Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Why I Run...

Hi there folks!

Whilst out on my long run this past weekend I started to wonder what each person driving past me pounding the pavement was thinking as their car sidled past.

Of course, I already knew the obvious; 'Wow, she is the most powerful amazing runner I've ever seen!' 'What great pace!' 'Brilliant form!'
(Just kidding)

But what were they thinking after they were so inspired by my majestic springing from foot to foot?

'Why the heck do people go out there and torture themselves for long periods of time?'
'How can someone run? It's so boring and pointless?'
'Running is the devils form of exercise. Any exercise is better than running!'
'This girl is crazy.'

Now, this is probably the kind of stuff majority of people are thinking, whether subconsciously or very much consciously and I know this because whenever i talk to anyone about how I'm a long distance runner, these are the kind of statements I'm hit with. Face to face. So I'm going to assume the likelihood of people thinking them in their own head is fairly high.

Now, this was quite the lengthy of runs, so I had a good amount of time to ponder on with these thoughts and I came up with the question to myself; 'Why do I run, Steph?'

It made me stop (not literally, I was keeping a good pace and stopping would make me realise how tired my legs were!) mentally and really backtrack through my mind, forcing my brain to think of the reasons I lace up those shoes time and time again and simply... run.

At first I was perplexed. Why do I run? For vanity reasons? To look good? So I can brag to people about how far I ran before school? Well I know those aren't the reasons, because they're some of the things I actually dislike about the sport. Sure running keeps you in shape, but I want to be toned and strong and to be honest, when I go through my phases of longer distances more often, I really start to lean out and have to ensure I'm eating a bucket load of food to keep up with my already fast teenage metabolism. Running doesn't give me those desired curves/ softness in all the right places that society deems 'attractive'. Running reveals definition and power instead. So vanity and looks are off the table.  And bragging to others? It's just a little embarrassing really. Telling someone I ran over 12km before the sun had even risen just makes me feel a bit... boastful? I run for myself, not for the distances I run or the praise I receive as a result.

SO WHY DO I RUN??

I brought it right back to the very beginning of my running journey. Back to my 14 year-old year 9 self who was in her darkest days she's ever experienced in her life. Underweight, extremely fatigued, plagued with insomnia, riddled with anxiety and the darkness of depression. I have a picture of my year 9 school photo versus my year 12 school photo to reveal just what I mean:

So this is me now; year 12, happy, well nourished, healthy and truly living life:
And this is me in year 9...
The loss of colour in the face, the exhausted, fatigued look in my eyes, the slimness of my face... this is not a face of the happiness I always exhibited throughout my life.

I was scrolling through old pictures too and found this one around the same time:
It's amazing how much a smile can hide. But to me it's the eyes that reveal the truth of a person and there is no happiness in those eyes and my body was just too frail to function.

Now, I've written posts on what I think was going on during this time etc. but if we bring it back to this whole running thing, it sort of begins to make sense.

I remember sitting in the doctors office, the young doctor looking down at me sympathetically as I could feel tears starting to swell up behind my eyes as I revealed how I simply could not sleep, was so worried all the time, so cold, so lost. He was kind and sympathetic but just didn't get it. Insomnia I think is something you have to truly experience night in night out to truly understand the scary darkness of it all.

One thing he did tell me to do was up my exercise (a little strange for a girl who had recently lost a dangerous around 7-10kg without any knowledge of how it happened?) because through this I would be so exhausted I would have to sleep!

Truth be told, it sort of seemed too good to be true to me, but I gave it a shot (the desperation I was up to at this time was pretty high!). And I ran. I started off slow. I started off just around the block. I started off huffing and puffing and coming home utterly spent.

Eventually I worked up to 30 minutes straight. In winter I would push out 30 minutes on the treadmill instead. I ran and I ran and I ran. And I think that's when I fell in love with it. I was getting noticeably fitter, I was increasing my speed, stamina, agility, length of running time. I ate A LOT because I was HUNGRY... no, RUNGRY! And I slept.

