Tag Archives: food

My Route To Health & Fitness…

Being a lover of health and fitness isn’t necessarily about having the best body, it’s about getting to know yourself, your strengths and limitations, working on them and loving them.

There are so many fitness blogs and Instagram’s out there, we are spoilt for choice, but I want to share my personal fitness story as each and everyone is different!

Below is me now, and I am searching for a ‘before’ picture to compare… easier said than done because I just used to delete all the ones I didn’t like – but – there’s bound to be one somewhere so watch this space.

Up until I was about 18/19 I didn’t have a clue about fitness. I knew that over eating and low exercise would eventually have an impact on my health, but I never really took an interest until I started reading about Nutrition and Weight Loss when I was at uni. Around this time, my uncle also passed away of a heart attack, aged 50, which shocked me into thinking about the control I had over my health, and the impact I have on my own body. To be honest when I started it was in dribs and drabs at first. I joined a weekly Zumba class with my mum, just because, and still wasn’t really cautious of the food I was eating – but I saw a slight change in my body, which quickly gave me the buzz that most talk about – you see the results and get ‘hungry’ to continue!

My mum has been a slimming world member since I was little, so just out of curiosity I started to pick up little bits of info from her, and the booklets. (The great thing about Slimming world is that you don’t deprive yourself of food – you just learn to control how much you are eating, and slightly modify fat and carb intake.) I did this over one summer whilst at uni, and I saw results probably after the first 3 weeks, my clothes fitted a lot better and I felt a lot better after eating. I didn’t get the bloat or cramps, which I now know is probably from a mixture of bread/carbs and sugar.

Naturally with anyone that looses weight (I think I lost about a stone all in all) there is a chance that you will start to loose muscle if you don’t exercise. When I saw results, I lost interest in exercise and put all my energy into eating the right foods, watching my carbs and fats. At the time this was fine for me, I didn’t really have the knowledge that I could sculpt my body in a way that I wanted to, I was focused on loosing fat (perhaps like a lot of women are).

Eventually after becoming complacent with a strict food regime, I joined a gym. After loosing weight, I realised my body shape may benefit from toning up. I have naturally always had muscle in my legs, but my upper body strength was weak, and I had no definition in my abs. The gym was daunting at first. I hadn’t worked out before, apart from doing generic abs bums and tums videos from YouTube, or going for a 20 minute run. Weights? It was scary. The first few times I went to the gym, I stuck to the running machine like glue. I would do a 40 minute run, sweat buckets, shower and go home. I wouldn’t step foot in the weights area. I didn’t think it would ever be for me. I had no idea how it could be beneficial, so I just wrote it off.

I think one of the ways social media can have a positive impact is in cases like mine and others who are able to look up different exercises or training ideas. Through my blog, which is like having access to an entire world of people willing to share their own stories – I started to read a lot about fitness and working out, nutrition and looking after your body. I took notice of positioning when doing weights, how to use food for fuel instead of greed, and how to combine a mix of cardio and weight training to create the look you wanted.

I know I said at the beginning of this entry that being involved in health and fitness isn’t all about how you look (and its not) – but it certainly helps to fuel you, it isn’t a bad thing to start to love yourself!

And it grew from there. One day I picked up free weights, trying out exercises that I had seen on blogs and videos. Then I moved onto using more of the gym equipment, squat rack, lat machine, leg press. Eventually if there was a bit of equipment in the gym I hadn’t tried, I was all over it. (I probably looked like a fool half the time). But like anything, the more you practice, the better you get.

Throughout this time, I’ve also had one of the best realisations, something that before I would have said in passing or agreed with as a general assumption without really realising what it meant for me – ‘Nobody is perfect’. Typing it now I do feel like a cliche, but nothing has struck me more. Everyone is perfectly flawed in their own way. Everyone has their own insecurities, parts of them they wish they could change, but no one has it all! Going through my ‘loosing weight’ stage, I wished the weight would come off of my legs – even now they are the biggest part of my body (just with a bit more muscle and a lot less fat), some things you just can’t change – embrace them.

(To be Continued…)

 

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Chilli Sauce & Coconut Oil Prawns

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Ingrediants
For Chilli Sauce
3 Red Jalapeno peppers
1 chilli
2 tblps Sugar
1 tbsp Vinegar
Water
Cornstarch
2 Garlic Cloves

Coconut Oil Prawns
Coconut Oil
250g King Prawns
110g Brown rice & Quinoa (Boil yourself or Uncle Bens).
Baby Corn
Spring Onion & Coriander (for garnish)

Method

Chilli Sauce
To make the chilli sauce, blend together (I use a food processor) the garlic, chilli, red peppers, sugar, vinegar and 2 tbsp water into a puree.

Once blended, add to a saucepan and bring to the boil. The chilli, garlic and peppers should all start to soften, and the mixture will thicken. (I always taste as I am going along to see if it needs more sugar, vinegar etc).

Once you are satisfied it has thickened (roughly the consistency of a pasta sauce), combine the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of water in a mixing jug. Once combined, mix into the pan of peppers and sugar. Bring mixture to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Once you are satisfied, remove from heat, cool and store in the fridge.

Coconut Oil Prawns
(If you are cooking your rice rather than heating in a microwave, start this process as will take 20 minutes to cook thoroughly).

