A good clear out

Well I was without t’internet for most of yesterday and was so busy I didn’t post! Went to work, collected my glasses (they are not as big as I thought, but my eyes are taking time getting used to them), did the shopping and housework. Plus I used a courgette from the garden to make some courgette bread from my Bake book. It is much like a banana bread recipe, with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves- it smelled delicious and I had a slice as my post body-pump snack and it was delicious. I used half wholemeal flour, loads of spices and it was yum!

Today I have been busy again- we have people over tonight and I am making some pizzas and bread (all on the go at the mo). Earlier I made brownies (my oldest recipe which makes them all chewy and sticky- yum). I also decided to make bread for lunch (was in a bread-baking mood) so I added some cranberries, cinnamon and flaked almonds to my normal bread= delicious!

I had one little slice with cream cheese, and one little slice with rainforest nut butter- delish!

Before my run today I tried a new snack (sent to me by the kind folks at www.seedstacked.com). It was a seedy flapjack bar, and I think it may replace the 9bar as my fave seedy snack. The ingredients are honey, oats, seeds, nutmeg and vanilla extract. No oil or anything else to bind it together. In a 50g bar you get just under 200 calories, nearly 6g protein, 5g fibre and about 28g carbs. Pretty good stuff, not to mention all the goodness from the seeds. It tasted lovely too- you could taste the nutmeg, it gave it a nice spicy hint. The texture was lovely, not too seedy, nice and chewy. Altogether fab (10/10 cherries for me).

When I got back from my run (5 mile run which I listened to the rest of the marathon talk podcast- good stuff, although it is so muggy out there I was dripping when I got back urgh!) I had some coconut water (cocowell- got it from the health food shop)- tasted lovely and I added in a little bit of mango smoothie. Yum.

I also spent a good hour today in the garage clearing out junk which we then took to the tip- I love a good clear-out, so theraputic isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the dough-making now!

Baking mistaking!

Well yesterday I was recommended to try www.marathontalk.com for podcasts to listen to while running (from Belgmoo on WLR). I had a look today and it looks fab- not sure how often they release a new one but there are already 30 back podcasts on the site, ready to download. It looks like they are over an hour each too so should be good to try sometime.

I had a pop to the shops this morning, and when in the health food store I decided to ask about a loyalty card. (You may remember that last time I was there the lady asked me if I had one, I just said “no” and then realised after that I should have asked for one). Anyhoo, now I have one- they send money-off vouchers once you spend so much.

A while back I was looking for a veggie cookbook, and so many of them have loads of egg dishes in them, which I am not keen on, or they were not “proper” veggie ones (eg still had parmeasan in recipes etc), and I came across a vegan one called Veganomicon . Now I am not vegan, but it is a massive book with everything from soups, salads, beanburgers, desserts and loads in between. I also thought that if they need dairy-free milk then normally I would be fine to replace it with milk and so on. There are already quite a few recipes that I have my eye on, including chickpea burgers, kidney bean balls (like meatballs for spagetti), bean burgers (is there a theme here? I missed having beans while I was on holiday!)- things that I can make a lot of anyway and then keep for later. But all those recipes call for vital wheat gluten, and I was hoping to find it in the shop, but no. I did however find cliff bars- muchos excitement!

Anyway I decided to try out another recipe from there- Lower fat banana bread. Seemed simple enough- mash bananas, apple sauce, splash of sunflower oil (didn’t have rapeseed oil), treacle, then mix in dry ingredients (spices, sugar, flour). Only when I had put it in the oven did I realise I had forgotten the baking powder- duh! Not sure how I managed that as I never buy self-raising flour, I only ever use plain and add the stuff if needed. So while it was cooking I decided it would be like a banana brownie instead. In fact when it came out the oven it had risen a bit, and when I cut it into slices, although it is not traditional banana-bread texture it is quite moist in the centre, almost like it has dates in it (but it doesn’t). So I was thinking I was going to have to freeze it and turn it into bread pudding in the winter, but in fact it has been rescued! Result! I had a little slice spread with some smooth PB and it was lovely- the texture of malt loaf but with a banana-rey flavour-yum. Who knew a silly mistake would create something so yummy?