The miracle above all miracles. I was sleeping again. I was gaining fitness. I was gaining back the weight I had lost. I was eating a much wider variety plant based diet, filled with good fats and grains and protein. Most noticeably I was happy.

Running gave me that happiness. Running pulled me from that cold, dark embrace of depression and anxiety. Running saved me. And so I guess that's why I run/ ran?

Nowadays I run for how it makes me feel. It makes me feel strong and powerful. I can do long runs of up to 16km. I can do short tempo runs increasing my speed, even at the very end. I can do sprints and hills and HIIT training with running. I am so much more capable than I ever thought possible and this only resonates into my everyday life more and more. Running is tough. It requires perseverance, determination, some of the toughest mind frames there are. Add that to any situation in life and you've got a winning combo.

I run because of how it makes me feel, not how it makes me look, or how far I can run. And deep down I know I run because it was one of the greatest factors that saved me from the scariest time in my life.

Your turn:
Are you a runner- long distance, short distance, sprinter?
Has exercise ever played a significant role in your life?
Favourite quote to get you through tough times?

I hope you appreciated this post for what it is; open and raw and I hope you took something from it too. Sometimes exercise is more than just looking physically healthy, sometimes it is paramount in one's mental and hormonal and emotional states too.

Have yourself a fabulous day; do something you love and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Thoughts On Bread :)

Hi there awesome folks!
I hope you've been having a superb day so far, whatever time of the day it is; morning to the folks waking up, afternoon to those browsing blogs in their lunch break and sleep-tight to those who are winding down before getting that beautiful shut-eye!

Alrighty, now that that intro is done- onto the post!!

And what a post it is!

It may just possibly be one of my favourite sources of whole-grain/ carbohydrate/ fibre goodness. It may just be one of the most comforting foods that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It may take any soup in the whole world to a whole new level. Finish off a burger to the crown-glory they are known for. The humble toasty to the crispy, crunchy, golden perfection we have come to know and love. Or even simply the perfect base to a simple spread of any flavour your heart desires.

Yes, it is bread my friends. Today I want to talk your ears off about bread. Specifically all the bad wrap bread gets and all the reasons why I eat bread All. The. Time.
This guy right here was my dinner^^ Yep, that's right; d.i.n.n.e.r. Like, past 6 o'clock and eating bread- *gasp*!
Grilled veg (steamed and then grilled on a hot plate (just as it is, wasn't in an oil-mood) and then placed on a pumpkin seed and purple wheat roll spread with almond butter, topped with spinach and the veg (pumpkin, swede, parsnip, potato, sweet potato) and flattened in a sandwich press until golden and crisp on the outside! NOM!
So, as a 17 year old girl living out her senior year at school, surrounded by a bunch of other 17 year-old girls day-in-day-out, it's safe to say I've heard the lot about eating (or perhaps the lack thereof), diets, losing weight, rules, restrictions and a general dissatisfied feeling with one's body. Half the time I'm not even part of the conversation, I just over hear these beautiful girls talking about the hatred of there body that often!

I've done posts on topics like this a number of times; like eating enough for your body, not restricting yourself, how skinny does not equate to happy etc. etc. But the other day I overheard a conversation going a little something like this:

'That's it, I've had it with my body. From now on I'm being tough on myself and I'm going to eat healthy and never eat bread again!'

This shocked me entirely.

Never eat bread again? Like, ever?? What!?!

I tried to imagine a life where I could never eat bread again and I could feel the tears welling up hot behind my eyes... ok maybe that's a little over-dramatic, but I was definitely shocked and appalled by the statement heard above!

Hello beautiful home-made spelt and rye bread^^
Is there anything better smelling than the scent of freshly baked bread? I think not.

My innate response, my very first instinct, the one thing I just wanted to do in that second was spina round and scream at this girl that bread was not the enemy! Who was she to single out one of the single greatest food creations of all time? Why in the heck would she ever think giving up bread was the only option to losing weight (that was not needed to be lost, by the way).

