Gingerbread cookies

As its Christmas time, cookies, cakes and all the treats you can imagine, become acceptable to eat at any time of the day! So, to overcome this, and to still feel as if I’m indulging, I have recreated one of my favourite treats in a healthy, nutritious and protein packed way!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil,
  • 40g of coconut sugar (this gives a delicious caramel flavour),
  • 1 egg (whisked),
  • 2 tablespoons of Black Strap Molasses,
  • 30g of vanilla pea protein (I used MissFitsNutrition),
  • 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger,
  • 25g of ground almonds,
  • Date hearts

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C and grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Melt together the coconut oil, sugar and molasses until well combined.
  3. Add in the whisked egg, whisking until all the egg is mixed in.
  4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (except for the date hearts) until you have quite a sticky mix.
  5. Using a tablespoon, spoon out one tablespoon per cookie on to the baking tray and flatten with the back of a clean spoon!
  6. Place a date heart carefully in to the centre of each cookie and then pop in the oven for around 20 minutes!
  7. Most importantly, take out, leave to cool, eat and enjoy!

@_hannaheats

Hannah is a Blogger, Trainee Teacher, Taste-maker and Fitness enthusiast. You can see more of Hannah’s amazing recipes on her blog, Instagram and Twitter.

Libby from Libby’s Health Bites shares her incredible raw blueberry cheesecake!

Blueberry Raw-Food Cheesecake 
I decided to try and create a recipe for a raw cheesecake – filled with goodness and healthy fats from the nutty base and protein in the topping. You definitely can’t tell it’s “healthy” and you could adjust for any dairy-free alternatives in the topping!
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This recipe made two cakes, but I’m definitely going to make a big large one for a dinner party pudding later in the year.

Recipe:

Base “biscuit” layer:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 5 drops caramel stevia
  • 3 medjool dates
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

Top “cheese” layer:

  • 4 tblsp quark (or dairy free alternative)
  • 2 tblsp Greek yogurt (or dairy free alternative)
  • Squeeze lemon juice

To make, blend firstly the nuts until they are crumbs. Then add all the remaining base layer ingredients into the food processor. Keep blending until it forms a sticky crumb consistency.

Spoon out and place into a round mould (I lined with baking parchment too).

For the top layer just beat in a bowl the ingredients. Get creative and add any flavours you fancy. For example, a vanilla pod, pomegranate seeds, cacao or coffee.

Spoon on top of the base and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set, or freezer if you need in a hurry.

Finish with a few blueberries on top!

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For more amazing recipe’s check out Libby’s blog Libby’s Health Bites and her IG too @libbys_health_bites for some healthy treat inspo!

Having lived in London for almost a whole year (the fastest year I have lived through for sure so far!) I have managed to try out a lot of foodie places, most of which offer options for those of us who are ‘health’ conscious. I get asked quite a lot about some of my favourite places to eat, or if there’s anywhere I would recommend, so I have decided to compile together my favourite 5 (so far) into a handy little blog post for anyone who lives/is visiting London and wants some recommendations, so in no particular order, let’s begin.

1. Granger & Co.

I actually took a friend here for brunch yesterday, I’ve been there before, but I had forgotten how much I really love this place! The décor is really unique, it’s contemporary, but not daft, and it’s just very easy to sit back and relax whilst you’re there. The menu is full and comprehensive, I have only ever been for brunch, and whatever you fancy, whether it’s an açai bowl or salmon and eggs, there is definitely something for everyone.

