Saturday, 30 January 2010

You HAVE to try this!

Assuming you like banana's that is!

Get a banana, peel it, chuck it in a blender, add 3 tbsp of nut butter - I used two of cashew butter and one of hazelnut butter, blend. Then enjoy some banana nut butter! Thank you Chocolate Covered Katie!

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(Click for bigger pics)

Tastes great spread on an apple!

I got three portions out of this - generous portions! Nutrional info for one third:

Calories    129

Carbs         14g

Fat             7.6g

Protein       3g

I've Found a New Whey!

See what I did there!? ;)

Though, actually not found a new whey at all, just a new type of protein supplement.

Towards the end of 2009 I started 'using' my protein powders a lot less, I ditched my early morning shake and my pre-workout shake and was having it as a snack much less frequently, leaving only my post-work out shake (mostly). After reading a guest post on Fitnessista.com written by Gena from Choosing Raw about protein sources and digestable  foods - how quickly and easily foods pass through your digestive system - I started thinking a bit more about workout nutrition. Gena suggests that an important factor for athletic performance is "to eat foods that offer maximum nutrition while causing minimal bodily stress" (digestible!), the best types of food being vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy grains. She also suggests having dark, leafy greens, sprouts, sprouted legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy grains to get your protein intake. So, I started making myself a Green Monster (hazelnut & almond flavoured rice milk or almond milk blended with spinach, sometimes with banana and Spirulina) in the mornings for an energy boost (and an alternative to my porridge habit!) and another one before heading to the gym. I found I got on really well with these - with the protein shake I would find my self seriously flagging about halfway through, but with the Green Monster I had loads of energy and it lasted through my entire workout. So I decided I would phase out the whey protein supplements.

However, since the majority of my exercise is in the form ofweight training I still wanted to keep my protein intake reasonably high (I also find higer fats and proteins and lower carbs keep me feeling fuller for longer, less groggy and I lose weight more easaily). I kept taking the whey protein as I still had 2 quarter tubs left to work my way through, but I have been trying the odd sample of some different proteins and decided I would not be buying any more whey. Instead I want to go for something more natural and more easily digestible. I also plan to phase out dairy products as, without going into too much detail, I have been finding my body doesn't seem to be such a big fan of dairy!

I'm not suggesting whey is in any way "bad", it is a great source of protein! I'm just looking at other options. I have always struggled to cut out processed foods and when I slip I always go for processed and junk foods. Whey has always been the only processed food I would have on a regular basis as I felt it was worth it due to the benefits (good for muscle repair, more convenient and far cheaper than whipping out a chicken breast to snack on every time I wanted a protein boost and it helped keep me full and provided a better snack than a chocolate bar, it was also fun to experiment with - peanut butter cups, protein pancakes, smoothies, chocolate "mousse..."). But I have decided that I want to try a bit harder at cutting out processed foods in the hope that it will make me less likely to slip so I am going to try a more natural product for a while.

Following on from Gena's reccommendations I did a bit or googling research into other sources of protein - soy, hemp, vegetable and brown rice proteins. General opinion seems to be not to bother with the soy proteins - more difficult to digest, usually heavily processed and apparently high in allergens and soy blocks the absorption of meinerals, including calcium (I figure healthy bones are important for weight training!). Hemp protein contains proteins similar to those in the human body and is easily digested/absorbed by the body, but not the best for my requirements - great supplement but there are better alternatives to a whey protein. Rice protein - low temperature and chemical free processing, easily digestible and with a high absorption ratio - I think I like the sound of this one! Pea Proteins, which seem to receive similar praise to rice proteins, though pea protein and rice protein combined seems to be the winning supplement, where rice protein is low the pea protein is high and vice versa (the highs and lows are the different amino acids but I want go too technical!). And one more which I have been adding to my shakes for a while now - Spirulina! Spirulina has the highest levels of digestible protein and is higher in terms of complete protein than other natural sources (whey is only higher due to processing). Sadly spirulina is pretty expensive and tastes of the sea so it would be pretty difficult for me to get as much protein as I want by supplementing with spirulina!

I've been having the odd Spiru-tein shake lately, which after doing a bit of reading I now think perhaps isn't the best. It is great in terms of all the vitamins and minerals and it contains Spirulina and Chlorella (similar to Spirulina) and it has rice protein, pea protein and soy protein - if I want to cut out whey protein because it's processed, soy protein isn't going to be the best substitute! So I am going to order some Sun Warrior protein which is raw, vegan, natural, rice and vegetable protein. It's a fair bit more expensive than whey but i am hoping ti will be worth it. Plus I don't plan on taking it as often and continuing to fuel my workouts with fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies.