However, upon reflection this does appear to come across a little confronting and, well, scary. It was probably the period before lunch and my hanger (hungry anger) was taking over :P.

My all-time favourite breakfast of a banana and nut butter (I used the choc Mayors nut butter for this one) toasted sandwich on my home-made spelt bread with a side of mango-zucchini fro-yo:
Simply 1 large handful frozen mango + 1 handful frozen zucchini + 2 big scoops greek yoghurt- whizzed until smooth and popped in the freezer to slightly harden for around 15mins.
Life would be a very sad place indeed without this breakfast in my life:


Happiness in a photograph:

Bread cannot be the guilty one in this equation of feeling 'unhealthy'. Unless of course you have coeliac's disease, in which case, the gluten in wheat/ spelt etc. bread may in fact be making you feel rather unhealthy.. however there are still gluten free breads out there!

No, bread is not the hinderance. In fact, bread could very much be the healthy helper one needs in order to live a happy, energetic, fulfilled life.

It should be noted that I am talking about the whole-grain/ whole-meal/ freshly-made/ limited processing as much as possible varieties. That packaged stuff that supermarkets can sell for $1 and that lasts over a week... that's the type of artificial drawbacks we should come to fear. If you can look at the back of the package and find numerous other strange, scientific/chemistry-induced names other than wheat flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water and oil, then put the 'bread' down.

But if you consume those natural, high-fibre, higher protein, wholesome, delicious breads as a frequent/ routine part of your diet you will only be noticing benefits, not burdens on your body.



All I had to do was simply type into Google: The benefits of bread and 40,100,000 results popped up with some reason or another as to why bread is in short: awesome.

Healthy bowels, reduced risk of heart disease, lower risk of weight gain, B-group vitamins, mental health.... look I could go on and on with listing the benefits and talking about them in further detail but to be fair, that has been done (see this site for some awesome info) and this isn't the main focus of this post.

This post is simply this:
There is no one bad food out there that is making you feel unhealthy, or look 'fat' (though you probably don't to other people), or throw you off the healthy train. Being healthy is a combination of factors, both physical, mental and emotional. When you get a good balance between these things, then your body will start to react in the way you desire.

A good mental state with adequate sleep, rest, recover, love, family, friends. A good emotional state with positive thinking, encouragement, relationships. A good physical state with exercise that feels good, moving for your body not against it, eating foods that fuel these workouts and your everyday activities that take a toll on the body too! Bread isn't going to be the cause of disaster. Health is so much bigger than that.

Bread is great fuel, our bodies preferred source, so eat up my friends and enjoy that gift of tastiness, comfort and fluffy, crusty goodness- your body will thank you for it!

Your turn:
What are your thoughts on bread?
Ever sworn off it?
Favourite way to eat bread? Sometimes, simply warming up a seedy sourdough roll to dip in creamy, spiced pumpkin soup is the ultimate meal for me!!

I hope you took something from this post and quite frankly, the message applies to any food/ meal you think will derail your entire healthy life goals! Healthy is bigger than one aspect of the physical state. And letting go of these unhealthy thoughts and associations with certain foods will ultimately result in a happier, healthier life.

Have a fabulous day, do something you love and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Sunday Long Run and Link Love!

Hi there awesome people and HAPPY SUNDAY! WHOOP!

I always mention how much I love Sundays and, well, I'm going to do it again. I LOVE SUNDAYS! There's just that relaxing happy vibe about it that you just don't get on the other days of the week, it's all chill and content. Fridays pretty good too; you have that excited buzz about the upcoming weekend and Saturday your in that euphoric state of happiness with the notion of a whole other day of weekend still in front of you- you're invincible!

But Sundays. Sundays are just like; yep, happy days everyone. Happy days.

