Hot and Sour Salmon

Hot and Sour Salmon

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So I recently completed a mini cooking course at Leith’s to really get some good technique behind my cooking. We learnt a variety of things including some good knive skills, boning a chicken and filleting a fish… quite tricky actually! There was a real focus on eating well but being economical about this. For example, buying a whole organic chicken and freezing in portion sizes is much, as much cheaper than buying the chicken breasts separately. It’s all in the preparation and it makes cooking from scratch so much easier. Below are some of the creations we made on the fish week, if you haven't already seen on my instagram profile (@beccanutrition) ..

So I have been much more creative in the kitchen since and this is one of my new favourites that I created…

Hot and Sour Salmon

salmon and sesame seeds
salmon and sesame seeds

Serves 4

Ingrediants

4 pieces of wild salmon

2 limes

4 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mustard seeds

4 tablespoons sesame seeds

Pinch crushed chilli’s

Method

  1. Heat the over to 190
  2. Finely zest the limes and mix the lime zest with the juice of the limes., Dijon mustard and mustard seeds. Add the chilli if desired.
  3. Place the salmon skin side down on a lightly oiled baking tray and add the mixture on the top. Once this is completed, top with sesame seeds.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the salmon is opaque and cooked.
  5. Delicious served with a salad as above

Health benefits of Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega 3, which is an essential fatty acid. Essential fats aren’t made by the body and we need them in our diet to meet our bodies needs. Omega 3’s are important for brain health and anti-inflammatory. Make sure to buy wild over farmed salmon, due to less toxins.

Spirulina Gluten Free Pancake

Spirulina Gluten Free Pancake

Happy Pancake Day! So after saying to my husband last night that I wasn’t going to do any pancakes, after having a look on social media this morning I had changed my mind. Plus, I wanted to come up with a good gluten and dairy free option that provides a good breakfast option to get you moving.

So here it is… This took a few attempts as I don’t have the best pancake flipping skills but even if they didn’t turn out perfectly shaped they tasted damn good.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large eggs, at room temperature

400ml coconut milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

60 rice flour

1 tablespoon matcha powder

1 tablespoon spirulina

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon finely ground sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat your pan over a medium-low heat.
  2. Beat the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, if using a whisk do it on low speed, until frothy.
  3. Mix in the coconut milk, vanilla and honey.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut flour, baking soda, salt, matcha powder, spirulina and cinnamon.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  6. Then add the remaining dry mixture and beat at medium another minute or two, or until the coconut flour is completely mixed into the batter.
  7. Grease the heated pan with coconut oil.
  8. Spoon the batter onto the pan to create pancakes. I like them relatively thin but this does make them hard to flip so I would suggest around 1 inch to prevent this.
  9. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pancakes are bubbling and well set, then flip and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary.

Serve hot or you can freeze the prepared pancakes and reheat them later.

Quinoa and Oat Muffins

So I have promised a few mums this recipe for a while. I love these muffins, they are so easy to make and a great one if you need food on the go with kids. We always take a batch when we are flying and saves so relying on the not so nutritious plane food. As you can see from the picture I also managed to rustle up another batch hassle free while we were away. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all the 9 essential amino acids, which makes them a perfect option. They are also gluten and dairy free.

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Ingredients

70g Whole oats

70g Cooked quinoa

1 Eggs

75ml macadamia milk (See nut milk recipes for this)

1 bananas

½ tsp Gluten-Free Baking powder

Pinch Gluten-free baking soda

50g cup chia seeds

3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in your food processer and mix it up, for around 30 seconds to 1 minute. It should be a nice slightly runny texture afterwards.
  2. Pour the mixture into well greased muffin cupcakes and this recipe should give you roughly 12 muffins.
  3. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
  4. Delicious hot or cold!

Bone Broth – New Year, New You

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bones

I provided some weight loss tips in my last post, and mentioned that we should all be making some delicious bone broth. Given Christmas is the season of the turkey, the carcass of this festive bird is perfect for making a really nutritional broth, but any other meat bones can be used.

The run up to Christmas usually involves lots of socialising, drinking and generally trying to fit all your work in so you can enjoy a nice Christmas break. Our bodies end up running on adrenaline and then when we finally stop it can all catch up with us.