For more on types of protein have a read of this (note the site is selling rice and pea protein but the information seems consistent with what I have read elsewhere - some more on proteins here too), and for Gena's post on Raw Fitness Fueling go here

And while writing this I have just had the last of my whey - Bring on the Sun Warrior!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Granola Porridge

Quick, sneaky work post! Breakfast this morning was porridge made with my old favourite, almond and hazelnut rice milk! And topped with a homemade granola - Wow! I didn't think it would be so nice, thought it may be a bit plain tasting, go all soggy and gross, but no, delicious!
Recipe is from another blog but I'm on my iPhone now so will link to it later.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Quickie

I was all set to do a proper post tonight - photo's, recipes, food update, gym update.... but I have a really, really bad headache and I'm struggling to think. I'm not likely to post tomorrow evening either as it's my boyfriends birthday :D I'm so excited about one of his presents, I've been desperate to give him it for weeks!

Anyway, I haven't given up, I will be back in a day or two!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

I can smell it

Chocolate cinnamon smoothie that it, I'm sure I can! I *need* to make another one! I think I might just have a half portion...

I'm not even going to bother posting my food from yesterday properly, after breakfast it was just a bit of a disaster! Breakfast left me so full that I went out without lunch - I should have taken something healthy with me, a Larabar or a Nakd bar, but instead hunger got the better of me and I had half a Milkyway aand bag of Snack a Jacks. Followed by pizza for dinner - which was fine itself, I had the calories for it, but I also drank a lot of sparkling rose pinot grigio which led me to Mini Cheddars and chocolate. Which is mostly bad because I'm broke and shouldn't be wasting money on rubbish! I know where I went wrong - no lunch and too much alcohol so I'm not going to beat myself up about it, just carry on with being healthy rather than use it as an excuse to carry on eating junk.

I am getting pretty hungry now so I'm off to make a smoothie!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Chocolate Cinnamon Smoothie in a Bowl



Oh. My. Gawd. You HAVE to try this! Completely stolen from inspired by HEAB, I wasn't sure what I fancied for breakfast this morning but after reading her blog post I just had to try this!

  • 1 scoop chocolate whey powder

  • 2 tsps cacao powder

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum (ideally 1/2 tsp Guar gum but I can't get hold of any here :( Both make the smoothie really thick and creamy but using the Xanthan gum alone still gives a good thick and creamy result!

  • 200ml hazelnut & almond rice milk

  • handful of ice cubes


Blend everything except the ice until smooth, then add the ice for a final blitz, and serve! I topped mine with a blob of greek yogurt and some Maple Spice Pecans.

Including toppings it comes in at 438 calories, 61g Carbs, 11g Fat, 26g Protein

Big for breakfast but I ate late so wont be having a morning snack, and I had to stop half way through for a break!

Friday's Food

Guess what? I fell asleep just after 9pm again! That's why I didn't post last night! Slept in until 10am this morning so hopefully I'll have a bit more staying power tonight! Though I did have to get up at 7am to feed the cat,



while trying to get my attention he slipped off my bedside table, knocked my lamp on top of me and got wedged between the bed and table - arse in the air! He managed to free himself before I had to intervene at least.

Yesterday turned out to be a bit of a treat evening, with a healthy meal! So I guess it evens out!

Breakfast: Green Monster smoothie - almond & hazelnut rice milk, big chunk of spinach, spirulina and a banana. Followed by a Berocca. I'm not getting bored of the green monster but I do want to find another nice smoothie involving veg somehow...

Snack: 1 satsuma

Lunch: Another micro omelette - I serisously love these! Goats cheese and peppered ham filling again. That's the last of the goats cheese :( I want to think of some different fillings but I need something that either doesn't need cooking or will be ok cooked the night before and I'm not sure how well mushrooms would hold up.

Snack: After an insanely stressful morning I cracked and had a Twix bar!

Dinner: Grilled haloumi cheese in Nando's sauce with grilled portobello mushroom in a wholemeal pitta - prepared and cooked in less time than it took my boyfriend to make his cheese and bacon omelette! Comes to around 490 calories, 32g Carbs, 24g Fat and 40g Protein.

Snack: We went to the cinema - this is my big weakness for pigging out! I've managed to stop doing it when we watch movies at home - it is more of a treat tog et movie munchies at home these days, but at the cinema I just can't help myself! I had two of those tiny 10p bags of Haribo - started out ok! But then had several Cadburys Caramel mini eggs! And a couple of my boyfriends sweets too.

