The Cheeseburger Footprint

 

Last year, one of my best friends went Vegan. At first I was worried, what was her intention? Was she trying to lose weight? Then I actually asked her, and was very interested by her answer.

It’s safe to say that until last year, I didn’t quite realise quite how bad meat consumption is for the environment. Nor, did I know that this was a lot of people’s motivations for going Vegan. My friend gave me a short lesson into why we should all be eating less meat, or preferably no meat and I was left with the information resonating in my mind for a while. Eating meat is a huge burden on the environment; the average cheeseburger consumption in America (1-3 a week) has the same carbon footprint as 6.5 to 19.6 million SUVs. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) also estimates that meat consumption is one of the two or three most significant contributors to local and global environmental issues. Is this cheeseburger footprint really worth it?

Last week I decided to limit my meat intake to three to four portions of meat per week (i.e. one packet of sainsbury chicken breast or beef mince). A lot of people may read this and think this is still a lot of meat, but when you think about how much impact each serving has on the environment, cutting down from seven to three is a good start.

Because I am already dairy-free I have started to experiment with a lot of vegan recipes that make great packed lunches. I will post some of my favourites over the next few weeks to help people who may be inspired to go meat free more often, make some delicious foods.

Also even though I did not choose to be dairy-free, the more I read about the dairy industry, the more I’m glad I can’t eat it. It’s worth taking a look online at some articles which explain how your milks and cheeses make it to your fridge and you may decide to opt for an alternative (almond milk is a winner).

So really, this post is just to get everyone thinking about what impact their diets may have on the world around them. By all means, eat what you want and enjoy iIMG_2570t but maybe just try to go meat free at least one or two days a week? It will also help save you a nice bit of
money!

Look out for some blog posts to come with some great Vegan recipes and make sure to visit my instagram @whygowithout for some inspiration! Also there is a nice selection of Vegan recipes (like the delicious Nutella cookies pictured here) in my Ebook which you can get by clicking here.

Chocolate Protein Pancakes

So it’s pancake day today! So here is a recipe for one of my favourite pancakes:

Ingredients:

  • 15g chocolate soy protein isolate (from myprotein)IMG_1223
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 small/medium banana, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1tsp coconut oil

Method:

  • Mix all of the ingredients together with a whisk or a fork.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a pan.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan (in a large pan this will make one large, thick pancake).
  • Leave it on the pan for 1 minute and then flip the pancake and cook it for a further 40-50s. If you have trouble flipping it, you can always place it under the grill for a minute instead!

Enjoy!

Why do we overeat?

A lot of people appear to hold the belief that if you eat your food of smaller plates, you will feel fuller for longer. But is this really true?

Articles are constantly being published in attempt to explain the ‘obesity epidemic’ in the Westernised world. 280,000 deaths are attributable to obesity alone in the US per annum, so it makes sense as to why everyone is trying to figure out what it is that is causing the population to eat in excess. If the government made everyone throw out their plates for smaller plates would this help? The easy answer is no.

In fact it seems that a key driving force behind overconsumption is portion size. Our portion sizes have increased over the past few decades, with higher proportions of our plates containing fat, which is less satiating. Hence, people will eat more as they don’t feel as full. Studies have found that people will actually eat 30% more food in when offered a larger portion (vs. a smaller portion, half of its size). OFullSizeRender-2n the whole, individuals also do not seem to notice that they have eaten a significantly larger amount, and do not report greater fullness. Similarly, people don’t seem to rate the differing amounts of foods (100g vs. 500g) as different in their appropriateness of size. This has been found across a multitude of studies that have taken place over the last decade.

Interestingly, those exposed to a larger portion size will also judge larger portions as more appropriate after being given one once
. So it appears there is a sort of ‘carry-on’ effect. If you were to eat more in one sitting, you may be more likely to eat more later on as you see the size as more ‘appropriate’ and ‘manageable’.

