Monthly Archives: June 2015

Race for Life – One Year On

Around this time last year, I wrote about taking part in my first ever 5k race and how I had literally gone from the couch to 5k, with the enormous help & encouragement from Emma Rogers. So, it was only right that I should do the very same race again this year – a one year on check in report, I guess.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I absolutely had no desire to ever run again after doing the first 5k race for life. I found running to be long, boring & bloody painful hard work. The 5k was just to prove to myself that I could do it, then I’d hang up my running shoes & move on to something else.

Who’d have thought, that a year later, not only did I come back to replay the race, but that I had also done so many other runs & events in the time between. I’m pretty proud of my medal board, I really, honestly NEVER expected my life to change so much in such a short time.

My growing medal collection.

My growing medal collection – 5ks, 5miles, OCR events, half marathon & full marathon medals.

What started out as a weight loss plan, has become a new life, an obsession, something that I think about all day every day. Not only did I lose over 5stone, but I have kept it off. I’ve met a whole load of great new friends, both through running & through going to the gym. I’ve been retraining and am now qualified as a weight loss specialist, a nutritionist, a sports nutritionist & am *almost* a qualified fitness instructor – just the last assessments to go!

I get asked what the “secret” is, probably every other week. In all honesty, there is no secret. There is no quick fix & there are no short-term answers. The way I have trodden my path, may not suit others, but you need to find what works for you & your lifestyle. It also needs to be your own decision. Nothing will work unless you whole-heartedly want it to. You need to change your mindset, it isn’t a diet, it is a lifestyle.

I totally recommend signing yourself up to something like a 5k fun run, it gives you a tangible goal, something that you will have to work for & something that will become easier with training. In turn, the training will help you to love exercising & will usually help you shift some stubborn lbs too – assuming that you don’t congratulate yourself on your exercise with a chocolate cake! You can’t outrun a bad diet. The key is to find enjoyment in the process, and the results will follow!

So, my sister and I took a stroll down to the park for our run yesterday morning. We could have decided against it as we are both sporting slight injuries from our moonwalk marathon – my knee has given in when I run & Nic has a pain in her foot & shin-splints. But, hell, we were going to take this on.

The run was fairly smooth, we learnt from last year to get near to the front at the start, it’s no fun trying to get past a load of walkers when you want to run, so we had a pretty good & not too busy route. Nic’s shin-splints meant that we had to stop/slow down a few times, but we STILL took time off of last year’s race. My first ever training 5k was 39:42, last year’s race for life was 35:57, this year’s time was 32:49. Considering our injuries, our stopping & our less than speedy pace, we were pretty pleased with that time.

All finished!

All finished!

Next year, I’m aiming to get it under 25mins, because I KNOW I can do that pace, but I need to be injury free.

If you would love to be able to run a 5k race, but don’t know where to start, just get out there and get going. Try running for a minute at a time. You’ll be surprised how you grow to love it. The freedom, the ability for your own body to take you places. The surprises you’ll see that you usually miss when driving about in a car. The rush of good feeling that you’ll get when you come home, sweaty, out of breath & pink in the face.

Why not join your local running club, the guys you’ll be surrounded by know their stuff. You will be supported and encouraged. I run with Hastings Runners & they are an awesome bunch. Or try checking out to see if you have a local parkrun – a no pressure 5k weekly race. If you’re not up to running one yet, go and volunteer – I can bet that by being surrounded by runners, you’ll want to get in on the action too!

Go, get out there, enjoy running & enjoy life – find your happy!

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Cashew Coconut Protein Flapjacks

So, I take lots of my protein bakes down to the gym & feed the staff there… hopefully they’ll give me a job one day! You might have noticed that I use a heck of a lot of peanut stuff in my recipes. Which, whilst delicious, not everyone can have them, so I was tasked by one of the staff to make a batch of flapjacks that didn’t have any peanutty ingredients, so, here it is:

Cashew Coconut Protein Flapjacks

Cashew Coconut Protein Flapjacks

These are another no-bake variety, so put that oven glove away! All you need is a bowl, a few spoons, some measuring cups, a silicon tray & a fridge – easy!

These flapjacks are so delicious, they aren’t overly coconutty, but they have that pleasing coconut taste and texture. The cashew nut butter gives these a really lovely creamy flavour & the chocolate coating is just perfect – dark & punchy. These are totally worth a try, and, at less than 100kcals a pop, you can easily fit them in to your macros!

I’ve used coconut butter instead of coconut oil, simply because I had it in the cupboard. I think that coconut oil would actually have been much nicer, so use it if you have it!

