Distractions

Following on from my post about balance a the end of March, things haven’t quite gone to plan!!

For the last two weeks, I’ve not stepped foot in the gym, not done any form of fitness and allow circumstances & distractions to get the better of me!

Life has so many ways of challenging us it’s scary!! Just when you thought you had it sussed, boom something else comes up to bite you or something happens that makes you wake up and smell the coffee, well that’s what has happened to me this weekend.

So I’m reminded to reset, refocus and believe…

To do this I’ve created 2 little laminated (love a bit of laminating) cards remind me daily of what I need to do and focus on to achieve my dreams!! Seeing as I spend a lot of time (probably too much time) at my desk!!

      

What do you do when you get distracted from your goals?

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Creamy Asparagus & Salmon with Mixed Grains

Salmon and asparagus are a great combination and their flavours go well together. Here is my recipe I made the other evening, this did me 1 main meal with a little left over for a small meal later in the week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Salmon Steak
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 tsp Rapeseed OIl
  • Small Knob Butter (about 10g)
  • 5 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 120g Asparagus (lots left over so probably could have used about 80g (this would be classed as a portion!!)
  • 200ml Chicken Stock, I use Knorr’s Concentrated Chicken Stock which is about 2 tsp & 200ml water.
  • 75g Tesco’s 7 quick cook grains  
  • 50ml Double Cream/Creme Fraiche (optional) but brings the dish together nicely
  • Black pepper

Method:

Cook the grains as per the pack instructions, while they are cooking you can do the rest of the cooking.

I add the oil and butter to the pan, add the onion and gently cook until the onion is translucent,  Make a space in the middle of the pan and add in the Salmon steak skin side down and turn the heat, you want to crisp the skin as it’s easier to remove!! Turn the heat up a bit to help crisp the skin

After about 3 minutes, turn over the salmon – remove the skin (eat if desired), turn the heat down cook for another minute or so

Then add the chopped asparagus, cherry tomatoes, stock (or concentrate & water), you want about 2cm of liquid in the pan; cover and leave for about 5-6 minutes, keep an eye on it to ensure that it doesn’t dry out and burn, however, you only want a small amount of liquid left before you add in the grains and cream

Gently flake the fish and combine with the other ingredients, add in the cooked grains & cream if using, mix well and cook for 1 minute to just heat the cream through, season with black pepper and serve.

Healthy Pack-ups

Having to make your child’s lunch in advance five days a week can be a challenge sometimes especially if you want to make it healthy as it’s easy to send them to school with a sandwich, crisps & a chocolate bar or piece of fruit!! And when you get the lunch box back at the end of the day to find the fruit is still in there, a bit more bruised but still un-eaten.

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The key to coming up with healthy pack lunches is variety, so the child doesn’t get bored but also helps them to try new foods. Also theme lunches are a great way to get your child interested in food so it could be themed around countries of the world, calendar events, colours; the only limitation is imagination.

Sticking with the traditional sandwich well sort of try experimenting with:

Different types of bread – Sundried tomato, herb & garlic, olive, wholegrain, multigrain, seeded, rye, sour dough, ciabatta, pitta

Wraps/tortillas – You can easily make these yourself but if time is short, there are many varieties available at all the major supermarkets

Scone based sandwich – I remember mum sending me to school with a three cheese scone & some cherry tomatoes & it was delicious

English muffin type bread – any these can be homemade or bought, the cheese ones are especially lovely

Savoury muffins – cheese & bacon, sundried tomato

So that’s the bread sorted what about fillings:

It doesn’t matter what you fill the sandwich with but the one principle I’d stick to is to ensure there is some protein within the filling – protein helps you stay fuller for longer & and releases energy slower (so you’re less likely to get a sugar high).

Pulled meats are easy as can be made in advance or are leftovers from a meal

Homous or other bean based dips make a great alternative to butter or spread, if you’re child isn’t keen on them, try adding red pesto to it to make it slightly sweeter.

Cheese – a good protein source but high in saturated fat, so try grating it up and mixing with grated vegetables such as carrot.

Mini meatballs with a tomato sauce – you could get your children to help you make these, cook the night before & then slice in half, add to sandwich with a little sauce for flavour. These work really well as a pasta salad too.

Use lamb mince to make mini kofta balls and make a minted yogurt dip to go with it.

Marinate chopped chicken in a barbeque sauce, cook as you would for a barbeque and then serve with a yogurt and tomato dip and salad.

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Animal source – Meat, fish, poultry, diary, egg

Vegetable source – Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu, quorn

Alternatives to sandwiches:

Rice/pasta/couscous/bulgar wheat salad: A handy tip to add more flavour to these without the need to add mayo or other sauces is to cook in a light stock (Chicken or vegetable).

