Blog

Posted in Exercise, Play, Skipping, Top Tips

10 Great Reasons to Skip for Fitness

I have never particularly enjoyed cardio/aerobic exercise. I hate running, I’m no good at swimming. I do a self defence class once a week which is great for keeping my heart rate up but I need to do more, so I started skipping.

I can honestly say I am the fittest I have ever been since having started. I no longer get out of breath after just a couple of minutes and I can notice the changes in all aspects of my life.

Here are some great reasons as to why I think everyone should give it a try.

  1. It is play! Like when you were a child and play is essential in life even for us adults
  2. It is excellent cardiovascular exercise which means that it will keep your heart healthy and make you fitter
  3. It is simple and convenient – you can do it in your own home.
  4. It is cheap – you can buy a rope for less than a fiver
  5. It can be high or low intensityyou go at your own pace which means that it suits all fitness levels
  6. It burns lots of calories so it’s great for weight loss
  7. It works your legs and arms so will have them looking leaner in no time
  8. It improves balance an coordination 
  9. It is a great core workout as you have to stabilise yourself throughout
  10. You can jump in lots of different ways which will keep it interesting!

Why not give it a go?

Posted in Healthy lifestyle, Top Tips, Weight lifting for women

Weights for Weight Loss

One of the greatest benefits to lifting weights is that weight lifting aids weight loss.

Why?

When you lift weight you build muscle on your body.

Muscle is more ‘metabolically active’ than fat which, in English, means that it is constantly moving (whereas fat just stays still). Your muscles are constantly contracting.

And what happens when you move?

You burn calories!

So by building more muscle onto your body you will increase the amount of calories you are able to burn even when resting. Because once the muscle is there it will be constantly contracting even if you are not doing anything. So you will continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout!

Needless to say I am a bit of a weight lifting fan. I have been training for 2 years with heavy weights and I love it. I think more women should get into weight lifting as there are many benefits to it, weight loss isn’t the only one, so watch this space for more reasons why you should hit the weights!

Posted in Exercise, Healthy lifestyle, Organic Strength and Fitness, Top Tips

My Top 5 Tips For Reducing Food Waste

 

  1. If you make too much – freeze it.
  2. Have leftovers for lunch the next day. Most foods last longer than you’d think.
  3. Don’t throw out foods that have passed their best before date – This only tells you that it isn’t as fresh as it could be but there is nothing actually wrong with it.
  4. Weigh foods so you only use the amount you really need.
  5. Walk to and from the supermarket – If you have to physically carry it home you won’t want to buy so much.

Number 5 is my favourite. I started doing my food shop on the way home from the gym (which I walk to) as it was just convenient. I don’t buy half as much as when I’ve got the car because I’m consciously thinking of how heavy it will be to carry. It is also extra exercise, and good exercise at that. The walk is great, low impact aerobic exercise and the carrying is resistance training at its very basic. If you consider how heavy bags of potatoes and tins of beans can be, it is a very simple yet effective way of increasing your daily/weekly activity level!

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy eating, organic, Vegan, Vegetarian

Butter bean stew

 

200g Butter beans (soaked over night)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Half pint of vegetable stock

1 Tin plum tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

2 onions

 

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and let it brown
  2. Add the garlic
  3. Add the plum tomatoes and break up into smaller chunks
  4. Add the vegetable stock and the beans and boil for 10 minutes
  5. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about an hour

 

Serve with chunky bread. Follow the packet instructions for the beans, I like to use dried beans so you have to soak them overnight but you could also use canned beans which would be a lot quicker. I added mushrooms to this as well, (just after the onion and I let them brown before adding the tomatoes), but I’m not entirely sure they really work. You can also add as much or as little garlic as you fancy.

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy eating, organic, Vegan, Vegetarian

Bean curry

img_38681

100g Black eyed beans

100g Pinto beans

1 teaspoon cumin

2 leeks

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 chillies

1 litre vegetable stock

100g tomato puree

 

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan
  2. Add leeks and stir until soften
  3. Add cumin and 3 chillies (chopped)
  4. Add vegetable stock and beans (soaked overnight and then washed)
  5. Add tomato puree and leave to cook for about an hour

 

Serve with rice. Add Greek style yogurt if too hot (obviously would not be vegan if you use yogurt). I usually use 3 chillies because it’s just enough for a bit of heat without blowing my head off. As you leave it to cook the water will reduce so keep an eye on it and add more if necessary.

Posted in Food labelling, Healthy eating, organic

Why go organic?

There are lots of different reasons as to why more and more people are wanting to Go Organic. Health and animal welfare are probably the two that stand out the most.

For years I have been following a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regime. As I have gotten older, as the years have passed, I learn more and more about what this really entails. I believe there is not enough information given to people/consumers about the truth of what they are really buying. With food, not only are you buying produce that you don’t fully understand but you are also eating it. We read about eating healthily everyday. You are told to eat more fruit and veg and less sugar. This is sound advise, I don’t deny that, but did you know that the fruit and veg you are eating is doused in pesticides and that there is sugar even in the so called ‘healthy’ ready meals you are eating?

If someone put a bowl of fruit in front of you and sprayed it with a pesticide right in front of your eyes, would you eat it? I don’t think you would, but we are, everyday. Unless you Go Organic.

