Run: The Race for Life 2016

Running is some kind of magical therapy to me – it’s hard, painful and I’m really not any good at it, but there’s something about being inside your own head, focused on the sound of your breath and each of your footsteps that make it so therapeutic. My mind wanders when I run and I find myself about to forget about the world outside myself and switch off for a bit. Like I said, I’m no good at running, but I like to do it, purely for the little bit of alone time I have for myself in my head. Having said that, I’d love to be good at running…I’d love to feel strong, powerful with every step, athletic, with the drive and motivation to run regularly. I truly admire runners of all distances – it’s a hard sport to be involved in, and I’m not sure I’ll ever have the physical fitness to run as gracefully as I dream to.

I’m trying to do things out of my comfort zone more often, be a little more independent and be a stronger person. A few years ago, I signed up for the Race for Life, which actually marked the start of a traumatic week for myself and my family. Mentally, the race was hell and the few days that followed were even worse. I won’t go into the details, but personally, the race was part of a period of my life I’m trying not to think about – I’ll never  psychologically heal from what followed, and as I associate the Race of Life with that horrible week of my life, I have feared ever doing it again. Part of me resented the race for the memories I had associated it with. But, it also stands for something important and something that I should be proud to be involved with – I’ve always wanted to do it again, but I’ve never been brave enough to put old memories aside and run for a more positive reason.

So, this year, I signed up. On my own (see, I am being braver!). Partly I signed up alone because I wanted to be independent and do things without needing other people to do it with me, and partly because I was terrified of the feelings it would bring to the surface and how I’d react. And I am so glad I did. It was one of the hottest days of the year so far, the atmosphere was so much fun and I was able to replace old memories of that event with new ones. I’ll never forget that week when I raced last time, but now I won’t only associate the Race for Life with that bad period in my life…I won’t resent it for the things that happened at the same time. And I raised a nice amount of money for Cancer Research, which is what it’s all about.

My psychologically scarred self will never heal, but I’m improving. Good memories are more frequent, and the bad ones are like bad dreams, where I’m not sure if they even happened. And I’m proud of myself. It was no record breaking time, or a personal best – but in the hot sun and with no training, I did well. It’s a step forward. I’ll keep signing up and before long, I’ll no longer associate the entire event with that week. It’ll be an event to honour and remember, rather than one to forget.

I’ve already signed up for next year, and hopefully I’ll enter more races too. My fitness is awful right now and I barely made it round the course jogging. I’ll be very happy to get my 34 minute 5k time down. With the Race for Life being a fun run and family orientated, it’s a great entry to running and perfect for me as a beginner in races. I’ve already checked out the local races and hopefully I’ll get a few non-Race for Life runs down before next year.

I’d definitely recommend taking part in the Race for Life – the atmosphere is great, very upbeat and positive and there’s nothing better than running alongside ladies in pink tutus with thousands of people cheering you along the way. You don’t have to run it – walking is very popular…it’s just  a great way to do something active for a good cause.

Sign up here to take part next time: http://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/index.html 

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#Girlswholift: adventures in weightlifting

I’ve never been a particularly slim, or fit person. I remember being 15 or 16 years old and having size 16 trousers, but to me, it was just a number – I was never brought up to feel ashamed of my size or ever thought that was anything but a trouser size. I never associated it with an emotional feeling about my body. Looking back at old photos, I look like a completely different person then compared to now, but it wasn’t until I got older and started getting interested in health and wellbeing as a whole, that I realised that I wasn’t destined to be that size forever. Firstly, I got ill (thanks glandular fever) which caused me to lose a lot of weight, and joined a gym where I focused mainly on cardio while lifting light weights. I became what they call ‘skinny fat’ – a low weight, but I didn’t have much in the way of lean muscle, and still a high body fat percentage. With stress, grief and an unhealthy relationship with food and cardio, I looked skinny – at one point, I remember the Mr saying how I looked like a frail old lady in my oversized cardigan and my bony collarbone peeking through (said with love and concern of course).

Earlier this year, one of those ‘low cost, no contract’ gyms opened up, less than a 5 minute walk away and we decided to give it a go. As soon as I stepped in, I felt more at home in this gym than I ever did in my previous gym and I started spending time learning how to lift weights. Something suddenly clicked into place and I realised that years of cardio and eating under my calorie goal just wasn’t enough – I had to build muscle too. I always knew that building muscle was the foundation to a slim, lean body, but I guess I didn’t know how best to do it and kept returning to the treadmill to burn more calories because that was my misguided priority.

