Leek, Mushroom & Pesto Soup

I haven’t been food shopping in a while and had some vegetables that need using up so improvised and created a new soup. As you can see, instead of bread, I dipped in some lettuce leaves which sounds depressing but was actually really good. But if that sounds a bit too healthy for you, you can always grab a toasted baguette or slice of bread.

I’ve put the ingredients and method below but if you want to add more or less of something or chuck in some other vegetables, go for it. Personally, I love garlic so added in a lot but if that doesn’t suit your taste then just skip that ingredient. Similarly, add more or less milk depending on how thick you like your soup.

Serves: 2     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 large leeks
  • 250g Mushrooms
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp Green Pesto
  • Romaine Lettuce Hearts
  • 50ml Semi-Skimmed milk (Or whatever milk you like)

Method:

  1. Slice your leeks, mushrooms and garlic cloves and boil them in a pan for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain your vegetables and put them back in the pan. Add in the milk and blend until smooth. Add more milk until you achieve the consistency you desire.
  3. Once blended, simmer on a low heat and stir in your pesto.
  4. Serve with your lettuce leaves or bread and enjoy!

Let me know if you enjoy this recipe, I will hopefully be posting a few more in the future!

If you liked this post you may also like my recipe for a Turkey Bacon and Egg Loaf.

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Turkey Bacon and Egg Loaf

If you’re like me, then you have the same few breakfasts repeatedly and can get a bit bored. So this morning, I tried something new and made a turkey bacon and egg loaf. It was almost like quiche without the pastry, but with some spinach and tomatoes on the side, it kept me full all morning.

I used turkey bacon but you could chuck in whatever you fancy. I’ve also made it with chicken sausages and pork bacon and both were great! If you’re going to use sausages, pre-cook them or at least partially cook them before you make your egg bake so you don’t get food poisoning. And die.

Below are the ingredients and method; if you make this let me know what you think! If you don’t fancy spinach and tomatoes on the side you could always have beans, toast or hash browns for a quick and easy breakfast!

Serves: 1     Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • A splash of semi-skinned milk
  • 1 small red onion
  • Turkey bacon (Pork bacon works well too)
  • Spinach
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes

Method: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Slice your red onion into small chunks and put two thirds of your chopped onion in a bowl. Keep the other third to add to your spinach later.
  3. Crack your eggs into the bowl, add your milk and mix. Also add in
  4. Use scissors to slice up your bacon into the bowl and mix into the mixture.
  5. Line your baking tin with grease proof paper or grease it with a small amount of butter. Add in your mixture and cook for 15-18 minutes.
  6. Five minutes before your loaf will be ready, put a small amount of water into a frying pan and boil your onions for two minutes.
  7. Slice your cherry tomatoes in half and chuck them in, along with the spinach and cook until the water is used up and spinach has wilted.
  8. Serve up your spinach and baked loaf and enjoy!

 

 

How Do You Cope Without Carbs?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get about my weight loss from friends and family is; how do you cope without carbs? Carbohydrates are a big part of most people’s diet and are generally loved by all, myself included. Back at the beginning of 2016, I set myself a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight but wasn’t sure if I would stick to it or if it would ever work. I didn’t like my size but at the same time I was lazy and knew it would take a lot of effort to lose weight. After a few days I decided to take it seriously and try my hardest to lose a few pounds.

So I stopped eating carbs, cheese, mayo and all the other things that brought me happiness and soon enough I started seeing results. However, there are a few things that I would like to say about my approach to losing weight. Firstly, I know that my diet was extreme and would not work for everyone. I was working at my placement company at the time so I sat at a desk all day, exerting very little physical energy so I did not need as much food for fuel as other people might. I don’t think I would necessarily recommend my diet to anyone; food and exercise is personal and it’s all about finding out what is healthy and works for you.

But in regards to coping without carbs, my answer is simple. I still eat a lot. But I just changed what I was eating. Instead of filling up on bread, chips and pasta, I started piling my plate up with vegetables and meat. I’m not saying carbohydrates are bad for you, they’re not at all, they help give the body the fuel it needs to get through the day. But for me, I was overeating and my greed caused me to gain a shed ton of weight over the years.

For Breakfast I usually have a smoothie but have recently been having granola with yogurt and fruit. For lunch and dinner, I will usually have cooked meals if I am at home, with some type of meat and a mountain of vegetables. But I have taken extra steps to make sure I am being as healthy as possible; I generally avoid processed foods, salad dressings, chocolate, sweets and cheese just because my main focus at the moment is losing weight and toning up. But this isn’t to say I won’t reintroduce these again at a later date.

