish you and help you flourish, eat intuitively and only supplement if/when you need to.
The newest fad is ‘Flexitarian.’ This is defined as a person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish. So… you have adopted quite an ordinary, regular approach to your nutrition then? Meat is not essential to our diets; protein is. We should all eat less meat and play our part to save our planet and her resources. There is no need to put a label on it and make it into some sexy, ultra-cool trend. Hashtags like #meatless are cool and help spread awareness of this new cause and how people can change their diet and still maintain healthy nutrition, all while contributing to environmental sustainability.
Veganism and plant-based nutrition have soared in popularity in recent years. For most people, veganism is a huge adjustment and it is very challenging to eat this way and still get enough protein in your diet. If you aren’t getting protein from meat, dairy or eggs, you need to find it from other sources. Many people turn to soy products but if consumed in great excess, soy can disrupt the reproductive hormones in women. Chickpeas, lentils, beans, quinoa and other vegan-friendly foods are high in protein but also high in carbohydrates. Nuts and seeds are high in protein but also high in fats. Vegans and vegetarians can often find themselves gaining weight because they eat more foods that are high in carbs or high in fats. The best approach is to make sure the majority of your diet comes from green, leafy, fibrous veggies dressed in healthy fats like avocado, extra-virgin olive oil and seeds. Check out Instagram for vegan food inspiration and tips on how to cook healthy, filling vegan meals. If you’re London-based, I recommend making a trip to Tibits, Ethos Foods or Wholefoods for some delicious vegan inspo.
Paleo is a diet that I tried for the good part of 6-8 months and ended up gaining weight because I was eating so much fat. Paleo is one of the most restrictive diets I have ever eaten. You cannot eat grains or dairy or any processed foods. All meals are made from scratch and all ingredients must be 100% natural. It’s very meat-heavy and the exclusion of beans, nightshades and many other foods can result in a diet that is deficient in fibre. This diet, if too low in carbohydrates, can disrupt the menstrual cycle in some women so proceed with caution. Or take the principles of paleo but don’t restrict too much! Some attributes of the paleo diet make sense, like not eating refined carbohydrates and grains, but other attributes like avoiding many fruits are not necessary if you’re extremely physically active. Fruit is not going to make you sick or fat.
Try not putting a label on your diet or the way you eat. Diet and food is very personal to the individual and we all have different nutrition needs based on our physical activity, physical and mental health and internal biology. Eat to achieve your goals, feel good, thrive and to maintain a strong, stable immune system.
*If you feel you may be struggling with an Eating Disorder, please contact BEAT who can offer you advice and support on 0808 801 0677.

Meal Prepping: Staying on Track

 

Meal-prepping is the best way to get started with a new diet or eating plan. After a couple of weeks, you will become a pro and will be delighted at the time and money it saves. If you are a food-lover, sugar-addict, snack-muncher like me then you will know that staying on track with your diet and healthy eating is VERY difficult if you do not have a packed lunch or pre-prepared meals and snacks ready to go. It is a very simple concept. When you are hungry, you think with your stomach rather than your brain. When you meal prep, you are putting more thought into the food that you are preparing and the nutrients that you need to feel great and keep your energy levels up. It may take a couple of hours on a Sunday evening or a Monday night but you will thank yourself for it during the week when you save money and time during those weekday lunches. Just make sure you have snacks prepared too and don’t make the same mistake I have in the past, which is buying $10 worth of snacks on the way home because you haven’t eaten since lunch! Oops!

Meals:

My meals are usually very simple. Tuna with brown rice, butternut squash and broccoli. Chicken with sweet potato and sprouts. Turkey breast with boiled carrots, asparagus and kale. Lean meats, eggs and plenty of veggies. Choose a green vegetable (broccoli, sprouts, kale, spinach, asparagus) and pair it with a starch (sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, brown rice, plantains) and a protein (turkey, chicken, lean beef, egg). For goodness sake, don’t eat Tofu. It’s a soy product and nutritionists are screaming out about the dangers of soy. It’s not digestion-friendly and in my opinion, you’d be better off eating something like chickpeas, quinoa, beans or another comparable high-protein carbohydrate. Also, in the colder seasons, my favourite thing to make is stew. Just throw in some stock, chopped tomatoes, a whole ton of veggies and some meat or fish. As for seasoning, cumin, coriander, paprika and chipotle chills for a Mexican flavour OR maybe ginger, garlic, coriander, lemongrass and lime for a Thai flavour. Bulk-cooking requires less time than cooking different meals every night. If you get bored easily, just pair your main course with a different side dish or use different sauces and seasonings. I am salivating at the thought of this right now…

