Avocado & Lime Tart

For a healthier alternative to cheesecake! 


Average per serving: Cal = 370 Total time:20 minutes prep + chilling or freezing time

I was drawn to this recipe because quite frankly I thought “that… sounds gross” I was intrigued therefore decided why not! Safe to say… I was pleasantly surprised. I always say this but i think this has to be one of my favorite desserts yet.

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As you can see above, I decided to make it my breakfast (modelling the bed head hair, sleepy eyes and dressing gown) I had ONE slice and I was FULL.

This desert contains a high amount of healthy fats and soluble fibre, meaning it helps slow down the breakdown process of carbohydrates in the body, making you feel fuller for longer.

Try it out!

coconut

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Lets talk: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Learning to Live( With added gluten & dairy information to help relieve symptoms )
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You’d think I’d be ready to pop any day with the size of my poor tummy. My ‘bump’ as i call it is in fact a side effect of my syndrome.

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THE BANE OF MY LIFE,THAT’S WHAT IT ISNow I never intended to share my ridiculously troublesome bowel movements with the entire world because to be quite frank, some may find it quite gross. Never-the-less, I am channeling my inner WonderWoman-RossWonder-Woman and DOING THIS FOR THE GREATER GOOD. This is for the others out there who are suffering in silence, as I did for many years. If you are living with the constant pain, and the added embarrassment of it’s symptoms, then let me assure you, you are not alone.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an dysfunctional disorder of the gut, which can be quite variable and include minor to severe abdominal pain depending on the individual. There is no known cure.

“…I have considered maternity pants”

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Fancy… 

♦ Common Symptoms include:

• Pain in the tummy • Bloating • Diarrheoa and/ or • Constipation (which can last up to several days depending on severity…)

I have often pleaded with doctors to give me some magic pill in order to immediately rid me of my constant discomfort, and stop me looking like I’m ready to pop out a pair of 10lb twins… I have considered maternity pants. The cause of IBS is not known, thus there being no treatment, but most who are afflicted by it have sensitivity of the gut and inflammation of the lining within the digestive system, causing all sorts of mayhem.

So what can you do to improve the symptoms?

…”If there’s one thing I DESPISE about my condition, is that it makes me not want to dance. That’s how I know this is something that needs to be taken seriously”

healthy eating no 1

  • Plenty of Fruit and vegetables – it’s really not that difficult to get your 5 a day in!
  • Limited amounts of foods high in fat and sugars. Replace saturated fats found in animal products such as butter, cheese, meats, cakes, biscuits etc. with unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. Although eat in moderation!
  • Starchy Foods – Potatoes with the skins are a great source of fibre! Also, get into the habit of choosing wholegrain and wholemeal alternatives to your cereal, bread, rice and pasta.
  • Dairy –  Try to go for skimmed/ lower fat versions. Alternatively, it is a good idea to implement soya varieties! or even rice, almond and coconut milks.
  • Protein! – Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, whilst also being a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals. Meat is a source of protein, but try to eat lean cuts and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Fish is another great source and is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for the body. Try to stock up on a variety of beans and pulses too, they are great sources of protein and taste delicious!
  • PLENTY OF FLUID – 2 litres daily, herbal teas included! Peppermint is great for reducing bloating and chamomile tea for stress.

did_you_know_splat_transparent.pngIBS is more common in those who have a hectic lifestyle, and/or suffer from stress and anxiety. There are many connections between the brain and the gut (small intestine). Psychological factors, the nervous system and muscle contractions all interact with each other and is known as the ‘brain-gut axis’. Therefore it is important to implement stress management.

