What I’m loving lately – October/November

Blimey October has come and gone quickly and November is roaring by. I mean in some respect for me October felt like the longest month because of going to Chicago and Toronto but in other ways it’s flown by.

So onto some cool stuff I’ve been trying and loving lately.

I was recently sent a Vietnamese cooking set from Sous Chef.

Beautiful packaging!

It’s part of their Christmas gift sets that they have at the moment. I love cooking so I was really excited about this.

And let me tell you, they fully deliver on the ingredients and items in the package! The items included are:

  • The Food Of Vietnam cookbook
  • Potato Flour
  • Chaokoh Coconut Milk
  • Vietnamese Rice Paper
  • Vietnamese Shrimp Paste
  • Rice Vermicelli Noodles
  • Vietnamese Fish Sauce
  • Hanoi Rice Vinegar
  • Tamarind Pulp
  • Sous Chef Drawstring Bag

The cookbook is massive (seriously huge!) and contains so many recipes from Luke Nguyen, a renowned Vietnamese chef in Australia. The ingredients are exactly what you need to create an authentic meal and are of fantastic quality.

My dad loves cooking and loves Asian food so this is something I would have certainly considered buying him for Christmas. As it was, I got to do lots of cooking with him using this set. We’ve always enjoyed cooking together since before I went to university when he taught me how to cook and so we LOVED this.

It’s a great idea because a lot of the time when you want to cook a different cuisine you need to source and buy so many of the ingredients. And sometimes that can be tricky if the ingredients aren’t the usual ones we’d find in our supermarkets, whereas with this you have them all ready to go and a host of recipes that need them.

We loved the Crisp silken tofu crusted in lemongrass (mmm so lemony) and the Quy Nhon fish cakes so far!

I’ve also been trying some cool protein powder from REGENATIVE from Whey Forward Health Industries. It’s aimed at protecting cells and tissues from oxidative damage and the general poundings that running and endurance sports can cause.

When you exercise your body produces an increased amount of free radicals, and antioxidants can help clear this up and prevent oxidative stress to your body (causing inflammation, damages muscles and potentially lead to injury). Due to its “bioavailable” form of amino acids within the protein, it also helps with building muscles. And it’s Informed-Sport Certified, which means it has been rigorously batch-tested for banned substances. So no worries about doping, eh! 😉

You can buy it as a monthly delivery pack which gives you:

  • 28 individual sachets (Dark Chocolate & Himalayan Salt flavour or unflavoured)
  • A cool bamboo storage case
  • REGENATIVE® Starter Guide 
  • REGENATIVE Rechargeable Vortex Mixer

I quite liked having the unflavoured versions as I’m a big fan of plain porridge anyway. You can also add it to soups and things like that as well without compromising the taste. I love protein powder and always put it in my porridge in the morning just to help keep me fuller for longer and get an easy amount of protein early doors.

So many sachets!

I also LOVE the Vortex Mixer. Mixing protein powder can be a nightmare but this is incredible. So easy and works fantastically!

It charges via USB

Actually, I have recently given it to Kyle as he’s been wanting to up his protein and found trying to mix protein powder with water to drink using a shaker is dreadful as it’s still so lumpy. But with this it mixes in SECONDS and zero lumps. He keeps telling people about it in the office so I think he’s happy haha!

Also, I’m a bit late to the party but I’m loving my Goodr sunglasses that I bought before Chicago.

I mean I haven’t technically had that much of a chance to wear them for running due to my injuries (though I did wear them during the marathon), I love them. They fit perfectly.

It’s nice as well as Kyle got them in a different colour and as they’re one size only we can swap with each other if we fancy a different colour.

And I can’t not mention something sweet and tasty… We’ve recently just finished our office bake off competition. So no more weekly bakes in the office, which is devastating! But we had some truly amazing bakes which made a Monday morning far more enjoyable 😉

These were the overall winner: chocolate lava cakes. Heated up in the microwave for 15 seconds and eaten with a spoon, divine! When that chocolate lava seeps out it’s honestly heavenly.

Do you wear sunglasses to run in?

Do you like Asian cuisine?

Do you think you get enough protein from your diet?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the Vietnamese food bundle and the protein shake bundle for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Keeping Fit and Living a Sustainable Lifestyle

Hello! I have another collaborative post today while I’m out in Toronto. I’m a HUGE fan of trying to live sustainably so this is a topic close to my heart 🙂

It’s all well and good living a healthy lifestyle, but what about the planet? Considering we are in the midst of a climate crisis with protests and demonstrations happening all over the world, it’s time to think about how you can make a difference by balancing your healthy lifestyle with a more eco-friendly one.

