Tuesday, 21 April 2015

5 Wellbeing Instagram Accounts to follow now


I love food. I love looking at food. I love Instagram. Can you see where I'm going with this. 

There are a ton of inspirational wellbeing and clean-living Instagram accounts out there, but here I've rounded up some of my favourites that I'm always inspired and motivated by, and hopefully you will be too.

Dolly and Oatmeal
@dollyandoatmeal 
A relatively new Insta to me, dollyandoatmeal follows Lindsey Love, a food blogger spreading a gluten and dairy free gospel (see ya, lactose). Her beautifully composed and edited photos reeled me in and her exciting recipes reworking classic staples have kept me hooked.

Check out her alt version of pasta, chickpea fettuccine, which is gluten-free winner if you're craving carbs.

Lily Healthy
@lilyhealthy
Queen of beautifully coloured smoothies, Lily is a nutrition and health coach who's Insta feed is as full of good-looking food as it is motivational quotes.

Lily has loads of great ideas for how to liven up your morning porridge, so head to her feed for some breakfast inspiration.

Silverspies
@silverspies
I really can't remember how I first came across Juliette's Instagram account but I've followed her for around 2-3 years now, and all I can say is go follow this girl. The composition and colouring of her shots is on point, along with the inspirational and well-crafted foodspiration she puts up there. Minimalist food heaven at it's best.

Juliette also has a brilliant blog, Luar + Wolffdene and has just started making YouTube videos following her life in Australia. Go check these out for inspirational food and lifestyle posts and videos.

Danielle Copperman
@dcopperman
Danielle is one of the ultimate uber health babes. Entrepreneur? Check. Healthy living master? Check. Super fit? Check. And did I mention she's a model too? I have a lot of love for Danielle's blog and her quinoa-based breakfast range, Qnola, is on my hit list for when I'm visiting London in the summer.

Not only just she post great clean food, but she also advocates a strong-not-skinny look. She works closely alongside Skinny Bitch Collective, posting videos of some of their primal workouts (which look insane - pls come to Newcastle.)

Ella Grace Denton
@ellagracedenton
Ella's Insta is packed with positive vibes and bright plant-based foods. Her whole outlook on life instantly makes me feel upbeat and ready to tackle any situation with a positive head on. Ella is staunch vegan and shares some awesome smoothie recipes amongst others. Head to her blog for a lesson in how to make the best acai bowl. You can thank me later.

I'd love to hear your recommendations of healthy babes to follow on Instagram - hit me up with your favourites.


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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Life Box Spring Cleanse


Sometimes, you've just got to treat yo'self. After I ran a PB in the Sheffield Half Marathon last weekend, I was definitely in the mood for some treating, and why the hell not. I earned it. 

Feeling all virtuous and totally kick ass, I ordered one of Life Box's food packages, crammed full of clean treats and much more. Life Box are a food subscription box service offering super good for you super foods delivered in a box of joy. Let's face it, we're all always hugely busy, so subscription services like this really hit the mark when it comes to trying to keep healthy on the go. Now, the boxes may be little pricey, but are a great way to introduce yourself to some things you might not have heard of (wtf is yacon?), whilst teaching you about the health benefits and encouraging to make treats for yourself out of the box contents.

I ordered the Vegan Spring Cleanse box - absolutely perfect for how I'm approaching food at the moment (ain't no dairy up in here).

I am so behind LB's ethos - they only source products from brands who share their same passion for health and wellbeing, and any product within an LB food box must comply with two of their rules: UK-based, refined sugar free, organic, GMO free, raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, wheat free and no preservatives or additives. So you know that anything in these boxes is going to be hella good for your health.

