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.

Healthy Lifestyle Update #6

When I look at old photos of myself, I can’t believe I let myself get that big and there is no one else or anything to blame other than myself. Whilst I still have a long way to go, I’m happy with the progress I have made and am determined to keep going. My end goal is still my graduation in 2017 which gives me roughly a year to lose weight and tone up.

After finishing my placement I had roughly a month off before I came back to uni and my eating and diet definitely suffered without a structure. Working each day meant I had breakfast, a snack bar, my salad for lunch and dinner each day and it was easy to follow. Going to the gym after work also became part of my routine and meant I was going three or four times a week. However as soon as I finished placement I got lazy and let myself have far to many days off from eating well and doing regular work outs.

I’ve been back at uni a week and as expected went out a lot so didn’t pay much attention to what I was eating. However I am back on track this week and will be signing up to the gym as soon as I get my student card through so should soon be feeling like I am making progress again soon. I’m worried about final year at university too. I’m not in uni regularly and instead have to manage all my work so I will need to be careful to ensure I don’t let uni work become an excuse to skip the gym. As long as I am organised and committed I should be able to work out regularly and get my uni work done.

I’ve also made a few changes to my diet after chatting to my sister and a couple of friends. I’ve begun reintroducing carbs to my diet and have bought brown rice, wholemeal pasta and couscous to have with my evening meals or salads. I don’t regret being strict with myself for the majority of my year because cutting out carbs, junk food, cheese and other unhealthy options did work. I think the shock did me good and going cold turkey stopped me slowly slipping back to my old ways. But that isn’t to say I haven’t fallen of the wagon a few times a long the way! I didn’t expect it to be plain sailing and I’m sure the next year won’t always be perfect either but I’m back on it, I’m back blogging and am excited to throw myself into the gym and carry on changing my body for the better!

So hopefully the next few months will see me writing about the progress I have made and maybe I will post more about my diet and workouts along the way? If you don’t follow me already, you can find me on Instagram at chinsnomore where I post a lot of my meals if that is something your into!

If you liked this post you may also like to read about my weight loss tips or five easy, healthy alternatives I use in my diet!

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!

Five Easy Healthy Alternatives

At the beginning of the year I set myself a resolution to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. So far I have lost four stone and have been discovering different alternatives to incorporate into my diet when trying to avoid unhealthy foods. Before I get into my recommendations, please can I point out I am not a nutritional expert by any stretch of the imagination. Everyone’s bodies are different so what works for me may not work for you! You should strive for a healthy balanced diet and remember everything is in moderation – it is okay to treat yourself!

Craving Pasta?
If you love pasta or noodles then you could consider swapping over to Bare Naked Noodles or Slim Pasta. These alternatives are high in fibre and low in calories and can be added to all different types of meals. The only downside is they are slightly more expensive than your normal pasta products but I have grown fond of them whilst pursuing a healthier lifestyle as they are filling and versatile.

Is Spaghetti Bolognese your favourite?
A lot of people enjoy a rich spaghetti bolognese or warm chilli con carne made with beef or pork mince but these meats can be high in fat. Try going for lean mince for a healthier meal! Another alternative is lean Turkey mince or Quorn. They can add a different flavour dynamic and are lower in fat and calories. Try different mince and see which is your favourite, you may be surprised!

Love a stir fry or a nice steak but trying to avoid oil?
It can be easy to forget that oil can add extra calories and fat content to your meals whilst adding very little to the flavour. If you’re cooking a steak you could try using Fry Light which boasts just one calorie per spray. However it does burn up quickly so you may find it easier to use when cooking at a low heat. Whilst Fry Light can be a lighter option I regularly use water as a replacement for oil. A small splash of water will stop most ingredients from sticking to the pan and can be great when mixing different herbs and spices. Whilst it may seem odd at first, try using water and see what you think!

Fancy something sweet?
I prefer savoury but everyone fancies something sweet once in a while. When craving chocolate or sweets I often reach for some sugar free jelly or Angel Delight with no added sugar. These low calorie options can be perfect for satisfying your sweet craving and with a number of flavours to try you can mix it up without getting bored!

Do you love bangers and mash?
Most people enjoy a sausage sandwich but sausages can be high in fat and full of unhealthy ingredients. I’ve recently tried vegetarian sausages and was surprised with how good they were! They cook very fast so can be perfect when wanting a quick and easy meal and are lower in calories and fat content than meat sausages. Whilst I wouldn’t have them all the time, every now and then they can make a nice, healthy change!

Do you have any healthy alternatives that you enjoy?
If you enjoyed this post you may like my Healthy Lifestyle Updates!

Healthy Lifestyle Update #4

April has a been a mixed month in terms of pursuing a healthier lifestyle and weight loss. It was my birthday so that meant I gave myself some time off and enjoyed meals and drinks with friends and family to celebrate my 21st. I have only recently got back on track so am currently still feeling slightly guilty for all the unhealthy food and drink I have eaten. However when I reflect on the month as a whole, I have eaten healthily and managed to continue the low carb diet. My total weight loss is now 4 stone exactly which meant I hit my fifth bag of sugar this month!

Five Bags Of Sugar Ben Redgell

This month I got bored of my diet, particularly with dinner. Cereal for breakfast doesn’t particularly bother me as I’m normally in a rush to get to work so grab a quick bowl then head out the door. Lunch always consists of salad which admittedly is really boring some days. Usually it consists of lettuce, baby spinach, tomatoes and cucumber – sometimes I will add chicken if I bother cooking it the night before but normally it is just the four main ingredients. Generally though I don’t struggle too much at work because I know I don’t have unhealthy options in my bag or in the cupboard that I can go grab, which removes the temptation.

Although dinner gives me the most options as I have the time to prepare what I like, I was preparing the same few meals most days which got a boring. I didn’t look forward to dinner, it was more something to get out of the way and to satisfy my hunger. Whilst my meals didn’t taste bad I was getting bored of having the same thing over and over again so I went out and bought a load of different herbs and spices which I have been using on a trial and error basis. My current favourite is paprika and garlic chicken or turkey steaks. My dad has also been helpful in trying to get a range of vegetables for me in an attempt to vary my diet. I have also been having fruit with yoghurt and a bit of granola chucked on top for pudding quite a lot which I’ve enjoyed.

Unfortunately I haven’t been back to the gym. I’ve wore my knee support for a few weeks and was icing my knee regularly and it has started to improve. But if I still overstretch it, bend it or put it in a slightly different angle it tells me off. I fell up the stairs the other day chasing my dog because I was going too fast and must have been at a funny angle and it gave way leaving me to faceplant.  It’s frustrating knowing I am paying for a gym membership which I’m not using but I don’t really want to go to the doctors because I feel like they will just tell me to rest it and ice it which I already know. If anyone has any good tips on how to get your knee back to normal that would be great! I think I need to stop being lazy and walk the dog more because at least then it will be moving and hopefully strengthen back up over time.

A mixed bag this month really. I still feel fat and its hard knowing there is a hell of a long way to go until I hit my goal but at the same time I know I am making steady and consistent progress and just need to persevere. I’m sure everyone gets days where they feel like this sometimes when trying to lose weight so I’m not worried. Some days I feel a lot slimmer and I loved being able to buy my shirt for my birthday in a 2XL rather than a 3XL. Oh well, onward and upwards!

See you next month for another update!