So it comes to that time of year again when everyone is trying to get that bikini body for their holidays. I still see lots of people, especially women, reaching for all sorts of expensive potions and processed shakes to achieve this, but let’s keep in mind that these are short term fixes (if they even work at all!) and usually involve some sort of laxative effect….fun.
So why not try a real food, nutritious way of starting your day combined with a good exercise plan for the time leading up to your holidays and actually properly care for and nourish your body this year? Go on, your body deserves it.
I designed this smoothie based on foods that have beneficial effects on metabolism and exercise performance (see below for more details) meaning it’s great to have first thing in the morning and best combined with some exercise. Don’t forget to fill the rest of your day with wholesome nutritious meals as well, try my avocado pesto, green omelette, chilli Pb stirfry or rainbow summer squash salad.
I’ve been making a lot of my own milks recently and thought I’d share one of my favourites to show people just how easy making your own actually is. Not to mention how much cheaper it is as well, pretty much everyone will have some desiccated coconut in their cupboard for baking purposes and it’s quite cheap to get these days. When you consider how much that entire bag costs and how much milk you can get out of it, it works out to be soooo much cheaper, so if you often feel a bit ripped off buying pre made milks then I highly recommend giving this a go. It’s also great to have the know how incase you find yourself needing plant based milk but don’t have any in the fridge and can’t get to the shops.
Another benefit of homemade is that it’s free from any emulsifiers/thickeners which some people may be allergic to or can’t have due to dietary lifestyles. There are brands out there that make milks without anything added which you can get if you needed to, one of my favourites is the Oatly organic version which is simply, oats, water and a pinch of salt.
Have you ever been in the position where you’re at a social event or just out with a friend and you guys decide to grab something to eat, but when you go to order you begin to make excuses for what you want to choose?
“Oh, I did a really hard workout this morning so I’ve earned this bit of toast” or “I haven’t really eaten much today/this week so it’s ok for me to have this scone rather than the green juice”.
Well, you’ve just food shamed yourself, feeling like you shouldn’t have that scone even though you really want it because you’re afraid of what the other person might think or say, after all, you are meant to be the healthy one, right?
Or even more annoying is when someone else does it to you, “oh you’re going to eat that are you, I didn’t think you’d ever eat that?!”
I’ve got this a few times and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear.
We all have our good days & bad days
Being an honest healthy eater
I feel this is an important topic to share because if people view healthy eating/wellness as something that never involves the occasional indulgence or means never being able to have a slice of toast again it puts people off ever trying in the first place, or worse, it could encourage a very negative, restrictive relationship with food.
As a person who is passionate about and promotes health and wellness I do try to show people that there is a balance which makes it easier to stick to and to be honest that not all wellness gurus are perfect kale chompers 100% of the time. Furthermore, I feel that for most people it’s nearly impossible to do this, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a restaurant where they don’t do a single wholegrain option and I’m not a big meat eater so it’s either choose some white rice risotto or have nothing but a plate of veggies. Likewise when I’m socialising with friends I’ll loosen the reigns and enjoy the get-together by sharing a few slices of pizza with my friend. (more…)
UPDATE: Co Couture is now closing down in the city centre to focus on branding and selling their products to local businesses/suppliers, hopefully we can still get their products locally and they open a new premises somewhere else soon xx
Belfast chocolate lovers rejoice!
I thought I knew about all of the best spots in Belfast to grab a quality bite to eat/a treat but I only recently discovered the amazing, gourmet, Co Couture chocolate shop that resides beside City hall (left at city hall, past Cafe Nero, down some steps). When you first enter the shop, you’re immediately greeted with the smell of warm, melted chocolate, oh what a greeting it is! I was not the only customer to notice or appreciate this and it’s due to the chocolates being made on site with no door separating the seating area and kitchen, allowing the smells to float through.
The second thing that grabs your attention is the selection of chocolates and cute mini brownies on display. During my visit there were two brownie flavours: classic and salted cashew butter (gluten free). As for the chocolates, there was quite a range (and still more to come), some of which included: orange, hazelnut creme, Japanese cherry sencha (this was my choice) and even Irish whiskey truffle!
You get one of these chocolates with your order of coffee/hot chocolate and the rest are 80p each, which is an absolute bargain when you understand the high quality of these treats, evidence of which could be seen from the many awards that sat upon the shelves.
Impressive chocolate flavour
Immediately upon tasting the chocolate you’ll realise that these are very different from your average box of chocs that claim to be “dark” yet are only 40% cocoa solids. These differ not only in terms of darkness (most are 72%) but the flavours as well, which is also extended to their hot chocolate drink.
As the makers have slowly replaced raw unrefined cane sugar with the smallest amounts of honey, this allows the flavours to come through so much more, plus, you aren’t hit with a sugar rush which is why I feel most people would be satisfied and satiated with a small selection as opposed to having that uncontrollable sugar craving that is commonly associated with standard chocolate.
As I’ve just briefly mentioned, one of the key factors behind the rich flavour is that nearly all of them are now refined sugar free with only small amounts of honey being used and a bonus for those who are lactose intolerant/avoiding dairy is that the dark chocolate is dairy free. Furthermore, the base couverture chocolate that is used is organically sourced and originates from Madagascar, which provides a more developed, fruity flavour.
Another major plus which I loved is that because they use couverture chocolate in bar form rather than sourcing and grinding the beans themselves, this provides x4 times the profit for the cocoa farmers meaning that they get a better wage, now if that wasn’t a good enough reason to get you in there then maybe this next point is. The ganache that is made here to create the truffle centre is water based rather than cream, meaning it’s lower in calories but due to the overall rich cocoa content of the chocolate it does not affect the flavour.
Before you think it, kale is not on the list, I purposely left it out as I wanted to highlight other foods that I felt people wouldn’t normally think of or expect. These are all easily available in all shops and at very cheap prices.
There are also many, many more that I could add to this list but I decided to keep it short so that I didn’t bore anyone with too many long explanations, so remember that there are others out there and that eating a varied diet is a great idea.
This post is also very similar to another one I did called Everyday superfoods so I suppose you could see this as a part 2 in a way, I hope you find the info in both helpful.
So if you’ve even glanced at my blog before then you’ll know I’m a cacao maniac! I love the stuff, I honestly feel it’s one (if not thee!) best thing I’ve discovered. Therefore, when I found out there was a book about chocolate, it’s origins & the bean-to-bar process, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
FYI: Cacao refers to the less processed product & chocolate refers to the more processed typical form.
With a Masters in Food security, I do like to learn all I can about the food we eat and where it comes from, I’ve learnt so much from this book and feel that it should be shared with as many people as possible, so please share this post if you find it helpful.
The book I read and have used info-graphics from was “Chocolate- indulge your inner chocoholic” by Dom Ramsey.