Sunday, 12 October 2014

NO EXCUSES

Just solutions




Aaaah it’s here: fall fashion trends with their dark, sultry hues adorn the high street rails; the ground is glowing with fallen golden leaves; squirrels scurry across the fence and up the trees in the back garden; and there is an obvious chill in the air that warrants boots and a coat – yes, we are truly immersed in autumn. My summer clothes are steadily making their way back to their respective homes to make way for the new and existing warmer attire.

I do welcome autumn/winter, for all the reasons mentioned above and more, but there is one facet of this season that I’m not so keen on, and that’s the rain, extreme cold temperatures and early sunsets. Not only does this change of weather play havoc with my hair, outfit choices and mood, but it also interferes with my workout regime. You see, although I’m a big advocate of working out, I refuse to exercise outdoors when it is freezing cold, raining and or/dark so I always have to adjust my workout regime at this time of year. I could just hibernate until things improve but I inherited more of my mother’s genes (consequently if I don’t exercise I gain weight quickly) and I want to keep fit throughout the year so…………no excuses, just solutions.

I've enjoyed having the opportunity to go running in my local park over the spring/summer period but this weekend, after running under grey skies, getting caught in a vicious downpour and shivering for the first part of the workout, I conceded this would probably be my last run in the park and that I would have to resume my aerobic activity back in the gym and on the home treadmill……………blub blub blub.




I rarely invest in active-wear, I prefer to save my pennies for bags and shoes, so alas I’m wearing an old pair of Nike trainers, Topshop leggings, a Primark tracksuit top and an Adidas vest, but perhaps, if I’m going to be in the presence of other people at the gym, I should consider updating my sports-luxe apparel, right?  - à la  #netasporter style.


Do you work out? What do you tend to do and does you exercise routine change with the seasons?





Later x

Sunday, 5 October 2014

IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED WITH PESTO.........

..........try again


Do you recall a particular food or drink you used to hate when you were a youngster, but now you enjoy; it might be those brussels sprouts your mum wanted you to eat at Christmas or that soup your grandma forced you to swallow when you visited her at weekends or that lumpy slime they used to dish out in the school canteen and call custard? Well for me it’s yes, yes, yes to all of the above and I’d like to add another food to the list - pesto; yep that green stuff that university students live on. I had my first encounter of pesto in the kitchen of my university halls of residence and I can still remember the repulsive taste in my mouth and the disgusted frown on my face when my flatmate poked it into my mouth and assured me it was the best thing since sliced bread -  in my opinion it wasn't. I detested the taste and smell, and while I made the choice never to taste it again, my nostrils were subjected to it for 3 years because it was the food of choice (poured over pasta) among the guys and gals in my dorm. I vowed never to eat it or smell it again after I left!


Move forward a significant number of years and there I am watching a cookery programme the other week where Italian chef, Gino D’Acampo, made a pesto dish look absolutely deliciously mouth-watering. I couldn't understand why I didn't like pesto because it’s made up of all the ingredients I enjoy: basil; olive oil; pine nuts; and parmesan…….yum. So, being the foodie that I am who’s always up for a challenge in the kitchen I decided to make my own pesto using my pestle and mortar and mixed it with courgettini ( i.e. I used sliced ribbon-shaped courgette as a substitute for fettuccini/fetuccine pasta). Voila! I’m a home-made pesto fan.

What I used:
  • A fresh basil plant
  • Pinch of salt (and pepper if you like pepper, I don't)
  • A handful of pine nuts
  • A handful of grated parmesan
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional squeeze of lemon 



What I did:

I used a whole small fresh basil plant, picked off the leaves and rinsed.

I crushed the basil and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar, which gives the pesto a really nice texture rather than using a food processor, and then added the pine nuts to the basil mixture and crushed again.


I tipped the basil and nut mixture into another bowl and added the handful of grated parmesan and stirred gently.




I finished by adding a good glug of olive oil to the mixture and a dash of lemon juice.

I made my courgettini by slicing a courgette into  ribbon, fetuccini-style shapes and sauteed them in olive oil. I added some additional pine nuts for added protein and texture until they turned golden brown - the smell at this stage is unbelievable.


Once the courgette and pine nuts are sauteed to your liking, add the pesto mixture, and ensure it is fully warmed through. Serve and then enjoy with a two fingers up to the ready-made jar version.



Are there any foods that you used to hate, but now enjoy?

Later x

Sunday, 28 September 2014

FASHION AND HEALTH

Let's compromise









This week I visited the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which does exactly what it says on the tin: it houses a collection of fine art, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, archaeology, ethnography, local history and industrial history; it is situated in the town centre in Chamberlain Square and is free to enter.

