You Are What You Eat

I know I have heard the saying soooo many times and I really do understand what that means now. After my exams had finished I decided to make a change in my eating habits by weaning out the stuff in my diet that my body doesn’t essentially need i.e. processed foods!

I have been eating clean for 6 weeks now and plan all my meals in advance and cook from scratch which does take a lot of dedication and time. I ALWAYS make sure that every meal and clean treat I make tastes good because this is what I enjoy doing. May I add, if I fancied a bit of bread, crisps or chocolate, I would have them! I don’t believe in cheat days as I feel this gives a bad attitude towards food. To me, its like you are going through such hardship eating clean which you may not enjoy then wait for a day to pig out on the ‘bad foods.’ Been there, done that and I found I binged quite a lot then punished myself mentally and physically for it.

This time round I have learned to think ‘do I REALLY want that chocolate dessert?’ ‘Is this just because my blood sugars low and I am craving junk?”Can I make a healthier, more nutritious alternative? I have found that my meals sustain me throughout the day so I rarely crave high sugar, high fat & salty foods. This is basically mindful eating and I do not binge at all on junk food which a lot people do on strict regimes.

6 weeks since diet change, coupled with training

6 weeks since diet change, coupled with training

This is the difference eating clean has made to my body and I basically am what I eat…healthy! Before I ate aloooot of junk studying for my exams etc. and I felt very lethargic, run down and I couldn’t keep up in my kickboxing classes. I have had many friends asking me how I got to look like this after six weeks. After I told them clean eating and exercise they just abandoned the idea straight away because they cannot sacrifice what they are used to. So a few tips:
– Enjoy eating clean, make your meals taste good so you can’t wait to make them again.
– If you love your sweets and chocolate, go for healthier options like good quality dark chocolate which I actually eat quite often.
– Plan your meals and choose one day of the week to prepare as much as you can if you have very little time
– Don’t follow the crowd on the latest fitness craze, do what you enjoy and do something that you can sustain, for me it is martial arts and kickboxing
– Make a batch of clean treats for the week e.g. clean brownies, macaroons etc. there are all sorts of tasty treats that are good for you if you feel like you are craving something.
– Don’t count calories or macros, unless you are training to be the next Mr Olympia or something lol. I am a believer in one size does not fit all diet wise, I personally eat a lot of carbs throughout the day and I am still leaning out. Just because somebody works in the gym and has a good body doesn’t mean they know what they are talking about when it comes to nutrition tailored to you…unless they are a qualified nutritionist lol. Eat what your body responds best to.

So I hope that you can consider these tips if you are planning to make long lasting changes to your eating habits and fitness routines :)

Clean Eating Steak & Chips with Caramelised Red Onion

One of my childhood favourite meals! I decided to go for the healthier option using sweet potatoes which have a low GI. I didn’t have enough time to add in extras but this would be amazing with garlic mushrooms and raw spinach. I improvised with the caramelising of the onions and all went well, they are really lovely, even my dad wanted to eat them lol.

Yummy!!

Yummy!!

Firstly, the oven baked sweet potato chips:

1. Cut up 1 large sweet potato into chips and leave them to sit in ice cold water for 30mins (this step is essential to stop them from going soft when cooked).
2. Once the time is up, dry off chips with kitchen roll or towel.
3. Place chips in a plastic sandwich bag, add 1/4tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp paprika and a 1/4 tsp sea salt. Shake it all up and make sure all chips are coated well
4. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the bag and mix again
5. Place chips onto baking try covered with baking paper, make sure they are beside each other and not on top of each other.
6. Bake at 180C for 35mins or longer if you like your chips well done

Caramelised Red onions:

1. 2 red onions sliced into half moons
2. Sautee in a frying pan with 1tbsp olive oil for 2-5mins
3. Add 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
4. Add 1.5 tbsp pure honey
5. Reduce the heat and allow to cook for 25mins until dark and soft

When cooking the steak I threw in some caramelised onions and fried for a few minutes longer and they really flavour the steak.

