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The importance of setting goals

One thing that I have learnt since I started taking my fitness seriously, is to never underestimate the importance of having a goal to focus on. Time after time I would aimlessly wander into the gym and do the same thing every day (cardio, of course) and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. I now know this was because I hadn’t considered a specific goal to focus on, and so I wasn’t working towards anything.

Since setting myself goals (both aesthetic and strength) I began to notice improvements with my body and mind. My long-term goals have been to improve my strength when lifting, strengthen my abs, and of course work on the booty. With these goals in mind, I started researching as to how I could achieve them. However, I do understand that it’s not as easy as that, with so much conflicting research it requires trial and error, but you will eventually find a way of achieving your goals that is best suited to you. With my long-term goals in mind, I will then make a mental note of what I want to achieve in the short-term to help my progress towards the goal e.g to deadlift/squat a certain weight.

If this method isn’t for you, you might consider setting yourself ‘SMART’ targets. This is a way to set a goal that encourages you to deconstruct your goal to make it more achievable;

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to think about the ways in which you can achieve it, measure your progress, and keep on the right track to reaching your goal whilst ensuring it is manageable. The key thing here is how you interact with your goal – it’s something that you should be investing energy and focus into.

I know some people may think that having a goal takes the fun away from getting fit and staying healthy, but I love how flexible you can be with your goals. They can be long-term, short-term, generic, or specific, the important thing is to have something to work towards which will help you to see those results! My experience is that a goal helps to keep me motivated as I’m so determined to achieve it.

Setting yourself a goal also has other benefits, such as providing you with a sense of achievement, and helps you to keep track of your progress by forcing you to see how far you’ve come – something we could definitely all acknowledge and appreciate more!

To wrap this post up, if you’re not seeing the changes that you want to get I would seriously recommend coming up with a long-term goal or area to focus your efforts on, then work out how you are going to achieve this by setting attainable short-term goals to keep you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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We aren’t all self-obssesed…

Probably one of the most important blog posts that I’ve written, and I think this is something that needs to be said. Along with the fitness lifestyle comes the association that those who dedicate themselves to living this way, are self-centered, self-obsessed, and vain. Here’s why this simply isn’t the case.

First of all, I feel that there are far worse things that someone can dedicate their time to, and a healthy lifestyle is by no means one! This lifestyle is seriously misunderstood, and although it may appear that going to the gym frequently, being mindful of what you eat, and generally investing time in your own health and wellbeing, is ‘self-obsessed’, I question if this really is the case? Arguably, a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming and requires a degree of focus, but I don’t feel this warrants a person being considered ‘self-obsessed’ for trying to become a better version of themself. This to me is a fault in our society, that we feel the need to comment on another’s healthy lifestyle just because it is different to our own.

Having taken my fitness and health seriously in the past two years I have seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to your life, not only do you feel physically energised, stronger, and fitter, but I feel this way of life does wonders for your mental health. Exercise is a proven way to help better manage stress levels, it can also act as a distraction from anxious feelings as during your workout you are essentially practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present and forgetting about any worries.

However, in truth, I think the stereo-type manifests from what people see online, and by this, I mean certain Instagram accounts. Admittedly, Instagram is full of ‘progress pictures’ posted by fitness influencers and accounts, which involve sharing the physical progress that someone has made. This is where I feel confidence gets confused with arrogance. I understand the importance of progress pictures as, depending on your fitness goal, the scales only show an increase due to the muscle mass gained (especailly if you are into weightlifting). Therefore, progress pictures make a great solution for this as they give you a physical reference to compare against to see how you are doing in relation to your goals. Moreover, when you live, eat, and breathe this lifestyle it can be very hard to notice your own progress as often we can become so fixated on a goal that we forget to recognise the milestones that we have passed. Below are two progress pictures that I took. The righthand picture was taken in my first year of university, and the lefthand picture was taken towards the end of my second year. If I didn’t take these two pictures, I wouldn’t have recognised just how much my body has changed over the past two years.

