Lunchspiration

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Semi raw , quick & easy:
Lettuce/avacado/carrots dressed in honey mustard dressing with Ham & avacado roll up.

I needed something warm as it’s freezing today so had some green beans cherry tomatoes and good quality balsamic vinegar.

Very filling and delish!

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No excuse dishes.

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Here are a few recipes I use that can be adapted and easily prepared if you’re short of time!

Grilled Meat

1 breast of chicken/turkey butterflied (Heres how to do this).

Possible marinades:

Honey & Mustard (can also be used as a dressing)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

A glug of olive oil

½ tsp red wine vinegar

Season

Lemon and garlic

½ a lemon zest

½ a lemon juice

Chopped garlic

Season

Lime & paprika

½ Lime zest and juice

Soy sauce

Paprika

½ tsp coconut sugar/honey

Yoghurt

1 tbsp (full fat)Natural Yog

1 tsp paprika

½ lemon juice

1 tsp garlic oil/1 clove fresh

Seasoning

Sweet Potato Turkey Salad

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Turkey Pan fried in coconut oil or grilled –season

Salad leaves

½ avocado chopped roughly

8 halved cherry tomatoes

1 spring onion

150g sweet potato

Corn on the cob

Tsp garam masala

Coconut oil

Dijon & mustard dressing

  1. Chop sweet potatoes in cubes and roast in coconut oil & garam masala at 200c (fan) for 30 mins.
  2. Cover the corn on the cob with boing water and simmer for 15 mins on the hob.
  3. Chop other ingredients and place in bowl
  4. Drain corn on the cob and slice off the corn from the cob into the pan.
  5. Once sweet potato is soft all the way through remove from oven.
  6. Toss all together in a bowl and cover with dressing.

Root vegetable chips

root veg

These are what I rely on when reducing carbs.

1 x Parsnips or Carrots

Herbs of choice

Seasoning

Coconut oil.

Chop veg of choice into sticks and roasted in herbs (rosemary & thyme are my fave), in coconut oil 200c (fan) 30 mins.

Aubergine in tomato sauce (serves 2)

Aubergine

1 red onion

1 clove Garlic (or garlic oil)

1 tsp Oregano

Coconut oil/butter

Tin 400g chopped tomatoes

Pinch Coconut sugar

  1. Chop the aubergine into discs and roast in coconut oil at 200c for 30-35mins.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in oil of your choice ( butter or coconut oil)
  3. Add chopped tomatoes & oregano and a pinch of coconut sugar ( to take the bitterness from the tomatoes)
  4. Simmer sauce for 20 mins
  5. Once aubergines are golden remove and serve with sauce and some veg.

 

Veg side dishes.

Spring greens– Chop desired amount of spring green into strips. Place in pan with a little water butter & chilli (dried or fresh) cover and simmer until steamed to your liking.

Green beans– Boil or steam.Drain place back in pan, then squeeze lemon juice and drizzle garlic olive oil (or fresh garlic) and season.Alternatively use balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.

 

Cauliflower rice- Chop florets of a full cauliflower and place in a processer or blender. Cover with cold water. Pulse until a rice consistency is formed. Drain. To cook– sauté with chives/spring onions in butter until soft.

 

 Sardine Nasi Goreng (my take on it)-makes 1 ½ portions (keep for lunch)

nasigoreng

Can of Portuguese sardines in water (can use meat if you prefer)

2 tsp tomato puree

Cup of cauli rice.

1tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp chilli flakes

Garlic oil or fresh garlic

Sweetcorn/peas (optional)

2 spring onion chopped

2 eggs beaten

Coconut oil

  1. Cook cauli flower rice as above.
  2. Heat coconut oil and add eggs, let set omelette style- once cooked shred egg and place to the side
  3. Add more oil and add tomato puree, garlic chilli to the pan until a paste forms.
  4. Add cauliflower rice, sweetcorn/peas and 1 ½ spring onion.
  5. Add crumbled sardines and egg
  6. Add soy sauce to taste.

Avocado & lemon.

I live off this!

½ avocado, mashed drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice -season well.

 

My favourite Breakfast.

smoothie

Post workout smoothie.

Add to a blender:

Frozen banana & blueberries

300ml almond milk or KOKO coconut milk.

½ scoop PhD diet vanilla protein

1 tsp mixed spice

Blend until smooth

Chorizo scrambled eggs (Sunday fave)

  1. Whisk 2 eggs and one egg white, chopped chives and one spring onion.
  2. Chop chorizo into small slices
  3. Add ½ tsp butter to pan and fry off chorizo –don’t burn it!
  4. Turn heat down and add egg mixture whilst scrambling until at preferred consistency.
  5. Season –lots of black pepper!
  6. And voila!

Oh and pure Butter is GOOD! High fats /low carbs = perfect fat burning combo!

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How Paleo forced me to become an amateur cook.

