OVERNIGHT OATS
Sunday, June 28, 2015

OVERNIGHT OATS

Wake up happy.


You've heard of these, right? Overnight oats? They’re nothing new amongst the wellness food blogger community. They've been one of my breakfast choices for over a year now, and I really enjoy making them the night before ready to eat the morning after - I'm not sure why I didn't post my version of the recipe sooner! With wholesome ingredients such as oats, chia seeds, milk, natural yoghurt and fruit, they’re nutrient dense as well as being easy to make and filling; I also find them to be a really refreshing alternative to hot porridge, particularly at this time of year when you wake up on a warm and muggy morning after an uncomfortably hot and sticky night’s sleep – hhhhmm hot and sticky because of the summer weather I mean!

What I Used:
-1 small pot of full fat natural yoghurt
-200mls of unsweetened soya milk (I find it gives a slighter sweeter taste compared to cows milk)
-A handful of oats
-2 tablespoons of chia seeds (gives it a fibre boost)
-A dash of nutmeg
-Grated/shredded granny smith apple (or any apple really but I find these to be the sweetest (yes I have a sweet tooth)
-Any fruit of your choice for the topping (I used blueberries in this instance)





 What I Did:
-Pour the yoghurt into a mixing bowl and add the milk. Stir until completely smooth.

-Add the oats, chia seeds, nutmeg and apple and mix into the yoghurt and milk mixture. You may want to add some extra milk at this stage if it is too glutinous

-Cover the bowl of mixture with some cling film and put in the fridge overnight

-Eat the remaining apple that you didn't use

-Go to bed and wake up excited to have your breakfast creation, but don’t forget to add your favourite fruit on top and maybe a little drizzle of milk if it’s overly thick and creamy!

- You could put them in your favourite Mason jar if you like and you've got 'breakfast on the go'!





Later x
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MIND OVER MATTER
Sunday, June 21, 2015

MIND OVER MATTER


Let's do it in style.




So here I am trying to fit in the government’s recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. I don’t usually use park equipment, this was just for the sake of photography for the blog but I do love to do my outdoor runs in this local park, especially at this time of year. Anyway, you may recall from a previous post that I don’t usually like to spend my disposable income on fancy and expensive activewear. Looking stylish whilst working out has never really been on my agenda, so I’d usually just throw on a pair of old Topshop leggings and a Primark tee-shirt to get my sweat on.

Recently, thanks to Instagram, I have stumbled upon some great activewear brands that I have been really tempted to invest in; sportswear pieces that have fashion-forward abstract prints and colourful hues, with the functional design you’d expect from gym apparel have really started to appeal to me. In fact, last week I wrote a post on the Birmingham Fashion Week blog about fitness fashion -  a trend that is not only getting the fitness devotees excited but the fashion community too (you can see my fitness fashion post here).

I am still quite reluctant to spend close to £100 on a pair of ‘designer’ workout leggings and vests so for now I’m staying loyal to Forever 21’s activewear range, which I discovered only a few weeks ago. I've been really impressed with the quality and, of course, the easy-on-the-wallet price of their pieces -  I’ll be going back to purchase some of their more snazzy leggings.

Wearing:
-Vest; Crop-Top; Leggings (which have pockets yeaaah)  - all Forever 21
-Trainers - Adidas Women
-Hat - Adidas







Later x
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DIET & STYLE PROFILE
Sunday, June 14, 2015

DIET & STYLE PROFILE

An Interview with Genelle Aldred.


One minute I’m watching the lovely Genelle Aldred on my TV screen, the next minute we are following each other on social media and liking each other’s posts; this eventually led me to attending one of the events she was speaking at recently. It was a great talk and she was so inspirational in terms of her beliefs, ambitions and success, I just had to find out more about her; I decided to ask her to do my Diet & Style Profile and she happily obliged. 