Ended up about 500 calories over for the day! Still lost 2lb this week though!

I did say I would post a little about the raw chocolate yesterday but I'm going to wait until Sunday now as I have things I want to do today!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Portobello Mushroom & Haloumi

Is part of my new favourite meal! But I'll get to that after today's food:

Breakfast: Porridge with almond & hazelnut rice milk and a drizzle of agave syrup for sweetness instead of my usual banana - the tiniest bowl or porridge I've ever had! It exploded and I lost half of it :( Normally I stick in the microwave for 3 minutes and it's fine but this went off after half the time! I bulked it up a bit with 2 large teaspoons of mixed seeds and dried berries.

Lunch: Another microwave omelette - I'm loving this new toy! Omelette is great for me for lunch, low cal, high protein, low carb and keeps me full for ages! I used 2 eggs, a splash of milk, salt & pepper and filled with goats cheese (again! Love this stuff!!) and a slice of peppered ham.

Snack: Greek yogurt and raspberries - I used frozen ones and they were so sour I had to add 1tsp of brown sugar to make it bearable - I normally don't mind sour fruits but this was just too much!

Dinner: Wholemeal pitta with a grilled portobello mushroom and some haloumi cheese marinaded in Nando's sauce then warmed under the grill - this was fantastic! I will be having this again and again and again! So simple and literally took 5 minutes to make! I totally stole the idea from Nando's though! Went there with my dad at the weekend for lunch and tried this since I wasnt in the mood for chicken - what a good decision.



Snack: Glass of milk and I'll have a Skinny Cow mint hot chocolate later for those TOTM cravings and to use up all my calories and my calcium.

Well I'm off to upload some photos to Flickr and wash dishes!

2 for 1

I think I owe you two posts today since I missed yesterdays update! I have a good excuse for my absence though - I was sleeping. I feel asleep on the sofa around 9pm I think, woke up at 10pm and went straight to bed! And I didn't wake until my alarm at 6.15am! I have a bit more energy today!

So...yesterdays food:

Breakfast: Smoothie with Almond & Hazelnut rice milk, oats and some vanilla protein powder



'scuse the iPhone picture. Do you like my Hannah Montana cup!? It was the best thing I could find for taking smoothies in to work and keeping them cool - it gets me some funny looks.

Snack: Satsuma

Lunch: Wholemeal pitta with tuna mixed with red onion, paprika and fromage frais - was really tasty but just too smll and left me hungry all day.

Snack: Tomtato Slim a Soup *hangs head in shame* I was desparate! It was gross. I drank a whole 750ml bottle of water straight after as the salt made me SO thirsty! I also had half a Milky Way before dinner, it's TOTM and I just felt like it, enjoyed every bite! I'm going to count this as my once a week treat meal pudding so if I have a treat meal at the weekend, no pudding!

Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese with some grated red leicester cheese - I blame TOTM for the cheese!

Snack: A few squares of raw chocolate - more on this tomorrow!

I went a fair bit over my calories yesterday - I probably ate around maintenance so not too worried about it. I forgot to add any nutrition info the day before but I think I was a couple over or a couple.

And that's all there is to say about yesterday really, I only had a couple of hours where I wasn't sleeping or working!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Eggs Smeggs

Sorry for the absence, it's been a busy week! Again! And I just don't feel like doing anything when it's so cold! So I'm going to try and do some boring this is what I ate posts just to get me posting - I'll try and add something interesting too but I'm not making any promises!

Food last week was still no good and I only went to the gym once, but I'm feeling a lot more motivated this week. Not stressing about they gym, one thing at a time and all... want to get the healthy eating sorted as a priority.

I have decided that I want to try the cheat meal thing out once a week, either a Friday or Saturday, or one other night if it's a special occassion - but only one a week! And I can have pudding too if I manage to avoid crisps and chocolate bars the rest of the week.

Food for today:

Breakfast: Oats cooked with skimmed milk and a medium banana, topped with 1.5 tsps hazelnut butter - first time I've had nut butter on porridge as it's never appealed to me, I'm definitely converted, it was lovely! I also had a berocca for a vitamin boost.

Lunch: Omelette with 2 eggs, skimmed milk, pastrami and goats cheese - so good!! Even though it was made in the microwave! I can't believe it's taken so long for me to think to have eggs at work, OK so the microwave isn't ideal but still makes tasty scrambled eggs and omelette and helps add a bit of variety to my breakfasts and lunches. I'm in an egg phase, I've been eating loads of omelette at home (my boyfriend makes the best omelette - he doesn't use the microwave!) I also learned how to fry an egg and I must say I'm very good at it! I think I've only tried to make fried egg once or twice before but I get 'the fear' about ruining it so never bother.



