Spicy cannelini beans

Here is the recipe I promised you all for my spicy cannelini beans, a nice twist on the classic baked beans on toast, and still cheap! It is really easy and quick and goes great with some eggs in the morning.

This recipe is for two servings, and it keeps in the fridge well for a few days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin drained cannellini beans (240g)
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 250g passata
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  • Place the olive oil in a frying pan and add the chopped garlic, fry for 1-2 mins on a medium heat
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, chilli flakes and cannellini beans, fry for another 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened
  • Add the passata, the amount I’ve given is just a guideline as I know some people may prefer their beans with more or less liquid than others!
  • Stir all the ingredients together for a further minute and then add salt and pepper to your liking
  • Pop it on some toast and enjoy!

 

Thank you for reading and I hope you like it! If you make it I would love to see so please tag me @whygowithout or use #whygowithout on your instagram post 🙂

Part-time vegetarianism

Interestingly, over the last year, I’ve seen lots of my friends go from looking forward to their weekly steak night to becoming red-meat free (or consuming it once a month at most) and part-time vegetarians. Myself included. When asked why, myself, like many others, will go on to explain that it is to reduce our contribution towards global warming (aka our ‘carbon footprint’).

If we all became part-time vegetarians (when one can count the number of times you’ve had meat that week using just a few fingers) this could cut global food-related emissions of green house gases by 63%. This is because the farming of animals has many steps, all that harm the environment. For a very brief snap shot:

1) Animals need land to graze – non-agricultural land has to be converted into agricultural land (…think trees being cut down. Trees that would help to absorb greenhouse gases)

2) Animals need to be fed – this means lots of water and lots of effort into growing food

3) Animals themselves will release greenhouse gases. It’s no myth that cows fart methane, additionally, the manure of animals release even more harmful products into our atmosphere.

One of the most frustrating things I’ve heard is people who are vegan/vegetarian telling those who are partaking in a diet like this, of hugely reducing their meat consumption, that it’s stupid and hypocritical. Additionally, it is just as frustrating (if not more), when you hear avid meat eaters saying that people who don’t eat meat are crazy and the whole thing is “pointless”.

Data from many different sources all agree on the same thing: eating less meat will help limit the negative effects on the environment. So all of this name calling etc. is absolutely pointless. If we all reduced the amount of meat we eat, this would have a huge, lasting impact, helping to slow down global warming by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. In the end, if someone is willing to go through their week without their usual steak night or someone is willing to try out veganism, we should celebrate this, as every little bit will help. 

If you need more convincing, meat reduction is also beneficial to your health. By having a diet filled with vegetables and less meat, you are less likely to suffer from heart disease than big meat-eaters. Also, it will leave you feeling a lot better in your body… if you don’t believe me just look at this:

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In conclusion… My aim of writing this blog post was to try my best to convince a few people out there to choose the veggie option in their meal deal, work lunch, Saturday brunch etc. more regularly. This is a great way to start off and the more you do it, the more you will be doing your bit. So why not try and be a part-time vegetarian next week and see how it goes?

** I know there is a lot more to veganism and vegetarianism – a lot of people will be partaking in these diets to stop cruelty to animals in the meat & dairy industry. I am not saying that this is not important! I am simply just talking about another side to vegetarianism/veganism, as along with animal rights, this is also something that desperately needs addressing 🙂 **
https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/global-warming/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_and_agriculture
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/21/eat-less-meat-vegetarianism-dangerous-global-warming
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars

Banana Protein Pancakes

It’s pancake day so… I thought I would share with you the recipe for my most recent pancake stack. It isn’t 100% perfect but it did make some pretty delicious pancakes.

