Saturday, 27 June 2015

Healthy homemade guacamole



One thing I do not have much of, is time; another thing I have even less of is avocados.  I am aware of the many health benefits that they possess however cannot seem to get on with them.  I have tried them in many forms and still find myself throwing away at least half.  My main issue is with the consistency, it reminds me far too much of bananas but minus the delicious sweet flavour that I expect when I bite into one.

So the other day when thinking of something quick, easy and nutritious to have to dinner I began to think of guacamole.  I used to love buying packets of this and dipping in warm pitta breads, but since trying to avoid processed food of this kind I completely forgot about the enjoyment I got out of it. I then remembered the key ingredient used in this dip, avocado!  So in true ness style I looked into other favourable additions to accompany the avocado and got to whipping up my own version.

Now this took all in all about five minute to prepare and make, which is fantastic because as much as I love to eat, I am less happy about the preparation that is involved in cooking, especially when I am still struggling to get out the mindset of just cutting open a packet and turning the microwave dial.

I had mine with basic sweet potato wedges, which I made by chopping the sweet potato into chunks, drizzling some olive oil on top with some seasoning and putting in the oven for about 20 minutes. However it would go well with any kind of chopped veg, or as a butter alternative to spread on bread. 

I am still not convinced I have got over my aversion to avocados, but I am on the right track to getting their healthy fats into my diet.

Ingredients:

This recipe makes two fairly large portions.

Two soft avocados (I used large organic ones)

Two limes (one if you are not a great fan of lime)

Five cherry tomatoes (more if preferred).

One tablespoon of olive oil

Salt (I use Himalayan pink mountain salt for the mineral benefits)

Chilli flakes (or you could chop fresh chilli if you aren’t as lazy as myself)

Paprika

 

Method:

Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone and scoop out the middle

Mash the avocados with a fork to form a paste (the riper the avocado, the easier this is).

Chop the cherry tomatoes into tiny chunks

Add the juice of the limes to your avocados

Stir in the remaining ingredients

Separate into two bowls and enjoy!

I would suggest that this will only keep for a couple of days in the fridge and make sure it’s covered.

 

I would love you to share with me any other recipes using avocados that I could use.  Next up chocolate avocado mousse ©








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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Couch to 10K




I have always admired people who run, not just because of their sheer motivation after what is often a hard day’s work but also their apparent ability to jog to the end of the street without their lungs closing up, something which I have always found issue with.


I have, during several phases in my life tried to take up the activity, both on the street and in the gym.  However never got past the three minute mark, despite encouragement from friends and personal trainers I found it near impossible mainly due to breathing difficulties.

Why am I writing this?

I am currently ‘training’ (I use this term loosely) for my first 10k race, in actual fact it is my first ever Race.  I understand the frustration of people who struggle with this hobby and who have convinced themselves that they will never get further then the garden gate without gasping for air, I too was in this category and still worry that I may not make it to the finish line.  Now I am no runner, and by no means make myself out to be one , which makes this challenge I set myself all the more surprising, especially as I have been trying, unsuccessfully for almost 10 years to get somewhere, all be it very slowly.  At times I think I would get to my destination much quicker had I walked however for the first time ever I feel like I am making progress.  Over the past 5 months I have developed my own formula for success as opposed to following more experienced runners.   Have put together my own list of points to follow to help people to find their own level and work towards a goal personal to them, whether it is to get the ¼ mile around the local park to competing in a half marathon or more!

1)      Set goals

To begin with, make your goals smart, something realistic and achievable in a time span that doesn’t feel too far-fetched.  It is all well and good planning to run a marathon in 3 months but when you can’t get further then 2 laps of the playing field by the end of the week it is very easy to give up.  If you are a complete beginner, aim for 1k a month to minimise pressure.

2)      Dress to impress

You don’t need to go out and spend £100’s on the latest funning gear but you need to be comfortable.  I have seen people running in jeans and work style shoes and I feel sweaty just looking at them.  I wear Lycra leggings and a breathable top with a zip up jacket in cooler weather, although tracksuit bottoms or shorts are fine.  Make sure the waist band does not slide down, the last thing you want to do is have to keep stopping to pull them up.  If you’re looking to treat yourself I like the choices in H&M although the supermarkets have some good options. 

In terms of trainers you don’t need to fork out £200 on design your own running shoes but make sure they are comfortable and suit your foot shape, which you can have assessed in most sport shops.  Optional extras I find help me is my Velcro IPhone strap, good clip on headphones (there’s nothing worse than them falling out my ears!) and an elasticated hairband to keep my fringe out the way.


3)      Slowly and surely.

The best piece of advice I ever received regarding running was to go slow! Sounds easy enough but until this I had no idea just how much I was pushing myself unnecessarily to go fast.  It’s very easy, especially when running outdoors to worry that people will judge your speed but forget them, focus on yourself and remember everyone started somewhere.  Start so slow you feel you may stop then when you feel yourself lagging, slow down again, try not to stop unless you really need to and if you do walk at a quick pace.  This is much better at reaching your goal then running full tilt for a minute before collapsing and feeling like a failure.

4)      Remember this – everyone looks stupid running!

Look through your local sport events pictures and you will see that even the most experienced athletes pull the most ridiculous facial expressions when running.  Stop worrying about others and focus on yourself, your health and achieving your goals.  If you are still concerned, find a quiet place to start even if it requires a short drive to get to.   I started by going round my block in the evening and now I run down the duel carriageway without a care.  I find listening to my favourite music loudly helps me focus.