Therefore perhaps key to a good and healthy diet and weight maintenance, is ensuring that we eat an appropriate portion size. Educating people that a ‘happy meal’, although it may not seem so inappropriate, is actually nearly ones’ recommended daily calorie intake. Making people aware that what you eat in a restaurant and may buy for yourself to cook at home (e.g. pizza), may actually be an inappropriate portion size that we are so used to seeing, we cannot judge as such.

Research is still inconclusive as to why portion size has such a large effect on our energy intake. However, I hope that from this little snippet of information, you can take away that perhaps something needs to be done in order to stop overconsumption which may result from portion sizes that are ‘too large’.

 

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/6/1207.short

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/1/236S.short

5 reasons to eat Blackberries

12491750_888270167938697_3702526392494132230_oAt the end of last year I tried blackberries for the very first time and I was in LOVE. They literally taste like sweets to me and made a nice change to all the other berries I ate more regularly. After my discovery I  did some research to see if they were as good for me as I’d heard people say they were in the past, and they are! So here are 5 reasons why you should start eating blackberries:

  1. They contain high levels of  insoluble and soluble fibre. 100g of blackberries contains 14% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fibre – this is a lot! It is critical for your health to have high levels of fibre every day as insoluble fibre will help keep your digestive track clear and regulate your bowels and soluble fibre can help to keep a good balance of bacteria in your gut.
  2. Blackberries are full of antioxidants. As silly as it might sound, having a diet high in antioxidants may actually help you to avoid bad hangovers – so before a night out, why not have 100g of blackberries and you might actually be able to get out and about the next day.
  3. They enhance your memory. A study conducted in 2009 found that rats who ate blackberries had improved memory and motor function, so best to stock up on them during exam time.
  4. Immunity boosting. Especially at the moment, with snow appearing around the country, it is getting harder and harder to ward off everyones germs. Blackberries are full of essential vitamins and minerals, particular Vitamin C (100g contains 35% of your RDA). Vitamin C, although it cannot prevent you from developing a cold, it has been shown to reduce the duration of one when you get sick. So you can make sure you reach your goal for a daily dose of Vitamin C by eating lots of blackberries.
  5. Good for weight loss. A lot of people worry about eating fruit when they are trying to lose weight because they are high in sugar (although as long as your not eating ridiculous amounts, this is fine because natural sugars are processed with greater ease by the body!). Blackberries are a low calorie, low sugar fruit – so if you are trying to watch your sugar intake and calorie intake, these are the perfect fruit to snack on.

All in all, blackberries are delicious and why not eat a fruit that is delicious and also offers you a range of health benefits!

 

 

 

New Years Resolutions

So it’s that time of year again where lots of people have already started to give up on goals and aims they have set themselves on the 31st of January which will make the new year, ‘better’ and ‘more successful’ than the previous. It is very difficult to keep the motivation you felt oh-so-strongly on that optimistic evening when you wrote them down, told your friends and family, and assured yourself that this year would be different.

Over the last year I have learnt so much more about fitness and health and general life hacks that help me keep motivation and more importantly, keep me happy. My number one tip to all of you who think you won’t be able to keep up with your resolutions is this: A slip up doesn’t mean you’ve lost.

At Uni, I always get people asking me the following questions: Where do you find the time to go to the gym? Do you always cook and eat like that? Where do you get the motivation from? The truth is my food isn’t always pretty, and some days I really don’t want to go the gym, so I don’t. The last year has taught me to do what makes me happy, and not to dwell on the things that don’t. Some days I won’t have the perfect diet, but this doesn’t mean that tomorrow I won’t, and the next day. In order to achieve your resolutions, whether it is reading more (one of mine) or trying to get healthy, you can’t take one bad day as a failure.

Looking at your goals as long-term achievements is far better for your mental wellbeing and day-to-day mentality. Because in reality, big changes won’t happen over a year. It will take  years of practice to allow me to always make sure I focus on the things that make me happy, and this last year has been a vital to me achieving this. Just because I may not always make the right decision now, doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. So even though you might feel like there is no point in you staying vegetarian/vegan, or going to the gym more, or reading more, or keeping up with politics, or walking the dog more, cooking more, cleaning more, buying fewer clothes, listening to more music, spending more time with family and friends etc, just because the last few weeks haven’t been successful, just sit down and think to yourself – What will make me happy today? And do it. Showing yourself you can stick to your goals makes you feel amazing I can guarantee you, but if one of these goals doesn’t contribute to your happiness is it really worth it?

