Bad & Boochie

I’ve gone full steam ahead with my booch (kombucha that is), brewing. I am a woman obsessed, just ask my Mr! You’ll regularly see snaps of my successful (and not so successful) brews on Instagram. About a week ago I was at the grocery store with one of my friends and came up with the zany idea of second fermenting my kombucha with kale. Although this was a mix that I am VERY unlikely to repeat, I discovered through this experiment that a smoothie is a great conduit for probiotics. Instead of using water which is great and necessary for life (we beeeen knowing this periodt!) I decided to use kombucha which is full of good bacteria guaranteed to restore the balance of microbial flora in your gut and intestines, and also give you an energy boost.

If you want to do the same, keep on reading to find out what I used and why! A tip, when using kombucha as your smoothie base, do not use anything that has second fermented for longer than 3 days. Such brews will impart a slight alcohol tinge to whatever you end up whizzing. The process is pretty simple. All you have to do is ferment your kombucha, if you’ve never made the booch before, click on this link. I promise it’ll help you out. The fun part of booch making is hands down, the second ferment or commonly called 2F. You can go as crazy as you want with flavours. I always use fruit so that the microorganisms have something to feed on to give you delightfully crisp booch. I made three different flavours, the least successful being the kale but hey, you live and you learn. Also health isn’t always delicious haha.

What you’ll need: I juiced one pineapple and 4 grapefruit together (YUM) and then poured half of that juice into a separate cup. The other two flavours had the pineapple and grapefruit juice as their base with the addition of 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries for my blueberry flavour, and 4 kale leaves (that wreaked so much damage) 4 Pink Lady apples. and 4 jalapeño peppers, for my badly thought out lean green booch machine! I left these to ferment for 3 days and then used the kale booch in a smoothie that consisted of 4 (maybe more…) bananas to add some much needed sweetness, a half cup of frozen blueberries and 2 scoops of my Cotton Candy flavoured collagen by ‘Body by Wild’. The resulting smoothie was a pretty pink that was sweet yet tinged with the reminder of kale.

We all know the benefits of blueberries, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and I love the sweet yet tart taste that they imparted to this smoothie. As I approach my 30s, I’m ALL about antioxidants to ensure I protect my skin as much as possible. Antioxidants are what protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging (not necessarily a bad thing,) and diseases, such as cancer (definitely a bad thing!)

As for the bananas, aside from the sweetness and thic-ness that they provide. They’re also packed with potassium which helps support normal blood pressure, bone and muscle strength. As the third most abundant mineral in the body, potassium also helps the body in osmoregulation, fancy science word for fluid regulation. It also helps with sending of nerve signals and regulating muscle contractions. Add these benefits to what you’re already getting from drinking kombucha and you’ve got a superfood smoothie that’s filling enough as a snack and provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to stay as gorgeous as it is now for the long run.

In review: intermittent fasting

It seems as  though there’s a new diet almost every single day. If you’re a 90s baby you’ll remember the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the Blood-Type diet, the Zone diet, the list is endless. One of the reasons why I’ve never stuck to any of these diets is because I don’t like being told what to eat. In the blood type diet my blood group (A+) is meant to avoid mangos and potatoes which is crazy for me. Intermittent fasting is less about what you eat and more about when you eat. It’s not a diet but an adaptation to your eating pattern. I became curious about intermittent fasting after having picked up a tiny bit of weight that made me feel uncomfortable in my skin. I love having breakfast…when I remember to prep so IF seemed like a good way to eliminate my morning forgetfulness around eating. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital have found out in a study called HELENA – the largest investigation on intermittent fasting to date, that there are many paths leading to a healthier weight and it’s all about finding the path that fits you best.

Right now, IF is the path that fits me best. I was interested in losing weight and keeping it off, with intermittent fasting because you’re not constantly eating, you give your stomach and gut a chance to recover from the usual churning of stomach acids to digest food which in turn can reduce inflammation. The first week of IF, I watched a million and one videos on IF (my favourite being anything by Dr. Jason Fung, I even follow him on Twitter!)  and read countless articles (I would recommend that before you commit to IF, do as much research as you can and consult a doctor or nutritionist if necessary) on the experiences that people have had with IF.