IMG_3506

Personally, I see no wrong in sharing your achievements through progress pictures when it comes to fitness, as it is so much more than an ‘arrogant’ picture, it’s symbolic of the hours of time and effort that someone has put into this lifestyle, and this should only be encouraged.

I guess the main point of this post was to give an insight into the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I feel this dedication should only be encouraged rather than tarnished as arrogant and self-obsessed.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – June 2018

Thank you, UK for actually giving us a nice summer this year! This is the first summer that I’m actually thankful that I’ve booked a holiday for later in the year, so to make the most of this lovely weather! Overall, June has been a pretty good month…and not a bad football score either (not including the recent match… still all to play for yet! :’)). Also, I’m currently on my summer break from uni, so stay tuned for some interesting blog posts. Let’s get into this months foodie finds…

1) Livias Kitchen Nugglets36357148_2012027658871483_2468014707953369088_n

Probably my favourite Livias kitchen product that I’ve tried! I love the raw chocolatey flavour that they have and that they have no refined sugars in them. They are coated in chocolate also, making them so tasty.  I would definitely give them a go if you are looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet cravings! If you’re looking to buy these, I got mine from Sainsbury’s, but Boots also sell them.

36224627_2012028325538083_1544847028532543488_n.jpg2) Tesco Naan Crackers

I am so obsessed with these things, and I’m not sure why as they aren’t exactly anything special :’) They literally are crackers that taste like Naan bread…I think it’s because I love the flavours of Indian cuisine (especially naan bread) so these were bound to be a winner from the start. I have tried both the multiseed naan crackers and the tandori crackers and both are divine. For £1.35 I would give them a go, and see if you become as obsessed as I am :’)

3) Pikelets36320218_2012027678871481_2544576571633565696_n.jpg

I had never heard of these before and had to give them a try. They are a cross between a pancake and a crumpet but taste more savoury than a pancake with the texture of a crumpet. Overall, I’d say they are very plain tasting but the concept is novel!

 

36258397_2012027892204793_3033838703165308928_n4) Hartleys Cloudy Jelly 

I saw these in Tesco and as the flavours sounded different I wanted to try them out! I picked up the raspberry lemonade and the elderflower lemonade flavours. My favourite flavour was definitely the elderflower one as it wasn’t too sweet, but both make perfect summery flavours.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – May 2018

Where is this year going?! It is crazy to think I have nearly finished my second year at uni! With that being said, I am more than ready to have a break! :’) I managed to find some unusual treats this month such as Mochi, cacao nibs, and edamame pasta. Here are my foodie finds for May;

33691138_1961611787246404_8929202309343215616_n1) Bulkpowders Chocolate Orange Cookie

Yum. This is a soft protein cookie, containing over 27g of protein, that tastes so good! I love the chocolate and orange combo so this was bound to be a winner for me, but if that’s not your thing they also do a white chocolate and raspberry cookie. If you like soft cookies, you will love this. It costs £2.49 for one cookie, and although this may seem a bit pricey you do get a lot of protein for that…think of the macros! 😉

2) Sunwave Mochi Assortment33661822_1961612090579707_3655008531716767744_n

I first had Mochi ay Yosushi! and I honestly loved it so much I had to get some more. I actually bought this from Amazon (Here is the link if you’re curious ;)). The flavours here were red bean, peanut, and sesame.

Although this isn’t as nice as fresh Mochi, it still resembles it very well. I think I like this so much because it is the weirdest food I have ever had as the texture is so strange and chewy! Mochi is a soft ball of ground rice which is typically filled with a red or black bean centre and dusted with either cocoa powder, matcha powder, or potato starch. It originates from Japan, where they value the texture just as much as the flavour, which is what makes it so unique!

33657762_1961611887246394_350614015916900352_n3) Bulkpowders Wholemeal and Oat  Bagel

I love this idea of a high-protein carb, as it makes post-workout snacks so much easier! You get four in a pack, which costs £3.49, and each bagel has over 21g of protein. However, they are quite dry if you were to eat them without toasting them and topping them with something tasty. Nonetheless, I would get them again just because it makes life easier! I topped my bagel with almond butter, banana slices, desiccated coconut and cacao nibs.

