Saturday, 6 September 2014

Pinterest food finds: Keeping cool

With Summer over and the colder weather about to set in across the UK, I've been making the most of being able to enjoy all things ice cold, from ice lollies and ice cream to slushies, smoothies and frozen yogurt before mugs of hot drinks (hopefully not topped with too much marshmallows and cream!) take their place.

Here are some of my favourite finds, none of which will ruin the diet!

STRAWBERRY FROZEN YOGURT
Links to: pinterest | recipe/image source

The colour of this frozen yogurt recipe has 'Summer' written all over it! It looks so refreshing and with only four simple ingredients (strawberries, honey, yogurt and lemon juice) it's healthy too. I'd probably try it with Total Greek Yogurt which has a higher protein content than normal yogurt and contains no added sugar!

WATERMELON FROSTY COCKTAIL
Links to: pinterest | recipe/image source

It says in the recipe that these can be made with juice instead of vodka, but with a party just around I've been on the hunt for some delicious cocktail ideas and this frozen watermelon recipe ticks every box! It contains watermelon and banana, so that makes it healthy - right?

VEGAN CAPPUCCINO POPSICLES
Links to: pinterest | recipe/image source

Buying a cute little popsicle making set has been on my to-do list for a while now but I think this recipe for capuccino lollies has made it a priority and I can see these babies being whipped up this week. I have a serious coffee addiction but making iced coffee at home takes effort so these seem perfect.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
Links to: pinterest | recipe/image source

Chocolate, banana and peanut butter: the best food combo in the world. This smoothie might look like it would cancel out your efforts at the gym but the addition of peanut butter and greek yogurt makes it a treat loaded with protein (28 grams of the stuff - WOW!) and healthy fats.

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

My top pick of healthy snack bars

BOUNCE ENERGY BALLS (click to buy)
Bounce Balls are a relatively new product and come in a bitebized ball with 6 different flavours to choose from. Each ball is really high in lots of nutrients - not just protein - whether it's vitamin E, magnesium or fibre and contains naturally occurring ingredients and super foods such as carob, cacao nibs and spirulina to name a few.

Each flavour ranges between 3g and 10g of protein, around 160-200 calories and contains no trans fat. They're all gluten free, too. I love these and can't get enough of the Coconut & Macadamia flavour which tastes like a cross between cake and coconut macaroon - so satisfying as a post-work out snack!


QUEST BARS (click to buy)
Oh my. I have been dying to get my hands on some Quest Bars for a long time, and was so happy to find that a local store (Sports Food in Glasgow, for those locally) stocked them as my usual online shop, Protein Pix and Mix was out of stock.

Quest Bars feel like the ultimate treat, especially when heated up in the oven until they're warm and cookie-like. At around 170 calories each, with only 4g of carbs and a whopping 20g of protein I seriously wish these were more readily available in the UK as they'd be great to grab to re-fuel on the go! The flavours are insanely good too with Peanut Butter Supreme (oh come on, I couldn't not love the PB one!), Strawberry Cheesecake and Cookies & Cream being my favourites.


NAKD BARS (click to buy)
Similar to quest bars, but without the hefty USA import price tag these Nakd Bars make a good cookie/cake substitute when heated. The flavours are not as exciting, and they don't pack in nearly as much protein but they taste great nonetheless.

I find that I can't eat them too often as its easy to get sickened of the chewy texture and that they're not quite sweet enough for me sometimes but being available in most supermarkets and even some corner shops, these are usually my snack of choice if I'm out and about!


MERIDIAN PEANUT AND ALMOND BARS (click to buy)
Being a big fan of their all natural nut butters, it's no surprise that these snack bars from Meridian are one of my favourites. I'm not such a big fan of their Almond Butter bar (it doesn't have much taste, I find) but the Peanut Butter bar blows my mind every time I eat it. Seriously, so tasty!

At under 200 calories and 8g of protein these don't give as much protein as other bars but they make my sweet toothe day every time I have one and they keep me feeling full between meals.

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Sunday, 29 June 2014

One year progress and an update

(I guess I really do have a favourite pair of shoes....)

It’s been two months since I last posted a progress update and despite only losing 2 or 3 pounds in this space of time I feel like I’ve made quite a lot of progress in other ways. It's also been 1 year since I started my weightloss journey and I'm almost 3 stone lighter, a hell of a lot fitter and most importantly, so much happier.

I mentioned in my last post that my focus has to change from weight after noticing that my weightloss was slowing down as I got slimmer and this is something I feel I’m doing well with. It’s not easy moving away from judging everything in numbers when you’ve spent a year weighing yourself weekly and noting it down, right down to the exact half lb. I found it particularly hard on a Sunday night when I’d think about what the scales would read on my usual Monday morning weigh in so I’ve stopped weighing myself weekly and will probably only do it periodically from now on.