Anything goes here really with flavours, chopped up or grated vegetables and of course some protein!!

Greek – feta, olives, cucumber & minted yogurt

Rainbow – Red, yellow, orange & green pepper, grated cheese

Italian – Tomato, basil & mozzarella (use pesto to flavour it)

Vegetable sticks & dip or pate is another idea to add variety:

Vegetables that can be eaten raw:

  • Peppers
  • Carrot
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mange Tout
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Peas

Roasting vegetables can be used to add interest to sandwiches or salads:

Onions, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines

Root vegetables are also lovely roasted & can be used in a salad:

Carrot, butternut squash, sweet potato, mini potatoes.

Sweet stuff

Most children like yogurts especially fruit ones but most shop bought fruit yogurts are quite high in sugar, I would personally recommend that you buy natural yogurt and then add your own flavours to it, this will be cheaper too and more adaptable!!

Here are some ideas for fruit compotes which can be used in a variety of ways but make a great homemade fruit yogurt:

Mixed berry – mixed frozen berries, stewed in a little water and something to sweeten it, I use agave nectar but honey or sugar is fine, just don’t make it too sweet or you could use apple juice to do the job of the water & sugar.

Rhubarb on its own or with a little ginger if you’re children like it – same as above but using fresh rhubarb when in season

Apple & berry – use the mixed frozen berries with some chopped apple and again the same method is used as above

Apple & raisin

Pear & dried friut

Spiced apple – chopped apple, mixed spice and then use the same method as before

Peach & apricot

Tropical – Use the tropical fruit mix and stew gentle like above, you probably don’t need to add any sugar to this one though

Either mix them before you put in the lunch box or let your child make their own (A bit like a branded two part corner yogurt)

Homemade flapjacks or granola can be used to add texture to yogurt and another snack for children to munch on.

My food and nutrition philosophy

Food and nutrition are my life, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t read an article about the latest nutrition research or about a new ingredient/restaurant or food trend!! It what makes me tick (literally!!).

Over the years it’s been interesting to observe the way that food and nutrition has become such a massive talking point in the media, it probably always has been but recent it feels that we are now bombarded by it, cookery and food tv programmes pull in huge audiences week in, week out and nutrition & health stories fill our social media feeds too.

I’ve been a qualified nutritional therapist for over 9 years now and had the honour of studying at the world renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition founded by Patrick Holford. (www.ion.ac.uk)

Our health is priceless and something most people take for granted until they lose it, we have one body which we need to see us through from birth to death but yet we abuse it until breakdown, get frustrated when it doesn’t work how we want it to or stops us from living the life we want.

So here’s my philosophy you about health, nutrition and food!!

ALL food can be GOOD for you and ALL food can be BAD for you!! Even the healthiest of foods can be bad for you if you eat them in excess!! So I aim to eat as many different foods as possible which means that I physically can’t eat too much of anything.

The old sayings “A little of what you fancy does you no harm” and “everything in moderation” are really true here.

I’m a realist when it comes to food and nutrition and there are times when I eat cake, chocolate and other foods which aren’t the best for you and guess what I NEVER feel guilty about this either, eliminating or restricting certain from your diet will only make you want them more!!

Food guilty quote

I believe food should be seen as the wonderful positive life giver that it is and enjoyed for that reason!! Food gives the energy we need to live our lives; certain foods will make you feel different so it’s about learning to listen to your body and recognise the foods that might not suit you.

On a physiological level we are all the same, the same organs and the way we process food but we are also unique in the way that the body responds to the food we eat. For example, I know that I’m quite sensitive to certain stimulants such as coffee and liquorice, I don’t avoid them completely as I like both of them but I do make sure that I don’t eat/drink either after a certain time of the day so that it doesn’t impact on my sleep patterns.

We are very lucky in this country (UK) to have such a vast selection to choose from and should use this choice to eat a variety of foods; this also helps to stop the boredom of eating the same foods all the time.

Nourish quote

I just try to eat food as close to nature as nature intended (Some call it eating clean) and to eat in season so that I can support local producers!!

Life is for living, food is for eating!! ENJOY

Jawbone UP24 Test Drive

So back in July I wrote a post about my Jawbone UP band and how it had helped me to focus on my activity & sleep patterns, I was lucky enough to be asked if I would like to road test the UP24 band to see if I liked this too.