4) Livias Kitchen Raw Millionaire Bites33464576_1961611797246403_1088987952878452736_n

These are so dreamy! They are chocolate orange flavoured mini brownies, with an oat base, a date ‘caramel’ centre and are topped with a raw chocolate brownie. Healthy alternatives to unhealthy treats are the best, especially when they taste as good as this. You get three in a pack, and although they are quite small they are very rich and so this makes them perfect to satisfy your sweet cravings!

33830480_1961611973913052_4659049895565459456_n5) Edamame Pasta

I actually posted a recipe for this last week using mackerel, olives, tomatoes, and lots of others yummy ingredients. If you want to check that out, I’ll link it here. You can get this spaghetti virtually anywhere now such as Holland & Barrett, Tesco, and Aldi (where I get mine from costing £1.99). It’s so versatile you can literally sub it for pasta if you’re looking to up the protein and lower the carbs of any dish. Other kinds of spaghetti similar to this include soybean and black bean, which both taste equally as good!

6) Bulkpowders Organic Cacao Nibs33766983_1961611920579724_966858865599578112_n

I promise this post isn’t sponsored by Bulkpowders…they just had a very good sale on at the time I placed my order :’). Although they do sound a lot like cow nips, these are actually a raw, chocolate superfood. They come from the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree. In terms of antioxidants, they have more than green tea, blueberries, and goji berries also, they are rich in sulfur and magnesium. A lot of people get confused between cocoa and cacao, so to clarify cacao is a more natural form of the cacao bean, that undergoes less processing than cocoa which dramatically increases the nutritional benefits. So cacao nibs are just one form that cacao beans can take. I will top my porridge with them or add them to Greek yoghurt for an intense chocolate hit.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

 

 

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How to Feel Confident in a Gym

I completely get that Gyms can be scary places at times. There is nothing more intimidating than when you’re first starting out, and it feels like everyone else around you knows exactly what they’re doing, how to work everything, and you really don’t. But everyone feels like this initially, the key is to keep going. I’ll be sharing my tips on what makes me feel confident in the gym so you can get rid of those pre-gym nerves.

1. Realise that everyone has an equal right.

I know this sounds very simple, but once I realised that everyone in the gym pays the same amount as me, it gave me a sense of entitlement. When I first joined the gym, I found myself only sticking to cardio machines, such as the cross-trainer and treadmill, as I felt self-contained and like I wasn’t going to get in the way of those serious ‘gym-goers’. Then I realised I’m paying the same amount as everyone here, and so I’m just as entitled to use everything. This also applies to those who feel put off by the weights section…just go for it and stand your ground!

2. Plan your workout.

I think half of some of the trouble is not that people don’t know how they are going to complete their workout, it’s what this workout will entail. I never step foot into the gym unless I’m completely certain of what my workout will be, and how many sets/reps of each exercise I’m planning on completing. This gives me a sense of direction and allows me to get the most out of my gym session, plus it takes some of the stress out of thinking what to do next, as it’s all there in front of you. Typically, I’ll write my workout in the note section of my phone so I can refer back to the same workout whenever!

3. Wear something that makes you feel confident.

This could be your favourite pair of gym leggings, or some new trainers, or anything else that makes you feel good and ready to complete an amazing workout. I’m not saying that what you wear will get rid of the worries you have about the gym, but it certainly will help in making you feel good! I believe if you feel good within yourself, your self-confidence will follow.

4. Go with a gym partner

So many people do this, and I think it’s a great idea when you’re new to the gym and still figuring out how everything works, and what machines work best for you. Despite offering many benefits, such as providing motivation and checking your form, a gym buddy can help you to figure out how all the machines and equipment work. Also, this one will help if you want to venture into the weights section.

