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.

 

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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!

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!

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.

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.

My Self Proclaimed Bake Off Challenge: Week 5

So I, along with many others I’m sure, was thrilled to hear that this week bake off are doing an ‘alternative ingredients’ week. So no dairy, sugar or gluten. YAY! Finally, a week where I can watch the contestants struggle as much as I do to create delicious baked goods which are dairy free with sugar alternatives and aIMG_2570 lot of the time which contain zero gluten. I’m so excited to see what they come up with.

Here’s what I came up with this week: Nutella Cookies – dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free. And to top it all off they are also vegan friendly.

The recipe will be available in my Ebook which will be released in October. It was definitely a winner and the whole batch went as soon as I brought them to a friends house. I can’t wait for you all to try them.

Here are my top tips for baking with alternative ingredients:

  1. Apple sauce makes for a great replacement for butter, as well as adding sweetness meaning you can use less sugar in the recipe (however be careful to keep the same consistency).
  2. From my experience, self raising gluten free flour does not work! You are much better off using a normal gluten free flour (my favourite is buckwheat) and adding a teaspoon of baking powder per 100g to make it self raising.
  3. Bananas always do wonders in cakes where you are missing butter – they help make it moist and lovely. But be careful not to lose the flavour of the rest of your ingredients by adding in a banana as replacement. Banana bread is wonderful but not when it’s everything you bake!
  4. Maple syrup and agave syrup do make lovely cakes, cookies, cupcakes etc but you may need to add in some ground nuts or more flour so that the mixture is not too loose.
  5. Dates. They really help to naturally sweeten a bake (when well blended and mixed into the mix) – using dates however will take some trial and error as it changes the consistency a lot and you may have to change up a lot of quantities. Practice makes perfect!
  6. Try the batter. Even though some times I end up eating a bit too much, it really does help you get a feel for the recipe and if you need more sweetener or chocolate etc.

Good luck and get baking!!

Dairy-Free Ice Cream?

The other day my friends insisted that we all went to get some ice cream from a delicious, but very expensive, ice cream shop near where we live. I went along thinking I would only be able to stare at what they ordered and feel sorry for myself. So when I asked “Do you have any dairy-free ice cream?” and the answer wasn’t a straight out “No” I was extremely excited. I tried all of the ‘dairy-free’ options that they had to offer me and in the end settled for a delicious dark chocolate sorbet and some pistachio ice cream.

IMG_1569

Literally too good to be true

I raved about it so much, my dad went out to buy some pistachio ice cream for my mum and I the very next day. And that is when I realised I wasn’t feeling that well, and that I hadn’t been feeling that great since I had this suspiciously delicious ice cream. I put it down to the few cocktails I had that evening but I’m not one to feel too bad after a few drinks so I thought something was up. My mum then started to feel ill too after she mooed over the tasty flavour.

After calling up the different branches of the ice cream shop, it came to light that this was not in fact dairy free. It took my stomach around 3-4 days to really get over being given dairy for the first time in months and my mum and I were not happy at all!

It really is awful that this could happen, it may seem silly to someone who doesn’t know how it feels but imagine if someone was dangerously allergic and they had been told it was okay for them to eat it?!

The worst part about all this is that we actually went back into the store and they still claimed it was dairy-free. This is despite the fact we had already been told it wasn’t and that they make all of their ‘dairy-free’ ice creams in the same containers as their normal ones.

This is why I think that all restaurants should disclose their allergens to you on the menu. Or at least have the allergen menu available for anyone to observe, or even properly educate their staff. Some of my favourite dining experiences recently is when I’ve told people I can’t have dairy and instead of trying to recall from memory (which is notoriously unreliable.. psychology degree coming in here) they have just provided me with an allergen menu so I can eat without any worry.

People may read this and think, ‘Surely this wouldn’t normally happen?’ – you would surprised. The amount of times people have responded to ‘I can’t have any dairy’ with ‘Okay so no eggs? No cheese? Wait – no – you can have cheese?’ or something along those lines is shocking.

So I do apologise for this slight rant, but to sum up I think that allergens should be made clear on all menus, everywhere, for safety and everyone’s health!