Finding a healthy balance as a mum.. (Guest post from @yummum81)

Do you sometimes find it hard being a mum and forget who you actually are? Do you think about how simple and easy life was before kids? Being a mum can be hard work and demanding. We all have our low days, experience feelings of guilt and strive to be that ‘perfect’ mum. At times you may feel like you have no support and it can feel a lonely place. You want to please everyone, so how do you get the right balance?

Following on from having my 2 children, it took a while to find that happy balance. I have learnt over the years that I will never be a super-mum, but know balance is key to leading a healthy lifestyle. Whether you work or not it can seem almost impossible to make time for yourself – let alone exercise! When life gets busy, fitness tends to be the last thing on your mind. Even though these times are when your body needs it the most.

Fitness is my ‘me-time’ a break from the outside world, a place I can reflect on my life with no interruptions. No matter how tired I feel, once I have worked out it puts me in such a good mood. I workout 4-5 times a week because I enjoy it and want to. It makes me feel happy and confident which is important to me being a mum. I like to mix it up with running, circuit classes and weight training; a lot of it depends on how I feel on the day. I do encourage my children to be active too and often go on bike rides with my youngest. Some days finding time to work out just doesn’t happen. I have learnt not to beat myself up if I don’t work out. Find something you will enjoy and stick too, whether it be running, yoga, swimming, Zumba or even just going for walks can be very beneficial. You don’t need a fancy gym membership either, working out from home is still as effective. Even if it’s a 10 mins workout on say a you-tube channel, it is better than nothing.


Nutrition is key, and as the saying goes ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’. My diet consists of clean eating, basically unprocessed whole foods. (See my blog on my must have food staples). In fact it’s not even a diet, it is my lifestyle. I keep it simple and it doesn’t cost the earth. Diets aren’t sustainable and are restrictive, there are no quick fixes. I take pleasure in cooking from scratch and knowing what goes into each meal. By embracing whole foods and eating good amounts of healthy proteins and fats. However you should never deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy, but like anything, eat in moderation! I go with the 80/20 rule so still indulge around 20% of the time. Decide what makes you feel good and works for you. I still enjoy my take aways and sweet treats and have these as a treat. I find this more enjoyable without feeling guilty. Though if I fancy a slice of cake, some chocolate or ice cream; I will. Life is for living!

If you can make time for yourself to be fit and well, the return benefits will be worthwhile. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle it keeps me focused in life, gives me the energy to look after my family and be a positive example to them. It’s not selfish to make yourself a priority, yet it does need to come from self love which does not make you a bad person. I love the fact that my children know fitness plays a big part of my life. Don’t feel guilty for looking after your body, it’s the only place you have to live in. Give yourself the time to be a mum and a woman; you will feel so much better about yourself.

@yummum81 x

S’mores loaf..

This one is healthy (honest), but like any cake, you only need to eat it in moderation, or if your macros allow!

However, less of that, let’s talk about the dreamy combination of chocolate, crunchy granola and marshmallows; need I say anymore! SOOOO, I grew up eating s’mores every time we had a BBQ, melting the chocolate biscuit and marshmallow and then making the most dreamy goooooooey sandwich! Therefore, I had to recreate it in a healthier yet just as tasty way!

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And, to make it easy for you to enjoy, here is the recipe:

For the bottom layer, you will need:

For the chocolate layer, you will need:

  • 150g of egg whites,
  • 100g of chocolate cake mix (I used Thrively),
  • 20g of chocolate protein powder (I used That Protein),
  • 50ml of Milk,
  • 1 teaspoon of Truvia sweetener.

For the topping:

  • 100g of chocolate,
  • Mini Marshmallows.

Method:

  1. Grease and line a loaf tin, as well as pre heating your oven to 160C.
  2. Mix the base ingredients until well combined and spread in the bottom of your tin,
  3. Mix the chocolate layer and pour over the top of the plain cake mix.
  4. Pop the mix in the oven for 40 minutes or until firm to touch.
  5. Take out of the oven and remove from both the tin and grease-proof layer!
  6. Melt 100g of your chocolate of choice and then sprinkle as many marshmallows as you like over the top!
  7. Pop under the grill for around 2 minutes or until browned,
  8. Take out, eat and enjoy!

xxx

 

Wholesome Gingerbread Stars (Guest-post: @guilt_free_gabs)

Wholesome Gingerbread Stars

By Gabriella Evans (Instagram: guilt_free_gabs)

It is never too early to start baking Christmas treats! These gingerbread cookies are guilt-free and full of goodness. They are so fun to make and you don’t need heaps of different ingredients. The result… deliciously crisp cookies and it will have your whole house smelling of Christmas!