Snacks:

Forget carrot sticks and hummus… this is such a boring snack and it’s been overdone. We are all bored of it! What about making your own granola out of oats, coconut oil, flaked almonds, peanut butter and chia seeds? What about taking a little pot of apple, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and coconut strips? Make your own “cookies” using banana, oats, almond flour, butter and cacao nibs. Make a PBJ sandwich using Meridian peanut or almond butter, smashed berries and wholegrain rice cakes. Steam some edamame or sugar-snap peas and sprinkle them with salt. If you snack on chocolate, try to make sure it’s 70% dark or higher (major challenge for an addict like me…). When it comes to yoghurt, try and always buy Total 0% greek yoghurt since it’s one of the only brands which contains live bacteria. If you love picking at popcorn, try to pick the brand with the lowest sugar. If you fancy snacking on fruit, go for berries since they are lower in sugar. There are so many other options besides carrot sticks! Just get creative, check out Instagram and try to make healthy versions of your favourite snacks.

Tips:

  1. Invest in good tupperware.
  2. Meal-prep 3-4 days in advance so that food stays fresh.
  3. Plan your meals before you do your grocery shopping.
  4. Don’t meal-prep when you are hungry.
  5. Search for inspiration on Instagram!

To anyone who calls this behaviour obsessive, I say this: I would rather spend the rest of my life obsessively meal-prepping and macros-counting than going back to my old ways of eating shitty food and feeling shitty as a result of my diet. If you haven’t read my story before, at the age of nineteen I was in a place where I was smoking, eating junk food, drinking sugary soft drinks, consuming too much alcohol and as a result, feeling sluggish, getting headaches, having regular stomach issues, and feeling breathless after climbing a small hill. I was an overweight mess of a human being! Today, I feel strong and fit and I have healthier skin, hair, nails and never suffer from headaches or diarrhoea anymore (TMI). My health isn’t perfect but I am a million times better than I was before and I am constantly trying to make better choices whilst achieving balance in my life. I thrive with a little touch of routine and organisation; it’s part of my nature and something I have always found comfort in. Meal-prepping helps me stay on track and saves me a lot of time and energy during the week when I am busy working and living my life. Try it for a week and see how much time and money you save!

Recipe: Coconut Prawn Curry

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This creamy, coconut prawn curry was absolutely delicious and much lower in calories than the restaurant or takeaway equivalents. I feel so accomplished when I make healthy versions of my favourite not-so-healthy meals! 

The weekend has come to an end. It’s Sunday night and your weekend is a blur of cheap champagne, good friends and lots and lots of fun. Cooking is the last thing you want to do right now. In fact, all you want is one more wonderful evening before the dreaded Monday morning blues roll around! The takeaway menu is lying on your kitchen counter and it would just be so easy to dial that sh*tty Chinese down the street. Stop! Throw that menu away. Put your phone down. Takeaway meals are so easy to make at home. This weekend, Asian food was on my mind, but rather than go to ‘Yum Yum‘ down the road, I decided to make my own healthy version of what I was craving. A few basic ingredients and all of ten minutes later, and dinner was served… an absolutely delicious, fragrant prawn curry served over some fluffy brown rice.

Whether it’s Fish n’ Chips, Pizza, Burgers, or Chinese Chicken, I will help you make your own healthy version! If you have any requests for healthy versions of your favourite takeaway meals, simply post on my Facebook or Instagram page. Until then, have a delicious night.

Ingredients: 

  • 180g Raw Jumbo King Prawns
  • 2 tbsp of coconut cream
  • 2-4 tbsp of boiling water
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1″ of chopped Ginger
  • 1 tbsp of chopped fresh coriander
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 a tsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil for cooking
  • 75g of Brown Rice (or basmati rice)
  • a sprinkle of desiccated coconut (for serving)

Method:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a shallow frying pan on a medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and ginger.
  3. Add the prawns and let them cook halfway through (2-3 mins approx).
  4. Add the chilli flakes, soy sauce and honey.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut cream, water and coriander.
  7. Cook for a further couple of minutes.
  8. Serve over the rice, add the coconut, and tuck in!

