27.2.15

Eat Evolve: Optimal Nutrition for the Busy City Lifestyle


Just last month when I quit my third round of whole30, things were a bit hectic. I just couldn't get into the groove of food prep (all explained in my why I quit whole30 post).

For the week following when I was due to finish whole30 I'd arranged for a delivery from Eat Evolve. They specialise in convenient food for those of us who are health conscious. ...sounds just like what I needed, right?!

My delivery arrived on a Tuesday as it was outside the M25 (inside the M25 deliveries arrive on Mondays) in a perfectly sized box that would be easy to carry home if you got it delivered to work. The plan was, I choose 5 sides and 5 mains...


They come packed in plastic pouches meaning you can cook them via sous vide (boil in the bag) or open them up and microwave them. This packaging meant they were easy to carry to work with me even when I was cycling as they took up minimal space and were spill proof! They then only took 3-4 minutes to warm up which is perfect when I only get 30 minutes for a lunch break.

Meal 1 | mango and coconut chicken curry with golden raisin & cauliflower rice 


This was the first time I've ever eaten cauliflower rice; it was an amazing substitute though and I would make it again if it comes out like this! The entire meal was amazing from the time I smelt it heating up in the microwave!

Meal 2 | lemon thyme salmon & roasted turnip carrot and walnut


This was the first time I was trying turnips too! A lot of firsts for me in just two days!

Meal 3 | turkey escalope & sweet potato pesto noodles 


The noodles were one of my favourites mainly because I could hardly believe they were made from sweet potato and not pasta or egg! I felt like they were a guilty pleasure! I googled them and apparently they are Japanese. If I can get my hands on these I would definitely keep a stack in my cupboard!

On the other hand, the turkey was my least favourite of the mains. turkey can be a dry meat as we all know so I'm not a huge fan of it. I would choose it again on my menu but probably only for some variety.

Meal 4 | slow braised beef with chorizo & summer peas with mint

Another yummy meal!

Meal 5 | lamb tagine & ratatouille 

My second time having ratatouille which went pretty well with the lamb tagine.

The Verdict 

Not much else to say really....everything was delicious! This was definitely one of the BEST WEEKS (food wise) in my life! The portion sizes were perfect - I didn't need to snack after or add anything extra and it took the pressure off me. I just had to put together breakfast and another meal (usually dinner).

Their meals are all Paleo, with some even being whole30 compliant. So if you decide to give whole30 a go and think you may struggle you could use this to supplement what you whip up in the kitchen.

They have a variety of packages with meals costing £11 each (based on package of 5 meals).

Go right now and check them out! | www.eatevolve.com 

Have you every used a meal delivery service?! 

Elle :) 

p.s Huge thanks to Eat Evolve for providing me with a 5 meal package - rest assured all opinions are my own (I mean, we're talking about food here!). No write up was requested but I genuinely loved the meals so much I wanted to share :) 

24.2.15

Vitality Brighton Half Marathon #MyMoments


The day finally arrived. The day of my first Half Marathon for 2015. A day I actually trained for.

This is how the event went for me. 

It seems that the key to a PB may be a bacon sandwich, 2 mini apple danishes and a cup of coffee for breakfast. That's what I did on the day I shaved 20 minutes off my Personal Best time from Hackney Half Marathon in June 2014.

In the week before the event I was a little apprehensive. I was excited but at the same time I wasn't sure if the training I did would make a difference. Chatting to Bethan, she asked (very kindly) if I would want her to pace me; I couldn't very well turn that down. We opted for a goal time of approx 2 hours and 10 minutes.

My training started 10 weeks before race day; a plan with just 3 runs per week. I've never trained for a half marathon before so I didn't know if this was enough,. I also couldn't honestly commit to anymore. When I missed a weeks worth in January and got ill, I was pretty sure I'd have to focus my efforts on a potential PB at a later race.

Vitality Brighton Half Marathon - 25th Anniversary 



Start Location: Madeira Drive, Brighton Sea Front

Start Time: 9am

The Start: We were assigned start waves based on predicted times we had given at point of registering. Bibs were colour coded and printed with times to remind us. We (Bethan, Georgina and I) started just ahead of our wave sticking to the left to allow others to take over if necessary. Oh and it rained...confetti :)

The Route: The route in my mind consisted of three sections. The start was a small northbound loop into the town and back to the seafront. We then headed east and back again to the centre point / start before heading west and back again to the finish. The majority of the route was close to or along the seafront. At one point in the final 3 miles where there were less supporters I could actually hear the waves which to me was magical.


I'd convinced myself the route was flat, and as courses go, I guess it wasn't too bad. The few ascents were longer meaning it didn't burn too much! And as Bethan reminded me on route, what goes up...must come down.

