Monday, 26 September 2016

How I'm Not Sick, Tired or Struggling... Too Much!

Hi there friendly friends and welcome back to the time of the day when I have been studying for a number of hours that I have no intention of counting, or accepting for that matter and my brain is in that stage where one might describe the contents feeling a little like... jelly?

It's literally leg-day. For my brain. Brain-day.

Anywho, today I thought I'd ponder a bit on this whole most-stressful-time-in-my-entire-schooling-experience specifically on the fact (and touch wood here, because I DO NOT want to jinx myself!!) that whilst the vast majority of my fellow year 12 peers have experienced some form of flu/ infection/ bacterial, viral, scary, painful fun in the past few months leading up to and including exams, I have somehow managed to dodge all this??

At the beginning of the flu season when literally, and I mean l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y, every person I would talk to had some form or other of the sniffles (or, you know, bronchitis), I just sort of accepted that the inevitable would amount and I would have a few days to a week feeling not so sparkly, I'd shake it off as best I could and be sweet again.

The time past and I seemed to be the only one not stuffing mountains of tissues into my blazer pockets as I arrived at each class.

Alright-y, I thought, so it's going to hit me later, like usual, when everyone's recovering it's gonna get me good and in true Steph-style I shall suffer my late-blooming illness that's almost become yesterday's news.

Still nothing.

Half my exams down and I watch as people saunter in, slightly more pale, a little thinner perhaps, looking not so sparkly themselves and yet I stood as I always did during school; fit, fed and happy, yes- my brain filled with an inconsiderable amount of facts and figures, leaving me slightly dazed and staring off into the distance but I was still feeling pretty... good?

Fully aware that this jar of nutrients is the main cause for all this health! :P :D

Yes, I still have my second half of my mock/ trial exams to go (next week- this is like a little study break week) and then of course the final FINALS! So we shall see how we fair but in the mean time I want to delve deeper into what I believe has kept me fighting fit and healthy during this extreme stress-inducing, immune-lowering time:

1. I sleep.
Yes, clap clap to me. I know, what a hero. They should probably just give me an award now.
No, but seriously, I am a baby and like a baby sleep is a priority to me.
I don't stay up late to study (you know how much of a morning person I am- past 6:00pm and I'm out. Done for the day. The brain has gone night-night! Seriously just ask my mum about some of the looney things I say after a long day of study) and I also don't stay up late watching movies/ tv/ on my phone etc. Partly because I'm up at like 5am every morning (thanks natural body clock) but also because I know how good I feel when I am truly and fully rested.
It also helps me kick butt during my workouts! ;)

2. What else helps me kick butt during my workouts? What I'm eating. And with that I am certain that the way and types of foods I've been eating during this time has been the main benefiting factor to keeping me happy, healthy and ready to tackle anything.
 Say hello to the gloriousness that is this smoothie bowl- banana mango smoothie base (more like ice cream) topped with uncooked, crunchy peanut butter granola- best. breakfast. ever.
 ^What it looks like when I'm actually about to eat it! ^

 People often see stressful times as a time for extra treats. To forego a nice home-cooked, well-rounded, nutritious meal for a quick drive-thru take out that you devour in 30 seconds without even tasting/ savouring the flavours and leaving you with nothing more than a greasy mouth and spiking blood sugar levels.
Lunch from the other day featuring raw carrots, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, mashed avoid, wholegrain brown rice and quinoa crackers and steamed peas and corn- YUM!

I fully believe in treating yourself and looking after your mental and emotional wellbeing just as much as your physical, but truthfully friends, this has been a time when I've stepped up on my diet game, not dropped back and added in extra green smoothies, extra veggies, extra antioxidants, fruits, wholegrain- the whole shebang!
Just a whole bag of raw, shredded mixed beetroot, carrot, and broccoli stems popped into a bowl with some spinach, capsicum and peas and corn :)

If I felt a little lethargic/ fatigued I'd plate up a bowl of oranges. Soups, stews, salads, roast veggies, veggie sandwiches, beans, oatmeal, raw fruit and veg- they all make daily appearances in my meals and I've honestly never felt better!
 One of my all-time favourite meals- simply roast veggies (pumpkin, parsnip, swede, beetroot, sweet potato and regular potato) drizzled in extra virgin olive oil with some spinach hiding underneath and lentils mixed throughout

Take this time as an opportunity to challenge yourself to see how many amazing, vibrant, colourful foods you can fit onto your plate, how many vitamins, minerals, body-loving nutrients you can stuff into your blender,
I mean, I think I win- but you can try!! :P ;)
how many delicious, home-made meals you can truly sit down to and enjoy every flavour and richness that is lost from reaching into a spotted with grease brown paper bag.
Pumpkin is SO GOOD!
3. Finally, I've also taken a step back. I know these exams are a big deal and the most important ya-da-ya-da-ya-da, but honestly it is not the end of the world and I'm not going to go into a stress-induced panic attack over them because in the bigger picture they are an awesome opportunity for me to reveal how much I've learned and really shine from all of my hard work!

