So my little blog is 6 months!!! I am so happy!!
Thanks to everybody who has supported me the last couple of months, masterminds ye know who ye are!
I’m back in college at the moment so soon will be posting workouts for all fitness levels!!
More good stuff to come!!
Much love! X
We have all had those days when a cheat meal turns into a cheat day or you swear you are only having one biscuit but manage the whole packet. Well I’ve had one of those weeks! First it was Valentine’s day followed by my birthday! Yea, lots of celebrations which usually means I eat out and relax my healthy eating lifestyle a little bit. I have also started training for a marathon and as the miles have increased so has my appetite. So being a little bit lazy with my diet has meant that I haven’t made the best choices nutritionally. There was chips and garlic sauce on more than one occasion and I have been trialling dark chocolate recipes so that means lots of tasting!
Then I was home on Thursday and holy God! My Ma is a legend! All I can say is chocolate raisins in the fruit bowl. So this started a huge downward spiral, broken up with a fast 6 mile run! I managed some healthy meals on Thursday but after meeting a friend for tea, no biscuits or sugar before you ask! I drove past a Chinese takeaway. This takeaway is like a landmark to me and James and its some of our favourite food from when we started going out. So I went in a bought chicken goujons, chips and garlic sauce. They were so good, but not so healthy. At home my sister suggested more tea, well we are Irish. So kettle on biscuits out, its tradition. Now I haven’t eaten biscuits since Christmas but let’s just say I made up for it!
Anyway, so firstly, I am human we all have not so perfect days and below are some tips that I find help after a food binge.
Firstly, love yourself! Yes you ate loads but negative self-talk will only hinder your future progress. Learn from the experience; are you an emotional eater or just not organised enough. Honestly I am a combination of the two of these. So if it’s linked to emotions, talk to someone, hug it out and just remember your eating habits does not define you! And keep the chat positive, “Yes I ate two dinners but I stuck to my training plan so that’s a positive!”
Get moving now I’m not suggesting a run but some gentle yoga or a walk can be really good to ease that bloated feeling. Gentle exercising will speed up digestion, help to even out your blood sugar and twisting yoga poses can also aid digestion.
Hydrate whether this is with herbal teas or plain water, this will help combat bloat and also speed up digestion. Ginger, peppermint and fennel are known to aid digestive discomfort. So get supping!
Lastly plan your next meal, for me this was my breakfast on Friday morning. I stuck with my usual porridge and despite being stuffed I soaked my breakfast and planned my lunch for the next day. It is really important that you refocus as soon as possible so that a dodgey day doesn’t turn into a dodgey week and derail your good intentions. Today I managed to stick to just one slice of commercial bread, no added sugar and two pieces of fruit. And I know tomorrow will be better.
So if you ever fall off the bandwagon just remember you are human, we are all not perfect! Tomorrow is another day, learn from this experience and move on. I know I will be better tomorrow with more healthy nutritious food to fuel my training. So remember………
Stay healthy X
If you watched The Sugar Crash documentary on RTE recently you will know that there is a tonne of hidden sugars in supermarket products. The World Health Organisation recommends adults consume just six teaspoons of added sugar a day. So how does your favourite breakfast cereal compare to the current guidelines? I went and investigated how much sugar is in the common brands!
So breakfast is the most important meal of the day but how much sugar is actually in your standard bowl of cereal? Well for a start you probably don’t eat a standard bowl of cereal! Kellogg’s measures and defines a standard serving size of 30g?! So what does 30g look like? You know those cute little snack sized multipacks, yep 30g! So firstly you are probably eating 60- 90g of cereal! Depending on how hungry and tired you are of course! And what does this mean for how much sugar is in your breakfast?
Coco pops contain 11g of sugar per 30g serving size and bearing in mind you have two or even three servings you have consumed at least 5 ½ teaspoons of sugar! OK and I hear your complaints it’s a chocolate cereal what do you expect, so I also looked at some healthier ones.
Cornflakes, pretty healthy you would think no chocolate here! But think again. Cornflakes contain 8g of sugar per 100g. In simple terms that’s over a teaspoon of added sugar to your 60g bowl.
So you are eating right avoiding the sugar laden cereals but your still munching on Special K in the mornings. It’s all those women with their red dresses running around looking fit and healthy, well they’re not so healthy! For your 60g serving of Special K you are consuming just over two teaspoons of sugar! You want sugar with your skinny latte too?
All Bran, helps keep the digestive tract moving and more fibre will keep you fuller for longer, really healthy breakfast? Wrong! All Bran has 7.2g of sugar per 30g serve so if you are eating a fuller bowl of cereal that’s 3 ½ teaspoons of sugar!
So that’s the bad, what’s the good? There are clearly two winners when it comes to healthy cereals. First up is Weetabix. Of all the cereals Weetabix were the healthiest with the lowest sugar content. For two biscuits, unless you are a rugby player and eating four or five, they contain just 1.7g of sugar that’s ½ a teaspoon! In comparison to the other cereals that’s angelic!
