The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Vegan Pea Soup

I’ve been feeling the soup vibe recently which is unusual for me as I’m generally not a soup-y person, not sure if it is the rubbish weather or just the time of year but yeah, soup has been getting made every weekend. Last weekend I thought I would try a new type for me. I like peas, but can’t remember every trying them as a soup. This recipe serves 3 good sized or 4 smaller sized portions. I’ve not tried freezing it but I would guess it should be fine.

Vegan Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1tsp Vegan Margarine
  • 800ml Vegetable Stock
  • 250g Frozen Peas
  • 100ml Rice/Soya/Nut milk
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chives and Tarragon

Method

Chop the onion and sautee in a little water.

Add flour and stir for a minute or two until really well mixed. Take off heat and add 2 ladles of stock. Whisk until smooth.

Add remaining stock and return to heat. Add peas and simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix milk with cornflour and pour slowly into soup, reheat until almost boiling.

Liquidise with a hand blender/in a blender. Add seasoning.

That’s it! Quick and easy (and tasty!) soup. I forgot to take a picture of just the soup but took one with a sheese and tomato bagel too.

Vegan Pea Soup

If you can’t tell from the recipe I am trying to avoid oil, it really is empty calories, I’ve never used a huge amount but in all honesty I feel with my real push to lose weight it is just empty nothing calories. I was down 5 pounds this week (whoop!) so I am really trying to keep my focus. This oil free recipe is around 100 calories a serving so barely anything. It’s not the most filling but it is delicious!

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What I think about tesco as a vegan

What I think about Tesco as a vegan?

A bit of a weird title but “What I think about tesco as a vegan?” was the question asked by my omnivore husband this week. This comes off the back of the range of vegan ready meals launched this week, Wicked Kitchen . I’ve already tried a few  and have even been to two separate tesco’s to get them and my opinion on the taste of them is that they are delicious. They are plant based, don’t use fake meats/cheese and while I have absolutely nothing against these (and eat them from time to time), these meals are really tasty and don’t need the fake stuff. They are also pretty healthy for ready meals, £4 a pop is pretty steep but for an occasional treat (and in place of a takeaway!) it’s great to have options.

A conversation with my husband about these lead the above question, what I thought about tesco. I felt a bit annoyed at this question initially but dug deeper to try to understand what he really was asking. I asked, in what way? He said morally, they are one of the worst companies out there ethically, and sell mostly non vegan food, so what do you think about them. Here are my thoughts:

  1. I feel like people judge vegans way more strictly on their ethics than they do non-vegans. Do I go around asking non-vegans about what they think about tesco? It’s like being vegan is taken as a target on your back, and you are expected to have much higher ethics in every single area of your life. Now I know, vegans probably do consider ethics in some areas more, certainly when it comes to using animals. But being vegan does no equate to being more ethical in every area of life. They are unrelated in my opinion. Veganism is defined by the vegan society as“… a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Nothing to do with other ethical areas. Do I think vegans consider ethics more in other areas too? I don’t know, some certainly do, some don’t. Do I feel comfortable with the ethics of Tesco? Not particularly. Why do I shop there? Because of number 2…
  2. I have a lack of choice. Realistically, the way the world is built, and where I live in it, the main options for quick easy shopping are large supermarkets. I feel when it comes to the ethics of these (Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidl, Aldi etc) they are all probably pretty similar. My life is busy, I work a full time job, have a family, try to look after myself somewhat, have pets etc, and have limited time to shop/look for other options. Therefore I shop at places like Tesco. If there were other options in my area I would definitely look into them. I do look to see if there are local shops/delivery options but really where I live in the West Coast of Scotland (Inverclyde), there isn’t many choices. If there are some out there which you know please let me know too!
  3. Non-vegan food. Obviously Tesco et. al sell mostly non-vegan food. As a vegan I don’t like this. But, surely the more vegan food they sell the less space and demand they have for non-vegan food, the less non-vegan food they order, the less animals are killed, the less animals are bred and on and on. Tesco recently shut some meat and fish counters due to lack of demand and the new ready meals have been selling out all over the country. Just eat has seen a ridiculous rise of 987% for vegetarian food and the RSPCA says there has been a 37% rise in demand for meat alternatives. This can surely only lead to less animal death. All of those statistics are for the UK only, I’m aware in other areas of the world meat consumption is increasing, but for the UK this is great news, and I am confident this will spread. I believe people are slowly waking up to the fact that meat is bad for the planet, bad for people and I think concern for animal rights is beginning to grow.

So there it is, my opinion on tesco as a vegan. Bit of a weird one I know but worth a post I thought!

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Okja Review | Movie Review

Okja Review

I watch quite a lot of films, and I usually try to watch the vegan type so I have decided to do a little write up of the films/books that I watch/read in case people are looking for information on these, I will try to keep these spoiler free. Also, I don’t consider myself a particularly professional reviewer, however I do watch a lot of films so feel I at least have a fairly informed opinion.

Myself, my husband and daughter watched Okja on netflix at the weekend. When it first came out a few months ago it was something I wanted to see. Although not essentially a vegan film, the premise is that of a special kind of animal that has been bred for food. However, when the time comes the main protagonist (South Korean Seo-Hyun Ahn) wants to save the animal from slaughter.

