Thursday, 23 May 2013

Recipe; Overnight Oats


Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. On days when I know I will,spend ages on my outfit, hair and makeup, be rushing out the door and breakfast will be at the bottom of my priority list I prepare a secret weapon the night-before. Behold; Overnight Oats. A perfect mix of creamy yogurt, your favorite fruit toppings and of course oats!


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Ingredients;

  • 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats 
  • 2/3 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon Greek/Low fat yogurt. (I like it plain but you can pick the flavor you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, vanilla essence or honey. (you can add whatever flavouring you like- My favourite is cinnamon)
  • Fruit for topping

***Tips
  • You can add more or less milk and yoghurt depending on the texture you like the best. 

Ready in:

  • 5 minutes preparation, 4 hours (or overnight) to set, 5 minutes to eat!

Directions:

  • Mix all of the ingredients in an air tight container and leave in the fridge over night. (I like to use an empty jar or a Tupperware box)
  • The next morning add on your toppings; yoghurt, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, flax-seed etc.
    *My FAVORITE topping is 1/2 apple and 1/2 banana chopped up and heated in the microwave for about 90sec. The hot fruit with the cold oats is amazing!
  • Either eat them straight from the jar or pop them in a bowl.
***Tips  
  • I like to layer mine in the jar (mostly because it looks pretty) Oats, yoghurt, fruit, repeat!
  • Use a nearly empty peanut butter or jam jar so you get all the yummyness from the sides of the jar mixed with the oats!
overnight oats, oats in a jar
Overnight oats, melted banana&apple and fresh strawberries

This recipe is the simplest most delicious thing you will ever eat- Plus who doesn't like eating out of a jar!?!

Ash xxx

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Back to the Gym


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So, I will be the first to admit that I have been majorly slacking in the blogging department! I only have myself to blame... why I thought doing two courses in one year while working full time and trying to maintain my social life was a good idea, I will never know.... Roll on July 13th when I will have my life back!

Anyway, I thought I would just do a quick update on what my current fitness regime is. Not only are my college deadlines creeping up but also my 'get toned for summer' deadline too! I am going to a Wedding in Italy in T minus 6 weeks. So operation 'Victoria Secrets' body for the next six weeks is in full swing. 

Last night I did something that I haven't done in YEARS... I went to the gym. Like, a proper muscely men, what am I doing here, I don't know how to use this machine, gym. Lucky for me, I have a brother who has a degree and masters on all that protein taking, bicep curling, bench pressing, crap so I was in good hands. To my surprise I actually really enjoyed it BUT MY GOD am I in pain today- as in I nearly crashed the car because it hurts to steer, pain.

Long story short, I am starting a six week programme this week- made by my darling brother- he just doesn't know it yet ha, ha! (If you read this, I hate you already for the pain you are going to put me through!) I want to mainly focus on toning up i.e losing fat and replacing it with muscle. 

***Girls if you REALLY want to see a change in your body then weight training is key; cardio is all well and good for burning calories and fat but if you want to see the inches drop off you need to start combining the two*** 

I am a complete newbie when it comes to what to do in the gym- probably like a lot of you reading this. So for those of you like me, I will post my workout and explain it, so you can follow it too. We can all start it together!! (it wont be too difficult because I am a weakling) 

I was also thinking of taking before and after photos and posting all my stats before hand (i.e weight, inches around arms, legs, tummy etc.) BUT like any girl the idea of putting the bits you hate the most on the internet
for all to see is a bit daunting... I don't really want to do it unless I thought people were actually interested in following what I am doing for the next six weeks. Please like this post, comment, mail, text, carrier pigeon or send me a post card if you are :) Even I need a bit of encouragement sometimes! 

I am also setting up a Facebook page once my website is up and running which is hopefully very soon, so you will all be able to follow what I am eating while on the six week programme. I also post a lot of my meals on my Instagram; Itsashok.

I will be posting some yummy recipes during the week- once I am able to move my arms and legs again- so watch this space.

Ash x x x 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Why Water is Making you Fat

So it is that time of year when Summer holidays are creeping up and we all want to get in to 'summer bod, healthy eating mode' BUT also we are up to our fake eyelashes necks with work, exams, end of year assignments....


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For me personally even though I feel a million times better after exercise I find it really hard to workout when I have deadlines creeping up... I can't help but think how a 40 min gym session could be an extra 1,000 words off my back... Combine no exercise with the 'study munchies', as I like to call them, and that gives you that horrible, 'Woo college finished for summer...ugh FML I gained a stone in 2 weeks' feeling!' (if you have never experienced this please let me in on your secrets!)

One thing I have found that has made a HUGE difference to how I feel is WATER!! This goes for everyday life and not just during 'full steam ahead' mode. I have talked about the importance of getting your H20 in my ways to beat the bloat post HERE but it is THAT good that i'm going to refresh your memories.

