What I’m loving lately – January

Even during Lockdown 3.0 I’m trying to keep positive and find things to make me smile, though it can definitely be quite trying at times.

Being pregnant is all well and good and there’s definitely a constant low level of excitement and anticipation, but it’s quite a long time away before I actually give birth (July-ish) and I’m actually more often feeling impending doom and waves of fear. Fear of being a parent, fear of Big Life Change, fear of lack of sleep, to name a few. All the things basically.

But anyway I DO have things that I’ve been enjoying lately so thought I’d share.

First thing’s first, having Kyle come downstairs to inform me proudly he’s learnt how to swaddle a baby is pretty damn cute.

Especially considering the “baby” in question was none other than our baby Yoda cuddly toy.

It’s fair to say that both Kyle and I are entirely clueless with anything baby related so even these titbits of knowledge are gold dust for us. I feel very overwhelmed when I try and think about all the things I don’t know (let’s not even consider the “unknown unknowns”!). I know I need to be reading books, blogs and building a solid base of knowledge but at the moment I just feel it’s too much.

I also know that there are certain strong opinions on different subjects and if I read one book am I residing myself to that opinion? Or do I read everything?? Like best ways to feed your baby, getting them to sleep, routines… argh so much! So I bit of light relief from Kyle was lovely.

And speaking of baby stuff… I was recently sent an amazing piece of art from the lovely Mary (her blog http://www.ahealthiermoo.com/).

She’s started a business creating gorgeous pieces of running art (check it out here https://www.instagram.com/runnerprints/) which she was kind enough to send me one. I love it! Definitely be going up in the nursery (currently Kyle’s study). Thank you, Mary! Perfect gift idea for a runner 🙂

Something else I’ve recently been sent was a collection of bars from Human Food.

They’re basically an organic plant-based snack bar that contains no nasties, refined sugar, artificial ingredients and (which I love) their packaging is very environmentally friendly. They don’t use plastics and it’s all recyclable and biodegradable. Not only this but throughout their organisation, they pride themselves on fair treatment and fair wage of staff. Good stuff indeed!

So what were they like? I’m not a big fan of cereal or protein bars, but these were dense chewy, relatively sweet bars that I quite enjoyed.

They advise you can just eat them as a bar (very nice, I enjoyed it with a cuppa in the afternoon), or you can even break it up and add it to smoothies or even your porridge. Love this!

The ingredients are super healthy as well so you know you’re getting a powerhouse health snack (and as pregnant woman, this was so handy when I was suffering from nausea and really need to ramp up my nutrition in easy ways when I found so many other fruits and veg unpalatable). Each bar contains things like maca, ginseng, cacao and hemp seeds, along with other goodies like turmeric, spirulina, nuts and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. So a solid, quality snack that leaves a good taste in your mouth in more ways than one.

On a slight less healthy note… we’ve also been enjoying doughnuts from the a local Southsea small business (find on Instagram @southseadonutco). For £9 they delivered three homemade vegan doughnuts to us.

They were incredible. Unfortunately due to a confusion during ordering (probably my fault to be fair) we got the wrong order. But they were more than happy to deliver us our correct order the next day to make up for it – which is incredible!

So in the end we had four salted caramel doughnuts, a Biscoff one and a cinnamon sugar one. They were SO good. I especially loved the cinnamon and Biscoff ones. If you’re local, I heartily recommend these guys. We will definitely be ordering again. Soft, melt in the mouth and vegan!

We’ve also been seriously enjoying the influx of Easter chocolate that is now in the shops. Especially the Mini Eggs Bar that has just been released. This is such a moreish and delicious chocolate bar. We have literally been buying all our local shop’s stock. One of my favourite snacks in the evening is a few rows (*cough* few being subjective) of the chocolate with a decaf black coffee. It hits the spot I tell you.

We also managed to find the Easter Egg version of it so we have that ready to go for Easter (if we can avoid the temptation of scoffing it before that is). So it’s a thick egg with Mini Eggs in it with a bag of Mini Eggs (my favourite, so so dangerous though). This Easter we’re definitely not holding back – we need good stuff like this to keep us going with all things considered.

What has been so difficult (and I know pretty much everyone feels ecavtly the same right now) is not seeing our family that often. It’s so hard. Especially being pregnant, I want to be doing all the things with them like going shopping for baby items and just not having limits to seeing them. But it is what it is and we just have to live with that right now.

But I was lucky enough to see my mum for a walk down Southsea on Sunday – no hugging, no touching, but just walking and chatting. It was lovely but also so sad. My mum works in a hospital and she knows first-hand how bad it is right now and how we just have to keep going with being safe and sensible. But it doesn’t make it easier.

We got a takeaway coffee and she enjoyed one of the salted caramel doughnuts I brought for her, which she very much enjoyed.

Next weekend I hope to do the same, but with my dad. Tag teaming the family basically! It’s all we can do right now, and it’ll just have to be enough.

How are you coping in Lockdown 3.0?

Are there any new snacks you’ve been enjoying?

** Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Human Food for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones**

Healthy Snack Inspiration for the New Year

I’m not one for big resolutions with the new year but I do feel the need to clean my eating up just a teeeeny bit after all the leftovers and chocolate have been on the heavy side for the last few weeks.

So here’s an article to help give some good directions on some more balanced snack ideas…

Source: Image Pexels CC0 License

Everyone loves a sweet treat, especially as a pick me up during the cold winter months. But, if cutting down on sugary snacks is one of your resolutions for the new year, then you may be on the lookout for healthier alternatives. Trying to curb your snacking can be tough, especially as everyone is spending so much time at home and within easy reach of the fridge right now! If you need some inspiration for tasty, yet healthy alternatives to your usual snacks, then why not give some of these a try?

Seeds

Seeds are an excellent choice of healthy snack to satisfy your hunger between meals. One of the best varieties of seed to snack on is pumpkin seeds. They may be small, but these tasty seeds make a perfect snack choice to keep mid-morning hunger at bay. Each seed is packed full of protein, fibre, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Vitamin B2, folate and calcium are all also contained in pumpkin seeds.

One of the best things about seeds is that they have a long shelf life, so if you are someone that often shops for health foods, but then ends up binning them because they have gone off before you have had a chance to eat them, seeds are an ideal choice.

Berries

Sometimes you need something sweet to satisfy your cravings. Berries are the perfect choice to relieve your urge for a sweet snack and are packed full of flavour. Choosing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a mix of each will help you get your five-a-day while satisfying your sweet tooth. These berries are full of antioxidants as well as flavour, which provides many benefits to your overall health. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation levels in the body and also help to lower bad cholesterol.

Yoghurt

Some yoghurts are full of sugar, and fat-free varieties that are promoted as ‘diet’ foods can contain sweeteners. To avoid yoghurts that are not as healthy as they seem, it is well worth reading the ingredients list carefully and opting for natural yoghurts. Choosing natural yoghurts containing live cultures can provide benefits for your digestive health. Many people believe that these live cultures can improve the balance of good bacteria in your gut. 

Smoothies

If you want to pack as many nutrients as possible into one serving at snack time, then preparing a smoothie is an excellent way to do it. Making a fresh smoothie at home enables you to fill it with many of the healthy options listed above. Adding yoghurt, berries, and seeds to your smoothie will help to fill you up and makes a perfect snack for any time, whether you are working or out and about.

Hummus

Hummus is the perfect way to enjoy a tasty and filling snack. One of the best things about hummus is that it is easy to make yourself, and is also really versatile. Use hummus as a spread, or as a dip for crudites to help you get your five-a-day.

What are your favourite snacks?

Do you like to snack between meals or just have big meals?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Eating Well for Your Digestive Health

I’m so nervous about Sunday’s marathon I can’t tell you… but hopefully I’ll have a positive update next week.

Until then I have a post regarding keeping your digestion nice and healthy. Enjoy!

Sometimes the joy of eating is having whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s important to stay fuelled up if you’re an active person to make sure you’re getting enough energy. But sometimes you need to be a bit more careful about what you eat, especially if your digestive system starts objecting to what you’re putting in it. Changing what you eat or how you eat, even if it’s just some of the time, can help you if you have digestive issues or you just want to be healthier in general. Try these tips if you want to make your gut happier and healthier.

Enjoy a Diverse Diet

Eating lots of different things can help to keep your digestive system (and the rest of you) healthy. When you have a diverse microbiota in your gut, it’s generally going to be healthy. Different species of bacteria can do different things and help you to stay healthy in a variety of ways. Expanding your diet to include lots of different foods can help to make the bacteria in your intestines more diverse so that you have a happier tummy. Considering the different food groups and lots of types of plant foods can make your diet more varied.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, and Beans

Fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes and beans, have lots of nutrients in them. Many of them also have a lot of fibre, which is great for your digestive system. When you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, you might even be able to prevent some bacteria that lead to disease. Some great foods that are high in fibre and good for your gut include chickpeas, broccoli, lentils, and all kinds of beans. Eating foods like these will help your digestive system to operate as it should.

Try Fermented Foods

You might have heard people talking about the magic of fermented foods. Fermentation usually involves the natural process of bacteria or yeast turning sugars into acids or alcohol. Some types of fermented food include yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. If you wanted to try something new, buy Gutsy Ferments sauerkraut or a similar product. Not everyone likes all types of fermented products, but you’ll probably find some that you find very tasty. Try something different like kimchi or just stick to a less adventurous probiotic yoghurt if you’re not the sort of person to branch out.

Look for Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotic foods promote the growth of microbes that are beneficial to the gut. They include fibres and complex carbs that need bacteria to break them down. Lots of fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains count as prebiotics, such as the onion family (including garlic and leek), asparagus, bananas, and barley, and oats. These foods also contain lots of nutrients that are good for your health, as well as helping to give you a healthy digestive system.

Take good care of your gut health if you want to be healthier and feel more comfortable while enjoying a diverse diet.

Do you have any issues with your digestion?

Do you think you eat enough fruit and veg?