Bones hold a lot of nourishing minerals, and by boiling them we get to have that in a lovely broth. There is a reason why traditional chicken soup was given when you are ill, as traditionally it would be made by boiling those bones and this stock would provide the base. The nutrients in broth support the immune system so that you make a speedy recovery.

It is also packed with collagen, which helps the body burn fat and build muscle. And it is great at anti-aging, much better than Botox and actually provides long lasting results! As we age, we lose collagen and that causes the skin to lose its elasticity and becomes thinner, causing wrinkles. Using the expensive anti-aging creams do not help to the same degree as it is difficult for your skin to absorb. The collagen in bone broth has already been broken down in the cooking process and is easy to digest, giving you that youthful boost!

Now, if we look at the packaged Chicken soups on the market then you are definitely not getting those nutrients. I checked out the Heinz version for this post and it actually only contains 3% chicken and a whole range of other undesirable ingredients including cornflour, vegetable oil, wheat flour and skimmed milk.

You can simply warm up the broth and drink from a mug (as I do!), or use it as a stock and add it to fresh vegetables and chicken/turkey for a fresh soup, or to stews and casseroles to add a rich and delicious base to the sauce. I sneak it into my son’s food to give him an immune boost over the winter months.

Turkey Bone Broth

Turkey carcuss and bones

1-2 turkey thighs or drumsticks (if leftover)

¼–½ cup apple cider vinegar, depending on the size of the pot

Purified water to just cover the bones and meat in the pot

2–4 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped

3 or 4 ribs organic celery, including leafy part, roughly chopped

1 onion, cut into large chunks

1–2 whole cloves garlic

2 teaspoons peppercorns

Directions:

  1. Place all the bones and meat in a slow cooker or large stockpot. Add the vinegar and enough purified water to cover everything by 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to simmer over medium heat.
  1. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and peppercorns and reduce the heat down. You want the broth to barely simmer. Cook for at least 6 hours and up to 8, adding water as needed to ensure the bones are always covered with water. (You may have to add water during the cooking process.)
  1. When the broth is done, turn off the cooker or remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs and/or a large slotted spoon, remove all the bones and meat. Pour the broth through a fine mesh sieve.
  1. Let cool on the counter and refrigerate within 1 hour. You can skim off the fat easily after the broth is chilled, if desired. When chilled, the broth should be very thick, almost jelly like. The broth will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 or more months in your freezer.

10 Christmas weight loss tips...

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shutterstock_353213120

So Christmas is the time of great excesses and we often notice it in January when our clothes start feeling that little bit tighter and we feel we need drastic measures to lose weight. Rather than starting the new-year fresh faced and raring to go, we can feel lethargic and tired.

We all know Christmas isn’t the time to start a health kick and that it is much better suited to January, but we can put some things in place so the waistline doesn’t creep up.

So here are my top tips for Christmas so we can still enjoy ourselves and keep good health too…

  1. Stay hydrated – one of the most important things to do, and especially when there is wine and champagne flowing freely. Sometimes dehydration can present itself as hunger when we are actually thirsty, so staying hydrated can shrink that appetite. If you are drinking early make sure to have one glass of water with every drink, to reduce the hangover. It isn’t hard and you will reap the rewards the next morning.
  1. Eat 3 meals – When we know we have a big meal ahead like on Christmas day, we can often be tempted to miss breakfast and then end up with ‘snacking hands’ all morning. It is definitely best to have a healthy breakfast and then a fast until lunch is served, instead of stocking up on nibbles and chocolates in the interim.
  1. Make sure you Christmas dinner is the colour of the rainbow – Include lots of different coloured vegetables to get a wide range of phytonutrients in the diet. The most unrepresented colour is purple so don’t forget that braised cabbage!
  1. Have protein with every meal – Protein is required to both balance blood sugar and to assist with satiety during that meal. If you eat meat stock up on that turkey or for vegetarians make sure you have a good quality protein substitute, such as a homemade nut roast.
  1. Boil those bones – And make some lovely bone broth that is packed full of vitamins and nutrients to boost your immune system.
  1. Stock up on vitamin C rich foods – to boost that immune system and prevent the holiday cold sneaking in. Fresh fruit and berries can be a great dessert and are packed full of this as well as plenty of antioxidants.
  1. Cook with healthy fats – bin the vegetable and sunflower oils this Christmas and cook with coconut oil, ghee or even butter.
  1. Apple cider vinegar – this acts as a digestive tonic and you can have a tablespoon straight or mix with some water to increase that stomach acid and improve the absorption of nutrients from the meal.
  1. Sleep – Research shows that lack of sleep adds pounds to out waistline so make sure you get plenty of sleep and given its holiday season if you fancy an afternoon nap then do it! Rest and recovery is just as important as exercise for weight loss.
  1. Get out in nature – Enjoy the elements and have the fresh air blow those cobwebs off. Make memories, you aren’t going to reminisce about that episode of Eastenders in years to come….