Anyway I had decided on a little run, and loaded up the podcast. I only went out for half an hour (just wanted to stretch the legs after yesterday, and have a few non-running days ahead so decided to take my chance) but listening to it was really interesting. I think for a short quick run it would not be so good, (I like the music to keep me running faster) but for longer runs and slower steady ones it would be great (so thanks to Belgmoo J ). This one they talked about having running goals, looking to the future instead of the next race, having time off from chasing PB’s and so on. I didn’t finish it, looking forward to finishing it.

After a shower it was dinner time- hooray for kidney beans! Mashed them up with onion, tomato puree, chilli, mixed in a pepper (and some chopped chillis from my plant!!!), put in a wrap with a little grated cheese and baked in the oven- delish! With a big salad and some corn on the cob it was very summery and is helping to make up for all the good veggie protein I missed while on holiday.

Return of the red face

This morning I had some more bircher muesli (so yummy) but without the spinkles. It would be lovely with a few chopped nuts I think- might try that another day. I was very pleased to see that the rain had cleared, and so after a bit of pottering about I headed out on a run. This was going to be my longest for about 3 weeks so I was a bit worried about how I would get on, but in fact when I got going I felt fine. I ran up to the lakes, around the lakes and back through the park before heading home, and it was only when I got to within a mile of home that I suddenly felt very tired. It was much hotter outside that I had expected, and I was bright red!

When I loaded up the Nike+ it creates a little chart of your run, with a little line to show how fast you are going for each mile. Mine normally goes up and down quite a bit during a run, but this run was more or less even pace (all around 10 minute miles) except for the last mile which took a total nose-dive! It mapped exactly how I felt!

On my run I mixed it up a bit and listened to a podcast. Normally I have music, and on my mp3 player I have a folder for running music which is a big compliation of what I fancy (upbeat stuff to keep me going). But other people have reccomended podcasts instead so I gave it a go. For the first few minutes I was not sure if I would like it as I was getting distracted by hearing my breathing, and I did have to have it much louder than music because when cars drove past I missed a few words here or there. But in fact fo the first 40 minutes of my run it was quite good to have something to listen to, and I will definetely listen to more podcasts on runs. The one I listened to was a phone in on the radio all about obestiy;  “Is obesity an uncurable disease?”. It was interesting enough (one guy rang up with the theory that if you outlawed selling large sized clothes then no-one would be obese any more), and I was feeling quite pleased with myself that I was out running!

When it ended it went straight onto an old Reef album, which blared out because the podcast was so quiet- made me jump!

Since being home I had a lovely smoothie with banana, mango and some coconut water with pineapple, and then for lunch I had a wholemeal pitta with goats cheese, tomato and basil- tasty. I was still hungry so had a couple of oatcakes with Carly’s Organic Rainforest nut butter (so good- it is made of brazils, cashews and macadamia nuts mmmmmmm), and some blueberries. My legs feel fine now which is good because for the last mile they felt almost jelly like- that’s what 3 weeks off will do I suppose.

Later we are going for a family dinner, which yesterday I made some cookies for. I used the normal chocolate chip recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book, but put some peanut m-n-m’s on top. We tried one yesterday with a cup of cinnamon chai tea (brewed in the pretty spotty teapot- its ages since I had loose-leaf tea) after a walk in the afternoon.

So I wonder if anyone has any good recomendations for podcasts to listen to when running?

Back from holiday!

So I am back home again after a lovely holiday. We got back on Thursday and so I decided to go to body pump in the evening. Well after 2 weeks’ off it was pretty hard! I managed to keep the same weights as before I went away, but I was very shaky by the end, and yesterday I was so stiff. I had such a busy day (and we had torrential rain here) that I couldn’t fit a run in (a gentle one to stretch the legs) so I went out this morning instead. Before I left I could not find my Nike+ anywhere- (tidied away for holiday) after the third time of looking in the same drawer I found it, although while I was running I forgot to look at it at all.

I only ran for just under 3 miles, and there was some light rain but I don’t mind that. I have been caught before in torrential rain, and once in hail which was awful as I had to stop and cover my eyes as it stung so much. Light rain is fine as I always think it helps to cool me down, plus when I get home I get straight in the shower anyway. I just don’t like getting soggy shoes so I try to avoid the puddles.

For breakfast I had some bircher muesli. Once of the hotels we stayed in had the recipes printed out and rolled up for the guests to take away. So I tried it and it was delicious!