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I often get asked when I mention my (mostly) Paleo diet to friends and colleagues – ‘what the hell do you eat then?’

I used to think this too!
When I first started Paleo I found it hard to adhere to the strict lifestyle choice of no gluten, wheat, sugar, dairy etc. I nearly caved multiple times in my first year of trying it; this also led to unnecessary binges.

Something had to be done. I was soo bored and tried to convince myself that I was actually enjoying my lone poached egg, my tasteless grilled chicken and plain veg, day in day out.  Who was I kidding?

Looking at these pics, would you have kept to it?

boring eggs boringveg

Having a talented cook as my other half helps massively. Dave encouraged me to eat his home cooked food and not count calories. He introduced me to amazing chefs, and took me to awesome restaurants, and street food stalls.

I used to hate cooking – Until I started to appreciate food for what it is. The idea of it just being ‘fuel’ is demotivating and boring. Why can’t every bite of your everyday meal be satisfying and delicious? Why, indeed.

This was the point in my life (back in 2011ish) when I thought I both fail and give up, or I seek help and educate myself.

Those close to me will know I don’t do failure; there is no such thing as ‘cant’. So, I started to ask questions, I learnt how to prep food and how to cook properly. No more chopping at chicken to see if it’s cooked, resulting in a badly butchered heap, no,   instead I learnt to insert a knife and test the temp on my wrist (little trick for you there). Steak- don’t put oil in the pan, rub it in- oh and olive oil smokes, use butter or coconut oil on a low heat. Little tips and tricks here and there that changed the way I cooked, and made it interesting.

Importantly I started to develop my tasting skills. What goes with what? – This being the most difficult task of all when preparing a meal. I started to make my own rubs and spice mixes such as a really simple take on Ras el hanout. ( 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp cumin-easy.)

I realised that you don’t have to go out and buy new stuff for each meal-saving money and time. Instead, look in the fridge, then grab a recipe book and put two and two together-and it’s not like baking, you can really throw in pretty much anything you like, chop and change recipes to what you have available.

I decided that to be Paleo, it was important to make cooking enjoyable, (I thought it could never be anything but a chore) and most of all different and changeable.

My goal was to switch up the usual green veg and meat, and by educating myself I discovered that small additions such as flavoured oils, butters and simple dressings could transform a meal.

Obviously it took time, over the year I went from being sick of the sight of grilled chicken, to planning multiple different meals and recipes throughout the week, which was saving me time and effort when I arrived home for tea.

Recipe books that saved my life were:

The LEON cook books, they explain everything about food for an amateur; cuts of meat, herbs and lists of what to put with what. They also specialise in Gluten, wheat and dairy free (probably due to market demand for GF/WF in London) which make everything easier for a Paleo girl!

My most recent find is my much talked about Paleo bible ‘fitter food for life’  by Fitter London. If you are considering, or are currently struggling with Paleo I urge you to grab a copy – it’s helped so much!

My most used links are :

http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/ – lots of categorised recipes.

http://ohsheglows.com/ – I love this because she has a similar eating problem as me, and is really informative and positive.

http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-diet-recipes/ – A well-known recipe site, with easily adaptable, simple and tasty dishes.

If all else fails, GOOGLE IT. Easiest trick in the book –for example search ‘ Paleo sweet potato and turkey salad recipes’ and hit go. Pick a dish with ingredients closest to what’s in your cupboard/fridge ( or switch them up) and you’re sorted. Not as hard as you think is it? You don’t even have to know what you’re doing, just follow the recipes!

Benefits I have seen from Paleo

(  based on my own experience)

  • WEIGHTLOSS

I went from 10 stone 7 to 9 stone (3lbs either side depending what day it is!) over 3 years- this was on a low carb Paleo lifestyle with HIIT training- I also look in the mirror without weighing myself and feel like ‘yeah I actually look alright.’ Before Paleo, I hated my body!Girls- I used to suffer with cellulite and told my self it was hormonal and hereditary, but its now gone completely.

  • No ACNE

I have suffered from acne for years ever since I was a teenager, up until about a year ago I was on a constant cycle of antibiotics. I had already cut dairy out ( a known trigger of acne) so I made the brave decision to stop the antibiotics as they were causing so many problems with my stomach, and I didn’t like being on medication all the time.  What was the worst that could happen? – I already had a really good skin care regime and had flawless skin ( due to the antibiotics). By this time I had been eating a paleo’ish’ diet for about 2 years, and obviously the antibiotics were masking the whole acne problems. When I came off them I got a small breakout on my jaw ( common with stress and hormone change) and I pretty much expected it. But after that they cleared up and I only get a few which I can live with!  I honestly believe my acne has cleared up due to my diet of low sugar/gluten and dairy- and that comes from a girl who has been on medication for years and years and had pretty much accepted that was how it would be for the rest of my life!

  • Energy and clear thinking.