Sure I miss chocolate and cheese, bread and pasta but I have learnt to give myself treats every so often instead. I eat Barenaked noodles frequently instead of pasta which I find work just as well in stir-frys or spaghetti bolognaise as regular pasta and noodles. I also try and opt for leaner mince, steak with as little fat as possible and cut off the fat on my bacon. I find these little steps help along the way.

I’m not really sure how to end this post or what my final point is. I guess I wanted to show that there are many ways to lose weight and it will be different for everyone. I know some friends and family who have had great results on Slimming World and others who love Lean in 15’s meal plans. It’s all about finding what works for you and ensuring you are making the right decisions to lose weight healthily.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have any good tips to share?

If you liked this post you may also like One Year, Five Stone or My Typical Workout.

One Year, Five Stone

If you follow me on Instagram you will have recently seen a photo I posted showing myfive-stone-weight-loss-ben-redgell weight loss progress I made in 2016. It hasn’t always been easy but I am pleased with the progress I have made and I’m looking forward to carrying on losing weight in 2017.

I think the New Year is a great time to reassess your habits and set new goals for the year to come. When I went back to university in September my healthy eating didn’t go to plan as much as I had hoped but the new year has given me new motivation to get healthy, drink more water and go to the gym a lot more. My graduation is likely to be in November and I want to look the best I can so I can look back at photos and be happy with the way I looked.

I have decided to stop eating carbs again which I did for around seven months last year and saw great results. Instead I will fill up on lots of fruit, veg and meat. I may try and introduce porridge to my breakfasts to give me fuel for the day but I don’t particularly like it and am enjoying smoothies at the moment!

I’ve also decided to seriously cut down how much Diet Coke I drink; I can easily go through a big bottle a day and have decided it’s time I need to cut down. I began this a bit last year and I started getting a lot of headaches when I began cutting down which showed me I might have been addicted to the caffeine more than I thought. Instead I will be switching to water or squash and only drinking Diet Coke as the occasional treat or when I drink alcohol.

If you are considering losing weight or getting fitter this year I would say go for it. Skip the fad diets and work out what works for you. In my mind losing weight is simple, avoid processed foods and opt for healthy options and do a little more exercise and you should start seeing results. But I know it isn’t easy and it takes a lot of will power and self control to choose healthy options, particularly if others around you are eating unhealthy foods.

Set yourself small goals that are achievable. If you have followed my blog or instagram for a while you will have seen that I like to measure my weight loss in bags of sugar and it was extremely motivating to track the progress I was making in a visible way.

I would also advise taking a picture of your beginning weight, even if you are never going to share your progress, just so you can see for yourself the progress you have made. I never thought a year ago I would be sharing progress pictures of my weight loss but I am a lot happier and confident today!

Finally I want to wish you good luck! Why not see if you can lose a bag of sugar this year?

If you liked this post you may also like Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or My Clothes Were Making Me Fat

 

We’ve Become Desensitised to Racism

I’m a white male and with that comes privilege. From a young age I always knew racism was wrong but also thought it was a thing of the past. We learnt about racism in history, we were shown the terrible treatment people were subjected to, we couldn’t believe how people were treated. I associated racism with older generations, too lazy or indoctrinated to change their views, a way of thinking that would be erased as the older generations die. But it’s 2016 and we still see racism daily; in the news, on social media, in person. Racism hasn’t left, we’ve just become desensitised. We’re so used to racism it no longer shocks us and that’s a problem. 

We only have to look at the UK and US to see just how many issues still haven’t been addressed. Brexit and the rise of UKIP highlights some of the issues we have here in the UK. Whilst I voted to remain in the EU, I understood there were logical reasons why some people were choosing to vote leave particularly in terms of business agreements and UK legislation rules. However, a lot of the Brexit campaign was based on xenophobia, using immigration as an excuse for the downfalls of our government and country. It seems almost ironic or simply ridiculous that a nation who controlled the British Empire and forced themselves upon countries around the world are now deciding they want independence.

Of course the recent US election bares perhaps an even more depressing reality check. A man ran a campaign fueled by hatred and intolerance and won the election. It baffles me that a man who is so openly sexist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic to name but a few, was voted into power. The majority of voters who voted for Donald Trump were college educated white women and I cannot understand how a woman was comfortable voting for a man who has joked about sexual assault and repeatedly made sexist, derogatory comments towards women. Regardless of Hilary Clinton’s flaws, she did not run a campaign based on hatred and intolerance and I believe her concession speech only highlighted the hopes she had for young girls and women in America.

