Fibre and Gut Health

Hi Guys,

You may have heard a lot recently about gut health and how fibre can lead to a happy gut. But is this just a new fad or is it something we should be considering… this two-part blog is here to explain what fibre is and how it relates to gut health. Spoiler alert – it is not just an empty fad there is some great scientific evidence supporting the below!

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Take me back to Croatia!

Hello!!

I have finally got round to publishing my Croatia blog… it may be 10 months late but seeing as I know a lot of friends and family are visiting this year I thought it was the perfect time to share my experience of this amazing country with you all!

To start the holiday off we went on a roadtrip from Dubrovnik up to Krka National Park, a lovely 4.5 hour drive! However, the hours spent in the car were 100% worth it. As you can see from the photo below the falls were breathtaking. We took a short ferry to the falls and although it was very busy, by about 4-5pm it had quietened down and we could have a little sunbathe and climb up to the top of the falls.

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The beaches in Croatia are gorgeous, the water is crystal clear and even though there aren’t many sandy beaches due them being mainly pebble (so you have to wear very glam beach shoes) they are the best way to spend a lazy day in the Croatian sun! Our favourite beach around Dubrovnik was Copacabana… mainly down to the beach bar which did an amazing chicken salad, very refreshing and strong cocktails and played house music all day!

 

Whilst we were in Croatia it happened to be Croatia Music Week. Being with 3 fellow music lovers we decided to go to the Ultra Resistance Closing Party on Vis Island. The music, weather and venue did not disappoint. It was amazing. Forte George is one of the most beautiful venues I have ever been to and topped off with Hot Since 82 and Nic Fancuili… it was one of the best nights of the holiday!

 

Now, the food!!

We had such a busy week exploring, we did not have many ‘sit down’ meals, some meals just being snacks from petrol stations, fresh bakeries or cute fruit and oil stalls on the side of the roads.

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However, when we did dine out we were not disappointed.  Here are a few highlights:

D’Vino Wine Bar – On one of our first nights in Dubrovnik ended up with us going out quite late, so instead of a heavy meal we discovered a little wine bar down a tiny side street. The antipasti platter was incredible, the photo below does not do it justice, we ordered this between four along with hummus and duck breast with olive oil bread. Accompanied with wine, it was a perfect holiday treat!

 

Azur –  an Asian restaurant with a Mediterranean twist (what is there not to love) A very cute and small restaurant in the beautiful walls of Dubrovnik Old Town. The waiters were very friendly and the food was delicious. I would highly recommend the coconut meatballs as a main course and chorizo & chicken tacos or the king prawns for starter. We had the house white wine which complimented the meal perfectly. A perfect place to visit away from the hustle and bustle of the main street of the Old Town for an intimate date night.

 

 

 

Horizont – Horizont was recommended to us by the host our apartment. It was outside the Old Town Walls but had an amazing view and the staff and food were out of this world. All four of us had the best meal of the holiday… if you like truffle you will not be disappointed here.

 

Cocktails with a view – Buzar 1, down a tiny stair case opening up on to the sea. The view is amazing at sunset, be prepared for slow service but the Mojitos are good and the view is worth the wait! On one visit we didn’t even sit at a table, taking the relaxed vibe to another level we decided to sit on the edge of a rock overlooking the sea. Take me back please!!

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Yoga

Although I didn’t manage to fit in a yoga class as my week was spent mostly in a car or on a boat travelling around Croatia, I did manage to fit in a couple of early morning yoga stretches and core sessions.

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Hair credit goes to my incredible friend Charlotte Rose Hair Stylist… I loved being her hair model for the week!

 

Croatia is such a beautiful country! From Dubrovnik to Split, the coast line is one of the most pictures’ I have ever seen (and we saw a lot of it on all our drives) the Krka waterfalls are a must see and if you can, try and visit Vis Island… it is stunning! I wish we could have stayed longer but I will definitely be going back to explore more islands and waterfalls!

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Cable car view of Dubrovnik

 

Anybody going this summer, have the best time! x


Coconut Sambal Recipe

Hi Guys,

Last night I had a some friends round for an Asia inspired dinner (my favourite cuisine to cook!) I wanted to try something new and having recently discovered Coconut Sambal I thought I would play around and see what I could come up with! This recipe got a big thumbs up from my friends so I thought I would share it with you all as it is super easy.

