Egg & Kale Pitta Pizza

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Say whaaat? Look at those perfect soft boiled eggs 😀

This egg and kale pitta pizza is the perfect lunch when you fancy something quick, healthy and easy and you have a hankering for pizza 😉

Ingredients

  • Wholemeal pitta
  • Tomato & olive pesto (I used Sacla) – 1-2 tbsp depending on how much you like
  • Curly kale – handful
  • Soft boiled egg x 1
  • Cheddar cheese – sprinkle
  • Chilli flakes – sprinkle
  • Salt & pepper – sprinkle
  • Chilli rapeseed oil – to drizzle – optional (I just looove chilli rapeseed oil)!

Directions

  1. Boil an egg for 5-7 minutes – depending on how runny you like the yolk (I sit on the fence and go for 6 minutes) and pop in a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking
  2. Cut the wholemeal pitta in half and lightly toast
  3. Spoon the pesto on the pitta
  4. Sprinkle the cheese
  5. Wash the kale and pop it on top
  6. Chop the soft boiled egg and add it to the pitta
  7. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and chilli flakes
  8. Pop under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese has melted
  9. Drizzle the chilli rapeseed oil over the top
  10. Devour!!!

Enjoy! 😀

With love, Tash x

Counting Calories – My Experience

A couple of years ago, I started using a popular calorie tracker out of curiosity and with a view to keeping on top of my calorie intake. I didn’t particularly have any goals as such, my diet was pretty healthy and I exercised regularly but I’d heard of this app and I thought I’d give it a go. Probably not the best decision for someone that has already had a brush with an eating disorder.

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I used it solidly for about 6 months before I woke up to the detrimental effects the app was having on my health and well-being.

When you think about how much time you have to put into using a tracker to count the calories of every ingredient you put into a meal and every morsel you put into your mouth, you soon realise that it is akin to having an eating disorder and not only is it easy to become obsessive, in order to do it right… you have to be obsessive!

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The app gives you the option to put on weight, maintain weight or lose weight. Before even really thinking about whether I needed or wanted to lose weight, I had chosen the ‘lose weight’ option and clicked on the recommended 0.5 kg loss per week which reduced the amount of calories I was allowed per day.

Even though I was already eating less than my body needed to maintain a weight I was actually happy with, I felt guilty if my calories went over my allowance for that day. On the flip side of this, I was elated when I was under my calories and even treated it a bit like a competition to ensure that this happened.

The app requires you to weigh yourself weekly – something I had stopped doing many moons ago. Even though I know that if I am working out regularly and eating well, my weight either doesn’t change or increases slightly along with my muscle tone, I still did as the app told me to and weighed myself and thus became more obsessive about the numbers on the scale than my overall health.

Unfortunately, a calorie tracker doesn’t account for quality of nutrients; healthy fats for example are really high in calories but the health benefits far outweigh the calorific value.

I personally love avocado and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on my salad and if you add both of these items to a chicken salad, you are adding 120 cals for 1/2 avocado and 118 cals for 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil = 238 cals!! And that’s if you stick to a measly 1 tbsp. of olive oil… is that even possible?? 😉 Avocado and extra virgin olive oil might be high in calories but consuming them benefit your hair, skin, nails, cardiovascular system and have cancer fighting properties along with many, many other health benefits. Cutting out or restricting healthy fats also means lower levels of necessary nutrients are absorbed, especially the fat soluble vitamins such as; vitamins A, D, E and K.

I like to eat quite regularly and sometimes I found that if I had a good breakfast such as porridge with nuts and fruits, a healthy mid-morning snack and a good healthy lunch with some healthy fats, I ended up with hardly any calories left for my dinner. If you add a workout into the calorie tracker, it gives you back the calories that you’ve burned so I’d end up working out even if I was tired or really didn’t feel like it just so that I could have some dinner without feeling guilty for going over my calories.

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All in all, it was a miserable experience for me and not one that I will be repeating. If you really need to lose weight and struggle with portion sizes etc. I can see how tracking your calories will help and it’s also handy to use it to understand and track the nutrients you are getting from your diet and what you are missing but using it daily for months on end just didn’t work for me and I’ll only ever use it now as a quick refresh on my nutrient intake.

I managed to find the right balance for me and my weight has stayed the same within around 2 kgs for a few years now and yes I am heavier now than when I was as a size 6 – 20 year old but (as anyone that knows me knows), I didn’t let that girl eat! I now manage to eat well and still have treats when I feel like having them and I am a happy and healthy maintainable size 8-10 with a full and happy tummy and a healthy relationship with food.