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Yesterday I had soft shell crab, chorizo, poached egg with kimchee rice and holy smokes it was one of the best brunches I have ever had! However, be warned, on the weekends they don’t take reservations, and if you turn up any time after 10.30am, you will in all likely have to queue, at least for a short amount of time (but I promise you it’s worth it!). There is more than one, and I have only been to the one near King’s Cross, but I can imagine the other ones are just as great.

https://grangerandco.com/

2. Ethos

I have actually done a full blog post on this place, but I wanted to mention it here, as it is so great. It’s a buffet restaurant that offers only vegetarian and vegan food. The food is delicious and many of the choices are unique, even if you’re a meat eater you will find something to love here, guaranteed. The scandi feel is fresh and different, and the staff are always so attentive and welcoming. It’s hidden away in a street just off Oxford Street, so it’s in prime position for a post shopping meal. They also do afternoon tea (which I believe you have to book). Well worth a visit!

www.ethosfoods.com

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3. Milk

I found out about this place from my housemate, it’s a bit more out of the way than some of the other places in this post, as it’s in Balham, but it is sooooo good! It was so good that I went on a Saturday for the first time, and took a friend there again the next day! Unfortunately, it’s so good that it’s beyond popular, and they also don’t take reservations, so unless you want to be standing in an extremely long line, I would probably avoid peak times (aka brunch time) on the weekend.

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Their menu is somewhat obscure, you know those menus where the ingredients sound intriguing and interesting, but not so foreign that you have no idea what they are/are reluctant to try? Milk has mastered this mysterious balance extremely well! The coffee here is also great, and if you’re an instagrammer/blogger/just like to take photos of your food, this place seems like it was designed to make your photos look incredible and totally insta-worthy, think an elegant mélange of cacti, unique crockery and white tiles.

http://www.milk.london/

4. Wild Food Café

All vegan, plant based, gluten free, dairy free etc. etc. etc., this is what you can expect from Wild Food Café in Neal’s Yard near Covent Garden. Whilst you may think all these mentions of ‘free’ would be recipe for bland unexciting food, this is certainly not to case here. Wild Food Café is one of my favourite places in London to take people, as it is just as much the experience of going there, as tasting the amazing food. The staff are all so chilled out and seem to really care about the food they’re providing, the décor has a hippy vibe and you just feel so relaxed sitting down and enjoying some good and interesting food.

http://wildfoodcafe.com/

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5. Mud Café

Mud is one of my favourite places, it’s right near where I live so I tend to take people visiting there all the time. The menu is different yet simple, and delicious! Their coffee is also pretty insane (I’m just waiting for them to start doing a matcha latte), the staff are mostly Australian and very nice. Mud itself is teeny tiny, and that is part of its charm, it’s not trying to be anything it’s not. The queue out the front door just tells you how good it is, and people will stand outside on the street on a Saturday or Sunday morning and wait to go in, because it’s worth it! I love the corn fritter stack, whilst my friend Orla always goes for the breakfast burger, team it with a coffee of choice and a juice and you’ve got the brunch of champions. P.S. The sweet potato fries are life!

http://mudtooting.co.uk/

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Ok guys, time to get brutally honest here, let’s cut this ‘detox’ ‘weightloss’ ‘teatox’ bullshit please! We’ve probably all heard of them, many of us have probably read the amazing reviews online saying how well they worked, and we’ve also probably seen the people on social media advertising saying how they ‘always start their morning with a cup of skinny tea’.

 

Shall I tell you why these teas seemingly work? Their main ingredient is senna leaf. Let me tell you about senna, I just received my post-surgery medication sheet, that tells me what I’ve been prescribed, how often I need to take each drug, how much to take, and what it’s for. And senna is on the list, to treat constipation. Sorry if this is TMI, but we all use the bathroom, so let’s just get over that for a moment. Senna is prescribed to patients who are constipated, and this is what these companies are putting in their teas. Sure the ‘daytime’ teas are innocent enough, but you’re paying an extortionate amount for them, and then the ‘night-time’ teas, or sometimes dubbed the ‘colon’ teas, that you take every other night, are literally a laxative and nothing else.