As Saturday had to become my much needed rest day after 7 full days of working out in a row and the last of those being Friday; the athletics carnival at my school (just re-confirming my knowledge that I am NOT  a sprinter!) which was quite demanding physically for the entire day for me. Thus Sunday was promoted to long run day as opposed to the usual rest day and it was lovely! I'm a bit thrown off time wise now as Saturday is usually my go-go-go day with long run, grocery shopping, get all the school work done and Sunday is my 'just chill' day but I don't mind changing it up a bit (change is good, remember :D)

So, woke up this morning (still didn't set an alarm though; I can long run later than 5am if I want to! It's Sunday!!) drank some water, got into my running gear, laced up the shoes, plyometric stretching and then off on a slow, sustained pace for what doesn't seem like 90 minutes equating to around 16.5km (I think I must zone out for big chunks at a time) but alas, arriving back at 8:00am and ready for some BREAKFASTTTT!!

Enter breakfast:
 Cherry Cheesecake Oats in an almost empty jar of homemade almond butter (not the dark chocolate super spread the label depicts :P)

 To make this bad boy I simply threw around 1 cup rolled oats, 1 small ripe banana, sliced, 1 handful frozen cherries, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup water- into a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until all the liquid was absorbed (and stirring the banana into the oats to create that delicious creamy texture and sweetness throughout), let that sit for a few minutes before stirring through about 1/3 cup plain greek yoghurt and then pouring into the almost empty jar of almond butter:


 Sweet, creamy, cheese-cakey, nut buttery, oat-y goodness!

Yum.
Just what the post-run recovery legs ordered!

Now, onto some of the lovely links I found really awesome from the past week or so (it's hard to keep track of time when the year is just flying by so fast!!)


Food:

Grain Free Banana Bread Bars

A Bagel And A Muffin Had A Baby Called A Mufgel And It’s Delicious

Creamy Broccoli Garlic Pasta

baked AB&J french toast oatmeal

11 Secrets Pizza Lovers Won’t Tell You

Healthy 3-Ingredient Banana Fudge Cups

Fitness:

The 10 Commandments Of Working Out

20 Relateable Truths of a Runner Fitness Friday #3

The One Reminder All Runners Need

21-15-9 BODYWEIGHT WORKOUT

Health:

Our bodies don't run on numbers

Good reads:

Things I Gave Up to Be Healthy and Fit for Life

A Gym Said Women Shouldn’t Be Pear-Shaped And People Were Really Pissed Off

Being an Athlete vs. Being a Skinny Girl Who Runs

Your turn:
Are Sundays your designated rest day or do you keep up the grind? I love a good Sunday sleep-in and slow morning of preparing a nice brekky and scrolling through emails/ blog posts/ Instagram, but I also love that feeling of productivity and getting stuff done! Either way I guess is good!? :P
Fav meal post long-run?
What did you have for breakfast today?

I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your weekend, do something you love, look after your body, nourish it with good foods, reward it with enjoyable movement and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

An Avo Recipe- but not as you know it!!

Avocado.
You either love it or you hate it.

It's one of those dividing foods.

Like mushrooms.

Or oysters.

Vegemite.

Beetroot.

Coriander

Or, even, can't-even-believe-some-people-hate-this!, peanut butter.

Now I most definitely fell into the category of more-hate-than-love when it came to avo's as a kid growing up but, as with most things in life, this was probably a direct link to my upbringing. Avocados just aren't something we ate in my household, so on the odd occasion I did consume the miraculously creamy, delicious, satisfying stone fruit, my childish tastebuds immediately rejected the strange flavour and texture;

'like, if you're a stone fruit, why are you not sweet?'

Cutting into an avo and finding this sight of perfection... happy happy days :)
Thankfully, my tastebuds decided to grow up a little bit and I also started eating avocados on the slightly more regular side and one day, I happily ate a cube of raw chopped avocado and found myself sighing with happiness.

Yep, I was now an avo lover!

Which brings me to the topic of this post (yeah, I know, we got there in the end ok!?) a delightfully delicious creamy baked avocado recipe... like you've never seen before!

