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.

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Healthy Lifestyle Update #5

My weight has fluctuated this month which has been frustrating. Instead of having my usual cheat meal on a weekend before drinking, I have been having unhealthy weekends which are stunting my healthy efforts during the week. However even though my weight has been going up and down my total weight loss is now four stone and two pounds. Only losing two pounds this month isn’t great but reflecting and writing this update has given me the push to refocus.

Last week I went back to the gym and surprisingly my knee held up pretty well. I expected it to hurt a lot the next day but it was fine so I want to get back to going three of four times a week. Even though it has been a mixed bag for me month, I feel motivated to make progress at the gym and carry on losing weight. It has been nice to feel more confident and this weekend I bought some new clothes. Whilst I still don’t fit into everything in high street stores, it is nice to be able to walk into shops, see something I like and be able to buy it! It sounds silly but it really is refreshing!

I have three and a half months until I go back to university for my final year and I would quite like to lose another stone before I go back. It’s time to refocus and make the gym a habit and hopefully carry on making progress!

I have received some really nice comments from people in my personal life and other bloggers about how my updates have been helping and inspiring them to lose weight. I never thought that would happen and it is incredible to know my posts may be helping someone! I recently published a post discussing different healthy alternatives I have incorporated into my diet but thought I would give a few more general tips that may help anyone wanting to lose weight but not really knowing where to begin.

Track what you eat

You may be surprised at the nutritional content in foods advertised as healthy so keeping a diary of everything you eat can help you understand the science behind what you are putting into your body. Apps such as MyFitnessPal can be extremely helpful, allowing you to scan barcodes to quickly know the nutritional content of the foods you are eating. I tracked what I was eating for around two months using MyFitnessPal. Logging in each day was sometimes tedious but the app soon learns the food you eat regularly, speeding up the process. My iPhone also automatically synced my step count into the app which gave me a rough idea of how many calories I had burnt once I had entered my height and weight. You can also add in any other exercise you do and enter your weight at different points giving you a general idea of how you are getting on. Whilst apps can be helpful remember they aren’t 100% accurate so take the results with a pinch of salt!

It will take time

I remember seeing a picture years ago saying it takes one month for your friends to notice a difference in your weight loss, two months for your family and three months for yourself. This is surprisingly accurate as people who see you less will notice differences faster. We are always going to be harder on ourselves but remember changes won’t happen overnight but if you keep pushing forwards you will soon start to see progress!

Take photos to track your progress

When I look back at old photos I am shocked with how big I was. I have a long way to go but having old photos is a good reminder of how far I have come and can be really motivating to keep pushing on. Take photos at regular intervals so you can document how your body is changing, you will be surprised how quickly you start to notice differences.

Only weigh yourself once a week

It can be easy to become obsessed with the number on the scales particularly once you start to make progress. Your weight will fluctuate from day to day and know the number on the scales is not the be all and end all. Aim for feeling healthier and better within yourself and your weight loss should follow. However I do believe weighing yourself once a week can be a good guide to tangibly track your progress. I use the same scales each week when I wake up on a Saturday morning – make sure you weigh yourself on a flat, hard surface avoiding carpet. Keep a note of how much you weigh so you can track your progress over time!

Be realistic

Every person is different so finding the right diet and exercise balance for you will take time. I avoid carbs because it suits my low-energy job but others with more physically demanding jobs will need carbohydrates to keep them going throughout the day! Find what works for you and remember losing weight really is simple. Eat healthily and move a bit more and you should start to see progress! If you don’t feel like you want to go to the gym right away, start off with taking the dog for a walk or set yourself a goal of how many steps you want to do each day. Little changes will be easier to stick to and you can build up what you are doing over time. Also remember one unhealthy day won’t undo all your hard work so don’t be too hard on yourself!

Find out what works for you and stick at it, it will be worth it in the end! See you next month for another update!

Healthy Lifestyle Update

In my New Years resolution post I mentioned that one of my goals was to be healthier, lose weight and drink more water. I know, how original! However I am pleased to announce it has gone really well and in a month I have lost 1 stone, 9 pounds (10kg for any American readers). I made a drastic change to my eating habits and started moving more and I am really pleased that I am making progress! (For anyone worrying, I know that seems like a crazy/worrying amount to lose in four weeks but I believe it is relative to my size and I am eating plenty of food and not crash dieting. It’s going to be a long process and I know my weight loss will slow down considerably very soon.)