Doesn't it look so gross!?? I promise it was fantastic!

Snack: Full Fat! Greek yogurt with loads of blueberries

Dinner: Bit of a random one - roast parsnips and 3 slices of bacon - it's just what I fancied!

Drinks: Several espresso's, 2 teas, one green tea which made feel like I was going to throw up so think I'll be avoiding these for a while! Two peppermint teas - to help settle my stomach after the horrible green tea incident! And a milky coffee with some gingerbread syrup when I got home from work. I've got into a habit of coming home and eating, regardless of being hungry, so I've started making myself a milky coffee instead as it keeps me busy for a few mins and gives my stomach something to do.

Hopefully I'll manage to avoid snacking this evening but I may just give in to a low calorie hot chocolate.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why Am I Here - Updated!

Just a little one but I have added a 2010 update to the Why Am I Here? tab at the top. I promise I will work on updating the other tabs soon!

Friday, 8 January 2010

*Waves*

Hello Blogland!

I feel compelled to say Happy New Year!! Even though it was ages ago!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year - I did, I also had a birthday in the middle which was great too! I ate a LOT of good food and drank a LOT of alcohol! But unlike last Christmas I ate a lot better and had a lot more home made foods and didn't just stuff myself silly on crisps and chocolate! I'll post some holiday food pictures later. We made our first ever roast for Christmas Day which turned out beautiful! Much better than the beef joint we cooked on New Years Day - bit under done but we got a couple of slices off the ends and left the rest in to cook a bit more. Several hours later I remembered it was still in there and found a sad little lump of coal :( Such a waste but at least we got a laugh out of it!

I'm full of good intentions this year but I'm not setting any resolutions - I never do - though I did make a deal with my boyfriend that 2010 would be the year of no fast food! Well no McDonalds, Burger King or KFC - Subway is still acceptable every now and again! I do enjoy Subway but the other always leave me disappointed and hungry so there really is no point in giving into the cravings for them.

Other things I want to do this year include running the half marathon in Glasgow in September, with a couple of smaller local runs between now and then. Annoyingly I haven't ran at all this year so far, outside is far to icy and it would take me at least an hour to get to the gym with the icy pavements. This means I really need to focus on eating well this month! And since it's January I need to eat well on a very tight budget.

I want to cook more this year, I have a loose idea of wanting to try at least one new recipe a week and continuing to try new foods and come up with some new breakfast, lunch and snack ideas for eating at work - otherwise blogging about food will be incredibly boring.

Which is my next 'thing' - blogging - I need to make the effort to post regularly, it keeps me motivated with healthy eating and exercise and it's better than going home in the evenings and just sitting on the sofa in front of the TV while my brain switches right off.

And tied in with blogging is photography. Last year I bought myself a Canon EOS 1000D SLR and with some vouchers from work I also got myself some lenses to go with it, and my kind friends Jill and JAG also each gave me a photography book so I have no excuse not to learn what to do with it! I've joined a project group - 52.5 of tweny ten- on Flickr where the aim is to take a photo each week that fits in with the chosen theme.  It's only week 2 but already it's been great for getting me to explore what I can do with my camera and instead of getting frustrated and giving up when it doesn't work out I'm reading the books, browsing Flickr and pestering Jildo with constant questions! I'll be aiming for posting something photography based once a week to tie in with the project.

And following on from photography... I want to try and learn to be more confident this year, in all things, I want to be able to congratulate myself when I reach weightloss or fitness goals without thinking how I could have done better or how someone else has achieved more, I want to stop looking at every photo I take and thinking it's crap, I want to stop not posting things because I don't think anyone will be interested, I want to speak up more at work and remind myself that I do know what I'm talking about, I want to get on with my professional exams which I keep putting off because I'm scared of failing....and so on!

And lastly (well I'm sure there are others but the last big thing!) I want to make sure I stay in control of my finances - I spent the first day back at work (naughty!) this week going through my plan and working out all my outgoings and how much debt I can manage to repay each month whilst minimising interest charges and making sure I still have enough money to have fun with so I am more likely to stick to the plan! Yes, I am a big accountant loser! But's made a huge difference to me already, I know exactly where I stand and how long it will take to pay everything off - and it's nowhere near as bad as I thought it was.

Well I think that's quite enough rambling for one post so I shall leave it there!

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