Week 1: I Quit Sugar

Week 1 of the I quit sugar programme.

Before we get started, I have to admit that I may have had a tiny tiny amount of sugar last Thursday. I was cooking a feast for family and as my ‘I QUIT SUGAR’ book hadn’t arrived I opted for a dark chocolate tart and it required 2 table spoons of sugar and a whole load of dark chocolate. It also required testing- it was delicious.

(yes that’s right, I blame Royal Mail and not my will power).

That aside, today I had a revolution, it was 1pm, I had had toast for breakie at 8am, a flat white and two oatcakes. By this time, I am usually crying out for lunch but today I’m wasn’t.

Maybe something was working..

I have also always considered myself a healthy eater, eating lots of fruit and veg and forever conscious of being low fat. But still, I was always ready for my next meal. After reading more, although being healthy, I definitely have/had a high fructose diet.

The idea of getting out of the sugar cycle really appealed to me.

The theory behind giving up fructose in a nutshell

  • It doesn’t enable to ‘stop’ hormone so we’ll (well I do) continue eating it until we’re sick
  • It can’t be processed properly by your body so effectively turns into fat
  • Modern food processes means it basically added to EVERYTHING (as I am quickly finding out)

Not a good combination.

The results so far: I am feeling okay, definitely feeling more satisfied and I basically passed out last night and I was comatosed until 7am.

I’ll feel like I should wait until I have finished the 8 week programme before I review the book but a little taster of one of the recipes- Salted Caramel Haloumi & Apple (basically my favourite words)

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So easy to make & a great evening treat when you have friends over.

All you need is

  • Haloumi
  • Green Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt

Throw it all in a pan and done.

(oh yes, forgot to mention wheat free is out the window although wholegrain and moderation is in)

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Going Sugar & Wheat Free

Every year for Lent myself and a few friends kick sugar until Easter. Usually, a few days in, I begin to feel great. I enjoy feeling healthy, lighter and cleaner.

This year, I started a few days early and I am hoping I might continue through Easter and resist those pesky eggs (..you know it, there is just something about them). On Friday we went to the Ham Yard Hotel to say farewell to our sweet friend and today was my first day sugar free. 

Along with giving up sugar, I have decided to try and ditch wheat. I don’t eat much but last week I had been craving bread so indulged in a roll most lunch times with my soup, by the end of the week I was feeling really really sick. 

I quit Sugar has arrived and I will start reading it tomorrow. I am hoping for some yummy pudding recipes as I am cooking for the boyfriends rents on Thursday and I would like to be able to make a dessert I can also enjoy.

(Watch out for some recipe reviews!)

Day 1

Sugar- So far so good, I am going to try and be super strict checking prepared food ingredients to ensure no sugar seeks in. Nakd bars are far the best things ever created! Perfect 11 o’clock tea break snack.

Wheat- Was not so good, my veggie sausages failed me. Not one to waste food, I am going to finish these up and pretend they never existed. 

My meals

  • Berries, yoghurt and oats
  • Nakd Bar: Pecan Pie
  • Chicken and Veggie stir fry
  • Handful of nuts
  • Veggie sausages and greens. 

Evening workouts

Tone it up, Love Your Body with HIIT 

Fitness Blender, Upper Body Workout 

I hope all your Mondays are going well!

 

Fitness blender = Burpee Warning

I am awlays trying to keep fit,  so when my boyfriend sent me this ‘great’  website he had stumbled across I thought I would give it ago.

Given our loft room situation and the fact that last time I did an exercise video at home I scared the hell out of our housemate who thought we were enjoying some other pleasures, loudy; I waited until the boys were out.

The website? Fitnessblender.

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I love home workouts but I tend to find them on the easier side in terms of cardio, this is the logic that lead me astray.  I selected a workout level of  5 (out of 6) and a calorie aim of 400-600. This was a mistake.

Their HIIT workouts are insane!  10 minutes in I wasn’t sure I was going to complete it but thanks to the counter and the knowledge that I just had to get through short rounds (…oh and the pause button for a quick breather!) somehow I managed to get through, burnt the calories and completed the workout.

This is probably the hardest I have ever workouted at home. I am not going to lie, my legs killed the next day- strecthing out & cooling down it a must- I learnt the hardway.

I now use the website regulary and really like the search feature so you can filter to find the right workouts for you. I do however, firmly believe most the videos should come with a burpee warning.

TIU Community

tone it up

I am addicted to American reality TV shows and usually the only side effect of my addiction is spending my Sunday mornings watching reruns of the hills. But Toned up was different, when I was in New York just over a year ago Bravo were running Toned Up, a behind the scenes look at two fitness fanatics (not in the oiled up, on stage sense) who had started their own female based fitness community and had built a nutritional plan for its members.

These women were fun loving, beautiful and inspiring.

Once I was home, I followed the community and did their youtube fitness videos- all of which is free. In May I decided to sign up for the nutrition plan. At the time I thought it was a little costly but was convinced by the regular updates and the promise of lots of super healthy but super tasty recipes. I wasn’t disappointed.

