Dinner, Recipies

Edamame Pasta Dish

I’ve recently become so obsessed with using pasta alternatives such as edamame or black bean spaghetti! I prefer it to whole wheat spaghetti, as it actually offers nutritional benefits such as 22g of protein per 50g (amazing!) plus it’s also lower in carbohydrates, with only 16g per 100g.  Also, it is gluten-free, vegan, and a great source of fiber! Basically, I have come to love the stuff and so I really wanted to share a yummy recipe with you all so you could give it a go too!

This dish is one of my absolute favourites to make because it is quick, simple, and budget-friendly. You can find the pasta alternative in most supermarkets such as Aldi and Tesco, if not you can buy it online from Holland & Barrett.

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Ingredients:

  • Edamame or black bean spaghetti
  • Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red or white onions (diced)
  • Garlic
  • paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Basil (fresh)
  • Olives
  • Spinach

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Method:

  1. In a frying pan sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes and fry for a further two minutes
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the spaghetti (this cooks very quickly, and so it should only take between 5-8 minutes
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to to the frying pan
  4. turn the heat down to a lower setting, and add all other remaining ingredients and spices
  5. Serve and enjoy!

(I also added mushrooms and mangetout to my dish!)

Macros:

  • 319 calories (per serving, sharing the mackerel between two dishes)
  • 14.9g carbs
  • 10.2g Fat
  • 31.9g protein

 

You can also add any other veggies to this dish such as broccoli or top the dish with avocado, which also works really well. I hope you enjoy this healthy pasta dish,

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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Foodie Finds – April 2018

April saw sunny weather, my first cheerleading competition, and lots and lots of uni deadlines. But, I still managed to find lots of goodies for you this month…definitely, a chocolatey theme going on this month! ❤

1) Tesco Dark Chocolate and Peanut Bar 31369537_1922746384466278_7023050850775859200_n

This makes the perfect on-the-go snack and is also a great post-workout snack due to the high-ish protein content from the peanuts. Compared to other cereal bars, this one is good in terms of sugar, containing less than 7g per bar. The flavour is really nice if you like that peanut and dark chocolate combo (which I definitely do), but it is very chewy.

31354662_1922745437799706_5028719251150602240_n2) Tetley Mango and Passion Fruit Green Tea

I love finding new summery flavours of green tea. I’ve tried so many but thought this flavour duo was quite novel. In all honesty, this just tastes like fruity green tea, nothing too special. However, it still makes a nice alternative to ordinary green tea.

 

3) Siro Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.31265279_1922746327799617_8837376084648394752_n

Amazing. I love that companies are coming out with more sugar-free alternatives, especially with things that you would least expect such as this! Considering they have no refined sugars in, I think they taste incredible. I love to crumble one on my porridge in the mornings as they are so good. I highly recommend these!

31381231_1922745734466343_4619370827316461568_n4) Rhythm 108 Praline Bar

I’m always on the lookout for healthier alternatives to chocolate, and this one certainly comes close. It contains 47% less sugar than your average chocolate, it’s also vegan, gluten-free, organic…basically everyone can eat this! I couldn’t taste the difference between this and a normal chocolate bar, seriously good!

5) Doisy & Dam Chocolate Snaps31434445_1922746417799608_7271810365808181248_n

Definitely saving the best for last. Wow. I know there has been a lot of hype about their chocolate, but I thought it was just another fancy dark chocolate brand filling the shelves. Most definitely not! I love their creative flavour combinations, this one was maple, pink salt, and toasted rice – honestly one of the best dark chocolates I’ve ever had. I will be getting another lot soon, as I ate this pretty quickly. Plus the packaging is so pretty too. Please give this a go!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

Yes, food really does affect your mood.

When you think about what effects your mental health, the typical answers are stress, self-esteem, and relationship issues, to name but a few, however, we often underestimate the impact that food has on our mental health. When you consider the science behind it and the growing evidence that food has a greater effect on our mental health than we give credit for, I think we could all check what we are fuelling our bodies with.