You can store your cooked caramelised onions in an air tight jar in the fridge for adding a flavour kick to salads etc.

I have far much more recipes on my instagram so click follow if you are interested in seeing more :)

Curried Sweet Potatoes

Hey guys!It has been a while! I just wanted to share one of my favourite sweet potato recipes which I found on a paleo website and that I adjusted to my liking. It is clean and tastes soooo gooood.

Heaven in a pan =)

Heaven in a pan =)

Recipe:

1tbsp coconut oil
2 chicken breasts chopped into bite sizes
1 small onion sliced
1/2 of a marrow
1 red pepper, chopped
salt (to season)
pepper (to season)

Sauce

1tbsp coconut oil
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp curry powder (I used medium)
1 can coconut cream (I used a tiny can from tesco, its about 1.5tbsp cream inside)
1/2tsp tapioca
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1tsp lime juice

Method

1. Mince garlic, peel & chop ginger
2. Heat 1tbsp coconut oil over medium- low heat, add garlic, ginger, salt & curry powder. Cook 30secs
3. Mix in coconut cream, bring to simmer and add the starch
4. Whilst sauce simmers, cube the sweet potatoes and add to the sauce
5. As the sweet potato cooks, heat a separate pan with 1tbsp coconut oil over medium heat
6. Cut chicken into pieces
7. Add chicken to separate pan and cook until almost done
8. Add onion for 2mins
9. Add pepper for 2mins
10. Pour chicken mixture into pan with sauce and mix in lime juice

This served me twice :)

Happy eating folks!

Clean Chicken Tikka Masala

Yes, you heard me, it is clean and frickin epic!!!! This dish is very easy to make although it does take a long time lol….BUT ITS WORTH IT :D and yes my instagram name has changed. Feel free to follow as I do post the majority of the recipes on there :)

Just had to put it with basmati rice for authenticity ;)

Just had to put it with basmati rice for authenticity ;)

THE CHICKEN TIKKA:
Recipe:

- 675g boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into rough chunks
– 3tbsp fresh lemon juice
– 1tbsp grated ginger
– 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
– 1tsp paprika
– 1tsp ground cumin
– 1tsp garam masala
– 1 fresh chilli (finely chopped)
– 6tbsp full fat natural yoghurt

Method:

Place chicken in bowl and rub a little salt and lemon juice, set aside for 20mins

Add all the other ingredients, mix well, cover and let it sit in the fridge for 6-8hours

THE MASALA:
Recipe:

- 4tbsp olive oil
– 2 large onions (finely sliced)
– 1tbsp grated ginger
– 6 garlic cloves (crushed)
– 1tbsp ground coriander
– 1tbsp turmeric
– 1tsp garam masala
– 1 fresh red chilli (finely chopped)
– 2tsp paprika
– 4tbsp natural yoghurt
– 2 large tomatoes (chopped)
– 350ml organic chicken stock
– coriander leaves

Method:

Pour oil into large pan on medium to high heat

Add onions and fry until brown (remember to stir so they don’t stick)

Add ginger and garlic and fry for a minute

Add ground coriander, turmeric, chilli and paprika, stir for 10 secs

Add tablespoon of yoghurt, and fry until absorbed then add another and so on

Add tomatoes and fry for 3-4mins then add stock and 1/4 tsp salt, bring to simmer

Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 20mins (sauce should thicken)

Stir in garam masala and coriander leaves

Preheat oven to high and bake chicken in there until cooked through, roughly 15mins then sir in chicken to masala.
Last time, I was impatient and I added my chicken into the masala whilst raw; this is fine but make sure its on a low heat so the yoghurt doesn’t curdle and cook this for atleast 30mins so the chicken is definitely cooked!

This recipe is really delicious and is definitely for when you have a lot of time to put into your cooking. Hope you try this guys, its really nice!!!

Healthy BBQ Sauce

Hey guys!!