Overall Christmas is the time for festive cheer and to enjoy yourselves with the people around you, whether that is friends, family or doing what makes you happy. Moderation is the key one chocolate isn’t going to add inches to the waistline but the whole box might!

Turmeric Tea - Golden Milk

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So today is the last dairy free milk alternative and I hope you have enjoyed the series. These milks can be used from anything to adding to your tea, using in your breakfast or making a delicious shake with them providing the protein and lovely creamy texture. As you can see from the week, the method is always the same so you can be creative as you like and this is just a sample of my favourites. The most important think is have FUN with it as being healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

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I’m a big fan of almond milk too and a glass in the evening with a dash of turmeric is high in tryptophan, that is a pre cursor to melatonin, which is our sleep hormone.

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Turmeric Tea

200g Almonds

600ml of filtered water

2 tablespoons turmeric tea

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup or to taste

Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)

Tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or ¼ tsp ginger powder

Method

1- Soak the nuts overnight in a covered container

2- Place the almonds and water in the blender to make the almond milk.

3- Strain through a muslin bag or fine sieve.

4- Add 1 cup or amount desired for tea into the blender with rest of ingrediants and blend until smooth

5- I then heat on the hob for 3-5 minutes and have it as a nice warm evening drink. Drink immediately.

Health benefits of Almonds: So almonds, as with the other nuts that we have mentioned this week, are great for the heart. They contain vitamin E that is an important antioxidant for the skin. It can protect your skin from UV light and vitamin E is important for anti-aging. Increasing vitamin E in food or through supplements and you should notice a difference in your skin in approximately 7 days.

Health benefits of Turmeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. There has recently been a study conducted that added turmeric to moisturizing cream and they found that this significantly reduced fine lines, facial spots and wrinkles. FYI – they did purify the turmeric first and if doing at home be cautious with how much you add so your skin doesn’t end up the colour of turmeric!

Crazy about Cashews!

Crazy about Cashews!

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So I’m back with nuts today and what better ones than the delicious cashew nuts… yummy! Similar to the macadamia nut in texture and it makes a lovely bowl of creamy porridge, as you can see below.

Cashew Nut Milk

200g Cashews

600ml of filtered water

Method

1- Soak the nuts overnight in a covered container

2- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth

3- Strain through a muslin bag or fine sieve. You don’t have to do this and gives a fuller texture but will not be as smooth with the pulp in this.

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Health benefits of Cashew Nuts: Cashew nuts are rich in many minerals including copper, iron, manganese magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc. Having a few cashew nuts per day in the diet can help prevent deficiencies in these essential nutrients, which are co-factors for many enzymes in the body promoting healthy growth and development.

Similar to other nuts they are high in the “heart friendly” monounsaturated-fatty acids, that research has shown help reduce the harmful LDL cholesterol, while raising the beneficial HDL cholesterol. Overall this contributes to a healthy lipid profile and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Healthy Hemp

So dairy free milk doesn’t have to contain nuts. There are plenty of options that can all be created at home including rice, oat or hemp milk. Similar to nut milks that are shop bought, they can contain lots of emulsifiers and sweeteners so making your own really is the best option. So today I am going to look at hemp milk, which is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. As many know this is part of the cannabis sativa family and I first wanted to highlight the differences between hemp and marijuana, as I am definitely not recommending this drink for people to get high! The main difference is the THC content, which is one of the most well known cannabinoids in cannabis. THC is credited with causing the marijuana high and hemp seeds actually contain a minimal amount of this psychoactive chemical. Most countries have the THC maximum level set at 0.3% for hemp. Additionally it is high in a compound called CBD, which actually reduces the effects of THC.