My daughter is 9 and I assumed Okja was child friendly, however it actually has a 15 age rating, and there are a couple of graphic, uncomfortable scenes in it. I am fairly open minded when it comes to age ratings, and my daughter didn’t understand the main graphic scene, so I would personally say that for tweens it is acceptable. It really depends on the child. The sad reality is that the scenes which cause distress are completely based on the reality of what happens in the animal agriculture industry on a probably minute by minute basis. That we feel this is too graphic to show our children, yet the majority of people feed their children the products of it (and feed themselves it) without even the briefest consideration, multiple times daily is surely an indictment on the way the world is.

By the end of the film I struggled not to cry, honestly the lump in my throat was huge. I found the film moving, and really was behind the main characters. It was an unrealistic film, yet completely realistic also. Definitely not a “vegan” film as such with a couple of references to non-vegan things, although the film makes never said as such, but I think it would make people think. Worth a watch for sure.

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Curried Barley and Mushrooms | Slow cooker

I’m trying to save some time cooking this year and would love to start using my slow cooker, so one of the first recipes I thought I would try was curried barley and mushrooms. This is out of one of my old non-vegan slow cooker cookbooks, although it has quite a lot of vegan options, and more that can certainly be veganised. This ended up more like a biryani but was very tasty, the barley was light and fluffy but very flavourful.

Curried Barley and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 Bunch of Spring Onions
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Mild Curry Paste
  • 1 1/2 cups of Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup of Pearl Barley
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 cup of Coconut Milk (I made mine from 2 tsp of dehydrated coconut mix)
  • 400g Mushrooms
  • 1 tin of Garden Peas

Method

  1. Chop spring onions, sweat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add turmeric and mix well. Add curry paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Rinse pearl barley and add to the pot, put back on a very mild heat for a minute or so, until well coated.
  4. Add stock, coconut milk and a bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  5. Put in slow cooker, cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4. This took less time that I thought it would so I kept it on warm for a while until we were ready to eat.
  6. When ready to server sautee mushrooms and drain a tin of peas then mix these both in with the grains. Serve with rice and vegetables

Curried barley and mushrooms

Definitely recommended if you like Indian flavour foods, it was something a little different as well with the barley. Very healthy and filling. I had leftovers the next day as well which was just as nice re-heated.

I also think I will start including a rough amount for calories, considering I am calorie counting! This served 4 people at around 273 calories a portion. Any rice/vegetables are extra. I had it with brown rice and veg which took the meal up to around 500 calories. Not too bad for such a big meal!

Also just wanted to say that so far I have had no takeaways this year! I know it’s only the 8th of January but my husband has had 2 lots of takeaway food so far so I’m feeling good about it! I’ve been fasting most days, having smoothies most days and it’s going well.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Word for 2018 Blip

A blip in a long long journey

I’m now a few days into the New Year and on have officially weighed myself and as I knew I had a bit of a blip, I am up a stone exactly, taking my weight to 218 pounds. I’m still 52 down but there is no doubt I am disappointed with myself and the gain.

Since I did the 10k, and even in the run up to it I knew I was eating too much. I was focusing on completing the race, knowing I needed to fuel my body, and to be honest I think I just needed a break. Losing weight is a long ongoing process, it takes up a lot of my thoughts, I need it to, that is the only way I can ensure that I keep going in the right direction. I need to be logging everything I eat, considering every single mouthful. If I don’t I go the other way. So for three months there I didn’t go completely haywire, I still fasted a fair bit, kept an eye on what I was eating but I knew I was eating too much. That, combined with Christmas and New Year has led to the stone gain.

Looking at this from the other direction though I can be positive about this gain too. Three whole months, not quite following plan, barely exercising, then Christmas and New Year and I only gained a stone! Previously, when I’ve had an off spell all of the weight has come back and more. So gaining a stone, what is that over the course of a lifetime journey?

This week so far I have been excellent with my eating, 18 hour fasts, smoothies and a salad for my first two meals totally around 500 calories, then a large evening meal. I’m averaging 10 – 13 portions of fruit and vegetables every day, feeling full, and way less bloated. I just need to wait and see how the weight loss goes now!

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I’m going to need you all during 2018 for support 🙂

Word for 2018 Blip

New Years Resolutions | Word for 2018

Well another year is drawing to a close, I’m left marvelling at how 2017 passed so quickly. I already covered in my last post how I felt that 2017 was overall a success, but it is time to look to the New Year,make plans for how I want 2018 to go, an set an intentional word for 2018.