 

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Ingredients:

For the pancakes…

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1  banana
  • 50g buckwheat flour (or any other flour will do!)
  • 15g My protein soya chocolate protein isolate
  • 1 medium egg
  • 100ml almond milk

For the toppings…

  • Sprinkling of coconut
  • A small handful of cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana sliced (freeze the other half for a smoothie another time)
  • Sweet freedom choc shot

Method:

  • Simply blend all the pancake ingredients together (or use a mixer if you don’t have a blender handy).
  • To get the circle shape I used two pans, one small circle one and another to flip them onto.
  • Make sure both pans are very hot before you start cooking and that the oil is evenly coated. Once you begin, turn down the heat.
  • When the pancake mix becomes noticeably more firm on the side facing you, give it a go and flip ’em!
  • Can’t give too much direction here as it really does come with practice and timings all depend on how thick you like your pancakes so… good luck! (P.s. the first pancake is always the worst)

Enjoy a delicious pancake day!! If you make these pancakes please do let me know by tagging me @whygowithout and using #whygowithout so I can find it 🙂

For another protein pancake recipe click here!

New Years Resolutions & why not to keep them (all of the time)

Happy new year! This time of year is always an interesting one. People take the time to reflect on their habits of the year just gone and try to figure out what they want to change to make the coming year even better than the last.

One of the most common resolutions is to “get fit”, or “eat clean”. This is one of the trickiest there is. A lot of people who will choose for this to be their main goal for the new year, will try to do it in almost an impossible way. They will completely stop themselves from eating anything ‘unhealthy’, i.e. depriving themselves of a lot of their favourite foods. Or they will set themselves hugely difficult goals like exercising 6 days a week. This is unrealistic and will leave you feeling crappy, unless you have unbelievable willpower and unlimited free time.

The deprivation isn’t the bad part, stopping yourself from eating chocolate, junk food etc. is in the end, a good thing. What is bad is the guilt that comes when you have a slip up. Most likely there will be a slip up as habits don’t change over night. If it does occur, not only will there be guilt, but a lot of people will feel useless and like they will never be able to do it. A lot of people will then give up and feel there is no point trying again. The key is balance which may take a while to find, but is definitely worth the struggle.

Stopping yourself from over-indulging will definitely help your journey to being healthy easier in the long run. In the end, not having chocolate/chips/cake/etc. stops the cravings. However, my point is that if you do find yourself having that muffin or croissant, don’t feel bad about it. Enjoy it and then be even more motivated to be healthy the rest of the week.

Don’t let your new years resolutions be hard to keep. Ease them in. Instead of “get fit”, why not try to start by trying to walk more, going to the gym once a week, then twice a week, then three times and see what routine will work for you. Not only what will help you achieve your resolution, but that will leave you feeling happier and healthier inside and out.

My new years resolution was to read more and watch more documentaries. It is safe to say that it is now 11 days into January and I have yet to do any of this. However, when I finish binge watching all of Gilmore Girls it will be the first thing that I do (…probably). Do I feel guilty that I haven’t done this yet? No, because it is ONLY 11 days into January. I have the whole year to achieve this!

You won’t see big changes in your habits, appearance or anything overnight. New years resolutions take the whole year. Give them the whole year to take shape and enjoy every minute of it! And don’t forget balance is key. Work out during the week, and allow yourself a break and a burger.. and maybe even some chips. In my case, I will be watching Gilmore Girls until I feel like a documentary, or picking up a book…

In the end, the most important thing is your happiness. If your new years resolutions aren’t leaving you happy, rethink your habits and see if there is another way to reach your goals while still allowing  yourself to have a fun, happy year.

Don’t eat bananas. They will make you fat.

I hope, to save the life of me, that you have clicked on this blog post out of pure intrigue for the ridiculous title. THIS IS NOT TRUE. BANANAS WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT.

I decided to write this as I read an article in a certain magazine all about how bananas are in fact bad for you. They even drew a parallel implying having a banana for breakfast would be worse for you than having a bowl of CocoPops or Special K. SO NOT TRUE.

The article highlighted that bananas are full of sugar. Yes they are, but are sugary cereals not? At least the sugars in bananas are natural!!

What actually gets me the most is a lot of people I’ve come across who have said bizarre things to me like “don’t eat fruit it will make you fat”, are the people who will buy a chocolate bar with their lunch. Do they not see how that is far worse than fruit!?

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Me looking super happy with some bananas.

Anyways, the point of this post isn’t just to point out how wrong the article is but to try to get you all to look at articles about food a bit critically, and not let them get to your head.