Hemp seeds are nutritional powerhouses, with each seed containing approximately 44% oil, 33% protein and 12% fiber. They are packed with micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytosterols.

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Hemp Milk

2 cups water

½ cup shelled hemp seeds

Optional 3 dates – if you really do need a bit of natural sweetness then add these to your milk

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

1- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth

2- Strain through a muslin bag or fine sieve. You don’t have to do this and gives a fuller texture with the fiber of the hemp seeds.

Health benefits of Hemp: Hemp seeds are a great source of all the good fats that we need in our diet including omega 3 and 6. These are found in a better ratio in hemp seeds in comparison to other oils at 1:3. In addition to these fats it also contains Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA). These are considered “super” polyunsaturated fatty acids and have been shown to relieve symptoms of certain skin diseases including dermatitis.

In addition to these fats, it contains all known proteins and is high in many vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, E, B12, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. So we can see that this really is a food having in the diet and warrants the “nutritional powerhouse” label.

Mad about Macadamia Nuts

Mad about Macadamia Nuts

So I hope you enjoyed the walnut milk and today is one of my favourites and definitely a decadent option. As macadamia nuts are more expensive probably not one you would do every day but when you do it, enjoy the creamy textures as this is really delicious. So before we go into the next recipe, lets first have a look at why you may look to go dairy free. One of the main reasons that people decide to cut dairy out of their diet is due to food allergy or intolerance. Typical symptoms for this can include:

• Constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps

• Gas, bloating

• Headaches or migraines

• Acne on the face/back/chest

• Sinus infections

• Severe allergies or nasal congestion

• Earaches (especially in small children)

• Colic (in babies)

• Runny nose or increase in mucus that may sit on the chest (especially in children who are consuming large quantities)

• Itchy eyes

• Arthritis/joint inflammation

If you do suffer with the above then it is worth consulting a nutritionist who can advise you further on protocols so you not only eliminate but also deal with the damage internally

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Macadamia Milk

200g Macadamia nuts

600ml of filtered water

Method

1- Soak the nuts overnight in a covered container

2- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth

3- Strain through a muslin bag or fine sieve. You don’t have to do this and gives a fuller texture but will not be as smooth with the pulp in this.

The nut milk will keep up to 3 days if kept in an air tight container in the fridge.

Health benefits of Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts are a great source of minerals such as Manganese, Magnesium, Calcium, iron and Zinc. They contain high levels of B vitamins, which are vital for energy and, metabolic functions. They are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are cardio protective and can assist with reducing the bad (LDL) cholesterol and increasing the good (HDL) cholesterol. These fats work favourably in helping to maintain a healthy heart and contributing to reducing heart disease risks.

Nut Milks

Nut Milks

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After spending a week in Italy, they are BIG fans of all things dairy including lots of cheese and ice cream. I was pleased to see some dairy and gluten free ice cream shops, using rice or soy instead. With so many people noticing intolerances or allergies to dairy products the range of free from products is ever increasing. Milk alternatives, such as nut milks, have been well stocked for a long time but what is actually in them?!

Well in many the number 1 ingredient after water is sugar, with a 200ml glass containing 6g of sugar, in some cases. If you have watched Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Manifesto then we all know the importance of reducing the sugar in our diets and waking up to those hidden sugars. See below for the recommended guidelines for children:

• Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g or 5 teaspoons of free sugars per day

• Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g or 6 teaspoons of free sugars per day

• Children aged 11 years and upwards, as well as adults, should have no more than 30g or 7 teaspoons of free sugar per day

The second surprising factor is that Almond Milk can contain as little as 2% in almonds. As they need to retain the shelf life of these products many contain stabilisers and emulsifiers.

