weelissa

Lover of make-up, good food, fine wine, heavy weights and sleeping…

Tagged in: healthy

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I don’t know about you, but there’s something really comforting about Autumn weather. Yes I know it’s cold and a bit drizzly, but impending thoughts of German Christmas Markets and woolly jumpers makes me fuzzy inside.

Unfortunately, one thing which also turns with the weather are my eating habits. Tuna salads just don’t do it for me in October and, before I can say ‘Deck the halls’, I’ve fallen head first into a packet of mince pies and I’m drowning in brandy cream.

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Taking the First Step

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here. I often get motivated to write a post but every time I do, I feel a pang of shame about how long it’s been and I feel bad. Then I’ll probably eat another Malteaser and watch another episode of Gossip Girl. This is called being stuck in a rut. But I refuse to be stuck anymore. I want to get rid of the ass shaped groove on my couch.

Since moving to Leeds two years go, I’ve become very complacent. Don’t get me wrong, when I first moved here and I didn’t have a job, I was pumping the kettlebells every day and I built lots of sexy lean muscle. But when I started my job in an environment where ‘food days’ are a regular thing, I got out of the habit, and the muscle turned squishy.

So where am I now? Well, I’ve gained almost two stone. Yes, two stone. I said it! And truth be told, I’m miserable. I think about how far I have come and I feel very ashamed. All that hard work, and for what? This year I have tried various ‘diets’ to get me going. Slow carb, no carb, calorie counting and Slimming World. None of these have worked for one simple reason; I love food. As soon as I get restricted, I fail. I have managed to find an eating plan which is working for me and that is the 5:2 eating plan. I use the words ‘eating plan’ because diet suggests a temporary change, and I want this change to be permanent. I’ve dabbled in intermittent fasting before but after watching Michael Mosley’s programme Horizon on BBC2 last summer, I decided to give it a bash. I won’t get into it now, that will come in another post. But the long and short of it is, it works for me. The only problem is, although my eating has improved, the only way I’m going to get my muscle back, is to fight for it.

Today the sun has been shining and it’s amazing how much a little vitamin D motivates me. At work, I decided I was going to do a leg and bum workout when I got home. As the day wore on, the less enthused I felt about the idea. By the time I walked in the door at 6pm all I wanted to do was chill
with Stevie the Teevee. But I knew deep down if I didn’t do it, it would make me feel like I’d failed and put me on a down mood. So I didn’t let myself get comfy. I marched up the stairs and threw on my Lycra. I jotted down a basic workout and I did it. I did it from start to finish. Every rep, every burpee- the lot. I really challenged myself and had to crawl up the stairs afterwards, but I did it and I enjoyed it and I even had time to write about it before my chicken and quinoa salad.

Tomorrow my glutes and hammies will struggle to function but at least I’m going to bed tonight knowing I did what I set out to do. And it feels bloody good!

For anyone who is interested, here is the workout I wrote and completed tonight. I completed two sets of the following exercises with a 14kg kettlebell unless otherwise stated and I did it in 30 minutes, 22 seconds. The first set took me 17 minutes 12 seconds and the second 13 minutes and 10 seconds.

30 x Double handed swings with a 20kg bell
20 x Goblet squats
20 x Tactical lunges
20 x Burpees
20 x Romanian deadlifts
20 x Stand-Kneel-Stands (10kg, ten racked in the left arm, and ten racked in the right)

Until next time…

Porridge: How do you eat yours?

Delicious Porridge with St Dalfour Jam

Normally the sound of Beyonce singing about Single Ladies would make me jump up and do some kind of ridiculous dance which makes my partner question my sanity. But at 5:30am on a Monday morning, the blasting Single Ladies makes me want to delete the entire Beyonce discography from my iPhone. For me, at this time, Beyonce is the sound which brings me back to reality and reminds me that I have a shift starting at 7am.

When it comes to breakfast at that time of the morning, everyone has something to say. My partner can’t eat until about 2pm in the afternoon because it makes him feel sick, but I can’t leave the house without something in my belly. And on these bitter winter mornings, where you have to test how cold the floor is before you get out of bed, nothing quite makes me feel better than a warming bowl of porridge. On a Monday I make mine in a mug in the microwave and eat it in the car!

Porridge (or porage) is the food of my Scottish heritage and it is definitely something you either love or hate. But I think that the reason a lot of people don’t like it, or don’t give it a chance is because they think it’s a hassle. Porridge is such an easy breakfast to make, that I can’t believe it gets such bad press. And, for the health conscious amongst us, the oats are full of healthy wholegrain oats which release their energy slowly throughout the morning, keeping you full up until lunch- subject to the topping you prefer.