I decorated mine with melted white chocolate (my weakness- I just love it) and I made my own powdered sugar. Its so simple I can’t believe I haven’t done it before!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp all-spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g wholegrain flour
  •  200g wholegrain pastry flour
  • 120g coconut oil
  • 30g coconut syrup
  • 100g coconut sugar
  • 1 egg

METHOD:

1.     In a mixing bowl, mix together the pastry flour, wholegrain flour and the three different spices.

2.     In a different bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and coconut syrup (use the microwave if the coconut oil is set, we want it nice and runny) then add the coconut sugar and whisk until completely combined. If you’re struggling to get the three to mix together don’t panic! Just ad the egg and whisk some more and it should all blend together perfectly. Make sure there are no lumps of sugar.

3.     Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until the dough is smooth and you can form a big ball with it. Then divide the ball into two and leave to set in the fridge for an hour wrapped in Clingfilm.

4.     Pre-heat the oven at 170c and line two baking trays with baking paper (you can also use foil just make sure to spray it with a little oil to prevent the cookies from sticking)

5.     Once your two dough balls are set, remove them from the fridge. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and start rolling! I don’t have a roller at university so I improved the only way I knew how, with a bottle of wine! I can confirm it works perfectly fine- as long as the lid is screwed on properly!!

6.     Moving on… role your dough out until it is approximately 1 cm thick. Use any cookie cutters you like, I recently bought these star ones from Tesco. Keep using the left-over scraps of dough to make more cookies, and repeat until there’s non left.

7.     Place the cookies in the oven for 11 minutes, then take them out and let them cool down completely until you decorate them.

8.     Melt 50g of white chocolate with a tsp coconut oil in the microwave until its nice and runny (approx. 40 second- stir half way). Fill a sandwich bag with the chocolate and cut a TINY hole in the corner so you can decorate your cookies with precision (a proper icing bag would be better, but this technique works fine also)

 

9.     HOME MADE ICING SUGAR!!

–       1 tablespoon coconut sugar

–       1 tsp cinnamon

Place the sugar and cinnamon in a Nutribullet or blender of choice and just whiz it up until it is light and powdery then sprinkle it all over your cookies!

 

Massive thank you to Hannah for letting me feature on her blog and Instagram!!

I hope you guys give this recipe a go and let me know if it worked out well for you. For more guilt-free recipes (also some not so guilt-free) check out my Instagram @guilt_free_gabs!

 

xxx

Eating well for Christmas.

I like to think that I wear the trousers in our household, but when it comes to cooking Simon – the food loving husband – definitely wears the (frilly) apron. He’s a bit of a gourmet.So when I decided to change my eating habits my first job was to convince him to change his cooking habits. There was no way he was going to get on board with this new idea if the meals were going to be boring and bland. He’s fussy at the best of times & refuses to eat the same meal in the same week. Thankfully though he loves a challenge and once I’d laid down the culinary gauntlet he was away like a bloodhound on a good scent and relished the idea of making healthy food taste really delicious.

Its not rocket science knowing what is right and wrong in terms of food choices – but its an entirely different ball game trying to put theory in to practice, especially in a way that is going to be truly sustainable. Let’s face it, the run up to Christmas is one of the hardest times in the year to stick to a healthy eating pattern so here are a few tips to help you on your way.

Step one: Banish the bad stuff until Christmas Eve 

I know that Christmas isn’t that far away now, but its important to get yourself into the right mind set. So go on, have one last binge – gorge yourself on those leftover pies, that hunk of chocolate cake and that last packet of Hobnobs. Or bin it, take it to the food bank, whatever, but just make sure the kitchen is free of all the obviously unhealthy processed food and indulgent goodies – that gorgeous ice cream, the sweets and crisps and don’t forget that that luxury variety box of chocolate biscuits left from your granny.

Step two: Eat more protein. 


Macros – or macronutrients to give them their grown up name – are in every food we eat. There are three types – protein, carbs and fats. Eating more protein based foods will keep you fuller for longer, meaning that you won’t feel the need to snack and pick throughout the day which means over all you consume less calories. In order to achieve this most of us need to flick a switch in the way we think and prepare our food; protein based foods now need to make up the bulk of every meal rather than carbs which is the norm in this country. You still need to add in a moderate amount of slow releasing carbohydrates like sweet potato or brown rice to each meal because carbs provide you will energy. You also need to consume a little fat in the form of nuts, avocados and virgin olive oil which you need for good health.