RECIPE: Banging Cilantro Turkey Burgers

There is nothing like a good burger, especially when it’s homemade. I like to know what ingredients are in my food and I like my meat nice and lean. There is nothing more repulsive that a grisly steak or a chewy fatty sausage. Please don’t misunderstand me- I LOVE beef mince and duck and bacon, but not if it is dripping with fat. Have you ever felt like you are wearing vaseline after eating meat? That is gross. Turkey mince is a great substitute for beef and it’s extremely lean. You don’t have to sacrifice flavour when munching on these juicy patties. They are packed with flavour from fragrant coriander, hot red chilli, and a few other herbs and spices. This week, I served mine with some low-sugar slaw because I was feeling lazy. But I would highly recommend serving these with avocado and a homemade mango pico de gallo or some cumin sweet potato fries. Wow, I’m salivating as I write this! Happy cooking and happy hump day.

Ingredients:

  • 500g lean Turkey Breast Mince
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp of ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp of ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp of Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Red Chilli (diced)
  • 1 medium Egg
  • 1/2 a Red Onion (diced)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coconut Oil (for cooking)

Method (makes approximately 6-7 small patties):

  1. Place the turkey mince in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg, onion, chilli and coriander and mix it up with a fork!
  3. Add the spices and stir it up until the mixture is covered.
  4. Heat up the coconut oil in a frying pan or griddle on a medium heat.
  5. Get your hands dirty and form approximately six or seven patties from the mixture.
  6. Cook those burgers for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked all the way through.
  7. Serve with whatever topping your heart desires!

 

*I recognise that the photos in this post are not high quality! Please rest assured that future recipe photos will be a lot better. Thanks!

5 Key Benefits of Group Fitness

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This was a fun session in the park with Karen from Good Clean Chow!

Staying fit is a lot more fun if you have someone else to keep you company and you will find yourself substantially more motivated when you engage in group fitness activities.

  1. Running Faster: Running clubs. What better way to run than with someone who can pace you? The running clubs I have run with divide their runners into three groups: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The three groups either run at different paces, different distances, or in some cases- both. The pacer encourages his/her group to keep up and ensures that nobody gets left behind. If you want to push yourself, join the intermediate or advanced group and you will have no choice but to keep up or get left behind! Or in my most recent case, get lost in the middle of London, which I was certainly not willing to do. There is a great website called MeetUp where you can find running clubs in your area but try searching on Google or contact any local sporting retailers such as Nike, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty or Asics.
  2. Meeting People: New City? New Social Life? What better way to meet people than to join a fitness-related class or club. The best thing about these clubs is that the people who join them are typically a like-minded bunch of people. Runners and fitness fanatics are social, high-energy, optimistic, enthusiastic, positive people! And when you are all high on endorphins after your run, you can go for coffee or cake together and chit chat away about how much you love running (and cake). Use sites such as MeetUp and Facebook to finds clubs near you!
  3. Low Cost, High Fun: Since moving to London, I have ran with a running club in Mile End, the Chelsea Running Club, and on Saturday morning I am going to a British Military Fitness session in Hyde Park. How much did all of this cost me? £0. I walked or jogged to every meeting, the running clubs are free, and the BMF give you the first session for free. Joining a gym is essential if you want to do weight training and have access to shiny, fancy, state of the art exercise equipment. But why not copy me? Join a budget gym (hello Puregym £35 per month membership with access to ALL gyms in the UK) and use the extra money on classes and clubs. If you compare Puregym to Gymbox, you are saving £50 a month on membership fees. That’s at least 3-4 classes, which is one a week!
  4. Accountability: If you join a club and miss a week, you are going to have a whole club of people asking you, “where were you last week?” Committing to a regular club or class ensures that you have a whole team of people rallying behind you, encouraging you, and rooting for you to succeed. You have a network of support and a bunch of coaches who will hold you accountable if you fail to show up or try to give up. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing and it’s extremely motivating. Be thankful for it.
  5. Healthy Competition: A little healthy competition never hurt anybody! Unless you are a complete Dwayne Rock Johnson Machine, you are unlikely to have the kind of motivation it takes to compete with yourself on a daily basis. So, why not gently compete with the people in your running club or class? Did Tess move up from beginner to intermediate this week? Well then you bet your ass that you are going to do the same. Did John just squat 100kg? Well then you better get working on your PB. Did Alison run 5K in 25 minutes? Well then you are going to do it in 24. Don’t be hostile or alienate yourself and don’t be brash, but if competition is what motivates you, then do it cautiously and make it fun.

Recipe: Moroccan-Style Chicken

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Moroccan-Style Chicken with Sweet Potato, Coriander and Almonds.

