Sugar

The I Quit Sugar Programme – the details

Hi friends,

After enrolling on the I Quit Sugar 8 week programme at the start of the month I wasn’t sure whether I would share a weekly progress update on here (because I wasn’t sure if you’d be interested) but after an overwhelmingly positive response to my posts over on Instagram (here btw, if you don’t follow me already) plus number of people asking me a whole range of questions these past two weeks I thought each week I’d do a little wrap up of how it’s going and give you guys a space to ask me anything you want to know about the Programme.

So, as I’m moving into week three here’s some basic programme information to help you decide whether it’s for you and on Wednesday I’ll do a full run down on weeks one and two.

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Food hacks

Back to work (or school) health hacks

Hi everyone, how are we doing now we are ‘properly’ back into January? I’m feeling fairly fresh and energised (which I’m attributing to some newly implemented habits) but if you’re not then this post might come at the right time for you.

Today I am sharing some quick and easy things you can do help keep your healthy habits on track and your wellbeing a priority as the day to day routines settle back in and the year rolls on.

If your good intentions are starting to slump and your motivation is waning then read on for some easy ways to inject some goodness into your January – without investing in a new gym membership or embarking on a crazy diet.

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Christmas

The Christmas fallow – what now?

Hi everyone,

How was your Christmas Day?  Are we all feel sprightly and bright or did we overindulge and feeling in a bit of a festive fug?  Well, hopefully you’re somewhere in between and had a great time, however you celebrated.  If you did indulge more than you originally intended, please don’t beat yourself up about it.  It happens, today is another day and another chance to have a fresh start.

This period between Christmas and the New Year (the Christmas Fallow) can leave you feeling a little ‘what now?’ as it is that strange time when some are back to work, others are not and there’s usually lots of leftover Christmas food to eat – but we’re all starting to feel mighty sick of the excess chocolates and cheeses.  With this in mind I thought I’d share some easy ways to use up leftovers in-case you are in the mood to start re-introducing veggies back into your diet and you’re feeling a bit ‘now what?’

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Christmas

A simple festive soup recipe

Hi everyone,

For today’s ‘surviving the festive season’ post I’m sharing with you my go-to winter soup recipe which comes on so handy when you need something healthy, filling and easy during this crazy time of year.

I make batches of this soup and freeze them so that if unexpected guests arrive you’ve always got something healthy to serve them. Or if you come home after a long day of work or festive shopping you can simply heat this up and in under 5 minutes you’ve got something hot and nutritious to eat.

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Christmas

Surviving the Christmas party scene

Hi everyone,

For the second instalment in my ‘how to survive the festive season’ series today I am focusing on providing you with some practical (but enjoyable) ways you can survive the (often numerous) festive parties.  As I don’t know about you but I seem to have something planned in my calendar everyday between now and Christmas Eve.

So, today I’m talking through how you can survive those social occasions with grace and still enjoy yourself at the same time.  I know how at this time of year even the most dedicated of healthy eaters can lose their willpower when faced with a Christmas buffet (me included).

First things first

Be prepared!

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Food hacks

Easy and clever ways to reduce your meat consumption

Hi everyone,

I’ve now completed a whole month of being vegetarian and although there have been the odd slip up (like the time I accidentally bit into a homemade pasty from a colleague and didn’t think to check if it was meat free before realising it was a proper Cornish pasty filled with mince beef and potato) but otherwise nothing too horrendous.  I must admit that in the first week I found myself looking longingly at bacon and sausage sandwiches which surprised me as I’ve always been someone who thought they weren’t that fussed about meat.  I’m happy to report that those feelings soon passed and the rest of the month was relatively smooth sailing.

I managed to find all the foods I wanted and used it as an opportunity to experiment with meat free recipes throughout the week which saved me both cash and time and I’ve even got back into the groove of batch cooking and freezing which has been brilliant – although I am aware I have a freezer full of meat that needs using up and I’m in no rush to get to it.  Perhaps I’ll give it away to my parents?  I will keep you posted on that one.