 I'm sure you have all heard a million times that water is' good for you, drink your water, helps clear toxins etc'. So I am not going to go in to every little thing that water does because firstly, we will be here all day(and I have assignments to start!!) and secondly, I think its better to learn something by actually DOING it. Once you start chugging the H20 you will start to feel the benefits that people are always raving about!

FACTS:

  1. Your body is approx 70% water. Imagine being low in something that makes up that amount of your body! How do you expect it to function properly!? It's like trying to make tea with no water in the kettle or trying to scrub off your fake tan with nothing mix your exfoliatior with.. it just wont work! Dehydration can be the cause of many common everyday complaints including:
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Sinusitis
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Skin, brittle nails and hair
  • Cramping (esp during that time of the month!)
  • Insomnia
Next time you go to reach for the painkillers, why not have a glass of water instead!?

Getting it in to you:

  • OK so we all know drinking water is good for us, but the trick hard part is trying to guzzle it back during the day. One thing I find works BRILLIANT for me is using a liter bottle- because I can actually keep track and see how much I am drinking! I have a Bobble Bottle. It has a filter on it and it also is BPA free (and it comes in pretty colours- always a bonus!). BPA is a chemical found in your normal plastic bottles that has been linked with numerous conditions including Cancer. IF YOU DRINK OUT OF A PLASTIC BOTTLE PLEASE DO NOT USE IT FOR MORE THAN A WEEK MAXIMUM!!!! I got my bottle in Home Store&More for €14.95. (I am sure you can get them in any 'home' shop or you can buy them online!) I thought it was a bit pricey considering you don't even get water in the bottle but I have used this every single day since January! L.O.V.E it!

  • Instead of a adding horrible, artificial, chemically made, toxic cocktail dilutible drinks to your water, just add in fresh fruit instead. There is nothing more refreshing than a few slices of fresh lemon, lime or mint leaves in water. I drink dilutable drinks sometimes- usually hungover- but I would never drink them during a normal day- especially when I am knocking back 3 liters of water a day- 3 liters of an artificially made product is a lot of unnecessary toxins and sugar to add to your body and it will increase bloating- Kind of defeats the purpose of drinking water, doesn't it?!

BOBBLE BOTTLES!!


How water makes you put on weight:

  • Water retention can add anywhere from 3-8 lbs on the scales (that's like 3 weeks of hardcore dieting!! Drinking water will stop you from retaining water (as crazy as it sounds). When your body is dehydrated i.e. low in water, it will go in to 'survival mode' and hold on to every bit of water in your body in case it doesn't get a refill. This causes water retention. If you are retaining water not only do you feel bloated but also heavier. I find it is very hard to motivate myself to do any exercise when I am feeling like a lump!

  • How to prevent water retention? You need to drink 33mls of water per KG of body weight. So if you weigh 60KG= 60 x33= 1,980ml/kg. (1000ml = 1 litre) Everyone is different. It is simple to work out. (If you are not sure of your weight in KG- google it!)

  • How do I know if I am retaining water!? If your clothes leave a mark on your skin i.e. Your socks leave a mark on your ankle, bra leaves a mark around your back, rings leave a mark on your finger etc. Then you are retaining water. I keep a bobbin on my wrist to remind me drink water! If I see a mark left on my wrist I know I need to start guzzling.

The pic below was taken on a week where I drank water everyday and wasn't carry any water weight at all.


The next picture was 10 days later. I was just back from a weekend away- had drank NO water at all over the 3 days I was away. My diet didn't change too much as I tend to go for the 'healthy' options most of the time as that's just what I like to eat!




I am not saying that I look 'fat' in the second picture, at all. But I am not as visibly as 'toned' in it- And I definitely didn't feel as good in it! 3 days after this picture was taken my body was back to the way it was in the 1st picture- once I got back in to my routine of drinking water my body stopped storing all the unnecessary excess fluid!

So, even though you may not be able to workout everyday and eat healthy 100% of the time, one thing you can control is how much water you drink! Give it a go- start chugging back the H20! The only thing you have to lose is a few pounds that shouldn't be there in the first place!!

You can also add fruit to make it tasty!! YUMMY!!

Ash xxx






Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Fat Burning Foods


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OK, so it is officially the first day of Summer... (Eh, does't that mean I was supposed to wake up today with my 'Summer Bod' in full bloom!?) If your summer bod hasn't got the memo yet and is a bit late in hopping on the band wagon, DON'T WORRY... I have found a magic pill that will make you lose weight while you are sitting on your bum eating ice-cream (the more you eat the harder your abs become) ........... LOL just kidding, don't be silly they don't exist! 
BUT what does exist are natural fat burning foods that are probably sitting in your kitchen right now that can help with weight loss...