Recipe (Makes 16 pieces):

Ingredients:

No-bake Flapjack Base-

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 scoop of impact whey protein
  • 2tbsp smooth cashew butter
  • 1tbsp coconut flour
  • 2tbsp coconut butter, melted
  • 2tbsp coconut nectar syrup (or use honey/agave)
  • 1/4 cup dessicated coconut (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 scoop whey crispies
  • 3tbsp water

Chocolate Layer-

  • 3 generous tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp coconut nectar syrup (or honey/agave)

Method:

  1. Grab all the ingredients for the flapjack base, chuck them in a bowl & mix them up – it won’t form a dough, but if you squash the mix, it will hold together.
  2. Squash the flapjack in to a silicon pan & firm it down. Pop in to the fridge. *Tip: Put the silicon case on a firm baking sheet to keep it flat.
  3. Mix all the chocolate layer ingredients together and then pour straight over the flapjack. Work quickly to disperse the chocolate before it sets on the cold surface.
  4. Return to the fridge for an hour or so & then chop up in to 16 pieces, with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container for up to 4/5days in the fridge.

Macros per flapjack:

97kcals, 6.2g fat, 8.5g carbs, 3.2g protein

Give them a whirl this weekend & lemme know how they turn out!

 

 

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Super Delicious Peanut Butter & Jelly Marshmallow Protein Pie

I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with making this vegan marshmallow – though the version I’ve used in this recipe includes whey protein, so not strictly vegan. You can absolutely sub the whey out for a vegan protein powder, just be aware that it may change the taste and texture slightly.

PB+J Marshmallow Protein Pie

PB+J Marshmallow Protein Pie

Whenever I now open a can of beans or chickpes, I have to keep the juice. I cry a little bit now when I think of all the wasted bean juice I’ve discarded over the decades!

As I’d made  kick-ass chilli for dinner yesterday, I’d thought to keep the bean juice from my can of red kidney beans, just so that I could make up a fresh batch of magic marshmallow. You can, of course, use any bean juice, but I LOVE that red kidney bean juice makes the marshmallow a very slight pale pink/lilac colour! You absolutely cannot taste beans in the final product, I promise!

The base of this pie is made up out of nuts, oats and quinoa & has a delicious nutty flavour & a biscuity crunch to it. It gives an awesome contrast to the soft & squishy marshmallow filling & the crackly chocolate drizzle. Once baked, it is layered with a smooth peanut butter & slathered with a no added sugar raspberry jam *drool*! Serve this sucker up with some fresh raspberries & we have one hell of a delicious dessert, that packs a protein punch!

Give this recipe a try over the weekend, so you can serve it up at a meal with friends or family – otherwise, you WILL want to eat the whole thing & that will just end up with you feeling verrrrrrry queasy!!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Crust-

  • 1/2cup rolled oats
  • 1/2cup quinoa flakes (or just use more rolled oats)
  • 1/2cup natural cashews
  • 1/3cup rice protein powder
  • 1tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 4tbsp light agave syrup
  • 1/3cup water

Marshmallow-

  • Juice from 1 can red kidney beans
  • 2tbsp light agave syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • 1/4tsp xantham gum
  • 1scoop unflavoured whey powder

Filling-

  • 3tbsp smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3tbsp no added sugar raspberry jam

Topping-

  • 1 square (20g) dark chocolate

Method:

  1.  Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6
  2. Grab all the crust ingredients together. Chuck them in a blender & process until you have a sort of paste – add a little more water if needed.
  3. Press the crust mix in to a metal tin, mine was about 8″ in diameter. Make sure that the crust mix goes all the way up the sides of the tin, to give you ‘walls’ to hold the pie mix later.
  4. Stab the base with a fork, to stop air making it puff up in the oven, then bake for about 15-20mins, until it is browned and firm – don’t worry of there are cracks in the crust, the peanut butter will fix those later. Allow it to cool in the tin.
  5. Grab a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. Boil up the bean liquid until it has reduced by approx half the volume. Add in the agave syrup & get it in to the mixer bowl & whisk for around 5mins.
  6. After 5minutes or so, your bean juice & syrup should have changed colour and texture to a pale thick liquid. Stop the whisk, add in the vanilla & xantham gum. Whisk for another 10mins until the meringue is glossy, thick and stiff.
  7. Gently whisk in the protein powder.
  8. Once your crust is cool, spread the peanut butter over the base & up the sides. Make sure that the peanut butter fills any cracks that might have appeared in the crust.
  9. Slather the raspberry jam over the peanut butter.
  10. Scrape the marshmallow out of the bowl and, using a silicon spatula, ease the marshmallow across the base, to fill the pie. The best way to do it it to push it towards the edges of the pie, allow it to make contact with the crust so that it sticks and keep working it around the edges of the crust.
  11. Melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the pie.
  12. Refrigerate for 1-2hours. Chop in to 6 huge sized, or 8 moderate sized pieces & serve with fresh raspberries.
PB+J Marshmallow Protein Pie

PB+J Marshmallow Protein Pie

This pie will keep in the fridge for 1-2days, but it is best when it is fresh.

Macros for 6/8slices:

  • 310kcals/231kcals, 12.65g fat/9.3g fat, 35.6g carbs/26.7g carbs, 16.7g protein/12.5g protein
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