Serves around 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients: 

200g Dessicated Coconut (fresh coconut works too if it is available)

1 Red Onion

2cm Finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp Chilli powder

1tbsp Paprika

6 tbsp tinned chopped tomatoes (fresh work great too)

1 lemon

 

Method:

  1. Soak desiccated coconut in water for 5 minutes and then drain excess water
  2. Finely chop onion and ginger and add to a mixing bowl
  3. Add chilli powder, paprika and tomatoes and mixed together
  4. Fry the desiccated coconut on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes
  5. Mix in the other ingredients to the coconut until cooked thoroughly
  6. Squeeze a fresh lemon and season to taste
  7. Serve as a beautiful Sri Lanka inspired side dish

 

I served this with Red Thai Curry which may seem a little odd but it was lovely! I will be uploading my Thai Curry recipe soon too as it my favourite dishes to make with fish or chicken and lots of veggies.

Enjoy x


Balance Festival Highlights

Hey guys!

So as you may have seen on my social media, I attended Balance Festival in London yesterday. I had been looking forward to this event for so long, with talks from some industry leading professionals in fitness, food and well being what was there not to love?! Being a huge foodie, Registered Nutritionist, and yoga instructor (to be) I felt this was going to be my dream event.

Not only were there huge bloggers, famous PT’s, Doctors, Psychologists etc there were actual Registered Nutritionists speaking too! (woohoo)

So, I thought seeing as this was a London event (PLEASE bring one to Manchester!) I would share some highlights of the festival from my Saturday visit for people that couldn’t make it down.

The Kitchen:

I managed to catch the ‘Fitness Feast’ in the cooking theatre…  the line up for this was a big selling point for the event for me and my PT friend Jamie-Anne. Here are a few reasons why: Zanna Van Dijk, Clean Eating Alice, The Food Medic (what a woman) and Healthy Chef Steph were all talking in this event and if you do not follow them already then where have you been?!

The live cooking theatre was full of lovely food and a lively discussion between the four, with Zanna interviewing them all as they cooked. Dr Hazel Wallace (The Food Medic) spoke about how there is no secret when it comes to nutrition and how her nutrition principle is to encourage people to cook more foods from scratch, that there is no food to blame such as gluten, sugar or fat and it is basically down to us eating too much.

Clean Eating Alice then spoke about how her passion is to get everyone involved in fitness and to increase how much people move their body whether it be yoga, swimming or weights everyone will have a style that suits them.

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The three social media entrepreneurs spoke about how the key to success is to be yourself and to do things because you have something to say not to just follow the crowd. The ladies then served up their delicious feast of a starter, main and dessert for all the audience to try. A really lovely, inspirational session to watch.

 

The Talks:

First of all the lab needs to be bigger! There were queues out of the door for almost every talk which meant I missed one or two I really wanted to catch however, I did manage attend a couple of fab ones.

I went to watch Pixie Turner and Maxine Ali discuss ‘Ditching the Label’ I may be biased when it comes to fellow nutritionist Pixie but she is so refreshing and one of very few people who is really putting #nutribollocks to bed (thankfully!) Maxine is a health writer who I felt has a fantastic view on how we identify ourselves through food. The ladies opened with the question of ‘do we identify ourselves by the way we eat? Such as vegetarian, vegan, low carb, gluten free etc’ and then explained the pros and cons of doing this. I could write a whole blog on this talk but I thought I would summarise by putting some of my favourite quotes from the ladies below:

“By calling something clean, does that mean that other foods are dirty?!”

“Guilt free – what makes foods tied to your emotions so much it makes it guilty”

“Real food – is great on the surface but if we have burger does that make the burger fake but the lettuce real?”

“If we named an Energy ball a Calorie ball would you still buy it?! After all calories and energy are the same thing”

“There is no such thing as a perfect diet for everyone”

“Be mindful of the words we use as they can have positive or negative connotations for different people”

“Food is so much more than fuel”

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The Yoga:

With my practical exams coming up for my YTT Course it was only right to fit as much yoga into the day as I could. I managed to catch International Yoga Instructor Julie Montagu talk on ‘Small Moments of Self Care’ This subject was really inspiring as Julie spoke about her journey to discovering yoga and how after years of supporting her family through a really difficult time a Vinyasa class completely changed her life. Julie’s take home message was to empower yourself and see how you can show yourself self care everyday – Julie did a great exercise in identifying if self care is something you do already or maybe need to add into your daily life… so watch this space as this is something I definitely want to bring to my future yoga classes.

