25.5.15

#Whole30 with The Whole30 Book

Hooray! I have officially finished my fourth round of Whole30! Unfortunately I woke up on Day 31 a little under the weather so didn't feel much like celebrating. I did however treat myself with 3 Lindt truffles and one diet protein truffle from Protein Works. 

For this Whole30, I decided to freshen things up a bit; it's easy to get stuck in a rut cooking the same old recipes over and over again. So I updated my cookbook library and decided to take inspiration from each book on a weekly basis. 

For the first part I used Hemsley & Hemsley; The Art of Eating Well

For the middle 10 days or so I took inspiration from Deliciously Ella


The third and final book was the new release from Whole30 called The Whole 30: The official 30-day guide to total health and food freedom

The last few times I did my Whole30 I have to admit I wasn't fully in the picture. I knew I wanted to do it, so I just did. I scanned through the book, It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and dove straight in the deep end (quite unlike me!). 


Recipes I tried included, sausage patties with sweet potato mash and caramelised onion, beef brisket, romesco garlic prawns with courgette noodles (pictured below), steak with garlic shallot relish (pictured below), greek salad (pictured above), spinach and tomato frittata and coconut curry chicken. 



What have I taken from the last 10 days? 
These ten days were probably my favourite due to not having to work out which recipes were compliant and which weren't. All of the recipes were easy to make, I even got to whip out my slow cooker for the beef brisket.

One part of the book I love is the section on sauces - it can be a big deal when you do whole30 and can't add ketchup / BBQ / sweet chilli sauce to your meals for a little added flavour! I love making my own mayonnaise and using it to make quick meals like jacket potato with tuna mayo.

What have I taken from the whole experience? 
Since completing whole30, I'd say I have been about 50% non compliant; a few days after finishing, and then being unwell, I took part in my first ever triathlon and used my tried and tested methods of fuelling myself. After my event, and some more swimming, and running I just feel like I can't calm my hunger. I'm happy to have a relaxed week or two and then get back to 80:20. I think part of the issue has been that I haven't been using a structure or a book so I guess I'll have to choose another book and get meal planning to get me back on track. 

Each time I complete whole30 I think I learn a little more about myself, my body and the way I eat. This time, I focused heavily on post workout nutrition and worked hard to add more vegetables to my meals. I also tried to mix breakfast up a bit and not rely so heavily on bacon and eggs - my new breakfast crush was chia pudding!

Doing whole30 always refreshes my awareness of what is in the food I eat, what I don't need and how I can make healthier choices for long term results. I've even started making my own almond milk this time round and started buying more organic ingredients (within my budget). It's not cheap, but we only get one body. 

Are you considering a whole30? What is holding you back? 

What's your favourite whole30 recipe?! 

Check out my whole30 Pinterest board for inspiration! Beware though, I'm not afraid of a little SWYPO (google it!).

Elle :) 

22.5.15

Garmin Eton Supersprint 17.5.15 #MyMoments

It's the day after I've officially become a triathlete and I don't quite think it has sunk in yet. It's crazy (good) how much went into preparing for this day, all in the lead up to Windsor Triathlon in June.

Forty eight hours before I was due to be on the start line, I woke up feeling very, very unwell. I had an uncomfortable stomach, a headache, felt tired lethargic which totalled to not feeling capable of going to work never mind taking part in a three disciplined event. I spent the next 2 days resting, hydrating and feeding my body with nourishing foods.

It meant I woke up on Sunday 17th May able to make my way across London and take part in my first ever triathlon.

Swim 400m | Bike 21.2km | Run 5km 

Transition

Image Credit: Human Race FB

Setting up for the race start went quickly. We entered transition with just under an hour to go and before I knew it, we were in the water ready to go!

I used the time to set up my transition area with all the kit I would need. So my bike kit and running shoes, plus towel and snacks to keep me going. I also finished getting dressed for the swim and squeezed into my wetsuit. Wetsuits were optional but there was no way I was going to be swimming without mine!