Name: Genelle Aldred

How can people network with you?  
Twitter: @genellealdred
Instagram: @genellealdred

Age or age category:  Early thirties

Where do you call home? Birmingham

What is your occupation? TV Presenter

What are your hobbies? Reading, shopping, cooking and eating

Favourite quote? "My mission in life is not merely to survive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style."  – Maya Angelou

Guilty Pleasure? Watching too much TV


HEALTH & NUTRITION

What is a typical day’s diet for you? It depends on where I am and what I’m doing. I might be travelling away from home and in my job there are lots of social events. They make it hard to plan at times.  Plus I love food so I’m not a stickler. But I always have breakfast. That is typical, I never miss it.

What is/are your healthy food staple/s? Turkey and Mackerel, fresh fruit and veg. I really like juicing and Nutribullet drinks too.


 What is your food vice? I love beefburgers, with all the trimmings and fried chicken!

Can you describe your physical activity regime? I try to exercise three times a week. I enjoy road running  and gym classes, especially body pump. When I’m away from home or doing lots of engagements it can be hard to fit that in. But I want to stay fit, it’s important to me, because you actually improve your quality and hopefully longevity of life by looking after your body.

What is your favourite recipe? I have too many…! I think my family and friends would say my lasagne, jerk chicken and cakes. I make my all my sauces from scratch for the lasagne and Jamaican jerk sauce. When I have time I make my own pasta too. I love it.

Where is your favourite place to eat? Piccolinos in Bridleyplace is somewhere I love. I went to Opus in Birmingham the other day and loved it. Sabai Sabai in Harborne was great too! Then I have my favourite London places. Basically I like places that serve good food!


Can you offer any healthy lifestyle advice/tips? I’m trying to be consistent with my exercise even when I’m busy and especially when I feel lazy. If I push myself when I don’t want to it feels a million times better than normal. I used to try lots of faddy diets and they never work. I’m now focussing on trying to make changes that I can keep up with, so delicious food that is good for you. I'm cutting out as many processed sugars as I can.

Is there anyone you follow for health inspiration? A family friend, my mothers god daughter in fact. Her body is insane and she’s about to launch her personal training company. I also love Instagram, there are loads of healthy people on there with great recipes and exercises!


FASHION & STYLE

How would you describe your personal style? Eclectic…

Do you have a wardrobe staple? No I like to mix it up

Where do you like to shop? Various places

What has been one of your biggest fashion splurges? A Dolce and Gabbana handbag, it lasted me years.

Can you offer any style tips? For work, dress for the job you want not the one you have. It’s always better to be over-dressed rather than under-dressed. And if it’s not quite right in the mirror, don’t wear it out you’ll feel uncomfortable. Finally, wear heels you can manage, walking around like a newborn calf is not a sophisticated look.


 Is there a current fashion trend that you are rocking or would like to rock?  It’s always white and pastels in the summer so I’ll be wearing those. I also love culottes, I remember them being a child and a few years ago. I’m glad they are back.

Who or what inspires you in terms of fashion and style? I love Solange Knowles' style… super stylish.  Isabel Marant is so effortlessly cool too. I love New York and Parisian style - very chic.


Thank you Genelle x
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NEW PROJECT
Sunday, June 07, 2015

NEW PROJECT


Birmingham International Fashion Week Blogger Ambassador


It’s been a gorgeous, sunny weekend here in the UK, in fact it certainly felt warmer than the 18C forecast by the weather presenter so I took full advantage knowing that it’s unlikely to last long. Consequently, I've done none of the work-related tasks I had planned to over the past couple of days, including a blog post, except one. I've been invited to be a Birmingham International Fashion Week Blogger Ambassador and I published my first blog post on their website on Friday, and my first post discussed my favourite fashion accessory: handbags, in particular Boyarde-painted handbags (as shown in the image below). If you get a moment, perhaps when the weather turns grey again, go check it out -  here.


Birmingham International Fashion Week takes place in September and although it’s not on the grand scale of LFW, NYFW and PFW, you’ll know I like to show my support for my city in whatever they do, especially if it is fashion or health related.

Have a great week y’all.

