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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.

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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 ❤

Blog

How to Stay Organised at Uni

Uni is 50% organisation and 50% hard work. If you manage to stay organised, and on top of essays, presentations, and exams…I can assure you, you will be fine!

What with exams only a few weeks away for most uni’s, I thought this post would be very relevant. It is crucial to stay organised, as there is so much you have to think about at uni, that it can get really overwhelming if you don’t. Although organisation can take some time to do, and feel like a chore at first, it soon becomes part of your routine. Also, the organisation helps you to work effectively which is definitely key when you’re trying to manage your time.

Here are a few of the ways that I stay organised at uni…

1.Plan your week

I do this using a desktop sticky-note app. I write down when my lectures are, what time I plan to go to the gym, and any other events or activities I have planned for the upcoming week. This really helps me to visualise what my week will be like so that I can allow extra time for things such as revision and coursework. As my lecture times are constant, I hardly have to update this so its a low maintenance way of staying organised!

2. Plan your mealsdiners

I discussed more on this in my post about how to stay healthy at uni, but I swear by it! I think there is nothing more important than a good diet when you’re wanting to perform well, and often round exams it can be a chore to spend time thinking about what to eat. To overcome this, I will plan my meals so that I know my body is getting the nutrition that it needs. Also, it’s cheaper to do this, as you’re not wasting food and you’re guaranteed to eat something healthy.

3. Write down all your goals before the week has begun

To me, this is the most important one, as it gives my week a sense of direction in terms of what I want to achieve. I also find this keeps me motivated, as I have a target that I can work towards. I will simply list all the things that I want to get achieved in the upcoming week. I list them all on sticky notes on my computer, so whenever I use my computer I’m reminded of what I need to do.

4. Make a revision timetable near exams

Call me the timetable queen :’) I’ve created so many of these, that I think I have an obsession.  Sometimes I’ll create a timetable of the content that I need to cover day by day, and other times I will create a more detailed timetable of everything I need to do in a particular time frame. The timetable below is the one I am currently going by to revise for my second-year uni exams.

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5. Utilise your uni breaks

Admittedly, the least appealing one here but, it will help you in the long-run! I’m not saying that you should do a 9-5 and study like crazy on your easter/Christmas break, however, you will feel more relaxed about things knowing that you have started to write an assignment due in, or started revision for an upcoming exam. It’s all about getting the balance between feeling refreshed on return to uni, but also having accomplished something to give you a head start for when things inevitably become more stressful.

Wishing you all the luck if you have exams or dissertations due,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

My Weekly Food Shop

As Sunday is my get-sh*t-done day, I thought I would share with you what my weekly food shop looks like, so if you follow my Instagram (@jazzy_b_fit) you’ll realise just how simple it is to make the meals that I cook. As I’m a student, I try to keep the cost of things fairly low, and I’ll spend anywhere between £18-£25 per week which covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and my snacks. Typically, I do my shop in places like Aldi or Asda as you get so much more for your money. My shop this week came to £25.65, which also included some extras that I don’t usually buy. I try to do a balanced and healthy food shop full of lots of fruit and veg, and a few yummy treats of course ;).

I always plan my meals from Sunday to Sunday, as I find meal planning reduces food waste and is cost effective. This is my meal plan for the coming week:

Dinners:
Monday – Corriander-lime grilled tuna steak with avo-cucumber salsa
Tuesday – Garlic mushroom chicken quinoa
Wednesday- Spicy chickpea and quinoa bowl
Thursday – Moroccan red lentil and tomato stew
Friday – Mackerel pasta
Saturday – Leftovers
Sunday – Cashew and Chicken Stir-fry

I’ve broken my shop down into protein, fruit & veg,  snacks, and carbs.

Protein:

You won’t find any meat in this pesci’s trolley…only fish and vegan sources of protein here! The most expensive thing here is the tuna steaks at £2.99, but in comparison to meat this is so cheap, plus it contains a lot of protein. The mixed nuts are mainly for snacking on, as they are high in good fats and of course, protein.

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Veggies:

As you can see, a majority of my food shop is fruit and veg! As well as using this for lunch and dinners I will tend to snack on things like avocado on toast with chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.

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Fruit:

I think fruit is also great to snack on and makes a great addition to porridge. The lemon and limes are for flavoring up some of my mid-week dishes. This is typical of the fruit that I will buy on a weekly basis, as its relatively cheap and versatile.

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Carbs:

I will only buy grains and carbs when I need them, and this week I didn’t really need much. Although I’m looking forward to trying the edamame spaghetti which has 22g of protein per serving! I’ll use the bread as a post-workout snack with peanut butter and banana or topped with smashed avocado.

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Thank you for reading and happy Sunday-shopping,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

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 ❤

Blog

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

Blog

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 ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – September 2017

For me, September is all about new beggings. It’s the time when I welcome the new academic year along with all its challenges and successes, not to mention all the comforts that autumn has to offer. Normally I’m a summer person, but this year I’m going to make an effort to really enjoy autumn and all its beauty. But for now I’m clinging on to whatever may be left of summer, and sharing with you my summer foodie finds. I hope you enjoy.

1) Oomf Protein Porridge Pots

I packed this in my suitcase whilst going abroad so I had something to have in the morning…as it was an awful flight time! Normally pots like this leave me feeling hungry about an hour after I’ve eaten them, but this one left me satisfied! The flavours are also great, I tried the golden syrup and cinnamon flavours which were both so tasty. I also love that they allow enough room for you to top them with whatever you like. With a whopping 22g of protein and only 10g of sugar, and no washing up 😉 you can’t go wrong! These little pots also feature in my latest blog post, How to Stay Healthy on Holiday.