I’m feeling less self conscious at the gym now – I think not caring what other people think, putting my music up loud and realising that everyone is there to achieve their own goals, is something that makes me feel more confident in the weights area. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the best form for each exercise and I’d much rather complete my work out with perfect form at a (sometimes embarrassingly) lighter weight, than use shoddy form to lift a heavier weight. Thankfully, I am able to go to the gym during the day when it’s quieter and get my workout done quickly and well – and it’s so nice to see so many females in the weights area too. It seems that the rise of social media fitness accounts and youtube stars have made weightlifting more accessible for women – fewer people are believing the misconception that weights make you look manly (search my favourite inspirational youtuber Heidi Somers aka buffbunny, for example, for ‘girls with muscle’ fitspiration).

While I’m a long way off achieving my body goals, I’m getting stronger with each week that passes. I’m combining weightlifting with cardio and a good diet and I feel really good for it! I’m slowly noticing my body fat decreasing, my strength is increasing, and there are muscles where I never had muscles before. It’ll be a while before I have any real definition, as my body fat percentage is still quite high, but I’m noticing progress and I know that if I keep at it, I’ll be a different person months down the line, not just in body composition, but mentally, having put time, effort and discipline into my health and fitness.

My goals for 2016 are:

  • Get down to a healthy body fat of 20% (at the moment, my scales say I’m 35%, my body fat callipers say 25% – I’m not sure which to believe, haha!).
  • Do a real, unassisted pullup.
  • Run a 5k in under 30 minutes.

 

 

Whole 30 – Day 15 to the end

For those following me on Instagram and here on the blog, you’ll know I’ve been doing the Whole 30 Plan since Easter. I have a confession to make – I made it to day 19 before deciding it just wasn’t for me. I know it’s only 30 days and supposed to break the habit of eating endless junk, but by the time week 3 rolled around I really wasn’t feeling good. My energy levels were zapped, I was struggling through every workout, and I was having some sort of (maybe allergic) reaction to something I was eating. I decided to swallow my pride and bow out early.

It’s disappointing not to make it to the end, but if I’m being honest, I achieved what I set out to do – improve my relationship with food and get rid of constant food cravings. By the time I ended on day 19, I didn’t actually want to reach for the junk food…I didn’t binge after almost 3 weeks of deprivation…could I be cured of my cravings?

I think I should be more intuitive about my eating, and one thing I felt I needed more of by week 3 was carbs. The Whole 30 gets carbs from vegetables, but I felt I wasn’t getting enough from vegetables. I incorporated more sweet potatoes and bananas into my diet as I just felt I was struggling on the Whole30 Carb guide. Some people thrive on fewer carbs, and other people need more – and I’m learning to listen to my body and do what I personally need. I think the more I listen to my body, the better I’ll get at it, and I’ll feel better for it. I also don’t think I was getting enough calories from the meals – they weren’t particularly low calorie meals, especially with each meal containing a fat source like nuts or avocado on top of a protein source (and not always a lean protein, I had a few beef portions a week) – but I was running, weightlifting and I’m busy from 6am until bedtime, and although I didn’t always feel hungry, I’m sure I was eating way under my maintenance level for the amount of activity I was doing.

For the duration of the Whole 30 plan, looking at the scales or taking any measurements are not allowed, to take emphasis off the obsessive nature of weight tracking. I don’t often weigh myself as I feel it’s not a good representation of your body composition, but I did weigh myself before and after, just for curiosity sake. I actually lost 6 lb in the 19 days I was doing the Whole30. While I’m sure some people would be thrilled at nearly half a stone gone, I’m much more interested in what fat I’ve lost (and perhaps lean body mass!). My scale is somewhat unpredictable when it comes to body fat percentage, so I’m not taking it too seriously – I lost 1% body fat, and 1% muscle mass. I think not eating enough was probably the reason why I lost muscle and perhaps adding extra meals would have done me some good.