So with this information it isn’t surprising that many people are turning to make there own and it really is simple. So what do you need:

• Stainless steel air tight container to store

• Fine Sieve or muslin bag (I use the sieve)

So this week I will look at different nut milk recipes and share them with you I have to say the homemade ones are much creamier and taste delicious, far better than the shop bought ones, with the added benefit of being good for you.

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Walnut Milk

200g walnuts

600ml of filtered water

Optional 3 dates – if you really do need a bit of natural sweetness then add these to your milk.

Method

1- Soak the nuts overnight in a covered container

2- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth

3- Strain through a muslin bag or fine sieve.

4- The remaining pulp can be used in smoothies, added to porridge or used in homemade granola. If you don’t have time to use straight away then you can always freeze.

The nut milk will keep up to 3 days if kept in an air tight container in the fridge.

Health benefits of Walnuts: Well there are so many and I will focus on just a few which stand out to me! Walnuts are great for brain health and contain several neuroprotective compounds including vitamin E, omega 3 fats, folate, melatonin and antioxidants. They also contain l-arginine that is great for heart health.

Gluten Free Chia Seed Muffins

So with the Great British Bake Off #GBBO doing free from week I thought I would join in too. So this is such an easy recipe and they are great hot or taste equally delicious the next day. Slightly sweet but can also be a great savory snack and great one for kids instead of opting for the ‘gluten free’ asile options, which can be very high in refined sugars. You can replace the natural yogurt with dairy free alternatives to make it dairy free too.

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Ingredients

140g Whole oats

1 Eggs

75g plain greek yogurt. (I’ve also used regular yogurt)

1 bananas

½ tsp Gluten-Free Baking powder

Pinch Gluten-free baking soda

50g cup chia seeds

3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Topping

Natural yogurt

Blueberries

Method

  1. • This is the easiest recipe, just put it in your food processer and mix it up. You don’t need to do this for long, about 30 seconds.
  2. • Pour the mixture into well greased cake tins and this recipe should give you 12 muffins.
  3. • Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
  4. • I used yogurt for the topping and added some blueberries but this can be whatever you fancy. Other alternatives include nut butters and variations of berries.
  5. • Eat toasty hot or let them cool, whatever takes your fancy!

Broccoli and Spinach Omlette

So eggs are a great source of protein, in addition to being a low-cost meal option, full of goodness. My son isn’t a fan of eggs but adding in the banana really disguises that but he is still getting all the health benefits. This is quick to make and if we are in a rush is a great one, instead of opting for sandwiches. For those without kids this could be a great morning kick start or a quick lunch/dinner if short on time with a nice rocket salad.

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Broccoli and Spinach Omlette

2 Eggs

1 small Banana

4 thin spliced broccoli florets

Handful spinach finely chopped

1 teaspoon ghee

Ingredients

  1. Melt coconut butter or ghee over a low heat in a frying pan
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and mash the banana with a fork and add to the eggs
  3. Mix in the spinach and broccoli, both finely chopped
  4. Add the egg mixture to the pan and turn up to a medium heat. Leave to cook for a few minutes until the bottom looks to have firmed
  5. Transfer to the grill on a medium heat to finish cooking the top side, this should take roughly a couple of minutes.

Health benefits of Eggs: Eggs are a great source (plus cheap source) of high-quality protein, which is vital for us all. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent macular degeneration (a leading cause of blindness). In addition, they’re a good source of vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, iron, zinc, folate, phosphorus, and vitamins B6 and B12. So to summarise, nobody can go wrong with eggs.

Eggs did get some bad press in terms of raising cholesterol levels but studies have shown this not to be the case. One recent study found that eating eggs leads to a higher level of HDL (which is the “good” cholesterol) and beneficial changes in LDL (the “bad” cholesterol).

Running for Health and Happiness

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So I admit it, I'm a total ‘fad’ person, and my latest obsession is the parkrun. It's a charity organised 5k run in local parks and they are held all over the continent.One of the great things about parkrun is that once you have registered, all you need is your bar code and your trainers (some clothes may help too....).