There is no doubt that what we eat has an impact on our mental health, this link has been proven repeatedly. A review of studies looking into the issue of diet and mental health found that regular consumption of a Western diet (a diet consisting of highly processed and sugary foods) increased the risk of depression (O’Neil et al., 2014). Moreover, a poor diet is proven to impact biological mechanisms that are commonly associated with depression such as impacting the immune system and altering the levels of certain brain proteins potentially leading to depressive symptoms (O’Neil et al., 2014). This further strengthens the link between diet and mental health.

Moreover, some of the factors that contribute to poor mental health, such as stress, have been proven to influence food preferences. For example, a study by Kandiah, Yake, and Meyer (2006) found that when participants were not exposed to stress they made healthy dietary choices 80% of the time compared to when participants were exposed to stress, which they made healthy food choices only 33% of the time. This highlights an issue, the fact that something like stress can lead to poor mental health, yet when we experience stress we tend to eat unhealthier options, also negatively impacting our mental health. Therefore, healthier dietary choices could break this cycle as evidenced by Ansari, Adetunji, and Oskrochi (2014) who found that when fruit and vegetables weren’t consumed on a regular basis, there was a greater association with experiencing more depressive symptoms for both males and females.

Although there is little research on a diet that has been proven to reduce the likelihood of depressive symptoms and promote better mental health, there have been studies conducted on specific foods. For example, the following foods have all been linked to better mental health when in their raw form; carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit (Brookie, Best & Conner, 2018).

I hope you found this an interesting read,

Jazzy B ❤

References:

Kandiah, J., Yake, M., & Meyer, M. (2006). Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women.  Nutrition Research, 28(1), 118-123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2005.11.010 

Ansari, W.E, Adetunji, H., Oskrochi, R. (2014). Food and mental health: Relationship between food and perceived stress and depressive symptoms among university students in the United Kingdom. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22(2), 90-97.

O’Neil, A., Quirk, S.E., Houseden, S., Brennan, S.L., Williams, L.J., Pasco, J.A., Berk, M., & Jacka, F.N.(2014). Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A Systematic Review. The American Journal of Public Health, 104(10).

Brookie, K.L., Best, G.I., Conner, T.S. (2018). Intake of raw fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental health than intake of processed fruits and vegetables. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(1). doi: https://doaj.org/article/956172bb66c747b1a3efbf9a4a4d9023

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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 – 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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Cooking with Quorn

If you couldn’t tell already from my Instagram page, I am OBSESSED with Quorn. I think they offer such as a large variety of meat-free substitutes, that it makes it so much easier to stop/reduce your meat consumption.Whenever I talk to people about cooking with Quorn, they’re always a bit skeptical. So this blog post is for those of you who are unsure as to how to incorporate this fabulous food into your diet.

There are so many advantages to cooking with Quorn, a few include:

  • Cheaper than meat
  • lower in saturated fat than meat
  • very versatile – can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • high fibre content
  • guilt free

Cooking with Quorn is so simple. I love the innovations that the company is always coming out with, they now even do a whole vegan range. Also, they have bacon, chicken slices for sandwiches and snacks such as scotch eggs and cocktail sausages (which taste amazing!) It makes committing to these dietary choices so much easier, knowing that you can still have something that will provide you with protein, and far less saturated fat per serving.

Cooked BreakfastIMG_6755

Who doesn’t love a nice cooked brekkie?! For me, veggie sausages make a cooked breakfast SO much better, you also don’t feel bad for eating them as they a great in terms of macros. Plus, they make the best sausage sandwiches.

 

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Roast Dinner

A nice Sunday roast with all the trimmings, please. Yep, still possible with Quorn. On my roast, I will have a Quorn chicken fillet with everything else that usually goes on a roast! Also, it makes cooking a roast far easier if you only have to put a Quorn chicken fillet in the oven.