Get Outside

What better way to contribute to a more sustainable fitness regime than by ditching the air-conditioned and machine-populated environment of the gym? Taking your workout outdoors and into the lush, colourful scenery of nature gives you a change of scenery and some essential fresh air.

Whether you’re going for a run through the park or just doing yoga in the backyard, the energy you’ll save by not driving to the gym nor using electricity on the equipment is a small but positive step in the right direction. Plus, you don’t have to deal with everyone’s least favourite gym members. You know who they are.

What’s Old Can Be New

While it’s nice to buy new clothes once in a while, it’s not good for the environment, and considering how quickly avid athletes go through running shoes and spandex running shorts, they often spend more than the average person each year.

Most people will chuck their shoes and clothes into the bin once they have run their course (a little pun intended). However, what’s better is if you research local recycling plants and programs in your area to make the practice more sustainable. These items will either be repurposed or have the materials separated to use again with the next pair.

At The Gym

While exercising outside is good for the mind and soul, it’s not always possible. This is especially true if you live too far away from a beautiful exercise area or if the weather is too treacherous to get outside. With this, the gym is the only solution, but just because you’re forced to go to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t still do it sustainably.

If you’re concerned about the environment, you can avoid electronic machines altogether, such as the treadmill or Stairmaster. Instead, work out only on machines that operate using dynamic motion. However, if you don’t have any option but to use the treadmill, set it to incline to make you work harder without using as much electricity.

Some gyms also offer eco-friendly workout solutions, so look into that to get the most from each session.

Greener Eats

Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand, and you can maximize your sustainability potential by eating even healthier than you do currently. Not only will doing this help the environment, but it will also fill you with the nutrients you need to have your best workout every time.

Depending on your workout needs, consult with nutritionists over how to get the most from your diet while still ensuring sustainability. If you rely on protein powders, you can look into vegan options instead of the standard whey products. By investing in cruelty-free products, you do more for the planet while still getting all the vitamins and amino acids you need to build strength and endurance.

A Different Commute

One of the critical issues facing the environment now is the emissions from cars and motorcycles. You can counteract this by taking a different type of transport to get to the gym. Public transport and ride-sharing with gym buddies are a great way to minimize personal carbon emissions. But there are other even more economically friendly methods to help you get into better shape.

Opting to take a bicycle over petrol- and diesel-based transport eliminates exhaust fumes from your commute and gives you a workout all at the same time. If you live close enough, you can also walk to the gym, which will also help you stretch the muscles before starting your workout.

Reusable Containers

With a terrifying 8 million tons of plastic finding its way into our oceans every year, there has never been a more critical time to consider sustainable containers. Instead of purchasing a new bottle of water from the vending machine every session, you should find a reusable container instead.

Products such as the keep cup is a fantastic choice that’s large enough to keep you hydrated on a long run but also not too bulky that it cramps your hand after you convince yourself to go for one more mile.

(Re-)Cycling Towards Succes

We know that one person cannot change the world, but making all the changes you can to help ease the threat of climate change means the planet is one step closer to healing.

Do you think you live sustainably?

How as a runner do you wish our sport was more sustainable?

5 Easy Keto Breakfast Ideas For Weight Loss

I’m still in Chicago but have an interesting post for you today from a guest writer. I’m not looking to lose weight and I don’t really follow any specific diet but this might be helpful or an interesting read!

A lot of people around the world have chosen the keto diet for weight loss due to its effectiveness. As a matter of fact, a keto-er can expect to lose between 2 and 10 pounds just in the first week. If you think this it’s too good to be true, you are wrong.

The secret behind its success is the type of foods consumed while on the diet. Namely, you can consume only high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein foods which put your body into ketosis. That means that you can eat plenty of foods, from vegetables to meat, to eggs. Plus, you can eat delicious snacks, such as a keto strawberry shake. If you don’t believe, here are 5 keto breakfast ideas you can try.

Copyright: Pixabay / author: RitaE / I License: CC0 Public Domain

1. Strawberry Chocolate Crepes

Ingredients

For crepes:

● 3 eggs

● 3 tbsp coconut flour

● 1 tbsp psyllium husk powder

● 1 tbsp stevia or another low-carb sweetener

● 1/3 cup boiling water

For filling:
● 1 oz (28g) dark chocolate

● ½ tbsp. coconut oil or butter

● ½ cup diced strawberries or raspberries

Instructions
● Mix eggs, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder and sweetener in a bowl.

● Add boiling water and mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated.

● In a nonstick pan, add 1 tbsp coconut oil and turn the heat to medium.

● When the pan is hot, add 1/4 to 1/2 of the crepe liquid and cook until the edges become brown. Then, flip it over and cook until it becomes golden brown. Repeat this until you make all crepes.

