Plum & Basil Sandwich

This is one of my favourite sandwiches to have. Sometimes if I’m feeling lazy to cook, this sandwich is awesome because it fills me up without making me feel like I’m going to explode.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 slices of rye bread

1 plum (stone removed and sliced)

1 tablespoon of tahini

Fry’s chunky strips

A handful of basil leaves

Cherry tomatoes

It’s pretty straight-forward, everyone knows how to make a sandwich, you just throw everything together. The plums are an interesting addition because you’d think, they might not work but they add a sweetness to the sandwich without it feeling overwhelming or tasting weird. Tomato and basil has always been one of my favourite combinations. In fact I try to eat tomatoes in almost every sandwich I make because of their anti-carcinogenic effects. This is a sandwich that packs nutrition and delivers on taste, at the end of the day, when we eat, our goal should be to fuel our body on quality so that it performs better.

What are some of your favourite sandwich combinations?

 

Let Me See You Do That Yoga

There’s a love-hate relationship that exists between yoga and I. For one, I am not an ‘OM’ chanting kind of girl. I like to throw things, pound the ground and go, go, go! So teaching my mind to be still, inhale and exhale through poses, has been very difficult. I would go through phases where I’d stick to doing yoga 3 times a week and then should I stumble into a pose that my thunder thighs won’t let me slip into easily, I would come to the resolution that maybe I was clearly made for just running and CrossFit.

The past few weeks, there has been a shift in my mind. In my pursuit to become a competitive CrossFitter and a more well rounded athlete, I’ve rediscovered my love for yoga. My favourite pose to date is the pigeon pose and the dragon pose, these two for me have been amazing stretch for my inner thighs and hips, which take such a beating during lifts in CrossFit.  It also helps in maximising your flexibility and your stretching ability. Additionally it also gets rid of any tension that you may be carrying in your hips or legs.

I’m taking it slowly this time and documenting the process to have that tangible proof that I am improving. After a few sessions this week, the key difference I have noticed in myself is that I feel at peace. As soon as I’m done, it is as though that concentration just carries itself into all other areas of my life. So what about you guys? Any yogis out there with tips for me?

Overnight Oats

I used to be extremely militant about what I ate, when I ate and how much I ate. Cue the eating disorder that ravaged me for a good 3 years.

Even when I thought I had recovered, portion control was still a very difficult thing for me to master. I would eat small amounts of food, so it was no surprise that after training, I would be heavily fatigued with barely enough energy to do anything else afterwards.

When I became a vegan, I learnt how to use food to heal and fuel my body, as opposed to punishing it for being too big, not skinny enough or just not right. Now eating is my favourite activity.

One of my favourite things to have for breakfast is overnight oats. Whenever I am pressed for time, this is what I have. It’s quick and easy and so good for you. Oats get a bad rep for being boring but with a few simple additions, you can make oats exciting and the taste is far from bland. Oats are great because they keep you fuller for longer, I like to use traditional old fashioned oats with no added sugar or flavouring in them, as the base for this recipe. Oats contain beta glucan, which is a soluble fibre that aids in fighting and preventing cancer and obesity. It also helps in reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart.

Here’s my overnight oats recipe.

You’ll need:

  • A generous helping of oats (you choose how much you want, you can either make enough for the next day or the whole week.)
  • Non-GMO soy milk (or any other dairy free alternative.)
  • A seed mix of chia seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds, this is a great way to pump in some omega 3,6 and 9 into your system.
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • coconut blossom sugar (optional

The rest is pretty straight forward. Cover the oats with enough milk to completely cover them, then add your seed mix and bananas. Stir well and place in the fridge. The next day, your oats will have a creamy texture and you can either choose to have them as they are or to heat them up a little bit in the microwave. How’s that for a quick breakfast?

Buttah baby…

Buttah not butter… it’s smoother, creamier, melts in your mouth and is most probably a word that was invented by some crazy scientist who found the formula to perfect buttah! I’ve been searching all over for coconut butter. I am obsessed with coconuts and wherever I went, all they had was coconut oil (I love that too but I said buttah!) A few weeks ago I read up on how to make coconut butter and even though I don’t own a food processor or a Vitamix, I decided to try it out with my blender.  Thirty minutes later I had smooth creamy coconut butter with a hint of vanilla (another favourite of mine,) and spurred on by this enthusiasm, I decided to make a second batch for my friend, my brother in law and sister. Surprisingly I haven’t been tempted to eat it off a spoon. On bread and in smoothies…well that’s another story. I’ve kept myself from polishing off a jar by thinking about the 5kg that I still have to drop 😦 it’s a lot harder when you’re trying to sculpt existing muscle. My butt and thighs are pretty stubborn!

 

Place all your ingredients in a blender and pulse for five minutes until the dessicated coconut has incorporated into the oils. It’ll look a bit lumpy but don’t panic, it will work out!

Run your blender and keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t overheat or come dangerously close to burning out!

Keep checking (and tasting) with a spoon until you have a smooth, warm liquid. This is the part that requires the most patience because you have to keep blending until the liquid is absolutely smooth. No one enjoys grainy buttah!

Once your butter is completely smooth, pour into glass jars and place in the freezer to set for 15 minutes, after that the coconut butter can be stored in the fridge or a cool dry place.

Enjoy this on toast, porridge, smoothies, on its own. It is pretty yummy! For a toasted coconut butter, lightly toast the coconut in a medium sized frying pan keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Then repeat the same method. The toasted coconut butter has a richer nuttier flavour. My guinea pigs (my bestie, my brother in law,) preferred it to the plain coconut butter. I love both, it was hard to part with these buttahs!