  1. Curry Powder
  2. Cayenne pepper 
  3. Jalapenos
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Citrus Fruits; Grapefruit, Lemons.
  6. Garlic
  7. Ginger
  8. Green Tea
  9. Ice cold water
  10. Green Veg

***Tips:

  • Curry powder, Cayenne Pepper and Jalapenos; Any spices or 'hot' foods like cayenne pepper, jalapenos, hot sauce and chilli powder are thermogenics. i.e. When you eat them they increase your core temperature. Your metabolism (the rate you burn calories) then needs to work harder to bring your temperature back to normal. Faster metabolism = more calories burned. (And before you ask, NO, them curry fries you had at 3am the other night will not help you lose weight!!)

  • Cayenne pepper; Add this to your diet by either throwing the chili pepper, in vegetable form, in to stir frys, salads or sauces or the you can use the powder form. To give your metabolism a kick start,  sprinkle it on your eggs in the morning. (personal favourite!!)

  • Cinnamon; is one of those foods people either love or hate. I put it on my porridge everyday, also try adding it to breakfast cereals or when baking (healthy treats, I hope!!)

  • Citrus Fruits; Start the day with 1/2 grapefruit or 1/2 lemon in hot water.(Fat burning before you even have breakfast- why wouldn't you do it!?)

  • Garlic; When cooking with garlic let it sit for 10minutes after it has been chopped to allow the enzymes to work- a lot of people will chop the garlic then throw it in to the pan straight away- killing all of the phyto-nutrients (the things that we like)

  • Ginger; Certain herbal teas have ginger in them. I like to add it to my green juice every morning or to stir frys and sauces.

  • Green tea; Drink it hot or cold, before, after or in between meals, add fresh lemon, berries or mix it with a herbal tea of your choice. (Basically it doesn't matter how or when you drink it just get it in to you!!)

  • Ice Cold Water; This has the opposite effect on your body as the spices except instead of your body trying to cool down, it has to work harder to heat up! (Why not kill two birds with one stone and add ice to your green tea!)

  • Green Veg; These foods are low in fat and slow to digest- perfect people trying to shed a few pounds as the body needs to work a bit harder and longer to digest them- keeping your metabolism on it's toes! I try to have green veg at EVERY meal. I make a green juice before breakfast, add spinach and broccoli to my salads for lunch, munch on kale chips during the day (I will post a recipe for these soon- TOO delish not to share) and load up on the veg at dinner.

There you have it, you don't need to drastically change what you are eating just add these foods in where-ever and when-ever you can! 

Shhhhh don't tell anyone about your secret weight loss pills though ;)

Happy Fat Burning!!



Ash xxx

Monday, 29 April 2013

Five Weeks to Healthy; Week 2


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So by now you should be doing your best to cut out processed foods and 'empty' calories and increase green tea and oats in your diet. Have a read of my week 1 post HERE

If you haven't started your new healthy diet yet then it's not too late! This time next month you will wish you would have started today- and your body (and your love handles will thank you for it!!!)







Foods to Cut Out

1. White Bread

Why is it bad?-What a question! I don't even know where to begin.

  • Ever wonder how white bread is white? Its bleached- (Yes, like bleaching your hair) Bleaching kills the flavour, grain and any nutrients that did manage to survive after it has been processed to bits. 

  • So all of the bran (where all the good vitamins are) and flavour has been removed.. what to do next? Oh how about adding in flavourings, salt, sugar, preservatives and toxic additives. Has anyone ever noticed that it takes about 2 weeks for white bread to go mouldy? 
  • Due to the lack of fiber (by lack of I mean you couldn't find any with a flash light) white bread is so difficult for our bodies to digest. Not only does fiber fill us up (which is key if trying to lose weight) it also may lower your risk of diabetes, digestive problems, colon cancer, obesity and heart disease. 

  • White bread is made from refined flour. This a process whereby the wheat germ and the bran are removed from the grain in order for it to have a longer shelf life. So basically all the goodness is removed so that the crap part can last longer... makes sense does it!? 
  • White bread contains empty calories i.e. if you don't burn it off it will make you F.A.T. Due to the fact that white bread has such a low nutritonal value all your body can do with it is utilize it for energy. 
So, to sum up, white bread is bad for weight loss, high in chemicals, low in vitamins, minerals and increases your chance of getting a terminal illness. YAY! (can you tell i'm very anti-white bread? LOL)


***TIP:
  • When buying bread look for the words whole grain and whole wheat. If either of these are not the first ingredients then chances are the bread your are about to buy is actually just white bread sprayed brown! Yummy...

  • If you don't eat white bread (and you think you are getting away easy this week!) then focus on other refined products that might be creeping in to your diet; including bagels, wraps, muffins and packaged cereals. White flour + sugar gives you cookies, cakes, donuts, biscuits and cupcakes. Try ditch these foods too!
I will be nice and only give you all one food to cut out this week! Whenever I advise people in work to cut out white bread I either think they are going to punch me in the face or have a heart attack. But, once I tell them that they might as well be giving their kids candyfloss in their lunch boxes they start to come around!