● Melt the dark chocolate with coconut oil or butter.

● Fill the crepes with a handful of berries and a spoonful of chocolate.

● Fold each crepe and add more berries and chocolate on the top if you want.

2. Egg Butter With Smoked Salmon And Avocado

Ingredients (2 servings)

● 4 eggs● 5 oz (142g) butter

● 2 avocados

● 4 oz (113g) smoked salmon

Instructions

● Boil the eggs in simmering water for around 8 minutes.

● Put them in ice-cold water to cool.

● Once cool, chop them into small pieces and mix with room-temperature butter.

Copyright: Pixabay / author: ExplorerBob / I License: CC0 Public Domain

● Place the mix in two plates and add 1 avocado and 2 oz of smoked salmon in each plate.

3. Keto Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

● 1 tbsp flaxseed meal

● 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

● ½ cups frozen mixed berries

● ¼ cup cottage cheese

● 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

● 1 tsp vanilla extract

● ¼ cup crushed ice

● Liquid Stevia as you wish

Instructions

● Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the mixture becomes smooth.

4. All Day Keto Breakfast

Ingredients
● 1 large egg (organic or free range)

● 2 large Portobello mushrooms

● 5 thin/2-3 regular bacon slices

● 1/2 avocado

● 1 tbsp butter or ghee

● pinch ground black pepper
● sea salt as you wish

● fresh herbs

Instructions

● Roast the mushrooms in a pan with their top side down.

● Heat half of the butter/ghee on medium-low. Once heat, add the mushrooms, sea salt, and black pepper and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until they become tender.

● Fry the egg and the bacon in another butter-greased pan.

● Serve them on a plate and garnish with fresh herbs.5. Keto Burrito Bowl

Ingredients
● 1/2 pound lean ground beef

● 1/3 head riced cauliflower 

● 2 tbsp chopped cilantro 

● 3 beaten eggs 

● 1 tbsp keto-friendly taco seasoning

● 1 tsp ghee

● sea salt and pepper as you wish

● 3/4 cup water

Instructions
● Brown ground beef in a large skillet and remove any fat that appears while cooking.

● Add the taco seasoning and water in it.

● Let it cook until it’s boiling. Then, lower the heat and let the dish simmer for a couple of minutes.

● Put the taco meat on one side of the skillet. Then, add the cauliflower, cilantro, and salt on the free side.

● Cook the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes. Then push it to the meat and add the scrambled eggs. If there’s no room for the eggs, scramble them in another skillet.

● Melt ghee and pour it in the eggs. Then, whisk the eggs and shake the skillet while cooking.

● Once the egg is scrambled as you like, mix it with the other ingredients in a dish.

● Add salt and pepper as you wish.

Do you follow any specific diets?

Do you like smoothies?

One year anniversary and being exceptionally greedy

Asides from managing a run this weekend, Kyle and I also had an enjoyable couple of days eating ALL the food and celebrating our one year anniversary.

After parkrun (and brunch) we got ourselves showered and ready to meet up with my friends Mike and Hannah for some very entertaining mini-golf. It was nine holes, Kyle and I versus Mike and Hannah and honestly it was hilarious how bad we all were. I think I was probably the worst, but it was a close call.

It was good fun and the weather, despite being a bit rainy and overcast in the morning, was lovely in the afternoon. Kyle and I lost! We then popped into the Tenth Hole cafe for some tea and cake afterwards.

Anyone who’s been to Southsea will be aware of the Tenth Hole and their amazing selection of cakes. To be fair, the Parade Tearooms (where we went for brunch) is also amazing so really you’re spoilt for choice.

Because Kyle and me are greedy creatures, we both ordered a cake each and a cake to share as we couldn’t make our minds up. Why do we do this? Normal people order one cake. Or normal people SHARE a slice, especially the size that Tenth Hole serve.

But we are who we are. So I ordered a slice of the raspberry and coconut cake, Kyle ordered the flake cake and we shared a chunk of rocky road (our absolute favourite). In retrospect this wasn’t sensible. We absolutely didn’t need the third cake. But you only live once (a short life at the rate I’m going ha).

The slice of raspberry and coconut was GINORMOUS. The chunk of rocky road was rather large too. I could neither finish the raspberry cake nor my half of the rockty road. But you know what? It was nice to have the two to try!

I did take the rest home for my parents so it wasn’t wasted.

The next day was a special day for us as it was Kyle and my one year anniversary. I won’t go into too much cheesy mush as that’s not quite my style, but I’m very lucky and feel very loved 🙂 We’ve had a fantastic year and look forward to many more.