The highlights are definitely

– The community, the ladies in this community are always always there to encourage and support you. They are also a great fountain of knowledge and will help guide you through the first few months of getting fit and healthy. Just look out for the hashtag TIU on instagram for a taste of what it is like

– The fitness videos. These are brilliant, I am a complete gym bunny and love the treadmill but some evenings you just dont want to leave the house so these videos are perfect. These is a mixture between cardio, toning and yoga so meet whatever needs you have.

– The nutrition plan, not only does it set out the rules we should all be following when looking after our nutrition but it is jammed packed full of delicious recipes which are simple, tasty and healthy (what a combination!)

Rather than go into loads of detail, I would recommend that you check it out for yourselves at www.toneitup.com

I’m Back

So I seem to have fallen off the blog wagon big time or is it that I’ve been on the blog wagon all this time. Who knows..

After some thought about why the lack of writing, I realised that I felt too pressured (albeit pressure I inflect on myself) to write about things that are relevant. Well, I have thrown that pressure out the window and will be writing about the things that really do consume a lot of my time.

This is namely Fitness and Food. My continuous mission to keep fit and enjoy food but will include all sorts, apart from liquorice (yuck!).

Watch this space for more blogs.

Time flies

Time has flown by since my last blog. I had been aiming for one a week but completely failed last week.

Yesterday was the Brighton marathon, I was very good on Saturday night and went home early so I could wake up fresh on Sunday to go cheer on my crazy friend Anna. It was a very grey morning but there were lots of people to support the runners. I am not sure what it is about marathons but they always make me a little teary! (Goodness knows why). We got to see Anna at the 14k, 19k and 25k mark and she was incredible. I was amazed at how relaxed and at ease all the runners seemed. A big well done to everyone who took part, I hope you can still  move today!

Now, back to Saturday night. I went over to Eastbourne as my lovely lovely friend Sarah was back from Bologna where she now resides, much against my will. There aren’t that many yummy places to dine in Eastbourne, we went to the Thai Brasserie in the Enterprise Centre which is now up there with my favourite places in Eastbourne.

I managed to stay away from the Pad Thai (probably because I have had it twice in the last week) and I had the Dopey Honey Duck and Chicken Teriyaki. They do ‘Thai tapas’ which is brilliant as I can never decide what I want, so I got to have two dishes. The only down side was that it is a very quiet restaurant and the atmosphere wasn’t really right. Not good when you have 4 girls who don’t see each other enough, we slowly got louder and louder and got some unhappy looks from a few fellow diners!

 

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 This is a little throwback from 2 1/2 years ago!

 

I have been having a sugar free lent & am looking forward to Easter when I can tuck into a big slice of cake.  In the meantime, to keep my sweet tooth happy I have been tucking into Naked Bars, I especially love the Banana bread bars and they taste even better knowing there is only 5, natural ingredients.

 

 

Run Club and Cocktails

After months of procrastinating, on Monday evening I decided to finally go to the Sweatshop running club. I had seen them earlier in the year running along the seafront and have been meaning to go ever since.

When I got to the shop we stood around for 10 minutes waiting for everyone to arrive, I resisted the urge to get out my phone to look busy (ie check facebook). Everyone was chatting in their own groups and although the vibe was very friendly I felt like a bit of a lemon standing waiting. Luckily I got chatting to another lady, who was also there for the first time & I then clung to her until we started the run.  

The run was just 5k, starting opposite the the Brighton Centre to The King Alfred leisure centre and back. It was a mixed group so there were a few who whizzed off and I saw them returning before I even felt like I had gotten started. However, the overall pace was good. My competitive spirit kicked in and I tried my best to keep up with a guy who was just slightly ahead of me the whole time and I finished at just over 27 minutes. The fastest time I heard mentioned when 17 minutes!

It was great to get out running with a group, I love running and the peace you find but it was great to feel part of a pack. Tomorrow looks like rain so I might wait until next week for my next visit.

On Tuesday evening we got last minute tickets to see Bombay Bicycle Club at the Brighton Dome. It was a great gig, I rarely listen to them now but this is the second time I have seen them and they were awesome. It was a great mixture of tempo, I was surprised at the big pit that formed in the crowd and was glad that I had lovely sitting seats with the oldies upstairs.

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The week was topped off with a visit All Star Lanes in Bloomsbury for a old school friend’s birthday. It was great to catch up with people I really don’t see enough of, enjoy a cocktail or two and some good music.

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Last by no means least, I have been watching everyone put up their no make up selfies and have now been ‘nominated’. It’s a great cause and the campaign has been huge on social media. It is worrying how nervous some people seem to be to post,  make up is great for giving your natural beauty a boost but we should all be a little more confident in our own skin…maybe this campaign will do a more than just help raise money for charity.

I shall be making my donation and posting up my no make up selfie.

City Lights

I could tell this week was going to go quickly when I mentioned it being Monday morning to someone but actually, it was Wednesday.