4. Focus on yourself.

Don’t forget why you go to the gym in the first place. For me, I’m there to better myself, to improve my health and fitness, and to become the best version of myself – don’t let anyone get in the way this. I really focus on the quality of my workout when I’m at the gym, my form, and so many other things, that often I lose track of my surroundings and drown out what everybody else is doing or saying. Also, I know it may feel like people stare in the gym, but they might actually be taking inspiration from your workout – just be confident in yourself ❤

I hope this has inspired some of you to join the gym, if this is the reason why you have been putting it off, and for those of you that already go, to have an amazing care-free session,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Stay Motivated

I think we have all experienced a time where motivation levels reach an all-time low. A lack of motivation can make you feel so far from your goals, but this is most certainly not the case and a simple change in your outlook can help almost immediately. Hopefully,  this post will help you to get out of a motivation rut, and back to feeling unstoppable.

1) Acknowledgment

It is okay to feel unmotivated. I think when people feel unmotivated they fixate on this rather than the solution, or cause, but change how you choose to view your lack of motivation can easily overcome this feeling. Try and think if there is anything that might be directly affecting your level of motivation e.g, work stress, life changes, tiredness, no matter how big or small, any reason is valid. However, it may also be the case that you can’t think of anything that is negatively affecting your motivational drive, and again this is fine – motivation is not constant, and thank goodness not too, as we’d all be exhausted! It may be the last thing you want to do to try and rebuild your motivation, but to have a break from the gym, and thinking about fitness/goals can be the best thing. This time out will allow for you to feel refreshed, and ready to smash some fitness goals!

2) Change your workout routine 

Often, when we get settled into a fitness routine, it is very easy to become complacent. Ironically, comfort zones can be dangerous places! If you’re doing the same workouts day, in day out, it is inevitable that your motivation will decrease. Not only will this cause mental complacency, but your body will stop responding the way it used to, as it also becomes used to the same routine. You will notice the benefits of mixing up your workouts as the body responds best when it is challenged. There are so many ways to change the way you workout such as training with a friend, trying a new workout, even changing the time you normally train can make a difference.

3) Setting realistic goals

Having a goal to work towards increases my motivation so much! Make the goal specific to you, and really focus on achieving this. The goal can be anything from a new personal best, to simply going to the gym a certain amount of times in a week. It is also important that the goals you set are achievable whilst still have an element of challenge to them. Fitness journals are a great way to record your progress, goals, and achievements, as it can be so easy to forget how far we’ve come!

4) Reward yourself

Closely related to setting goals is rewarding yourself when you achieve them! All work and no play is most definitely not fun, so when you reach a goal, give yourself a reward. My reward always seems to be new gym leggings, you can never have enough :’)

4) Take it back to the beginning

What made you start your fitness journey? How motivated did you feel when you first started getting into fitness? It’s about rekindling that initial drive that got you started and reminding yourself exactly why you do what you do. For me, I always try and be the best version of myself that I can, when I workout it’s a celebration of what my body can do!

Thank you for reading, and I hope this post has helped you in some way,

Jazzy B ❤

 

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Foodie Finds – February 2018

My foodie find for February, 2018! This month sees lots of goodies (mainly cookies and biscuits :’) ).  I hope you enjoy ❤

1) Weetabix ProteinIMG_1257

If you’re a fitness freak who loves their Weetabix, then this is the one for you! The taste is exactly the same, but with added wheat protein making achieving those macros a lot easier. This tastes great with blueberries, banana, and peanut butter. Also, unlike a lot of cereals, this one is very low in sugar.

IMG_12992) Alpen Jaffa Cake bars

Jaffa cakes have always been my weakness …apparently, I used to hide boxes of them under my bed as a child, like a dirty little Jaffa secret! :’D. But Jaffa cakes and fitness certainly don’t go hand-in-hand, so I was very pleased when I discovered these. They’re only 70 calories per bar and actually taste like Jaffa Cakes.

3) Aldi Brown Lentil SupermixIMG_1267

I actually only picked this up as an alternative to Quorn mince, but really enjoyed it! It contains brown lentils, peppers, red onion, and tomato. It’s such a versatile product and can be added to any dish to up the micronutrients and the protein. Also, I love the fact that its pre-flavoured, making meal times that bit easier. I used this to flavour up my Buddha bowl, but I think this would also taste amazing in a wrap, too!