Last night in a bowl I put 20g oats, 10g raisins, 75g vanilla yoghurt, 50g milk and left it overnight. Then right beforeI ate it I finely chopped one apple and spinkled on some cinnamon and mixed it all in. I fancied a bit of crunch too so I added a fine sprinkling of Fru-grains. It made a pretty big bowl-ful and was super tasty. The recipe from the hotel also called for some sugar, but seeing as the yoghurt was sweet I didn’t think it needed any (it also called for half strawberry yoghurt and half apricot yoghurt but I had vanilla). The ratio was just right I think- sometimes oats can be a bit too thick, sometimes too watery but this was just right (I think that’s what Goldilocks said too!).

Now onto the garden!

When I got back there was the most enormous courgette on one of the plants- not quite a marrow yet but getting there. Have already had some. Also the pumpkin plant (which is rapidly taking over the garden) has a little pumpkin growing on it! I hope it doesn’t fall off. Plus there is a little butternut squash on one of those plants. Exciting stuff indeed, although with this rubbish weather I won’t be sitting out there much at the moment.

Although baking is a fab rainy day activity so will have to be getting on with that at some point.


Tips for healthier holidays!

So this morning was my last run before holiday. After porridge (yes it worked yesterday so had it again today) I went out on a 3.7 mile run. It was very overcast and I got really hot, but there was a breeze, I had water with me and I felt pretty good, much better than yesterday. It’s funny how runs can be like that, one day really hard and the next day fine. It took me 36 minutes, so a minute quicker than the last time I did that route.

When I got home I had an apple and a cocoa orange Nak’d bar (sooooooo good) plus loads of water.

For lunch I am having a wholemeal pitta, half with dark chocolate PB and a banana all sliced up, and half with normal PB and banana, plus some cherries, and maybe some pecans. I had forgotten how good the combo and peanut butter and banana actually is! Yum! Trust me to redicover it right before I go away! Ah well something to look forward to on my return!

For dinner I have defrosted a quinoa lentil bake. I cant remember what I put in it when I made it, so it wll be a nice surprise! Will have that with some butternut squash and some beetroot- yum. Plus maybe a courgette side dish if I have more growing in the garden.

While I was running I was thinking about my holiday, and how to keep staying healthy whilst on holiday. So here are some of my tips:

Keep active! I love sightseeing holidays so spend a lot of the time walking around. Sometimes we have hired bikes to ride too. I am not much of a swimmer but if you like that then spend some time swimming.

Keep a note of what you eat! Either write it down, or really think about the meals you have eaten already. Think about what you would usually eat at home, and try to eat similar amounts. Portion sizes can be a lot more so don’t feel obliged to eat everything!

Beware of the buffet! If you have a buffet breakfast, then try to eat what you would normally eat for breakfast. Just because it is there does not mean you need to eat cereal, toast and a croissant. Maybe once every few days have a “treat” breakfast, but have sensible ones most days. I may have a little extra but this is usually because we would then have a banana and cereal bar for “lunch”, and then a normal dinner. The same applies if you eat out at a buffet restaurant in the evening- just because you have paid for it does not mean you have to eat it all!

Share snacks. Often we fancy an ice cream or cookie, but we will now get one and share it between us and this is normally plenty.

Be prepared! I like to take cereal bars with me, so if I feel hungry then I have that to hand instead of having to buy something less healthy from a shop/ café. Also if we stop in a supermarket then I would always buy some bananas to have later on.

Drink water! I used to always get diet coke as I got annoyed having to buy water when it is free out of the tap at home. But although fizzy drinks start off feeling refreshing, the artificial sweeteners can cause more sugar cravings, plus the fizzy drinks are bad for your bones and don’t hydrate you well. So have loads of water whenever you can.

See if you can swap! If your chosen item comes with chips, ask if you can have a salad instead (watch the dressings though!)- most places are happy to accommodate.

Think about where you are eating! Choose a local resturant over a fast food chain, try not to choose anywhere with a deep fat fryer!

Think about the food! When ordering in a resturant think about how active you have been that day, and how much you need to eat. I would not order a starter or dessert, just the main. Try to make sure it has lots of veggies in it, not too much cheese etc.

But most of all;

Have a lovely holiday! After all, we work all year so we can have a lovely few weeks getting away from it all. I am not going to feel guilty if I have a few extra bits here and there. I don’t want to go crazy, but a holiday is a bit of a treat and eating out means that meals will be heavier than usual, but it is only for a couple of weeks. I am going to do lots of walking, and I think a break from running will do me good so I will be raring to go once I return. So enjoy your holidays.


Any other tips for staying healthy while away?