Protein should make up 45% of your total food intake for the day, carbs 35% and fats 25%.

Stocking up

So when you next go shopping, make sure you take a shopping list (or create a new online shopping trolley) and stock up on the following foods. Be really disciplined about what you put in your basket. We’ve started to shop at Lidl and love it – they do a great variety of fruit and veg and the meat available is fantastic.

Protein

Chicken & turkey, lean beef and pork, fish, prawns, eggs, protein rich yoghurts, cottage cheese, nuts & plenty of Top Herd jerky & skinny salamis!

Good Carbs

Fibrous Vegetables of all kinds like broccoli, cabbage and kale. Sweet potatoes, wholegrain bread, brown rice & pasta, tinned beans & pulses (like lentils, chick peas, butter beans) quinoa, porridge oats, whole fruit.

Good fats

All nuts & seeds, avocado, olives, peanut butter, cooking oils – olive, canola, macadamia & coconut oil, and oily fish like mackerel, tuna, sardines, salmon, trout, anchovies are also brilliant.

Step Three – Know what you’re eating

Have you got a selective memory? Do you “choose” to forget the half a bottle of wine you have each evening? Or do you sometimes slip a sneaky Snickers bar into your shopping basket? Go on admit it. We’ve been there too. OK, once in a while it’s fine, but if you are going to do this every day in the run up to Christmas, the calories will begin to add up and knowing the real calorific impact of alcohol, and the odd chocolate bar is really scary.

If you think about it our grandparents ate a lot less than we do now. Our general sense of portion control is…well frankly, out of control. We’re just pigs. We need to get back to eating sensible amounts. This is why tracking (weighing) the food you eat and drink is really helpful as there is no better way to gain a clear picture of how much you are eating. The easiest and by far the most fun way of tracking your food is to use a fitness app. We use MyFitnessPal pal but there are lots of others on the market.

Step 4 – Plan your meals & snacks

We’re not the most organised of families but we found that roughly planning our meals for the week was a great help. It means you buy the right foods, in the right amounts and you waste less.


But if you are struggling, start with one meal at a time – breakfast first. Breakfast should be your first high protein healthy meal of the day. Try things like boiled eggs or scrambled egg with spinach and a slice of brown toast. Once you’ve nailed your breakfast, think about how you improve your lunch and supper. Take it at your own pace.

If you’re great at bunging a few things together last minute, then you’re lucky and eating like this will come quite naturally.

Snacks have always been pretty important in our house. We’re often out and about, so we need to make sure we have plenty of protein to keep us going throughout the day. Nuts, Top Herd jerky & Salami Sticks are all good choices!

Step 5 – Create delicious, tasty but healthy food from scratch

The food loving husband has a ball in the kitchen, creating all sorts of quick and tasty delicious healthy recipes. I’m also getting better at cooking so if I can do it, so can you! We’ve got some recipes on our website, but if you’re feeling all at sea, and need some further inspiration, check out some of these other websites and books. They’re great and will get your creative juices flowing.
Jo Wicks #Leanin15, Hemsley & Hemsley “The Art of Eating Well” , Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi (our hero), Ching-He Huang (healthy Chinese cooking), or the BBC Good Food Website are all good places to start.

Step 7 – Exercise won’t make up for a bad diet

Exercise is really important, because it makes you feel great while also burning calories and getting your heart rate pumping. However, if time is an issue with the run up to Christmas, its more important that you spend time preparing healthy meals, than spending a wasted hour on the treadmill only to come home and eat crap! You can still burn calories and keep your metabolism pumped by doing the things you already do like walking the dog, whizzing around the house with a hoover, or clearing up the dead leaves in the garden.

Step 8 – Practice the 80/20 rule

Now remember, life is for living, not dieting, and Christmas is the time of year when its almost impossible not to indulge in a few mince pies and glasses of mulled wine. Here at Top Herd Towers we practice the 80/20 rule, which means that for 80% of the time we are good and stick to the rules above, but for the rest of the time we like to let our hair down and enjoy a piece of cake, a mince pie and a glass of wine or three. The trick is to not to start the festive eating and drinking too early and be aware of what you are eating and how much you are eating i.e.: you don’t need to go mad.