As I write this I have just seen a story stating that a Mayor in America has said “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels” about Michelle Obama. Michelle, a woman who has fought to improve the education for girls around the world, improved the support for veterans, service members and their family and fought to address the issue of childhood obesity to name a few of her achievements. The fact that a woman who has achieved so much and has held her position with respect and dignity can be torn down because of her skin colour baffles me.

It’s 2016 and people still have issues over something people cannot control. The pigment of someone’s skin should not scare you, it should not intimidate you, it should not make you feel anything at all. Respect people’s heritage, celebrate cultures around the world, educate yourselves on different ways of life but do not allow someone to be discriminated because of the colour of their skin.

One of the most common excuses I have heard when witnessing an old person make racist comments is that it’s just their generation, they don’t know better. This very ideology is ridiculous, with age comes experience and they have witnessed the unnecessary horrors racism and discrimination has caused over time. If anything, older generations should be more switched on than any of us and realise racism only produces negativity.

As I write this, I’m reflecting on my own behaviour and prejudgments and I’m in no way perfect. I make assumptions based on stereotypes, I’m ignorant to a lot of modern racism issues that people face everyday. I’m worried I will come across as preachy but having the conversation is important. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently and have been discussing it with my friends but it was Hannah Hart’s video response to the recent US election that made me decide to write this post.

Have conversations, ask questions, challenge discrimination.

Have a great day,
Ben

If you liked this post you may also like White People, Get In Formation or White Supremacy & Cultural Appropriation.

 

Healthy Lifestyle Update #7

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I weighed myself the other day and realised I hit my sixth bag of sugar meaning I have lost over 30kg! My current weight loss stands at four stone, twelve pounds and I’m excited to shed two more pounds so I can hit five stone!

I feel like I am back on track with my diet and gym routine now but have recently decided to make a few changes. After chatting to my housemate about my current structure of strict weekdays and weekends off, I realised I was letting my weekend get out of hand, cramming in as much unhealthy food as I could manage before going back to healthy eating on Monday. I’m worried this is really slowing the progress I could be making so I’ve decided I am going to allow myself three cheat meals over a weekend giving me room to have a nice breakfast, lunch and dinner! Hopefully this should stop me going mad and eating everything in sight.

I’ve been having loads of smoothies recently in the mornings for breakfast using bananas, smoothie-over-carbs-ben-redgellfrozen raspberries and blueberries and any other fruit I can get my hands on. I’ve also been introducing wholemeal pasta and noodles into my diet which taste exactly the same as the usual offerings. I still drink a lot of Diet Coke which probably isn’t great for me but I will face my addiction one day and cut down (but today is not that day)!

I’ve been going to the gym with my friend Liz who has shown me a load of new sets to try which focus on my arms and abs. I also asked my Dad to search the garage for the old weights we used to have which he sent down with my sisters when they came to stay so I can use them on days I don’t go to the gym.

All in all I am feeling really positive going forward and cannot wait until I can say I have lost five stone this year! I’ve been thinking about how much more weight I would like to lose before the year ends – ideally I would love to hit six stone but that might be over ambitious but I can only push forward and see where I end up!

To keep up to date with all my over-edited healthy food pictures you can head over to Instagram and find me at chinsnomore. Or if you prefer twitter, my username is also chinsnomore!

Have a great day!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy My Typical Workout or if you’re interested in veganism head over to my friend Laura’s blog: My So Called Vegan Life

 

 

 

 

I Want To Go Travelling – But Where?

For a while now I have been thinking about going travelling after I finish my final year at university. I saved up over my placement year and realistically I won’t get a better time to go because as soon as I begin work I will more than likely begin the cycle most go through of getting a new car then mortgage, then miserable about the prospect of working for the next fifty years of my life! So before I have to take the final jump into adult hood I think I would like to go travelling and experience different cultures and places around the world.

But where? I have thought about the typical travelling package for people my age where you spend some time in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia which does look incredible but part of me can’t help but think I would rather travel around America instead. I love how each state offers different cultures, foods, experiences and sights and feel like you would never get bored travelling from state to state.

However, ideally I would like to go travelling with someone but not sure if I have any friends who would want to travel America for a few months over the summer. I’m also not sure how much it would be travelling from state to state by myself. I could do a few Trek Americas but I’ve been told by a few people that whilst they are great experiences, it’s cheaper to organise it by yourself. Another route I could look into is graduate schemes in America however that would come with a lot of admin including looking for a place to stay and working visas.

So basically I’m stuck with what I should do, where I will go and whether I should go travelling for a year or just for a few months before my graduation ceremony in November! If you have any advice or recommendations please let me know!

If you liked this post you may also like I Was On A Billboard In Times Square or Rockerfeller or Empire State?