Last year when making my resolutions I purposefully steered clear of specific weight loss targets. I had lost some weight and hit some major plateaus, this year has been fairly similar. Last year I also decided to set a word for the year, and throughout times in 2017 I have tried to keep that word, Simplify, in mind. I did simplify a lot of my daily routines, food and exercise. This year, weight loss is in the forefront of my mind. I know, it’s not linear, I only have so much control over how much I can do, but I feel I’m ready to make a good long push to get off the rest. I’m around halfway, half to go, I’m sure I can do it. Therefore, my word for 2018 is Focus. I’m focusing on losing around 5 stone. It may seem a lot, I’m not sure whether my body will play ball but I’ve decided 2018 is the year when I give it my all. So, how am I going to change my behaviour to do this? Some of it is based off of what I already do, and some is taking it a little further,

Word for 2018 – Focus

Fasting

On work days I will follow 18:6, fasting for 18 hours every day, and having an eating window of 6. I will start eating at 1 pm, and finish by 7. Now I honestly don’t know whether fasting will be a massive help with weight loss but logic dictates, if I am less time to eat I should eat less. Towards the end of this year I have been fasting, but in all honesty I’ve been eating too much in the window, taking it as a time to really force food in. I’ve not gained (maybe over Christmas though!) but it’s not helped me lose. One thing about fasting though is that I feel great when I follow it, I am full of energy, generally not hungry, feel lighter and just feel good.

Whole Foods Plant Based Diet

I already “mostly” follow a whole foods plant based diet. I’m taking this a step further in 2018. I’m going to cut down drastically on oil, sugar and processed foods. My first meal of the day when fasting will be a large smoothie full of fruit and vegetables. If hungry after this I will have a salad a little later in the afternoon. In the evening I will have a fairly large, mostly plant based meal. For example Risotto, Pasta, Chilli, Curry, Stir fry, Rice and vegetables. Certain things will be staples, all green vegetables, all vegetables in general, paired with wholegrains, legumes, beans. Snacks will need to be looked at carefully, I want to start being more smart with snacks, rice cakes, things not full of sugar, not just jump to a packet of crisps. I’m still going to be loosely calorie counting and using myfitnesspal, but not to be strict with calories, more to watch my nutrition. I believe that you can really pack away lots of whole fruits and veggies without thinking too much about calories.

Goodbye Takeaways

This is going to be a huge one for me and I feel I have really sabotaged myself this year with takeaways. I am busy with work, I am out every day from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, my husband is an awful cook, therefore it’s down to me to provide the meal every night. A lot of evenings I am feeling lazy, it’s not tiredness as such, just a desire to not be cooking. We will then get a takeaway. This is at least once a week, but usually it’s at least twice. It costs a fortune, a family of 4 is at least £30 a time, twice a week is £60, every month that is £240 and that is a really low estimate. I hate it, but for some reason I keep doing it. This is a behaviour I am going to work really hard to change. I will allow myself two lunch time takeaways a month (sandwiches/pasta/subway/possibly a burger king) and one big takeaway dinner a month, probably a Chinese. If my husband still wants them occasionally that’s fine, I’m not in control of him or his choices, but for me, and the kids, on those nights I can’t be bothered my first choice will be to pop to a supermarket and get something convenient, a tofu stir fry, sweet potatoes to pop in the microwave and have with beans, even a plant based microwave pot. I just cannot justify it any longer. Taking away the money, and the hindrance to weight loss, I always feel awful after eating them! I eat way too much, it’s full of salt and oil, yeah, they have to go.

Focus goes into more than the weight loss too, I have signed up for 2018 in 2018 with the aim again of getting rid of much of my possessions. The more I get rid of the less time I spend cleaning, that really does go hand in hand so I’m back on the bandwagon. I also want to focus on spending less and saving more. We want to go on a family holiday this year, I’d like to pay off some debt and even save a little. All of this should be possible with some cuts in some areas, re-prioritising in others.
Meditation again is something I want to keep up over the year too, it helps me in ways other things don’t, keeping me grounded, aware of the now, not so caught up in mind. I also want to keep blogging, blog more in fact, I’m going to need the support and accountability in the year ahead.

So that’s my 2018. My only tangible goal this year is 5 stone (at least) in one year. I’m putting all my focus into that and I’m going to do it.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I’m going to need you all during 2018 for support 🙂

New Years Resolutions/ Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017 | A Successful Year

It’s that time of year where you look back at the year that’s passed and begin to make new plans for the year ahead. I would say that 2017 for me has been a pretty good year! I got a full time graduate developer/IT job which I enjoy and I got a new car which isn’t completely falling apart, that has released a lot of anxiety and stress I used to feel.

Last year I set the word simplify as my word of 2017, along with some tangible goals which I will recap:

  • Simplify my diet/Eat more plant based
  • Simplify my exercise/Run a 10k
  • Simplify my house and routines
  • Simplify my waste/Recycle

When it comes to simplifying my diet and eating more plant based I did pretty good! The plant based simple menu I came up with in January last year was pretty much followed, nearly every single week (although we’re all a bit fed up with tomato pasta!). I definitely ate more plants, however I did feel we ate a lot more takeaways. I’m putting this down to the new job (being out of the house from 7:30 am – 6:00 pm takes its toll) and having more money. This is something I’m going to address next year.

Simplifying my exercise and running a 10k. Well that was well and truly smashed. I ran the 10k in October, never did I really think it was possible. I’ve barely ran since, weather and time, but as soon as the weather improves I’m getting back out there. I also went back to swimming and rejoined the gym for when I can actually make it.

Simplifying my house and routines was more mixed, I took part in 2017 items in 2017 and failed miserably, only getting rid of 680. However added to my 1000+ from November 2016 I think that’s not too bad. I still have a lot I want to get rid of so I’m back in for 2018 in 2018 and determined to complete it this time!