  • Chill.. It’s important to rest. Make time for some relaxation. My favorite method is meditation and a full body massage, and seeking support helps too. Talking about ones feelings is completely normal can relieve a tonne of pressure. This could be a counselor or even just close friends and family.
  • Have a regular meal pattern 
  • Exercise – I find swimming and yoga helps!
  • Take your time and chew – I make it a priority to every morning too make sure I have at least 10 minutes set aside for breakfast. I sit down in a quiet space and eliminate all social media and technology, in order to relax and reflect. Taking time to be present and concentrate on one thing is extremely beneficial.
  • Portion Control – IBS sufferers are better eating smaller portions and more regularly. Large meals can trigger symptoms.
  • Avoid ice cold foods – these can upset the muscles in the stomach causing them to contract, with IBS you need to aim to keep your GI tract as calm as possible.
  • Try not to skip meals – this can be a hard one for some people if the intestines are swollen. It is hard as it tricks the body into feeling like it is full (one issue I struggle with) but even if this is the case, you MUST still eat!
  • Avoid Chewing Gum – It causes you to swallow excess air, which can trigger problems
  • Don’t eat late at night! – I’m one for a cheeky midnight snack…..
  • Get enough sleep! – Sleeping gives the body time to heal! Let it do it’s job and get at least 8 hours every night, it will speed up recovery.
  • Take a probiotic! – 20 minutes before every meal take one of these. Acidophilus capsules contain a number of bacterial cultures to provide the body with an additional source of the micro-organisms that are naturally found throughout the digestive system. I have THESE

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I’d like to think I have a pretty healthy diet, and that I follow the majority of the pointers listed above, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. It may be that some, like myself need more specific diet changes to manage symptoms.

GLUTEN – Gluten is made of a family of proteins, the two main influences being Glutenin and Gliadin, the latter being responsible for most of the negative health effects. When flour and water is mixed, the gluten proteins form a sticky texture that has a glue-like consistency giving the product the ability to bind. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Here’s a list of foods to AVOID and foods TO EAT! 

DAIRY – Milk, butter, cheese, all cream, ice cream, whipped cream, cream- cheese, yogurt, etc are all a Irritable Bowel Syndrome Triggers, even if you’re not lactose intolerant. Dairy products contain proteins such as whey and Casein,  Casein being the one found in most dairy products. Baby cows come with a special enzyme in their stomachs called rennet, which is designed especially to break down casein.  Humans do not have this enzyme therefore we find it very hard to digest. Most common in those who have IBS-C.

CAFFEINE – Caffeine is a diuretic and can also worsen the effect of diarrhoea symptoms. Limit tea and coffee to no more that three cups a day. You will also see improvement in other areas of your health too, including your sleep!

ALCOHOL & FIZZY DRINKS – Again, these can worsen the effects of diarrhoea, so limiting these is a good idea. Know your limits – no more than 2 units a day!  (a unit of alcohol equates to: 1 25 ml shot of spirits – half a pint of 3-4% larger/beer – one small 125ml glass of 11% wine) 

RESISTANT STARCHES – These are starches resistant to digestion in the small intestine (gut) This means that when they reach the colon and ferment due to the bacteria in our gut, thus producing gas and waste. This leads to bloating, wind and diarrhoea! Find your full list of these foods HERE!

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Join me in my next blog post for how I have gotten on, for I shall be eliminating dairy from my diet this week. For a while now I have not been eating gluten, but for some reason I have suffered an IBS attack so great and so painful, there is something that now makes me believe it may be something else. I shall not be eating gluten either, for I feel much better without it regardless of it’s possible side effects. I hope to see some improvement with the swelling. I have written this as I lay in bed, unable to move without pain, never-mind go to dance class and reveal all in a skimpy leotard.

If there’s one thing I DESPISE about my condition, is that it makes me not want to dance. That’s how I know this is something that needs to be taken seriously.

Lots of Love, and good luck to our guts.

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Sweet Potato, Spinach and Lentil Soup with Cashew nuts

My Home-made soup to help heal and soothe a poorly tummy and gut

Last week was show week at Laine Theatre Arts, which also meant numerous trips to Costa Coffee and the sweet shop for an afternoon energy boost, then whether spoons later that evening for a post bowl of chips and a glass of wine. Safe to say, since then I have been feeling the side effects. My energy levels, digestive system, skin.. you name it, it’s caught up with me! (7 days worth of stage makeup didn’t help either) hello spots! *cries*

This being the case, I have devised a recipe full of all the necessary ingredients to give my body the chance to detox and heal. As a sufferer of IBS, my poor tummy has been in knots, so implementing root vegetables alongside taking an effective probiotic should soon soothe the pain in no time!

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The Ingredients!