The one thing I dislike about articles like this, i

s that they fuel the ‘fear of food’ I have mentioned so much. If I had seen this a few years ago, I would have definitely stopped eating bananas. People are so worried about cla
ims like this, that it can genuinely affect their eating habits. No foods should ever make you feel like you are doing something wrong. So when you read articles like this – Scoff, please Scoff.

And as I constantly remind you all in my posts, everything in moderation is okay. Especially fruit! This is not a treat you should feel badly about.

Okay… so maybe this post was just to point out how wrong the article was. But it’s also to point out how what the post was doing was wrong. If they did in fact have any evidence at all that bananas would be detrimental to someone’s health, they should have laid out all the facts, not just decided to scare lots of impressionable people from eating fruit and help them to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

In conclusion, the article was wrong, bananas are good for you, and everything in moderation is good for us all. A nutritionist (@nicsnutrition) I heard speak once put it fantastically – when you eat it should be ‘80% good, 20% bad’, and you should never feel bad about that 20%. That 20% should make you feel bloody great.

How to avoid the Freshers 15

For those of you who don’t know what the ‘Freshers 15’ is, it’s the weight supposedly most people gain (15 pounds) when they first go to university. I can vouch that this is a thing that does happen. I gained 12 pounds in my first term of university, felt awful, developed IBS, binge ate and binge drank thinking I was invincible and that my metabolism was so fast that I would never gain weight. Sadly, I was incorrect.

But with the weight gain came a loss of confidence and embarrassment so I am writing a few things I wish I had been told before I started at catered halls, to help me avoid this.

CocoPops at breakfast will not keep you full and is not nutritious in any way. 

Every day in halls I would help myself to two big portions of CocoPops, thinking nothing of it. Really, I was hungry an hour and half later and did not give my body any nutrition when I woke up, which is very important. It’s best to avoid the cereals, stick to bread and nut spread or eggs, bread and veg. The sugar will not help you focus in lectures and cereal disguises eating a large number of calories (unhealthy ones) in a small portion.

Avoid fruit juices, hot chocolates and mochas (in excess).

One of my biggest errors was mimicking all the boys in my halls and having about 2 hot chocolates at dinner after a desert and huge meal, along with 3 glasses of apple juice or more. Opting for water will help keep the calories under control and stop you from eating excess sugar. Especially when you will probably go on to drink later that night filling your body with even more sugar. Avoid it where you can so you can enjoy yourself elsewhere! I’ve always preferred eating my calories to drinking them anyway!

Drink squash as a mixer.

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*Disclaimer* actually water in that bottle… this is before my disco pants no longer fit me in first year. They didn’t last too long haha…

It is best to avoid cokes, lemonades etc. as mixers. Even if they are the light versions, fizzy drinks slow your metabolism and seeming as first year life will consist of alcohol nearly every night of the week, best to help yourself out by having squash and water as a mixer. It will also help to hydrate you as you drink, making those hangovers a little better and the ability to go to lectures in the morning ever so slightly improved.

Try to avoid drunk food as much as possible.

Luckily I managed to overcome this feat eventually, but it took me a while and I would still have some every now and again. I’ve always found I feel so much better when I don’t buy drunk food after a night out and honestly the next day you also feel so good about being able to restrain yourself. Having said that sometimes you might just need nuggets or a Taka Taka, and that is perfectly okay. However, as you go out so much in first year, the temptation is there nearly every day, so best to try avoid it as much as possible.

NEVER FEEL GUILTY.

The worst thing about gaining the weight for me and what facilitated it was the guilt I felt. I would eat a dessert nearly every night, eat huge portions, always have more if I could, and afterwards I would feel horrible about myself. Go out feeling bloated and unattractive. That was by far the worst part. You are allowed to indulge, just make sure that when you don’t have your parents there helping you to control the indulgence, that you don’t let it go too far. But, if it does,
just think to yourself, it doesn’t matter and you’ll be better tomorrow. That is the most important thing. Going to Uni is hard, it will take time to learn how to take care of yourself, just make sure you enjoy your time and it will all work out great!