5)      Set aside a time

It’s so easy to get distracted with the hustle and bustle of daily life so that is why it is important to set aside a time to complete your run.  Start with two times a week.  Don’t get caught up in going all out five days in a row then giving up when the reality kicks in.

A quote I saw the other day that I liked was ‘someone busier then you is running right now’


6)      Food for fuel.

I’m not saying go on a special diet but one thing you should take into account in the lead to up a run, be it a race in a week or a jog later in the day is what you eat.  I speak from experience when I say running on a belly full of biscuits is not a good idea, nor is it good to go for a run when you haven’t eaten all day.  Make sure you eat good quality carbohydrates that you can digest with ease.  I eat my main meal for lunch which usually consists of white meat with either a potato (sweet or white) or cauliflower rice,  I  sometimes have a Medjool date brownie for an afternoon snack which I find gives me enough fuel to go for an evening run.  Ideally run prior to your last meal as time needs to be given to digest beforehand and you are more likely to find an excuse not to go if you are lethargic after a meal.

Finally just go with it, run at a pace that’s good for you and think it of some you time to let go of the stress of the day.  

       I would love to hear about your experiences and any tips and to anyone looking to start running,  best of luck :)



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Monday, 22 June 2015

Spicy cauliflower rice





I adore rice, I could happily have it with every meal and after seeing my portion size gradually increase daily I decided that an alternative is needed.

I had heard of various cauliflower recipes however never bothered to try one out, partially because I don't advocate cutting out carbs drastically and partially because, well, I don't like cauliflower and have never felt the need to include it in my diet.
However after hearing so many good reviews and being assured that the rice does not taste like veg I decided to give it a go.

Once again I pulled up some ideas online and in books and failed to adhere to any of them, opting for my own version of a spicy rice.

I understand there are different methods of cooking, I found that drizzling on some olive oil and putting it in the ovan works a treat.
Here is what I did.

Makes about 4 portions, although its so nutritious that you could opt for double portions completely guilt free.

Ingredients:
One cauliflower
One pepper
About 7 mushrooms
Two cloves of garlic
Chili flakes (as much or as little as you like)
Paprika

Method:
 
Begin by removing the leaves from the cauliflower and cutting off the florets. Try not to use the stalks.
Add to a food processor and pulse until it forms rice like pieces before removing and adding to a bowl.
Chop the pepper and mushrooms and do the same.
Add chili flakes, paprika, finely chopped garlic and any other spices you like before stirring.
When you want to cook use a spoon to add the desired portion to a small baking tray.
Spread thinly and evenly
Drizzle on some olive oil and combine.
Place in oven for 10 mins (200 degrees) stirring once half way through.


If you don't own a food processor then grating the cauliflower works just as well, just aim to chop any extras into small pieces.

I would love to know if you try this recipe and what you think.  Have you got any delicious recopies to share? Enjoy :)

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Simple breakfast- overnight oats



Since discovering this quick and easy recipe a couple of weeks ago, I am hooked. I struggle to find nutritious meals that don't require 1000 ingredients and several hours of preparation, so when I tried these and made some adjustments to suit my taste its become a firm favourite breakfast of mine.
There are lots of different recipes online for this but here is mine, change it to suit.



Ingredients:
 
75g oats
150ml liquid (I love coconut milk as it makes it taste like a sweet pudding)
Fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and chopped banana work well)
Sprinkle of cinnamon

A good ratio to use is one part oats to two parts liquid.
I use rolled oats although you can use gluten free

Method:
 
Mix the oats and liquid well, it is best to use an air tight container such as a jar.

Most online recipes tell you to add the fruit in the morning, however I find that mixing it in with the oats and milk the night before gives it time to blend nicely.

Place in the fridge and enjoy the next day with an optional dollop of greek yoghurt.


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Saturday, 13 June 2015

In the beginning

I have been meaning to start a blog for some time.  I have lost count of the amount of times people have told me that I should so what better time to start then now.

I should probably begin with explaining a little bit about myself and my lifestyle.
Food has always been a passion of mine, when i'm not eating, cooking or talking about food and diets i'm thinking about it and no, I am not just referring to the healthy kind. I am a self-confessed binge eater! I link this to anxiety issues, something which I battle with and which means its even more important for me to keep on top of my health.

Throughout my life so far I have been a range of shapes and sizes from a 16 right down to a tiny size 6/8 so I can relate to many others out there with size issues. I would like to think that I have now reached a steady size 10. To help with this I undertook some qualifications to become a nutritionist and weight loss practitioner and more recently a sports and exercise nutrition adviser.

 I adore reading blogs about healthy eating and even more so about fitness, however I often struggle to consistently follow many of the lifestyles of the bloggers I so fondly read about. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important to me yet can be such an uphill battle.  I want to show people that not everyone interested in staying healthy and fit can maintain such a flaw free diet and I fully to intend to document the highs, and lows that I endure.

 I wanted to create this blog to share with others my trials and tribulations of healthy eating and exercising.  I plan to include tips and tricks that i find useful and that make this way of life much more accessible and easy for others to as well.  The main reason for me to start this blog was to create a diary to help with my progress and give me the motivation I need to continue on my path to health and fitness, and, if others choose to read through and take some of my advice, well that's just a bonus. I shall be updating this regularly so keep a look out :)





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