Learning To Cook From The Ground Up

I have another food-related post for you guys. I am a HUGE lover of cooking. I find it relaxing and I really enjoy it. Also there is something so satisfying about creating a meal from scratch and eating it. And of course cooking for people you love. So here’s an article to help if you’re new to the cooking world and how to get started…

If you would like to learn how to cook good, simple meals, but you are not yet proficient in the kitchen at all, then it might seem all to be a little overwhelming. However, it is going to be perfectly possible to learn to cook as well as you like, as long as you make a point of doing so step-by-step and from the ground up. In this article, we are going to suggest just one route that you might want to take in order to do that. If you follow these suggestions, you should find that you are effectively learning to cook much better in no time at all, and providing amazing meals your friends and family will love.

Starting With The Basics

It’s a good idea to start small if you can’t really cook at all. That means just learning to cook some simple meals that you can practise some basic cooking skills by doing. There are a huge range of dishes you could try, but the aim is to stick to something that only has a few ingredients – and yet produces a wonderful result on the plate. You might even start by cooking some basic sides, such as looking up how do you make shredded cabbage and trying that out. Start with the basics, and you will have a much better foundation going forward.

Follow Your Nose

If you want to do well in this, you are going to have to make sure that you are enjoying it, and there is one sure way to make sure of that: cook meals that you know you love to eat. If you do this, you will find that it is much more of a joy cooking in the first place, and you will be proud knowing that you can produce those meals that you have always loved to eat, but never known how to put together until now. Following your desire in this way is always going to be a good way to go.

Buy Good Equipment

The equipment that you have to use in your kitchen really does make a huge difference to how well you can cook. You need to make sure that you are going to buy good equipment, as that will make it so much easier to cook as well as you would hope, so that is something that you are going to want to think about at some point too. For now, you might just want to look into getting a decent set of kitchen knives and doing with that. But later on, specific gadgets might become more desirable, in which case you should get them.

Practise

Remember that, like everything in the world, it is going to take practise, but that as long as you are happy to put in the work, you will get the rewards you are looking for in the end. No matter your reason for wanting to learn to cook, you will find that it is hugely rewarding, and opens you up to many possibilities in the kitchen.

Do you enjoy cooking?

Do you have a meal you’re known for?

3 Veggie Recipes to Boost Your Energy

I have a great post for you today which I think will definitely help balance out the very meat-focused posts I’ve been doing lately. Now obviously I love my chicken wings and meat, but realistically I don’t eat like that all the time and try to have meatless days throughout the week. I love my vegetables so for me it isn’t a hardship. Anyway, hope this article inspires you 🙂

When you’re in need of an energy boost, it’s important to have something on hand. With these fab veggie recipes, you’ll be brimming with energy and bursting with goodness…

1. Vegetarian Parm Sandwiches

If you need a pick-me-up in a hurry, this recipe for veggie parm sandwiches is always a winner. Heat some oil in a pan, add a can of pureed tomatoes and a little garlic. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and cut some seitan into slices that are around 1 ½ inches thick. Mix half a cup of flour with half a cup of cola, dip the seitan into the mixture before browning in a pan. Place the seitan slices on top of a roll, add the tomato sauce and some mozzarella. Bake for around 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and be prepared to fight over these spectacular sandwiches!

2. Chili Bean and Bulgur Cakes

Add ½ cup of bulgur wheat and 1 ½ cups of water to a pan. Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for 10-12 minutes, before draining. Heat some oil in a skillet and add 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp of cumin and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Whisk for around a minute, then take it off the heat and let it cool.

Add a can of drained kidney beans to a bowl, along with the bulgur wheat, tomato paste mix, ½ cup of cheese and ½ tsp of salt. Grab a masher and combine the ingredients, then split them into cakes around ¾ inch thick.

Place the cakes on a cooking sheet, spray with oil and put them in the broiler for around 3-4 minutes. Flip them over, spray with oil and put them back in the broiler for another 3-4 minutes. When ready, top with some guacamole or sour cream and serve with fresh salad. Remember – you don’t have to cook the cakes straight away, so it’s easy to prepare this dish in advance and pop them in the broiler when you’re hungry.

3. Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

Cook some rice (or noodles), according to the instructions on the packet. Combine grated ginger, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp garlic chilli sauce and 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a bowl and whisk. Pour into a large pan on a medium to high heat and add pieces of tofu around 1-inch x ½ inch thick. Coat the tofu in the marinade and then remove from the pan. Add a little oil and any veggies you like. Cook for around 5 minutes or until the vegetables are almost ready to eat. Add the marinated tofu to the vegetables with 2 tbsp of water. Cook until the tofu is warmed through; usually around 1-2 minutes. Then, serve and enjoy!

Energy Boosting Veggie Ingredients

Protein is a great way to increase your energy, so choose veggie dishes which feature tofu, seitan, lentil and chickpeas when you need something to keep you going. With plenty of combinations to choose from, you’ll never run short of fuel again!

Do you eat a lot of vegetables?

Do you enjoy cooking?