So that’s not too complicated is it? And if we can do it, I’m sure you can too.

If you want to try and buy some of our high protein, Top Herd Jerky and Skinny Salami’s why not head over to our website http://www.topherd.co.uk and check out our products and flavours. We won two Great Taste Awards earlier this year for our Tangy Tomato Beef Jerky and our Honey Mustard Pork Jerky. Our other flavours include Sweet Pickle Beef Jerky, Zesty Lemon Turkey Jerky, Chilli & Lime Turkey Jerky and Smokey BBQ Beef jerky. We also do two flavours of Skinny Salami’s (they are a bit like peperami but with out the fat and additives – kids love them) Tomato & Paprika and Chilli Pepper.

Please feel free to use this 20% discount code: Hannaeats

This new way of eating has done wonders for me but it’s also transformed Simon – he looks better, feels better, has lost a ton of weight, but thankfully is still wearing his apron, albeit a couple of sizes smaller. Mince pie anyone?

Happy Christmas to you all.

Love Philippa x

 

Gingerbread loaf with a caramel peanut sauce. 

It’s getting close to Christmas and I LOVE this time of year; especially festive food. 
Festive food is full of flavour; all the spices, herbs and dressings. When it comes to spices, ginger and cinnamon instantly make me think of Christmas. They make me reminisce on my childhood and the delicious gingerbread that my Grandma used to make. Therefore, I had to healthify and protein up her bake, without losing the flavour! 

So, here is my healthy gingerbread recipe! 

Ingredients:
– 20g of butter, melted (I used Koko dairy free),

– 3 teaspoons of black strap molasses (I used Meridian),

– 90g of coconut flour (I used Sukrin),

– 2 medium eggs,

– 50g of egg whites ( I used Two Chicks),

– 100g of pumpkin purée,

– 1/2 a scoop of unflavoured casein (I used Neat Nutrition),

– 15g of protein powder (I used Nutristrength),

– 200ml of liquid (I used Ginger and Lime rejuvenation water),

– 75g if mixed dried fruit (I used Waitrose),

– 1/2 a teaspoon each of baking powder, ginger and cinnamon. 

To make the cake, you simply need to mix together all the ingredients until well combined! Once mixed, leave to rest for five minutes before popping in to a lined loaf tin! 
Pop the cake in to a preheated oven at 160C for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean! 
Leave to cool in the tin! 

Once cooled, mix together peanut flour, maca powder, sweetener of choice and milk (I used alpro), until you get a slightly runny paste! 
Pour the past over the cake and then slice and enjoy! 
Xxx

The Importance of choosing the correct running shoe for YOU! 

In the run up to Christmas, if you’re like me, your wish list is looking a little bit like the stock list of a fitness shop! At the top of my list is new running trainers as there is nothing better than that first, bouncy run in your flashy, shines shoes!


However, adding a pair to the list that you’ve chosen based on colour and style may not mean that you are wearing the correct shoes to really get the best from your running and stop you from getting an injury! So, this week @runswindon have come to the rescue and have created a recommendation list for you…

When choosing a shoe we would recommend several relevant factors.

Gait Analysis.

Finding a shoe relevant to your gait is so important to help reduce injury and make your running journey a fantastic experience.

Pop to your specialist running store so they can carry out a gait analysis.
Ideally you should be assessed for hip stability, Pronation levels, form, technique and obviously fit when choosing a shoe.



Is it comfortable? 

Ideally we are looking for a Cinderella fit.

However this is not always immediately possible so a shoe that you feel after several runs or so feels natural to you.

Is it fit for the purpose? 

i.e. Are you looking for a road shoe or a shoe more suitable to the trail.

A shoe for short racing or intervals or a shoe you can do many miles of training in.

This is advise a specialist running store can give you.

So when buying a running shoe always gain expert advise from a specialist running store, try the shoes, run in the shoes and be analysed in the shoes.

Kindest Liam @runswindon
Owner RUN Swindon #happyfeet

Toffee Apple Loaf.

Apple and toffee is a dreamy combination; thus, this autumnal loaf is moist, delicious and, if I say so myself, impressive!

I created this recipe for Musclefood UK; so head there for most of the products! They provide a great service when sending you top quality meat and store cupboard essentials. If you haven’t yet, you NEED to try their foodstuff and, whilst you’re there, use the code HANEATS for a free high protein pizza (they’re delicious)!