To celebrate we decided, of course, to go out for food.

We chose 7Bone Burger, which is one of Kyle’s favourites and then Sprinkles for pudding, which is one of my favourites. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like 7Bone Burger but I’m not a huge burger fan (whereas Kyle is) but I know their chicken wings and halloumi fries are awesome.

So we headed their for lunch on Sunday. I ordered two portions of the buffalo wings (technically they were sides…) which came with a blue cheese dip (and I got the buffalo sauce on the side as it’s super hot) and halloumi fries. Kyle got a burger and halloumi fries.

It was delicious! I decided to eat strategically and made sure to leave a few wings and halloumi fries so I wouldn’t be *too* full later for Sprinkles. I’m good but I’m not THAT good.

After 7Bone we did a bit of shopping in West Quay (hugely helping to let things digest and go down a bit) and then walked to Sprinkles.

I went for my absolute favourite, the Sticky Situation. This is basically vanilla gelato with white and milk chocolate sauce and buttons with hot cookie dough at the bottom of a jar. It is INCREDIBLE.

Kyle ordered two milkshakes (a peanut butter one and a hazelnut chocolate one) because he couldn’t decide and wellllll we were celebrating.

We both felt very full but satisfied afterwards (*cough* slightly sick). Yes we are clearly very greedy but we don’t do this that often. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. Plus guys I ran THREE MILES the day before. That’s a lot of calories burnt (you know I’m joking).

So a fantastic weekend of running (yesssss), good times and good food.

What’s your favourite ice cream related dessert?

Are you a burger fan?

Are you good at golf? (Mini/crazy/”proper”)

The comeback?

Well honestly, I can’t wait for a post that isn’t about my hamstring. It’s had FAR too much air time.

It’s been a highly frustrating process, I can tell you. I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been banging my head against the wall. Some days feeling good, some days feeling very grumpy. Some days the gym helped and some days it didn’t. I removed every exercise that seemed to aggravate it but still it wasn’t improving.

Long weeks of no running

So it was time for a second opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I really rate the physio I’ve been using and he’s helped me during many niggles in the past, but after seeing him three times and it doing nothing, I needed to do something else. Time is of the essence.

Handily someone at work recommended someone to me. A sports therapist who comes to your house – VERY appealing. (If you’re in the South Coast area –> Claire Bennett). She was able to come Friday evening after I got back from work which was perfect.

I explained my issues to her, she examined the way I stood and moved etc. and then told me that my pelvis was misaligned. I was twisted in the way I was standing. This was putting pressure on my hamstring – keeping it stretched – and causing my glutes to pick up the slack and overworking them. All the discomfort and feeling like I’m restricted makes a lot of sense now.

She worked her magic and, I kid you not, I felt better literally straight away. Not perfect or fully healed 100% but SO much better. The analogy I use is that it’s like I’ve been scuffing my toe for ages because it’s been moving wrong. After fixing it to move right, the toe is no longer being scuffed… but the toe is still battered from all the scuffing and needs a bit of time to recover and get back to being a normal toes (does this make sense??).

She even said I could do parkrun the next day – which I was so excited about! I cannot tell you how happy I felt after seeing her. She literally made my day. EIGHT LONG WEEKS of this.

So the next day Kyle and I headed to Southsea parkrun. I wasn’t going to blitz it and if it hurt or felt really off I’d stop. But it already felt so much better so I was feeling confident. The physio did warn that I would ache a bit and it wouldn’t feel perfect so I had to remember that.

Kyle was going to run with me and keep me at a sensible pace. After a bit of a delay due to some delivery lorries being in the way of the course, we began.

Yes it didn’t feel perfect, yes it still niggled a little, but my range of movement was so much better and it felt like it was better. It did feel achy and the run was tough going – fitness and the pounding on my legs. It reminded me how quickly you lose everything. Anyway it’s too early to tell for certain and I’m sure it’ll take time, but I’m feeling positive.

We did just over 26 minutes and I finished smiling. Kyle found it super easy of course and revelled in being the fitter and faster one of us (when we’re both at our fittest though there really isn’t much difference to be fair).

Then we celebrated by getting brunch at the Parade Tearooms. Brunch for me being the Jayne Salad. IT IS THE BEST SALAD IN THE WORLD.

It is ginormous. Roasted new bpotatoes, bacon, cheese, coleslaw, cucumber, tomatoes, salad leaves, strabwerries, sweetcorn, onion, beetroot and I added chicken… It’s wonderful.

Anyway, fingers crossed my hamstring keep improving and I’m able to actually begin training.

What’s your favourite thing in a salad?

How long has been your longest time off of running? I think mine was 11 weeks.