  • 200 g lentils – These contain heaps of great vitamins needed for the bodies healing process. They’re packed full of folate, protein, fibre, manganese, iron, vitamin B1, B6, Zinc and potassium! The insoluble fibre within IBS helps prevent IBS and the discomfort that comes with it, which is especially important for me as I struggle implementing fibre into my gluten-free diet!
  • 1 avocado – Avo’s are packed full of antioxidants and are rich in Vitamins A, C and E, whilst also brilliantly being a strong anti-inflammatory – perfect for avoiding bloat!
  • 1 large sweet potato – These carbohydrates are fantastic sources of fibre, pottasium and manganese, which also serve’s as an anti-inflammatory! Also contains Vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach – A popular super-food, and for good reason. Spinach is rich in Chlorophyll and will give your soup that nice green colour! Again, a strong anti-inflammatory and contains high sources of vitamin K and omega 3.
  • 3 carrots – Brilliant for gut health due to their high content of vitamin A, C, E and fibre.
  • 1 red bell peppers – The red pepper in particular has the highest amount of vitamin C, which is perfect to fight against disease due to it boosting the immune system. Great for when you’re run down! They also have several phytochemicals and carotenoids which lavish the body with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits
  • Chopped dill 2 tbsp – Supports digestion by stimulating the digestive juices within the stomach. Research has also shown that it reduces the free radicals in the body
  • 1 handful of cashews (roughly chopped) – High in phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and magnesium, they support heart and bone strength!
  • 4 cloves of garlic – Potent but antibacterial, antiviral and an anti-inflammatory.
  • 1 brown onion – The phytochemicals in onions along with their vitamin C help to improve immunity… and mainly it’s in here because it makes it taste really good.
  • vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil – Only used for frying in this recipe so the benefits aren’t necessarily ingested. Read up on coconut oil here

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Continue reading “Sweet Potato, Spinach and Lentil Soup with Cashew nuts”

SUNDAYS ARE FOR BAKING!

 

→ GLUTEN-FREE BLUEBERRY CAKE WITH LEMON DRIZZLE ←

 


– all pictures taken are my own – iphone 6: edited on VSCO & Afterlight – ©

I have been persuaded. ANYONE who tells me that gluten free food isn’t as good as regular food Is either 1. a liar or 2. hasn’t eaten this cake. Honestly, I have NEVER in my life made something and been so happy with the outcome.

We’ve all been there. We have had such high expectations for a cake. We’ve slaved away in the kitchen all day, followed the recipe religiously, and spent a fortune on ingredients, all in the hope that we can rely on Mary Berry or Betty Crocker to assist us in creating something delicious… only for it to come out of the oven with burnt edges and a soggy bottom.

But not this time. Served slightly warm, this moist and satisfying tea time treat is one I shall be making again and again from now on!

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What you’ll need:

  • 50g blueberries
  • 125g gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp wheat free baking powder
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 125g ground almonds

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line an 18-20cm round, loose-based cake tin with baking parchment.
  • Rinse the blueberries, pat dry and dredge in 1 teaspoon of the flour.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and 175g of the caster sugar until very pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg yolks and almond extract. Sift the remaining flour into the bowl and gently stir in.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a thoroughly clean bowl until soft peaks form.
  • SIDE NOTE: WHISKING THE EGGS BY HAND TAKES AN ETERNITY. USE AN ELECTRIC WHISK IF YOU’RE NOT POOR AND CAN AFFORD ONE 🙂 #studentlife *cries*
  • Gradually whisk in the remaining sugar. Stir in the ground almonds. Using a large metal spoon, fold a quarter of the whisked mixture into the creamed mixture to lighten it a little, then fold in the remainder whilst also adding 3/4 of the blueberry’s.
  • Turn into the tin and gently level the surface.
  • Scatter with the remaining floured blueberries. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until the surface feels firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a serving plate. Scatter with extra blueberries if there are any left and dust with extra sugar.
  • To make the lemon drizzle, mix together icing sugar and lemon juice to desire consistency then pour!

Hope you love it as much as we did!

Lots of Love

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RECOVERING FROM INJURY

Featured”suck it up.”

– WHAT I AM DOING DIFFERENTLY –


INJURY’S ARE A PAIN IN THE BUTT… AND IN MY CASE, LITERALLY.