There are three main ways to do an intermittent fast: the 5:2 diet, in which you eat regularly for five days a week and reduce your intake to 600 calories during the next two; alternate-day fasting, where you rotate between standard and 600-calorie days; and time-restricted eating which is what I’m doing where you limit your eating periods to four-to-eight hours. What works best for me (since I wake up at 5 and am in bed by 22h on most days is to fast from the time I wake up until 12 noon and on some days I’ve even pushed that time out to 14h. This gives me a total of 16 hours fasting and on some days when I’m a superhuman…17 hours.

How am I feeling?

The first two weeks were hard. I had to make a conscious effort to drink not just more water (which is something I’m constantly practicing) but also more tea to ‘fill’ me up. One thing I realised is that once I made the decision that I wouldn’t be eating before 12/13h, it’s almost as though my stomach shut up aka stopped grumbling. The less I thought about food, the easier it’s was for my stomach and the less it complained. The mental aspect for me is what plays the biggest role in ensuring that you commit to IF. In terms of my weight, I have managed to lose centimetres that I gained on that glorious holiday to Cape Town and I’m feeling happy in my skin again. I wake up with zero bloating which does a lot to lift the mood. Whenever I get a little bit fluffy I have this moment of not knowing who I am anymore (I know that sounds very dramatic haha!) IF helped with the calorie reduction that I needed in order to shed those extra kilos. I’ve been on this IF journey for almost a month and I’m going to see this through till the end of the year and then re-evaluate. In the first two weeks I battled with extreme fatigue and feelings of hanger (hunger that leads to anger), luckily having to maintain good work relationships was enough of a reminder to keep me from lashing out in hunger!

In terms of my weight, I have managed to lose centimetres that I gained on that glorious holiday to Cape Town and I’m feeling happy in my skin again. Whenever I get a little bit fluffy I have this moment of not knowing who I am anymore (I know that sounds very dramatic haha) IF helped with the calorie reduction that I needed in order to shed those extra kilos. I’ve been on this IF journey for almost a month though.I’m going to see this through till the end of the year and then re-evaluate. I am not a fan of the feeling of hunger that is present during non-eating periods and in light of my 2019 body goals (which I’ll share in a later post) IF just isn’t going to work for the long-term. A girl is trying to get stronger and fitter as she approaches 30…damn did I just address myself in 3rd person!

For an eating plan to be successful, it should be sustainable and improve your performance not just as an athlete (where I’m concerned,) but as a human. This is the biggest lesson I’ve learnt through IF, food should be tasty yes but it’s even more important for the food you eat to fuel you. When I am eating, I am 100% more conscious about what I put into my mouth. Along the way I have had some treats but what I’ve noticed is that I have more self-control and those naughty treats are few and very far in between in comparison to when I was eating whenever I wanted. I will say the one thing I truly miss is having breakfast at breakfast time!

How to make IF work for you?

  • I cannot stress this enough: plan, plan plan! You’ve heard this cliché before and it’s because it’s true: fail to plan/prepare and prepare to fail. Fill your water bottle the night before, make sure that the tea you have is one that you won’t get sick of drinking during your fasting period and prepare your meals in advance.
  • If you’re going to snack during your eating period, make sure your snacks are healthy. I love to stick to raw nuts. Cashews, walnuts and almonds are my favourites but you can go with whatever you like best. Hummus & carrots will also NEVER go out of style. 
  • Get an accountability partner. Friends, I consider myself so lucky to be with the man I call my boyfriend. I tell him about every single lifestyle change that I make and he holds me accountable; whether it’s running more often, eating healthier and now sticking to this new eating pattern, he is SO good at reminding me of the goals I set for myself. I can’t tell y’all how much I love this man!
  • Plan your training at least an hour after you’ve had your meal during your eating period. I found that this worked best for me. Training in the morning while still in a fasted state left me feeling hungrier than usual and we all know that hunger can quickly transform to hanger. I also found that when I took pre-workout on an empty stomach, it’s almost as though I could feel my body disassociating with reality, can’t explain that.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt in this intermittent fasting journey? A healthy lifestyle is not just about the food you eat but the choices you make in your everyday life. It’s not just about losing weight, although it does start that way. When you remove the toxic elements that aren’t serving you well in your nutrition (if you’re consistent enough), it then extends to your physical environment. One day you’re making healthier food choices and the next you’re making healthier life choices! Constantly work towards being in the best physical, mental and emotional shape of your life, it’s what I’m focussing on and it’s what you should be focussing on.