The most important thing to take away: You will probably gain weight. There is a huge change in lifestyle that will shock your body (for most). But, if you do, it’s totally normal and will be easy to lose. Don’t stress, enjoy yourself and get drunk and have fun.

And you WILL have fun and probably not listen to any of this. Then you’ll have a list you’ll want to make to tell people when it’s all over for you. GOOD LUCK!

The Cake Debate

Do I have cake today? YES. ALWAYS YES. Let me explain…

A few weeks ago I went to my second Fitfluence event and it was great. Not only because I got some great food and good workouts but for another reason this time. We heard from a nutritionist who started by asking “What is a healthy diet?”. A few years ago I would have responded with “Low carb, high protein, low fat and not too much fruit”. SO WRONG.

The question made me realise how much I’d learned and how much happier and healthier I was since I really learned to LOVE food and how to use it to fuel my body in the right way. What was also so refreshing was hearing answers from the crowd like “CARBS!” and “Everything in moderation“, which of course is my main moto. I was in a room with other  young women who actually liked food and weren’t scared of it, didn’t feel guilty when they indulged, and it was great.

I think most of us, girls and boys too, are guilty of having binge sessions and then after feeling pretty crap about ourselves. One of my male friends actually once had 7 quest bars (look them up if you don’t know about them… they are amazing) in one sitting and I know he didn’t feel too great after that. For me this only stopped about a year and a half ago but for a lot of my friends I know it still continues. DON’T LET IT.

Life is too short to worry about having a meal you may not have thought was good for you. Who cares? As long as you look after yourself most the time, is it really worth worrying about that one time you really enjoyed a meal, even if it was chips and some fried fish or a lot of chocolate cake?

In the end of the day, damage isn’t done to your body or your health if you have a lot of cake one day. Fine, if you have lots of cake every day it is probably not the best for you. But every once in a while, eat the cake!

The other day someone asked me if I have cheat days. The answer to this is no. Not that I always eat perfectly, that is not true at all, but I never perceive anything as a ‘cheat meal’ or a ‘cheat day’. It is just an ordinary day when I’m having some food I love and feeling good about it. The thought of it being a cheat is what makes you feel bad about it after.

One day I really fancied oreos. So I had half a packet. Did I feel bad? No, I felt mildly ill from all the sugar but I felt amazing. I could now eat half a packet of oreos and feel good! That for me was more than I could have imagined a few years ago. Back then I probably would have spent the rest of the day sulking and refused to eat enough food the next day. My relationship with food was wrong and I’m so glad I had a switch go off on my brain because now I am so much happier and so much healthier.

Health isn’t about depriving yourself, its about nourishing yourself mentally and physically. Life is too short to worry, complain, and debate cake. The answer is always CAKE.

 

Everything in moderation

Recently, someone sent me something from Instagram which got me thinking:

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By all means, good for her… but something about this really aggravated me. I find that Instagram, although it is a great community with lots of positivity can also help to spread some negative feelings in some people. If I had seen this over a year ago, when my relationship with food was still slightly unhealthy and I felt constantly guilty for overindulging with some chips after a night out etc. I would have felt so awful.

People frequently ask me how I ‘stay so healthy all the time’. I am healthy on a day-to-day  basis but I think the view of ‘healthy’ that is enforced by posts like the above is quite unrealistic, and not necessarily what ‘healthy’ means on a broader scale.

To me, being healthy is learning balance. Admittedly, it is much easier for me to resist temptation because I can’t have dairy and this is in most ‘naughty’ foods. However, the one thing that keeps me healthy is allowing myself to eat what I want and making sure I’m not depriving myself from anything. This means allowing myself wine when I go to the pub and not going crazy in the gym the next morning because of all the extra calories.

The above post, although in the caption she does ensure people know that by no means  everyone else needs to live their life in the same way as her, preaches this almost ‘unhealthy healthy’. People need to find out what works for them and makes them happy on their own. You should never feel guilty when you’ve overindulged one day in terms of food and drink. Instead, you should just enjoy it and then feel good when you’ve had a good day. In the end enjoying what you do is the most important thing, life is too short to care about the consequences of a pizza.