 

Breakfast Smoothie

I love smoothies! I am not a huge fan of having solid food in the morning. It’s all about finding what works for you and for me,solid food in the morning usually has me feeling sluggish, maybe a tad grumpy and ready to go back to bed! This smoothie is a great way to refuel after a workout. I typically have it after my morning workout and sometimes during the day if I don’t feel like eating anything too heavy. It’s super yummy, dairy free and vegan. I am having such fun transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1l apple juice

1 banana

1 avocado

2 tablespoons moringa leaf powder

a handful of oats (adjust according to desired consistency, not too much though, we’re not making porridge!)

Here’s why I love this smoothie:

Bananas have a high content of potassium, potassium is an important electrolyte that maintains good cardiovascular health. It lends to maintenance of blood pressure and heart function via the electrical impulses that travel through your body. The conduction of these impulses are what keep cardiac muscle contracting [i.e. your heart beat] at a normal rate and without potassium (lack of potassium is called hypokalaemia, I’m a qualified biomedical scientist, geeky side coming out…) your heart rate will display irregularity and let’s be honest the only time one’s heart should display irregularities is when watching James Franco :-p Bananas are also a great source of fibre, that’s why they’re a favourite of so many runners.

When I was a child I hated avocados, now I can’t get enough of them, I’m obsessed with avocado oil as well. I love avos in guacamole, face masks, on their own, on top of black beans but especially in smoothies.  Like bananas, they are also an excellent source of potassium but I love them for their meaty texture chockfull of monounsaturated fat which boosts your heart health and lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease. I also love that it’s packed with vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin E, a great one for beautiful skin that screams ‘I have a breakfast smoothie everyday!’

Moringa leaf powder is a new addition to my smoothies. My mum has been buying it for almost a year and I never paid attention to it until now.  If you’re anaemic, morning powder can provide you with that boost you need to get your body producing oxygen rich, iron loaded power red cells. It can help in boosting your energy and your stamina. Word of caution; I’ve read that it can also prevent pregnancy so if you’re like me and you’re not trying to fall pregnant or you’re single and not ready to mingle then by all means add this to your smoothie, otherwise steer clear!

Oats are added to add more fibre and bulk to the smoothie. This is a breakfast smoothie therefore it is important to make it as nutrient rich as you can. Oats are high in iron and lower your LDL (low density lipoproteins which are your bad fats that clog your arteries.) They also contain beta-glucans which strengthen your immune system against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. I typically have a big glass of this smoothie and find it very filling. Let me know if you try it, I’d love to know what you think!

*I have a soft spot for James Franco, if you look like him, I might have a soft spot for you too 😉

Holding On To Heaven

Today was a bad day, in fact this week has been pretty difficult. It’s week 4 of half marathon training, the mileage has gone up, my body feels more tested and I’m plagued with the thought of why exactly am I doing this? The half marathon blues perhaps? In any case, I pushed through all feelings of lethargy (thanks to a really cool song by Foxes,) to get in today’s workout: Level 2 of Jillian Michaels Ripped In 30, an hour of Tae-bo II (get ripped) followed by Silje Norendal’s 15 minute workout on Nike Training Club. All in all, a very jam packed morning! I am a HUGE fan of  workout DVD’s. When I was in high school and I couldn’t afford a gym membership, Jane Fonda and Billy Blanks were instrumental in getting me in shape. When I moved to London in 2008, I avoided the dreaded weight gain that comes from starting university with these DVD’s. I don’t find it as challenging as before…on some days haha but I love the cardio burst that I get. I’ve also found that by increasing your weights, your muscles definitely work harder. Last year I was using 3kg weights and this year I jumped to 5kg. I must admit, rather ashamedly that my upper body strength is rather pitiful haha. I’m a work in progress, aren’t we all?

Did I mention that I still have to squeeze in a 6k run this afternoon?

Welcome!

Hi! My name is Aurélie. I’m a biomedical scientist and I am currently transitioning to veganism and training for my first half marathon, don’t ask me which one. I tend to enter races last minute (a horrible habit that I need to kick.) I’ve been a fitness addict my whole life and a serious runner for about 3 years. In 2012 when I became a vegetarian, I started to take my running and nutrition a lot more seriously. Last year I met a guy who has continued to be my inspiration in becoming a better athlete. Maybe I’ll let him chip in further down the line 😉 My friend is a triathlete and an amazing one at that. He’s the one that inspires me to push my body further than it ever has been and unbeknownst to him,  he acted as the catalyst to me deciding to take on a half marathon. On this blog you will find everything pertaining to my fitness journey, the highs and the lows and all my favourite recipes. You will also sometimes get scientific explanations of things haha, I can’t help it. Science is wired in my DNA. Thanks for stopping by!

Today I started 22 days of veganism. I’ve always wanted to be a vegan…I know! Not a lot of people say that but I have always had a fascination with green living. So here’s what I had for breakfast:

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-2 pieces of vegan rye bread with Salanova baby leaves, mini Italian tomatoes and an apple and beet slaw with an orange chilli dressing.

-Half a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice

I usually prefer to have a light breakfast but having recently started week 4 of half marathon training, my body needs the fuel. I have days where I wake up hungry, ready to devour whatever is in the fridge. Correct nutrition is half the battle won. I was a notorious breakfast skipper, I’d wake up in the morning, go for my run and it would be noon when I’d have my breakfast. My runs weren’t bad but I found myself feeling lethargic more often than not. Doing your research on what you’re putting in your body is so important which is why I’m an advocate of a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. Remember to read the labels, treat your body right and it will reward you.