Hill Mantra: head down, knees up 

I spotted every single mile marker too which might be a first! They were big, bright and well placed.

The Crowd: The streets were lined with many a supporter. From families, friends, charities to other runners who'd finished (in the later stages of the race). I even spotted a few friendly London faces (Thanks Becca, Nikki, Christine) who seemed to be positioned at the points where I appreciated a wave and a smile most.

The Atmosphere: Everyone seemed friendly enough and I didn't witness or fall victim to anyone doing anything stupid!


The Drinks: There were 3 drink stations on the course, at approx 5km, 10km and then somewhere way after I needed it...past the 15km mark! Both water and Lucozade were on offer; I've only ever trained with water so stuck to that!

The Loo Situation: Plenty were at the start line and some along the course.

The Finish: The crowds were amazing and the MC was encouraging. Once we crossed the finish line, the funnel was wide. Foil wraps were provided along with more drinks. Then there was some congestion for goody bags followed by a little more congestion for medals.


The Medal: The congestion was worth it though...the medal is huge. It is definitely a reflection of the event and the celebrations. It's pink too! ...and states the year...in fact, it has the entire date on it which I love!

The Statistics: They speak for themselves really! I wore my Nike+ GPS watch programmed with current pace and distance on the main screen. I actually didn't check it that much and used Bethan as my guide. Bethan and Georgina both "speak" in miles whereas I speak in KM so I didn't always have a clue of our pace. Bethan informed me we were ahead of pace and I was comfortable so we stuck there.


I've never run such a consistent pace in my life - I couldn't actually believe it when my I saw that my fastest KM was my final one!

My Official Time: 2:01:33

A HUGE THANK YOU to Bethan for even suggesting pacing me today! Thanks also to Georgina for sticking with us!

All in all, this event is definitely up there in my top 5 race days! The organisation was impeccable, the route was just the right amount of flat vs challenging and lucky for us all, the weather man played ball with sunshine, a few clouds and a light cooling breeze!

Have you ever been paced? or considered doing it for someone else?! ...What PB are you currently chasing?!


Elle :) 

p.s And Thanks to Vitality Brighton for my place and for hosting me; it was amazing to be back in Brighton after graduating from the University of Brighton nearly 10 years ago! All opinions are my own :) some photos though are not - credit to Nikki and the BHM FB page 

23.2.15

Behind The Screen: Get to Know Me

In December, I was tagged by Leah of Naturally, Leah for this "get to know me" blog post! So I saved it to share with you for when I'm having some down time! That time is now! ...I'm also using this post to start a new series...Behind The Screen which literally will share what it says on the tin!


Four names that people call me other than my real name: 
Firstly, my real name (or full name) is Danielle. So number one is Elle. Then some people call me Dan (mum, godmother), D (friends) and some colleagues at work work have taken to calling me 'keepitsimpElle' (uh hum, zarabarayoga!)

Four jobs I have had (not counting current jobs): 
I worked in promotions whilst studying...this mostly entailed of standing in store talking to customers about certain products.
I worked as a Tennis Steward once. I'd just graduated and all my friends were doing it too! It was an extra two weeks of summer!
I workedin a Bar too...I wasn't very good at it. I dunno why.
And then I worked as a checkout chick. I transferred from the chilled aisle and all the boys told me I'd get fat from sitting down all day!

Four movies I have watched more than once:
Well, Elf is a favourite at Christmas time. I've probably seen Dirty Dancing, The Sound of Music a fair few times too!
What else?!

Four books I'd recommend: 
Who moved my cheese?
Animal Farm
It Starts With Food
The Fault in Our Stars

Four places I have lived:
Barbados (home)
London / Essex (currently home)
Finland

...that actually is it :(

Four places I have been:
I could list quite a few!

South Africa
Toronto, Canada
Paris, France
Ibiza, Spain

Four places I wouldn't mind being right now:
Skiing in Whistler (I've heard amazing things about it)
On the beach in Thailand
At home in Barbados
Shopping in New York

Four things I don't eat: 
Dairy (I'm also lactose intolerant)
Calamari / squid
Capers
Marzipan

Four of my favourite foods: 
This is tough :) to just pick four.

Pineapple, almond butter, bacon and popcorn.

Four TV shows I watch: 
All the soaps! Eastenders, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Yup.

Four things I am looking forward to this year (next 12 months): 
Becoming a triathlete. Moving back into my own place. Turning 31. Holidaying somewhere.

Four things I'm always saying: 
Calm down mum. Amazing.

...can't think of, or not noticed anything else! I'm sure someone can fill me in!

Now it's my turn to tag a few people! That'll be Chi-Chi, Dani, Georgina and Carly :) 

Feel free to share your answers even if you haven't been tagged! You can leave them in the comments or blog about it and pop the link in the comments! 