Ever since I reduced gluten( which was the first thing to go) I feel that I can just get up and go –apart from in the depths of winter, then I’m not so sprightly. In the summer though I’m up at 6 am running by the beach, I find it the best start to the day, it really is an amazing feeling ( not to sound cheesy but the beach at that time is just gorgeous!). I look forward to my smoothies for breakfast and have a reason to get up! I just feel more focused and content. I have a short attention span, and because I have more energy, my work is definately better!

  • NO MORE BLOAT

Since ditching high carb products my stomach is the flattest it’s ever been. Bar my food related IBS flare ups, I can fit in my size 8’s easily and don’t have to hide my stomach with stomach skimming tops! ( i still love my high waisted jeans for my cake days though haha!)

 

The Cons of Paleo

  • No Cake.

I couldn’t cope with this, so I started to bake Paleo treats ( so many sites/apps out there), but because no one else is ever eating at mine, I tended to eat all the treats i’d made-which quickly adds up to lots of calories. Instead if I want cake, I’ll eat cake, then get back to low carbs for the rest of the week.

 

  • You realise how bad alcohol is, but still do it.

I LOVE Prosecco and cocktails and Limoncello and red wine-which is well documented on instagram! When you’re Paleo you’re not meant to drink, but as above, life is not worth living as a twenty something without alcohol and when you love food as much as I do you need to drink something with it!

BUT beware your next few workouts will be terrible, I can’t lift a thing until Tuesday at least! OH and alcohol makes you eat. Pizza, chips anything in sight, even more so when you’re usually Paleo so  bear that in mind!

A point to add is, try not to have ‘treat days’ these have been detrimental to my eating issues, i.e. made them worse! So just focus on feeling great, eating well the majority of the time and realise that one bit of cake won’t make any difference, ( yes you will gain a few ‘pounds’ over the next few days, but this is just water and food weight not real fat pounds!)

You need to be happy, and if that means you fancy cake and Prosecco, have it, you can adapt your eating over the next few days to make up for any indulgences.

These philosphies have been a long time coming, and I have only gained this knowledge and acceptance through talking to the right people and by having a supportive network of friends and trainers.

Because Paleo is a complete life change, it does take a long time to adjust , and when I finally got on track it was brilliant.  I now love planning meals and all it took was investing some time and effort into learning how to cook and researching in my spare time. I’ve heard ALLLL the excuses and all I can say is if you want to change you will do it.

Oh and if you tell me I’m obsessed,  then you need to step back and realise what you’re missing. I LOVE fitness and health because I know how it makes me feel.  It’s all about self-educating and goal setting. If that makes me obsessed because I’m eating food that is home grown and non-processed then god help us all!

Check out my recent recipes and workouts in my other posts!

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New year… New you??!

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January.
 A bleak, depressing, deprivation filled month.
January.
A positive, energetic, and goal filled month.
I choose the second statement.
 January should be a time to reset the mind and body, rid it of all the wonderful but ‘bleurgh, I feel so bloated’  food that caused us all to swear to get active come January 1st ( after that New Years Day Roast).
You’ve all re-joined the gym, rid the cupboards (or hidden) the chocolate and wine until ….when? 1 month, 6 weeks, a year?
Why not for life?
 You’ve only realistically (in most cases) fallen off the ‘normal’ bandwagon for 2 weeks ( max a month.)  So why, because of a commercial  ‘new year , new you’ would you set short term goals?
We all know that only a small percentage will actually stick to it.(Don’t we…?)
I am saying this in hindsight..
Usually come January I  bite the bullet, and weigh myself to determine the damage,(cry) then set myself an OTT workout. I then revert back to my usual Paleo way of eating. –but without any treats or alcohol ( even on special occasions) Then come Feb I go mental from boredom/deprivation, have a massive binge and beat myself up for the rest of the month, and repeat, and repeat. I only broke the cycle when I had my revelation and started this blog. From then on , as you have seen things have been up and down. But mostly up!
So, this year I haven’t done anything drastic,  I’ve set the usual HIIT goals at the gym ( that I mix up throughout the year to keep things fresh), and cut carbs down because I feel sluggish ( and know from experience that this really helps me), but if I feel myself really struggling with energy, I can have some carbs, it’s not a problem. In general I don’t eat sugar, but again if I am desperately craving some, I’ll have some dark choc or something, and this isn’t until a month, 6 weeks or a year, it’s just until I feel like I’m back to normal.
The biggest change this year is I haven’t weighed myself, and I feel fine about that too.
 quoteMy New Year so far has started on a high note, with a bout of good luck in the job search and a real boost to my self esteem. Why would I want to ruin that with weighing myself and having that all turned on its head by a number? The answer is I don’t. I might weigh myself after this week, but we will see. I quite like having a ‘holiday’ from the scales.
If you’re interested in going Paleo. The benefits are endless, and I find Mark’s daily apple a great source of info, re-educate yourself about eating and nutrition. It’s the best thing you’ll do all year.
 
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