They get in the way of EVERYTHING don’t they? not just training but in everyday life too, it’s so annoying. Only last week I struggled sightseeing in London for less than a few hours before having to take refuge in Costa because my stupid leg gave way. It is physically and mentally frustrating. Imagine me sat there, slapping at my leg screaming “WHY!? WHY!!!!!!?”… I must have looked like a new level of crazy.

It’s times like these when I have to count to ten (a practice my gran always preached) and remember that these things usually take a longer time to heal than we are willing to give them. Instead of asking my leg why, I asked my self instead. Why isn’t my injury getting better? And what can I do to speed the process up? I found an article on via breakingmuscle.co.uk and realized that everything I have been doing is in fact hindering my recovery.

To be truthfully honest, the last couple of months I’ve been in sloth mode. And by sloth mode I mean ‘sitting on my ass and feeling sorry for myself’ mode. The problem was, I had SO MANY different opinions and directions from teachers, friends, doctors and physio’s on what I SHOULD and shouldn’t have been doing. I was so overwhelmed, I just stopped doing everything, out of fear that it would make it worse. But these last couple of weeks have been an eye opener for me, and hopefully, things will continue to improve.

1.TRAIN – Yes rest is important, but becoming a couch potato isn’t going to help either. Just because you can’t train the way you used to, doesn’t mean you can’t train at all. It just means that you need to find new ways to go about it, and research different routines and exercises that will strengthen the necessary body parts to help the injury recover. When done properly, a specific exercise regime tailored towards an injury can speed up the healing process.

This week I made it a priority to set my alarm for 6:30 and get my squats and stretching in. I knew that not doing this would probably increase my chances of my hamstring tightening and Piriformis spasming after a vigorous day of dance. A nice 20 minute yoga session as soon as I wake helps to release tension in the muscles and eradicate any toxins in the body. My dance training for the moment is restricted. No kicks, and no high intensity ballet (turning out at the hips triggers spasms and pain in the sciatic nerve) – but, in time, strength will increase if baby steps are taken.

2. EAT – I ate too little. I know this. The mistake I made was that I thought, just because I wasn’t exercising anymore… I didn’t need to eat as much. What I didn’t realise was during the acute phase of injury recovery, the body’s energy supply actually needs to increase. Food, creates energy, and your body uses up that energy to heal… hence why my injury is taking more than a while to repair…

Protein & Fats: foods high in anti-inflammatory omega 3; salmon, tuna, eggs, flax-seed and peanut butter etc. I don’t get enough of these. I have been taking whey protein when my macro’s have been sufficiently low in protein for the day. But when I can I have been and will continue to try getting these in. My macro’s are based on one gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is sufficient for muscle recovery.

After just two weeks I feel so much better in myself and can already feel the positive changes. I have made sure that my body has been receiving all the right amounts of all the right foods!

3. SUPPLEMENT – Vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as calcium, coppers, iron, and zinc support tissue regeneration and repair, assist in collagen formation and strengthen connective tissue. Sounds good right? Why wouldn’t you supplement? Especially if you’re like me.

I am deficient in most of these Vitamins and minerals, and have been taking vitamin B12 and zinc for around a year now. Why am I deficient? Because I ate a lot of processed junk and did not have a balanced diet. Yes, I ate ‘healthy’ foods too like vegetables… But when that’s all you have thrown in to a bowl with a little bit of ketchup… Where’s the dairy? And all the other micro-nutrients? I was missing out.

Vitamins I am taking:

  • B12 – Contributes to Normal Energy – Yeilding Metabolism and Reduction of Tiredness and Fatigue 
  • Magnesium & Zinc – Contributes to the Reduction of Tiredness and Fatigue and Normal Muscle Function
  • Omega 3 fish oil – Contributes to Normal Function of the Heart and Brain
  • Active Women – A Comprehensive Multi-Vitamin to Help with Function of the Immune System and Meet Unique Nutritional needs.

4. SLEEP –  An obvious one right? Sleep is CRUCIAL when it comes to healing. It is the body’s best defense mechanism and regenerative process. During sleep, your body produces hormones essential for a strong immune system, increased muscle mass, bone strength, alongside restoring the body’s energy! Lack of sleep can lead to muscles soreness, injury and the lack of ability to restore, repair muscles and build strength. Another thing to mention is that during periods of sleep deprivation, the body loses the ability to metabolize glucose efficiently, and levels of Cortisol – the stress hormone – increases. This means that a person who is constantly having less than 6 hours of sleep per night, are at higher risk of suffering from memory impairment, insulin resistance and impaired recovery.