Elle :) 


BEHIND THE SCREEN: There's more to me than blogging about health, fitness and food so I though I would share that! Posts on blogging, the behind the screen of my blog and life! 

20.2.15

Guest Post: Ujjayi Soup



So, this might seem a bit of a daft name for a soup, but hear me out! Ujjayi is a Sanskrit term that translates as "victorious", and is the type of breath used in most yoga practices. Using Ujjayi fires up the blood flow, centres the mind and calms the nervous system. It grounds you. And, well, I think this soup does too.

Earthy legumes and root veg are comforting without being heavy in the body. Simmering them steadily means they soak up the lovely warming thai flavours here, and become easier to digest. A crunchy red pepper and some kale (ah, kale!) add texture, and your daily doses of vitamins C and K (which are essential in the body's healing processes).




Very victorious. And it's simple, so: easy win!

Ingredients 

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes or 1 small-medium butternut squash (or a
combination of the two), peeled and diced
2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 litre vegetable stock (home-made or use a stock cube)
1 x tin chickpeas (in water only), drained and rinsed
1 x tin butterbeans (in water only), drained and rinsed
1 small red pepper, chopped into small pieces
3-4 handfuls of kale, spinach, or other leafy greens

Method 

1. Melt the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and celery and sauté gently until translucent.

2. Add the sweet potatoes/butternut squash and the curry paste, stirring to distribute the paste evenly over the vegetables.


3. Once well mixed, add the vegetable stock chickpeas and butterbeans and bring everything to a rolling simmer for 10-15 minutes.


4. Once the potatoes have softened, add the red pepper and greens and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.


5. If you're not in a hurry to eat, leave the soup to simmer very gently for a while longer, to allow the flavours to develop. If you're starving, dig right in!

This recipe is vegan (just watch your thai curry paste; some contain anchovy extract or similar), but switching the beans for some cooked chicken or prawns (add them right at the end, with the pepper and greens) turns it into an easy Paleo/ Whole 30 meal instead (again, watch curry pastes and stock cubes for added sugars, flours etc).


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 

19.2.15

5 EssentElle Tips for Surviving Trade Shows

I've just spent a weekend working at The London Bike Show (with VeloVixen) and anyone would think I'm a novice. I made some rookie mistakes on Day 1 so I'm here to share with you, and remind myself how to survive the next one with 5 essentElle tips!


1. Take your own food / snacks

Unless you're a huge fan of bread, options are limited and expensive. I ended up having a bagel and a baguette all in one day due to the lack of choice. Pack snacks (healthy options?!) that don't need refrigerating. Day 2, I took along some quiche and salad.

Depending on the show though, there will be lots of samples around that can keep you going for a short while! You get to try out some of your favourites and try new things!

2. Be prepared to spend money / take cash

...there are usually many a bargain to be had at these kinds of shows. As an example,  I saved over 30% at The London Bike Show on a huge bottle of Cherry Active. So research who will be there and have a think before hand if there may be any purchases you would like to make.

With spending in mind, its worth noting that some vendors can't accept card payments so ensure you take some cash with you or work out where the nearest cash point is so you don't miss out on the deals!

3. Wear comfortable shoes


The day will involve lots of walking. Lots, and lots of walking. I actually saw a couple who had micro scooters...not abad idea! Your comfiest pair of trainers should do the trick!

4. Have your business cards handy

You never know who you are going to meet! I always bump into people I know who I haven't seen in a while or only see at trade events so it's good to reconnect and send them away with a way of remembering you. I also get chatting a lot with new people, networking; you never know, you could possibly find a way to work together in the future!

5. Stay hydrated / carry a refillable water bottle


This is a massive one for me as I have issues remembering to drink enough water on a normal day never mind an extra long day of non stop talking! On day 1 of The London Bike Show I figured I could pick up a free water bottle (they usually are in EVERY goody bag?!), but nope, not that day! So when I got the chance I popped out and bought a big bottle.

The best option is to carry a refillable water bottle, one with a filter even so you can just fill up at the nearest tap.

Any other tips you have for surviving long days at trade shows?! 

Elle :) 

17.2.15

Hot for 2015: RESHAPE at 1Rebel

It's a New Year and everyone is on the same bandwagon. Summer bodies are made in the Winter.

Fitness isn't just a trend though. It's a lifestyle that comes with added health benefits. I took on the task of checking out one of the newest kids on the block for Legal and General...


Location

1Rebel 

63 St Mary Axe, London 

A short walk from Liverpool Street and Bank. 

