Banana Porridge Recipe | Oats vs. Quinoa

Every year around this time I start to feel the aftermath of all the heavy Christmas meals I ate in December. So far, I’ve had a pretty healthy January, yet I feel like I’ve gained a little weight since the new year… which is frustrating. It happens every year though… I know that for me it is normal and to ignore the scales in January; to just stick to my routine and things will balance back out in time.

I do however end up with cravings for the hearty meals to continue… so porridge is my go to breakfast dish. It satisfies a craving and keeps me full until (I’d like to say lunch but..) 11.

Traditional porridge – just milk and oats – can get tiresome for me. So here is an alternative porridge recipe I’ve been enjoying lately.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOriginally, I wanted to test out quinoa flakes (rather than oats). I intended to hop on the bandwagon and share a quinoa inspired recipe… but here’s what I learned in the process…

Why quinoa flakes?

One notable nutritional difference quinoa has over oats is it’s protein content and quality; there’s more protein in quinoa.

Each cup of cooked quinoa provides 8.1 grams of protein, compared to 5.6 grams in an equivalent portion of cooked oatmeal.

Why Not Quinoa flakes?

Well first of all, they are £6-8 for only 400g. Oats are around £1-2 for 1kg! It’s a no brainer financially.

But quinoa does offer 118 milligrams of magnesium per serving, compared to oatmeal’s 61 milligrams — Oatmeal however offers more than five times the amount of iron found in quinoa.

Quinoa vs Oats Bottom-line

Quinoa flakes and oats are both great breakfast foods and a healthy source of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and micronutrients.

In my opinion it’s not worth breaking the bank for quinoa flakes… I’ll stick with oats for my porridge. I did experiment though and it turns out that regular quinoa (usually £2.50 per 500g) is quite tasty in this porridge recipe as well… but the texture is a bit funny.

Banana Porridge Recipe

In this recipe you can use oats or quinoa flakes.

Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 5 minutes

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Setting an affirmation

A little delayed but, Happy New Year!

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Around this time last year I wrote a Goal Setting post with all my exciting plans for 2015.

And what a year 2015 was — I learnt how to swim, it was my first year racing triathlon and I created Live Loosley. Whirlwind! I’ve literally intimidated myself for setting 2016 goals… I haven’t a clue what to aim for that could top last year.

Even though I’m not big on setting New Year’s Resolutions or the whole ‘new year, new you’ thing, I do feel the need to roughly map out my year so I have an idea of the months to come… what races/travels/experiences spark my interest and how I can make the most of a refreshed holiday allowance at work.

So far, my 2016 plans are very up in the air… and I’m not going to lie, it makes me a little uneasy! I’m a planner… I love plans… yet, I have no set plans.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to write about as my first post of the year… I felt an obligation to write something about goal setting and plans for 2016 but I’m still working mine out and it’s OK if you are too. Goals can be set anytime of the year and should be readjusted as you learn more about achieving them.

This weekend I thought to myself, how about setting an affirmation? And it’s really helped me come to terms with my current ‘no plan’ status.

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Staying fit over the holidays

The days are short and there are loads of social engagements during the month of December. Between Christmas parties, family meals and gatherings the holiday period can leave us feeling overfed and sluggish.

In England, celebrating the holidays is a motion that lasts the entire month. It’s always difficult for me to find the right balance.

I have to remind myself that the priority during the holidays is sharing time and creating memories with people you care about. Time at the gym will have to take the hit and that’s fine. But I do have a few tips that will help you to stay feeling fit through the festivities.

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The Spiralize Movement, Courgetti Recipe

I have always been mesmerized by the spiralizer, but never fully appreciated it until we invested in one last month.

Live Loosley Spiralizer

I assumed that spiralizer’s would be easy to break, hard to use and difficult to keep clean. It was a nice surprise to learn the exact opposite.We have the Dexam Spiralizer – it’s easy to use, durable (I spiralized a raw sweet potato and it didn’t break) and easy to keep clean.

Some extra bonuses…

  • Using a spiralizer is a great way to fit more vegetables in your diet… AND ENJOY IT.
  • If you’re like me and end up bleeding after trying to peel something, it’s a much safer option
  • Um, it’s extremely satisfying and takes little effort
  • Nostalgic – warming memories of helping my Aunt make homemade relish come flooding back to me

Here is an easy to prepare and healthy Pesto Courgetti recipe (aka ‘courgette spaghetti’ or ‘zucchini noodles’).

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

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Getting out of auto-mode

Live Loosley London Auto-mode

It’s easy to walk through life in auto-mode.

I do it all the time. I’m in London, a big busy metropolis. You can walk around the city passing thousands and thousands of people and not recognize a single one of them. Usually walking with a purpose to get somewhere the quickest, most efficient way possible; the people in your way are faceless bodies literally just in your way, as you are to them.

No matter where you are, city or a small community, work can get monotonous if you let it. You can sit there 9-5 unchallenged, working for a business you are not particularly passionate about with colleagues don’t particularly know that well.

Then we get home and zone out in front of the TV before heading to bed and doing it all over again.

In one way, I see auto-mode as a bit of a coping mechanism. Life can be overwhelming, hard work and scary otherwise. Auto-mode is safe and easy.

But life in auto-mode is just that, it’s easy. It is uninspiring, unchallenging and spending too much time in it can be damaging to self confidence and general wellbeing.

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Week 3, Sugar Free. Challenge Complete

Well, ending the sugar free challenge on Halloween was definitely not one of my smartest ideas. This post should actually be called ‘The Sugar High’ or ‘The Sugar Crash’ rather.

Let’s not dwell on the sugar binge that occurred last night (candies, pizza and beer) and again this morning (pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast)… Here is a glimpse on my final week of The Sugar Free Challenge and my general conclusions from the whole experience.

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Week 3, sugar free

This week went much smoother than Week 2 but still not quiet as smooth in comparison to how well Week 1 went.

Aside from Tuesday when Dan marinated Salmon with a winning, sugar-filled combination of brown sugar and soy sauce (eye roll!!), I stuck to the sugar free diet for the final week of the challenge.

I stuck with easy snacks that required little preparation – nuts, almond butter on rice cakes and fruit. Lunches involved homemade soup, salad or leftovers from dinner.

My favourite meal of the day is breakfast though and this Portobello mushroom and egg combo was by far the winning meal of the week. It’s one of those meals that seem like a treat even though it is full of healthy ingredients. And when you’re cutting back on treats… a meal like this definitely helps.

I was able to resist the bake sale at work and just barely made it through the week. Knowing the end of the challenge was near and also having slipped up pretty majorly on Tuesday, my motivation to finish the sugar free week was dragging.

It’s not that I was craving sugar so badly that I couldn’t wait to eat it again… I just found that restricting my diet for so long was really starting to wear down my drive. It wasn’t enjoyable anymore.

This brings me into my conclusions of the sugar free lifestyle…

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