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The main difference between the UP and UP24 is that UP24 uses bluetooth to connect to the app (it’s also £24 more expensive) but having used both bands I do think this extra little bit of money is actually worth it now that i’ve experienced it. The main reason for this is that it reminds you through the day to sync your band and also gives you updates of how active or not you’ve been that day.

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Around the same time as getting the UP24, Jawbone did a major update which included a redesign, I quite liked the old design but the new design is more crisp, clean and clearer to use, within this update they also improve the food logging side of things.

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In the past I’ve used My Fitness Pal to log my food intake but decided to use this function instead as part of the test drive!! And there are bits of it I really like and bits that I found extremely frustrating.

The positives first:

  • How they rate each meal so you can see how good it is on a score of 1-10 (1 being not very health and 10 being super healthy),
  • The breakdown of the food you’ve consumed so far in terms of macro nutrients like carbs, protein & fat. The other
  • The rough amount of calories you’ve burnt against your intake so you can adjust it
  • Like the word cloud as this shows you if you are eating lots of the same foods (need to cut down my butter intake from the looks of it)
  • Barcode scanner – saves time when finding foods
  • If you eat out, many of the chain restaurant meals are in the database, again it’s still being added to but very good idea.

The negatives:

  • The database is still quite small and many foods are missing or the British term is not used, an example of this is double cream and I know I probably shouldn’t be eating it but it tastes so good with fresh raspberries!!! (I can’t for the life of me find it as I haven’t a clue what it’s called in the states if they even have it!!)
  • Barcode scanner – many UK foods aren’t on here so you end up having to manually add the nutritional information yourself which is time consuming & not that accurate.
  • The inability to store recipes, I love the barcode scanner idea but I cook most of my food from scratch so not very useful to me and it’s extremely tedious to input a recipe as you have to add every individual ingredient (this is a fault with most of the food logging apps, my fitness pal included, although you can create your own recipes on MFP and store them) and I don’t know about you but I tend to cook similar food regularly so having to put it in everytime is just boring!!

Overall, I think the food logging bit is a great idea as it gets people to understand the collation between food and activity but until the database is more comprehensive I’ll be going back to use MFP for this side of things

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I love the reminder you can set yourself and it also prompts you to challenge yourself to into routines & healthy practices, I even got a message on my birthday (I think I need to get out more as I actually did a little gig when I saw it!!), all the step counted too!!

As you can probably tell I’m a massive fan of these clever little bands and so glad I invested in it as it’s really given me the tool I need to make changes to my life for the better.

I’d definitely recommend anyone thinking of getting some wearable tech to go for it!!

 

 

CrossFit Diaries, Part Two – Tech I Use

So the first month of CrossFit went ok, I managed 10 workouts and 2 runs (13.3km) in terms of measurements not too bad either:

  • Weight: 13 Stone, 4lb – 1lb loss
  • BMI: 30.9 – 0.2 reduction
  • Chest: 39 inches – 1 inch loss
  • Waist: 34 inches – 2 inch loss
  • Hips: 47.5 inches – .5 inch loss
  • Thigh (R): 27 inches – .5 inch loss
  • Thigh (L): 27 inches – .5 inch loss
  • Bicep (R): 14 inches – 1 inch gain!!
  • Bicep (L): 13.5 inches – .5 inch loss

Overall inch loss: 4 inches across my body – i’m happy with that!

So this months I’m going to focus on the tech that helps me stay on track

Tech

Polar Heart Rate Monitor:

I use this every time I exercise so I can monitor how I’m doing, how good my recovery is and overall cardio fitness!! I am able to set a goal for this which is either weight loss or cardio fitness, mine is set to cardio fitness and currently my weekly targets are:

  • Time target: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Calories burnt target: 1200kcal
  • Intensity targets (different heart rate zones) Zone 1: 40 minutes, Zone 2: 1 hour, 35 minutes and Zone 3:10 mins

It monitors how i’m doing will adapt the programme if I’m not hitting the above targets after a month, every quarter it prompts you to do a fitness test and then gives you feedback as to the changes positive or negative.

Jaw Bone Up:

I wear my UP24 all the time and this monitors my movement and sleep, see my full blog post about this here: https://lincolnshiregirl.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/jawbone-up-a-year-on/ 

This helps me to stay on top of how active I am and also helps me to keep a good routine when it comes bedtimes & getting up times.

IPhone Apps:

MyFitnessPal-Logo

My Fitness Pal – I use this to log the food I eat so I can keep an eye on my calorie intake & the balance of Macro nutrients (Carbohydrate, Protein & Fat) as well as vitamins and minerals, this is linked to my UP24 Band and Map My Fitness so adjust my calorie allowance based on how active I’ve been on any given day.