The second winner and not entirely classed as a breakfast cereal is porridge! I am slightly biased here because I love porridge. There are so many good things about porridge:
- It is cheap
- Readily available all year round
- It is a wholegrain that has been minimally processed
- It is full of fibre and has been proven to lower bad cholesterol
- It has 0.4g of sugar per 40g serving (and don’t forget because it absorbs the water it is more filling!)
For more health benefits and addition nutritional information check out the Porridge Club.
And porridge doesn’t have to be bland. You can have any flavour you can imagine, chocolate, peanut butter and banana, apple and cinnamon; the options are endless! The internet is packed with recipes for overnight oats so why not make it a challenge and make a different one everyday. The important thing to remember is that there is a low sugar alternative to coco pops. Why not start the day as you mean to continue?
Stay healthy X
I will be doing a number of these posts. Next week I will be talking about soups and breads for lunches so stay posted for more information on how to stay low sugar throughout the day!
So just realised it’s the last day of January 2016, the month has flown by! I set myself some small challenges for January instead of New Year resolutions and guess what; I failed. Yep most of them just didn’t happen. And you know what? It’s OK. Remember my mantra for 2016 is better not perfect. I could go really hard on myself but I will just create a negative mind set and that’s not going to help with my long term goals. So the positives:
I actually exercised 5 times a week consistently. Whether it was a HIIT workout in my underwear in the tiny flat or a 4k run. I did it, it happened. Sometimes it wasn’t perfect and sometimes it was hard but I did it!
I’m still refined sugar free apart from date night but I’m going to work on this for 2016.
I have become more conscious of my eating habits and now recognise when I’m in dodgy territory. Unfortunately this revelation only came about last night and the saying “if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail” comes to mind. So this leads me on to the negatives of January.
The blow out that I had over New Years and after really left me struggling to get back on track with my eating. I just kept craving sugar and now I was exercising more so I wanted food all the time! Disaster! So I ended filling up on a lot of toast. Commercial bread, although not the worst snack isn’t really ideal! I need to invest the time in preparing healthy snacks for long days or days with social commitments after work.
My skin has started to suffer from my poor food choices and this was one of the reasons I gave up sugar in the first place. I see the odd spot starting to reappear and it is definitely linked to what foods I’m eating. This more so than anything is my wake up call to do a retake on 2016!
So my goal for February, simply to make more real foods. I’m going to start bringing my lunch to work again. Lettuce wraps, salads and soups are all on my hit list! If anyone has some lunch ideas feel free to share with me, please! Looking forward to all your healthy suggestions!
Stay healthy X
How is the post Christmas detox going? I realise that many of you have started reading the blog and some may know me but some may not. So this is a more personal look at why I gave up sugar. I’ve started with my own reasons and then I’ve tried to look at the science in a none laboratory genius, kind of way!
So for my personal reasons and I think most girls can relate to this one. Despite being generally fit, running and playing rugby I always had a pouchy belly! Despite eating healthy but bingeing on chocolates, jellies and pastries I couldn’t shift it. A couple of summers ago I cut out carbs, and upped my cardio and I never lost a kilo! I just became more tired, grouchy because I was hungry all the time. So in New Zealand I was reading a lot about how sugar just contributes to belly fat and thought sure I’ll just cut down on the biscuits and see how it goes. From here I did research and read all the food labels of food I was buying and slowly realised sugar is added to almost all processed foods. This spurred me on to cut out processed foods too. If it had more than five ingredients, you can’t pronounce it or you can’t give a decent attempt to make it; simply don’t eat it. Now I’m not saying I have a six pack but I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my body shape since ditching the sugar.
Reason number two is my skin. I have always had acne problems with my skin and no matter what I tried from expensive creams to crazy home remedies (sudocream and toothpaste come to mind!) it just never cleared. I was at breaking point. Who wants to be a 27 year old with acne? So after quitting sugar my skin got slowly better, my blemishes healed and new spots stopped appearing. Now I still get the odd spot but it’s usually after a sugar treat. And this just reminds me to cut out the sugar again.
So there is some of my personal reason for quitting sugar now for a bit of science. I’ll try to explain why sugar is bad for you and hopefully this will help you to kick the habit. So maybe you know glucose is the fuel of every cell in the body? Maybe you don’t but that’s ok. Glucose feeds every cell in the body so obviously you need some sources of this in your diet. Now how do you get glucose? It’s a sugar that gets broken down in the digestive tract and then gets sent to the cells, it is found in almost all foods. Natural sources are fruit and vegetables but there are many others.
An easy example of a sugar is table sugar. Now 50% of table sugar is glucose and 50% is fructose. Similarly some of the healthy alternatives like cane sugar have the same composition as refined sugar. So if 50% of the sugar is broken down to glucose, what does fructose do? Studies show that fructose is fundamentally different to glucose. Fructose is metabolised in the liver. Most people can digest the natural fructose, like those found in fruit just fine. Fibre actually slows down the absorption of fructose and so small amounts reach the liver and are processed. However it is when fructose is processed, the fibre and nutrients removed that create problems. But large amounts like those found in high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars and sweetened drinks overwhelm the liver. Once broken down fructose is deposited as fat around your belly, the more fructose the more fat deposits. This fat also disturbs the hormones for regulating hunger. So you end up fatter and hungrier.