2) Dr. Zaks Salted Caramel CookieIMG_7732

The thing I like most about this is that it’s like a cookie that you get from a bakery. Normally the texture of protein ‘cookies’ are like rock hard biscuits, which is so disappointing! For me the texture is spot on, it’s so gooey and just melts in the mouth, and the flavour is delicious. Of course, the macros are also excellent with 15g of protein and 2.4g of sugar. They also have a chocolate chip and triple chocolate…deffo on my list to try ;).

3) Pulsin and Beyond Raw Chocolate Chip Brownie

I’ve had a lot of ‘raw’ brownies, but nothing quite compares to this one! The taste is so rich and chocolatey making this treat so moreish. Also, it’s raw (which seems to be the craze at the minute) as it involves all natural ingredients, which haven’t been cooked, therefore helping to retain the nutritional benefits, plus it’s vegan too. If I ever want a natural alternative when I’m fancying something sweet, I shall definitely be returning to this. I had my brownie on top of some porridge oats, which worked a treat making this bar so versatile, but, you could also top your pancakes with it or have it as an evening sweet treat.

4) Grenade Banana Armour 

Grenade has done it again! There isn’t actually a single bar that I don’t love, they’re all so good and this one certainly was no exception. I’ve heard a lot of people on social recommending to heat the bar up in the microwave, and that’s just what I did. It went from an amazing protein bar to an even better protein dessert. It’s also limited edition so I’d go and grab one now!

IMG_76275) Sparkling Ice Water

This is one of those random drinks that I picked up at the airport, I fancied something fizzy, flavoured and kinda healthy and this is what I bought. It was strawberry and Kiwi flavour, and oh my gosh I loved it. Definitely one of those drinks that you can’t stop sipping on…it didn’t even make it on the plane, I’d drunk it that quickly. The whole bottle had only 12 calories, and if that doesn’t convince you enough…it’s green, so novel!

 

Well, that’s my September foodie roundup complete, stay tuned for what other groovy things I can find in October,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog, Recipies, Snacks

Staple Snacks

I. Love. Snacks. I’m most certainly not one of those three-meals-and-done kinds of people…I need my snacks! On a typical day, I’ll have between 2-3 healthy snacks, which is perfect to keep me going between meals.

What with supermarkets selling hundreds of snacks that are marketed to be ‘healthy’, but in actual fact are just as good as snacking on chocolate and crisps, it can be confusing to know what is actually healthy to snack on. Although the healthy snack market is really taking off, with the likes of energy balls, baked crisps and cereal bars proving quite popular they often contain a lot of sugar, along with other nasties. My advice would be to snack on whole foods/ home made snacks wherever possible. If I know I’m going to be out for the day, I will always pack some nutritious snacks to stop the temptation of impulse buying whatever takes my fancy.

Having tried a lot of snacks out, I’ve finally managed to nail down my absolute go-to’s. In my opinion, there is something for everyone whether you’re fancying something sweet, savoury, filling or a lighter bite, it’s all here.

1. Wholemeal Toast & Cottage CheeseIMG_6993

This tastes amazing with some salt and cracked black pepper, it’s also great in terms of fibre and protein. The bread I use is Tesco’s high protein loaf which only costs £0.80, and at 5g of protein per slice, you can’t go wrong! I know cottage cheese isn’t for everyone, so instead, you could always use cream cheese. Also, if you’re wanting a lower carb option, brown rice cakes and Ryvita crackers work just as well.

2. Greek Yoghurt & BerriesIMG_7218[1]

This is such an easy snack to prepare, just add a few dollops of Greek/natural yoghurt, top with your favourite berries and you’re good to go! Of course, you can top your yoghurt with just about anything such as honey, a sprinkling of your favourite cereal, or some grated chocolate, it’s all about finding the combos that you love.

3. FruitIMG_6999

Often if the sweet cravings are calling, I’ll go for nature’s candy 😉 It’s sweet, delicious and loaded with vitamins and minerals. I eat a LOT of fruit, but in particular, I tend to snack on apples, clementines, bananas and berries.

 

 

4. NutsIMG_7221[1]

If I’m a bit peckish I’ll have a small handful of nuts, as they’re full of good fats and protein they’ll keep you feeling fuller than you’d expect. My favourites include cashews, almonds and pistachios. Also, I’ll often buy a bag of mixed nuts which will be available from many supermarkets.

 

5. Apple Slices & Nut butterIMG_7148[1]

The classic Instagram snack! I know it sounds like a strange combination to start with but once you give it a go, there’s no turning back. I slice up a Gala or a Jazz apple (of course 😉 ) and dip it into some peanut of cashew nut butter. There is so many peanut butters out there it’s just a case of finding the few that you love. I would highly recommend Pip & Nut and Meridian for their nut butters.

6. Carrot Sticks & HoumousIMG_7002[1]

Basically the savoury version of apples and nut butter, for all of you savoury lovers out there! I love trying all the different houmous’ that are available, my favourites include sweet chilli, caramelised onion, and Morrocan style houmous (hummus/houmous…who knows lol?!)

 

7. Mini Oat BowlIMG_7102

Definitely the most filling of all the snacks, but great post-workout or if you want something that will actually satisfy you. To make this snack even more macro friendly, I’ll sometimes add a scoop of protein powder and top it with a few berries or some dark chocolate. I used 30g of oats, and just enough almond milk to cover the oats in the pan.

I hope you’ve found a snack that tickles your tastebuds, and that I’ve helped there to be one less hangry person in the world 😉

Jazzy B ❤