Tag Archives: healthy

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[Healthy Lifestyle] Top 5… Tips for smoothies that don’t make you vomit

So a lot of you got on the Nutribullet bus over Christmas. Father Christmas really wanted to make sure you guys are getting your five a day. Good for him (and good for you!).

Since then I’ve been receiving a steady trickle of messages asking how to make smoothies so they don’t taste “green”, “gross” or “make me actually almost vomit”. Fear not fitness pups, I am here to help. I’ve whacked together my top five tips on how to make a smoothie that doesn’t seem so bad.

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Healthy lifestyle – hummus with chia seeds recipe

As part of my maintaining blood sugar recipe series (sounds so glamorous when written like that, right?!) I decided to find something suitable for lunch.

When I am meal planning I find planning mid-week lunches the hardest – it has to be portable to take to work, satisfying and not a massive faff to eat. But I think this recipe is perfect. You can make a batch of hummus ahead of time (Sunday arvo, say) and then just chop up some veg (and pitta bread if you’re being naughty) in the morning, whack it all in tupperware and you’re good to go.
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Healthy lifestyle – Blueberry super smoothie

So I’ve been working out. I go to this amazing bootcamp class (I am not on commission, I swear). However, if I am doing burpees at 7am in the pouring rain, I want to be getting the maximum out of my work out. Together with Sybille, my bootcamp instructor, I’ve been looking at modifications to my diet to make sure I am getting all the nutrients necessary to maximise the results from my workouts.
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Healthy lifestyle – Nicoise salad recipe

I’ve been craving sushi and seared tuna recently. It got to the point where I was a bit worried, and Andrew told me to stop eating so much sushi because of ~Mercury poisoning~.

My favourite way to eat seared tuna is on a Nicoise salad. I am deeply perturbed by tinned tuna (aka cat food), and won’t touch the stuff, so it always has to be a proper loin steak (I know, get me!). But I’ve found it surprisingly hard to find a decent recipe for it. There’s either whole anchovy fillets in it, which I cannot stomach, or the recipe called for frying the potatoes, which is just plain bad for you.
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Healthy lifestyle – chicken noodle soup recipe

I’ve been feeling ill recently. Nothing serious, don’t worry (I can sense you were worried) – just a cold. But it’s pretty crap when you have a cold, isn’t it? You feel shocking and you can’t breathe properly and apparently you snore at night (according to Andrew, anyway).

As soon as I feel myself getting a cold I start craving this chicken noodle soup. The recipe is from BBC Good Food, and is really simple and packed full of cold-combating ingredients. It’s also such a comfort food, and has long be believed to cure what ails you by various cultures from European Jewish communities to Korea.

Fresh garlic in this recipe has immune-boosting properties, as well as being an antibacterial and antiviral agent. Fresh ginger helps stimulate perspiration (sexy) which helps cleanse the system and bring down a temperature. The raw spring onion contains organic sulphur compounds and can help combat coughs and phlegm (again, sexy). The red chilli garnish is packed with vitamin C, too. Red chillis actually have more vitamin C than citrus fruits. YEAH! They also unblocked stuffy noses and trigger endorphins to be released into your system, which are the body’s natural pain killer. What’re you waiting for, Fluey Al? Get making this soup now.

Chicken Noodle Soup

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Serves 2

Ingredients

- 900ml good-quality chicken stock
– 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
– a thumb-sized amount of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 50g rice noodles
– a small tin of sweetcorn, drained
– 4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
– 2 spring onions, shredded (sliced very thinly lengthways)
– 2 tsp soy sauce (go low-sodium, folks)
– handful of basil leaves
– 1 red chilli, thinly sliced

Method

1. Put the chicken stock in a pan and add in the chicken breast, ginger and garlic. Heat up ’til it boils and then turn the heat down, partly cover and leave to simmer for 20 mins.
2. Remove the chicken from the pan and put on a chopping board. Using two forks, pull the chicken apart so it’s all shredded and nice.
3. Return the chicken to the pan, and add in the noodles, sweetcorn, mushrooms, half the spring onions and soy sauce. Simmer until the noodles are soft and slippy – normally takes about 4 minutes.
4. Divide the soup between two bowls and then scatter with the remaining spring onion, basil and chilli. Eat and feel instantly revitalised.