Class

RESHAPE, Full Body 30


Rebel Reshape is a highly intensive group experience designed to condition and reshape selected muscle-groups against a backdrop of bespoke playlists curated and mixed by internationally acclaimed DJs. Featuring the latest Woodway 4Front treadmills as well as the bespoke and patented 1R workout platform, Rebel Reshape is London's new benchmark in physical and mental intensity through exertion.

Facilities

A bottle of water and towels are all complementary. That's a little less weight to lug around in your bag all day! The changing rooms are sizeable and stunning with heated seats. Yup. The lockers are roomy and easy to use! Full to the brim with toiletries and all the necessary accessories - everything you could need! (I forgot my socks for my class - d'you think I should've asked if they had spare?!) ...It's a classy joint, right in the heart of the City (of London).


The Workout

I picked a 30 minute full body lunchtime class. The room is set up with treadmills at the side and benches in the centre of the room. When you book you're allocated a treadmill / bench number (this could prove useful when the class is busy).


We warmed up on the treadmill with a light jog. After a short time, we increased the speed, then again, and again till we were running. Three options were given, for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Being stiff and creaky after my long run the day before, I opted for beginners so I could get a feel for what we were up to!

We then hopped off the treadmill and were straight to the benches for some bodyweight exercises as well as some drills which used handweights.

With three sections on the floor, we hit up our entire body for sure! Exercises included plank walk, squats, squat jumps, burpees, crunches, bench press and lunges.

On the treadmill we did a sprint / hills section where I felt comfortable enough to push a little harder and faster than I normally would! Our final treadmill section was in dynamic mode - something I've heard a lot about and always wanted to try. In dynamic mode, your legs make the treadmill belt move. You hold on and just run as hard and fast as you can! I briefly got up to 9.9km/hr but it was TOUGH!

Class was wrapped up nicely with a quick stretch and our instructor Melissa, also informed us not to forget our complimentary lunch on the way out! I'm not sure if this is a regular thing, just an opening thing or just a Monday lunchtime thing, but it was the icing on the cake! I grabbed myself a chicken and veg wrap from their in-house re-fuel bar Roots&Bulbs and was on my way to the rest of my day!


My Verdict 

I'm not a huge fan of this class format but I appreciate the benefits. If you're a runner, it can help you increase your speed through working on sprints. and hills. It also ensures that you cross train, lift some weights and strengthen your body all round and not just through running.

If you're a non runner, there's no better place to get acquainted with running than on a treadmill! Build up some speed and confidence to hit the pavements! I didn't pay too much attention to the music as I was fully immersed in my workout...this can only be a good thing?!

Also...

1Rebel also host indoor cycling classes named RIDE. I'm keen to get down there to check them out as for me music makes a spin class!

1Rebel | The New Face of Fitness | www.1rebel.co.uk  

What's your favourite class concept?! 

Elle :) 

photo credits: 1Rebel 

16.2.15

Refresh

After the hectic festive season, I honestly thought I had life on smash. Then I got sick, just about got better, then sick again and January hadn't even ended yet. Clearly, there was something for me to learn form this episode. 


Then this email dropped into my inbox sharing some simple, but great tips...

Five top tips to feel refreshed this winter from psychologist and life coach Becki Houlston:

·      Play music – Plugging your headphones in and playing a track which reminds you of summer is a great way to evoke positive feelings. Switching off and listening to the beats will alter your emotional state for the better.

·      Light it up – With dull days and longer nights, we’re prone to feeling blue. Buy a light box to trick your brain into releasing a natural cocktail of hormones and endorphins which will make you want to smile throughout the day.

·      Make plans – It’s tempting to curl up on the sofa every night, but making plans gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day, which will alter your state of mind in the hours before.

·      Balance your body – What you put into your body will affect the feelings that come out. Don’t neglect your health and steer clear of calorie-laden hot options, instead reach for a refreshing and hydrating drink.

·      Think positively – If your first thought in the morning is ‘grey’, the rest of the day will follow much the same. Steer your mind to focus on the things that are good in your life. A little positivity can be infectious!

Becki's a psychologist and life coach who teamed up with SQUASH'D to ensure we start the year on a positive, healthy note!

For me, the biggest one that hits home is 'Balance your body'. I've been eating too little (hard to believe), not eating at the right time (pre/post exercise) and not drinking enough water (cue headache when running). So I'm on a mission to drink more water each and every day; being dehydrated causes me to feel lethargic and unmotivated to move. SQUASH'D have just launched a new citrus flavour - something new to add to my drinks of choice; herbal tea and water.


How do you stay refreshed?! 

Elle :) 

13.2.15

Guest Post: Raw v Real Challenge: Key Lime Pie

Hi guys! I'm Lesli -- I work with Elle and I blog over at fit & happy. I'm thrilled that Elle has let me do a guest post for her on one of my favourite things: food! I love my fitness but I also love baking, so I've been playing around with whether or not I could make healthier sweet treats with less refined sugar and fats. Today's comparison is two delicious recipes for Key Lime Pie. Hope you enjoy it and that I'll see you over at fitandhappyonline.com soon!