As a new mum we have now invested in a running buggy so that we can participate as a family. These races are family friendly, with plenty of children running and getting into good habits at a young age. With rates of obesity and diabetes ever increasing, exercise and good nutrition are vital in our fight against them. Habits and hobbies that we develop as children mean we are much more likely to carry these on into adulthood.

It brings the competitive streak out in my personality and I put so much more in compared to going for a run on my own. The real competition is with yourself and beating the previous week’s time. A couple of hours after the race you get your time emailed to you, including position in age and gender category.

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I started off at 27:40 after not having run since 2012, when I did the London marathon (training for that had put me off running for some time!) The following week I ran after a few wines the night before and added a minute to my time… This wasn't the direction I wanted it to go in and I have to admit I started to take it seriously. The running watch was dusted off and sub 25 minutes became the serious goal. I have to admit that it still took a few weeks to remember the simple things like pressing “start” on the watch, but it did begin to make a difference.

A couple of weeks ago and I had achieved some new personal bests (PBs) but not my goal. To achieve this I needed a plan and part of that was joining a local running club. This involved running around 6 miles, which is a great endurance builder and makes the 5k seem much easier on the day.

The next thing was how I could maximize my performance through my diet, and here is what I did: • Nutritional balanced meal the night before, incorporating protein, complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, and plenty of vegetables. You want to stock up before race day and this doesn’t need to be on refined carbohydrates that may irritate the gut, such as bread and pasta. Making sure you meet your training energy requirements will help to prevent injury. • In the morning have some carbohydrates, I personally like porridge before a run as it is filling and provides a good source of energy. • Eat either immediately after the race or within 30 minutes. This should be a snack containing a mix of carbohydrates and protein. Ideas include protein bar or protein shake. To improve over time, you need your muscles to recover, get stronger and avoid injury. • Avoid alcohol the night before. • Manage inflammation in the body, for example if you have food intolerances or allergies, then these may present as an immune challenge and affect your performance. Work with a nutritionist on this to improve performance. • It is also important, if you have any underlying health concerns, to deal with these. The better balance the body is in, the better you will perform.

So what have I learnt from this... Well one is that you can quite quickly improve your fitness levels if you put your mind to it, through exercise and good nutrition. Most importantly though is exercise should be fun and family friendly, exercising with others means you are more likely to stick with it. Running isn’t for everybody, so find what works and motivates you.

So over the 6 park runs I have completed, I have achieved my goal and my time came in at 24.19, reducing my time by 3.5 minutes. I’m really pleased with this achievement and will bask in the glory for at least a week… Of course I now need a new target to aim for (sub 22 minutes or am I mad?!) and with the moving of the goalposts, I’ll need to work even harder on my fitness levels and nutritional discipline over the coming weeks.

I LOVE Chips (Part 2)

I LOVE Chips (Part 2)

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So after a busy week away, here is the second instalment of chips. As you can see from the 3 recipes provided, you really can use any vegetable in place of normal potatoes, making it a healthier snack for all.

Courgette Fries

3 courgettes

1 egg

75g ground almonds

20g Parmesan

Dried rosemary

Pinch turmeric

Method

1- Preheat over to 200C

2- Slice the ends of the courgettes and cut them into “chip” size

3- Mix the ground almonds, parmesan, rosemary and turmeric together on a large plate.

4- Beat the egg into a separate bowl and dip the courgette into this and then role onto the parmesan mix, coating evenly.

5- Place them on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes or until crispy.

Health benefits of Courgettes: Courgettes are rich in nutrients magnesium and potassium, which help to normalize blood pressure. It has a high vitamin C content and this in addition to the carotenoids it contains, stops the oxidation of bad cholesterol in the blood. Overall this plays a role in promoting a well-rounded healthy cardiovascular system.

I LOVE Chips! (Part 1)

I LOVE Chips! (Part 1)

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One of my greatest loves in life (after my husband and son of course) is chips!! A true northern girl! So I’m always looking at ways to make my favourite food healthier. So for all my fellow chip lovers out there, this one is for you.

Kohlrabi Fries

1 Kohlrabi

1 tablespoon butter or ghee

Dried chili Flakes

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1- To prepare, cut off any remaining roots and trim the base. If it is very small you will not need to peel but if it is larger in size then peel off the tough outer skin. You can save the leaves and cook them as a green.