Behold my friends the mountainous bowl of veggie-filled creamy cheese-y avocado bake; Steph-style!
Avocado Veg Bake:
Ingredients:
2 cups raw veg, chopped into similar sizes (the veg I chose to steam for this included pumpkin, parsnip, swede, potato and beetroot)
1/2 green beans (I just used frozen green beans)
1/2 cup peas
1 handful spinach
2 heaped tablespoons homes
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 an avocado

Method:
1. pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius and lightly grease a loaf/bake tin with oil/ baking paper
2.Steam raw veggies until tender (add in peas and beans for last two mins of steaming)
3. Place the steamed veg, beans, peas and spinach in a mixing bowl
4. Mash/stir together the homes, nutritional yeast and avocado until smooth and creamy
5. Stir in the avocado/hommus cream sauce to the veggies until evenly coated
6. Transfer to greased/lined tin and bake in oven for 20-30 mins until slightly golden on top and heated through
7. Cool slightly and then enjoy!!!
Avo veg bake post-baking ^
Close-up:
Friends, I cannot express to you enough how much you need this dish in your life right now. Avocado was one thing that took me a while to get my head around. The prospect of cooking avocado took another good amount of time for me to come to terms with, but seriously- it brings out that avocado-y flavour sooooo much more! It's utterly epic!

And that combo of the warm, tender, sweet veg with that cheese-y, creamy sauce that thickens whilst cooking in the oven- it is the ultimate comfort food that still results in eating the rainbow and being completely satisfied with a nourishing and tasty meal!
Warm, nourishing, comforting, sweet, creamy, rich- I don't think I'd run out of describing words for this meal for a very long time because it literally had it all!

So, get to it guys; eat those avos and if you're keen; bake them up and enjoy that intensified, awesome avo flavour that a little heat brings to the magical food!

Your turn:
Are you an avo lover/ hater?
Fav way to use/ eat avocado? I'm quite the fan of whizzing frozen avo up into my smoothies to get that super creamy thick-shake consistency!
Baked avo- yay/ nay?

I hope you all have a truly splendid rest of your day, look after your body, be kind to others, smile lots and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Eat Your Fruit... IN SEASON!!

Hide-ho friendly friends!!

Just recently I received an email from the lovely Julissa from Shari's Berries Blog inquiring as to whether I would be interested in writing up a post about the benefits and importance of eating seasonal fruits and all that kind of jazz and of course my immediate response was; HECK YES!

Not only have I been given a free ticket to talk about my favourite topic ever... FOOD, but I also get to talk about something I'm extremely passionate about; the benefits of buying your fresh stuff in their appropriate seasons!!

*It was also nice to be given a free blog post idea!

Too often have I heard someone express their utter distaste for blueberries after a truly awful first-taste experience and too often do I itch to ask them whether or not they ate that first-taste of blueberry during the cold winter months??

Producers supply. Consumers demand. Producers make money of their supply being demanded. So if the consumer wants blueberries (or grapes, or mangoes, or watermelon, or apples, or tomatoes, or avocados....) year-round, then the producer is going to give them what they want, whatever the price (generally quite a hefty one, I'm sure you'd all agree).

Which begs the question, how are they supplying fruits and veggies that appear so ripe and juicy and big and plump... in the season where these products don't grow?

And why, if they are seeming to grow and look so abundantly fresh and 'pretty' do they taste like flavourless water? We've had one of those blueberries/ strawberries!

Well, the short answer to these questions is because they are growing them in an unnatural manner. In a manner that utilises the likes of chemicals and growth stimulants, as well as modified atmospheric conditions, unnatural environments, or even worse, shipping extremely unripe fruit hundreds of thousands of miles across the world to ripen extremely slowly (and unnaturally- not fresh from the orchard) to be stored on supermarket shelves.

And you wonder why you didn't like the taste of that big, plump, blueberry, you paid a small fortune for, at a time when one should be cuddling up with warming soups and stews?

Now, the benefits of eating in-season fruits!




To kick-start us off with the mountainous lists of benefits of buying in-season fruits (and veggies- both apply!) Julissa kindly wrote me up a little intro to sum-up the importance of buying fresh, seasonal produce and has also kindly let me show-case Shari's Berries' In Season Fruit Chart!