Later x
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NUTTY TRUFFLES
Tuesday, June 02, 2015

NUTTY TRUFFLES


Without too much guilt




I inherited a sweet tooth from my mother, and in an effort to eschew the nutrition-related problems associated with eating too much of the white stuff -  AKA sugar - I’m often on the lookout for ‘healthier’ alternatives to Haribos, Leonidas Belgian pralines and Haagen Dazs ice cream – a few of my favourite indulgences. Typically - and I’m not just saying this because I’m a nutritionist - fruit satisfies many of my sweet cravings, particularly tart fruit like passion fruit, grapes and Granny Smith apples, however sometimes it’s nice to have something a little different, something that tastes a little more cheeky shall we say; this is when the ubiquitous food blogs and coveted #eatclean recipe books come in handy: foodie inspiration

Lately, I've come across a few dessert/snack recipes which have suggested the use of Medjool dates, so when I was standing in line at Marks and Spencer and spotted them near the checkout I quickly popped them in my shopping basket and began engaging in ruminant thought about where I had seen those darn date recipes.


I decided to make some nutty truffles with my new found ingredient; the dates provide the sweetness and, when compared to sugar or sweeteners, added fibre and antioxidants, and the nuts contribute a boost of protein and healthy fats. The recipe does include some coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat (too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels) so I've minimised the amount I used as much as possible. Also, be warned, these dates are very sticky and therefore can potentially be cariogenic (harmful to teeth) if you frequently snack on them throughout the day.

What I Used (to make 6 relatively large truffle balls)
6 Medjool dates
¼ of a banana
1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil (room temperature)
50g of nuts
½ teaspoon of nutmeg spice
Cacoa powder for coating
Omega seeds for coating


What I Did – easy peasy
  • Blend the dates, banana, coconut oil, nuts and nutmeg in a powerful blender for 30 – 60 seconds until the texture becomes more of a paste
  • Roll the mixture into small truffle-sized balls with your hands
  • You can roll the balls in various coatings such as desiccated coconut, oats or finely chopped nuts, however I rolled half of mine in cacoa powder and the other half in omega seeds – I preferred the omega seeds because I enjoyed the combination of the crunchy seeds with the gooey texture of the truffle
  • Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving





Later x

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EXAM TIME
Sunday, May 24, 2015

EXAM TIME


I don't miss those days stuck in my room revising


We’re in the midst of student examination season, and I have previously been asked to offer some nutrition tips for students to aid concentration; I thought I would share them here on the blog because they’re not only applicable to students, they apply to everyone who wants to perform to the best of their ability in whatever they do. Healthy eating habits and good nutrition can have a positive impact on concentration. Take a read if you're interested, otherwise you can wait for the next recipe or personal style post!


A Balanced Diet - Aim for a balanced, varied diet that incorporates all the food groups (proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fruit and vegetables); an eating regime that is balanced and varied will minimise your risk of nutritional deficiency and ensure your body and brain get all the nutrients they need. There is a lot of hype surrounding ‘diets’ based around low carbohydrate and zero fat, but a restrictive diet is the last thing you want to embark on when you are trying to concentrate - your memory, attention and brain function is likely to suffer.
Glucose - Your ability to concentrate is down to your brain having an adequate supply of energy. This energy comes in the form of glucose and if we don’t have enough glucose in the blood, we can begin to feel weak, tired and fuzzy-minded; glucose is the brain’s primary source of fuel. Despite what the media and celebrities say, you should avoid eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, they are not the enemy. Carbohydrates are broken down in to glucose and its utilisation by the brain ensures you maintain good concentration and focus. However, this is not a licence to eat lots of sweets and copious amounts of carbohydrates.  In fact, although sweets and chocolate provide a quick release of energy, and you have probably experienced this sort of energy burst after a Snickers bar or pack of Haribos, the effect is short-lived and you can end up feeling relatively lethargic soon after. It is much better to opt for complex carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, porridge, wholemeal bread).