So…how did I find that elusive balance and find my ‘happy healthy’?

  1. I went back to eating by looking at ingredients rather than at calories – if it’s got millions of ingredients in it that I can’t even pronounce, let alone understand – I don’t eat it.
  2. I exercise 3-5 times per week and this includes doing a yoga based workout at least once per week.
  3. I drink 2-3 litres of water per day as a minimum.
  4. I eat regularly.
    1. If I ignore my hunger pangs, I end up making bad choices and reaching for the processed sugary snacks every single time.I snack on healthy foods and snack bars… again by looking at the ingredients.
  5. Some healthy snack bars look like they have as much sugar and as many calories in them as a choccy bar but you have to think in terms of nutrients and ingredients. If the sugar is coming from fruits and not from added refined sugar, it is more nutritious to have the healthy snack bar. 
  6. I only drink alcohol occasionally.
  7. I don’t eat sauces with every meal, preferring to taste the flavour of the food rather than sugar laden sauces such as ketchup and I actually find them really sweet.
  8. If I am craving a sweet treat after a meal, I’ll try and have a fruit tea, some greek yogurt or a decaffeinated coffee with a tiny dollop of sugar free caramel syrup and these usually do the trick.
  9. If I really want some chocolate or a bag of crisps, I have some.
    1. I used to restrict ‘treats’ to weekends only but found that it would get to Friday night and I’d eat a weeks’ worth of chocolate and cakes in one sitting… the old binge eating!! Such a bad habit and overloading the body with sugar and saturated fats like that is not good for your blood sugar levels. A little bit every now and then, however, doesn’t hurt. It definitely works better for me not to restrict.
  10. I stopped worrying about what size clothes I was buying and concentrated on how they looked and felt.
    1. I want a nice peachy bum, (who doesn’t??) and I do squats and lunges and use weights to get it! Unfortunately, having a larger, more rounded bum means I can’t fit into a size 8 pair of jeans anymore. Something I used to want to change. Not anymore, I am happy with my size 10 bottom thank you squats 😉
  11. I try to eat healthy foods 80-90% of the time and allow myself to have the odd pizza or burger once or twice a week maximum.
  12. I try to make as much as possible from scratch at home, preferring to make my own burgers, muffins etc.
  13. I steer clear of white processed carbs; white pasta, rice and potato.
    1. I still eat carbs as they form an important part of a healthy diet but I choose to eat wholewheat rice, bread and pasta or lentil and chickpea pasta, sweet potatoes, etc. White processed carbs don’t agree with me so this is an easy decision to make. Sometimes I do have the odd couple of chips or white bun on a burger but it is rare.

 

Balance to me is about being happy with the look and feel of your body and the weight you naturally reach when you are eating as healthy as you can without depriving yourself of the things that make life fun.

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With love, Tash x

Peanut Butter & Chia Seed Overnight Oats

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Hi, my name is Tash and I am a peanut butter addict 😀 There are worse things to be addicted to though right 😉

These are my overnight oats with chia seeds made in a peanut butter jar that is just less than 1/4 full and it is delicious! Filling and nutritious and made the night before, this is a perfect quick breakfast option for all you busy peeps 🙂 It literally takes 2 minutes to prepare 🙂

Ingredients

  • Peanut butter – the last bit of a jar 🙂
  • Organic oats – up to around a 1/3 of the jar
  • Chia seeds – 1 tbsp.
  • Almond milk (or any milk you like) – Fill up so that the jar is 3/4 full

Directions 

  1. Push the remaining bit of peanut butter to the sides of the jar (for even distribution when eating 🙂 )
  2. Pop in the oats and chia seeds in and add the milk
  3. Pop the top on the jar and shake to mix it all up
  4. Pop in the fridge overnight
  5. Take out the next morning and top with whatever you like or just eat is as it is 🙂
  6. I topped mine with dessicated coconut, freeze dried raspberries, a tsp. of Hartland Fudge vegan chocolate spread and strawberries 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

With love, Tash x

 

Fajita Turkey, Kale & Feta Burgers

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This recipe has been used by a few of my followers on Instagram and they love it 🙂 It makes me sooo happy when someone makes a recipe I’ve created and they like it 🙂

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Turkey mince is a great versatile meat to use for burgers when you are adding strong flavours. For these ones I added some delicious crunchy kale and some creamy crumbly feta. As you can see, I left the feta out of the bottom 2 burgers are they were for hubby and he is dairy free.