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Ingredients:

  • 100g of cake mix (I used Sukrin, could sub for 100g of flour and ½ a teaspoon of baking powder),
  • 40g of whey protein,
  • 15g of casein protein,
  • 25g of coconut sugar,
  • 50g of plain yogurt,
  • 25g of date nectar,
  • 100g of egg whites,
  • 2tsp of molasses,
  • 1 teaspoon each of ginger and cinnamon,
  • 50 ml of apple juice,
  • 50g of chopped dates,
  • 1 apple thinly sliced.

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients together (except for the apple).
  2. Pop the mixture in to a lined loaf tin and top with the sliced apple
  3. Bake at 160C for 40 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool in the tin, before removing and enjoying!

Hannah x

A HIIT workout for runners…

So, as a runner, I am always keen to improve my pace, beat my last race time and improve my overall cardio fitness BUT just running on its own will not aid this! Therefore, this is where HIIT (High-intensity interval training) comes in to action.

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What is HIIT?

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT is considered more effective than steady paced cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

This type of training will have you alternating between periods of maximum effort and short recovery; in the workout below, you complete a whole circuit before taking a rest. For beginners, this may be too much and a simple 20 seconds on 20 seconds off will still you sweating.

After reading all the above this is where my friend, fellow blogger and personal trainer @_harrielouc exclusive HIIT workout can help you; I did it this morning and I can tell you, I felt the burn! If you give it a try, tag Harrie and I (@_hannaheats) and let us know how sweaty it got you!

Runner’s HIIT workout: 

Equipment: swiss ball, skipping rope, dumbells

 Jumping lunges

Fly on swiss ball

Tricep kickbacks

Plank

Cobras

Shoulder press

Burpees

Jacknives on swiss ball

Skipping

Mountain climbers

30 secs per exercise

1min rest after circuit is complete

3x through!

Good luck!

xxx

 

 

Guest recipe: Pumpkin Protein Pancankes (@leishamulveyfit)

#Stackurday At the weekend I love nothing more than having the time to make pancakes. It’s autumn, the leaves are falling and pumpkin is in season so how could I not make pumpkin pancakes?

This recipe is very high in protein containing a fast digesting whey protein as well as a slower digesting casein protein from the cottage cheese. A great way to start your weekend!
Ingredients:
50g cottage cheese

50g Pumpkin Purée

30g Oats

2 large egg whites (80ml)

20g vanilla Whey

1/2 tsp Pumpkin spice

Method:
Add your wet ingredients to a blender (Pumpkin puree, cottage cheese and egg whites) This stops dry ingredients sticking to the top and not blending properly.

Then add your dry ingredients (Oats, Protein Powder and Pumpkin Spice)

Blend until fully combined.

Heat a non stick pan and add a tsp of coconut oil or use a coconut oil spray to coat the pan.

Simply spoon a tbsp at a time onto the centre of your pan to make one pancake.

Once bubbles appear flip and cook for a further minute.

Then start again and get STACKING!

I added PunchFoods Cinnamon Spice superseeds and sugar free Maple Syrup as well as some extra pumpkin puree to top my stack.
Macros for whole pancake mixture (no toppings):
Calories: 275

Carbs: 27g

Protein: 32g

Fats: 4g

Leisha is a health and fitness blogger who creates lots of healthy recipes. Leisha is studying sport science at university and shares her knowledge to dispel nutrition myths. Having recently competed in bikini fitness, and also studying to be a PT Leisha has lots of different aspects to her fitness journey. To see more from Leisha, visit her blog, instagram, twitter and facebook

Nutella Marble loaf.

Lets face it, that combination of hazelnut and chocolate is just dreamy. And, tender and moist, this loaf cake is loaded with vanilla flavour and sweet Nutella swirls. It will melt in your mouth.

Instead of the calorie and sugar laden original Nutella (of course you can use this), I have used a reduced sugar option; Jim Jams Hazelnut spread and it is a just as delicious melt in the mouth alternative!

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The recipe:

You will need:

Method:

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients  except for the cacao powder, nutella and granola.
  2. Split the mixture equally between two bowls.
  3. With one half, add in half of the granola, the cacao powder and the nutella.
  4. Now alternate putting spoons of each flavour mixture in to your tin.
  5. Using a fork, gently combine the two flavours to create a streaked effect.
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the granola on top and pop in to a preheated oven at 160C for 40 minutes.
  7.  Take out, leave to cool in the tin and then slice!
  8. ENJOY!

xxx