In order for foods to be labelled as Organic by The Soil Association, produce must meet certain standards.

I first started to go organic with meat and dairy produce. Anything from an animal, I buy organic. I have been doing this for over a year now and I am now consciously unable to buy anything other than organic anymore. This makes it difficult sometimes when I am looking for a certain type or cut of meat for a certain recipe. For example I cannot for the life of me seem to find organic diced lamb anywhere near where I live. So there is this really nice Greek dish that I want to make but I haven’t because I need diced lamb. I could cut it up but this is not the point I am making. I just don’t buy any. I make a different recipe. It’s a pain in the ass but one that I see as necessary now. I cannot consciously buy any animal products that are not organic.

Take a look at The Soil Association’s website.

https://www.soilassociation.org/

There is a lot of very useful information on there about food labelling. We, as consumers, put an awful lot of trust (I think) into what we are told. A food label of any kind makes you think that the product has met certain standards that you can trust. There is a page on the website that gives a star rating to the different food labels you may see on meat. The Soil Association Organic symbol gets 5 stars whereas the Red Tractor Assured Food Standards symbol only gets 1. It goes on to explain that the Red Tractor labelled foods ‘comply with UK minimum legal requirements.’ And that ‘it is not a guarantee of good animal welfare.’ Did you know that? Because I didn’t.

It also advises not to buy meats without any welfare label at all, explaining the poor living conditions of the animals and that they have to be ‘routinely dosed with antibiotics just to keep them alive.’

This was actually one of the first reasons I chose to change to organic animal products. You may call me naïve but I had no idea that animals were given antibiotics just to keep them either ‘healthy’ or alive. Where are we given this information? I don’t remember being told that at school. Isn’t this the sort of thing people should be taught? So that we can make informed decisions about our health?

Don’t believe everything you read. So take a look at their website and read it for yourself, don’t just listen to me.

https://www.soilassociation.org/

 

 

 

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy eating, Vegan, Vegetarian

Mung bean and spinach soup

img_38491

150g Mung beans
1 leek
1 small piece fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
Half teaspoon turmeric
Half teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
Half litre vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
150g spinach
Juice of half a lime

  1. Put small layer of water in a pan and add leek, ginger (chopped small), garlic, turmeric and coriander
  2. Bring to the boil then simmer until leek has softened
  3. Add olive oil, stock and washed mung beans and cook to packet instructions
  4. Once beans are cooked, add spinach and lime juice and stir until spinach has wilted

Serve with chunky bread.

I like this one, the lime and ginger add a bit of bite. I don’t soak the beans as you would with some simply because the pack I use says not to. Of course if yours says otherwise then make sure you do soak them overnight first as soaking them makes them easier to digest. I boil them for ten minutes then let them simmer for another 20, by which time all the flavours of the other ingredients have really come out.

 

 

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy eating, Vegan, Vegetarian

Lentil, mushroom and spinach curry

img_38411

200g red lentils
200g button mushrooms
150g spinach
3 chillies
375ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 small piece fresh ginger (grated)
1 onion
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 clove garlic

  1. Heat oil in pan, brown off chopped onion with garlic, cumin, ginger and chillies
  2. Add mushrooms and stir until browned
  3. Add stock and wash lentils and add. Bring to the boil then simmer until lentils are cooked (follow packet instructions)
  4. Once lentils cooked, add washed spinach until it wilts
  5. Add teaspoon garam masala (spice mixture) and stir in

I enjoy this with a side of rice. Add as much or as little heat as you want with the chillies depending on your taste. As I’ve said before, you may need to keep an eye on the water content to make sure it doesn’t dry out and add more if necessary. Also, I will tag this as vegetarian and vegan but, depending on what stock you use, this could also be gluten free. I use a Bouillon powder which is gluten free and obviously if you can get all the ingredients organic then it is an organic meal too!

Again, enjoy!

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy eating, Organic Strength and Fitness, Vegan, Vegetarian

Lentil, carrot and leek soup

img_38441

200g red lentils
2 large carrots
1 leek
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
375ml vegetable stock
3 chillies
tomato puree

  1. Heat oil in pan
  2. Add chopped leek and brown
  3. Add cumin, coriander and chillies
  4. Chop carrots and add to pan
  5. Add vegetable stock and lentils and bring to the boil
  6. Add tomato puree (however much you fancy)
  7. Leave to simmer until lentils are cooked (follow packet instructions)

You may need to keep adding a bit more water to it to make sure it doesn’t dry out. This will serve at least 4 people, or you could freeze it and feed yourself with it 4 times which is what I tend to do. Makes a nice, tasty and easy lunch to re-heat in the microwave at work with some chunky bread.

Enjoy!

 

Posted in Organic Strength and Fitness

1. 01/01

Happy New Year and welcome to Organic Strength and Fitness.

Follow me on my journey to an organic lifestyle. I have been trying to incorporate organic foods into my diet this past year and this year I aim to go one step further. I have no doubt that this will take much longer than just 2017 but you’ve got to start somewhere haven’t you?

I will try and keep you updated on all foods I find that are organic and where I have found them. I want to post recipes and, as I am a keen fitness enthusiast I will also keep you informed of all my trials and tribulations in the gym.

Enjoy!