Overall, the Whole30 is a great experience if you want to improve your relationship with food. I know so many people thrive on a paleo diet all of the time, and if it works for them, then great! However, one thing I am taking from the experience, is that everyone’s bodies are different and we need to find what works for us. While it’s had a great improvement on my mental attitude towards food, I don’t think I could stick to it full time – everything in moderation I say, even chocolate and a bit of cake every now and then! I think the Whole30 does give you a new clarity of mind when it comes to food, which is exactly the aim I started with, and it’s made me think more about how to better fuel my workouts. I want to nourish my body to the best of my ability when lifting and running, and if that means getting carbs from non-vegetable sources like oats, rice and wholemeal bread for example, I’ll do whatever best for my body.

While I’m disappointed I quit at Day 19, I’m proud I made it that far – It was exhausting cooking so many meals from scratch and I did well to keep it interesting by cooking new things. With my goals for the next few months to increase my weightlifting and lean out, I know I’ll have to continue to cut out the sugar and processed foods, but listen more to what I need and adjust accordingly. I’m excited to have a better relationship with my food and learn to give my body what it needs in terms of nutrition!

  
 

Whole 30 Experience: Week 2, Days 8-14

I’ve just completed the second week of my Whole30 experience and I must say, I’m starting to feel the benefits! The first week (see here), I was having a lot of cravings, and they didn’t go away during the second week.

The Whole30 timeline shows how people roughly feel at different points throughout the plan and although I didn’t have crazy cravings (there was never a point where I felt like quitting and satisfying those cravings), there were foods (cakes and biscuits…and toast!) that it’s hard for me to be around without grieving for them…almost like they’re taunting me. Having said that, after week 2 is complete, I’m finding my cravings are getting less. I’ve started getting some food boredom setting in, so my intention for the rest of the 30 days is to find more ways of eating according to the plan.

I purchased the The Whole 30 Cookbook and Eat, Drink, Paleo Cookbook at the start of the plan, but I topped up on my food inspiration by buying the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook this week which has been on my wishlist for years (they released it in the USA but only this week released it here in the UK). My Mum has an autoimmune disease, so I’ve spent a lot of time since her diagnosis a few years ago researching how diet plays a huge part in triggering and subsequently managing autoimmune issues – I’ll probably do a full review in time of the cookbook, but it’s a really good one for anyone considering eliminating foods from their diet to manage an autoimmune condition.

Having a day out last week made me think hard about how I was going to stick to the Whole 30 Plan. It was a 2-3 hour car journey to the Emma Bridgewater factory, and then 2-3 hours home again – meaning a long day and temptation at the EB cafe with homemade cakes and although healthy and locally made food, nothing I’d be sure was 100% Whole30 friendly. My intention was to stop at the M&S food services shop but I suddenly realised the rotisserie style chicken that I was going to buy with some veggies or salad was usually coated in brown sugar – my ‘pure’ chicken was not so Whole30 friendly. So there I was at 6 am, grilling chicken and baking sweet potatoes for a meal prep style lunch. Thinking ahead saved me money and the panic of getting to the services and finding nothing suitable. And, surprisingly, cold sweet potato isn’t bad!

At the start of week 3, I’m feeling much lighter, brighter and fresher. While my energy is not through the roof yet as hoped, I’ve not felt like taking an afternoon nap and I’m getting up early in the day and getting more accomplished. The house is spotless, the washing is done, I’m getting to the gym without thinking of excuses. If the results of the full 30 days are better than this, I’ll be very happy.

Bring on week 3!


Whole30: Days 1-7 experience

A few years ago I came across the Whole30 plan via the book It Starts With Food. It’s a really eye opening book and probably one that kicked started my interest in nutrition and healthy eating. It roughly follows the paleo lifestyle – no dairy, no grains, no sugars, no legumes and no alcohol. Just real food, made with real ingredients (fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs and nuts).

Last time I did the Whole30, I was bordering on Vegetarianism which later turned to Veganism, so didn’t really have much of a true experience of the Whole30 plan – I was trying to follow the fundamentals of Whole30 with only fish and eggs as my protein source. I can’t say I had the best results in terms of health changes or fat loss, but it did start me on a path towards finding what foods made my body feel good and a passion for healthy eating.

Having indulged a little too much over Christmas and not really gotten back on track properly, Easter was another excuse to eat chocolate and goodies like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a point where my cravings are out of control, yet the food isn’t satisfying and I’m eating my bodyweight in sugar just because I can, because it’s a ‘holiday’ for example. My cravings have been insane – over easter, with Cadbury mini eggs and hot cross buns in the house, I’m sure I could actually hear them calling me. So, I picked up my kindle over the Easter weekend and found my copy of It Starts With Food again, deciding that Easter Monday would be my first day of another round of Whole30.