As you probably already know, I love my various types of fitness and being active. What you may not know is that I also LOVE baking. So part of what fit & happy is all about is balancing out the two. 
Now, a lot of my recipes involve huge amounts of sugar, butter and all those other 'baddies' that make things sooo delicious. And I've wondered if I could make raw recipes that would taste just as good but be better for me (and all the friends I 'force' my baking onto). So when I came across the recipe for raw key lime pie, I knew what I had to do. 

I used a recipe from Kimberly Snyder for the raw version and the Hummingbird bakery version for the real pie. Other than limes there wasn't a single ingredient that was the same. I couldn't imagine how they would both end up like a key lime pie. 

First, the crusts: 



Real, on the left was crumbly and buttery while the raw one was actually nice and moist and tasty. It tasted a bit like a raw fruit snack bar (yum!). 

Next came the fillings. 


So, on the left we have the raw. I tried this filling straight out of the bowl and it was delicious!! I could've eaten the whole thing. Real? Well, it had 8 raw egg yolks in it so--no tasting before cooking! Ew! (That said, I have no problem at all eating raw cookie dough. Go figure.)

For the taste test I invited International Key Lime Pie Expert and wonderful friend Shahla over to weigh in on how they compared. 


Here's her expert opinion. 

Real: 'So good I wouldn't change a thing about it.' And 'I could actually picture this in a Hummingbird Bakery'. 

Aww! Love this girl! 

Raw: 'It's not as limey.' And (when there was some left on her plate that clearly wasn't going to be eaten) 'The texture was a bit much after a while.'

Oh dear. 

My opinion? The real was definitely lime-ier but the creamy, gelatiny filling was a lot for my taste buds after a bit. The raw wasn't as citrusy but it had a hint of coconut from the coconut oil in the filling which gave it a really nice tropical feel. 

In the end, when you compare them beside each other only one is clearly a key lime pie BUT as a stand-alone dessert I actually really liked the raw version and would confidently serve this if I needed a vegan-friendly dessert. Health-wise I'm not sure there's much advantage to the raw since there is sooooo much maple syrup and so many nuts in it, but if you're vegan, have egg allergies or are trying to cut down on refined sugar and dairy, it's a delicious treat. 


The winner: REAL

With Shahla's vote and some other opinions factored in, this Raw v Real challenge goes to the traditional pie.

And here's the raw recipe (from Kimberlysnyder.net)

CRUST INGREDIENTS* 
*Organic if possible
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked for 15 minutes and rinsed well
  • ¾ cup raw pecans
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 2½ Tbs. coconut nectar or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. high quality sea salt

FILLING INGREDIENTS* 

  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • ½ cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Put all the crust ingredients together in the work bowl of a food processor with the blade in place and process until the ingredients form a ball. Press into a 9-inch Pyrex pie pan.
Wash and dry the food processor bowl and blade. Add the filling ingredients to the bowl with the blade in place. Blend the filling ingredients together in the processor, and pour over the crust. Place in the freezer and allow to set for at least 3 hours or overnight. Take out and let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes, or as long as it takes to soften, before serving.

Do you have a favourite raw alternative dessert? What should I do for the next Raw v Real challenge? 
Lesli

12.2.15

Elle About Town, February 2015

Can you believe it?! We are pretty much half way through February of 2015! It's a big month for me, it's the month I get to put my training into action. Remember, it's my month of FOCUS. 

Here's what I've been up to or plan on getting up to in and about London Town! 

SPOTLIGHT: The Yoga & Chocolate Experience, Secret Urban Escape



On Saturday 21st February, I'll be getting my down dog on while my raw chocolate sets ready to be my post workout treat. Secret Urban Escape have planned yet another fantastic event taking place in a beautiful secret converted railway arch in Hoxton.

A 75 minute flowing yoga class sandwiched in between chocolate making and eating all kicks off at 1030am. I can't think of anything / anywhere better to do or be, can you?!

Social: Redemption Bar, Holborn  



I found out about this place via a friend! They serve non alcoholic cocktails and food that tantalised my tastebuds even though everything was vegetarian. I turned up unannounced one evening for cocktails and managed to convince them to squeeze myself and Kate in for dinner the following Friday! Best meal EVER! ...They'll be moving to permanent premises soon but will be in Holborn on Sundays and Mondays! Check them out here... www.redemptionbar.com


Social: Lab Organic, Covent Garden 



I've been meaning to pop in here for at least the last twelve months and I finally made it! I met up with fellow blogger, Victoria, of London Mewsings for a lovely catch up! I had a non dairy coffee milk concoction and a raw carrot cake muffin! The place is beautiful, clean, white, bright and they have free wireless internet. It was also peaceful so we could talk and actually hear each other!

