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.

Claud’s Cauliflower Couscous

It’s August and I am back in the Hamptons, living with my “second family” – a family whose 3 children I have tutored for the last 2 and a half years. Going away on a tutoring job abroad is always an odd experience. Even when tutoring at home, there is an odd dynamic – you are invited into a family’s home and become a fly on the wall; you are trusted and embraced, and yet you are still an employee and so there is a divide. When you go abroad on such a job, the lines are even more blurred – There are times when life is incredibly stressful, and times when I am insanely bored! Generally though, the trip is a wonderful experience and with a family like this one, who I care about so much, the pros definitely outway the cons.

One of the best things I remember from last summer, and which I anticipated with great relish in the lead-up to my trip this year, was the absolutely delicious food. Two chefs, Claudia and Jack, take over the kitchen for the duration of the summer and prepare all meals for the inhabitants of the house. These guys are seriously talented makers of scrumptious food and the quantities I consume can hit a rather extreme level, even for me.

So for the remainder of the month, my blog entries will be “guest recipes” of Claudia and Jack’s. They cook such a wonderful array of very fresh, healthy meals and I think they deserve to be shared with you. The recipe today reminded me of my Cauliflower Egg-Fried Rice, and is a great summer version of that. It’s a perfect side-dish for a bbq, and is astoundingly filling, despite being comprised of just raw vegetables!

 

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Claudia’s Cauliflower Couscous Salad

1 cauliflower head (grated)

Cherry tomatos

Red onion

Chick peas

Fresh coriander

Fresh mint

Olive Oil

Lemon

Cayenne pepper

Cumin powder

 

I haven’t added amounts to the above ingredients list, just because it’s up to you! Who am I to tell you how many cherry tomatoes are enough, or whether the salad is minty enough. Add or remove ingredients as you wish.

Firstly douse the chickpeas in olive oil, cumin powder and cayenne pepper and roast them until they are a nice brown colour. Then mix the grated cauliflower, chopped cherry toms, chopped red onion, chick-peas and chopped herbs in a big bowl. Dress it with olive oil and lemon (again adding sufficient amounts to please your palate).

Serve and enjoy. And think of us enjoying it over here!20140811_122957 20140811_123021

 

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.

If the colours don’t make your eyes hurt, you’ve not done it right!Image

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.

 

Wet Salad

I’m off to Japan tomorrow morning! My family love travelling and this has been on our list for years, so we are so excited to finally be visiting. I’m quite overwhelmed by it all actually – I just can’t wait. I’m fascinated to see what it’s like, although a little nervous about the food, as I’m not a sushi fan…

I’m sure a post will follow. But for now I wanted to share my recipe for getting rid of all the leftovers in my fridge! A classic pre-holiday activity.

A few years ago an actor friend of mine came to crash with me for a few days. He was a very healthy man, in body and mind. He was very zen, and we had a lot of big deep and meaningful conversations while he was here. Of all my memories though, the residing image in my brain from his brief stay was the “wet salads” he always made, as he called them. These involved grating up very moist vegetables, to create a very soggy pile of raw goodness. Sound grim? It definitely isn’t.

Here is my Avocado and Chilli Wet Salad, as the beautiful and calm Vyelle would have called it. Enjoy your upcoming week, and I’ll see you all on the other side…


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Ingredients

1 large grated carrot

1/2 grated courgette

1 grated cooked beetroot

1 avocado

1/4 red chilli, chopped

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Black pepper

Mix it all together, and what have you got…? Delicious fridge-emptying goodness, that’s what. Happy holidays!

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Jazzed up Greek Salad

ImageLast week I felt dehydrated. I was drained, and woke up every day with a headache. Obviously my body was lacking water, but I felt like I was drinking loads.

Time to bring in the back-up… water in food. I decided to make a mammoth-sized salad, greek style – but with added bits, vegetables that are known for being high in water content. I added mushrooms and beetroot, so the ingredients were as follows:

 

Lucy’s Jazzed up Hydrating Greek Salad Bowl

Leaves – kale and rocket (half a mixing bowl full!)