Simplifying my waste didn’t really go anywhere, I am recycling more but this is something I want to look at again.

Losing weight wasn’t a goal I set myself last year, I knew that while I was trying to lose I had to focus on other things for a while, but I’m over 20 pounds down in the year without focusing too much. That though will be different in 2018 but more on that early next week.

Overall I would say a successful year. The highlights have been getting the job and running the 10k but overall it has been good, my family are well and healthy, animals are fine (17 year old cat is still going!), I’ve met and spent time with great people old and new and I will look back on 2017 with fondness.

I also just wanted to say a massive thank you to anyone reading this! I can see from google analytics that some people are actually coming here to read what I say which is kind of scary considering I mostly talk/type rubbish, but it is really appreciated. I have been quiet on Instagram for a while, in all honesty I just needed a break from weight loss as a whole but with the New Year approaching I’m feeling re energised again and would love for anyone else on this journey (or any!) to give me a follow/send me a message.

You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit.

I hope everyone has a lovely New Year and I will see you on the other side!

Vegan Nutella Christmas Tree

For pudding this year I have decided to give the Bosh Vegan Nutella Christmas Tree a go. I couldn’t resist the look of it on facebook, it’s maybe not a traditional desert but warm teamed with vegan cream we are all in agreement in our house that tradition can go out the window for this!

Vegan Nutella Christmas Tree

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Hazelnuts, roasted
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 200g of melted dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup oat milk
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • Olive oil
  • Vegan Cream

Method

I had pre-shelled hazelnuts from Holland and Barrett so didn’t need to shell them. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for around 12 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.

Put in a food processor with salt and process until well broken up. Melt dark chocolate, I used a 200g 75% dark chocolate bar, add this to the food processor. Add 1/2 cup of oat milk and 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Process until well mixed.

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Lay down the first sheet of puff pastry. Spread the nutella mix in a tree/triangle shape on the first layer.

On top place the second layer of pastry to make a pastry/nutella sandwich. Cut the excess pastry where there is no nutella so you end up with a large triangle.

Slice in along the edges going up the edges of the tree. Twist these a little.

Vegan Nutella Christmas Tree - Uncooked

Brush the tree with olive oil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for around 20 minutes. Enjoy with vegan cream. I forgot to take a picture of the finished tree but will be having some more tonight so will come back and add a finished picture!

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Christmas Menu 2017 | Vegan Christmas

Christmas Menu 2017

I know it’s late but I thought I would share my plans for what we are having this Christmas. I can’t quite believe that the year is nearly at and end already. I’m very badly organised this year due to work being crazy busy in the last few weeks, but I’ve not forgotten about my blog and in fact plan to use it a lot more in 2018 to help me reach my goals. More on that next week however!

Starter

  • Smoked “Salmon”/Carrot Lox on Bagels with Vegan Cream Cheese
  • Spiced Carrot Soup

Main

  • Turkey Style Seitan
  • Giant Sausage Roll
  • Stuffing
  • Vegan Sausage Rolls
  • Vegan Sausages in Fake Bacon
  • Maple Parsnips and Carrots
  • Roast Potatoes
  • Spiced Red Cabbage
  • Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts
  • Turnip and Carrot Mash
  • Vegan Bread Sauce

Pudding

  • Vegan Nutella Christmas Tree
  • Mince Pie Brownies

So that’s the plan for Christmas day, I still need to work out timings and I suspect some of it will be pre-made, or at least partially pre-made tomorrow. I plan to be eating leftovers for days.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Vegan Mac and Cheese is something my daughter is always asking for. To be honest, I have an issue with white coloured food (excluding cauliflower and alpro vegan cream) so I’ve never really missed it, but for her sake I have attempted to make it a couple of times with no real success.

In previous attempts with potatoes and carrots the sauce lacked creaminess, however I had seen a few recipes pop up on facebook using cashews which certainly appeared to improve the consistency so thought I would give it a try. Additionally it doesn’t take that long, although a little preparation of the cashews is required in the morning/night before.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 200g dried macaroni
  • 1 cup of white potato peeled and chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup of carrots peeled and chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup of water from the boiled vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup of rice milk
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Method

  1. In the morning before I left for work I put my cashews in a bowl of water to soften them a little, my blender is good but not amazingly good so I hoped this would help and it did.
  2. When you are ready to start making it put the macaroni on to boil.
  3. Peel and chop the veg into small chunks, the smaller they are the quicker it cooks. Place them all together in boiling water and boil until they are all soft. For me this was around 15 minutes.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the veg and put in the blender. Drain the cashews and add all of the other ingredients.
  5. Blend until nice and smooth.
  6. Mix with the macaroni and serve. Next time I may use some vegan cheese and breadcrumbs and put in the oven.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

That’s it, nice and simple, tasty and filling. To get over my white food issues I added some sauteed mushrooms and onions and sprinkled a liberal amount of chilli flakes on but my daughter had as is and ate the lot.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. You can also now find my on Strava to follow my slow (hopefully getting faster) runs. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 – Completed

 

I thought I should do an update about the Great Scottish Run 10k 2017, now the day itself has passed. The morning of Sunday the 1st of October was, as we say in Scotland dreich. I had been keeping an eye on the weather on the BBC website and it had went from sunny, to heavy rain to light rain the night before. Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Train

I was in the pink wave (the slowest) and my start time was 10.05. This was my first official race so I didn’t really know what to expect. My husband and kids were coming along to support me so we drove to Paisley and parked there, knowing the main streets of Glasgow were shut for the race we decided to get the train in. A lot of other people also had this idea and the train was completely packed, standing room only and not much at that.