So all in all – Let’s make 2016 the happiest year yet.

Healthy on a student budget: ‘Clean’ Fish and Chips

One of my favourite meals is fish and chips, especially the deep friend loveliness from my local take away. However, this is an unhealthy option. On occasion I will allow myself it as a nice treat, but normally this is my go to alternative: A roasted salmon fillet with some paprika spiced sweet potato fries and veg on the side.IMG_3114

Ingredients:

  • Boneless Salmon fillet
  • 1 medium sweet potato (around 200g)
  • Mixed herbs
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Coconut oil
  • Any veg of your choice! Sautéed, steamed or boiled…

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan)
  • Clean your sweet potato under a running tap. I prefer to leave the skin on for my fries but if you prefer, peel the potato.
  • Then cut the sweet potato in two and then into chips (size of your choosing, I normally like mine around 1cm in width).
  • Place the chips on an oven tray and then drizzle some melted coconut oil on them and then generously season with smoked paprika and some salt.
  • Then place the chips in the oven.
  • In the meantime, prepare the fish. Take it out the packet and season with some mixed herbs, spreading them evenly over the salmon fillet.
  • Wait a few minutes and then place in the oven.
  • Leave it to cook for 20-25 minutes. Salmon is quite an oily fish so it shouldn’t dry out so wait to see when the chips are starting to brown and then it should all be ready to eat!
  • I love to eat my fries with some light mayo, they really are delicious. Enjoy!

Healthy on a student budget: Quorn Chicken Curry

A lot of people may see this and think ‘Quorn… gross’. However, I guarantee that this is delicious. I used to be Pescatarian (involuntarily as I was allergic to all animal protein besides fish and egg whites until I was 8), so Quorn was a huge part of my diet as it’s a great way to get a healthy dose of protein. Unfortunately for vegans, not all Quorn products are suitable for your diet as a lot contain egg whites. Either way I would say for those non-vegans out there, it is definitely worth a go, you can learn to love it as a nice alternative from meat now and again.IMG_2774

This dish is also very simple to make and should only take about 20-25 minutes including both prep and cooking. It is a relatively low fat dish and as Quorn is lower calorie than chicken… you can have even more of it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 350g Quorn chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Large green pepper (or any colour of your choice!)
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 1/2 jar of Sainsbury’s Red Thai curry paste (this one is dairy free)
  • Half a cup of coconut milk
  • 57g Sainsburys basmati white rice (uncooked)

Method:

  • First cut up your onion and pepper and put aside.
  • Then fry the onion in the coconut oil until the onion goes slightly see-through and then add in the Quorn chicken.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes and add in the peas. Allow them to defrost in the pan.
  • Then start to cook your rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  • Add in the curry paste to your dish along with the coconut milk and fry for a further few minutes.
  • When it looks like the ingredients are cooked (which they should be by now), add in the pepper – if you prefer your pepper to be soft you can add it in earlier, or leave it to cook for longer. However I prefer it to be a bit crunchier so I will only fry it with the rest of the ingredients for a few minutes at most.
  • Both your curry and your rice should then be done! Enjoy!

All in all this meal is very cheap to make and I normally save one portion for the next day. Hope you like it and if you do and you make it then let me know on instagram by tagging us and using the #whygowithout hashtag.

Healthy on a student budget: Egg fried rice

Coming back to University this year I’ve already started struggling with how to stay healthy on a student budget. Admittedly, I do spend more on food than the average student… but that’s just because of this blog and the fact dairy alternatives are that much more expensive. I have some quick and easy key meals which help me to stay on track after a busy day at UNI that keep the price down, so I thought I’d give a few ideas to help those who are struggling. This week is egg fried rice

Eggs are my staple food. I buy a pack of 12-15 at the beginning of the week and I normally get through them all by the end. There are so many things you can make with them. Protein pancakes, egg fried rice, they can be scrambled, boiled, poached etc and the list goes on. They are so cheap and provide you with lots of crucial nutrients, giving you a nice serving of healthy fats and protein.