Classes: Altitude Centre 

I hit up the Altitude Centre for a short class for my speed session in Half Marathon training. A series of sprints and my session was over. It was great to do my sprints in a class environment rather than just by myself though!

Here's more about the Altitude Centre {BLOG - Training at Altitude}

Food: PhD Woman Meal Replacement Bar 


I got sent a couple samples of the Caramel Crunch 60g bars to try out. I'm not on a diet of any sort and could never fathom replacing an entire meal with just one bar! But I used the ones I had as a post workout snack. They got me from the gym back home in order to eat my next meal. Definitely a great option to have in your bag should things not go to plan and you want to avoid making bad choices. It's not the most indulgent tasting bar I've ever eaten but I would definitely have them again!

You can find out more about the bars and the entire PhD Woman range {HERE}

Events: NTC Yoga, NTC Week, One Mayfair 


As a consolation for not getting a spot on the NTC classes for NTC week I wanted, Nike put on a huge affair on the Saturday. I attended the final yoga class in this exquisite and large venue. After running to the class, a good stretch was in order. I got both a stretch and a workout! They also provided food, juices and snacks post workout, most of which were Whole30 compliant!

Coming Up....

London Bike Show 
Catch me on the Thursday (today), Saturday and Sunday on the VeloVixen Stand!

Brighton Half Marathon
...is just over a week away! Time to get race ready - choose my kit, choose my fuel and rest my legs!

North London Half Marathon 
Just two weeks after Brighton, I have the North London Half Marathon! This is a new event and places are limited!

What's coming up for you in the next month?! 


Elle :) x

10.2.15

Guest Post: Health Benefits of Baobab Superfruit Power featuring Minveta

Hello all; Elle and I share the same first name (Danielle) but most people know me as Dani, from This Woman's Word. 
I have the pleasure of writing a guest post here on keep it simpElle so I'm taking the opportunity to talk about a favorite topic of mine…. Superfoods! Superfoods are heavily featured on my own health conscious lifestyle blog and today I will be enlightening you on the Health Benefits of Boabab Superfruit Power.


What Is Baobab?

For those not already familiar, Baobab fruit is a powerful superfood powder originating from Africa. It was the continents best-kept secret, until demand from the western world saw its popularity increase, especially amongst those in the health industry and individuals with a genuine passion for all things health and wellness.
Baobab is known as the “Tree of Life” and has been cherished by locals across the African continent for many centuries. It has a unique nutritional profile, with more Vitamin C than oranges, more iron than red meat, contains almost fifty percent fiber and has a rich content of alkalizing minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.


Health Benefits of Baobab


  • Revitalises and invigorates. Baobab powder is very high in Vitamin C and malic acid, which have strong energy-yielding properties. It helps improve your body’s utilization of food for efficient conversion into energy.
  • Boosts the immune system. Vitamin C and pre-biotic fibers in Baobab help boost your immune system.
  • Promotes a healthy digestive system. Baobab powder is high in digestive enzymes and pre-biotics that enhance the growth of pro-biotic bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Healthy nervous system. Baobab powder is high in potassium, essential for the nervous system, especially if you drink coffee, cola or alcohol and eat foods high in sodium.
  • Optimizes iron uptake. The presence of Vitamin C in conjunction with iron in baobab powder is particularly effective for increasing iron in your body *great for those with an iron deficiency*

Minvita Background


Minvita is a small British company dedicated to researching and sourcing 100% natural, healthy food and beauty products from around the world including Chia Seeds, Cacao Power and Mulberry Powder. Minvita also sell three versions of Organic Sprouted GABA rice.

My Thoughts on Boabab Superfruit Powder


A few months ago, the lovely folks over at Minvita were kind enough to send me a few of their products to try (including Baobab). This gem of a superfruit is bursting with flavor and is hands down the sweetest tasting and most palatable superfood powder I have tried to date. 
It is quite hard to describe the exact taste of Baobab but I am sure those who have tasted and regularly use Boabab Superfood Power would be in agreement with me saying that the taste resembles a cross between pineapple and melon with a subtle citrus hint.
Despite being fit and active whilst leading a health conscious lifestyle, my immune system has always been pretty weak, often resulting in me being susceptible to the common cold and flu like symptoms that tend to spread like wild fire during these cold winter months. 
However, since taking Baobab along with the other superfoods on a daily basis, I have noticed that my body has become more resilient and stronger in warding off these viruses and despite half of my colleagues at my day job currently off sick with common cold / flu like symptoms, my body has yet (touch wood) to succumb.
I have also noticed an increase in energy levels when taking a tablespoon mixed with water prior to a grueling workout or when my body feels depleted during work. 