So yes, my friends, I honestly believe that through my consistent exercise, proper eating and bigger-picture thinking, I've definitely come out of this time in the best way possible, keeping my body as happy as possible and listening to it whenever it requires my attention.

Move your body my friends. Find the exercise you love (have you tried Blogilates? Some of her videos for cardio are dancing!!), do it often and consistently, feel the benefits!

Eat the foods your body truly craves for wellbeing. The colourful veggies, the rich sources of proteins, healthy nourishing fats, delicious, flavourful wholegrain carbohydrates, nature's candy- fruits! Eat good foods in abundance- fuel your body, brain and happiness! Trust me, your brain is your biggest energy consumer!! Especially during times of intense brain-day!

Take a step back and truly appreciate everything around you for what it is. Life is good. Live it.

I hope this has shed some light on what to do in times of stress/ hard times of the body and truthfully it can be applied to any situation really! I'm no expert but this is my highly certain hypothesis as to why I'm surviving in a strong and healthy manner and I hope it can help anyone out who might be struggling at the moment!

Your turn:
What are your best tips for handling exam stress/ any stress?
Do you make diet changes during different periods of your life?
Fav meal you've eaten recently?

That's it from me today folks, I hope you have a truly wonderful day, do something you love and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Long Time No...Pancakes?? :P

Hi there friendly friends!!

Long time, no see! This has been one whirlwind of a week and alas I still have half of my exams to go (before I even start thinking about my actual, actual finals in October/ November!!) but luckily I have this week to study hard and jump back into my last 3 exams the following week... it's going to be fun that's for sure!

However it does free up a tiny bit of time for me to catch my breath and also BLOG!!

So today I thought I would share with you my ultimate breakfast from yesterday, which was the designated long run Saturday, in which I logged up 17km into the legs before 8:00am and very much required a substantial, nourishing, utterly delicious breakfast to refuel my fasted body!

*note to add; not sure what shin splints feel like but I have got a sort of soreness on the outside of one of my shins and am hoping this is not shin splints and will go away with a little break from low-intensity steady long running

Enter the ultimate Breakfast of Champions: PANCAKES!!

Now, not only are these pancakes (need I say more) but they also just so happen to be wheat free, sugar free, vegan, wholegrain pancakes that will leave your tummy feeling so warm and fuzzy and nourish your body from the inside out!

Made with the goodness of wholegrain oats, wholemeal spelt flour, banana and more these pancakes are so easy to whip up (especially with a handy blender on the go) and can literally be made in such a short amount of time that I would happily enjoy these on any day of the week.

Soft, chewy, sweet, delicious, banana-y pancakes topped with ALL the nut butter and also a side of black berry fro yo (frozen blackberries, frozen zucchini (about an equal amount of each- handful) and greek yoghurt, whizzed until smooth and creamy) and a very very happy smiling Steph.

Your body needs breakfast my friends. It feeds off substantial whole carbs, fresh fruits and veg with vitamins and minerals and fats and proteins for brain development, muscle recovery and simply all recovery. Even if you don't exercise pre-breakfast; brekky sets you up for your entire day and thus anything you want to crush will only be crushable with a substantial nourishing breakfast!

Ok, enough chatter, I know you all want to recipe for these bad boys and I want to give them to you so you can experience the mouth-watering aroma and taste-bud loving taste of these 'cakes:

Wholegrain Vegan Cinnamon Banana Pancakes:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon maca powder (optional- can add a scoop of protein powder or any powder you like; or commit altogether!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 banana
1/2-3/4 cup almond milk/ any milk/ water
Any toppings you so desire (I used the other half of my banana and some crunchy PB and Mayors Choc nut spread- SO GOOD!)

1. Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth and combined (Vitamin came in handy for this one!)
2. Place a large frypan over medium heat and spray with oil (any type)
3. Pour mix into mug/ jug and pour/ spoon in small pancake rounds onto the pan
4. Leave to cook on one side, watching bubbles on the top and then scoot a flipper around the edges to free them up and FLIP! Cook on the other side until golden brown
5. Place on paper towel to drain away some of the oil and then top with whatever topping you desire/ whip up a fro-yo with frozen fruit and greek yoghurt to go with your delicious pancakes!