I’m definitely an ‘all or nothing’ type of person, so 30 days of complete restriction is the only way I can get back to healthy eating – my normal diet involves ‘perfect days’ of whole foods, plenty of vegetables, clean protein and lots of water, followed by days of sugar binges and junk food. I definitely need something to change my relationship with food and get back to thinking of food as fuel and not letting my emotions and cravings control my eating.

So, Day 1 started on Monday and I’m now a week into this round of Whole30. I’m finding it surprisingly ok – I’ve not had any major withdrawal symptoms like headaches or brain fog. I was a little tired around days 3-5, but by day 6 and 7, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling hungry between meals (no snacking is allowed between each of the 3 meals) but it’s nice feeling hungry…it’s not something I’ve felt in a while because I’ve been snacking on junk all day long. I’m learning to make my meals a little bigger to keep myself fuller for longer.

Meals-wise, I’ve had a good selection of different things – last time I did the Whole30 in 2013, I pretty much had 30 days of eggs for breakfast, fresh cartons of tomato soup for lunch and maybe salmon and veg for dinner. This time around, as I have since reintroduced all meats into my diet, I’ve had a great time cooking and eating different meals…sure, I have a lot of eggs but because I love eggs. But, my lunches and dinners have been great – curries, soups, stews, turkey mince and veggies, and lots of vegetable pasta like butternut squash noodles and courgetti. I feel like I’m cooking a lot and am grateful that I work from home so I can set aside time to cook each meal from scratch – if I worked out there in the world and had to meal prep, it would be different. I am planning on a day out this week, so I’ll have to work out what to take with me so I can stick to my plan and not get stressed out over what to eat.

My real goal for the Whole30 was to improve my relationship with food and this week has been quite tough in regards to cravings – the other half has been eating cookies, naan breads and chocolate…three of my most favourite foods. It’s been hard to put these foods out of my mind, but I’m fully committed to finishing the 30 days which means I can say no pretty easily right now – I’m so enthusiastic about the programme, I couldn’t bring myself to cheat or start over. I’m hoping by the time the 30 days are up, my cravings for junk food are more manageable and I am more respectful of my body and what goes in it. My energy levels are such an issue for me usually, so one of the things I want to get out of the Whole30 is having more energy. Sleeping better, losing some fat, gaining some muscle and clearing my skin up would also make me very happy when Day 30 rolls around.

I’ll keep you updated…week one has been good and I’m already noticing improvements in my health (and weight!) so I’m hopefully it’ll continue to day 30!

  

Recipe: Cacao Mint ice cream protein smoothie

With lifting heavy at the gym, I’ve been incorporating protein shakes into my diet to aid recovery and muscle growth, but I’m not a huge fan of how protein shakes taste, especially if I’m having them day after day when I come back from the gym. So I’ve been playing around with things I can add it to flavour the shakes and give myself a bit of variety. My current favourite is mint chocolate chip ice cream inspired – my favourite ice cream flavour! I used to put a square of Green and Blacks mint dark chocolate in with my vanilla protein powder for a treat but as I’m looking to rein in my diet further, I wanted to recreate an even healthier version.

Here’s the recipe for my healthy mint chocolate chip ice cream shake:

  • Add amond milk or water to your blender (almond milk makes it extra creamy so for my mint ice cream shake, I usually go for all almond milk)
  • Add protein powder, a heaped tea spoon of raw cacao, some mint flavouring or fresh mint leaves (I use cupcake world mint chocolate) and any other healthy additions you want to add…I have been adding a teaspoon of bee pollen to mine recently.
  • Blend and serve!

If you’re not incorporating protein powder into you diet, a frozen banana is a perfect substitute – it’ll give a cold, thick milkshake texture to your shake!