In the meantime I thought it would be helpful to share some ways I found to reduce my meat consumption over the past month.  I know if you’re used to eating meat at nearly every meal it can seem a little daunting to reduce the quantity (especially if you’ve never tried it before and were raised on the meat and two veg philosophy of my childhood) but just a few tweaks to your regular routine can make all the difference.

Here’s how I did it…

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Food hacks, Uncategorized

Quick and easy make ahead breakfasts

When I wake up in the morning one of the first things I think about is what to eat.  Which is great if it’s a weekend because I have the time to make something delicious like breakfast burritos, pancakes or French toast and omelettes.  I’ve even been known to have multiple courses (croissants then toast followed by a fry up since you ask) but during the week I simply don’t have time for all that.

Most weekdays I roughly leave myself 30 minutes between my alarm going off and getting out the door to drive to the train station.  This is easily done as my clothes are sorted the night before, my work bag is packed and my food is in the fridge ready to go.

But being quick doesn’t mean I want to compromise on taste or flavour. I want the best of both worlds – and don’t even think about suggesting those instant oat sachets that are stuffed with sugar and other nasties.  They give the illusion of being quick and easy but in reality, they’re junky and you could cook regular oats in the same time (eye roll).

The good news is that there lots of different breakfast options you can make in advance which will take you minimal preparation time, taste amazing and you can simply grab and go during the week.

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Food hacks

Quick and easy food options for when you have no packed lunch

Following on from Sunday’s meal planning post I began thinking about those days where you haven’t had time to cook anything beforehand but still want to eat well at lunch.  I’m pretty good with bringing in my own food 99% of the time (as I find it’s easier, healthier and saves me a bucket load of cash throughout the month) but there are times when meal planning doesn’t quite go, well, to plan.

I’ve found it’s usually days when either I haven’t had time to bring in lunch; my lunch plans fell through and I need to unexpectedly buy something; or I made lunch and forgot to pick it up so it’s sat on the kitchen counter at home going warm (which happens more than I would like to admit) when I’m in need of something quick, easy and that I will actually want to eat. Hands up who has ever made or bought a lunch and then ate something completely different because you didn’t fancy it?  Yeah, me too.

It is on these days that I re-visit my go-to list (below) which I have saved on my phone so that I don’t even have to think about it, I can just toddle on down to the shop and pull together a quick and healthy lunch option.

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Tips and tricks

Food prep made easy

Lets talk about food prep.   You only have to type #foodprep in to Instagram and you’re overwhelmed with hundreds, if not thousands, of images of perfectly prepared and portioned meals for the week which are set out in pristine kitchens without a hint of mess or fuss – I’m not knocking it, if you’re one of those people then please tell me your secrets because no matter how hard I try I always end up with food all over me and the floor.  So when you see these perfect images where somehow someone has managed to make 25 meals in 2 hours food prep seems like a pretty inaccessible concept doesn’t it?

Well, here’s the thing.  It doesn’t have to be.  If you’re put off by the idea of food prep; or you love the idea but can’t see how you can fit it in to your already busy schedule; or you simply don’t know where to start I’m here to reassure you that it’s easier than you think – and will definitely save you some time mid-week when you’re frazzled and would eat a lump of tarmac if someone else cooked it for you.

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Food, Nutrition

How I learnt to eat more vegetables

My diet is fairly good.  I avoid sugar, limit my dairy and meat consumption and try to eat a variety of fruits and veggies with some grains and pulses added in.  But here’s the thing; I could do better.  I try to convince myself that I eat a well-balanced, wholesome diet all the time but if I’m being honest, I am kidding myself.  You know, like that time you kept a food diary but accidentally forget you had a brownie and a cake in the same day.  Yeah, that’s sort of been me over the past few months.

I don’t really set New Year’s resolutions (because I’d break them and then have that awful shame spiral going on) but in the New Year I do try to think about what worked well for me in previous years and what didn’t.  What came out in the ‘not so good’ pile this year was my diet.  After falling ill with a virus over the Christmas and New Year period I did some reflecting and my diet running up to the weeks before I was sick (plus a crazy work schedule) probably didn’t help.  So one of the things I committed to changing this year was upping my veggie intake.

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