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?

Why Following A Healthy Lifestyle Isn’t A Sacrifice

Hope you had a lovely weekend. I have another article today and it’s one close to my heart: being healthy for life.

I couldn’t imagine not exercising or thinking about the longevity of my health. Yes I love eating less nutritious food (cake…chicken wings…) but a lot of the time I eat vegetables, fruit and get a balanced diet – without becoming obsessive over it. And sleep! Sleep is SO important. I get up stupidly early but I go to bed at a reasonable time, which definitely helps! So here we go…

Pexels – CC0 License

There are many sentiments, easily found online, that hold mistaken impressions or somewhat incorrect premises. This is likely not news to anyone. However, when these impressions become the norm, or when they permeate culture, they can become a real problem. Perhaps the latest of these worrying trends is, that while accepting overweight people is absolutely paramount and should be commended, the ‘healthy at any size’ fad is leading to a harmful debate.

Most of us understand this. However, while this can seem like an extreme example, it’s often an attitude that we find throughout culture. For instance, we might hear people joke at the office about how they’ve already fallen off the gym wagon, or that they hate to run, or that it’s much easier to fall in love with pizza than it is to diet.

Of course, we’re not here to judge, nor act superior, nor pretend that those people are in any way lesser. The delicious call of a morning fry-up breakfast or how much we love to indulge over the Christmas period are facts better left unsaid. However, we’re here to discuss why, despite many claims to the opposite, following a healthy lifestyle is not a sacrifice, or something you have to pay for with true hardship.

Please, consider our warm advice:

A Good Sleep Schedule Is Everything

Getting your sleep schedule right can feel equal parts science and art. Science, because there are very real habits and practices that contribute to sleep hygiene, and sometimes your nutrition can make a massive impact. Art, because getting to sleep is an experience. It takes a practical ability, more than just switching off a light switch – if only things were that easy.

A good sleep schedule can aid your life in ways you may not understand. Any energy you feel will be thanks to a good nights sleep, and your body’s ability to repair itself. Even with the best nutrition, the best exercise, the healthiest body, the strongest genetics, you will feel like an absolute shadow of yourself if sleep-deprived for a few days.

In Matthew Walker’s illuminating book ‘Why We Sleep,’ he sheds like on many myths related to sleep hygiene and practice. One of these is the idea of ‘sleep debt,’ which he shows is very real, but trying to ‘pay off the debt’ as if a bank overdraft simply does not work. A good sleep schedule is able to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and if we fail to do that, then we slowly erode our health just a fraction more. This is why it’s important to take your sleep seriously, perhaps even as a prescription. Our society is fundamentally sleep deprived.

This means that living your best life, feeling energized, ensuring you keep a good memory, boosting your immune system and staying emotionally stable is all fundamentally aided by good sleep habits. Sure, you may not be able to watch that Netflix series late into the night, or it might be that partying all night each weekend may be a little less attractive, but what you miss in those small considerations you make up for in a healthy, well-sustained life. Of course, don’t be a fascist with yourself about this. Just aim for better sleep habits.

Losing Weight Feels Powerful

We can often see losing weight as a harmful challenge. We know that having to observe what we eat with clarity and care, or trying to limit our indulgences isn’t very nice. If we could, we would love to live in a world where going for that extra slice of cake for dessert or eating a large greasy breakfast each morning wouldn’t add on the pounds, but unfortunately, that’s not a possibility.

However, losing weight needn’t feel like some intensive and aggressive approach you need to take. In fact, losing weight can be an extremely worthwhile process. To begin with, it can teach you certain lifestyle skills that will help you in the long run. Learning to cook better, more nutritionally dense meals, perhaps with the help of a Sunday meal prep program, can help you feel more autonomy in the kitchen. Sooner rather than later you’ll find it intriguing to browse your local supermarket shelves to see what health foods are on offer, what international cuisine you may try, and much more.

Additionally, eating lighter, healthier meals simply feels good. It helps you feel less lethargic after that intensive carb load routine you are used to, and switching from intensive coffees to green teas, all while staying hydrated, feels phenomenal. The more weight you lose, the healthier you’ll feel, and the better your body will be to handle. You’ll also notice your face becoming thinner and your natural self shining through, and this can have major impacts on your skin quality, your hair density, and how in-shape you feel. Losing weight is not a sacrifice. It can be an absolutely emotionally rewarding, powerful journey.  If you’ve ever accomplished anything that gave you a sense of pride in life, imagine that but also felt during every single moment of your day.

