Week 2, Sugar Free

IMG_0016During Week 1, I put effort into preparing healthy sugar free snacks, lunches and dinners. Our whole household went sugar free so we worked together to set ourselves up for a successful week.

This week we were much less prepared… lunches were mapped out for the first half of the week but because of some conflicting evening plans we did dinners separately. My snacks in Week 2 were limited to fruit and assorted nuts. My dinners were sporadic as I was often out in the evenings, so I ate very random bits and bobs by the time I got home… like goat cheese or almond butter on rice crackers.

By Thursday/ Friday my diet was limited to lattes, oranges and chips (fries). NOT HEALTHY… but sugar free…

I’ve gone into the grocery store and opted out of buying a pre-made salad or soup for lunch because I saw sugar was on the ingredients list. So being this strict for the purpose of being sugar free, might not be the healthiest option for me.

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Week 1, Sugar Free

IMG_0008Well it has certainly been a learning curve. I’ve become so much more aware of how many things have sugar as a key ingredient in them and also how many things have a decent percentage of sugar making up carbohydrates.

This week I didn’t eat anything with refined sugar, no fruit and no processed carbs. My diet involved a handful of dense carbohydrates a day (quinoa or basmati rice), eggs, meat, non processed cheeses, nuts/seeds/beans and lots of vegetables.

Why no fruit? The idea is to adjust my palate to crave sugar less; just as our palates have been conditioned to crave sugar… they can be conditioned to crave it less… It’s truly amazing how many things in life can be boiled down to habit.

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Crunchy Roast Chickpea Snack

Healthy Snack Live Loosley

I have a constant craving for crunchy and savoury snacks. I love everything about them. So when it comes to lunch at the office, I often prepare for this weakness. I know that no matter what I eat at lunch, I’ll still want a small bag of chips after.

Rather than exploiting my will power and feeling deprived of what I want… I take a different approach. The ’80/20′ rule. Be good 80% of the time and enjoy your cravings 20% of the time… eat 80% veg and 20% carbs… Make sure 80% of your day or your meal is healthy and well balanced.

Never deprive yourself of what you want, but make up for it in other areas. Being healthy doesn’t mean you live off of green smoothies and lettuce. It’s controlling your intake so you have a well balanced diet and ENJOY it.

I pack a light salad for lunches at the office. I do this so I can balance out my craving for a savoury snack… more often than not, chips.

Now that I’m not training as much as I was this Summer, I may need to get a bit more cleaver with fooling my cravings… So here is a HEALTHY crunchy and savoury snack that has helped me move away from my chip dependency.

This roast chickpea recipe is easy to prepare and is packed with nutrients like protein, fibre, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Prep: 5 minutes
Roast: 40 minutes

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Everyone should own a foam roller… and use it

One of my goals this year is to stretch more…

But stretching alone isn’t always enough to release muscles tightness. This is why my goal has evolved into foam rolling 2-3 times a week as well.

Stretch

After this weekend’s race – foam rolling was/ is my total saviour. I raced the London ITU Sprint Triathlon in Hyde Park and it really took a toll on my body. My energy levels feel low and I’ve been really stiff and uncomfortable this week. My muscles have finally started to loosen up now which I will attribute to 1) drinking lots of water and eating lots of nutrient filled foods 2) taking a couple rest days directly after the race 3) swimming on Tuesday which got my muscles moving again (could also be called an impromptu ice bath because it was so cold!) and 4) stretching and foam rolling.

You don’t have to feel stiff and uncomfortable to foam roll however. Rolling out your muscles is a great activity which benefits all lifestyles…

Here’s some info about what it is, what it does and why you should give it a try!

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Turn your intentions into actions with the fitbug orb

Have you challenged yourself to live a healthier more active lifestyle? If so, you certainly have the right intentions — but what are you missing?

Good intentions often need a ‘subtle nudge’ to develop into actions. And actions take effort! Having a platform which provides a summary of your progress is motivating and it reassures you that all this effort is actually worth your while.

The Fitbug Orb measures the amount of movement you make throughout the day. It is small, sleek and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

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Small Lifestyle Changes that make a Big Difference

WalkIf you’re like most – you are sitting in an office 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday… you sit during your commute to the office and then back home again, and by the time you get in you’re exhausted so you sit some more. How do we fit activity into our daily lives when the environment around us is promoting comfort and ease?

Small changes to this routine, will make a big difference to your health and wellness. Here are a few tips to get more activity into your day-to-day routine…

At your desk – Do sitting calf raises while you’re on the phone and get your blood flowing.

Lunch – Go for a short walk at lunch rather than sitting the entire time.

Shopping – Rather than fighting for a space at the front of the parking lot… park at the back and walk up.

Commuting – Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

Watching TV – Get up and walk around during commercials.

Cooking – Put on some music and dance!

Finally, I strongly recommend using a pedometer to track your activity — especially for those that are just starting out. Whether you’re stuck in a non-active rut or if you’re simply looking to fit more activity into your lifestyle, than the first step is knowing what your activity is now, and then setting a goal to increase it. Setting a step count goal and tracking your activity will help motivate you to park further away, walk during lunch or dance more while you prepare dinner! It won’t be long before you notice having more energy.

The Banana Bread Obsession

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I have become obsessed with baking banana bread… I’ve been baking at least two loaves a week for the past month and a half. It’s just too easy!!

I haven’t been measuring my ingredients and as a result I’ve had a few loaves turnout better than others… but really, you can’t go wrong!

I’ve baked paleo banana bread (substituting ground almonds and/or flaxseed for flour), banana bread with avocado and traditional banana bread with white flour.

I’ve learnt a lot in the process – so here are my tips for baking delicious varieties of banana bread…

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Banana Muffins

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Yesterday I had a proper play in the kitchen and for the first time baked something without following a recipe. I couldn’t be happier with the result!

Inspired by banana pancakes, here is the recipe to my healthy banana muffins – no salt, no processed sugars, no oils, limited fat and natural sweeteners.

Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes
Result: 12 deliciously healthy muffins

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Take the risk… Try something new

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I have made some pretty bold and scary goals for myself this year. One being starting a healthy living blog and the second being training for Triathlon. At such a high-level, both are extrememly intimidating and overwhelming.

A willingness to take risks is ingrained in my approach to life… but it doesn’t make the action of taking risks any less scary!

I am shifting from simply living a healthy lifestyle to documenting it in a way that is helpful and inspiring; and for Triathlon, I am shifting from just running to also swimming and cycling

Do something scary. Take a risk and try something you suck at, or something you’ve been avoiding.

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Cycling in the Winter

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I haven’t been out on my bike much this winter… mainly due to frosty roads and a busy schedule.

In the winter months, it is key to leave yourself enough time to set off late in the morning (when it warms up and the frost clears away). I clearly got too comfortable with all the warm long days the UK Summer and Autumn have to offer… as a result, I didn’t give myself enough time in the day to fit both a bike ride in the morning and something social in the afternoon.

Clear your schedule – enjoy the sleep in – and plan something social for the evenings instead!

Yesterday, Dan and I got away for a nice ride and ended up at Gail’s Artisan Bakery in St. John’s Wood. We had a lovely croissant and espresso just before heading home — a perfect start to getting back in the habit of cycling on the weekends.

Role on next weekend!

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