Over to you Julissa!


The benefits of eating fruits in season are endless. For starters, you are getting fresh produce - not frozen or packaged to be shipped. Besides, there's always a great feeling when supporting local farmers or picking foods from your own garden. Fruits in season not only taste better but are much easier on your wallet.


Shari's Berries has created a chart with over 50 fruits and their peak season to inspire your next meal or scrumptious dessert. Make a fruity cocktail with freshly picked berries or squeeze some limes into your water for a more refreshing taste. Before you know it, the holidays will be here and it will be time to make gooey apple pie!

When I first received the email with this chart attached I was simply blown away by how consumer-friendly, bright and vibrant this chart was. It makes knowing which fruits to buy and when soooo much simpler and straight-forward and fun! Love. It!

Ok, back to the post.

So, yes. The benefits.

In season, fresh, locally grown fruit is just plain natural.

It's naturally grown, it's ripened on a tree/ vine/ whatever it is the fruit grows on.
Papaya; yet another fruit that people swear-off when eating it out-of-season; Post

It's sold to consumers who get the awesome experience of eating a blueberry so full of flavour, intensity, zing, sweetness and super-yummy blueberry flavour. You know those lollies that are blueberry flavoured- yep the fresh ones can actually taste like blueberries too! It's not a made-up flavour!
Fresh Blackberries... doesn't get much better than that :) Post

And another awesome-ality (new word, mixture of awesome and quality :P) of in-season fruit? It's higher in nutrients! It's grown at it's preferred time, ripened to perfection and chock-a-block with the natural goodies that make our bodies sing! A watermelon grown in Summer doesn't require any high-tech, scientifically-lab-created stimulant or artificial growing plantation to grow and prosper. Nope, a watermelon grown in Summer simply expands, multiplies and produces that sweet, crunchy, delicious   flavour we've all come to love and desire (a little too much by demanding the fruit for the entire year).
Look at that and tell me that watermelon does not look utterly delicious, juicy, crisp, crunchy and amazing?? Right!?! Post

And like Julissa mentioned in her paragraph above, demeaning fresh, local, in-season produce helps our local farmers. Our local jobs. Not the jobs of the mango farmer on the other side of the hemisphere who is already producing mangoes for the summer-ready population experiencing summer not winter!

Y'all know I love my fruit and eat a minimum of 3 servings a day. Minimum. Because my body enjoys it. It thrives on the natural sugars, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and just plain natures-candy taste! So if you're anything like me, let's support local farmers, increase our nutrient intake and enjoy the best-tasting fruits and veggies imaginable by sticking to the seasons. Nature intended it that way!
Fresh, seasonal fruit and pancakes, s.p.o.i.l.t! Post

Your turn:
Are you a fan of only eating the fresh stuff in their season? I've gotta say; I eat pumpkin year-round.. love it so much!
Favourite Summer fruit/ Favourite Winter fruit?
Amount of fruit on average eaten each day?

Anywho, I hope this was enlightening for you and I hope you appreciated Julissa's chart as much as I did; it really is so incredible. Don't forget to head on over to Shari's Berries to see what they're all about and check out some great recipes and other links on the website too!

That's it from me today folks but I hope you all have a lovely rest of your day, smile lots, love more and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS (preferably in-season)!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

P.S. I'm not sponsored in any way by Shari's Berries, I just really love what they're about and all the amazing resources they have on offer for you and me!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Workout and Body Currently

Hey there, classy people!

Yeah, not too sure where classy came from , but hey, decided to roll with it today!!

I hope you're all having a smashing week and that there are plenty of good, good things happening in life at the minute (sometimes it just takes a simple look around at your life to see just how brilliant things are) because I know I'm sure struggling to keep that positivity bug floating around my head. Being bogged down with test and assignment after assignment, gosh the weeks do fly-by, but so do any chance of appreciating the day!!