We arrivGreat Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Start Lineed before any of the 10k runners went and I watched as the white wave and professional runners took off. Then I went off on my own to find my start place. Although I knew the numbers of people that took part, I’m not sure I really appreciated how many people that is, afterwards I found out nearly 9000 people took part in the 10k over three waves. This was my view from the start line, I was around 2/3 of the way back, as you can see from the picture there is a lot of people waiting to go!

My runner friend who was supposed to be taking part with me unfortunately had to drop out due to a badly timed health issue so I was there at the start on my own.

The official start time was 10.05 but according to my timing chip I didn’t cross the start line until 10.12.

I had been warned about the long, pretty hard hill at the start and had decided that there would be no walking in this 10k, I had trained enough to run it and would have been disappointed to have walked at any point, in fact this was my only aim for the whole event, I didn’t mind how long it took, I just wanted to keep running. I was also mindful of taking off at a pace that was far outwith my own comfortable pace and when I started running I was overtaken…a lot! I thought I would feel embarrassed about this but I didn’t care at all. I also overtook a lot of people, and as soon as we hit that hill a lot of people started walking, I was surprised at the amount of people walking so early. I dragged myself up it, huffing and puffing, but the relief when I reached the top and started the descent was great, and that was almost 1k in.

According to my Strava I was going at a faster pace than I usually did so I slowed myself down a little and just kept going. It was actually a pretty easy run for me, I had done 10k twice already so knew I could do it. Being surrounded by so many people really carries you on too. Once the initial embarrassment was out of the way I really enjoyed the whole thing. I occasionally took my headphones out to hear the music along the way but really my playlist is so ingrained in with running I needed it.

 

 

By the time I hit the 5k and halfway mark I was going at a slightly faster than normal comfortable pace and I felt sure I was going to finish without stopping so relaxed a little.

At 7k there was an absolutely huge downpour, so much rain I couldn’t even see briefly. While this sounds awful, I was roasting so I didn’t mind that much. Along the way I had seen my friend who had dropped out (and high fived him) and my husband and children twice.

I did have some GPS issues, I started the run before the start line then paused it, restarting closer to the line. Not being down with the ways of Strava I didn’t consider that it would start GPS and timing straight away, giving me a very slow 1st km, then adding more on at the end.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Strava

My heart rate was pretty steady throughout the whole run. You can see the starting hill with the elevation changes, there was another very steep little hill about a third of the way through.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Fitbit

My finish time was 1 hour 23 minutes 53 seconds, which is also my fastest ever 10k time by around 4 minutes, not bad! I did it! I ticked “Running a 10k Race” off of my New Years Resolution list. I still have a few things left on there but that was the big one for me this year. Never did I think it was possible. Not only was it possible, it was enjoyable.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Completed

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Medal

I may be a glutton for punishment but I think I’ve decided to try the half marathon next year. That gives me plenty of time to lose more weight and increase my distance. Anyone else out there made the jump from 10k to half marathon have any advice?

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. You can also now find my on Strava to follow my slow (hopefully getting faster) runs. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

 

Great Scottish Run 10k

Firstly, if anyone reads my blog you have my sincerest apologies for having disappeared for the last couple of months. I have majorly struggled with time management, which in turn stresses me out, which then leads to more time management issues, it’s a circle I struggle to get out of. My whole social media interaction has been less recently, business, but in part because of the main reason for this post, I’m currently in training for the Great Scottish Run 10k.

Way back in January I made some new years resolutions and set a word for the year, simplify. My new years resolution were –

  • Simplify my diet, more plants, less processed, do this by following a simpler meal plan
  • Simplify my home and routines, get rid of 2017 things
  • Run a 10k race
  • Simplify waste, more recycling, thoughtful purchases

I would say this year I’ve done not too badly, I’ve continue to get rid of things from my home (although I will need a big push soon to reach 2017), my diet could be a little more simple, I’m still recycling but would like to do more, but one of these, possibly the hardest, I am about to put to rest. On the 1st October I’m taking part in the Great Scottish Run 10k race. Last time I was posting about running I couldn’t even do 5k. I finally completed couch to 5 k on the 29th July and promptly signed up for the 10k race on the 30th of July. Nothing like throwing yourself in the deep end!

For most of my 5k training quite honestly I struggled. I started the program three times this year, and dropped out around week 6 twice (this year, I’ve attempted couch to 5 k 5 times now). But I was determined, I knew I had committed to 10k and can’t really do that unless I can do 5 (obviously!) so I dragged myself out and it was third time lucky. And by week 7 of 9 (shout out to fellow star trek lovers) , it began to feel more comfortable. My breathing felt more in control, I could even think about things other than pain and regret of why I was doing this. I completed the program believing I could do 10k. So I signed up and jumped straight into 5k to 10k training.