Caffeine - Similar to sugar, caffeine is often used as a stimulant during exam time. I don’t like coffee but I remember in my first year of university (despite studying Nutrition), I’d sit on my bed revising whilst popping those caffeine-containing pills from my local chemist and slugging back energy drinks. I only had to take them for two days to realise I’d be putting the rest in the bin. Although, like sugar, caffeine can energise the fatigued and make you feel more alert, in some cases, the effect of caffeine can make you feel jittery and uncomfortable and disturb sleeping patterns, which is the effect it had on me – not a great feeling when you are studying/working! My advice is not necessarily to cut out the coffee if you are an existing coffee-drinker but instead limit it to one or two cups a day. Dehydration can impair your concentration, so I’d suggest always having a glass or bottle of sugar-free fluid beside you to sip on regularly.

Healthy Fats - Did you know a large proportion of our brain is made of fat; it therefore stands to reason that we shouldn’t eliminate all fats from our diet. Including oily fish such as salmon, trout, pilchards, fresh tuna and mackerel will help to boost your omega-3 fat intake which is a healthy fat essential for good brain health.

Breakfast - One-third of us regularly miss this meal because of habit or time pressures, but skipping breakfast can have a negative effect on concentration. Breakfast is an opportune time for a nutrition boost following a 7-8 hour fast (whilst your sleeping) and is likely to give you the physical and mental energy you need for your day of revision/work.

Snacking - Don’t be afraid to snack in between meals to keep your energy levels ticking over until the next planned meal, but be careful about the type and amount of snacks you go for and how often. I tended to have a snack between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner. Healthy snack options include nuts, low fat yoghurts, oatcakes with a low fat topping such as cottage cheese and of course fruit.

Lifestyle
Finally, I can’t talk about nutrition without talking about lifestyle; they both complement each other. Here are my top lifestyle tips:
§  Get enough sleep so you feel refreshed and revitalised the next day – aim for approximately 7 hours a night
§  Your free time may be more restricted as you approach the exam period, but do allocate some time to being active. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym or take up a sport, a half hour walk around the local area will do wonders for your energy levels and mental performance
§  Try to stay calm and positive while studying: remind yourself why you are doing this – what is the light at the end of the tunnel; draw up a revision plan/schedule so that you are not left having to cram in all your revision towards the end; aim for a work-life balance, don’t abandon your social life, although you may need to curb it somewhat.

Good luck 

Later x

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FOODIES FESTIVAL
Sunday, May 17, 2015

FOODIES FESTIVAL

Of course I went


Apologies for the cliché peace sign hand gesture; I was in festival mood at this weekend’s Birmingham Foodies Festival at Canon Hill Park. I was so grateful for the dry and sunny weather because, in my opinion, it would have really spoiled the event if it had been a wash-out. We walked around in the open air amongst other foodies shuffling from tent to tent, food stall to food stall, and cooking demo to cooking demo enquiring about and, in some cases, sampling the culinary delights.

Believe it or not, I’m not a massive fan of ‘street food’ so I didn't really indulge in many of the dishes on offer; nonetheless I enjoyed the atmosphere, music and the little treats we did snack on. It’s also set in the beautiful surroundings of Canon Hill Park so we took the opportunity to meander around the grounds, idolise the landscaped gardens and soak up the sunshine. The Foodies Festival is not a Birmingham specific event, it is hosted nationally with its next stop being Syon Park on 23-25 May.

In light of the ever-growing health movement inspired by the likes of Delciously Ella and Hemsley & Hemsley, I was surprised not to see a few more healthier, more whole-food options on offer – I did manage to find a few specific health-related vendors scattered amongst the hog roasts, beer stalls and barbecued burgers/sausages though. 

(Sorry-not-sorry for all the photos.)














WHAT I WORE:
I tried to get into the festival spirit with a maxi skirt (Warehouse) and a cropped top (Topshop) and despite the sunshine, it was a little nippy so I donned my Firetrap (House of Fraser) biker jacket.

Later x
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