Tuesday 21 April 2015

In Response to This Article

I came across this article on the Guardian this morning and it really struck a chord with me. I loved it, agreed with it, laughed with it, scoffed at it, had moments of cringing self-realisation, felt angry and sad and also empowered, all in the space of a few paragraphs.

The article raises important issues surrounding the 'eatclean' and 'healthy' 'fitspo' realm, and rather than me summarise it, I'd suggest you give it a read yourself.

What I want to do here is share what, for me, 'health' is about.

Health for me is standing up to the food giants and supermarkets with their misleading advertising and hoodwinking marketing campaigns we as consumers are bombarded with to make us eat shit. 

Health in my eyes doesn't dictate that a photo with over 100 likes on Instagram is the 'correct' way to eat, it isn't about being a size 8, being able to deadlift or sprint or curl. It isn't about calorie counting or fad diets or deprivation.
It is having faith and belief in ourselves that we can look after us, number one, from the inside out. 

It's teaching people that processed food is incredibly, horrendously bad for us and it's only looked upon as extreme if you don't eat it as processed foods have become so engrained in our lives. It's about educating people that food is fuel - not macros necessarily, although I do track these loosely in an attempt to get leaner; a personal choice and goal of mine. 

It isn't about being branded not 'clean' if you aren't a vegan. It isn't about pursing your lips if one of your 'healthy' Instagram buddies posts a picture of a bottle of prosecco and pizza...

Instagram, when used in the right way, can connect, strengthen and unite a community of people who want to live better and don't want to settle for what huge food companies stuff down our throats (literally). But when used in the wrong way it's a dangerous tool that's essentially a breeding ground for low self-esteem and disordered eating. It can mess up your relationship with food even more. 

Health is personal to everyone. Everyone has different goals, aspirations, medical conditions. But ultimately what the majority of people need, I think, are lessons in how to eat, what to eat, and why. Yep, back to school for all of us.

I'd suggest reading 'Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us' by Michael Moss, as a starting point- it's insightful and shocking and changed how I viewed food completely. Secondly, read Kris Carr's book Crazy Sexy Diet - it was the first health book I ever read and is one of my all time favourite books: truthful, inspirational, memorable. 

To me being healthy offers a sense of empowerment - choosing what to put in your body ("you're either feeding disease or fighting it.."), and that's what I love about the movement into mainstream.

Yes, I may be sipping on a vegan protein shake post-gym as we speak (pea protein, cacao powder, almond milk and date syrup FYI instagrammers), but I'm also heading out for Turkish food tomorrow and then have a long weekend in the South of France where I plan to drink lots of wine, eat cheese and be happy (and run the Nice 10k). For me, my health is all about balance. Namaste. 

[images: Shutterstock]

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle is fan-bloody-tastic. It's an incredibly special place to have breakfast, especially if, like we did, you get there for 8am on a Saturday morning and London is (almost) still sleeping.

The atmosphere is enchanting, from the glass lift to the open kitchen and vertigo inducing views from your seats.

I initially had my eye on the Colombian Eggs (avocado, eggs and chives on sour sough bread) but when push came to shove I changed my mind - I could create something similar any day of the week. Kate and Nichola had this though, and in fairness it did look absolutely epic.

Instead Alice and I went for the Duck & Waffle. Surprise surprise. A sizeable Belgian waffle topped with a fried duck egg and huge crispy duck leg confit, with a mustard maple syrup sauce to drizzle on top.

Yep. I know.

Soo good.

Given its location, prestigious setting and exclusive clientele (myself included, obvs), the price is more than reasonable, I would definitely recommend it for a special breakfast.

We were there to toast to friendship (any excuse) and also to celebrate Kate's birthday; she enjoyed the Marmite Black Velvet cocktail (champagne, Marmite and Guinness reduction), which sounds odddd but tasted lush!

We sat and drank coffee until the place filled up before reluctantly giving up our seats and heading off out into the rain - even when tipping it down the views are still captivating!


Sunday 12 April 2015

Spicy Vegan Chilli


Chilli con carne has always been, and remains, an absolute favourite dish of mine - I get cravings for its spiciness and loove how hearty it is. I'm having it tonight, as it happens. Rather ironically, I'm also posting a recipe for a vegan chilli as we speak...

I've become a lot more meat conscious in recent weeks, I haven't cut it out of my diet (clearly) but am making an effort to opt for vegetarian choices when I can and want to, especially for weekday lunches. Meat has become something I now don't feel I 'need' as a staple in a meal every day, and I've found it's made me a lot more adventurous in the kitchen!

This recipe is incredibly flavoursome, and the mixture of beans and peppers gives it a variety of texture.

To make around 3 - 5 servings (depending on if you're having this on its own or with a decent helping of sides) you'll need:

1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin black eye beans
(any beans work here really, butter beans are an especially good addition as they're big and chewy, but I didn't have any. As long as you've got kidney beans in there somewhere you're good!)
1 tub passata
Squeeze of tomato puree
Hot chilli powder to season (or mild if you prefer!), I used about 3 tablespoons to make it really hot
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tahini
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to season

(I don't think you can make chilli look too pretty, so apologies for this pic!)

Fry off your onion and garlic before adding in the peppers. Once the onion is browned, add in your passata. Stir so that nothing sticks to the pan and add in your beans, chilli powder, paprika and salt. Keep mixing to ensure the seasoning is distributed evenly. After ten minutes, add in your tahini and stir this in very well (it has a tendency to stick together in a big lump).

Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy or freeze for lunches / dinner throughout the week.

Sweet potato is an obvious choice as a side with these, as is brown rice and veg, and last week I had it for lunch with mixed quinoa and peas, spinach and avocado - it was d-liiish.


Thursday 2 April 2015

The Easiest Healthy Dessert?!

I'd heard banana icecream reviews before as I'm sure you have, but in all honesty never got what the fuss was about. But, never knocking something 'till I've tried it, I gave it a go a few weeks ago and OH yeah, it's good. Believe the hype.

It's probably one of the easiest things to make. You just need a food processor (if you don't have one I promise it'll be one of the best investments you'll make; go and buy one), and 1 banana (or 2, depending on how much you want).

Slice your banana and freeze it. After a few hours, or over night, take it out of the freezer and blend it until it's smooth and creamy. Don't worry, there will be a point during blending where you're like, umm, this looks like weird rice, but stick with it. It works.

This time I've topped mine with almond butter and blueberries but there are about a dozen other combinations that would be bliiiiss, like cacao powder and maple syrup, raspberry and cashew butter, you get the idea.

With a bit of vanilla essence, this would be flawless. It's creamy, silky and thick just like ice-cream.

I've started freezing individual sliced banana portions in sandwich bags so I can whip it up in a matter of minutes.. let me know your favourite 'nice-cream' recipes!

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