I'm not going to lie, I love getting parcels delivered (feels like Christmas, non?) and was actually surprised at how hefty the box was when it arrived, and now I know why. It contains a huge selection goodness; from Sister & Co's coconut oil (perfect for cooking, and hair, skin and nail treatments) to matcha green tea and raw cacao - brilliantly convenient bits and bobs for a hectic lifestyle. However, some of favourite components are LB's own pre-mixed packets, encouraging you to make-your-own and learn about the health benefits along the way. The Spring Cleanse box comes with mixes for Chia Seed Jam (already soaking ready for making up as I type), and Flaxseed Crackers, which may sound a little dull but the mix is crammed full of fibre-packed seeds - essential for good digestion.


I really can't recommend Life Box enough - sure it may be a little pricey for a subscription box but the lovingly sourced and selected goodies inside are 100% worth it and you'll discover some healthy gems you might not have heard of before. Win all round.

Have you tried Life Box before? 

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Simple Weekday Breakfast #1

I had a day all to myself earlier this week and got to thinking about new breakfast ideas to try out.
I do love porridge, but it hasn't been top of my breakfast pops recently. I've been favouring anything savoury - it just feels like it's going to keep me fuller for longer, and usually always does.

Eggs are always a winner, yes, but I think I've done everything ever possible with eggs ever for breakfast in the past few months, so enter, toast. Yes, toast, but this ain't toast as you know it. This is all about some inspiring clean, gluten-free varieties that are perfect for that morning craving for something tasty with a bit of crunch.

I've been toasting slices of my paleo sweet potato bread and a homemade gluten-free cob I picked up at Tynemouth Market, topping these with tahini, sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper. Seriously divine, brilliantly quick to rustle up on a busy morning and will definitely keep you going until lunchtime.

And to go with this? A mocha iced latte with loads of good stuff packed into it (and it's dairy-free!), to get you set for the day ahead. Wanna make this bad lad?
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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Cacao and Coconut Energy Bites

Picture the scene. It's around mid-afternoon, so naturally time for a big cup of something hot to keep you going for the last couple of hours of the working day. If you, like me, need a bit of sweetness with that 3pm cup of tea, I've got just the thing to stop you reaching for the custard creams.

These energy bites contain natural sweetness from organic dates and are packed with the supplement I've been having a total love-in with recently; maca powder. I can't stress enough the benefits of this malty goodness. It can reduce stress levels, regulate blood sugar levels, increase stamina and makes sure your hormones are in check.

I've adapted these from a recipe over on Laura's ever inspirational site, Wholeheartedly Healthy, but added some raw cacao powder into the mix for an extra bit of afternoon indulgence.

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Post-Run Recovery Tips


So, as I shared in my April Goals post on Thursday, I ran a half marathon this weekend. And what a half marathon in turned out to be! I somehow (?) managed a new personal best of 1 hour and 57 minutes, which I could not be more over the moon with. All that leg strength work at the gym totally did the business, and I found the run more of a pleasure than a hard slog. Looking forward to taking this strength into the rest of my running and weight training. Happy face.

Now, I've got to say, my limbs are aching already (and I have a cracking blister. Lush.), so I've pulled together some handy tips for post-race recovery. It's one thing to train hard and run a good race, but recovery is a whole other ball game. I regularly follow these steps after a hard training session or race event, to keep my body in top form.

So, here we go - here's how I'll be helping to heal those aching muscles post-run.

Refuel
After 13.1 miles of running, refuelling in the right way is essential for muscle repair and restocking those energy stores.

Something with a high protein and carb content will be key for your first big meal after a race (steak and sweet potato chips, pls) but straight after the race, grabbing something quick like a banana and coconut water is ideal for a quick energy hit. I did this straight after my run and also followed it up with an energy boosting coconutty maca smoothie after my drive back from Sheffield. The maca powder totally hit the spot with it's energy raising properties and even a couple of hours after having this smoothie, I felt totally revitalised. Good old maca.

Stretch
To make sure those limbs don't stiffen up and you don't end up walking around like John Wayne for a week, stretch. Lie on the floor with your legs up the wall, crack out that foam roller! Stretching straight after running is something that I usually forget (tut), so when I've finish a race now, I do a really quick stretch off for 5-10 minutes, and then a more focused stretch about an hour afterwards. I'll also be limbering up with some yoga over the next few days, and in the spirit of my April Goals, stretching it alll out with Yoga with Adriene.