And there you have it! Beautifully golden brown, crisp on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside, sweet, vegan cinnamon banana pancakes to nourish your body with the goodness of wholegrain, natural ingredients and no processed sugars, refined carbs or heavy creams/ other ingredients typically found in your standard pancake. Truly is a breakfast of champs!

Your turn:
What is your favourite pancake recipe?
Favourite add-ins to pancakes? i'm always a fan of protein powders, raw cacao, berries, dates... the list goes on and on!
One big pancake or lots of little ones? As a child I only had one big ones, now I much prefer cute little spikelet sized ones (also a lot easier to flip, especially when making vegan ones!!)

I hope you all have an utterly splendid Sunday, eat to nourish and fuel your body for all the wonderful things you want to do, give your body adequate rest (something I definitely need to work on) and don't feel guilty about it and if in doubt; whip up a batch of delicious healthy pancakes! Oh and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Sunday Love!!

Hi friends and happy SUNDAY!!

How great are Sundays, am I right??

Sundays just so happen to be my designated rest days where for the first time all week I can actually lie in bed and not move for as long as I want (this morning featured a lie in to a whopping 6:25am!! :P) and not have anything playing on my mind to do!

So I sauntered out of bed with the sun, entered the kitchen and whipped up this delightful green smoothie to kick-start my day with ALL the nourishment! (I'm upping my intake of all the good stuff during this exam time... that is lasting until the end of Nov- alas let us not think too much into that!... to ensure I remain fighting fit and healthy throughout this awesome time in my life ;).
 This bad boy featured 1 large frozen banana, 1 big handful frozen zucchini chunks, 1 huge handful frozen mango chunks, kale, spinach (LOTS!!), greek yoghurt, soaked rolled oats in almond milk and water- so GOOD!
 Little close up^
Aaaand a little view of half-way done:

I also wanted to add my little feet of victory from yesterday, whereby I woke up to tackle my typical Saturday morning long run and somehow managed to smash out approx 20km!! So proud of myself and, yep, definitely felt it for the rest of the day; but hey- thats why we are resting today my friends!!
 I think the prominent vein sticking out on my forehead is evidence enough that I truly pushed myself in that run!! :P

Now back to exams:
You may have noticed the posts becoming a little more irregular and infrequent and well, that is just the abs and flows of life my friends; I simply do not have the time (and if there is spare time; the energy) to write up 5 posts a week and keep em' coming week in week out and that's ok.

I felt guilty for a while there but honestly, this blog is for my utter enjoyment and hopefully your utter enjoyment too, so whilst the posts may be a little space over the next few weeks, I'll be back in action before you know it with ALL the delicious recipes to tantalise your taste buds!!

Alrighty, enough about that now- onto the stuff we all want- the lovely links from a round the blog-o-sphere that are worth your while to give a read!!


The Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust – Just 5 Ingredients!

warm apple pie oatmeal smoothie

3 Delicious Ways To Get More Greens That You Probably Haven't Thought Of



Pre and Post Workout Eating 101

What training for the CrossFit Games looks like


I'm A Nutritionist Who Lives In A Tiny Home With No Kitchen. Here's How I Eat Clean

How Overexercising Could Be Sabotaging Your Health Goals




How Do You Eat These Things?

24 Pictures That Prove This Whole Pumpkin Spice Thing Has Gone Way Too Far

I hope you found some interesting reads in that little basket of goodies and as mentioned above; I shall see ya when I see ya (wish me luck that my brain remains... well just remains!!) Don't know when/ how often/ what it'll be about but I'm sure you can all understand; busy time of life!!

Have yourself a wonderful day, do something you love, be kind to your body and, as always, eat something delicious!! bye for now friendly friends!! :D

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

You Need To Eat. You just do...

Hi there friendly friends and welcome back to the blog of foodie, fitness-y, fun-y (or just plain funny for that matter.. :P)-ness.

Yep. That was my intro.

Save the applause until the end.

Alrighty- but in all seriousness guys, today I want to talk about something that isn't quite as light-hearted or delicious as this post about raw choc fudge avocado brownies and an overnight stuffed papaya recipe! (So, if you're in the  mood for food and not me blabbering on passionately about a topic I feel extremely strongly about then go check out those recipes!)
Today I want to talk about eating. And not just eating, because I think we can all say we know how to eat (I think from a very early age we discovered that the mouth takes it in, the teeth chew and the food is presently swallowed.), but one thing a lot of us (particularly us girls) seems to struggle with is the why surrounding eating.