YOUR journey.

Honey, honey how you thrill me: overnight oats recipe

For the past two weeks I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting. My eating periods are from 12-8 but I have had exceptional days where I’ve pushed my eating window out a bit later to 14 and on one special day 16 (which was more forced than anything.) One of the things that I enjoy about intermittent fasting is the fact that it’s made me a lot more conscious of the things that I do eat. I know to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth because I want it to fuel my body and sustain it for those periods when I’m not eating. In terms of my CrossFit performance it has also helped me in choosing those meals that won’t leave me feeling sluggish or heavy during a workout. 

One of my favourite things to eat for breakfast or delayed breakfast if you do intermittent fasting, is oats. Oats keep me fuller for longer and you really can create any flavour component you’re after by adding in different ingredients. I go through phases where I enjoy oats & then I hate them & then I love them again. I’m currently in the love phase and this morning found myself craving oats. The creamed honey by Eat Naked is what makes these oats spectacular  in my opinion!

Here’s my goji berries and nuts overnight oats recipe, you’re going to love it!

For this recipe you will need:

  • 80g of oats (instant oats work best.)
  • 200ml of milk or milk alternative
  • 25g of unsalted butter 
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey (my favourite, Eat Naked creamed honey 🍯 smells RIDICULOUSLY yummy too!)
  • Nut & seed mix (goji berries, cashews, walnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds.)

In your bowl put your knob of butter with your milk and oats and stir. Heat in the microwave for a minute or until the oats cook through. Tip: if you’re doing overnight oats you can used traditional rolled oats, let them soak in the milk + butter & then heat it in the morning when you’re ready to eat. Give the whole thing a good mix and then add a tablespoon of your raw honey and a generous sprinkling of your nut mix. 

Benefits of the ingredients

Oats: Oats are a timeless favourite. As a child I’d have it plain with brown sugar added to it. Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan which is responsible for keeping you fuller for longer when you’ve tucked into a yummy bowl of oats. They can also help in improving blood sugar levels.

Goji berries: I first became aware of these on the tv show ‘You Are What You Eat.’ Gillian McKeith would rave about these and rightly so. These berries pack a punch. They provide support to the immune system, help in preventing liver damage and also improving depression, anxiety and sleeplessness. I always use raw nuts in my oats because salted nuts drastically up your sodium content and we’re all trying to live healthier lives so best we avoid it!

Honey: I love this honey soooo much, it smells like one of my favourite shower gels by LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics ‘It’s raining men.’ Coincidentally both of these products contain honey that is harvested in the most sustainable & ethical manner possible. Raw honey contains antioxidants which help in protecting your body from cell damage, it can help with digestion and if you’re feeling ill, it can soothe that achy throat. What I love about Eat Naked honey aside from the delectable taste and smell, is the packaging, it’s fun, playful and very tongue in cheek. I’m all for serious brands that don’t take themselves too seriously. Creamed honey is a revelation! There’s something about this honey that had a caramel like undertone to it that I loved. The company is local to South Africa which means my carbon footprint is lowered by being able to source such a great product locally. I was even able to use the honey as a face mask and my skin is glowing!  If you’re trying to kick a nasty addiction to sugar, honey is a great replacement. Maximise how much you get out of honey by buying it raw.