This went pretty successfully, but I found I was outstripping what the program said, when I added in intervals the whole thing was harder so I just kept running. I was doing about 7 – 8 k within a week or two of the 5k. Then one day I woke up after a night of hallucinations with a temperature and a painful swollen foot. A trip to the doctor later and I discovered I had cellulitis, a nasty deep tissue infection that can turn septic quickly. After a couple of days narrowly avoiding hospital admittance, and two weeks of strong antibiotics my foot began to look normal. I had missed two and a half weeks of training however so my first run I only did 3k, and on my second run I went out with the intention of doing 5 but I felt good, and did 8.5, the most I’d ever done.

Since then I have ran a mix of 5 – 10k (Yes, I’ve actually already ran 10k!). It’s painful, but I can do it.

I do want to caveat all of this with the fact that I am very slow, very very slow. 8 – 9 minutes a km slow. However, I am still obese, so ya know, I’m not that fussed about speed at the moment, just doing it is my aim. The slowest pace that you are allowed to run as part of the race (and not on the pavement) is 12 minutes a km, so I’m well within that.

Great Scottish Run 10k Route

This is the route of the 10k, the main worry I have is about hills. I have done very little hill running although have now taken some of my runs to the very large hill behind my house, I’m hoping I’ve not left it too late. I think the crowds and atmosphere though will pull me through.

My plans for the day, arrive early, make sure my phone is charged, put on my headphones and run. As long as I make it to the end without stopping I will be happy. Ideally I want no walking, which I think I can do.

After the 10k, who knows? I think I need to focus on losing more weight before taking running much further than the 10, but I do enjoy it and have my eye on the half marathon next year. I’ve also started swimming and while being slow I’m fairly strong, maybe I’ll take up cycling and do a triathlon by the time I’m 40!

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. You can also now find my on Strava to follow my slow (hopefully getting faster) runs. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

My Approach to Social Media

This post comes off the back of a mammoth post about veganism, and specifically the damage caused by red meat to both humans and the environment, made by my husband on Facebook recently which sparked a lot of debate (and outrage from some).

My husband’s general way of using Social Media is very brash, he has no care for offending anyone, deeming offence solely with the reader. I do agree with this, however, my approach to social media is the opposite to his. Instead of not caring at all about others I worry too much that I may offend them! This is on my personal page, on my diminishing vegan page I post anything as my thoughts are that people have to go there to follow it therefore are fine with what I say.

I noticed pre any vegan related posts I used to get a lot of likes on things. Now please believe me when I say that I couldn’t care less whether lots of people “liked” what I have said. But I have noticed a sharp decline since I went vegan. My assumption is that people who I’m not that close to have unfollowed me. Of course that is people’s right to, the truth is hard to take especially from someone you went to school with in the mid 90’s and have never seen in person since. It’s easier to hide than read and think.

This correlation though between veganism and likes made me think about whether I was offending people, was I doing wrong by sharing things about veganism? I never shared any graphic content, more interesting articles and information I thought people may not know, often not even saying anything of my own.

My worry about this led to this website, my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I occasionally shared something on facebook, usually about visiting a vegan festival or the like, but I pretty much stopped sharing information. That was until I witnessed the blow up on my husband’s status. A lot of people on his status said that this was not the right way about getting your point across, but having done it the other way for a year a half I can say he got more reaction than I ever have!

So I have started sharing on my personal facebook again, I ensure as far as I can what I share is from a legitimate source, try to find academic backup, and I even give a commentary on it.

So far I’ve had one bacon joke, original eh? I’m going to keep posting. It is too important not to. Climate change has been in the news so much recently and many people don’t even know the impact their diet has on the planet. If they don’t care about animals, surely they will care about what happens to their children/grandchildren. I need to take a page out of my husbands book and just get on with it, and stop worrying about things I have no control over, it is not on me to think about the offence of every single person on my Facebook!

How much do you share on Facebook? Do you think about what others think about you?

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Fruit Birthday Cake | Fresh Fruit

It was my daughters birthday party last week, we visited our local laser tag place for two hours of fun with 10 kids and a couple of adults. May I just say at this point that I won both games. Not only did I beat 10 children, I beat my husband, teenage son and some random strangers. Clearly this is a proud moment for me! I’d like to thank my parents, my school etc etc..but most of all my weight loss because I could shoot/run/duck and hide my way to victory.

Ahem, now I have the tale of my victories out of the way I wanted to share my daughters birthday cake. Last year we made a Panda, rainbow, aquafaba layer cake which looking back on was pretty impressive! This year however she requested something a little different, a fruit cake, made with fresh fruit, namely a melon cake.

She loves fruit, and actually isn’t that big a fan of cake, and being the only vegan in her friend group and I think she likes being seen as the healthy one.

Sadly, I was a little worried about judgement. From who? Other parents, the venue, family, isn’t that mad? I was worried about being judged for giving children fruit rather than a huge amount of sugar.