Now, what am I going on about here? Well, basically, the struggle lies with the motives of eating we each have. For example; do you eat to suppress emotions. Do you eat to maintain a healthy weight. Do you eat to lose weight. Do you eat the bare minimum to simply survive... in the most unhealthy way. And I wanted to focus on that last one in particular.

Too often I hear the proud phrases of a group of girls commenting on the strength and ability they all had to only eat an apple the day before, or simply skip breakfast that morning, or have a lunch of celery and carrot sticks. And call it lunch. LUNCH.

*That's like my making-lunch-pre-lunch-snack!!

Not eating. It's just not ok.

I don't want to preach though. I don't want to reprimand, tell-off, chastise or blame anyone, because believe it or not, I get how hard it is to get out of that mainframe where self-worth and achievement results from limiting one's food intake. Feeling strong, powerful, successful... although a few hours later? Stuck with that empty naming and crying out of hunger from an underfed body crying out for nourishment resulting in tormenting hunger and the almost uncontrollable urge to eat- say hello to your bodies survival mechanisms kicking in.

The scariest part about all this is that over a lengthy period of time of restricting food and eating the bare minimum; these survival mechanisms begin to shut down and the body simply does not have the energy to cry out for food. For life. The resounding noise of hunger screaming suddenly becomes an eery silence covered up by the shutting down of the body... and that is just plain terrifying.

Of course, I am not in witness of many people who are quite at this stage where there is practically no food entering their bodies and the extent of their disorder has effected them so much to this point that they have no chance of struggling out of that mindset without a little extra help but the scenes of girls skipping lunch, or picking at their salads, or feeling gratified and proud of the little amounts of food they have ingested leaves me with that same terrified feeling.

The terrified feeling of what this mindset and way of living can develop into. The long-run implications of this restriction. The inevitable obsession that results from the feeling of power and 'success' that results from the single apple that made up the entire days meals.

There's a single quote I must have read on a blog somewhere at some time that really stuck with me and keeps ringing through my mind as I write this post and it's the fact that with a disorder as debilitating and consuming as anorexia, or any other eating disorder for that matter, you're either working to beat your eating disorder or your dying from it. Your choice. And whilst this quote alone can send shivers down most people's spines, the brutal honesty of it should be appreciated for the truth it does provide.

The gnawing, deep hunger that has become a natural state of living. The successful feeling felt by limiting the food eaten each day to a bare minimum that barely caters for survival. The unsaid pleasure of seeing your bones become more prominent, your cheeks become increasingly hollow, your friends commenting on the 'stick-thin-ness' of your arms. The picture of sitting down to a meal, dreading the bites that have to take place to please concerned families. The constant thoughts of food. The constant dread of meals. The inevitable downward spiral into a mind filled with darkness, void of light, laughter and happiness, consumed by a sickness like any other but hidden behind the label; 'Mental illness'

An illness is an illness like any other but the stigma around 'mental illnesses' can be passed off, swept under the rug, shrugged off as something that will sort itself out, heal itself, magically resolve with ignorance. So saying Eat, just eat, is not the magic pill. It's just not but unfortunately it's the simplified, stripped-back, one-and-only solution. Eat.

So, what's my purpose for this post? It's to those people. Those teens. Those girls finding self-gratification through eating as little as possible-EAT. Eat for your body. Eat for your health. Eat for your life. Because even though I may not have the most experience with those extreme cases of eating disorders, I do know how hard it is to pull oneself out of the dark depths of a mental illness and if help is not offered, the outcome can be extremely terrifying.

Stop before it starts.

Eat to fuel your body,

Food is necessary. Food is good. We need food. And a heck of a lot of it for simple day-today tasks. To thrive. To achieve your goals. To simply live; eat those whole, nourishing foods that your body is literally yelling at you to consume. Behind to your body and your body will do great things!
Wow that was quite the lengthy post and I commend you if you made it through the whole thing!! As you can tell, this is something I'm so so so so so passionate about and these past few years have shown me this is the field I want to go into when I finish studying nutrition and dietetics in uni (starting next year!! Yes!!!!!)- working in a hospital with eating disorders, in particular; adolescence.

I want to help. And I know I can.

No questions fro today, just leave any comments you wish- would love to hear your thoughts!

Have yourself a truly wonderful day, be kind to your body, do something you love and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Two Bowls of Deliciousness!!

Hi there friendly friends and HAPPY MONDAY!