Egg fried riceIMG_2812

Egg fried rice is very filling, cheap and easy to make which most people are surprised about. I will normally serve mine with some chicken to add some more protein to the dish. Here’s how I make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3 Spring onions
  • 50g baby button mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 50g frozen peas
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

  • Boil the rice (following the serving suggestion and instructions on the packet). Lots
    of people think you have to eat brown rice if you want it to be ‘healthy’, but white rice is great too! And if you have a high fibre diet like me, its best to try to limit fibre in places you can, so I always eat white rice (it also cooks much faster).
  • In the mean time chop up the spring onions and mushrooms and put aside.
  • Get a pan and pour some oil onto it. Heat it up and then add the frozen peas.
    When the peas start to change colour, and look as if they are defrosted, add the spring onions and mushrooms and fry them for a few minutes.
  • By this point, the rice should be nearly done. Try a bit to make sure it is cooked to your taste. When it is ready add it to the pan.
  • Fry together for less than a minute and then crack the egg into the pan and with a wooden spoon stir quickly. The egg will start to scramble in the rice and veg.
  • When the egg looks like it is evenly distributed and cooked, add the soy sauce and season with some salt and pepper and stir more.
  • You’re dinner is ready! Serve with chicken or fish for a protein packed meal.

My Self Proclaimed Bake off Challenge: Week 6

Did anyone else enjoy last week as much as me!? I really wanted to try those dairy free ice creams, the closest I’ve come to finding one that tastes like normal ice-cream is by Almond Dream – definitely worth a try.

So this week is pasIMG_2659try week. I was slightly scared about this one… how on earth could I make a ‘healthy’ pastry without butter?! I started off by experimenting and attempting to make a healthy cinnamon roll. The picture makes it clear that this was definitely my most unsuccessful experiment to date…

That is when I realised that all pastry isn’t good for you, so why was I trying to make a ‘healthy pastry’ when this is nearly impossible? This lead me to make a raw treat which I’ve called Cinnamon Balls. They are super easy to make and I can’t wait to see some of you try them when I release the recipe in my Ebook in october. My family have said they have ‘just the right amount of cinnamon’ which I was very proud of so hopefully you will like them too.

Here a picture of them to get your mouth watering! They are honestly so delicious!
IMG_2662

Cinnamon & Pecan Granola

If you follow us on Instagram you will see a lot of our home made granola. Shop bought granola is fully of nasties, often high in both sugar and fat – not what you want to top your yoghurt with. So here is our clean granola recipe. Everyone in the family loves it and everyone you live with will love the smell it makes in the kitchen when its being made!IMG_2471

Ingredients:

  • 150g gluten free whole rolled oats
  • 100g whole pecans (or any other nuts you might fancy!)
  • 50g dried cranberries (golden berries or raisins will do too)
  • 5 tbsp of sweet freedom dark syrup (male syrup or agave will do too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or more if you love cinnamon as much as we do!)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method:

You will need one large mixing bowl, a wooden spoon and either a Tefal air fryer or two flat baking trays and an air tight container.

In the Air Fryer:

  • Mix all the ingredients except the dried fruit in a bowl.
  • Put it all into the Tefal Air Fryer. Cook for 7 minutes in the Air Fryer.
  • Then add the dried fruit and if cooking in the air fryer and cook for a further minute.
  • Leave to cool slightly then transfer to a storage container. When completely cool secure the lid and give it all a good shake. It will keep for around a week.

In the Oven:

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Put into two flat baking trays and make sure its compact by pressing together.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius (fan assisted).
  • Leave to cool slightly and then transfer into storage container. When completely cool secure the lid and give it a good shake. It will keep for around a week.

Enjoy! If you do make it let us know by tagging us on instagram @whygowithout.