Whilst wandering around the museum, I stumbled upon some history of fashion from the Victorian era, as you perhaps would expect to in a museum. It was quite nostalgic actually, not because I lived in the Victorian era of course, but because I suddenly found myself reflecting back to dressing up in similar attire during a few of my history lessons at school -  those were the days.


After engaging in some ruminant thought about how times have changed, my eyes caught the word ‘health’ at the information point; it was describing how looking good in Victorian times could seriously damage your health because the corsets that women wore compressed the ribcage and made it difficult to breathe and digest food. The sign then asked visitors to think about the ways in which we still harm our health for the sake of fashion; images of certain supermodels might spring to mind but I immediately looked down at my feet and discerningly thought about all the uncomfortable shoes that resided in my closet. That day I was wearing flats, but there have been many occasions where my feet and legs have been sore and my back has ached as a result of wearing inappropriate shoes, all for the sake of personal style and fashion! Here’s a selection of a few of the culprits. Despite the discomfort they cause, I still adore them and I'm proud to have them as part of my shoe collection.

For more information on how heels can affect your body/health click here.

These wedges are not forgiving - my calves after wearing them for too long.......ouch!

My little toe and the ball of my feet suffer if I try to walk for any length of time in these bad boys

So cute on, but oooh do they give me backache if I don't sit down regularly

These become a little tight after a while, I think my feet swell because they are so enclosed. I need to massage my feet after taking these pretty little things off

I can even feel myself walking hunched over in these -  so bad for my posture

Thank goodness for my Tods flats 
How many pairs of shoes give you discomfort and grief?

Later x

Sunday, 21 September 2014

FRUIT CRUMBLE

The nutritionist's way





It’s commonplace to have my weight management clients disclose to me their food vices: bread, potatoes, crisps and chocolate to name a few of the more common ones. Some of my clients are shocked to hear that I, as a nutritionist, have some of these food vices as well; mine are of the sweet kind with chocolate, sour sweets (think Haribos) and desserts being my biggest weakness. I deal with them by following an 80/20 dietary regime, which involves eating/drinking ‘healthily’ 80% of the time and ‘treating’ my palate to the less healthy food 20% of the time; I often suggest it’s okay to occasionally indulge your guilty food pleasures because denying yourself them could potentially lead to overeating.

This weekend I decided to make a dessert that would fit into my 80% regime: fruit crumble which traditionally, with its buttery, sugary and white flour-base crumble, would feature in the 20% regime. I decided to make the crumble with whole-grain oats, nuts, almond butter and a sugar substitute made from 100% fruit, and I used a combination of mixed berries and apple for the fruit base which are naturally sweet. This is not necessarily low calorie, but the ingredients I used turn the crumble into a dessert that is rich in whole-grains (oats), healthy fats (nuts, almond butter, rapeseed oil) and low in refined sugar.

Do you have any food vices? What is your favourite dessert?

Ingredients:
1 apple (Granny Smith or a cooking apple)
1 handful of mixed berries
3oz of rolled oats
2oz mixed nuts
1 heaped tbsp of almond butter
2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
1 tbsp Sweet Freedom sweetener





INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Throw some mixed berries and a chopped skinless apple (I didn't have a cooking apple to hand) into a saucepan and heat gently with 15mls of water to soften the fruit.
  2. Blend the rolled oats, nuts, oil, almond butter and Sweet Freedom in a blender until crumbly. Add more oil/butter if it is a little too dry
  3. Spoon the fruit into an oven-proof dish and add the crumble topping
  4. Bake for 20 minutes on gas mark 4 and voila!
  5. I made a simple home-made vanilla sauce using cornflour, Sweet Freedom, vanilla essence and milk.







Later x

Sunday, 14 September 2014

THE FOOD FAIR

A haven for foodies


Outside the Millennium Point



A few months ago I invested in the Birmingham Independent Card, a card that entitles you to discounts at selected independent shops and restaurants in Birmingham. I make a conscious effort to show my support for Birmingham’s independents by visiting their businesses for clothes or food at least once or twice a month - any excuse to shop and eat really!

This weekend saw the return of the annual Birmingham Independent Food Fair, which took place at the iconic Millennium Point, an event where you can find many of the independent food establishments in Birmingham all under one roof -  a haven for foodies with lots of free food and drink (of the alcohol kind too) samples on offer. Only a small proportion of the food ticked my health/nutrition check box so it’s a good job they were only offering small samples. I stupidly had lunch before attending the ‘food’ fair but I didn’t let that stop me treating my taste buds to some of the delights that were available; it just meant I had a slightly uncomfortable power walk back to my car instead.

I know it’s all about Fashion Week at the moment but have any of you guys attended any foodie events recently or know of any coming up?














and what I wore

Dress  Dorothy Perkins
Boots  Clarks
Bag  Sophie Hulme
 Later x