Foods to Add

1.Whole grains:

Why are they good?

  • A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Whole-grain diets can also improve bowel health by helping to maintain regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.
  • High in fiber; keeps you full for longer (yay for weight loss), aids digestion and prevention of diseases to name a few!
  • B Vitamins; help breakdown fats, protein and carbs and use them for energy- important to keep your metabolism working and for weight loss. They play a part in helping the body handle stress, nervous system function i.e. brain function and for healthy skin (people who are low in B vitamins are prone to mouth ulcers and cuts on the corners of their mouth!)
  • Rich in protein, iron, minerals and anti-oxidants. 

How do I add it in?

Next time your in the supermarket try and fill your basket with the foods listed below:
  • Oats
  • Brown rice and wild rice
  • Quinoa (yummy grain you cook like rice- find it in the 'healthy section of the supermarket')
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Corn; including popcorn.
  • Spelt
  • Rye
**Tip: Aim to have at least 2-3 portions of whole-grains per day.


So that doesn't seem too hard does it? Ditch the white add in the brown! Simple. In order to be healthy your body needs a good balance. That's why low carb diets never last!! However, if you eat healthy carbs then problem solved! If you do this and nothing else ( esp if your a white bread junkie) you will 100% notice a difference, Try it, you have nothing to lose...except for maybe a few pounds- The perks of my healthy diet!

Ash xxx

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

April Challenge; Exercise Goals; Week 3


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Another week over and closer to Summer! I am going to a Wedding in Italy in July- so that is what is getting me up in the mornings (and to the gym in the evenings!!)

I was very proud of myself this week- Well, Monday to Friday anyway! I was in college this weekend- (Yes, I go to college on the weekends) so after 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday the LAST thing I wanted to do was come home and go for a run...!! 

HERE are my exercise goals; week 2 post from last week.

Goal 1; Cardio; I only went to the gym twice this week! I was so busy between work and college so I wasn't too disappointed with myself that I only make it twice.

Goal 2; Squats: Day 17- 150 squats!! I have them done every day so far without fail :) It takes no time at all.I have already done 30 today waiting for the kettle to boil!

Goal 3; 5 minute ab, arm, leg and butt workout. I did these 4/7 days. I LOVE this app. I would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't have the time/money to get to the gym. 



I bought 3KG (i'm a weakling ha,ha) dumbbells and a yoga mat from Argos- only about €11.00 each! I am definitely starting to notice a difference- I feel much morn toned- especially my abs and my arms, YAY!!

Bonus points: Running: 3 POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR!! Delighted with myself I started the 5K running app and went for three 5K walk/jogs last week! 


I was shocked to find how much I actually wasn't dying enjoyed it. Definitely would recommend this to beginners, like me,starting off! 

Another week done and dusted!! Even if you only do 10 minutes of some sort of exercise today- at-least it's more than you did yesterday!! YOU CAN DO IT!!

***I am currently in the middle of  designing and setting up my new website- YAY!! That's why I haven't been posting as much- Can't wait to get it up and running- I have SO many ideas for you all!! Watch this space ;) ***

Ash xxx

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Receipe: Homemade Granola/Museli


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Oats are a great thing to have first thing in the morning or as a sneaky snack in the evenings. Read about the benefits of them here in my 'Five Weeks To Healthy: Week 1' post. This recipe is full of  good fats- (yes! there is such a thing), protein and it will fill  you up!

Ingredients:

  • Raw Oats- 500g
  • Honey- 2 tablespoons
  • Ground Cinnamon- 1 tablepoon (you can leave this out if you don't like cinnamon)
  • Mixed Nuts- 1.5 cups (You can chop them up if they are too big)
  • Coconut oil or butter- 2 tablespoons (Coconut oil is much better for you- you can get it in your local supermarket)
  • Flax-seed mix- 1.5 cups


This is what flaxseed looks like- there are many different type and it is usually in the 'healthy' section of the supermarket.


Coconut is a solid- not an oil (misleading much!!) it melts like butter

Directions:
  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Melt the coconut oil/butter and honey together in the microwave

  • In a mixing bowl, add in the oats and stir through

  • Add in the nuts and flax-seed

  • Add the cinnamon and what ever else you fancy- seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit etc.


I added sunflower seeds, mixed omega3 seeds and chia seeds to mine
  • Spread the mixture over 2-3 roasting trays and toast for 10-15 mins until it is golden brown. Keep moving it around every 5 minutes or it will burn.

I like to eat mine with Greek yogurt and fruit or with almond milk as a cereal in the morning.

Bon appetite


Ash xxx