Any who, that's not what I want to talk about today. Nope, today is a little catch-up on the recent recently's of my exercise routine. You may remember my last little catch up from a post a little while back stating how much I was loving my workouts at the minute and really felt like I was in the 'crushing it' season of my life.

Currently? Not much has changed! It's kind of odd that in the middle of deep, dark, cold Winter is when my body decides it wants to work hard, sweat heaps and challenge, challenge, challenge itself, but hey- I go with the flow!

So, what have I been up to recently?

I've definitely been focussing much more on strength and stability, like I mentioned in my last workout currently post, and am really loving the changes I've been seeing in my body as a result of all those heavier lifts and slower, but more stabilising and challenging workouts (combined with cardio on other days- still need to get the jitter-bug out of me!)
Took a picture of my legs the day of my leg-workout and couldn't help but grin stupidly at the fact that my usually spindly little legs now have muscle!! And quite a bit of it!!

I've started to incorporate certain days to certain body area; ie. Monday being leg-day, Tuesday a HIIT session to up that cardio and fitness, Wednesday generally a run of some description; long-run, interval sprints, hill-sprints etc. Thursday might be focusing on arms/ back/ chest (upper body stuff), Friday usually focusses on working those abs and core and Saturday is another run day which could either be a more challenging run; beach run, interval sprints etc. or a nice, easy paced, steady state, low-intensity long run- like this past Saturday.
This one is me prepping for my early-morning (read:5:30am) beach run... the beach is a scary, scary place when it is pitch black and you can only hear the waves to your side, hoping a surprise surge of water doesn't splash over you legs without you realising!
I think my face already knew the fears that would unfold! Just kidding- it was quite the challenging, leg strengthening (and wearing out!!), fitness inducing workout and yet it's these workouts that leave me the most satisfied- yep I challenged myself today; now I can do anything!
These are my legs after the brutal length of sand that never seemed to end. Yep, they were ready to collapse upon entering my house...
And this picture of me and my crazy hair- hey the beach is a windy place!- reveals just how early this run must have been if this is the post-run picture!
The coolest thing about my current workout routine I think is that I can feel and see the results. No, not just in that narcissistic, body-obsessed, mirror-watching way, in the way I can do daily things. Like shock people at how easy I can open a jar they've been struggling with for a good 10 minutes or so. Or lift 5 chairs at a time when setting up for the weekly school assembly as most of the other girls take 2 max.
I seriously am quite proud of my arms; purely for the fact at how far they've come! A big goal of mine was increasing my upper body strength (I used to have a lot of it as a gymnast and acrobat) and I think I'm reaching that goal!!

Or even simply waking up full of energy, feeling strong and powerful and knowing that this training; this challenging of myself is not only making me physically stronger but also so much more mentally powerful.

The prospect of lifting one more rep of a weight that just seems so impossible and then doing it? Heck, if I can do that, I can finish this entire maths chapter and crush my literature oral assignment. I can walk tall among my peers. I can breath confidence and I can succeed. And that's what I think is the most important thing about my new 'currently' in fitness.

Sure I could spend a post talking about how much more shredded I look, or how much any of my previously softer and squishier parts have firmed up and are looking toned and muscular, but you know what, that's just the added benefits for me. The extras. Because ultimately, if my workouts can make me feel positive, strong and powerful, then I am one happy, happy lady. And I think that's what we should all focus on too when we workout and make new goals- I'd rather be feeling like I'm utterly crushing it and still sporting my scrawny little runner legs, then be miserable and dreading life with super toned and beautifully muscular legs.

How about you?
Have you had a change-up of workouts/ exercise routined recently?
Favourite strength-training exercises?
Ever run on a pitch-black beach? My advice: don't, unless you're not even in the slightest little bit scared of the dark... because this just revealed to me that I am!

I hope that was a little inspiring/ insightful and hopefully made you want to get out there and move your body in any way that will leave you feeling strong, powerful and ready to conquer the world. Smile, love and be happy and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Monday, 8 August 2016

Turmeric... In My Oats??