  

Habits: tracking them and keeping them

They say it takes 30 days to create a habit, and good habits are as hard to break as bad ones once they’re formed. I’m trying to get some of my good intentions to stick through 2016 and tracking them each day seems to be a good way of getting things done. I’m a sucker for a good streak – if my streak is getting longer, I’m more likely to not make excuses and go that extra mile to get whatever it is done. My Kikki K wellness planner came with a habits tracking notepad – I dare say it won’t last the year, but I’ll find some other way of tracking my daily habits after that! 🙂

My ‘habits’ for 2016:

  • Drinking at least 2 litres of real water – not tea, not coffee, but actual water. I’m finding filling a litre water bottle with mostly cold water, juice of a fresh lemon, and a splash of hot water makes for a comforting drink that I can consume quite easily…I’m half way to my target with my warm lemon drink each day. The warm water is so good with lemon as it’s a great health tonic, plus ice cold water in the middle of winter is sometimes hard to bare. I use the Nalgene Wide Mouth Everyday Tritan Bottle – the big 1 litre water bottle means I can sip water for ages before needing to refill, and two fills gets my target met. This bottle is great quality, BPA free, guaranteed for life, and goes everywhere with me!
  • Daily Green juice – to get my daily dose of nutrients and antioxidants, I try to eat a varied diet with lots of vegetables, leaves and fruits. A great boost to this is a greens powder and I love the Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Powder. One serving gives you the antioxidant benefits of 7 portions of fruit and veg, so making my green drink is one of my top priorities each day.
  • Supplements is another thing I always forget. One of the most important to me is iron – I’m constantly finding myself diagnosed as anaemic and given a majorly high temporary prescription of iron to boost my stores, only to go through the whole thing again next time I get a blood test. Also top of my supplements list is probiotics as I consider them so important to gut health, immune system and overall wellbeing.
  • Exercise – goes without saying really doesn’t it? Along with weightlifting at the gym and yoga, I’m also aiming to get 365 miles in by the end of 2016. It’s not going quite according to plan, but I’m hoping to not get too far behind so I can catch up as my fitness improves…bring on those 6-7 mile runs I used to do!
  • 6am start – probably one of the most difficult but majorly impactful habit I’m trying to form. Sleep and me have an odd relationship, probably being diagnosed with glandular fever and then chronic fatigue syndrome doesn’t help, but I’m determined to get stuff done and not sleep my days away. Getting up early and filling my day with everything I want to do is my plan.

What are the habits you’re trying to form? How are you tracking them?

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2016 Running Challenge, 365 Miles

A few years ago, I challenged myself to run a mile a day. A mile a day is surely super easy to fit into a day, and I love a good every-day-streak-challenge (I remember I even ran a mile at 10pm on Christmas day because I wanted to keep my streak). However, I got to about 2 weeks in and life took over. Work is so seasonal (greeting card making at Ruby Wren) and my health is a little, shall we say, unpredictable? It was not easy to commit to even a mile a day. It sounds like a shoddy excuse, but working 18 hour days in the run up to Valentine’s Day last year, sleep was my priority.

I love the idea of my mile a day challenge – I mean, a mile is only a mile, it’s less than 10 minutes of my day. But, I can’t commit to every single day in a row. So, this year, my mile a day challenge will be a total for the entire year. I want to end 2016 with 365 miles under my belt (or 366 seeing as it’s a leap year this year). I’m planning on averaging a mile a day…being a little easier on myself in terms of commitment, but still getting those miles in. Since deciding to set myself this 365 Miles in 2016 challenge, it seems Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook-fame has also set himself this challenge, so it looks like I’m in good company…be assured, I set my challenge first, he’s copying me 😉

When I was at my peak, I remember running 8-10 miles non-stop. That was pretty amazing to me, as I’d never been very fit. Then, I injured my foot and couldn’t even walk. It was painful, but the frustration of not being able to run was worse. And, that wasn’t all – once that injury healed (it took months!), I did the same thing to my other foot and that ended up taking even longer to get over. I never really got back into running after that, and I really miss it. I’m hoping my running challenge motivates me to fall in love with running again – when I was running regularly, my health, my weight and my mental clarity was at their best. I can’t wait to be back on the top of my running game!

My Running inspiration board on Pinterest is here, check it out for more and photo credits

The Importance of Sleep, and how to get more!

Sleep is one of my big issues – I never seem to sleep deep enough, I never sleep long enough, and getting to sleep in the first place is a big challenge. I’ve always had trouble with my sleep patterns…I remember suffering from insomnia for a while in my late teens and spending all night either reading or talking to friends in different time zones online, just because I couldn’t get to sleep at all. After getting glandular fever, I seemed to do a complete 180 – sleeping for 14-16 hours a day (or even more when I first became ill!) because I was just that tired. As I got better, my sleep issues didn’t – the doctor said it’s something to do with my sleep cycle and how I don’t go through the proper stages of the sleep cycle.