 

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Healthy Lifestyle – Introduction & Green Smoothie recipe

A lot of people recently have been saying I’ve gone crazy. For I am normally the girl who tempts people out after work with promises of wine and putting the world to rights, I am the go-to resource among my friends when they’re looking for the best burgers in town and I am also a lazy slug.

But recently a change has happened. I have stopped going to the pub. This is because I am going to interval training instead. I have also stopped eating burgers. I am trying to eat healthily – especially raw foods – instead.
Post-work out self-taken photo (don't make me use that word).
Post-work out self-taken photo (don’t make me use that word).
They’re changes I’ve wanted to make for a while, but haven’t because it’s a lot of effort and old habits die hard. But I’ve got a new incentive: Operation Wedding Dress. I want to downsize. I’m not one of those brides who has gone mental and diets because That’s What Brides Do. I’ve been looking for an incentive to get active for ages – my will power and the thought “you just need to go” isn’t enough. The thought of looking like a massive meringue on my wedding day has turned out to be my incentive.
My mission is led by myself and my personal trainer, Sybille Hazward. Sybille runs Freeform Fitness, where I do yoga, yoga fusion, TRX training, tabata training and bootcamp classes – all in Highbury Fields. I cannot tell you how amazing Sybille is. She is tireless in her encouragement of all her clients and is an absolute fount of knowledge. Freeform Fitness isn’t just Sybille’s job, but her passion too. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone more passionate about what they do.
I was struggling with my diet and how to modify it to be healthier without massively overhauling my whole life or feeling hungry all the time. So I spoke to Sybille, and we’ve decided to team up and do a series of posts about healthy eating, complete with recipes and explanations of why these recipes are good for you. A 360-degree approach to healthy living, in blog form. I’m hoping by writing about this it will help me learn and you guys can keep me motivated and away from crappy processed foods.
We’ll be covering lots of different yummy dishes, and have lots in store for you. But to start off, let’s talk about my favourite breakfast at the moment: The Super Green Smoothie.
Sybille told me I should be trying to eat raw foods as much as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to think of how to eat raw food beyond crudités and sushi, but smoothies are great for getting raw foods into my system and I feel pretty bouncy after drinking them.
The reason raw food is so awesome for you? Well it’s the food in it’s most natural form, so therefore all the nutrients are still in tact. Heating food breaks down the natural goodness in food, so the more you cook it the less of the goodness reaches your system. I’m not saying eat raw chicken, but trying to keep food as close to its natural form as possible is the best way to make sure you’re getting the maximum out of it, e.g. steaming chicken or fish is much better than frying or roasting it.
As for smoothies? OK, a blitzed fruit is pretty different to a solid one, but smoothies have the whole fruit and/or veg in there. Unlike juices, smoothies don’t remove the natural fibre from the fruit. The fibre in smoothies helps the body absorb the nutrients from the veg and fruit, whereas juices normally are packed with fruit sugars with none of the fibre. This will make your blood sugar spike and increase sugar cravings. Boo.
The Super Green Smoothie
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Serves: 1
I make my smoothies with a NutriBullet. These are amazing, but any blender will do; you might just need more patience for it to blend. I recommend a top-loading blender rather than a stick kind. A stick kind won’t work.
Ingredients:
- A large handful of chopped kale
- 3-4 florets of broccoli
- 1/2 pear, cored
- 250ml coconut water (the more liquid you put in the juice, the easier is it to drink and the less lumpy it’ll be)
- 1 tsp baobab powder (you can get this from any health food store or online. Don’t be intimidated – it’s delicious)
How to Make
1. Whack everything into the blender, starting with the kale. Layer them in in order of the ingredients list.
2. Blend until it looks very green and there are no obvious ‘bits’. The NutriBullet takes about 3-5 minutes to do this.
3. Pour into a glass, Instagram the hell out of it and then drink.
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Top 5… Recipe Books

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I think I fall into a trap a lot of people do when you’re busy and feeling uninspired: I cook a lot of the same meals with semi-regularity. I mean I am a self-confessed foodie, as this blog shows, but I do have a few fall-back meals that I cook over and over because they’re easy and after a hard day at work, plus a commute and maybe a gym session: I just can’t find the energy to whip something new up.