Now, we’re not here to disparage overweight or obese people for a second. Many are trying their best to adopt healthier habits. But when you take a direct, structured approach to losing weight, learning your BMI and caloric maintenance, staying as active as you can, and eating a healthy, balanced diet, you’ll slowly notice yourself blossom. For some, this can be life-affirming to the extreme.

Furthermore, this most fundamental of healthy practices can help you start looking to other changes you can make. For instance, if needing to quit smoking, you can research the best nicotine therapy product and buy it online to aid in your efforts.

The Hard Challenge Of Exercise Can Help You Grow

Many consider exercise to be a hard challenge, and they’d be right. But there’s nothing like the feeling of coming off a treadmill after a good workout well completed. It is a glow that lasts for hours, and will help you in all social situations, in the confidence you have, and in the self-respect you curate.

Many people think of attending the gym and are instantly put off. We see those who have amazing physiques, those who are lifting hundreds of kilograms/pounds or those running a 10k on a treadmill and think that this is certainly not the place for us. But remember, you don’t need to be particularly physically skilled to join a gym. It could be that through using a program such as Couch 2 5k, joining a few classes, or simply getting back into the motion of using a rowing machine, you feel able and active.

When you have a training plan in place, you have something to look forward to and aim towards. You can move on from that point with confidence and care. Every little achievement you make means something. Take it day by day, perhaps twice a week, then three times, then four. When you get into the schedule you’ll start feeling more active, you’ll sleep more easily, and you’ll start noticing your body start to feel much, much healthier, even in the way you breathe. This will have a positive impact on all other aspects of your life, so don’t be afraid to begin in a humble context.

With all of this advice, we hope you can take worthwhile steps towards following a healthy lifestyle. As time passes on, you will feel nothing but pride and a renewed sense of confidence, knowing that the cost of feeling good was never that bad after all.

Do you get enough sleep?

Do you enjoy going to the gym?

Do you think about your health a lot?

Keeping Fit Doesn’t Have To Include The Gym

Only a few days left before Christmas – so exciting!

I have a post for you today about keeping fit without having to use the gym. While I do love using the gym, it’s not essential. You can do so much at home or out and about as part of your normal day. Hope you enjoy the article…

When you are busy and on the go all the time, keeping fit isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It can feel as though everything is taking over, and you are letting your health and fitness get left behind, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A lot of people think that the secret to this is getting to the gym, but we are here to tell you that this doesn’t have to happen and you can stay fit from the comfort of your own home. Keep reading this article to find out how.

Watch What You’re Eating

The first thing that you have got to do if you want to keep fit is watch what you are eating. This is going to make up a huge portion of your health overall. Have you ever heard of the expression ‘you are what you eat’? While this may not literally be true, it will have a big impact on the way that you feel. For example, if you are constantly eating takeout, greasy food and processed fats, your body is going to show this in the form of oily skin, spot breakouts, and so much more. If you make the simple swaps and start adding fruit as well as vegetables to your meals, you are going to notice a big difference.

Try and make sure that a third of your meal is fruit or veg, and you will see a huge improvement. It’s not all about being active and moving around, though that is important! Take care of yourself by watching your diet, and you will achieve things that you didn’t think were possible.

Take Up Yoga

The next thing that we are going to suggest is that you take up yoga. Yoga is excellent for your fitness as it allows you to do things that you never thought possible with your body. Not only this though, but yoga is also excellent for your mind and will make you feel incredible when you are doing it. All you need to do is make sure that you get the right equipment such as yoga bolsters, to make it easier for you, and you are ready to go.

If you do this a couple of times per week, you will be getting the exercise that you need without going to the gym, and you will find yourself feeling a lot better than you have been in ages. Yoga is amazing for keeping to your fitness goals, try it and see for yourself.

Walk A Little More

Or, you could try walking a little more. This could be walking with music in your ears just for fun, or walking somewhere that you would usually drive if it is within a reasonable distance of course. Walking is great for keeping you fit and healthy, and doesn’t require you to do anything intense, which is always a bonus if this type of exercise is not for you!

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see how keeping fit doesn’t have to include the gym. Good luck, we hope you see the results that you are looking for.

Do you go to the gym?

Do you try and watch what you eat during Christmas? While I do like to keep somewhat healthy, I’m a big believer in enjoying this time of year. Don’t go mad and eat 17 mince pies every day, but equally don’t restrict yourself to the point of missing out and not enjoying the happy times.