Unsalted butter: In moderation, unsalted butter is a welcome addition to your oats. It’s rich in your fat soluble vitamins A, E and K which is involved in calcium metabolism and a low intake has been associated with cardiovascular disease. It also contains butyrate which has anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful in preventing weight gain. 

So there we have it; my yummy honey, how you thrill me oats! What do you enjoy putting in your bowl of oats? 

You Don’t Know Guac

In the past six months I have begun a process of reintroducing animal protein into my diet. No matter how clean I was eating, no matter how many juices or smoothies, there would always be this lingering feeling of tiredness, coupled with training, I could no longer ignore the fact that unfortunately my plant-based diet wasn’t doing me any favours. I’m exploring how sticking to a mostly paleo diet will benefit not only my training but my well-being. The other day I got home and wanted a potato salad but of course most potato salads are laden with mayonnaise, swimming in the stuff and I hate that. I want to see if I could make a dressing that would deliver on taste and perhaps even add nutrient value to my salad.

Introducing my guac dressing!

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I love avocados, how I fell in love with a man who doesn’t, I will never understand. This dressing is simple, takes less than 10 minutes to make and if you’re partial to avos, is also super yummy! Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 large avo, flesh scooped out
– The juice of 1 lemon
– ½ teaspoon of garlic
– A glug of olive oil (or any oil that you prefer the taste of)
– Salt and pepper to taste
Place all your ingredients except for the oil in your blender and add a tablespoon or two of water to get the churning started. With the motor still running, start pouring in your olive oil for a smoother consistency as well as more of a dressing as opposed to dip texture. Once you’ve got a consistency you’re happy with stop and place the whole thing in a jar.
This keeps for a week refrigerated and in my experience works best with fish and seafood. In my salad, I will confess to it being horrible, although that may have also been due to not cooking the potatoes properly and encountering ridiculous chunk of raw potato. Not at all appetising.
This will be my go to until it runs out and then I’ll move on to something new. Do you have a favourite salad dressing recipe or are you a shop bought kinda gal/guy?

Sundried tomato pasta salad

You’ll need:
-500g pasta (I used fusilli, but any pasta is fine)
-Sundried tomato quarters
-500g brown lentils
-Vegetable stock
-Fry’s chunky strips (2 boxes)
-Stir fry mix of green beans, red cabbage, julienne carrots, red peppers and cut baby corn)

For the sundried tomato and black salt dressing:

-Vegan mayonnaise (I used B well canola mayonnaise)
-Half the liquid from the sun dried tomatoes
-Black natural sea salt

METHOD

In a big pot, pour about 750ml of water, add in about 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a fierce boil and then add in your pasta. Once your pasta is cooked, drain your pasta and keep half of the water. Put the pasta aside. In the remaining pasta fluid, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock and the 500g of brown lentils, you might have to add a little bit more water as it cooks, although I like my lentils on the al dente side. I haaaate mushy lentils!!! While that’s cooking (it takes roughly around 20 Minutes,) using kitchen scissors, cut your sun dried tomatoes into bite size chunks and add it to your pasta, don’t forget to keep half of the fluid that the sun dried tomatoes came in. Once the lentils are cooked, add it to your pasta, draining some of the cooking fluid to be used later.

Get a pan and add in sunflower oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the Fry’s chunky strips and get some browning on them. When that’s done, add the leftover fluid from the lentils and allow the strips to soften. Add in your stir fry veggie mix and cook for 10 minutes. Place all the ingredients into a massive mixing container…I have Congolese heritage, so we always seem to have these lying around. You’d swear we have a catering company…

To make the sundried tomato and black salt dressing:
Mix 4 tablespoons of vegan mayo with the reserve fluid from the sundried tomatoes and mix well with a fork. Then add a tablespoon of black natural sea salt and stir through. This dressing is the perfect amount to coat the pasta without making it too creamy. Pour the dressing over your salad and stir though.

This salad is perfect warm or cold. The addition of the brown lentils and the Fry’s strips answers the question of where vegans get their protein from. Pasta is ALWAYS a great idea! It also makes this salad very filling and perfect for taking to braais, or barbecues if you’re in a country other than South Africa.