IMG_15384) Siro Sugar-Free Biscuits

 

These are like guilt-free hobnobs, what is not to like? Don’t let the fact that they are sugar free put you off…they are so moreish and make a great sweet treat. Also, I noticed this brand has some other fab sugar free foods such as cookies and digestives…count me in!

 

 

5) Quest Lemon Cream Pie BarIMG_1385

Personally, I find Quest bars so hit-and-miss, and this one was definitely a miss! It tasted like lemon bathroom cleaner, and so I definitely do not recommend this flavour! I think its best to stick to chocolate flavours where Quest is concerned!

 

 

IMG_14706) Battle Oats Protein Cookie

Amazing. This has the texture and flavour of a regular cookie and contains 10g of protein too #winning ;). It tasted SO good, you need to treat yourself to this!

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – January 2018

Finally, January is drawing to a close (I swear January feels like it lasts forever!). I hope you’re still smashing those new years resolutions!? Start how you mean to go on 😉 Here are my favourite goodies that I found this month, hopefully, there is something in here that you’d like to try!

1) Cashew butter 27606311_1804433356297582_1207497849_o

There are so many nut butters available it’s starting to make peanut butter look boring! I found this in my local Tesco for £2.50 which is not a bad price at all! They also do a crunchy version, if that is your thing. I love how sweet this tastes, compared to peanut butter. It tastes even better when on some toast topped with banana and blueberries.

2) Somebody Watermelon Water27651210_1804433069630944_1282670357_o

Curiosity got the better of me on this one 😉 Admittedly, it is not as sweet as I thought it would be, however, I do like that fact that it has added L-carnitine ( know for its fat loss properties). Although don’t expect to lose weight when drinking this, as it is added in such a small quantity! :’)

 

3) Tetley Matcha Green Tea27605114_1804433236297594_1647706051_o

I love green tea. To me this doesn’t taste a lot different to regular green tea, it definitely has a smoother taste, however.  I’ve always wanted to try matcha green tea, but it’s so expensive, so I think I’ve found my solution ;). Whatsmore, with added Matcha, it makes drinking a cup of this a day even more beneficial to your health! definitely worth a go, if you’re wanting to try the whole matcha thing!

4) Meridian Peanut and Cocoa Bar27651286_1804433089630942_1641019658_o 

This tasted amazing! It has a really nice chocolatey taste to it, and you can really taste the peanuts. The two complement each other really well! Also, it’s not bad on the protein front with 6g per bar, making it the perfect chocolate treat.

 

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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5 Things to Instantly Make You Feel Healthier

Let’s face it, new year and Christmas have been and gone, we all indulged (as you should too!) but now you’re wanting to get back on track and start the new year how you mean to go on. If you’re like me, I like to feel my best rather rapidly after the post-Christmas chocolate binge, although this may take more than a cup of green tea, with these 5 feel-good tips you’ll be well on your way.

IMG_09731) Lemon water and honey

I love starting my day off with half a slice of lemon in some hot water with a drizzle of honey, not only does it smell so refreshing but it’s so invigorating not to rely on caffeine to start the day. There are many benefits to the lemon and honey combo, as it helps digestion, prevents acne, and boosts immunity. It’s also known to detoxify the liver (great for those who are not doing so well at dry January or had a few too many at Christmas ;))

2) Snack wellIMG_3901

This one is very tricky when there is a half-eaten box of celebrations calling your name. To overcome this, I’ll put all of the leftover Christmas goodies in one cupboard and pray that out of sight out of mind really works ;). I’ll also do a food shop for my healthy essentials, and fill the fridge with wholesome, nourishing foods to encouraging healthy snacking once again!

IMG_83843) Include a side salad with every meal

This is also a great tip for portion control, as the portion sizes become far more generous over the festive period! Not only does it make your plate nice and colourful, but it makes you conscious of how much food you have on your plate. Of course, salads don’t have to be boring either, I’ve noticed lots of lower calorie salad dressings hitting the supermarket shelves which will most definitely spice up any bland salad! For me, a salad is not complete with avocado (my obsession lately)!

