Wednesday, 19 August 2015

MyProtein Vegan Blend Protein

Myprotein is a company that prides itself on providing high quality products at low prices. They were one of the first protein brands I tried and the only one I still continue to use regularly. I keep a constant stock of their peanut butter, almond butter and impact whey protein in natural chocolate and natural vanilla. I'm a creature of habit so I rarely order anything other than these, so when MyProtein got in touch and asked if I'd like to sample some products, I took the chance to try something a bit different.

For a while now I've thought I have some sort of dairy/lactose intolerence and am curious about how swapping whey for another protein type might affect my body. I was sent the Vegan Blend protein in chocolate flavour, along with the salted caramel impact whey (one of my favourite shakes now!), toffee flavour liquid Flavdrops and a handy slimline Smart Shaker.

The Vegan Blend has over 22g of protein per serving and is made of pea, brown rice and hemp proteins. It has an earthy, slightly gritty texture and needs a little more liquid than I would use with whey but I was advised of this in advance! I mixed 1 scoop with 300ml almond milk in my shaker and found that a few drops of the toffee flavdrops made it more palatable. For breakfast I tried the protein mixed through porridge. Again it needed a little more liquid, and adding almond butter and raw cacao powder made it tastier too. To be honest, I still prefer the taste and texture of myprotein's impact whey but it's a good alternative for anyone who is vegan or trying to cut dairy out of their diet.

Trying these products made me a little more adventurous with my next order - I'd recommend the double choc chip protein cookies for a handy, quick fix snack! I've also been using the toffee flavdrops mixed with Greek yoghurt when I fancy ice cream... pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours and then smother it in raspberry flavour (zero sugar) syrup!

What would you recommend from Myprotein?

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Chicken Satay Skewers & Spicy Peanut Sauce

I feel sorry for people who are allergic to peanuts. Imagine a life without peanut butter...

My sister gave me this Power Snacks book for my birthday. This is the only recipe I've tried yet but I've used it a good few times already! Like all my favourite meals it's quick and easy - the marinading is the only part that takes time, but it's worth it as the chicken ends up so full of flavour! If you're organised you can do that part in the morning and then you'll have dinner ready within half an hour after work.

For the skewers                                           For the peanut sauce
4 chicken breasts                                          1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp soy sauce                                            1 small onion
1 tbsp cornflour                                            1 garlic clove
2 garlic cloves                                               4 tbsp crunchy natural peanut butter
1 small piece of fresh ginger                      1 pinch crushed chillies
1 pepper                                                          5 tbsp water
1 red onion

Mix the soy sauce, cornflour, crushed garlic & finely chopped ginger together and then pour over the chopped chicken. Leave it to marinade in the fridge for as long as possible. Soak your skewers in cold water for at least half an hour as well. 

Preheat the grill and thread the chicken onto the skewers, spaced between the pepper and onion, or any other vegetable of your choice. The chicken only needs 5 minutes on each side under the grill. You can make the sauce while it's cooking...

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil before adding the peanut butter, water and chillies. Keep stirring the sauce and adding water until you get the right consistency. And that's it! We had ours with salad but it also goes well with rice, or even a sweet chilli sauce if you run out of peanut butter!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body

Mens sana in corpore sano - a sound mind in a sound body... a healthy mind in a healthy body...

My sister gave me this mug for my birthday and it couldn't of come at a better time. Lately I've become aware of just how much my body image and relationship with food consumes my day to day life. I literally spend my whole day thinking about food. I've always been a big foodie, but it feels like it's taking over my life. I spend every day counting calories, macros, obsessing over the numbers and planning what I'll eat over the next week. All of this in the name of being fit and healthy.

If I go over my calories or macros, I freak out and beat myself up about it, psychologically punishing myself. On the other hand, if I'm under my calorie count I use it as an excuse to eat more... well I wouldn't want to starve myself and lose muscle mass, would I? Then I regret it. And then there's the times I have a week or 2 of not eating a single "bad" food, but then have an overwhelming compulsion to eat chocolate. I don't just stop at 2 squares though - I eat the whole bar and then carry on eating anything I can find, shovelling it down my throat and stuffing myself to the point I feel sick. Then, of course, I hate myself for losing control and binging like some sort of crazy person discovering peanut butter for the first time. I look in the mirror at my bloated belly and tell myself I'm a terrible person for undoing all my hard work from the previous week. I've turned down dinners with friends to avoid ending up in this situation. I spent the week before my birthday stressing about where I'd be going for lunch, would there be a healthy option, what if somebody buys cake?! Not because I'd refuse to eat any of it, but because I'd over indulge and be back in the never ending cycle of binge and regret. Whats healthy about any of this? 

I'm only just beginning to realise how obsessive and disordered my eating habits actually are. I just want to go back to being able to eat food and enjoy it, because I happened to fancy it at that time, not because it's what I think I should be eating. While I 100% believe that keeping a food diary and tracking macros can work, if anything it's a useful tool for assessing your diet and seeing where you're going wrong, it clearly isn't working for me. If it's making you obsessive, irrational and self destructive, is it really worth it?

I've decided to take a step back and stop tracking my food. Hopefully I'll still manage to maintain a healthy, balanced diet but I won't be counting calories or macros. My fridge is stocked with healthy, nutritious foods that I like and I'll try to just eat whatever I fancy at the time, and not feel guilty about any of it. I won't schedule specific meals for specific days and I won't fall out with Gordon when he doesn't want to eat the same thing as me! This weeks shopping trip turned out to be pretty stressful... I started to panic slightly about not knowing what I'd be eating for lunch each day. Let's just say I'll probably be getting shares in John West pretty soon...

There's been moments this week that I've wanted to religiously type everything into myfitnesspal ("Have I had enough protein today?!") but I've managed to resist! It's still constantly on my mind though. I'm in the middle of planning a wedding and buying a house for God's sake - my mind should be occupied with these things rather than how many grams of carbs I've consumed! I am literally terrified that I'll be fat by next week, but surely my sanity comes first? 

Time to look at the bigger picture and enjoy life. Healthy mind, healthy body...

Friday, 26 June 2015

Kale & Feta Omelette

Omelettes are one of my favourite meals. They're quick, easy and you can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner... any time of the day really. I say they're easy, but it's taken me about 2 years to master them! This recipe is one of my favourites to throw together after a Saturday at work. I pack it full of egg whites, chicken and turkey bacon for extra protein, and the feta and kale makes it super tasty!
  • 1 egg, 4 egg whites
  • 25g feta cheese
  • 50 g cooked chicken
  • 1 slice turkey bacon
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful of kale
  • Salt & pepper

Switch on your grill, chop and mix everything together apart from the feta and kale. Lightly coat a frying pan with any oil of your choice, allow the pan to heat slightly and then pour in the mixture. Cook for roughly 5 minutes on a medium heat, until the outer edges are cooked right through. Sprinkle the kale and feta on top, remove the pan from the heat and pop it under the grill instead. It only needs another 5 minutes here, so that the rest of the egg mixture cooks through, the feta starts to melt and the kale begins to crisp up...... YUM! Take the pan out and slide the omelette onto a plate, no flipping skills needed!

Approximately 320 calories, 43g protein, 13g carbs, 10g fat.

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