Ways To Enjoy Baobab


Baobab Superfruit Powder is suitable for use in a wide range of food and drink products. The easiest way is to mix a dessert spoon (5g) into homemade smoothies and juices, on top of cereals / porridge, sprinkled into your favorite yoghurt or simply add to water or your protein shake.
Baobab can also be used as a cooking ingredient, turning everyday recipes for bread, cakes, and dips into healthy, nutrient rich treats for yourself, family, friends and work colleagues.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about The Health Benefits of Baobab Superfruit Powder. If you would like to find out more about the Minvita Brand featured in this article or simply purchase a tub of this fruity superfood, Minvita can be found online by visiting Minvita website, Menvita Facebook or by simply following them on Twitter.


About Dani 

I have been writing / blogging over at This Woman’s Word for just over 2 years and cover topics in Health, Fitness, Green Beauty, Wellness and Lifestyle. I am a qualified 1st Dan kickboxing coach under the PKA Kickboxing Association with a deep passion for encouraging people (women especially) to be more active whilst leading a healthy balanced life.
Connect with Dani via Twitter and Facebook :) 

9.2.15

TRI | CHECK | DO: Swimming is...


Trundling through Instagram late at night, I saw something that resonated with me. Someone has taken on a one mile swim challenge. They're saying how it's how ever many lengths of a 25m pool (sixty something lengths?!) and they just swam four and THAT was tough. But it's a comment below that resonates with me.

Swimming is humbling.

Humbling.

Not ten minutes before that, an email dropped into my inbox telling me there are just 4 months to go until I'm running into Dorney Lake to take part in my first ever triathlon. Windsor Triathlon.

Sh*t. 

It's Saturday night. I last hit the pool on Friday for my lesson and had a breakthrough. I breathed through my nose.

This is gonna sound like nothing to those of you who swim autonomously but for me it was huge. It meant my breathing wasn't forced. It meant I was more relaxed and not panicking. It meant I was breathing under water and not having to tell myself to breathe.

It means that things may start to click.

I need to remember how far I've come and not get frustrated. Just a couple weeks ago, I couldn't even lift my head up to breathe in just once (using a kickboard). Now I can do that comfortably 3 or 4 times in succession. Just 8 weeks ago, I'd never even attempted to swim freestyle.

I'm on a timeline though. I want to aim to be ready for the Triathlon 6 week course (Novice) with Strictly Swimming by 10th March. After that, the next course in 21st April finishing just two or three weeks before the main event. Swimming is the game changer for February. Swimming is my FOCUS.

I've stuck to my word though, and in Januarys memory, I've been living in INTEGRITY. For the last two weeks I've been in the pool outside of my swimming lesson; something I really needed to do if I wanted to see progress. But it comes down to CONFIDENCE (my word for 2015).

I went to the pool with Jen around Christmas and was practising some drills with my kickboard when the lifeguard came over and asked "can you swim?". I told her I could and her response was "show me". I was a little taken back, and refused. How are learners supposed to gain confidence when they are approached like that?! It was a new pool for me so I was a little tentative while I got to know how deep the deep end was and also just getting a feel for the water.

So here's the deal. For the Windsor Triathlon, I need to swim 750m. That's 37.5 lengths of the 20m pool I learn in at City Point Gym & Spa.

For Eton Super Sprint, I need to swim 400m. That's 20 lengths of the 20m pool.

My next big breakthrough will be swimming one (non stop) length of breaststroke & freestyle BREATHING.

My next breakthrough is to have the CONFIDENCE to hit the pool by myself. Take my kickboard and do my drills. Get a feel for the water. Nail my breathing. Learn to relax.

Here's to staying humble. 

Elle :) 

5.2.15

FOCUS in February

Last month, I shared with you my word for 2015 - CONFIDENCE.

I also shared with you my word for January - INTEGRITY.

Well now, February is here and after some deep thought, I have a word for these 28 days - FOCUS.

****
February | Focus 

This is what FOCUS will look like for me in regards to Health & Fitness this month:

Health | Focus on swimming; nutrition; recovery nutrition; running schedule; how my body feels; my end goals for triathlon and half marathon 


****

I met with Rhian, my Windsor Tri Nutritionist at the end of January; she'll be sending me through some information and recommendations to implement. I've already started by adding protein shakes into my day after training to help with recovery. I've been religiously taking my vitamins too - vitamin D, B complex, black garlic and iron. 

Although I've been ill, I've tried my best to stick to my training plan. This hasn't been easy, or perfect but I am prepared for the consequences. 



