Injury strikes!

Hi (she says with a glum face while sounding like Ross from Friends).

Injury has struck and I am feeling rather low. I don’t quite know how it happened. I was in the gym doing 3 sets of 10 pull ups, 16 thrusters and 600 metre walks. I’m not allowed to run because of my ankle but I can walk fast – or so I thought. My foot started to cramp up on the third 600 metre walk but, once I stretched it, it seemed fine. Throughout the rest of the day my ankle gradually got more and more painful. So I did what the physiotherapist recommended – I rested while icing my ankle and keeping it elevated.

It seemed okay the next day, still sore but manageable so I went for a swim. I thought this would be the best exercise to do, even though my ankle was still hurting. I was wrong. A 3000 metre session later, with all the tumble turns and push offs from the wall, and I was in agony to the point of tears. Injury sucks!

This had a major knock-on effect towards my diet. I was emotionally distraught and I did the very thing I swore I wouldn’t ever do – I sat on the sofa and ate chocolate to make me feel better. It didn’t. It made me feel worse; worthless and fat. After contacting the secretary of my surgeon and arranging for an appointment to be sent in the post, I went on a binge, eating lots of chocolate and crisps. And then, when the scales kept moving up and my mood continued plummeting down, I decided to watch a film on Netflix.

I love watching documentaries, especially about nature and food. Food is a topic that should be so simple and yet is so baffling. Do you eat meat or do you become vegetarian? Is flexitarian better for you than veganism? Organic or non-organic produce? Watching food documentaries helps by giving me a clearer picture of what’s going on. Yes, sometimes I’m still left with dilemmas but the overall effect after watching a food documentary is the same – with me reciting to myself “I must make healthier choices”.

The film I watched is called ‘Food Choices’ and I would highly recommend it. It really helped to get me back on track with my eating. Despite not being able to train the way I have been lately, I can certainly ensure that I’m eating the best foods I possibly can eat. I would recommend doing this to anyone struggling with food and bad choices. Watch a food documentary before picking up the chocolate and crisps. You’ll definitely think twice after watching.

So, until my appointment comes through I’m limited to what I can do physically. I’m not limited, however, to what I can do to improve my health. There will always be ups and downs when trying to better myself, both physically and emotionally. The trick is to always come back fighting and that’s what I hope I’ll continue to do.

 

Spanish Omelette

Morning everyone!

I hope you’re all having a good week. As promised, I’ve got a great recipe for you  – Spanish Omelette.

This is one of my favourite recipes. Not too many ingredients but plenty of flavour. I got this recipe from BBC Good Food’s Mediterranean dishes and it is definitely a keeper. Eggs, potatoes and onions cooked in olive oil and that’s it. If you like you can always add other ingredients  – red pepper, broccoli, leeks – all work really well and you can try whatever else you fancy. Personally, I prefer to eat this dish according to the recipe with chunky sourdough bread and some spinach on the side. This recipe serves four.

Ingredients

  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g new potatoes, cut into thick slices
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tbsp shopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the potatoes and onion and stew gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are softened. Strain the potatoes and onions through a colander into a large bowl (set the strained oil aside).
  2. Beat the eggs and stir into the potatoes with the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a little of the strained oil in a smaller pan. Tip everything into the pan and cook on a moderate heat, using a spatula to shape the omelette into a cushion.
  3. When almost set, invert on a plate and slide back into the pan and cook for a few more minutes. Invert twice more, cooking the omelette briefly each time and pressing the edges to keep the cushion shape. Slide onto a plate and serve.

This dish is so delicious and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A tasty and moreish meal that is easy to cook and takes little time to prepare. Give it a try and see for yourself.

Enjoy!

Sugar and your teeth

Okay, so it’s not a particularly nice subject but the important ones seldom are. How many times have we all been told “don’t eat too many sweets – they’ll rot your teeth!” This is, quite literally, the case. I recently had my six month check up at the dentist. Being an avid chocolate eater, I am ashamed to say I have my fair share of fillings. I used to dread going to the dentist as they would almost certainly tell me every time I went that I needed a filling. What did I expect? I was eating so much sugar, not only in chocolate bars but also the added sugar contained in everything else, from Special K to bread and pasta sauce, it was inevitable that my teeth would decay.

Now, back to my check up. After a minute or two of the dentist checking my teeth and gums, I was given a clean bill of health! Not only that, when the hygienist saw me, she said the build up of plaque on my teeth was significantly reduced and asked what I had done differently. When I told her I’d given up sugar, she was astounded at the results. Come to think of it, so was I. Giving up sugar for such a short period of time meant that the amount of plaque build up was minimal. Even though I brush my teeth twice a day, giving up sugar made a huge impact on my teeth. zahnreinigung-1514693__480

When you run your tongue over your teeth (as I’m sure you’re doing right now) after you’ve just brushed them, they feel incredible –  both teeth and gums feel silky smooth. Do the same at the end of the day after you’ve eaten sugary foods and you can feel a rough film over your teeth and gums. That’s plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth. And this is significantly increased when you eat sugar. Here’s why.

Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria, some beneficial, others not so much. These bad bacteria feed on sugar and, in doing so, produce acids that destroy tooth enamel, the white, shiny outer layer of the tooth. The damage caused eventually results in holes in your teeth. That’s when you need a filling or, in my case, several. The more sugar you eat, the more acid is produced by plaque bacteria and therefore, the more cavities you create. Obviously, brushing twice a day helps get rid of the bad bacteria in your mouth but cutting down on sugary and starchy snacks makes a significant difference as my dental check up confirmed.

Unfortunately, tooth decay still happens but these small dietary changes can have enormous beneficial effects. And if, like me, you don’t enjoy your bi-annual trips to the dentist, these small changes can tip the balance in your favour. You’ll also be helping your waistline enormously!

In my next post I’ll be sharing a Mediterranean-style recipe for Spanish omelette. Until then everyone.

Gym session

Hey guys!

Hope you’re all well. I’ve had a great week of training. All of my sessions have been good but the gym session I’m about to share with you is by far my favourite of the week. This is a CrossFit-style workout that got my body pumping and yet didn’t feel too exhausting – what I like to call a Goldilocks session – just right. Here it is:

5 minute warm up on stationary bike, then for time:

  • 800m row – 20 push ups – 20 sit-ups
  • 600m row – 15 push ups – 15 sit-ups
  • 400m row – 10 push ups – 10 sit-ups
  • 200m row – 5 push ups – 5 sit-ups

I’d seen this set on Pinterest and it looked a great workout so I decided to give it a try. I love descending sets and was surprised when I finished this one in 15.52! I’m planning to do this set again next month to see what my time will be. Next, using a 16kg kettle bell:

  • 50 air squats – 25 KB swings – 12 pull ups
  • 32 air squats – 16 KB swings – 8 pull ups
  • 16 air squats – 8 KB swings – 4 pull ups
  • 8 air squats – 4 KB swings – 2 pull ups

This set doesn’t seem like much but my legs really felt the burn after the rowing from the previous set. I’m only able to do assisted pull ups at the moment but I’m getting there. Better to need help and keep striving forward than to give up, right? Next, with a 20kg Bulgarian bag, 4 sets of:

  • 10 squat cleans followed by 10 6kg med ball sit-ups

Doing squat cleans with the Bulgarian bag really works your forearms and makes you focus on correct form. Finally, using 20kg Vipr, 4 sets of:

  • 10 raised deadlifts followed by 10 thrusters

Doing deadlifts on a raised platform gives my back and hamstrings that little extra work. I also felt a pull in my calves too. I finished my session with 2 minutes on the treadmill steady walking then stretching.

As I said, I loved this session and, with it only taking an hour, what’s not to like?

Have a wonderful weekend.

Asian Chicken Salad

Hi there!

I hope you all had a great bank holiday weekend. I love bank holidays. Having an extra day off is always a blessing, even though Tuesday inevitably feels like Monday.

Having cooked a roast dinner on Sunday, I always cook chicken soup on Monday with the leftover chicken, veggies and homemade stock. I’ve done this every week since January so felt it was time for a change. Flicking through my recipe books, of which there are many, I found a recipe that has always looked tempting and yesterday I decided to give it a try. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t normally eat salads. I know I should but I’ve never really enjoyed the taste or felt satisfied after eating one… that is, until I tried Asian Chicken Salad. This isn’t your typical salad containing lettuce, cucumber and tomato. This dish mixes Asian flavours with rainbow-coloured ingredients giving a simple dish an exotic taste. Brightly coloured foods contain phytochemicals which play an important role in protecting our health and staving off chronic diseases. Eating this predominantly plant-based dish will help to keep you healthy and ensure you feel satisfied.

While my previous recipe was based on the premise of being underprepared, this recipe requires a little forward planning to ensure you have everything you need. In spite of the long list of ingredients which often puts people off, myself included, once you have them the dish is quick and simple to make, just as a salad should be. This recipe from Amelia Freer’s book ‘Cook. Nourish. Glow.’ is a culinary masterpiece, a host of vibrant colours that leap off the plate and beg you to eat it, which I did a little too quickly. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 2 x 150g chicken breasts (I used our leftover chicken which was roughly about the same weight)
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, bashed (a little too ferociously by my daughter!)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed (again, done enthusiastically by my daughter)
  • 2 red or green chillies cut in half lengthways

For the salad:

  • 1 small papaya or mango, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 1/4 of red or white cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 small carrot, washed and cut into ribbons using a peeler
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into ribbons

For the dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • freshly ground salt and pepper

 

Method

  1. Put the chicken breasts into a pan and cover with cold water. Add the lemongrass, coriander, ginger, garlic, chillies and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, switch off the heat and immediately cover the pan with a lid.
  2. Allow the chicken to sit in the hot poaching liquid for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the pan and allow to cool. Shred the chicken into fine strips.
  3. Put the papaya or mango slices, shredded cabbage, carrot and cucumber into a large bowl. Add the shredded chicken.
  4. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and seasoning together then pour over the salad in the bowl and toss.
  5. Divide the salad between two plates and sprinkle over some crushed cashew nuts and some fresh coriander leaves.

Enjoy!