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!

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.

RECIPE: Emma’s Spicy Slaw

Spicy Slaw

White or green cabbage, carrots, chilli flakes and a few other ingredients make one delicious mayo-free slaw.

Those of you who have been following me for a while now will know that I am very “passionate” about vegetables. I try and get raw veggies into my meals whenever, and wherever, is possible. Raw veggies are packed with vitamins and fibre. One of my pet peeves is over-boiled veggies because you lose so many nutrients by cooking them that way! Roasted veggies are great in the winter time, but if you’re pouring oils over them to roast them, you are ruining them.

Even I, lover of green food, cannot eat just plain raw carrots or plain raw cabbage. But when you mix a bunch of veggies together with a light oil and vinegar dressing, magic happens. This is basically a coleslaw without the mayo, refined sugars, and all the other added rubbish. The beauty of this slaw is that you can eat it with pretty much anything. Throw it in with your salad, have it as a side dish with chicken or fish, or even have some with your eggs in the morning.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as it is one of my favourites! If you make it, give me a shout on Instagram or Facebook. And if you make an even tastier version, please share it with me on Instagram.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a head of White or Green Cabbage
  • 3 medium Carrots
  • 2 tbsp of Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp of Chilli Flakes
  • 1 tbsp of Organic Honey
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Finely chop the cabbage and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Grate the carrots and add to the bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and the spices.
  4. Stir well with a fork.
  5. Separate into tupperware containers, refrigerate overnight and serve the next day.

Tip: The reason for overnight refrigeration is that the acidity of the cider vinegar actually breaks down the cabbage so that it is easier to digest and isn’t so harsh on the gut.

RECIPE: Berries n’ Cream Smoothie

Berries n' Cream Smoothie

Frozen berries, greek yoghurt, flaxseed and so much more, are what make this smoothie nutritious, delicious and perfect for a post-workout fix!

When I was younger, and less-informed about health and nutrition, I used to drink those Naked smoothies and Innocent smoothies, and even tried using them as meal replacements. Needless to say, the crashes were intense and I became very frustrated as I found myself feeling light-headed, grumpy, and starving only a couple of hours afterwards. Why was this happening? Because most fruit smoothies are absolutely rammed full with sugar. Yes, the sugars may be ‘naturally occurring’ but they are still sugars! What happens when we eat sugar? Our blood glucose levels spike and our body uses that energy very quickly, and then craves more of it. Stop believing that these smoothies are “healthy” and are an acceptable snack or beverage.

Maybe if you have just run a marathon, you need one of these to replenish your depleted, exhausted, drained body. If you are a normal person looking for a healthy drink or shake, try my version instead! The only sugars in this are from the berries, which are actually lower in sugar than most fruits. But thanks to the sucrose (a sweetener that your body does not actually absorb) in the protein powder, this smoothie is sweet enough. The greek yoghurt adds creaminess without any fat. But this isn’t fat-free as there are healthy fats from the added seeds, which also help slow the absorption of sugars and aid with digestion.

This is my favourite recovery smoothie and I hope you try it! Get yourself a Kenwood smoothie maker and start experimenting with your own recipes. Or if you can’t be bothered coming up with your own, follow me on Facebook and Instagram and I will share all of mine with you. Happy smoothie making!

Ingredients:

  • 50g Frozen Blueberries (or raspberries)
  • a handful of fresh Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Linwood’s Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp of Chia Seeds
  • 100g Total 0% Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 scoop of Diet Whey White Chocolate (or Vanilla Creme)
  • 1/2 a cup of Alpro Unsweetened Almond Milk

Method:

  1. Place the berries in the blender and pour a little hot water over them to thaw them out.
  2. Add the spinach, flaxseed, chia seeds, protein powder and greek yoghurt, in that order.
  3. Add the almond milk.
  4. Blend and drink it up immediately (before your roommate or other half gets their hands on it)!

Tip: If it’s too thick, add a little water or more almond milk until you reach your desired consistency!

RECIPE: Cajun-Style Beans n’ Rice

Cajun-Style Beans and Rice

A healthy version of one of my favourite side dishes. This can be eaten with Mexican, Southern or Cajun cuisine.