 

Whilst they may make you feel nice and ‘cleansed’ the reality is, senna is a product that irritates the lining of your bowels and literally makes you excrete everything out. The reason you’re feeling slimmer and ‘detoxed’ is because your body is being forced to get rid of what it’s digesting, the feeling is akin to what you go through when you have diarrhoea… (to be honest this is exactly what your body is going through, as anyone who has tried the teas will probably tell you!) It’s also worth noting that you’re advised not to use senna in the long-term by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), yet these so called ‘teatox’ companies advise you do these for up to one month! Another point worth mentioning is how misleading the websites for these companies are; I spent a good 10 minutes today searching for a list of the ingredients on one well known detox tea’s website, whilst another brand lists some of their health benefits as ‘detoxing your internal organs’ which seems pretty vague to me… which organs to be exact? And also states that all their ingredients are natural… well arsenic is natural, but I sure wouldn’t want it in my tea!

 

I have tried these detox teas in the past, before I knew what they were really about, and sure you seem to lose weight, but you also experience cramping, you literally do get the shits (TMI again but whatever) and also if you take the contraceptive pill you have to take extra protection when drinking these teas, because you risk not digesting the pill and just excreting it… just like if you were sick with a stomach bug. There is also the issue that users of these teas become dependent on them, as long-term use of senna does lead to a weakness of the colon as well as dependence on the ingredient. Obviously this is even better for the ‘teatox’ companies, as it means people will buy more and more.

 

I see many many girls advertising these teas on social media, and the truth is they get approached by these companies, and can earn commission through their discount codes that they give out, so it’s quite an attractive deal for a lot of people who are learning to surf the social media influencer wave. I previously worked with a tea company myself, I never tried or agreed to advertise their ‘detox’ tea, but I still felt like a fraud for even helping promote a company that actually sold such a thing. Needless to say I stopped working with them a long time ago, but I can see it from both points of view. If you see a celebrity you follow or even just an inspirational fitness girl posting about these, the chances are they’re getting paid to do so, or there is some sort of money incentive for them. Trust me it’s easy to get sucked in by these companies, so don’t judge too harshly, but also don’t be persuaded by these people on social media just because they’re posting about it and praising it.

 

In reality our body has its own amazing way of detoxing itself, and this method is called the lungs, skin, kidneys and liver. So drop the detox teas, don’t do any unnecessary harm to your body, eat a healthy balanced diet, keep active and fit, work hard and you will get there!

 

DSC_0384Anyone who sits at a desk for the majority of their day as a part of their job, knows how hard it is to stay on track when it comes to healthy eating. I know it full well, when I’m sat in front of that computer for hours on end, all I want to do is eat eat eat. I work hard every day not to buy loads of rubbish from the local Sainsburys, and sometimes I give in sadly, but this tends not to be an issue when I have planned and organised my snacks.

The number one rule to staying healthy and eating good snacks when you’re at work is to be organised. I tend to try and keep my Sunday afternoons free so I can prepare my food in bulk for my lunches, and if I can’t do that, then if I am cooking a meal one evening then I make sure I make more than one portion, so that I can have that for lunch for the next few days. I do the same for my snacks, I make sure I have everything prepared and portioned out ready for the week ahead, tupperware should become your new best friend!

I eat pretty constantly throughout the day when I’m at work, if I feel peckish, I will eat something, and because I have got my snacks sorted, I know that I will be eating healthy, nourishing food, and that I also won’t be eating too much (I have taken a step back from calorie counting/macro counting over the past few months and am slowly going to get back into it again, but regardless it is still important not to over eat, even healthy, good, food).

Some of my go to snacks:

  • Blueberries
  • An apple
  • A banana
  • Peanut/almond butter (Pip & Nut do 30g sachets, which are perfect for eating at the desk because you can’t over eat it… I have a serious issue with gorging on Pip & Nut almond butter!)
  • Carrot sticks (earned me the nickname ‘rabbit’ in my office)
  • Brown rice cakes/corn cakes
  • A small bar of 90% dark chocolate
  • Salted popcorn (if you make your own at home you can come up with some very cool flavours!)
  • Protein shake (if I’ve worked out that day I usually have one at about 10am, mixed with unsweetened almond milk)
  • Nuts and seeds

These are just a few ideas of what I tend to have but I’m sure there are many more things that you can come up with (and if you do please let me know in a comment, I always love new snack ideas!)