I’ve changed the way I work out too, which has resulted in some brilliant progress in my body shape and muscle definition which in turn is making me appreciate my progress without linking it to the numbers. Rather than doing mostly cardio I’ve stepped away from my beloved hour long sessions on the spin bike and rowing marathons and do maybe 20-30 minutes HIIT on spin bike or Versa Climber (probably my favourite piece of cardio equipment, ever!) followed by around 40 minutes of circuits using weights. I get so much enjoyment out of planning a circuit of 4 or 5 exercises and then taking myself to the gym to do it. I’ve built up a collection of self-made circuits to work different parts of my body and these circuits, combined with breaking my workouts down and working individual muscle groups on each session (why didn’t I do this sooner?) has really made a difference.

My arms are much more leaner and my biceps are definitely coming through. Triceps are my big area of focus just now as although they’ve definitely firmed up a lot I was once the queen of bingo wings and have a lot of progress left to make. My stomach is not quite flat but I’m getting closer week by week and being the type of girl who holds all of her extra weight in that area, this makes me happy! My legs are getting a bit skinny for my liking, but with my current obsession with big quads I’m sure this will change too!

Overall I’m really happy and proud of my progress. I feel like I’ve almost got to the end of my weightloss journey and now it’s all about building muscle and getting a bit of definition.

I'd love to know how you're all getting on with your weightless and exercise goals so please share your progress in my comments! :)

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Friday, 27 June 2014

Raw chocolate from iQ Chocolate

IQ SUPERFOOD CHOCOLATE - ESPRESSO KICK & PLUSH PEPPERMINT

A few weeks ago I went to the Ideal Home Show in Glasgow and somehow, instead of walking out with bags of homeware, I brought home a bag full of chocolate. There's no hiding the fact that I'm a big chocolate fan, but with eating healthily I've been trying to limit myself to a few squares of high percentage dark chocolate per week. However this little beauty, brought to you by Scottish company iQ Superfood Chocolate goes one step further as it's raw chocolate.

Cocoa beans are actually jam packed full of nutrients, but the usual chocolate making process heats the beans to such high temperatures that any trace of nutrients is lost by the time it reaches our mouth. Raw chocolate uses a much gentler process meaning that all that potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron (who knew chocolate was so good for you, eh?) found in the beans can be absorbed by your body.

Not only this, but iQ Chocolate use rare cocoa beans from the Rio Negro Valley. Now I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on cocoa, but this chocolate is definitely the nicest I've ate (if we're taking Kinder Buenos out of the equation, anyway...) and it definitely tastes high quality, even compared to brands such as Green & Blacks.

I've tried the Plush Peppermint flavour which is like a fresher, mintier After Eight without the cream filling and Espresso Kick which definitely gave ma a kick and has become my favourite espresso chocolate to date - and I've tried a lot. You can tell the flavours added to the cocoa are fresh ingredients and not artificial flavourings. The espresso chocolate tastes almost as though you're eating actual coffee beans.

I'll definitely be picking up some more bars to try. At £2.99 they do seem a little expensive but just 1 block is enough to satisfy my super sweet tooth so I've been getting 4 servings from each bar. They're also only 197 calories for the entire bar too, so this is definitely a guilt-free treat!

Have you tried raw chocolate yet?

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Life lately #9

It's been a while since I posted one of these (November, actually - wow!), and I thought it was about time I updated you with everything going on in my life!

I've quite obviously, if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, been exercising, meal prepping and buying far too much new sports wear (even I will admit that 2 pairs of Nike trainers in 1 week is a little bit obsessive) and generally just being healthy. It's actually 1 year since I started keeping fit and living a healthier lifestyle and I've got a post about my progress scheduled for a few days time.

I've had to schedule quite a few posts this week, since I'm jetting off (errr, flying Glasgow to Bristol...) to Glastonbury this! It's not all pleasure, it's actually part of my exciting new job working in the Promo Team for the company I work - squeeeeee! It's pretty easy to figure out who I work for, but if you're at Glastonbury this weekend then keep your eyes out for some big turquoise and yellow cows and you'll maybe spot me covered in mud next to one doing my thing!

Other than that I've been sprucing my house up a little, and I finally got around to completing my bathroom makeover which I couldn't be happier with. I've been loving the warmer weather and taking advantage of the lovely boardwalk on my doorstep. You really can't beat a walk along it when the sun is setting, just look at that view!

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