Continue reading “RECOVERING FROM INJURY”

End of Week 1: destroyed

“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow”


Well, that’s it. My first week back at college is over and done with, and with it, the weekend too. It’s 9:45 pm on Sunday night, and I can’t quite believe it’s time to do it all again.

I am writing this as I lay very tentatively on my bed. And without meaning to sound over dramatic, every time I move, there’s pain throughout my entire body, and not just in my injury. My neck, shoulders, back, legs, arms, buttocks literally feel as if they’re on fire. But, I can’t complain, there’s a part of me that feels a sense of satisfaction. No pain, no gain, right?

To put it lightly, college has officially DESTROYED ME. I always underestimate how tiring it can be. Every term so far has left me either poorly and bed ridden for a good 2-3 days or with a new injury, and under no fault but my own. It’s important to remind myself that… although I am at ‘college’, we as students are training at similar levels to those who are professional athletes. For example, here’s this terms timetable in short:

  • Ballet =  5 and ¾ hrs
  • Jazz = 7 hrs
  • Tap = 3 hrs
  • Contemporary = 3 hrs

In total that is 18 and ¾ hours worth of work outs, Monday to Friday (and done “with FEELING”). How i managed to find the energy to participate in singing, and acting classes in between that whilst also painfully forcing myself to do a Nike Training Alpha Ab split session twice a day AND spending a couple hours at the gym I don’t know. Added up and calculated in that manner, it seems crazy doesn’t it? and some students are doing DOUBLE the amount of jazz classes that I am, hats off to you brave souls. I don’t know how you do it.

And to think, previously I was getting by (just) on 800 calories a day, 0 supplements, hardly any water and copious amounts of caffeine. No wonder I was sick and injured. It’s taken me until my second year to realize it, but I have put my body  under immense pressure, so looking after myself is now my no.1 priority.

UP NEXT: MY INJURY AND WHAT I’M DOING DIFFERENTLY

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Sundays are for baking…

GLUTEN-FREE EATS & TREATS


I don’t bake. The last time I tried I ended up wasting too much time, creating too much mess and throwing the majority of what I can only describe as unfit for human consumption… in the trash. Did I mention that the recipe was from a children’s cookbook. 10 year old’s can cook better than me. BUT JUST LOOK AT THESE. Can you imagine the surprise when I actually created something EDIBLE.

I can barely believe I made these, they were so easy and cheap to make! And more importantly, they tasted heavenly! ( I may have already eaten most of them…) don’t judge me. They are fudgy, fantastically chewy and with an added sprinkling of sea salt on the top… I might even go as far as to say they are my favorite gluten free treat yet! They even got the seal of approval from my housemate too! Score!

Also; I have a funny tummy when it comes to wheat, so anything flour-less in an absolute winner. If like myself, you suffer from what I call the “9 month baby bloat” and the pain that comes with it after digesting gluten, you probably know how it feels to suffer the torment of only being able to sniff the chocolate cake all you’re friends are eating, rather than paying an arm and a leg for the overly priced gluten-free version.   

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 – all pictures taken are my own – iphone 6: edited on VSCO & Afterlight – 

What you’ll need:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 420g Chickpeas (don’t forget to rinse and drain them!)
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup organic agave nectar (honey if you’re not vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegan or regular chocolate chunks + extra for topping
  • For a final touch sprinkle on some sea salt!

Instructions:

  • Preheat Oven to 170° Celsius and spray an *8×8 baking tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Add all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips, into a food processor and blend until a thick batter is formed.
  • Resist temptation to eat batter.
  • Spread evenly in the baking tin (the batter will be really sticky, it’s normal) and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chunks on top (add more to exceed nutritional values)
  • Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. The edges should be browned. The batter may seem to be underdone but they risk being dry if kept in any longer and will firm slightly once cooled.
  • Cool for 20 mins and sprinkle with sea salt (it’s best to leave them in the tin to cool)
  • Cut into squares, and serve!

For non-vegan recipes: Add an egg to make it more cake like

Add nuts, fudge pieces, or even dried fruit for an alternative!

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For the original recipe click this link! – Ambitious Kitchen –

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