Worry of judgement aside, I just went for it, and created a three tier cake from watermelon, gala melon and honeydew. We then garnished it with 3 types of grapes, strawberries, kiwi and pineapple.

fruit birthday cake

The kids absolutely tore into it, after two games of laser tag I think it was actually perfect.

I did also make some vegan cupcakes, these were for the party bags and adults there, but making a fruit cake and cupcakes was much quicker and easier than making a full birthday cake, which was good considering how busy I am at the moment!

vegan cupcakes

At some point I’ll do a post about the cupcakes but you can find a close recipe for them here.

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Steak, Cattle and Roll Review

If you are only here for things relating to weight loss then this is not the post for you, as the food from Steak, Cattle and Roll definitely does not fit into the weight loss category. To be fair, with a name like that you wouldn’t think it would fit into the vegan category either but surprisingly it does.

I had seen pictures previously of vegan food from steak, cattle and roll, in particular their deserts and “milk” shakes and got me and my daughter interested. It was her birthday this week so we decided to go check it out (along with the omni husband and son).

The name does cause me some consternation, it’s a play on words but I can’t say I like it. However, I do still shop at shops that sell meat, I still buy other food from restaurants/fast food places that sell meat, so while I don’t particularly approve of the name I feel it would be hypocritical to rule them out as the “one place” I wouldn’t go. Plus that they have good vegan options makes me feel like we should be supporting them.

So, for burgers my daughter had their original Vegan burger with cheese, and to be honest, sadly, she didn’t really like it. She did eat around half, but after trying it myself I felt as if it was a bit undercooked and gooey in the middle, the flavour was good, just some more cooking required.

I had the “chicken” seitan burger which I found delicious, I really enjoyed it, I had to cut it in half to eat it though it was so huge.

For sides we had chips which were pretty good, and the vegan stack of onion rings which were top notch, the batter was lovely, I ate so many of them! (Sorry scales).

The real treat came with pudding though. My daughter had the lolly polly vegan shake which came with an ice lolly sticking out and was topped with whipped vegan cream, she loved this and had most of it.

Steak, Cattle and Roll

I had the vegan desert which was banofee pudding and my god, I have not tasted anything that good in  a long time. It is the type of thing I would have went to town on in a non vegan version frequently years ago, but nowadays it is a real treat, partly due to not being able to get things like that readily. 10/10, I ate it all, forcing down the last couple of spoonfuls. It was very sweet, my tastebuds were in shock but I reckon that’s down to my overall diet changes, and an occasional indulgence is definitely fine.

Overall I would recommend it, slightly disappointed with the vegan burger but everything else was very good, it’s worth it just for the puddings! You can find Steak, Cattle and Roll’s website here and facebook here so I would say don’t be put off by the name and check them out.

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Impossible to lose weight?

This week I stumbled across this story as I was getting up for an early morning run. Additionally to this a popular fitness page I follow on Facebook has been discussing it at length all week. (Although the published date is 2014 so unsure why it popped up again).

So what is the jist of the article? That it is essentially impossible for people to achieve long term weight loss, in their words it only happens to “the smallest minority of people”.

This article really gave me mixed feelings. I can understand the logic behind it. When you look around the world people are generally getting larger, weight loss is difficult, most people fail, not that many reach and maintain a healthy weight.

However, is it impossible? Surely not. I’m an optimist, I like to think most things are possible. Not flying to the moon, or holding my breath for 10 minutes, but you know, achievable things, like possibly one day running a marathon, getting a good job, being happy, or reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

My issue with this article is that it may steal people’s hope. My weight loss has been slow, and not so steady, but I have maintained that weight loss (mostly) for two years. But part of me does believe that many people get bigger and bigger, and as they get bigger their body adjusts to the new “normal”, then, when you eat at a deficit and exercise more, initially some weight falls off. Eventually though your body begins to think it is under attack and will do whatever it can to stick where it is, or even worse regain what you had lost.

This is where the whole weight loss journey is most important for me, and my attitude is don’t ever give up. Keep focused. We do focus on the numbers on a scale too much, and this is part of my reason for leaving slimming world, unachievable weight loss targets. Weight loss is not linear, not for anyone I know. But I do believe it is achievable if you are willing to commit to the long long goal.

Diet’s won’t work in the long term, strict caloric deficits won’t work in the long term, going like a bat out of hell exercising won’t work in the long term. A change of lifestyle (as cliched as it sounds) is the only way out. Food, exercise, general activity levels. You don’t need to be obsessed, but you do need to be focused. We all know how easy it is for weight to go back on. And why not be focused? We only have one lifetime, surely we are worth it?

What I took from that article initially was a feeling of being disheartened. However, as I thought about it, and considered the reality of the obesity epidemic, I do understand. Is it impossible to lose weight? Never. With the right attitude, life changes, commitment and focus, not so much on the numbers but on health and lifestyle, I believe it can be done. Hopefully I’m going to keep proving it too.

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Reaching the lowest weight ever on my fitness pal

Reaching my lowest ever weight on MFP

When I first signed up to My Fitness Pal way back in 2011 I knew I had found something that I would enjoy, I had previously counted calories in a book (like I watched my mum doing for years previously), and having a website/app to do this on just really got me hyped up. I thought wow, this is it, I will reach my goal weight in no time!