2- Peel some kohlrabi and cut it into sticks and cook on a low heat in some butter or ghee

3- Add a tablespoon of dried chilli flakes (more or less to taste) and cook until softened and a slight crispy outside

4- Season with salt and pepper to taste

Health benefits of Kohlrabi: Part of the brassica family and contain health-promoting phytochemical that studies have shown protect against some cancers. It is rich in many vitamin, minerals and dietary fiber, which is important for weight-loss.

Sweet Potato Fries (A well known classic)

2 sweet potatoes

1 red onion

1 tablespoon butter

Dried chili Flakes

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1- Preheat oven to 180C/350F

2- Cut sweet potato into sticks and place on a baking tray and coat with 1 tablespoon melted better.

3- Cut a red onion into small chunks and spread evenly across the same tray. Season with salt and pepper. If you want additional flavour you could add dried chili flakes.

4- Cook for 30 minutes

Health benefits of Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes contain twice as much fibre as other types of potatoes. They are high in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and beta-carotene, that acts as an important antioxidant in the body, especially in the summer as it helps protect your skin from sun damage by both deflecting and repairing cell damage caused by excessive UV exposure.

Family Favourites - Beet and Beef Burgers

Family Favourites - Beet and Beef Burgers

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So I have called these "family favourites" as they are great for kids but I would happily get stuck into them with or without children! The summer holidays are also in full swing, so if you need some inspiration then keep following next week for some more recipes. The key to all these meals are they are quick to put together, which as a mother of a 1 year old I know is important. Prior to life as a mum, I worked in the city and getting home at 730pm in the evening, meant that I needed quick meals that I still wanted to be nutrient dense. This recipe is also a great way to sneak some vegetables into their regular meals, without them knowing.

Make sure your beef is grass-fed and organic, so that the health benefits below multiply. The difference in the cattle diet changes the nutrients and fats that you get from eating them. Grass-fed beef typically has:

• Higher omega 3 fatty acids • Less total fat (healthier animals, who have exercised) • Higher antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E

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Beet and Beef Burgers 250g Beetroot 400g Organic beef Mince 1 small red onion Black Pepper Salad leaves to serve

1- Add the beef mince, beetroot and onion to a food processer to blend together. If you don’t have a food processer then chop up finely and mix together with your hands 2- Shape into mini burgers and place under the grill. 3- Cook for roughly 4 minutes on each side depending on how you like them served

Health benefits of Beef: Beef is a great source of protein and is full of iron, which is needed to carry oxygen around the body. Low iron can cause anemia and symptoms can include dizziness, fatigue and fainting. It is also full of zinc that is great for the immune and reproductive system.

Health benefits of Beetroot: Beetroot are a great food for the liver and encourage detoxification in the body. They contain good sources of iron and folic acid, which boost the blood. We’ve all heard of folic acid and the importance during the first trimester in pregnancy but it is also key for lowering homocysteine levels, a toxic chemical that has been linked with cardiovascular disease and poor mental function.

Day 5 - The Craving Curer

Day 5 - The Craving Curer

So The Craving Curer is the last in the water series and I hope these recipes have given you some new ideas. Great for the dinner table if you have people over or for just having in the fridge to encourage you to drink more water. So we have all heard the saying ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’ and it really is true! The Craving Curer focuses on blood sugar control and the health benefits of both cinnamon and apple to achieve this, so read on to find out how.

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The Craving Curer 1 Apple 2 cinnamon sticks 1 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon Jug of water

Cut the apple up into cubes and add to the jug, with the cinnamon sticks and ground Cinnamon. Fill with water and leave for a few hours. This is a much stronger tasting water so doesn’t need as much time to blend.

Health benefits of Apple: Apples are great at balancing blood sugar regulation and actually lessen the absorption of glucose from your digestive tract. They stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin and to increase the uptake of glucose from the blood via stimulation of insulin receptors. In addition, the phytonutrients found in apples inhibit enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, thus preventing that spike in blood sugar.