My exams are done and so is my second year at university. Now I can get back to blogging about what I love…food!!

This recipe is a healthy alternative to the shop bought sauces. It is far healthier and really tasty! Like really frickin tasty! I found this recipe on cleaneatingonline.com

Ingredients:

¼ cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Whisk all ingredients apart from olive oil in a saucepan
2. Bring to boil for 3 to 4mins then take off the heat and stir in olive oil

IMG_20140604_093946

I add this sauce to everything from pasta dishes to salads, gives them a real kick :)

Enjoy!!

How times have changed. Female beauty & body-image

Hey guys!!

I really do apologise with my lack of posting, I need to learn when to take a break and chill. Anyway I just wanted to share some interesting research which I am doing for my body image and self-esteem project in university. I’m basing this post on the research papers I have been using, sorry if I don’t reference them all, I want to keep it informal as possible =D. They were explaining how much the female beauty standard has changed in history to reflect the aesthetic standards of a particular time period. Different body shapes were selected for desirable social status, fashion and associated with success.

Let me give you a little collage I made over the time periods

1920s, 1950s, 1960s, 2014

1920s, 1950s, 1960s, 2014

As you can see these women were deemed beautiful icons in their time. Unfortunately the idealized female body is becoming more and more unattainable over time. Research from Calden, Lundy & Schlafer (1959) stated that the further a woman’s body deviated from the cultural ideal, self-esteem and body image satisfaction decreased which can lead to disordered eating behaviours and mental illnesses. Within the last 40 years the female body has shifted from a voluptuous, curvy shape to lean and angular which was found viewing model measurements of playboy centrefolds over time. It’s crazy how much the models have changed, I had a look myself lol.

Susan Greendarfer (1998) stated a fair point. ” the female body is viewed as inferior, passive, weak, graceful, feminine– a social construction that reinforces myths of female fragility & inadequacy.” Females have a lot of boxes to tick to be deemed by society as ‘beautiful.’ Pirkko Markula (1995) describes the female body in a series of contradictions. ” firm but shapely, fit but sexy, strong but thin.” Now guys….a female can be fit but not thin, sexy but not strong, etc. etc. Therefore to me, it is evident that there are so many females dissatisfied with their bodies (including myself in previous years).

Dr Susan Albers mentioned in her book that our actual body and our potential bodies may never coincide. In Markula’s study, females expressed their concerns for the areas they hated the most, flabby thighs, stomach and bottom. These areas just so happened to be advertised in women’s magazines as ‘trouble-spots’ in which they encourage diet and exercise to get rid of them (Duncan, 1994). Remember our point before? Sometimes, that stubborn area will not go away, it is your body type and no matter what you do, it will always be there. I used to hate my shape, I am a pear shape and I have always tried to get rid of that ‘below belly button fat’ lol. I eat healthy, I exercise regularly and it is still there. I realised it wasn’t going, it is a part of me that isn’t for changing even with clean eating so I changed my thinking towards it. Learn to live with things that are deemed by society as ‘flaws.’

Society will always come up with a new beauty ideal, and gals, we have lives to live, not to please others but ourselves. Life becomes a beautiful thing when that happens.

P.S. there is a lot of interesting things on the male beauty ideal too, but that will do another time. Enjoy =)

Love Your Body

Hey guys! I haven’t been blogging lately because I’ve been sooooo busy with coursework and studying BUT I found this epic video to share with you all. I was out with a friend today for a walk and we were talking about what ‘bits’ we dislike about ourselves and what we would like to change etc.. I personally used to dislike parts of myself whether that be my nose which has been broken twice during my competitive kickboxing years or my stomach just wasn’t flat enough for the ‘ideal’ out there today but now I am happy with it all. I just want to say that you cannot change these parts of you, you need to change your attitudes towards them. Accept them for what they are, they are there for a reason, to do a job. I work in a supermarket and I like to people watch lol. I see so many girls eyeing up there counterparts and I know they are comparing themselves to these other girls and just to see jealousy flush across their face makes me quite sad for them. Social comparison is natural, we all do it but you need to accept that what you have is not better or worse than another person, its just different. It would be an uninteresting world if we all were all the same. So love what you have =)

Is it possible to be immune to media?