Soak
Get those sea salts to hand and liberally chuck them in a hot bath - the minerals in these guys help to sooth achey muscles and relax the body. I'll be doing the double after my run, and bringing out the Lush bath bombs for a super indulgent second soak. Definitely deserve a bit of indulgence after a long run, amirite?

Relax
My advice? Don't do any exercise the day after the run. Just chill the hell out. Your muscles have been through a lot and they need some time to get to know themselves again. I'll be chilling out, on the sofa and ploughing through my latest holy grail read, Amelia Freer's Eat. Nourish. Glow. This women seriously knows what she's talking about and her practises are helping me no end with my Nutrition Advisor course. Get this is your Amazon basket now, and see what all the hype is about.

How do you reboot after a run or fitness challenge?
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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Paleo Sweet Potato Bread

As part of my gluten-free, dairy-free, caffeine-free (fun-free?) diet, I've been experimenting with exciting and just-as-good-as substitutes for some everyday favourites.

We all love bread, right? So if bread doesn't like you, then this could be just the thing. Enter Paleo Sweet Potato Bread. Ground almonds? Good. Eggs? Good. Sweet potatoes? Gooood. This is based on food babe Madeleine Shaw's version, but with a couple of tweaks for a bit of a twist.

This bread is very light and almost soufflé-esque in consistency and manages to feel luxurious and super filling at the same time. All of the bready satisfaction with none of the bloat. And it's paleo and gluten-free to boot. Score.

This recipe calls for steamed sweet potatoes but I actually used some that we chucked on the barbecue over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the flesh had such a lovely smokey quality to it that I knew it would add a fantastic richness to the bread.

A fuss-free recipe, all you literally need to do is to whack everything together in a food processor, pop it in the oven and 1.5 hours later, you a have some lovely, light and airy loaf.

What you'll need:

  • 400g steamed and pureed sweet potatoes (or use barbecued like I did)
  • 300g ground almonds (I used a mixture of dried and leftover pulp from homemade almond milk)
  • 4 free range eggs
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 50g coconut oil, softened
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1. Whizz together the sweet potato puree, eggs and oil in a food processor.
2. Add in the ground almonds, baking powder and salt and mix until until thoroughly combined.
3. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment and pour in the potato mixture, topping with the pumpkin seeds.
4. Bake for between 1 hour 15 mins - 1 hour 30 mins.
5. When golden brown, remove from the oven and leave for an hour to cool before slicing.

A perfect loaf, packed full of goodness.
I'm always on the look for healthier versions of everyday staples, so hit me up with your favourite recipes.

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Thursday, 9 April 2015

April Goals

Bit late on this one aren't I? But better late than never.

This month, I have a ton going on including some exciting challenges and I really want to knuckle down and get April cracked. Some of these goals are more ongoing than anything but good to get them down in writing so I can begin tracking them effectively.

#1 Run a half marathon

This weekend, I'm heading off to Sheffield with my mum to run the Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon. I haven't done as much training as I normally would do for a half marathon in terms of time on legs, but I've been doing different sorts of training. I'm pretty confident I'll do an OK time, just not a sub-2 hour race, but I can definitely live with that. I'll keep you posted on how the whole thing pans out and how I'll be recovering afterwards. 

#2 Up my weights
I've been doing group PT sessions since about September last year, twice a week, which I absolutely love. For me, doing group sessions spurs me on more than working out alone, and I have a really good group who I train with regularly which helps. I've made a huge improvement even since September, but I want to get a bit more serious now and see what my body is capable of. Bring on those deadlifts and gainz.