Map My Fitness:

MMF Logo

I use this to monitor my runs, so I know the distance I’m running and my pace!! I’m not really bother whether my pace is a good pace (elite athlete pace etc), all I’m interested in is that I’m improving.

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Recently I’ve also downloaded my WOD and Big Lift 2 apps to help me monitor how I’m doing at CrossFit.

My WOD Logo Big Lifts 2 Logo

These apps allow me to record my Personal Bests (PB), my 1 rep max weights and also times for some of the benchmark workouts – more about these next month when I’ll be taking you through the lingo of CrossFit – that gives me a chance to learn it some more as sometimes it all still sounds like a foreign language.

What tech do you use to keep yourself on track?

Until next time – tally ho!!

The Crossfit Diaries – Part One

As many of you know I’m a bit of a gym bunny, I always have been & think I’ll always will be, my interest in fitness & exercise peaked when I qualified as a personal trainer (PT) now 12 years ago (that really does make me feel old!!) and again I had renewed interest in it when I was studying Nutritional Therapy & the link between the food (energy) you put in the body & the energy you get out.

Anyway, about six months ago I decided to review my fitness goals and activity as I didn’t feel that it was really effective. My main goal is to be as fit as I possibly can be (Now don’t shoot me as this isn’t a SMART goal, but I think i’ll know when I reach it) and at the time I was going to David Lloyd 4/5 times a week, dividing my time between cardiovascular workouts, weight training and swimming sessions and had been doing this religiously for around 7 years yet I didn’t feel like I was really pushing my body anymore, I’d got stuck in a rut and yes as a PT I knew what I was supposed to do but actually doing that, with so much other stuff going on in my life, I never quite found the time to write an effective programme that would help me achieve my fitness goals. And yes I enjoyed going to the gym but I have to say what I know now, the gym was soul-less!! Everyone just plugged into the machines oblivious of everyone else… Another point to add is I’ve never been much of an class girl, preferring to do my own thing!!

So when a friend in January this year mentioned to me that a new CrossFit gym was opening in Lincoln I was intrigued to learn more, up until this point I’d never heard of CrossFit & I bet some of you haven’t either.

So with a bit of courage I went along to Cross Fit Witham when they had an open day to see what it was all about & was hooked straightaway!!

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CrossFit is a way to exercise that helps you become fit for life (meaning making your every day life easier). There are 10 areas that a CrossFit workout will help you with:

  1. Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance,
  2. Stamina
  3. Strength
  4. Flexibility
  5. Power
  6. Speed
  7. Coordination
  8. Agility
  9. Balance
  10. Accuracy

So, how do they achieve all these things? Well every day there is a Workout Of the Day (WOD) which everyone who attends that day will do the same WOD and your scores are recorded, it’s not really a competition between everyone but against yourself & beating your previous scores!! And the great thing about WOD is that your body never gets used to it as everyday you are challenged to do something different. All the exercises are scale-able so if you are new to exercise you can still take part and then build up.

Now i’ve only been a few times at writing this post but I’ve realised its more than just a workout!! It’s a way of life, it’s a community where everyone is rooting for each other to achieve success at whatever level they are working at and that’s something I’ve missed since giving up hockey a couple of years ago!!

At the end of August this year some of the guys and gals from the box (What the gym is called) participated in Tribal Clash (http://thetribalclash.com/) a crossfit competition and my goal is to be able to enter it in 2015 as well as feel like i’ve achieved the goal I mentioned above and I’d like to take you along on my journey in an online diary of my progress, each month I’ll tell you how i’m getting on but it will be more than that, I want to share with you the different aspects that make crossfit one of the fastest growing exercise regimes there is around, this will include:

  • Food and nutrition (obviously I couldn’t not mention food being slightly obsessed about it)
  • The lingo
  • The regime
  • The equipment
  • The competitons
  • The community

and much more…

A way I will be measuring my progress is with stats, my body measurements but also the personal bests I’m getting during my workouts, as my personal best are a little thin on the ground right now (only done 5 WOD so far). I’ll give you my starting measurements as of today 10th September 2014

  • AGE: 37
  • Weight: 13 stone, 5lb
  • Height: 5 foot, 5 inches
  • BMI: 31.1 (I know this isn’t very accurate as doesn’t take into account muscle mass but it’s another stat I can use to see my progress)
  • Chest: 40 inches
  • Waist: 36 inches
  • Hips: 48 inches
  • Thigh: (R) 27.5 inches, (L) 27.5 inches
  • Bicep: (R) 13 inches, (L) 14 inches

So the hard work starts now… eekk!! Check back in a month to see how I’m getting.