Hey Everyone!!

I haven’t been blogging as much lately because of studying and working so much, I want to take the time to talk about something relevant and useful. So yeah, can you really be emotionally guarded to the media? I believe the answer to this is no if you are constantly bombarded by it. My current research project in university is on internalisation of media and how this affects your self-esteem and body image.

I was recently talking to an old friend who I haven’t seen in a long time and I explained my project to her and how difficult it is not to be influenced by fitness models and also thin models. She had told me she had admired me for always eating right and exercising, as if I was immune to the influence. This couldn’t be far from the truth, I have been influenced by both fit and thin media. In our society, the diet industry preys on people with low self-esteem claiming that if you lose a few pounds you will feel so good about yourself and all of your problems will melt into the background. Or if you gain these abs, everybody will want you because you are so damn ‘attractive’.

It is a widely claimed psychological finding that what you allow yourself to view over time will become a norm (normal thing to do) and you will slowly want to fit it. You are responsible for what you allow yourself to view.

Be careful on what you allow yourself to see

Be careful on what you allow yourself to see

This craze where an image of somebody totally ripped stating that ‘this is the definition of healthy and fit’ is nuts (even many personal trainers agree, check out the video in my previous blog). You can be healthy and fit at any shape or size.

The World Health Organization’s definition of health: ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ So if you fit this definition, you are already healthy! If not and you are taking steps to a healthier life then I give you big respect!

You are the recipient of diet and fitness marketing when you view these images and these quotes. Dr Susan Albert states that “Your actual body and your ideal body don’t always have the potential to coincide, no matter how hard you work.” Nobody is perfect, these images in the media, tumbler, instagram, wherever are photoshopped, these people diet and dehydrate themselves to get into that physical state for a photoshoot. I believe these images have defaced the idea of fitness. I am personally a martial artist, I have practised over 10 years and have competed in many competitions which I absolutely love because Taekwondo has taught me discipline, focus, persistence and boy is it fun to have a good kick at something lol. I build my fitness up purely to have stronger, faster and more flexible kicks. Fitness is for building yourself up for a better physical performance, fat loss and muscle tone is a by-product of this .

I am only writing this for those that feel they need to perfect their bodies to fit a certain image that so happens to be popular in society. Exposing yourself to media like this may eventually distort your own body image and have a negative effect on your self-esteem. Just pay attention to your thoughts when you view these images and remember, everyone of you has amazing qualities as a person. Looks will fade.

stop-fitspo

download

Check out this website for further information =)

http://www.liberonetwork.com/why-fitspiration-has-nothing-to-do-with-fitness#comment-932064

Vanilla & Blueberry Protein Pancakes

I finally purchased vanilla ice-cream flavour protein powder to bake with and it is amaaaaaaaazing :D

These pancakes are really quick and easy to make up and I totes recommend you try them if you have vanilla flavour protein.

Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes

Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup wholegrain spelt flour (or whatever flour you want to use)
1/4 cup vanilla protein
1 large egg white
170g natural yougurt
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
handful of blueberries

Method:

1. Combine all wet ingredients together in a bowl
2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl
3. Slowly add dry mixture to wet and beat with spoon until a runny-ish mixture lol
4. Add blueberries and slowly stir them in
5. Heat non-stick pan to medium to high heat and fry pancakes in coconut oil or whatever oil you use
6. Serve with whatever topping you like, it could be more fruit, maple syrup, honey, you name it

You can add other ingredients into these pancakes, I wouldn’t recommend banana because every time I have tried to add banana, it sticks in the pan and turns into mushy, scramble pancake lol.

Enjoy Folks!!! =D