Add roughly 2 tsp of coconut oil to a pan, on a low heat. Once oil has melted, add the prawns and cook on a low heat until soft and slightly browned.

Sometimes I chop a red chilli and add to the pan with the prawns for added flavour.

Whilst cooking, heat a pan of water for your baby corn. Once boiling, add and cook for 5 minutes (leave the baby corn whole and chop after cooking). Once cooked, drain, chop and add to the pan with the prawns, this gives them a delicious buttery flavour without the fat!

Once the prawns are cooked, stir in a tsp of cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Leave on a low heat.

Heat up Brown rice and Quinoa (or drain cooked rice once boiled) and server on plate.

Add the prawns and baby corn mixture, take the chilli sauce from the fridge and pour over. Garnish with spring onion and coriander. (You will see in the photo that i also added pomegranate seeds, something I tried as I had them to use up, equally as good without them.)

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

Berry & Honey Muffins

I absolutely love baking, and working full time means I rarely get to cook for my own pleasure, it’s usually just a rush to eat something before the day starts or when I come home in the evening. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to incorporate baking, cooking & experimenting with my favourite foods throughout the week instead of waiting until the weekend.

As well as being a lover of everything sweet, I am also health concious and do try to modify traditional recipes so they suit the eating habits I like. Simple things like using natural honey and cinnamon instead of sugar, oats and brans instead of flour all make a difference in a recipes nutritional factor.

Today was Berries & Honey Breakfast Muffins (or a snack), I can make these on a Sunday and enjoy them for an on-the-go breakfast throughout the week, as they will keep for 5 days in an airtight container. So here’s the recipe, which can be adapted with different fruits and flavours depending on your taste :)

Ingredients

2 Large Ripe Bananas
250g Porridge Oats
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
2 Tablespoons Natural Honey
1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1-2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberries
Raspberries
(Make it as fruity as you want!)

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease a 12 dip muffin tray.

In a blender, add the oats, bananas, Eggs, Greek Yoghurt, Peanut butter, and Honey. Blend until almost smooth (a few chunky bits will just give the muffins extra bite).

Once blended, pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and chia seeds.

In a pan, add half the blueberries and raspberries that you want in the muffins, and heat up until runny. Once hot, marble the fruit through the Muffin mixture.

Spoon the mix into the muffin tray. Add the last of the berries on top, as these will slowly soften whilst in the oven.

Place into the oven and cook for 15 minutes! (Check and 10 minutes and then leave them for an extra 5).

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

Melanzane Di Parmigiana

Ingredients

1 white onion
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Chilli
2 cans Chopped Tomatoes
500g Cherry Tomatoes
1 tbsp. Tomato Puree
2 Large Aubergines
500g Mozzarella
Parmesan
Cheddar
1 tbsp. Milk
Basil
Chilli Flakes
Salt & Pepper

Method

Preheat Oven on Gas Mark 4

Chop onion, garlic, chilli and lightly fry in olive oil.

Once browned, add the chopped tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and tomato puree and leave to simmer on a medium heat. Once bubbling, add 1 tbsp. of milk, season with salt and pepper.

Leave to simmer on a low heat.

Meanwhile, slice the aubergines into medium thickness circles. Heat a frying pan with oil, and once hot, lightly fry all aubergine slices until slightly browned on each side. Once done remove from heat and set aside.

Check the tomato sauce and stir if necessary. Add to taste the basil, and as many chilli flakes as you want J

Slice mozzarella; grate the cheddar and parmesan ready to assemble your Melanzane.

In an oven proof dish, cover the bottom in some of the tomato sauce (not all as you will need this for layering).

Then add the first layer of fried aubergine.

Then top with some of the mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan.

Then coat the cheese with another layer of the tomato sauce.

Repeat the process until you have a dish looking similar to lasagne.

Sprinkle on the last of the cheese on the top layer, along with a few sprigs of basil, salt and pepper, and some extra chilli flakes.

Place dish in the oven for 30-40 to cook through.

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

Bell Pepper & Chorizo Pearl Barley

I am a lover of risotto and this Recipe is a I guess a adaptation of Basic Risotto cooking methods. Sometimes I like to vary which carbs I eat to keep things interesting – pearl barley or quinoa can be a great substitute for rice.

So from experimenting with different flavours and pulling different aspects of recipes, I have come up with Bell Pepper & Chorizo Peal Barley. It’s a perfect to cook slowly adding in flavours where necessary – adding some sweeter ingredients more suited to summer!

Ingredients
1 Chorizo Ring
500g Pearl Barley
2 white onions
3 Roasted Bell Peppers
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
1 Chili
Paprika
1 Can chopped tomato
1 Chicken stock cube

Method

Chop bell peppers, drizzle with honey and olive oil and roast for 15 minutes.

Fry chopped Chorizo in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until it turns golden. Once browned, remove and set aside.

Chop onions and garlic and heat in a frying pan with olive oil.Once softer, add in the Pearl Barley, mixing well. Then add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil

Season the pan with salt, pepper and one teaspoon of Paprika and leave to cook through on a medium heat for 40 minutes (checking every now and again that none of the ingredients are sticking, if so may need to add a drop of water).

Once soft, stir in the Chorizo and roasted peppers & season to serve.

Enjoy!

Elena xxx