I love carbs. I mean, who doesn’t? But when I eat egg-fried rice or any “fast-food” rice, my stomach goes absolutely haywire. I am bloated for days and sometimes, it’s actually borderline painful. I know it’s not the rice, because when I eat rice at home, I am fine! Therefore, it must be the oils that are used during the cooking process. Rapeseed oil? Vegetable oil? Sunflower oil? I have no idea what most fast-food restaurants use, but whatever it is, it really irritates my gut and I find it hard to digest.

This rice dish is a great alternative to those rapeseed-oil-filled Uncle Ben’s rice packets and it is super easy to make. I usually serve it with fajita chicken or jerk chicken, but it would work as a side dish with any meal.

There is a lot of discussion about beans containing phytonutrients, which inhibit the absorption of other vital nutrients such as iron, for example. However, other sources state that beans are a great source of fibre and protein, and fibre is super important for a healthy gut and healthy bowels. I haven’t quite made my mind up about beans yet, but when I do, I will let you know!

If you make it, let me know! If you come up with an even better version, let me know too. And enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 cup of brown or white Basmati Rice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 stock cube

Method:

  1. Boil the rice with the stock cube for 10-12 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and rinse with cold water to get rid of excess starches.
  3. Return the rice to the pan.
  4. Drain the kidney beans and rinse well.
  5. Add the kidney beans, spices, and coconut oil to the pan.
  6. Stir well on a low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat, serve, and enjoy!

Tip: Try adding fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice to this dish if you are serving it with Mexican food!

5 Tips for Staying Fit and Healthy on Vacation

Post-holiday Status

After a month of vacation, I was feeling a little puffier than before I left. To my surprise, I actually lost a couple of pounds but this doesn’t necessarily mean I am leaner. Read on to find out why!

For many of us, vacation is all about indulgence. Hotel buffet breakfasts, fresh gelato and ice-cream, afternoon cocktails during Happy Hour, and unlimited room service. If you are really lucky, you might even have a personal pool boy to feed you frozen treats. If you know a resort that stocks those, let me know.

We are bombarded with advertising for ‘Summer Body’ weight loss plans, and ‘Bikini Body’ fitness classes and supplements. We work our asses off all spring to get in shape for summer and then as soon as we return home from our long-awaited holiday, we face the fear of stepping on the scales. How much holiday weight have we gained? How much muscle mass have we lost? Have we undone all those hours we spent in the gym?

Recently, I spent a month away from home staying at hotels and friends’ residences in the Canary Islands, Scotland, and Malta. Before going away, I decided that I was not going to stop working out because I genuinely love how running and exercising makes me feel, and that I was going to try and stick to my healthy eating regime whilst enjoying a few treats here and there. Balance, balance, balance.

When I came home, I weighed myself and found that I had actually lost a couple of lbs. But this could mean that I have lost muscle mass as muscle weighs more than fat. There’s no way of knowing without taking my body fat percentage, but I don’t like to obsess over numbers, so I’m going to roll with it and get back to my regular routine of a weights, HIIT and cardio mix. If I can indulge in treats (chocolate, wine, and ice cream to name a few) whilst on vacation, and not gain weight, then why can’t you?

So, I want to share my top tips for staying fit and healthy on vacation with all of you so that you too can enjoy your holiday without feeling bad when you return home!