This is just the beginning of the research on sugar and it effects in the body. It has been linked to type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. As more research comes out the link between this sugar and ill-health will become clearer but for now maybe think of trying to reduce the sugar in your tea or leaving that muffin to a Friday treat instead?
Stay healthy X
Hope you had a good Christmas! Sorry I have been so quiet of late; working in the hospitality industry at Christmas time means lots of long shifts and late nights. James also works in a night club and so Christmas is always hectic. So how did we fair over Christmas?
We had dinner separately as is our tradition and we meet up in the evening to exchange presents! So I stayed vegetarian for the main event but didn’t cook anything special as the kitchen was already packed to capacity! I treated myself to some carefully selected cheeses for my dessert as I was skipping the Bailey’s and Malteser cheesecake. I can highly recommend the Ardsallagh Goats cheese with Cranberry and the Crozier Blue as my favourites.
So when James came out, we shared a slice of the cheesecake. It was yummy but a little sweet for us. This was just the start we fell off the band wagon big time! I came up with a great idea of a Bailey’s milkshake with a chocolate straw! It was delicious and definitely worth it as a treat.
Both of us were working St. Stephen’s night, James was back in Dublin and I was home in the Midlands! Despite being tired and slightly lazy we appeared to be back on track. James did better with an impressive turkey, sweet potatoes and broccoli dinner from Lidl. I have the snap to prove it!
On the 28th I had my sister’s birthday dinner to go to and managed to chose a vegetarian dish at the local Chinese and stuck to Gin and Tonics for the drinks! I even managed to convince my sisters to forgo chipper food and have cheese and crackers once we were home! Result!
Back in Dublin I prepared some mixed bean stew and quinoa for long wedding shifts. This worked well but was so hungry after a 13 hour shift I stopped in a chipper and treated myself and James to a falafel wrap and a grilled chicken burger respectively.
So back home for New Year’s day our will power was waning massively! Both of us had dessert and once cuddled up on the couch the munchies were calling us! We had Pringles, jellies and chocolates. So overall not a bad Christmas for our healthy lifestyle. And today is a new day and a chance to eat healthy and get back into a routine. I’ll be posting a blog later for anyone who is trying to get fit on a budget, no gym membership required! Till then……
Stay healthy X
So this week has been a disaster! We went for Jo Burger on Wednesday night and blew our date night budget, James got 500g of beef to keep him happy. I went half the cow and a modest 250g burger. Not so bad as its all homemade we didn’t use sauce with the sweet potato fries so that saved us a bit on the sugar stakes!
We ventured to our local Tesco in search of some dessert and ended up with two chocolate oozy puddings you do in the microwave. I normally steer clear of these but its date night! I can honestly say I didn’t enjoy mine at all. Maybe it was too dry but I’m putting it down to getting used to no sugar. I had found a recipe for chai chia breakfast pudding, trying saying that quickly, and decided to try it on Thursday morning. So preparing the seeds on Wednesday night I was getting pretty excited till the recipe said “cut open the teabag and pour in the contents”. Hmmmmm seemed pretty strange but I’m all for trying new recipes. The next morning I was pure excited, took out the bowl of prepared chia and tucked straight in. Well, it was terrible! I ate it all because I hate waste but its definitely one recipe I wont be posting!
We had Kiwi friends staying with us from Thursday to Sunday and lets say they weren’t the only ones on holiday! So they arrived and despite my best efforts James really didn’t do well. He had Burger King on Friday night after work, I know shocker! But he is a big guy and takes some feeding so when we are not organised it’s quantity over quality with him. I managed a little better having made a batch of spicy bean stew and lentils last week and just defrosted it as I needed it.
Holland and Barrett had a sale on last week so got quinoa and some Meridian peanut butter for just over €10. Green apples and peanut butter are one of my favourite snacks. I love adding peanut butter to almost anything! Quinoa is really easy as it can be eaten savoury or sweet and cooks in about 15 minutes. I cooked up a huge batch of this on Friday and kept it in the fridge over the weekend. Quinoa is super handy to replace carbohydrates in a meal and its an essential protein. Cooked quinoa, chia and lentils can all be kept in the fridge for up to a week. So handy when you need to throw a lunch box meal together. I have a real problem around 3-4pm when I feel I cannot funcion any more! Snacking is the only way to get through this. As your body gets used to life without sugar it takes time for your appetite to regulate itself and you can feel hypoglycemic particularly in the afternoon. In addition to apple and peanut butter, greek yogurt and frozen berries, rice cakes and peanut butter, hard boiled eggs or raw veg and hummus can fill the void.
So almost back to normal now, James has two exams left and I’m kept busy with work right up till Christmas Eve. I absolutely adore mince pies and it’s the one food I look forward to every Christmas. So I have been doing some research on sugar free Christmas treats so I’ll hopefully have some recipes to share next week. In the mean time stay healthy X