Swim | 400m | 27:02 

Five minutes before the start, we had our briefing. This is where I started to struggle; we entered the water for the briefing and had to tread water to stay afloat and listen. For me, not being well and nervous, treading water was a huge waste of energy. So by the time our start was signalled, I was completely stressed out! I made a go for it, then had to turn back and just gather myself and my thoughts together. I had a quick chat to the race marshals who got one of the guys in the kayaks to stay with me for my swim. This made me feel much more comfortable knowing someone would be keeping an eye on me!

Image Credit: Human Race FB

I tried to get in a rhythm swimming breaststroke but I was so nervous it was insane. I reverted back to breaststroke with my head out of the water which had its own difficulties; the first part of the course was against the current so meant I had waves splashing into my face. I swallowed some water a couple times which made me cough and splutter but when I needed to I was able to hang on to the kayak to catch my breath and regain composure. I eventually made it to the first buoy for a right turn which meant I was swimming across the current. Somehow this was only the finest bit easier with the waves splashing one side of my face! I gave front crawl a go and it felt quite comfortable, I just wasn't relaxed enough to keep it going!

At the next buoy it was another right turn and heading for the finish line. By now I was relieved to be swimming / taken along by the current! I gave front crawl another go and managed to make it to the shallow part of the lake just before I got joined by the wave behind me! The kayak crew were amazing; they obviously knew the lake really well and instructed me where the lake was shallow and would get deep then guided me over to the ramp at the finish line.

I was a little overwhelmed finishing the swim and exited the water into transition with a banging headache.

T1 | 4:08 

My bike was positioned right next to the "swim out" area so took me little to no time to find it. I got a little stuck getting my wetsuit off over my tomtom watch on my wrist and the timing chip on my ankle but eventually it was on the floor and I was dressed to ride in my tri suit, socks, cleated shoes, sunglasses and cycle jersey. I removed my bike from the stand and made a run / walk for the "bike out". Next up was 4 (approx) 5km laps of the bike course...

Bike | 21.1km | 1:01:17

I used the start of the bike section to get hydrated, refocus, get my legs into the swing of things and get some energy down me; I took along shotbloks to use as they taste great, are easy to digest and I have used them before. The first half of the bike lap was a little uphill and into the wind which made it quite uncomfortable. The second half however was flat and less windy so I just relaxed each time at the start of the lap and pushed to fishing each lap. I kept an eye on my pace on the watch to see if I could keep it consistent.

Image Credit: SportCam 

T2 | 1:35 

I came through the "bike in" found my spot and switched into my trainers after racking my bike and removing my helmet. The "run out" was also next to my racking spot so I just glugged down a little extra water and made a run for it.

Use code KISDISCOUNT to get £5 off your Human Race Triathlon!

Run | 5km | 32:44

The 5km run was an out and back twice. It was the place where you were closest to other competitors and the support between participants was amazing. By this point I was running with all the guys in the waves behind me but that didn't put me off at all!

Image Credit: SportCam
Coming into the finish line was a guy next to me who said "lets sprint finish" ...I thought why not! Then he said "race me! ...beat me to the finish!" ...so I mustered up the last bit of energy I had and gave it my all....


It was at this point that I started to look for my medal ...only to then realise that our "medal" was a t-shirt which we received before we even started the event. I was a little disappointed, and still am (I'd planned on sharing an amazing photo of my new bling live on FB when I got it!) but at the end of the day it doesn't take away from the fact that I AM A TRIATHLETE. I also have a orange swim cap to remember my wave and the awesome memories of the morning!


Check out the Race Report from Human Race {here} - I even got a little mention ;)

A huge Thank You to the volunteers on the day, especially the guys in the kayaks who supported me through my whole swim, the guy on the bike course who counted all my laps and gave me words of encouragement every time I cycled past him, all the competitors who spoke to me and kept me going through the run, to the guy who challenged me to sprint and race him across the finish line.