Health benefits of Cinnamon: Cinnamon has beneficial effects on glycemic control and reduces the amount of glucose entering the blood stream after a meal, by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties. Studies have shown there is a link with improving glucose and lipid levels and concluded that high does of cinnamon will reduce the risk factors associated with diabetes.

Day 4 – Hawaiian Healer

Day 4 – Hawaiian Healer

I love pineapples and the tropical flavours remind me of holiday. They are also a great sweet snack, with health benefits, as you can see below. In this water, mint is definitely the stronger flavor but make sure to eat the pineapple chunks after as they have a lovely mint flavor to them. IMG_4134-2

Hawaiian Healer ½ Pineapple Small handful Mint Jug of water

Cut ½ pineapple into cubes and finely chop mint leaves. This one definitely needs leaving over night as the pineapple flavor is much more subtle and needs time to develop.

Health benefits of Pineapple: Pineapples contain bromelain, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and digestive promoter. Studies have shown that bromelain helps modulate the immune system and can also be great to use if you suffer with hay fever or allergies. It contains high levels of vitamin C, which is an immune booster and important in allergies, colds and hay fever.

Health benefits of Mint: So having already featured mint once this week, here are some different health benefits (if you missed Day 2 – Liver’s Livener, take a look). Mint is effective for respiratory orders, especially clearing congestion of the nose, throat and lungs. Mint can cool and soothe and hence why so many cold balms are based on mint.

Day 3 - Refreshing WATERmelon

Day 3 - Refreshing WATERmelon

So watermelon represents the epitome of summer and especially refreshing in the heat. This is a great one for picnics, BBQ’s or to enjoy in the outdoors. I find watermelon a great one for smoothies if you have people coming over for lunch/dinner and need an alcohol free drink. IMG_4124 Refreshing WATERmelon ¼ Watermelon 8-10 stems of rosemary Jug of water

Cut ¼ watermelon into small cubes and add to the jug, with the rosemary. Fill the jug with water and place in the fridge overnight or for a few hours before serving.

Health benefits of Watermelon: Watermelon’s main claim to fame is its lycopene content and actually contains more than raw tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to have anti-cancer properties due to this. Other studies have looked at it reducing stroke risk and heart attacks, both showing positive results.

Health benefits of Rosemary: Rosemary is great for digestion and has been used to help elevate flatulence, stomach cramps, constipation and bloating. It is great in stress relief and can be seen to decrease cortisol.

Day 2 – Liver Livener

Day 2 – Liver Livener

So to continue with the water ideas today is my favourite. This is great if you are having people round for dinner or I just have a jug in the fridge and get through it throughout the day. The cucumber is so refreshing and makes me think of Gin and Tonics in the sun. Those who enjoyed one too many drinks in the sun and your liver is looking for a bit of support, then this one is definitely for you.

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Liver Livener 1 lemon 1 small cucumber Large handful of basil Small handful of mint Jug full of water

Take the ends of the cucumber and get a peeler to peel the cucumber into thin slices (this makes it look more impressive too). Then slice the lemon into thin slices and add everything including the basil and mint to the jug. Fill with water and leave in the fridge over night or a few hours for the flavors to blend together.

Health benefits of Lemon: Lemon’s are great at stimulating the liver and provide energy to the liver enzymes so that they can do their job. This helps with flushing out toxins. It is a great source of vitamin C and we all know vitamin C’s role in helping prevent the common cold. In addition to the above, it is a great one to enjoy with warm water in the morning

Health benefits of Basil: Basil contains oils and flavonoids that help protect the body from illness and infection. Studies have shown that it has a strong anti-bacterial benefit and adding to salad or other foods, can help eliminate harmful bacteria and ensure the safety of your fresh products.

Health benefits of Mint: Mint as we are all aware is a well known mouth and breath freshener. It is good for digestion and can sooth stomachs in the case of indigestion or inflammation. It can also be used for nausea and travel sickness (having suffered with this when travelling by boat when pregnant I can definitely vouch for that).

Health benefits of Cucumber: Cucumber’s are mainly water and the flesh is rich in vitamin A, C and folic acid. They have high alkaline levels, and therefore help regulate the body’s blood pH and neutalise acidity so especially good for those with gastric issues.