Lucy’s November Challenge – Week 2

Happy Monday readers. After my gloating post last night, I think it’s time to move straight on to my Week 2 exercise plan.

Lucy’s November Challenge

WEEK 2

Monday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

Tuesday – Fitness Blender Arms and Cardio Workout (40 mins)

Wednesday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Butt and Thigh (10 mins)

Thursday – Fitness Blender 1000 calorie intense Workout (90 mins)

Friday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins)

Saturday/Sunday – Over the period of the weekend: Jog (30 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

And I also wanted to leave you with a sneak peak of some of the more impressive meals I have had over the last week. Onwards and upwards.

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Above is my all-time favourite breakfast: Carrot cake oatmeal. On this occasion I topped it with gorgeous slightly-sweetened nuts. Read about me discovering Carrot-cake oatmeal for the first time here.

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On Monday night last week, I was on my solely-fruit day. I made this incredible fruit salad bowl, which filled me up beautifully in the evening. It included gala melon, granny smith apple, conference pear, red grapes, mango and kiwi. Delicious, and certainly something I’m going to do again this evening! I know there is a lot written about sugar at the moment, and how even sugar in fruit needs to carefully monitored… However, I think every now and then, a bowl like this is a great idea. The sheer amount of vitamins and  minerals you get from this is incredible  – I feel giddy even just looking at it.

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Now this meal was a large effort but 100% worth it. It is a recipe from one of my favourite bloggers: Deliciously Ella. You can find the recipe for this stuffed butternut squash here, and I made a big pot of ratatouille to go with it. Recipe for that is coming soon.

Lucy’s November Challenge – Week 1 summary

Week 1 of my health-kick challenge is over, and I honestly feel better than ever. It’s time for a few very appropriate and very true Memes.

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My 3-day detox start to the week was a winner – I felt brilliant and it definitely rebooted my brain into a healthier mind-set. Then I managed to get through the weekend, attending birthday buffets and hosting dinner parties, with restraint but also enjoyment. I am enormously proud of myself, and it just proves how we can all overcome habits we feel are impossible burdens. You just need to break the cycle, and break it now.

Also, following an exercise plan worked amazingly for me. Yesterday I was in agony, but it was a great agony! My muscles were aching like crazy, which just proves how much more I was pushing myself this week than ever before.

I cannot wait to see the results if I carry on like this. Follow along with me, and see the change in yourself!

Getting back on – Lucy’s November Challenge

Life is good for me at the moment. I like being busy, and right now I am the busiest I’ve been in 3 years. I’m trying to run a theatre company, fund-raise, continue my tutoring work, keep up my Bikram habit, re-decorate my flat and hold down a social life all at the same time. It’s a lot of fun.

But when you’re busy, often something has to give, and for me it’s been the healthy life-style I’d adopted with such joy over the last couple of years. Since mid-summer, I have certainly let things slip. I am binging out on bad foods and I’m not exercising as much. And guess what? It doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t look good! A few times over the last month I have tried to instil some heavy will power and jump back on the band wagon, but to no avail. Oddly I think I need somebody to answer to, as well as myself. This morning it hit me: I’m going to answer to you guys – my readers! Because how can I sit here at my computer and preach healthy eating and active lifestyle if I’m going to house parties and eating family packs of doritos!? I can’t. So I’ve decided that to help me jump back into the healthy lifestyle I’d grown to love so much, I am challenging myself to the healthiest of all Novembers! And you’re going to keep an eye on me.

Each Sunday I will set myself fitness tasks to complete throughout the week, and I encourage any of my readers to join in! I will also document healthy meals I concoct and be more dedicated in posting online about such things. If I slip and fall off the track, I will tell you. And I hope that will be rare. I would love to hear if you guys try a similar thing, so do message me.