This dish happened by accident. As I was browsing the web for foodspiration, I stumbled across a couple of clean recipes for Tagine. After moving into a new apartment with minimal cooking equipment, I realised that I had to get creative. Also, I’m not a huge fan of raisins so I thought I would tailor the recipe to my own preferences. Little did I know that I would finish with one of THE best dinners I have ever cooked. Taste buds were delighted and I cannot wait to make this again. You can serve it with wholegrain rice if you want some extra carbs, or a spinach leaf salad if you don’t want any more starch.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2″ of Ginger
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of Almonds
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Dates
  • a small bunch of fresh Coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground Ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground Cumin
  • 500ml of Chicken Stock
  • 1 tbsp of Organic Honey
  • 1 large tbsp of Coconut Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Chop up the chicken breast into small bite-size chunks.
  2. Heat up the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  3. Divide the coconut oil between two medium-sized casserole dishes.
  4. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small bite-size chunks.
  5. Finely chop the ginger, garlic and fresh coriander.
  6. Add the chicken, potatoes, ginger, garlic, and fresh coriander to the casserole dishes.
  7. Add the dry spices and herbs.
  8. Toss the mixture around with a fork so that the spices and herbs cover the chicken and potatoes.
  9. Gently pour the stock over the dishes.
  10. Drizzle the honey over the top and sprinkle on the almonds and dates.
  11. Season and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
  12. Take the dishes out of the oven and toss the mixture around with a spatula or fork.
  13. Place the dishes back in the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

The Green Food Girl in London

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Avocado on Kallo balsamic rice cakes with a pinch of sea salt. A delightful snack.

Just over a week ago, I moved to London and I have found myself in a city where everyone is extremely well-dressed, well-connected, well-paid (or so it seems) and well-fed. Last week, I visited four different grocery stores: Waitress, M&S Food, Sainsbury’s and Wholefoods. In the span of five days, I had eaten at Itsu, Wasabi, Pho, Wholefoods Market, and an American-style grill that I cannot remember the name of because I had reached a level of “hangry” that propelled me into another parallel universe. So far, I have resisted the temptations of Krispy Kreme and Froyo but recently fell victim to the Hotel Chocolat near my hotel. The famous American chains- Five Guys and Chipotle- are both right around the corner from where I work. However, not too far from the office, I have found a smatter of Paleo and Raw-food restaurants. This excites me! If you’re going to eat raw, clean food, where better to eat it than London or LA where the menus will most certainly reflect whatever is “hot” right now on the health-food scene. Raw cashew cheesecake? Dehydrated coconut wraps? Cauliflower rice? Sign me up!

Although the large supermarket chains appear to offer “healthy” offerings, it is all a facade. I spent a lot of my evenings scouring the aisles for healthy guilt-free treats only to find that the majority of any “gluten-free”, “health-conscious”, or “paleo-friendly” snacks were laden with hidden sugars in the form of apple juice, dates, raisins and other high-sugar foods. What a disappointment. So, I defaulted to 85% cacao chocolate (which is beginning to bore me) and berries. Yes, of course it is better to eat dates than refined sugar, but sugar and sweeteners are still things I am trying to avoid or at least keep to a minimum. My Christmas was spent devouring chocolates and cakes and more chocolates! I am feeling fluffier than ever, my skin is breaking out, and I feel very down; it is time to get back on track with my low-sugar lifestyle.

At the moment, I am living in a hotel until I move into an apartment on the 24th. My hotel has a little kitchenette but it isn’t practical for doing any heavy-duty cooking. So, I’ve been buying bags of mixed vegetables (peas, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, spinach and more) and steaming them in the microwave. I’ve been pairing these veggies with tinned fish, which retains its omega-3s, and the least-shitty pre-cooked chicken that I could find (i.e. the one with the fewest ingredients and no added sugar or weird unnatural ingredients). This can be quite expensive but today, I struck gold and arrived at Waitrose just as they were marking down a ton of vegetables that were approaching their sell-by date. Now, remember that “sell-by” and “best before” are two different things. Supermarkets have an extra window of three days for most of the items they sell. These three days after the “sell-by” date are usually still fine to consume the food. The “best before” date is a guideline. It’s based on science but it is still “best before” not “not OK after” if you get what I am saying! I never ever get sick from food (touch wood) and I eat things that are past their “best before” date all the time. Smell it, look at it, touch it, and examine it. If it looks OK, it is probably OK to eat.

What’s on the menu tonight? A bit of rest after two big workouts in Puregym Holborn over the weekend and a couple of big runs. Oh, and for dinner I’m having grilled chicken with a colourful mixture of peas, sweetcorn, cabbage and leeks. This is off-topic but I have been watching Making a Murderer along with the rest of the world, and I have been looking forward to the next episode all day, so that is what I will be doing this evening!