Spaghetti Bolognese24321736_1727072897366962_2087718851_o

This is a classic midweek winner, that you don’t have to miss out on if you’re vegetarian.  According to the Quorn website, when this dish is made with Quorn mince, it contains 90% less saturated fat than regular mince! When I make this dish for friends or family…I always tell them it’s made with real mince,  and half the time they don’t even notice 😉

24818822_1730014770406108_37254609_oChicken Curry

Curry is another classic that I couldn’t live without.  Quorn chicken pieces are great in curries, and reduce the cooking time by a lot…a win-win ;). The recipe for this red lentil and chicken curry dish can be found here, I highly recommend this as a mid-week dish as it is so easy and cheap.

 

As you become used to cooking with Quorn, you’ll realise that the possibilities are endless, you don’t have to stick to vegetarian recipes either, as Quorn work perfectly when subbed into recipes that would normally contain meat. Thank you for reading, and I hope I’ve inspired you to give Quorn products a go, even if it is only for one meal per week,

Jazzy B ❤

 

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Foodie Finds – November 2017

Now that November is over, it’s officially Christmas as far as I’m concerned! Time to put the tree up, blast the carols and get that Christmas shopping done (not before you’ve had a little scroll through my foodie finds of course ;))

1) Tesco Finest Rye and Pumpkin Seed BreadIMG_9430

It’s safe to say the winter carb cravings are well and truly here 😉 I love a nice piece of bread with my soups or stews, and for me this one is perfect. I love that it’s made of rye flour, plus the pumpkin seeds add omega and protein to this yummy bread. Also, it has a lighter texture than most other rye bread, which tends to be very dense. I made my Mum try a slice, and now she won’t have anything else that’s how yummy it is!

IMG_94902) Hi-pro Smooth Peanut Butter

This one is like your classic American style peanut butter, therefore it doesn’t require any mixing, unlike the more natural varieties. After seeing this PB all over my social media it had me curious. As nice as it is, I do prefer peanut butter to be a tad runnier as it’s easier to mix in with porridge, but still I’m glad I tried this one!

3) Myprotein Mugcake MixIMG_8938

I don’t know if it was me making it wrong, but this was not what I expected. Admittedly it does have a cake-like texture, but it tastes very bland unless you flavour it up with yoghurt, honey or fruits. The first time I made it, it genuinely looked like something nasty in my cup :’) Even so, I love the concept, and the macros are great with each serving having 25g of protein. But the mission continues to find the perfect mug cake 😉

IMG_97924) Sweet freedom chocolate syrup

I was SO pleased when I tried this! If you’re following my Instagram, you would have seen it on every bowl of porridge that I ate :’)! After having tried other ‘healthy chocolate syrups’ from various protein companies I was quite disappointed as the chocolate taste was so artificial. This beauty, however, will change your porridge game. The flavour is so rich and chocolatey, so you only need a small amount. Also, it is all natural and only 14 calories per teaspoon, safe to say I love it!

5) Livias Kitchen Biccy Boms IMG_9630

These are like chocolate teacakes, minus the marshmallow! They are covered in cacao chocolate, with a sweet date filling whilst the biscuit contains lucuma powder to give it a slight caramel taste. Per ball, they are 174 which is quite high for how small they were! I really wanted to like these, but in my books, they just weren’t worth the calories.

IMG_94896) Ryvita Rye Cakes

Can you tell I was a bit obsessed with anything rye this month?! What I liked most about these is that they go great with both savoury and sweet. They make the perfect snack, especially as they are more filling than they look! Worth a try if you’re after some new snacks, a few combos that I tried were peanut butter and banana and marmite and cucumber.

IMG_99627) Cocoa+ High Protein Chocolate Advent calender

Although I’ve been good and haven’t opened this one early…I still think it should be mentioned before it’s all gone 😉 I love the idea of a high protein, high-quality advent calendar. Each chocolate gives you 5g of protein and far less sugar than normal advent calendars, which I think is great. I.m so excited to try this one, especially as I’m always hearing good things about the brand…bring on the 1st (I will never be too old for an advent calendar!). Let the countdown to Christmas begin,

Jazzy B ❤