Tomato

Cucumber

Red Onion

Mushrooms (briefly cooked in a teaspoon of coconut oil)

Beetroot

Feta

Plenty of dry oregano, olive oil and lemon juice to dress it

 

It was absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. Remember, a lot of the time you feel hungry, your body is actually just thirsty. You’re dehydrated. Our bodies are about 60% water! And I know I’m not the first blogger to point that out! This is not me saying that every time you’re craving something to eat, you should just drink water. You need to know your own body and judge every feeling individually. I know when I’m occasionally feeling faint and my body actually really needs fuel, and I also know when I’m just restless and a bit dehydrated, so I’m reaching for the peanut butter and the teaspoon!

But this salad did just the trick. It filled me to the brim, and I was peeing non-stop for the rest of the day (now we’ve discussed going to the toilet, we’re all very good friends).

Try it yourself and notice how good you feel. It’s not just the water in all those vegetables, but the nutrients in so much raw food.  Enjoy!

 

See my post on Lucy Salads for other suggestions for mammoth-sized salad bowls to fill you up, and see my post on greek food for breaking down the various advantages of such a salad. And finally, read here why kale is such a fantastic way to bulk up your salad.

 

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San Francisco – My healthy recommendations

I am currently in the magnificent US of A again. I can’t get enough of this country!

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Me and Helen at a particularly extravagant buffet in Dubai last year

This time I’m in California visiting a very good friend of mine. Helen and I were at school together, then both went to Cambridge before finally following each other to London post-university. We’ve followed each other around for over a decade. As a result, I found it very sad when she revealed to me last year that she was going to move to San Francisco indefinitely. I promised to visit before the year was out, and so here I am.

I have been to San Francisco many times before with my family, but always as a tourist. As a result I’ve always liked the city but never loved it, because it’s hard to really get to know a place when you’re doing all the things the locals don’t do and none of the things that they do! Within a couple of hours of landing in San Francisco this time, and trundling my suitcase from the BART station to my friend’s house, I had fallen more in love with the city than I could ever have imagined. And I love it even more now that I have a better appreciation of health and fitness, because it has got to be one of the healthiest seeming cities in America. Last time I was here I was still at university, and eating family packs of crisps as a mid-morning snack! Suddenly I’m incredibly aware of all the joggers out with their dogs, all the amazing omelette options at brunch, and all the lovely organic deli shops on every street corner! Of course it’s always easy to be unhealthy, but in this city it seems that it’s also easy to be healthy and love it.

I am now on my way to LA (healthy and unhealthy in very different ways), and then I will be moving on to Vegas on Friday (hideously unhealthy) but my short time in San Francisco over the last week has changed my opinion of the city forever. As my bus pulled out of the city over Bay Bridge, I felt incredibly sad that I would only be returning a day before flying home to England. In my brief time here with Helen, I already have a few recommendations for the healthy foodies out there who are lucky enough to live in/visit San Francisco.

1.  Judy’s on Union Street for brunch. Get one of their omelette’s – it’s basically a pile of delicious food with a lid of omelette on it – like a literal egg pie. And if you have the choice of what bread to get on the side, have their home-made pumpkin loaf. It’s melt in the mouth good.

2. Go and help yourself to a sold-by-weight salad bar at the Wildflower Cafe near the famous TransAmerica building. I met Helen for lunch one day and she took me here. I’d like to publicly apologise online to her for not engaging in any conversation properly because I was constantly making sounds of delicious approval and pointing out that the eggplant salad/chillied broccoli/green bean salad/curried chicken/vietnamese noodles/beetroot wedges were to die for. If you want to fill your plate high though, do prepare yourself for the salad to come to over $10. Absolutely worth it though.

3. If you are a porridge lover, which I am to a dangerous level, and you need some food on the go, head to Blue Fog market and get their Oh! Meal! It’s porridge cooked with honey, ginger, lemon juice and a bit of cream cheese, and it’s honestly got to be the best porridge I’ve ever tasted. Again my enjoyment of the porridge rendered me incapable of conversation with Helen as we walked back to her flat. Sprinkle complimentary granola or blueberries on top to add the final touch.

4. Make sure you check out the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building. It’s open on Sundays and Tuesdays, and you have to hunt down the man selling home-made dips – houmous, babaganoush, pesto, aubergine dip. He will continue to ply you with samples of chunks of gluten-free falafel until you prize yourself away.

That’s all from me for now. Time for a little mid-journey snack – a fresh Californian orange and a packet of addictive lime and chilli flavoured pumpkin seeds. Wherever you are in the world, enjoy the rest of your week.

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