The traditional Scottish method of making porridge is to cook it with water and salt, but this reminds me of something Oliver would have eaten; how that boy wanted more I’ll never know. The other alternative is to make it with milk and sweeten it. I prefer the latter, but I tend to sweeten it with toppings such as fruit and spices so that I’m not piling refined sugar into my body first thing in the morning, as that isn’t very good for your glucose levels.

Porridge Toppings

A selection of my favourite porridge toppings

The toppings I tend to smother in my porridge depend on what I want that morning, and how much time I have. If I feel I need to get a lot of protein into my belly that morning, I’ll add a scoop of my favourite protein powder in smooth chocolate flavour which is Impact Whey Isolate from myprotein.com or 15g of almond butter or peanut butter when it’s cooking to give it a delicious nutty taste full of protein. Almond butter has better nutrients but it’s not always available in shops. I go for Natural Almond Butter or Meridian Peanut Butter. Alternatively, you can sprinkle 10g of flaked almonds or other nuts on top of your porridge which gives a nice bite.

Coconut is another favourite porridge topping of mine. A super food which tends to get a lot of bad press due to it’s fat content, Coconut is actually very high in GOOD saturate fats which your body will always use as energy and never store. If in a coconutty mood, I’ll add a teaspoon of Organic Coconoil when the porridge is cooking, or sprinkle some dessicated coconut on top.

Occasionally I do get a craving of jam in my porridge, which is fine if you do it moderately, weigh your jam, and use a jam which is low in refined sugar. My pick of the bunch is St Dalfour Strawberry jam. St Dalfour jams contain no sugar, instead they are sweetened with concentrated grape juice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very sugary, but it’s not as bad as a jam made with cane sugar.

I do add fruit to porridge too, but not too much because it can be extremely sweet and doesn’t always mix well. The fruits I tend to use are strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the summer, and in winter I’ll chop a small braeburn or cox apple and mix it through the porridge whilst it’s still cooking and add a dash of cinnamon for a nice Christmassy taste. Sliced banana and a tiny bit of demerera sugar are also divine but only once in a while.

So how do I make porridge?

Ingredients

-40g of Scots Rough Porage

-1 cup of milk (I tend to use Kara coconut milk)

-Pinch of salt

-Choice of topping

Method

If possible, soak your oats overnight in a little water and milk to make them fluffy

Add your oats to a small pan and add the milk and salt. The salt is important as it brings out the flavour.

Stir with a wooden spoon until thick. (If you’re adding protein or a nut butter, now is the time to stir it into the porridge)

Pour into your favourite bowl and top with your favourite topping.

Munchy Munchy!

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought, so don’t be afraid to bust out those oats and give your tastebuds a treat! Please comment below with your favourite porridge toppings.

Until next time, stay Healthy.

Low Fat Turkey Burger a la Lissa!

You know when you have the urge to sink your teeth into something meaty but the thought of cheating your diet with a greasy Maccy D’s makes you seeth with guilt? Well this recipe for Asian inspired turkey burgers gives you some of the same meaty satisfaction but with a much leaner and healthier protein. This is great for muscle repair after a workout and it fills you up a treat, plus they’re dead simple to make so you really have no excuse. Although, I would strongly advise that you don’t substitute the fat from the meat by smothering it in melted cheese. My partner, Chris, is not guilty of that at all.

For a healthy meal, serve with a mixed bean and vegetable salad. The beans are full of fibre which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and they also release their energy slowly helping to keep your fingers out of the biscuit jar during the Coronation Street ad break. Alternatively, if you can’t stand the thought of a burger with no bun, have the burger inside a warm wholemeal pita pocket and serve with a crunchy vegetable salad.

Ingredients

500g lean turkey mince

1 egg yolk

1 finely chopped spring onion

1cm grated root ginger

1 teaspoon of lazy chillis (or finely chopped fresh chillis)

salt and pepper to season

For cooking

1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix it up with your hands until its evenly distributed.

2. Shape the burgers into 4 patties (of two if you’re both mega hungry) and place on a dinner plate before putting in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Once the patties are ready, heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the burgers slowly until the juices run clear. A great tip to keep them moist is not to press them down with a fish slice when they’re cooking as this can dry them out. You can also grill the burgers but, in all honesty, they are not as tasty.

Munchy munchy!

Snacking

Snacking is a big part of my diet. I’m a grazer by nature and I always have to make sure that I have healthy snacks to keep me going. I always try and limit these to >100 calories and high protein where possible. Par example…

Celery and cottage cheese
Carrot sticks with bean salsa
Protein shake made with cold water (I use Reflex Whey Chocolate from myprotein.com)
15g cashews or almonds
Small Braeburn with 10g almond butter

You’ll be surprised how much they fill you up!

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