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I served ours in Warburton wholemeal thins (bread), topped with rocket salad and with a side of sweet potato wedges 🙂 Seriously good!

Ingredients for 4 burgers

  • 400-500g turkey mince
  • 2 tbsp. fajita seasoning
  • 2 tsp. sundried tomato pesto
  • 1.5-2 cups kale
  • 1 tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • Handful of crumbled feta

Directions

  1. Wash and then saute the kale in a pan with some olive oil to soften slightly
  2. Pop the turkey mince into a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the fajita seasoning and stir
  4. Add the sundried tomato pesto and stir
  5. Pop in the kale and mix well
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and feta in and mix
  7. Use a burger maker or manually form burger patties
  8. Fry in a griddle pan until cooked through
  9. Serve

Enjoy! 🙂

With love, Tash x

Protein Powder Made Simple – The Organic Protein Company

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A couple of years ago, I decided to start using a calorie tracker to keep on top of what I was eating. (I no longer count calories as I found it very restrictive… I’ll delve further into this in a separate blog post as it’s worthy of it’s own 😉 ) Anyway, back to this blog post…the calorie tracker also tracked my macro-nutrients  (fat, carbs and protein) which I found utterly fascinating. I learnt quite quickly that the macro I wasn’t getting enough of, was protein.

All of the macro-nutrients (along with micro-nutrients) are important to incorporate into your diet and protein is important for a number of reasons: –

  • Vital for building strong muscles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood
  • Builds and repairs tissue
  • A component of every cell in the body including hair, skin and nails
  • Helps to make chemicals, enzymes and hormones

Unlike fat and carbohydrate, our bodies don’t store protein so when it runs out there is nothing to draw on when needed, therefore we have to ensure we are getting the right amount daily. This doesn’t mean constantly eating large amounts of steak or chugging on protein shakes all day. For the average person, protein should make up roughly 20% of our daily diet. 

As a food source it’s not as readily available as carbs and fat. I for one, am guilty of reaching for a wholemeal pitta or slice of toast when the hunger pangs hit and this is definitely partly to blame for my lower levels of protein intake.

To increase my consumption of protein, I decided to add some protein powder shakes into my diet and my search for a good, pure protein source began.

If you have ever searched for a protein powder, you’ll know that there are thousands on the market… I mean literally thousands. All with different flavours and different additives. Some of them are diet protein powders, some are bulking powders, the list of different types is endless and very confusing.

My husband uses one that is a diet whey powder so I decided to try that. BIG MISTAKE! His diet protein contains a whole host of things that are meant to help speed up your metabolism and supply energy etc. and all it did was make me really anxious and jittery.

So I then moved on to a strawberry flavoured protein powder from a popular brand and found that this one gave me a really horrible aftertaste 😦 Sooo frustrating!

I decided to really consider what I was looking for. I sat back and thought, ‘I just want an organic clean and simple whey protein powder that hasn’t been tampered with, has nothing added and no flavours so it will go well with anything I put in a smoothie or in my baking experiments and doesn’t make me anxious or give me a bad taste in my mouth!’ 

So that was what I searched for and I finally came across The Organic Protein Company

These guys have got what I was looking for and more. Their protein powder is not only creamy and delicious with anything I put it with, they only use one ingredient; organic whey protein. Nothing else! Finally! The powder is additive free, gluten free, soy free, gm free and hormone free and they care about where they source their product from. More info on them can be found via the link to their website above 🙂

I add it to smoothies, porridge, pancakes and in lots of my baking recipes.

I highly recommend it as a pure alternative to some of the other protein powders on the market.

You can order via Amazon or direct from their website.

Hope you like it as much as I do 🙂

With love, Tash x

Creamy Protein Smoothie

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A delicious smoothie combination made using nourishing ingredients that keep you full and fuel your body 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop – protein powder – I used The Organic Protein Company Whey Protein
  • 1/2-3/4 cup – unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbsp – honey Greek yogurt – I used Rachel’s Organic Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp – chia seeds –  I used Chia Charge seeds
  • 1 pack – frozen smoothie mix – kale, spinach, mango & kiwi – available in most supermarkets

Whizz up in a blender and then top with granola and dried raspberries for a delish crunch 😀

With love, Tash x