Do you exercise over Christmas? I generally stay with my usual routine around Christmas as I enjoy it, and on Christmas Day I try and go to the Christmas parkrun as it’s just so festive and fun.

MRI results…

I had my MRI results for my knee on Thursday.

I was so worried and nervous. I didn’t really know what to hope for. If it turned out I needed an operation then at least I had a firm answer and could take strong actions to sort it. Yes it would take time (to schedule and then recover) and would be painful and scary, but at least it would (potentially) fix the issue. But to hope for that wasn’t making me feel any easier. I don’t want to have an operation. But equally I want my knee to feel better and so far nothing else has helped.

Anyway I sat in front of the surgeon and he showed me the MRI scans of my knee and told me that I had a “structurally perfect knee”. In fact, he was very impressed with how good my knee looked for someone who has run 20 marathons and so many miles. Instead of relief I just felt frustrated. It was like I was being told that the discomfort and pain was all in my head. I sat there literally feeling my knee aching while he said my knee looked perfect. What the hell.

He could sense my disappointment and reassured me that while having an operation was probably (relatively speaking) an easy option to curing the pain it wasn’t the ideal option. He said I should be grateful I don’t have to have an op and that usually this point of action ends up in needing another op later on down the road. And as a young (why thank you) female, taking a piece out of my knee wasn’t something he’d want to do even if I did need an operation.

But what now then? Well he said there was nothing else he could do for me and recommended a highly rated knee-focused physio. She sounded good and I rang her up and got an appointment for the next day.

She checked my knee and leg out and told me that, as we could now definitely rule out it being a tear or anything to do with the meniscus/cartilage, it was likely to be a misalignment of my kneecap. This was probably down to my calf and quad being tight. The calf wasn’t something I had considered, but it made a lot of sense. The trainers I’d changed to had made my Achilles and lower calves super tight, but I didn’t really suspect it an issue. But apparently this is pulling my knee from the bottom, and then my quad is pulling from the top.

The pain is due to my kneecap (or a specific part of my kneecap at least) being irritated. So she advised stretching (shock), foam rolling (shock), better trainers (happy days) and Ibuprofen gel specifically in the crevice of my knee where it’s causing issues. She gave me some stretches and massaged my leg and off I went.

This does all make sense to me, and of course I’m relieved I don’t have a tear, but part of me wonders if this is really it? Stretch more and foam roll? Are you kidding me? Asides from my calf, I have been stretching and foam rolling my legs weekly. Urgh. I just feel either incredibly stupid that it’s this simple or a bit cheated that it’s this simple.

At least I’ve been given the go-ahead to strength train my legs, albeit gently. So I’ve been doing TRX single leg squats and body weight squats, slowly and with good form. Maybe it’s a case of getting the strength back up to get the muscles firing appropriately?

I feel a bit at a loss if I’m honest. Sure I can try new trainers and do the whole “Ibuprofen reduce inflammation” thing but it feels a bit of a catch-all diagnosis, you know?

Anyway, I could moan and whine for too long about this. I need to gather my thoughts and see how things progress. On to something else…

I was recently sent a pack of TRR Nutrition supplements to try. It’s an advanced collagen supplement containing 10,000mg of hydrolysed marine collagen. Designed and created by a host of scientists and nutritionists (including Glenn Kearney, nutritionist to tennis superstar Andy Murray) with the aim to support joints, bone health and immune system. Collagen is a protein which helps form connective tissue in the body. We do naturally produce it but the production slows down, so adding it to your diet is a good way to pump it back up. The benefits are that is can reduce wrinkles (wahey!), support strong bones and keep your joints strong and flexible too.

So anyway I tried the supplements… I mean, I guess it was probably the best time for me to be taking it with all my knee issues. Of course I can’t say for certain but my knee has certainly improved from the terrible shape it was in after the marathon, though equally time and healing go hand in hand.

The supplement comes in a little bottle – it’s like a shot of health basically. Not only does it contain collagen but it contains turmeric (good for inflammation), glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and copper.

I’ll warn you though, it doesn’t taste great. I would advise taking it like a shot: quickly just swallowing it down. The cherry flavour is far better than the citrus, but it still has quite the turmeric flavour.

I am very keen to continue taking this as the research on collagen seems strong and it’s something in my comeback to running (is that ever going to happen…?) will probably help. I really like the ethos behind the company and if I can be 1% of the athlete that Andy Murray is then I’m on to a winner!

By the way, they currently have a 50% off sale right now!

Have you ever taken collagen?

Have you ever had an MRI?

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