I love that before this day, I had no idea what time I could do this in and now I have a time to work on and I know where I can improve in the future. By no means am I done with triathlon. Four weeks left till Windsor and I plan on being there and working for that medal...

What was your first experience of triathlon like?! 


Elle :) 


p.s a huge Thank You to Human Race for the place in this event and support along my journey to Windsor. Thank You also to SportCam for the photographs. As always, all opinions are my own :) 

21.5.15

Hay Fever Survival with Boots

When Boots got in touch with me about trying out a few of their products to help with the symptoms of hay fever, it couldn't have been better timing! 

I'd had sniffles for a few weeks and suspected it was hay fever but just never got around to doing something about it. My "hay fever survival kit" arrived and sat on my dining table for a few days - till the Run Hackney 5km run on The Marshes where I suffered at the hands of pollen. 


So for the Run Hackney Half Marathon the next morning, I was prepared! The kit also included a handy water bottle for running, a waist pack and sunglasses. I opted for the Irritated Eyes Mist as you use it externally and works with contact lenses. I also tried the Nasal Spray - it actually is a peppermint flavoured (smelling?!) powder that creates a barrier to stop allergies. 

The nasal spray and eye mist helped me to shift my focus away from what the weather / allergens were doing to my body allowing me to focus solely on the race, and the experience of the morning! 

Here are some useful tips on how to prepare / deal with hay fever symptoms: 

Angela Chalmers, Boots UK Pharmacist explains: “Many people with hay fever wait until their symptoms strike before they take action, but the earlier you prepare, the better.  Here are some things you can do ahead of time:

1)      Speak to your pharmacist now so they can determine the right treatment for your personal symptoms so you can put an effective routine in place before the pollen count rises

2)      Nasal sprays should be used throughout the season for them to work effectively, not just when your nose starts twitching!

3)      Some eye drops can be used ahead of time to help reduce symptoms, so it is never too early to start a protection routine

4)      Remember that your sunglasses can help too so include them in your prevention plans – they act as physical guard against pollen exposure around the sensitive eye area and are an easy way to stay protected!

My mum suffers from hay fever symptoms far worse than I do and has been a regular user of the eyedrops pictured above before I was even sent this kit. She also dons her sunglasses when she ventures outdoors to help keep allergens away from her eyes.

I also keep a packet of tissues in my bag at all times too! Great for drying your eyes or blowing your nose when you're out and about! I'm determined not to let hay fever get the better of me or stop me from training outdoors while the weather is good!

Have you got any hay fever survival tips of your own?! 


Elle :) 

p.s Thanks to Boots for providing me with the products to test - rest assured all opinions are my own!

19.5.15

NEW Hiplok Gold & The Art of Bike Security


Sometimes I feel like being a cyclist in London comes with having your bike stolen. Hopefully after the first time you don't let it happen again. That's my plan. 

After my bike was stolen in September 2014 I resorted to only taking my bike to places that would allow me to take it in with me. Carrying my D lock was cumbersome and I remember when I borrowed a friends very heavy chain lock it basically wore a hole in my leggings! 

Then I discovered Hiplok. I paid them a visit at their Spin LDN stand a couple weeks ago to say hi and check out their product line. I picked up one of their postcards which contained the awesome graphics above showing you ways to secure your bike and how NOT to. It's an easy mistake to make when you're in a rush and the consequences are harsh. 

I've been using their new (Sold Secure) GOLD which launched this March, 2015. 




So far since moving back to Essex, I've been using my bike for trips to the Post Office - it's about 2km each way and just much quicker on a bike. The Hiplok has been handy to (not) carry by wearing it around my waist. When it's on, you barely notice that it's there ...and at 2.4kg that's not bad! 