In January, my Passion Planner got delivered! I backed this project on kickstarter at the end of 2014 and am happier than ever to have it in my life right now! It helps me to focus on my daily goals, weekly goals, monthly and yearly goals. I get to break everything down into manageable chunks and schedule it in.

I'd advise you to buy erasable pens (I picked up a couple at Muji) as well as a few colours of highlighters. I schedule in my work hours, my workouts and social commitments to see what time I have left to do everything else. It gives me a realistic overview of my week. I've also broken down bigger goals such as moving house, and created a timeline as to when I need to get everything done for this to go smoothly!

The monthly reflection for the end of January was thought provoking too. Here are some of the questions for you to ponder...

From 1 - 10, how do you feel overall about the month of January?
What was the most memorable part of January? 
What were the biggest lessons you learnt in January? 
What or who are you especially grateful for this past month? 
Name three things you can improve on this coming month. 


Elle :) 

3.2.15

CRUK London Winter Run #MyMoments


I've been anticipating Sunday 1st February for months now! Waiting for the time to come to see you at the start line for the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run (CRLWR).

This is how the event went for me.

The night before, I read the weather update posted on the CRLWR Facebook page. It was set to be cold. Very cold. I picked out my warmest but most breathable running outfit and got myself off to bed.

I warmed up by running the 5km from home to the start line; dropped off my bag, fuelled up and was set. Everyone had been allocated time waves to start in and although I made my way to the start line just before my wave time, I ended up starting in a later wave after a quick warm up led by the Fitness First Team. At this point, I was with Bethan, Jen and Charlotte but with the congestion in the first few hundred metres (to be expected) Bethan and I lost Jen and Charlotte.

We quickly found our stride and were already at the 1km mark. I was feeling incredibly comfortable so decided not to look at my GPS watch and to just feed off of Bethan. The views were spectacular; yup, it was cold and windy but it was bright. One thing I do love is running in traffic free London. Part of the route is the stomping ground for my Wednesday evening with the lululemon Run Club along with Bethan for the last few weeks; usually we run at either ends of the group so never get to chat so it was great to catch up properly!

There were two water stations on the course (one more than stated in the race pack). I took a bottle from the first station and drank it slowly along the course so didn't need a second before the end. I was clearly dehydrated (or under hydrated) as I had no desire to use a toilet. Race organisers did stipulate that there would not be as many toilets as hoped so not needing them was a bonus.

We ran east towards the Tower of London along the river then turned north to take in the City of London before heading back towards the finish line. The parts where we ran with runners going the other direction on the other side gave us a chance to spot friends and cheer them on! ...The snow machines...now I loved these! They actually squirted out "real" snow (in the sense it was made from frozen water)...there was not too much of it to make the floor stupidly wet...yet enough to get a sense of it and a good picture!


Before I knew it, we were at the 9km mark. With 1km left to go, I could've done with some 800m to go, 600m to go, 400m to go...markers but we ran, came to a corner and there was the finish line...about 100m away!


Bethan went for a sprint finish whilst I kept an eye on her and hung in there till the end! Of course the first thing I did was check my watch - it read approximately 1 hour. Considering all the circumstances (being unwell, running 5km beforehand, it being so cold) I was chuffed with this time! I'm just 3 weeks away from my first half marathon after all....

A stroll around the corner and we were awarded our medals...and took the opportunity to grab that Polar Bear hug we were promised!



Overall, the atmosphere was amazing! There were plenty of people on the sidelines cheering...and the Swiss cowbells did not go unnoticed! ...Having read comments / feedback from everyone after the race it seems a lot of people think this is not the race to run a PB but I beg to differ. If you want to run fast and hard, you need to get to the start line first. Start waves by time would help, along with a way of distinguishing who is in what wave to allow for a lot less confusion.

Running a PB also comes down somewhat to running etiquette if you start in a crowd. The race pack did say to stay to the left if you needed to walk but I think people forget this as soon as they get on the course. It does make life a little more difficult but a PB is still manageable if you plan out your route to dodge the other people.

I also didn't use the bag drop - I ran with a running bag and minimal stuff (a warmer coat for post race, a warmer / bigger scarf, a post race snack and my purse). Bags were provided to put your belongings in and I've heard that the bag drop ran well!


Did you run the CRLWR?! What are your thoughts?! 

The date for 2016 has already been released! Put 31st January 2016 in your diary NOW! For one week only, you can register at a discounted price! Visit the London Winter Run website {here}

Elle :) 

p.s Huge Thanks to Human Race for having me as their Fitness Expert and for my place in the London Winter Run. Also a shout out to We Heart Living and Human Race for looking after me in VIP area set up at Fitness First Charing Cross Beat. All opinions are my own :) some photos though are not - got 'em from the CRLWR Facebook Page! 
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