Today I did the first video of a 5 Day Workout Challenge created by Fitness Blender (one of my favourite fitness sites). I will aim to complete the challenge over this week as well as doing yoga and jogging. I am also going to kickstart this wonderful November with a basic detox. On Monday I will be eating purely fruit, on Tuesday purely Veg and on Wednesday a mixture of the two. I have done this in the past to boost my brain into taking things more seriously! But please don’t follow suit if you have never done it before.

Lucy’s November Challenge

WEEK 1

Monday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Weights (10 mins)

Tuesday – Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Workout Challenge Video 2

Wednesday – Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Workout Challenge Video 3

Thursday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

Friday – Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Workout Challenge Video 4 and Bikram Yoga (90 mins)

Saturday/Sunday – Over the period of the weekend: Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Workout Challenge Video 5 and Bikram Yoga (60 mins)

I will report back halfway through the week and at the end of the week. This is one girl taking control of something she has every capacity to take control of!

See you on the other side.

The Rainbow Salad

A couple of weeks ago I caught a virus. Let’s have some overshare time now – most viruses cause vomiting and diarrhea, but mine caused my whole body to just seize up. I had an appetite but anytime I ate anything my stomach would go into agonising cramps and swell up to pregnant size. It wasn’t a good look. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I spent 4 days solidly living off overcooked carrot and brocolli. That was all my body could handle. So now I’m out the other side, I’m craving that raw fibrous fruit and veg that I was deprived for that small period of time. 

So I’ve been making a lot of rainbow salads. Here’s how to do it:

In short… Pile as many different raw, brightly coloured vegetables on your plate as possible.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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In this photo, the salad is made up of a bed of spinach and kale, topped with tomatoes, white onion (I’m brave), grated carrot, chopped beetroot, raisins and fresh basil. I also always tend to garnish anything I make with chilli, because if you can top anything with ginger, garlic or chlili, you’re doing your body and your metabolism a favour.

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Now is the time to make a rainbow salad, while the sun is out and the heat is blazing. In winter, you won’t want this kind of thing, but right now it is easy to fill your body with this kind of goodness. So go raw, even just for a meal. “Thanks”, said your bod.

Roasted Red Pepper Houmous

I’ve been busy…

Last week it was my birthday, and on my birthday boxing-day I immediately jetted off to the Cannes Film Festival. This basically involves a long weekend of massive over-indulgence. The first glass of rose tends to come out at midday on the dot, and then the steak and wine keep flowing until the sun rises the next day. My poor body is in turmoil. On my last full day, I sought out a healthier option and found the most incredible quinoa salad at Mocca (a cafe opposite the Palais in the centre of Cannes). It was a delicious light option to counteract the abuse I’d been doing to my body until 5am the night before.

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I returned to England on Monday, and by God have you guys had the weather! Cannes was alright, but London was steamy! I made my classic avocado-heaped wet salad for dinner and begun the slow process of returning to normality. After a whole day spent in bed yesterday (yes, it was completely necessary), I jumped up this morning in the mood for some home-cooking. 

I’ve been wanting to make my own houmous for some time now, inspired by one of my favourite health-food blogs, Deliciously Ella. She has a wonderful recipe for normal houmous, and for red pepper houmous, and I made a version of the latter today. It turned out absolutely spectacularly, and I would encourage everyone to get on and make it! Like with soups, things that involve blenders are much easier than we realise. Just get your hands on a blender and start puree-ing food. Make like a baby, and eat smush!

Here is my slightly adapted version of Ella’s Red Pepper houmous.          

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Ingredients

1 and 1/2 tins of chick-peas

2 long, sweet red peppers

1/2 a chilli pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon tahini

Juice from 2 lemons

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup of water

a generous pinch of salt

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Cut the red pepper into slices and roast for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees C. Meanwhile, add everything else to the blender and whir it all together. When the pepper is cooked, add it to the blender and blend it all together once more. You may need to switch the blender off and stir the mixture a couple of times; You may need to add a little more water – but always be careful with the latter, as too much water will destroy the mixture. Always add very little by very little.

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Enjoy dipping healthy crudites in. “Thank you Lucy”, said my body, with a sigh.