So, as sleep (or lack of it!) is so important to me, I’ve been trying to help myself with plenty of natural remedies and tips. Healthy living and wellbeing is a big passion of mine and I’m always researching and reading up on things to nourish and energise my body naturally, so these are the things I’ve been trying to incorporate into my daily routine to try and improve my sleep:

  • Sleepy Tea before bed – I drink a lot of green tea, peppermint, and nettle tea throughout the day (and coffee!), so before bed I want something that will help me sleep, not add to my problems. I currently love Clipper’s Snore and Peace tea, which is a lovely blend of Organic chamomile, lemon balm and lavender. They each come individually wrapped and I love having a hot cup of this before bed. It’s so relaxing!
  • A bedtime bath – not only is a bath super calming and will melt away any stress from the day, the rise in blood pressure and body temperature from the hot bath followed by the drop when you cool down and get out the bath really helps in making you feel sleepy. Add some essential oils such as lavender, or choose an aromatherapy filled bubble bath to add to the relaxation.
  • Talking of aromatherapy, I love my SOTO Aroma Diffuser which I fill with water and a few drops of lavender and leave running in the evening – it fills the bedroom with scented, ionised mist. It’s lovely to get into bed with the fragrance drifting around the room, and the colour changing lighting is also really relaxing. If you’d rather, you can buy aromatherapy sprays for your pillow, or roller balls for your skin, all designed to relax you and send you off to a deep sleep. I love the diffuser as it makes the air feel light and fresh too, not just the scent.
  • Relaxing before bed is another great tip – turn off the devices, games consoles, computers…netflix! I’ve recently got into colouring books which I find are great to unwind with in the evening. Journalling and meditation is also a peaceful way to end the day, reflect on what you’ve achieved, plan for tomorrow and feel grateful.
  • I’ve been using Better You Magnesium Oil Goodnight Spray for a while and I really find it gives me a better night’s sleep on the evenings I use it. Magnesium is one of those nutrients that so many people are deficient in, and if you find yourself suffering from cramps, you’ll probably find a magnesium supplement really helps. They sell a normal Magnesium spray, Sport Spray but I use the Goodnight version which is enriched with essential oils for that extra relaxation.
  • Yoga is also great before bed – a calming sequence is a great way to relax your body and mind, and nothing feels better than a good stretch after a long day!
  • Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing, and it’s also a great way to improve your quality of sleep. Research says that exercising in the afternoon brings up your body temperature and then brings the temperature down over the next few hours, making it easier to fall asleep. I know I’ve always slept better when I’ve vigorously exercised during the day.

These are all things that I’m incorporating into my daily routine in order to improve my sleep. With the busy Christmas period just passed, my sleep pattern, diet and exercise plan has been a little erratic, so I’m looking forward to getting back on track and feeling ready to take on the world!

Breakfast protein smoothies

Smoothies are a great way of packing lots of healthy ingredients into one meal, getting lots of nutrients from foods that you might otherwise not eat alone. I’ve been making lots of smoothies recently, as I’ve been exercising more and trying to eat more protein. I don’t believe in fad diets or cutting essential food groups, but I do like to eat whole foods and eat plenty of protein, especially if I’m exercising more, so smoothies are my go-to way of incorporating lots of fresh ingredients and high-protein food sources.

I’ve been using PHD Diet Whey as a post-workout shake for a while – the chocolate flavour and the vanilla creme, but I thought I’d give it a go in a healthy breakfast smoothie and found it fills me up until lunchtime. My current favourite recipe involved plenty of fresh berries (hello, antioxidants!), greek yogurt for protein and probiotics, and pumpkin seeds and almonds for essential minerals like zinc. I may also add flaxseed to a smoothie (although the Diet Whey also contains flaxseed) for iron, healthy omega 3 fats and fibre, and often I’ll add a spoon of raw cold pressed coconut oil for good fats and healthy lauric acid.

This smoothie recipe has been keeping me feeling full until lunch and it’s great to know I’m starting the day with a good amount of protein and lots of nutrients from the seeds, nuts, berries and good fats.

If you’re looking to add greek yogurt to your smoothies, please check the ingredients on the brand you’re buying – so many products are named as ‘greek style’ and are full of sugar, not what you should be adding to a healthy diet. My favourite is Fage – it’s much better than any of the sugar-filled yogurts on supermarket shelves in my opinion.

Happy blending!