 

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The Fitness:

There were an array of classes being held this weekend from tri yoga to barre to boom cycle! The classes booked up so fast which meant I missed some I would’ve like to try but I managed to get on a UN1T class – a 20 minute athletic conditioning circuit class with just 1 minute rest in the middle. It is safe to say I was exhausted. The UN1T team were fab and very motivating whilst ensuring your technique was correct (which I find quite refreshing in a circuit style class) I would definitely recommend to try their classes if you are in London.

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The Food:

The festival did not disappoint when it came to the food market, with companies such as ‘Rolla Granola’ ‘Deliously Ella’ and ‘Rebel Kitchen’ it seemed every ‘healthy’ brand was in attendance.

The balanced café was great, serving up culinary delights from around the world – my personal favourite was the pulled pork tacos but they also had a Vurger stall, Spicebox station and Sano to go too!

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Gutted to have missed:

Laura Thomas – Don’t Salt My Game Podcast Host (if you have any interest in nutrition and intuitive eating check this podcast out! I am addicted) Laura was talking about ‘Ditching the diet rules’ if any of you caught this please let me know how it was!

Health Bloggers Community – As a new member of the HBC this was something I was hoping to attend – the topic of the talk was ‘Monetising Content’ – any HBC bloggers who made it please contact me.

Angry Chef in the Live Cooking Theatre ‘Bad science and the trust about healthy eating’- I am a huge fan of Angry Chef, his blog posts are always bold and entertaining but again refreshing as he is putting a lot nutribollocks in its place with relevant subject matter experts! Any highlights on what he covered in his cooking theatre event would be fab please?!

 

The Nutribollocks –

So, it seems nowadays you cannot go to a food or fitness event without being told you need to be drinking charcoal or alkaline water, consuming protein powders at least once a day or how you are now able to substitute fresh vegetables with green supplements (eye roll!) but Balance festival really did live up to its name and have something for everyone – ice creams, juices, oats, cheesecakes, supplements and of course peanut butter and chocolate which of course made me a very happy girl!

 

Balance Festival did not disappoint, a really great food and fitness event with amazing presentations, talks and food whilst being surrounded by like minded people! I will be posting photos on my instagram over the next week and also sharing any other bloggers highlights I can hunt down on Twitter. Keep an eye out!

 

Namaste x


Spicy Burgers with Quinoa Bean Salad

Spicy Turkey Burgers with a Quinoa Bean Salad and Homemade Chilli Dressing – perfect for a summers day when a simple burger and bun won’t do… (if there ever is a time!)

Quinoa Bean Salad

(serves around 6 portions – great for keeping in the fridge for leftover lunches)

Ingredients:

100g Quinoa

100g Buckwheat

3 tbsp of pomegranate seeds

400g tin of mixed beans (opt for water with no added salt/sugar)

Feta to sprinkle on top (as much or little as you fancy)

Method:

  1. Boil quinoa and buckwheat as required, once cooked rinse with cool water.
  2. Whilst the quinoa and buckwheat is cooking, wash the beans in a colander with cool water, grab a large mixing bowl and add the the beans and pomegranate seeds (you can add anything to this,  blueberries, peppers and cucumber are great additions)
  3. Once the grains are cooked and rinsed add to the mixing bowl, season with salt, pepper and feta and mix together – it may seem a tiny bit bland but just wait until you add the salad dressing!!

 

Chilli Salad Dressing:

Ingredients:

40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

50ml Red Wine Vinegar

1 tbsp Honey

1 tsp Light Soy Sauce

½ tsp Cumin

50ml Red Wine Vinegar

1 Lime zest and juice

1 crushed garlic clove

Chilli Flakes (to your personal taste, I added 1 tbsp)

1/2 red chilli (only if you like spice)

Method:

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake, leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and then lightly dress the bean and quinoa salad.

 

Spicy Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

3 tbsp of chopped parsley

2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 red chilli (finely sliced)

400g lean turkey mince

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients in one mixing bowl and mix together (I use my hands to mix in thoroughly) then make 6 patties.
  2. Add a little oil in a grilling pan and then fry on each side for around 3-4 minutes (or until cooked)

 

A little extra:

For a refreshing dip I mixed some greek yogurt with an ancho and papaya sauce (this was totally random from what I had in the fridge) but you could do this with any sauce such as mayo and chipotle sauce, yogurt and sweet chilli – have a play around!