For those that love to know all the technical specifications it's a 10mm hardened steel chain with a removable 600d outer sleeve which has a reflective chevron detail. The fastening (buckle) is a 12mm hardened steel shackle and steel lock body with a brass mechanism all in an impact resistant, super tough nylon case. Your lock comes with 3 keys included which are key coded and replaceable. 

It was a perfect fit for me; my waist I think is about 26 -28 inches depending which part you measure! The Hiplok GOLD fits a minimum waist of 24" and maximum of 44" making it pretty versatile. The size of it is perfect for locking my frame and back wheel together to the bike stand / post / something* (*delete as appropriate). I'm not one for taking off my front wheel though so I would defo invest in one of their smaller D locks to lock the front wheel to the frame (more on that soon hopefully).



I had my triathlon this weekend too and travelled over by train to the race so being able to wear my Hiplok (see images above) meant more space in my bag for kit and also meant I could stop for food after without having to worry about being able to keep my bike with me indoors!

Have YOU had a bike stolen? Any insider tips on locking your bike up?


Elle :) 

18.5.15

Guest Post: Raw Banoffee 'Cheesecake' Pie

A wee while ago, Elle took me on a dinner date to a gorgeous veggie/raw/healthy pop-up place called Redemption. It was incredible. Our desert was probably the best part: a raw, vegan, lemony cheesecake. It quickly became clear we needed access to the stuff more frequently in our lives, so I agreed wholeheartedly to create it. 

I was planning to make it just like the Redemption one: nutty base layer, creamy, lemony top layer. Simple. Then, one day, I had too many ripe bananas, and so THIS happened...!!


Raw Banoffee 'Cheesecake' Pie



(Gluten free, diary-free, refined sugar free, can-be-paleo, raw, really easy, goddamn tasty...)


Ingredients:



Base:

1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup gluten-free oats (switch for another 1/2 cup nuts for paleo)
1/3 cup dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

Toffee-caramel layer:

2 cups dates
1tbsp coconut oil
1-2tbsp maple syrup
Pinch sea/Himalayan salt

Banana cheesecake layer:


3 cups raw cashew nuts
3 medium ripe bananas
Juice 1 lemon
2tbsp maple syrup/raw honey
Cacao nibs


Method:


1. Soak the dates and cashews, (separately!): put the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit. Put the cashews in a pan of boiling water and let it sit at a rolling simmer whilst you make the base. 

2. The base: blitz everything together in a food processor (I used the grinding blade in my nutribullet) until you get a crumbly, damp-sand kind of consistency. Press this into the base of 6 ramekins or a single 15cm(ish) pie dish.



3. Turn the heat off under the cashew nuts, drain the water and leave to cool.

4. The caramel: drain the water from the dates - they should have softened.  Blend them up with the coconut oil and salt, adding a little maple syrup (and maybe a tbsp or two of boiled water) to create a smooth caramel-like paste. Layer this over the biscuit base and put the ramekins/ dish in the fridge to set whilst you make the cheesecake layer.



5. Blend all of the banana 'cheesecake' ingredients together, adding a tbsp or two of hot water to smooth the mix if necessary (careful, you don't want it to become runny; it should be the consistency of cheesecake!).



6. Layer this mixture over the caramel and sprinkle with cacao nibs. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 30 mins (or freezer for 10 if you're feeling impatient), then get your teeth into it!! 

7. WAAAAAHHH! It's all gone?! Go back to step 1.

Kate :) 



As a singer, yoga teacher and lover of all things tasty, I'm constantly reviewing my connection with my body - and, by extension, the food I eat. I got into cooking in my early teens, when creating the perfect brownie was the biggest life problem I faced. Now, after digestive problems, sugar crashes and migraines have led me to a largely sugar-,grain-, and dairy-free existence, my love of cooking is driven by the search for food that is satisfying and nourishing. And just so you know, I consider eating almond butter from the jar (daily) both satisfying and nourishing..."

Follow Kate on Instagram: @misskatelister or check out her band at www.thefoobirds.co.uk 

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