  1. Pack Work-Out Clothes: Before you go, decide realistically how many days you are going to work out. If you are going on vacation for a week, perhaps commit to 4-5 days in the hotel gym or outdoors if the weather permits. Take enough gym clothes for your work-outs and don’t be afraid to re-wear them if you won’t have access to laundry. Think that’s gross? You could take a small bottle of hand-washing soap with you and wash them in your hotel sink or bathtub. When you are a fitness-lover like me, squeezing in a great morning gym session before breakfast is much more important than how you smell for those 45-60 minutes during your workout! If you have work-out clothes with you, you will have no excuse not to work-out. Even 20-30 minutes each day will help you retain the muscle you’ve built, and will help keep your mood, energy levels, and sleep in check.
  2. Drink lots of Water: If you are going somewhere sunny and hot, make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated. You might not feel sweaty when you are splashing around in the pool, lying out on the beach, or swimming in the ocean, but your body is losing water. Overheating can make you feel sick, dizzy and just plain rough. Dehydration is often confused with hunger, so make sure to hydrate right before meal times. Also, if you are drinking alcohol, try to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. Alcohol is a diuretic and will dehydrate you. If you are already dehydrated before you start drinking, you also risk drinking too much and will suffer a double-hangover.
  3. Green Tea: If you’re a green tea drinker like me, or you need caffeine in the morning, try drinking green tea on vacation instead of your usual latte or breakfast tea. Your body will thank you for the detox! Plus, when you are relaxing and getting away from your hectic daily routine and your 9-5, what better excuse to curb your caffeine consumption? Green tea is also lower in caffeine than other alternatives, and full of antioxidants. I always travel with a stash of green tea bags, and I always have a cup in the morning before my workout.
  4. Beware of the Buffet: Mealtimes at hotels and holiday resorts usually consist of buffets. Breakfast time means pancakes, bacon, waffles, eggs, donuts, pastries, and all sorts of not-so-healthy options. Dinner time usually means an ice-cream buffet, bread assortments, unlimited french fries, and beer on tap. Buffets are a danger-zone. You control your portion-sizes so be careful! Most people will tend to eat more, simply because there is literally unlimited food. Eat as you would in a restaurant. Take your time, eat slowly, and have an appetiser, salad, main, and dessert, in that order. Make sure your meal is an even spread of carbs, fats, protein, and greens. Take breaks between plates and don’t over-eat!
  5. Treat Yourself Daily: If you stick to healthy options during your meals, there is no reason why you can’t have treats! If you pick the tasty, nutritious options at meal times like salads, fish, and veggies, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy desserts, ice creams, and a couple of cocktails or glasses of wine.

Add me on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat for more health and fitness tips!

Feeling Casual and Comfortable

Today, I am wearing H&M leggings with a Forever 21 sweater. Who says you have to spend a fortune to look fashionable? I love this outfit and I feel great (and very comfortable) in it!

RECIPE: Creamy Broccoli Salad (Mayo-Free)

Broccoli Salad

Easy to make, and absolutely delicious!

Ok, let’s just be honest for a second here. Plain boiled broccoli is boring! (Try saying that five times fast.) Trust me, I ate it for more than six months straight. Today, I knew I had to make a delicious dish with the broccoli that was patiently waiting in my refrigerator, and I had a few other food items that needed using up as well. This is how the creamy broccoli salad happened.

Raw Broccoli

This dish is absolutely delicious, and packed with fibre and vitamin C. Also, the apple cider vinegar helps soften the harshness of the broccoli and red onion on your tummy, so bloating and wind (for people with sensitive tummies like me) should be kept to a minimum. It’s sweetened by the tomatoes and the honey, but if you’re on a no-sugar diet, consider the honey optional!

Broccoli in the Mixing Bowl

Summer may be over, but there is no way I am saying goodbye to my summer body! In fact, I am more excited than ever before about eating healthy and staying fit during the upcoming winter months. Autumn and Winter foods are the best. Hello pumpkin, cinnamon, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, vanilla, and more! I am really looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen and sharing all of my creations with my readers.

Broccoli Salad

As you know, this blog is all about green food, so as much as my diet may turn a little orange this season, I will still be giving you plenty of recipes to get your greens in wherever you can. I hope you enjoy this salad and please give me a shout-out on Instagram or Facebook if you make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Broccoli
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 2 medium Salad Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup of Skyr Icelandic Yoghurt or 0% Greek Yoghurt

Method:

  1. Chop up one head of broccoli into small florets and place in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain, season with a little salt and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Chop up the salad tomatoes and the red onion and add to the broccoli.
  3. Add the yoghurt, mustard, honey, oil, vinegar, and stir it all together.
  4. Season with the salt, add the chia seeds, and toss it up.
  5. Serve and enjoy!