As I have more food and fitness adventures in the hugely exciting city of London, I will share them with you on my Instagram page, Facebook page, and of course, on the blog. I am looking forward to tasting the fermented drinks, raw desserts, superfood smoothies, and the strange-smelling herbal teas. A twerking class? Trampolining? A run through a park filled with deer? I will try anything once so bring it on London; I am ready.

RECIPE: Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower Mash

A light, tasty, healthy substitute for mashed potato.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on vacation with my best friend in Malta and we decided to go all-inclusive, which meant that breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner were all served up buffet-style. As a former fat girl, buffets are a bit of a danger zone for me. The old me would have gone crazy and self-control would have been non-existent. Hunger would have just taken over like this unstoppable force, and I would have eaten with my eyes rather than my brain, choosing what looks good rather than going for sensible, healthy, nutritious options. However, thankfully now that I am more informed when it comes to nutrition, I was able to make much better choices.

The food choices in Malta were dishes containing lots of fish, salads, eggplant, artichoke, tomato, olives, capers, and other healthy foods. However, when I was carb cycling, I would have stayed away from many of these items. In fact, somewhere along the way, I became too scared to eat anything that wasn’t sweet potato, broccoli, or plain boiled rice. But, I decided when I was on vacation that I would eat whatever I pleased, and filled my plates with lots of different veggies, salads and oily fish. When I returned home, to my surprise, I had not gained weight. Now, I was exercising when I was on vacation, but not as much as usual. Most days were spent lying on a sun lounger by the pool, so even with the mini-workouts in the gym, I was much less active than normal.

Eating all these interesting, colourful, delicious combinations of healthy foods was the inspiration I needed to get more creative in the kitchen. I don’t want to “diet” this autumn/winter season. I still want to eat healthily and workout as much as I can, because I love how it makes me feel. But I know that eating a restrictive/repetitive diet of broccoli, boiled eggs, quark, tuna, and chicken, is depriving my body of some of the nutrients it needs.

Cauliflower is a vegetable that I have only just begun experimenting with. Many of you have seen, and tried, my cauliflower pizza. Now, I give you ‘Cauliflower Mash’ which you can serve up with chicken, fish, a good steak, or whatever you please! If you try it, please tag me on Instagram or Facebook. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Cauliflower
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tsp of ground Nutmeg
  • 120ml of Semi-skimmed Milk (or Unsweetened Almond Milk)
  • 1/2 tbsp of Coconut Oil

Method:

  1. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and boil for 10-12 minutes.
  2. Drain the cauliflower.
  3. Place the coconut oil in the pan over a low-medium heat.
  4. Finely chop the garlic cloves.
  5. Add the garlic to the pan and toss it around in the oil for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the drained cauliflower to the pan and stir it up with the garlic for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the milk and mash it up well.
  8. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes, season with salt and pepper, serve, and enjoy!

*Tip: sprinkle chives over the top to add a little extra flavour!

RECIPE: Spinach, Ham and Onion Omelette

Spinach, Ham and Onion Omelette

This breakfast will keep you going all the way until lunchtime! Or if you like, have it for lunch or dinner instead.

An omelette is a great way to get lots of protein and nutrients into your daily diet, and they don’t just have to be eaten at breakfast time. Adding extra egg whites, which are just pure protein, can help keep you full and help you maintain lean muscle. This is a really simple, easy meal, and contains a whopping 41g of protein, and only 10g of fat and 8g of carbohydrates (macros may differ depending on which brands you use). Ditch the ketchup, the toast, and the Heinz baked beans, and spice this up with hot sauce and some sauerkraut. Your tummy and your waistline will thank you. If you try it, let me know about it on Facebook or Instagram!

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites, 2 yolks
  • a big handful of Fresh Spinach
  • 50g of Cooked Ham
  • 1/2 a Red Onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coconut Oil

Method:

  1. Whisk the egg whites and yolks in a measuring jug.
  2. Heat up approximately a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan on a low-medium heat.
  3. Cook the red onion for 4-5 minutes until softened and then put it aside on a plate.
  4. Pour the eggs into the pan.
  5. Chop the spinach and the ham.
  6. When the eggs are mostly cooked, add the spinach, ham, red onion, salt and pepper, and carefully fold the egg over.
  7. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the egg is cooked all the way through.
  8. Serve with sauerkraut for gut-friendly bacteria, and a little Frank’s hot sauce if you’re feeling like spicing it up!

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Tip: Hot sauce, peri-peri sauce and most of the spicy sauces in Frank’s range contain zero (or very little) sugars. This is a great alternative to ketchup or HP sauce, which are notoriously high in sugars and syrups.