#3 Re-educate
I'm training to be a Diet and Nutrition Advisor, which is ridiculously exciting and something I've wanted to do for a long while now. My love for wellbeing and healing through nutrition has reached new heights over the past 18 months, and rather than watch from the outside, I want in on a world where I can advise people on bespoke nutrition plans and re-educate on how different foods impact the body. Don't worry, I'm not going to become all preachy on the matter - for me it's all about a healthy balance and this is something I want to incorporate into everything I do. I'm studying part-time with Stonebridge, as recommended by lovely Laura over at Wholeheartedly Healthy and thoroughly enjoying it so far. 

#4 Cut out dairy

I’ve got some nasty ongoing throat issues thanks to a double hit of laryngitis last year, which resulted in me losing my voice completely for around 3 weeks. I’m having speech therapy to combat some of the more technical sound bits of the condition, however, I’m also cutting out dairy for the rest of the month to see how my throat (and general wellbeing) responds. I have to say this is hard work (gimme a flat white, please) but I’m very into how different types of food affect the body, and as dairy is a natural inflammatory, I'm experimenting with giving it up to see if it's worthwhile in the long run.

#5 Become a yogi
I've dabbled in a bit of yoga in the past, but never full committed myself to the cause. On a quest to complement my strength training and gets those abs firmed up, I want to start throwing in a a couple of yoga sessions here and there. This month, I'll be breaking myself in and following some yoga videos on YouTube (big up Yoga with Adriene, thanks Anna for the tip). Also this means I can buy some snaz new workout gear which is always good #spendy.

What are your goals for this month?

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

March Favourites | Lifestyle

It's time for a gold old healthy dose of monthly favourites.

March has mainly been a month for food and pouring over recipes and lifestyle tips, both online and in print. I'm finding myself doing a lot more research into food and food components since I've started my course to become a Diet and Nutrition Advisor, and am thoroughly enjoying the learning process on the way. I've included a couple of favourite food discoveries I've picked up on in the last few weeks here so step on in and enjoy.

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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Energising Blueberry & Cacao Smoothie

Easter. It happened. We ate too much chocolate and indulged in a bit too much Bank Holiday booze in the sunshine. 

To get back on track after all of the treats, I whipped up this smoothie following a run along the coast. Packed with rich cacao, you still get a lovely post-Easter chocolatey hit without the guilt, and the addition of the maca and and bee pollen, both of which are full of vitamin B and energy enhancing properties, this super smoothie is the perfect way to get you back into the swing of your healthy eating.

Energising Blueberry & Cacao Smoothie
Makes 2 small glasses

All you need to do is whizz all of the ingredients, reserving the bee pollen, together in a blender. Pour into a glass, top with the bee pollen and there you have it. Use local bee pollen wherever possible, as this is greater for tackling hayfever symptoms and boosting the immune system.
How are you rebooting after an indulgent Easter weekend?
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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Clean Easter Treats

My feed has been full to the brim of healthy Easter recipes recently, so I thought I'd pop up a bit of a round-up of the top treats I've seen to make and bake this weekend.

1. Honestly Healthy's Raw Chocolate Eggs
These are right up my street. I am a huge fan of Natasha's blog and books, and these chocolatey coconutty desserts are just the ticket for a weekend notoriously packed with sweet treats. Sugar free and rich in cacao for a proper chocolate hit.
Chia seeds really are the thing. Full of high quality protein and fibre, they are hugely versatile little guys as alpha babe Madeleine has shown here. I'll be having my hot cross buns with some melted coconut butter (if you haven't already tried this on regular toast already, get it in your life!)

I have to admit these really don't look very attractive (cardboard, anyone?), however they're packed with warming spices and flavoured with orange and vanilla. Reach for one of these with a cup of chai over the Easter weekend.

Cacao treats with a dreamy sounding cashew and vanilla butter? Sweet mother of god, if you make anything clean for Easter, then definitely make these. The cacao butter mixture acts as the egg shell with the homemade cashew butter filling the hollow. Totally clean, totally delicious.

Have you seen any clean treats to make over the four-day weekend? Send some links my way.
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