I just placed the burgers on romaine lettuce leaves but this would be great with brioche buns and homemade oven chips too!

 

Enjoy x


Easter in Budapest!

 

I have recently got back from an amazing Easter weekend in Budapest! This city did not disappoint, the culture, sightseeing, food and wine was incredible. As I am a huge keeno and always research where is good to eat and see in new cities I thought I would share my favourite experiences just incase you ever manage to visit this beautiful city!

 

My favourite food spots:

Brunch at Cirkusz – I obviously researched where to Brunch in Budapest before I even set off but with it being Easter weekend some places were unfortunately shut. We ended up at Cirkusz on our last day and I wish we would have found it earlier. Known for their silky poached eggs and quirky atmosphere it did not disappoint! Mimosas were £2.50 and the Turkish eggs were out of this world, if you have never tried them before then I highly recommend you do!! A great find in the Jewish Quarter, the only downside was as it is so popular you do have to wait a while to be seated and for food so don’t go too hungry!

 

Lunch at Dobrumba – Dobrumba was recommended to us by our AirBnB host, it is a Mediterranean restaurant so my boyfriend was in his element. The atmosphere was very laid back but the food was exceptional, we are both big hummus and flatbread fans so it didn’t take much for us to love this place! We had hummus, chickpea Moroccan soup, lamb koftas and zaatar wedges as a ‘light’ lunch however, if you fancy something larger they do main courses as well as the tapas style dishes.

 

Dinner at Vicky Barcelona – Now this may not be traditional Hungarian food but the reviews for this place were great. Vicky Barcelona is in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and was lively from start to finish. The food was Spanish tapas and we enjoyed every dish as well as the bottles of Rioja at only £10! When the kitchen shuts the place turns into a club/bar vibe where everyone gets up dancing. Most nights there is a live singer or band but on Fridays (when we visited) there is a DJ, it shouldn’t work with it being a restaurant but it really does, we felt like we were actually in Barcelona! Great service, amazing churros and a good night out.

 

Wine at Doblo – In the Jewish quarter there is a lovely wine bar called Doblo, the décor is gorgeous with all open red brick and wine bottles everywhere. We just went for drinks but they do meat and cheese platters and wine tasting too, the bar staff knew everything there was to know about the wines they serve and the wine tasting looked fab.

 

Cocktails at 360 Rooftop Bar – 360 Rooftop Bar was by far the best cocktail I had the entire trip, I went for the 360 that was only around £6 (which is quite pricey for Budapest!) The views were spectacular, staff were friendly and we loved the music. It was a little windy up there when we visited but they do have blankets, it is definitely worth going for at least one cocktail!

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An Extra Surprise, Wine Tasting:

I also got an early birthday present from my boyfriend whilst we were in Budapest of wine tasting in a small Hungarian Village. Hungarians admit they are not well known for their wine but mainly because they cannot make enough to export! The 12 wines we tasted across the three vineyards we visited were lovely, it was mainly white wine but with the odd sparkling, rose and red wine there is something for everybody! Our trip was with City and Wine Tours, they were very professional, we met some great people from all around the world and the attention to detail and authenticity of the trip really made it special, a must do if you are in or close to Budapest.

 

 

Favourite Sightseeing Spots:

Fishersmans Bastion – the views from Buda to Pest from Fishersmans Bastion are lovely, a famous spot to visit whilst in Budapest! Here you can see Hungarian Parliament building which again you must go and visit, a grand, beautifully kept building.

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Canal Cruise at night on the river Danube – there are many different options on these tours but we just did the basic one which takes around one hour. If you walk to the water front of Pest you can take your pick from there or if you want to book in advance TripAdvisor have some useful links.

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St Stephen’s Basilica – just opposite here is where they make amazing Rosa Gelato’s, I was in my element as you can imagine!

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The Jewish Quarter – perfect for foodies and those looking for some lively nightlife!

Ruin Bars – the most famous ruin bar is Szimpla Kert in the Jewish Quarter, it is very cheap for beers and wine and has plenty of nice food places around, including a street food market!

Thermal Spa Baths – Budapest has around 12 hot springs underneath the City (so I am told) so the thermal baths are nice and warm no matter how chilly it is outside of them!

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Budapest was a really pleasant surprise for me, there was so much to do, the people were lovely, everything is reasonably priced and the atmosphere was great. I would definitely recommend!!

 

Sarah x