I thought I would share with you all the changes I have made to my lifestyle that has led me to lose weight. In fact I want to share with you my weightloss secret.  Daily we see various diets claiming to be the next best thing or the quickest fix but the real secret is there is no secret. In my mind losing weight or feeling healthier is simple. Eat healthy food, drink more water and move a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, this can be daunting and just the idea can leave you exhausted, reaching for a cup of tea and biscuits. But if you are considering starting a healthier lifestyle, know you can do it, in your own time and at your own pace.

Food

Before I began this healthier lifestyle I used to eat very badly. I loved bread, in fact I still love bread. To me there was nothing more satisfying than a sandwich or bread with dinner. I also used to love mayonnaise and cheese which everyone knows isn’t the healthiest of options. When I was bored I would eat and my snacks were excessive pretty much verging on another meal. I also used to eat fast food and go to restaurants a lot (I’m worried KFC and McDonald’s will go out of business now I am being healthy).

So I decided to really try and make a drastic change to my diet for one month to see how I got on. I essentially have no carbohydrates after my cereal at breakfast. At first it was difficult but now I have easily adjusted and am used to eating other foods. I have included some examples of what I typically eat for dinner now.

As I have removed carbohydrates from my diet, I pile up my plate with loads of veg and meat to ensure I am still eating enough. On the left is a stir fry including chicken, courgette, broccoli and mushrooms and I ate pretty much the entire pan. To avoid using oil, I add a little water into the pan to ensure the chicken doesn’t stick and the veg can cook. I finished this off with garlic and soy sauce. On the left is a rare steak (cooked in coconut oil), courgetti and red cabbage. I try to avoid oil most of the time but went for coconut oil as I think it is the healthiest oil choice you can make.

Oddly enough, my friends and family have asked me if I struggle the most at work but I actually find it the easiest place to remain determined. It was a sad day when I had to tell Chicken Saladmy colleagues in the office that I was no longer going to be having McDonald’s breakfast Fridays but other than that I get through work with ease. I prepare a salad in the morning every day with loads of different fresh fruit and veg piled on top of baby spinach and iceberg lettuce! If I am organised enough, I also add some meat in that I prepared the night before. To the left is a sweet chilli chicken salad that I had the other day.

I also wanted to share a product I found that can be a really good replacement if I am craving carbohydrates.Barenaked Noodles I stumbled upon Barenaked Noodles the other day in Sainsbury’s and decided to try it as it boasts having only eight calories per 100g. For £2 a pack it is a little more expensive than your regular equivalent but there is enough for two meals. If someone had served me these noodles without telling me they were different I don’t think I would have noticed. The texture and taste is very similar to normal noodles and served with a sauce they are a great substitute to try. If you are trying to lose weight, give these a go!

Exercise

In the past I did very little exercise so I have set myself the target of doing 10,000 steps a day. On the Health App on my iPhone I looked through what I used to do and realised I didn’t walk very much. I thought beginning with 10,000 steps a day would be a good way of easing myself back into exercise but I know I will need to step it up in the near future if I want to continue to lose weight and get in better shape. Some days when it is cold, windy and raining it can be hard to motivate myself to get up and go for a walk but I have forced myself to go. I think my dog is loving all the extra walks he has been getting!

Water

I have been drinking more water but still have room to improve. I make myself drink at least a litre at work but its the evenings and weekends where I tail off. I love Diet Coke and still drink it a lot. I know it isn’t healthy but for now I consider it to be a treat for myself as I push forward with food and exercise. I know eventually if I truly want to be healthy I will need to drastically cut down but for now I’m letting it slip.

Whilst I have made good progress with my diet I don’t want anyone to feel pressure to follow a similar process. All of our bodies are different and we all have different lifestyles. My job requires me to sit at a desk all day so I feel like this diet suits my day to day life however someone in a far more active job would need more energy. I also want to make it clear that carbohydrates aren’t bad for you. Whilst I have cut the majority of mine out I will eventually re-introduce them and when I do I will try to choose the healthiest ones possible. We all know chips aren’t good for you but by all means grab a jacket potato or have sweet potato mash!

If any of you have any tips or advice I would love to hear them! If you are trying to be healthy, good luck! It is going to be a long road but I’m positive I will get there!