I have spent most of the weekend in London, Saturday night was a tapas night with lots of yummy homemade food and sangria. Today I went to meet some old work colleagues for Sunday lunch at The White Hart . The plan was to have a roast but as the sun was blazing down on us, I opted for the toasted cous cous, fried halloumi, bean & avocado salad, it was really tasty and a lot more filling than it looked (or that could have been the large glasses of wine..). It was great to see people I haven’t seen for a couple of months and have a good catch up.

After I stopped commuting from Brighton to London, I think I went on a travel boycott and the last time I was in London for the day was back in November when I did a city walk called hidden city.  Hidden city is a ‘treasure hunt’ around the city, you receive a series of clues which need to be solved to find out where you have to go next. Each new location has the answer to the second part of the clue, once you have the answered correctly- you are receive the next clue. 

We did the City Lights Evening Trail which started at the Barbican &  finished near Borough market. It was a great way to explore the city and see parts that you would never normally venture. This trail is rated as easy- medium, I would say we are a pretty intelligent bunch but there were some clues that we found impossible. We were a bit worried when we spent 15 minutes trying to solve the first clue, luckily you can text for hints!

The highlight of the walk was visiting the roof terrace at One New Change where there are amazing views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. I am sure that regulars to the area would have been there many times but for me, it was a great find. My friends have previously done the Brighton walk, maybe it’s because we are Brighton locals but they were a bit disappointed however,  would thoroughly recommend the London walks.

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(Note: There are two pubs called The White Hart within a very close proximity, if meeting friends- make sure you have the right pub!)

New York, New York

This New Years I was incredibly lucky to spend in NYC accompanied by my lovely Mum.

We left on Boxing day & arrived in New York around 3pm. Initially I wanted to travel like a local, getting the metro to the hotel but  we were so exhausted we jumped in a taxi. Trying to resist sleep we headed out for a walk as soon as we arrived and headed up to Washington square & then set ourselves to the task of finding dinner.  The Result: Philly cheese steak at Fanelli Cafe, it was so good we went back on the last day for lunch. The perfect combination of relaxed but lively atmosphere, homely and tasty food.

New york 4.

As it was our first visit much time was spent on typical tourist things like the 9/11 memorial, Staten Island ferry, the Rockefeller Centre and so on, I won’t bore you with the details. However, if visiting the memorial,  for a quick lunch I would definitely recommend the Italian deli next to the memorial ticket office. Shout your orders & don’t be shy, I ordered the Californian wrap, crammed with chicken, avocado & salad- possibly the best wrap ever.

Two very tasty dinners of the trip were

Boyd Thai (I take my pad Thai addiction with me where ever I go). We shared the Crispy Duck with Pineapple Cashew Nut Salad to start with, it was a little salty for my tastings but my mum devoured it, just as well as our Pad Thai portions were huge but very tasty so I didn’t want to leave even a mouthful.

&

Mekong bar, arriving earlier than most diners we were sat in a very quiet dinning room (it got busier) and had the full attention of the waitress, who talked to us for a while about England, the local area and our plans before leaving us to enjoy our meal, which was incredible. Especially the Goi Ga (chicken  and cabbage salad).

The first two days were spent doing so much walking meant I had to pick up a new pair of trainers, we gave up after day 2 and spent the rest of the week whizzing around on the metro.  Part of all this walking was a trip to Serendipity which, knowing my love of ice cream and all things sweet had been recommended by the lovely Abbey at fashionGrace. We arrived around 5 o’clock to a 3 hour waiting list, so sad we didn’t get to go. This will be added to my to-do list for the next trip and I will definitely be booking in advance.

New york 3
Unintentionally this has been slightly food focused. I could write forever about the trip. I think it is safe to say that I fell in love with the city. I loved how vibrant it was, the spaces, the architecture. Oh, and the amount of dogs and doggie parks. Let’s be honest, it’s enough in itself to make you love the city.

New york 2.

Sunshine & Shiny things

This weekend was the first bit of glorious sunshine this year which is a near miracle after all the rain we have had. Friday was also the first payday in a while that I have been able to go splurge…well by splurge I mean buy myself some urgently needed essentials.

First stop was Next for some black skinnies. I have always been slightly negative about Next, it conjured up an image of those who have forgotten fashion existed and lack imagination (Sorry next-ees!). However, I have recently found lots to things to love and they have a great range of wardrobe essentials so I picked up a pair of jeans for just £22

With the sun out, I headed to h&m for some new sun glasses (previous pair falling victim to my bottom) & new pumps. Look completed.

Sunday morning was spent at the gym with a Pilates class, I have been going to Body Balance for a while which I love so thought I would try my hand at Pilates. Whilst it was a lovely way to end the week I think I enjoy the extra movement and energy that comes with Body Balance. The afternoon, along with what seemed like the majority of Brighton, was devoted to the seafront with a stroll up the marina, lunch &  home.

Other great things about this weekend included

–          Homemade humus- recipe here. 

–          The arrival of The Body Book, I am halfway through and completely addicted. More to come on it soon…

–          And a delivery from the wonderful not-another-bill of a gorgeous art deco mirror by designer Haidee Drew. 

PicShells

The week ahead will hopefully involve lots more sunshine, the walking dead and a lovely roast along the south bank with some old chums.