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.

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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!

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!

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.

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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!
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