4) ExerciseIMG_9573

Possibly the last thing you want to be thinking about after a lovely Christmas, but for me, nothing can beat that post-workout feeling. Exercise doesn’t have to be an hour of cardio on the dreadmill, it can be something simple like going for a walk or jog! Also, if you’re not quite ready to go back to the gym, Youtube offers a great selection of workout videos. A few channels that I recommend you subscribe to include ‘Group Hiit’, ‘The Bodycoach TV’ and ‘FitnessBlender’. They each offer loads of workouts lasting about 20 minutes, which is a great way to start your day.

 

5) Relaxation

IMG_8778Being a psychology student, of course to me health is so much more than physical. There is a study by Holmes and Rahe (1967) in which Christmas makes it onto the list of the main life events that people rated caused them the most stress! Therefore, it is so important to take time out for yourself, not only over the festive period but all year round. Some options that I find work best are getting lost in a good book, having a candle-lit bubble bath, doing 30 minutes of yoga or guided meditation (again a quick youtube search will bring up thousands of guided meditation walk-throughs). When I do yoga, I use an app called ‘Yoga Studio’ that costs £5.00 on the App Store and Google Play, I love the fact that you can do it in your own home, too!

I hope you’ve found this post useful,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – December 2017

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and new year! To me, every Christmas has a different feel to it, this year it most certainly was a busy one spent with lots of family and friends…So busy in fact, I’m a bit late on posting this blog. Nonetheless, it’s here and packed full of goodies that I hope you want to give a go…

1) PHD nutrition protein bar 26829505_1777633395644245_1948590545_o

I’ve always wanted to try these bars, and I’m very glad I did. I tried the cookies and cream flavour which was so good. The macros are very good with 20g of protein per bar, and also it is low in impact carbs. For me, nothing can beat Grenade, although these are still well worth a try.

26828075_1777112902362961_1908502013_o2) Off the Eaten Path, pea and pinto bean sticks

Probably the best ‘healthy’ crisps I’ve tried. I found these in my local Sainsbury’s, they also have a good range of flavours to choose from, this pack is caramelised onion and balsamic vinegar. I love that they’re made out of something different other than potato, and plus the packaging is so cute!

3) Hike mince pie protein bar26735389_1777111982363053_1243747164_o

Personally, I wouldn’t describe this as a protein bar, it’s more like a natural fruit bar as its made mostly out of dates. Each bar contains 10.5 g of protein, which is fairly low compared to some of the others. But… If you like mince pies, then you can’t fault the flavour of this bar!

 

26772527_1777527892321462_1234427835_o4) Bulk powders honeycomb malted chocolate

One of THE best flavour of protein powder that I have tried. Bulk powders definitely need to make this a permanent one in their collection, as it tastes amazing. Unlike others flavours, this one really did taste like what it says on the packaging, it’s just a shame that it’s limited edition, otherwise I would definitely be placing another order!

5) Sweet Freedom caramel choc shake26828247_1777670438973874_1000653239_o

You know you’ve made a good milkshake when you just can’t put it down, this new product from sweet freedom is a milkshake game-changer. I love that it’s so quick and simple to make, and literally only requires you to mix a tablespoon of the chocolate into some milk. Also, it tastes even better when you forth the milk! I’ve noticed they do a banana flavour, which I will be giving a go.

 

26782094_1777673552306896_1147944537_o6) Moser Roth Salted caramel dark chocolate

Becuase what would Christmas foodie finds be without a bit of chocci involved?! Seriously this stuff is amazing, the dark chocolate and salted caramel go so well together…I think I’m addicted!

 

 

7) Wholewheat noodles 26828352_1777663452307906_1527648070_o

I picked these up from Tesco recently, and they’re fab. They only take 6 minutes to cook (either stir-fry or boil) and when flavoured well, they make the perfect addition to a stir-fry. Noodles are so great to incorporate into your diet as they are high in protein, and vegan-friendly, what with ‘veganuary’ now in full swing!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