Hi there everyone!
Happy whatever day of the week it is because I have no idea because life is just a little too hectic right now!

Breathe, Steph, breathe.

Phew.

Ok, we're good.

It's actually not that bad, it's just whenever I stop and think about how much school is chucking on us year 12's I get a bit overwhelmed, but when your in there, doing all the stuff; it's completely manageable. Just means I no longer have a social life/ weekend. We all have to make sacrifices!

Sigh.

Anywho, that's NOT what I want to talk about today (seems to be the only conversation one can have at school at the minute; which is where I spend the majority of my time!). Nope- today I want to discuss food. Can ya believe it!?

More specifically, a recent food trend that seems to have taken over the foodie/ healthy-living community. I first saw this trend pop up with people posting pictures of bright orange lattes and smoothies and whilst my initial thoughts were along the line of some kind of fruit-based product (mango, oranges) and then onto the typical; carrot/ pumpkin/ sweet potato concoctions, I was quite shocked when I read the description of these gorgeous creations to find out the secret ingredient was in fact TURMERIC.

Now this is definitely a spice I have not had much experience with, possibly just the odd dash into a random curry dish for add of colour, or a quick smell and then screwing up the face as I tried to work out which flavour to add to my meal.

I knew it held lots of amazing natural healing properties and anti-inflammatory benefits because my mum used to take natural pills with added turmeric to help with her joints etc. but it wasn't until I saw this new trend rising to the surface that i truly learned how utterly incredible this spice is! (Already a huge advocate for cinnamon, so I guess it was time to broaden my horizons!)

The coolest piece of info I think I came across was indeed the potency of turmeric and yet the utter safety of consumption. That's not something you hear very often in the generally accepted medicine aisle at the shops.

'In numerous studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity'

-Source: The World's Healthiest Foods

*Curcumin being the yellow/ orange pigment that gives turmeric it's distinctive colour

So if that wasn't enough to pique my interest than the bright yellow pictures of everyday foods spiked with the incredible spice most definitely did!

And thus, my Monday morning bowl of banana turmeric oats came to fruition:


Like all my experimentations in the kitchen, this one resulted in me just adding random quantities of ingredients to my oatmeal pot and hoping that it will all turn out splendidly delicious in the end!

At first when I added a few dashes of turmeric to my 1 cup rolled oats, 1 sliced banana, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 cup unsweetened almond and water it did not go orange at all (duh Steph, it was still cold and not dissolved in!) so I added more still during the cooking process and when I came back after a few minutes of bubbling away...
I was met with a pot of bright flour yellow, bubbling oats!

I was a little apprehensive because I could smell the turmeric quite well and I wasn't really after a savoury bowl of oats (hence banana and cinnamon etc.) so when I let the mixture cool and then added in a spoon of greek yoghurt, transferred the oats to my mug (spread with homemade almond butter and crunchy peanut butter) and took my first taste-test from the leftover scrapes in the pot... I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn't overpowering at all!
Nope, instead it just added this delightfully subtle and warming hint of spice that made you question, hmm what's that secret ingredient spicing up my oats??

And with all those other nutritional benefits coming along for the ride I was not complaining as i dug into my delicious warm, gooey, sweet, spiced mug of deliciousness! :)
It's another one of those sneaky health things that is just so easy to incorporate into day-to-day life (like adding frozen zucchini to smoothies) that just goes by unnoticed but not unappreciated!
Seriously a truly perfect start to the day (especially on a cold winter's morning!) And offering up the happiest of yellow colours to start your day bright and sunshine-y!!

Your turn:
Are you a turmeric fan?
Favourite way to use turmeric? Super keen for more awesome ideas if you have any- someone told me to add some to my next mango smoothie- definitely going to try!
Craziest thing you've ever added to your bowl of oats? I've pretty much done it all; pumpkin, zucchini, greek yoghurt, banana, berries, cherries, persimmons, apple... turmeric!!

I hope you all have an extremely fun and enjoyable day, do something you love, tell those you love that you love them, eat something surprising and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

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