My favourite fall-backs are chicken zorba (a really easy Greek-style meal that I’ll post up here some time), extra spicy fajitas and good ol’ spag bol. But I do plan meals a bit better now thanks to my goal of being more organised in 2014. And I’m really enjoying trying new things and adding them to my repertoire along with the old stalwarts.

And I’m a sucker for a recipe book. I pour over the pages, oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the photography and getting all excited about the new food I’m going to cook.  Quite often I read them late at night, when I have no intention of starting to cook. I just love feeling excited by possibilities. Having said that, I much prefer a functional recipe book to one that’s style over substance. I want the recipe to be clear, the ingredients to not involve getting a rocket to the moon to source some space dust and also written in a friendly yet informative way.

So I thought I’d share my top 5 go-to recipe books at the moment (they’re liable to change as I’m always buying new ones to add to our already-overflowing bookcase)…

1. Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

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I wouldn’t be an Islingtonite if I didn’t bow to the foodie might that is Ottolenghi. Israeli-born Yottam Ottolenghi owns a small chain of self-titled restaurants in London, as well as NOPI. His style of cooking is a wonderful fusion of anything that captures his attention, but mainly lies in North African, Lebanese and Italian cuisine. The result is lots of delicious salads, perfectly marinated and cooked meats and veggies done in lots of surprising and delicious ways. His cookbook reflect this, as one would hope, and have lots of Ottolenghi favourites that you can make from home.

2. Hamyln All Colour Cookbook

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This 70s beauty is iconic within my family. For us, it’s one of those recipe books you hear people mention sometimes: it’s got all our the meals of my childhood inside it and just hearing the spine crack as I open my copy takes me back to helping my Mum make brownies when I was little. And I am sure it can’t just be a nostalgic hit for my family (me and my siblings all have our own copies now) – there’s so many delightful and forgotten gems in there. And also the best flapjack recipe there its.

3. Neal’s Yard Healing Foods 

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I bought this book relatively recently, but I already know it’s going to be a much-used and often-turned to book in my library. It has a wonderful section at the front that goes through a lot of different foods (fruit, veggies, pulses, meats etc) and lists why they’re good and healthy for you, what they do to your insides and all that good hippy stuff. The back section is crammed with recipes and even has a day’s menu of meals for targeting particular aliments. Although I am a self-confessed “foodie”, I have to admit that I don’t know enough about nutrition, and it’s something I am really enjoying learning about from this bible.

4. Eat, Cook, Enjoy

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Err, yeah, it’s a Weight Watchers book but WAIT! Bear with me! I only bought this book after my lovely sister-in-law cooked something for me out of it – and she wasn’t on WW either, she just liked the recipes. And most recipes are a winner. So much so, my Mum also bought the book after I cooked her a few meals out of it. My copy has the hallmarks of a well-loved cookbook: split spine (ugh, I know), splashes of food all over it, warped pages from being propped up in a steamy kitchen. Even though I am not on WW and pay no attention to the Points values, the recipes are WINNER. I love the maple chicken traybake and the citrus-crusted salmon. Seriously, none of the recipes I’ve made from it have tasted like “diet food”.

5. Delia’s How To Cook

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This is Delia’s comprehensive guide to, well, how to cook. From boiled eggs, rice, making a white sauce and how you should be cooking fish, this book is surely a fixture in every keen cook’s kitchen. Sure it has the basics of how to make things, and then it gives you recipes where you can apply the skill and maybe take it up a notch to the next level. It has loads of my meal staples in here, but the out and out winner for me is the Toad in the Hole recipe (renamed Huskies in the Drift by Andrew’s Scandinavian side of the family) with caramelised onion gravy. It’s a winner every single Goddamn time.

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