This has been quite ranty and I suppose my main point of this is that to me, healthy is everything in moderation and making sure you’re happy. That means eating your fats, carbs and protein and fueling your body in a way that will make you feel good about yourself. Healthy does not mean zero carbs,  zero fats and zero alcohol, it means a good balance of everything and doing what works best for you.

Keep Calm and Eat Carbs

Sadly, I too was once fooled by the myth that carbs make you fat and that most carbs are bad for you. For a girl, this seems to be one of the most common false and unhealthy beliefs about ‘healthy eating’. Before last year I avoided carbs at dinner, tried to limit them wherever possible and would stop my mum from cooking them for me at home. — To clarify – by carbs I am referring to pastas, rice, bread, potatoes etc. and not vegetables (which are carbohydrates too!) — This only caused me distress: I experienced huge hunger pangs, and most importantly I would feel jealous and saddened that my brother, dad and male friends could seemingly shovel carbs down themselves and not worry about weight gain.

Last year I read up on some nutritional advice as I was getting more into the gym and wanted to make sure I was fuelling my body in the right way to help with recovery and muscle growth. The most reliable sources I looked at all had the same message: Keep calm and eat carbs. So, I decided to give it a go.

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Left: Fearer of all carbs, Right: Carb lover (1 year on)

Even though I had the desire to lose weight, I actually ended up increasing my calorie intake by 300 calories, and used MyFitnessPal to help me track I was eating the right proportions of food groups (Macros), particularly carbohydrates. At this point half of my diet was carb filled, and this may come as a shock to many, but I felt absolutely great.

Carbs are the most important source of energy for your body. By restricting yourself you will experience increased fatigue and hunger due to lowered blood sugar levels. I found that despite being far more active throughout the day I had so much more energy (which is what a lot of people claim happens to them when they take carbs out of their diet… which I find quite hard to believe).

If you are someone who thinks that carbs ‘bloat’ you – well, you might be right. BUT it is likely you are not eating the right ones. I do allow myself to have a lot of bread, I find this works well with my body, however most of my carbohydrate intake throughout the week will come from rice, quinoa and sweet potato. The more natural and unrefined the carb, the easier it is for you to digest and you will feel a lot better afterwards.

I’m not saying that everyone’s diets should consist of half carbohydrates, half the other macros (protein and fats), this is what works for my body with the activities I do and what I like to eat. You have to find out what works for you. However, it is a huge error to completely cut out carbs. Obviously if you are wanting a last minute week of cutting before a holiday, then go for it, but ridding carbs from your diet is not a sustainable way to achieve the results you want.

So really my main point of this post is to try to get people to stop fearing carbs and be their friends. Why not try out my Overnight OatsSweet Potato Fries or Egg Fried Rice recipes and give it a go?

Chickpea, Sweet potato and Quinoa Salad

So in my previous blog post I spoke of how I have decided to start eating less meat. As a result I am experimenting with more vegan recipes and this is the first one I am happy enough to share! This is an easy recipe that is quickly becoming one of my favourite lunches to take into UNI with me. The Quinoa and Chickpeas giving you a nice bit of protein while giving you plenty of carbs to help you stay full for the afternoon lull.12748334_1670381486548890_807230742_n

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato (100-150g)
  • A handful of kale
  • 40g uncooked quinoa
  • 200g can of chickpeas
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Sprinkling of onion salt
  • 1tsp coconut oil

Method: 

  • Cut up the sweet potato into small pieces, and spray with some cooking oil. Roast the pieces in the oven at 180 degrees for around 10-15 minutes (until softened and browning).
  • Cook the Quinoa on the hob, following instructions on the packet (should take around 10-15 minutes).
  • In the meantime, fry the chickpeas and kale with some coconut oil for a few minutes.
  • Then when the quinoa and sweet potato are finished cooking, add them to the pan and mix everything together.
  • Then add the paprika, turmeric and onion salt and mix again. Then you are finished!
  • Simply put it in an air-tight tupperware and take it into UNI or work!

Hope you like it! If you make it, make sure to tag me in your creations on instagram using @whygowithout and #whygowithout so I can see them. Happy cooking!