Yeah, sure, Monday has that bad stigma around it that being the very beginning of the work/ school/ uni/ whatever it is you do week, it automatically brings with it feelings of despair, angst and just plain negativity. But alas! I believe Mondays should be celebrated for what they are! the beginning of another week of opportunities, experiences and discoveries!! Who knows what the upcoming week will bring and without Monday to kick us off, we'd never find out!

And to also brighten your Monday a little further I have not one but two utterly delicious breakfast bowl recipes that will simply knock your socks off on the YUM-TACULAR spectrum, so grab that blender, magically freeze those bananas in record time and gift your taste buds with the creamy, dream,y fudge-y, sweet, dessert-like experience of either of these two happy-inducing and nourishing bowls!

1. The Raw Granola Green Smoothie Bowl:
 Who else loves my baby pink 'Seconds?' Bowl :) :)
This bad boy featured that ginormous mountain of uncooked, rich, fudge-y and nutty, nut butter granola with a big bowl of creamy mango banana green smoothie/ ice cream underneath for that creamy, sweet, refreshing factor!
 For the smoothie:
1 frozen banana
1 handful frozen mango chunks
1 handful frozen zucchini (trust me you cannot taste it and it just adds more volume to your smoothie bowl!)
1 handful kale
1 handful spinach
3 spoons greek yoghurt
- whaz until smoothy-smooth, pop in freezer to harden slightly
 For the Raw Granola:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 handful wholegrain cheerios
1-2 tablespoons nut butter (I used a mix of crunchy PB and mixed nut butter- just split the dry ingredients into two bowls then making)
1/2 cup almond milk
optional- maca powder, ground cinnamon, raw cacao (choc sensation) or anything else you would add to granola for that extra flavour kick; above recipe is just the simple nutty-flavoured base :)

-Simply combine rolled oats and cheerios and any spices/ powders if adding to a bowl
-Place almond milk and nut butter in a small container and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds until warmed through
- Use hands and rub into granola until combined
-Place on plate lined with baking paper and pop in freezer for 10-15 mins
 Then simply grab your cold smoothie base, top with your cold raw, chewy, delicious granola and NOM!
 Seriously guys, this is so refreshing and satisfying and literally kept me full for hours and hours!! Happy, happy days!

 So creamy and delicious; breakfast never tasted so good!!
2. Our second out-of-this-world breakfast bowl features CHOCOLATE. For breakfast. Oh yes.
 This guy came about from a craving for a HUGE bowl of chocolate ice cream. Of course, probably not the most practical of breakfasts but then again, I'm Steph. The girl who will make anything she's craving. Just tweaking the ingredients a bit to make sure all those awesome nutrients are entering the body along with those delectable flavours!
 Thus enter the HUGE Choc Hit Green Smoothie/ Ice Cream bowl topped with roasted almonds (because, seriously, how good are roasted almonds- whole new deliciousness level!!)
 This also followed a rather sweaty Blogilates HIIT and cardio sesh whereby the need for something nourishing, filling and delicious was real!
 Into the vitamin went:
2 frozen bananas
1 handful frozen zucchini
1/2 frozen avocado
1 tablespoon mixed nut butter
1 handful kale
1 handful spinach
3 spoons greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
-All blended up together until smooth and creamy!!
 topped off with a small handful of roasted almonds for that crunchy, nutty, roast-y addition :P
 And enter one very happy Steph:
 Seriously guys, this just hit the spot- creamy, chocolate-y soft-serve ice cream for breakfast... plus like 2-3 serves of veggies hidden in there that are literally untraceable. This makes me very happy indeed:

 Fairly sure I ate this whole bowl with my eyes closed just taking in every flavour and happiness.
And there you go!

Most definitely go ahead right now (or wait til breakfast, sure) and make one of these two delights because you will not regret it! The greek yoghurt can easily be replaced with vegan yoghurt; soy/ coconut etc. or just opt it out completely. I use greek yoghurt because of the high protein levels (growing girl who loves to exercise!!) and calcium fro strong bones but feel free to swap and choose your own add-ins! (I know silken-tofu creates that creamy factor just as well!!)

Your turn:
What's your favourite breakfast of the moment?
Best breakfast bowl recipe?
Roasted almonds- yay or nay? I usually prefer raw nuts over roasted but when it comes to almonds; the roasted babies are just miles above the raw variety!

I hope you all have a truly lovely rest of your Monday; do something you love, be open to opportunities should they arrive/ slap you in the face unexpectedly (the best kind really) and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

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