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!

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

“Why would anyone eat anything besides breakfast food”

The quote is from one of my favourite TV shows (Parks & Recreation) and I have to say I agree. Nothing beats breakfast for me. I prefer a sweet breakfast of pancakes, overnight oats, cinnamon and raisin bagels, lots IMG_2188of fruit or just anything covered in chocolate. However, some days will always call for some eggs and smoked salmon (mainly those preceded by some drinking).

Before I found out I could no longer have dairy and was hugely careless as to what I ate, I used t
o have a huge bowl of sugary, chocolate cereal with lots of milk. So the biggest issue for me when I went dairy free was trying to figure out what on earth I could eat for breakfast. I was in university halls at the time so the only option seemed to be some suspicious looking eggs or toast and jam. Toast and jam it was… for months. I kept getting so hungry later in the day and ended up eating more as a result.

When I went home I discovered overnight oats, and my world was changed forever! I missed my indulgent breakfast and this really hit the spot, and if anything I prefer it. It is basically cold porridge, however I’ve found myself getting far more creative with it than I ever did with porridge. It is also gluten free, so if you think you have problems with gluten this is an ideal, quick and easy breakfast recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 50g jumbo rolled oats
  • 15g soy protein powder from myprotein.com (my favourites are chocoalte or vanilla flavour)
  • Around 100ml, depending on how dry or wet you like your oats, of a milk of your choice (my favourites are dark chocolate and almond alpro milk or sweetened almond milk).
  • I’ve also started added a teaspoon of cinnamon in and mixing every now and again, I really recommend it!

Method:

  • Mix the oats and the protein powder in a jar together and then add the milk.
  • Close the jar and then leave it in the fridge overnight ideally (or if not for a few hours) to let the oats soak up the liquid and puff up.

Toppings:

I always top mine with a banana and tend to add goji berries for some extra texture. Sweet
freedom chocshot (any of their flavours) goes lovely with it along with some peanut butter or PB2.

It really makes for an idea breakfast which you can take with you if you’re running late for work or indulge in with lots of toppings if you have the time. It’s high in fibre and protein and low in fat and will leave you feeling full until lunch time!

If you make it and like it please let me know by tagging @whygowithout on instagram/twitter/facebook and using #whygowithout!