 

Sweet Potato Fries

I have returned from the other side of the world!

Japan was absolutely amazing, and certainly changed my mind regarding Japanese cuisine – I used to think I wasn’t really a fan, but my mind has thoroughly been changed. I will definitely do a post on Japanese food and recommendations, but don’t want to delve into that until I’ve got all my photographs uploaded. So in the mean-time, I have a new healthy snack recipe: This is my method for making delicious but highly nutritious oven-baked sweet potato fries.

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Lucy’s Exotic Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries

1 sweet potato (or more… depends how many fries you want)

Coconut Oil

Paprika

Salt

Pepper

1. Chop up your sweet potato into thin sticks. Leave the skin on – the skin adds a lovely texture to the fries and also includes wonderful fibre.

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2. Pre-heat the oven to about 200 degrees C. Pop a dollop of coconut oil onto a baking tray and place it into the oven while it pre-heats (this will melt the coconut oil, so it is liquid).

3. Once the oil is liquid, bring the baking tray out and lay the sweet potato sticks onto it. Using your hands, toss the sweet potato around in the oil and sprinkle a healthy amount of paprika, salt and pepper on top. Scoop the sticks around a bit more (your hands are going to get very greasy and salty doing this, but that’s all part of the fun!)

4. Pop the tray back in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes (or as long as it takes for the fries cook all the way through – test by prodding with a fork and ensuring they are soft).

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I had my sweet potato fries with an epic Lucy Salad, whilst watching episodes and episodes of Revenge. A good evening was had by all.

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3 Ways to Help Yourself Behave

I’ve recently been trying to slim down a tiny bit again. All the usual things: summer is round the corner, my birthday is next month, I’m going to a wedding on Saturday etc etc. Anyway, I’ve found a few things that have really helped me stay on track – steering me away from the chips and dips, and towards the home-made soups and kale!


 

1. Fit-spiration

Many of you may have heard of the evil twin sister to this motivational technique – “thin-spiration”. Thin-spiration is a hideous hideous thing. It’s a word generally used by people suffering from eating disorders to describe the reams of photographs they look at of un-naturally skinny other people, whether they be celebrities or just other fellow anorexics. It is a distinctly un-healthy idea, but the need for inspiration to achieve our goals is a common one. I recently heard someone talk about “fit-spiration” and thought that sounded wonderful. Find a picture of somebody who is in excellent shape – slim but healthy. Somebody who is fit and strong. Make that your goal. I stumbled across this picture when I was shopping online for a new sports bra, and it’s stayed on my laptop desktop ever since!

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2. Health food blogs

I’ve previously talked about my favourite food porn website: http://beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood.tumblr.com/

But I’ve now got a new favourite health-food blog, and it’s all vegan. Readers, meet Deliciously Ella. Deliciously Ella, meet my readers. Once you find a brilliant health food blog, it’s easy to stay healthy yourself, because you crave their recipes. You want to make what they make, you want to eat what they eat. Gone are the desires for a Dominos pizza with burgers in the crust, and here come the impulses to make a vat of quinoa every weekend, just to add to all my dishes during the week. I want to make this, and this… and most of all these. Get a healthy obsession, and suddenly being good isn’t a chore.

3. Fruit and Veg Challenge

Recent research has found that our ideas of 5-a-day are way under what we really should be consuming. Apparently it’s more like 7-a-day. But let’s be honest, we all knew that the more fruit and vegetables we ate, the healthier and happier we’d be; There isn’t a limit. I’ve recently set myself challenges – every now and then I say, “let’s eat solely fruit and veg today”. It’s easier than you think. I eat fruit all morning, have a salad dressed with lemon juice and plenty of herbs for lunch, more fruit in the afternoon and then a home-made soup for dinner, or a mound of all my favourite vegetables: Green beans, cauliflower, aspargaus, mushrooms. Challenge yourself to eat 7 portions of fruit and veg today, and just see how much the bad stuff you consume goes down.

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