My starting weight was 270 pounds, just over 19 stone, 122.5 kg. Not a good weight to start at, I still marvel at how I got to that weight (and it wasn’t even the last time I was there!).

My weight loss was very quick in the beginning, I dropped to 225 within 4 months, then hit a bit of a blip and gained a little, and reached 215 in November 2012. All I could think is just over a stone till I’m in the 100’s. I was so excited, feeling good, looking back though I was still eating crap, but not too much of it. Something changed however and I started on a gaining streak, I took my eye off the ball, and the weight piled back on.

By May of 2013 I was back to 260, almost right back where I had started. I managed to get back down to 243, going in the right direction, then my mum died in September 2013. As you can imagine, weight loss was literally the furthest thing from my mind, in fact I almost took this as a cue to rebel, eat whatever I wanted in whatever portion size I wanted, who could blame me I thought? The next year and a half where a bit of a yoyo, bouncing between 260 – 230, then my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour and off I went again, eat eat eat, I lived on takeaways. I juggled staying with my dad part time, being a mother, and completing my undergraduate degree, but my health suffered, I smoked, ate whatever I wanted, my asthma was awful, I could barely walk any distance and my weight was back at that all time high of 270 pounds. What a depressing time that was, at times I just couldn’t see a way out.

Just before my dad died at the end of May 2015,  I promised him I would stop smoking, he was worried for me, he had smoked himself and quit many years previously. He also worried about my weight, general health. I quit smoking less than a week after he died, and I’m now about to reach two years free. I lost half a stone within that first week of him dying too. I knew I had to do it, and especially to not replace smoking with food. It didn’t matter how long or hard it was, I was going to improve my health, for me, for them, for my children.

It’s taken me two years, but I am now down four stone. Additionally to that I am the lowest weight I have ever been on My Fitness Pal, 213.5 pounds which is a massive milestone for me. Looking at my all time weight loss chart for years and seeing that low point in 2012 has driven me mad over the years.

Reaching my lowest ever weight on my fitness pal

It has not been straightforward, I had a blip and gained for a while but instead of reaching that 270 pounds I turned it around and have progressively lost. I am far from the fastest loser, it has been frustratingly slow in fact! However I had lost/gained for years and I am sure this messed up my metabolism and queues for weight loss. Plus it’s not a race, they say it’s more indicative of long term stability to lose it slowly, I don’t know for sure whether that’s true but I tell myself it is.

My diet is spectacularly good compared to any previous weight loss attempts, in fact compared to any period in my life. I exercise more than I ever did, I am generally more active, even with a full time desk job. I get up early, meditate, walk, run, do yoga, eat well and feel good inside and out. I’m grateful for life, and I’m even grateful for the weight loss journey. It has taught me a lot about myself I would never have known otherwise, and I know when I get to a healthy point somewhere down the line I am going to be so proud of myself, and so happy for being there. I already am.

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Running Update – May 2017

Well, I had intended to be doing this running update about three months ago. In my usual style however I missed a couple of planned runs, stopped going to the gym and before you know it had stopped running again.

I was serious way back in January when I said I wanted to run a 10k this year however, and I often have the nagging thought that time is slipping by and I am no closer to one of my major goals for this year. So around a month ago I decided to take a long hard look at my schedule and see where I could fit in running. I know that if I don’t get it in a workable schedule I just won’t keep it up, I feel this is an important step for anyone who is looking to start a new habit. If you are like me and you are not a fan of doing things in the evenings, there is no point planning to go running when you get in from work at 6 pm.

Looking at my schedule, and knowing I wanted to fit in at least three runs a week, this means that I have to run on work days, there is no way around this. When though? I leave the house pretty early and I’m not back until pretty late, at which point dinner making and cleaning takes over. The only time available to me for running is in the morning.

I already get up at 4:45 am, but  I often make lunches in the mornings, so I decided to move this to the night before, on running mornings bump my alarm clock time forward to 4:30 am, with an aim to be out and running by 5. Honestly, if you had told me about a year and a half ago I would be getting up at 4:30 am with not much bother I wouldn’t have believed you.

So how is it going? Fine. Better than fine in fact. I started at week 3 of the couch to 5 k and tomorrow I’m onto week 5. After my run I still need to take my dog out which means some mornings before I even get to work I’m hitting over 8000 steps, not bad for such an early start. Am I little more tired a work? A tiny bit, but really not much. I will have an extra coffee if I need it but so far so good. How will it work as the runs get longer? I may need to get out even earlier to run, but pushing it back 10 minutes at a time makes for less of a stark shock at getting up so early.

I’m feeling good, in the last two weeks I’ve lost 3 pounds which I am putting down to running, time restricted eating/intermittent fasting and generally mostly adhering to a plant based diet. On top of some movement on the scales I’m really beginning to see the difference in my body and clothes so I’m excited for the next few weeks and months!

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Intermittent Fasting – 12/12 and 10/14

After hearing in multiple health podcasts how great Intermittent Fasting is for you, and having read about it for some time, I have been keen to try it out but a little wary.

I think most people have heard  of 5/2, where you eat normally for 5 days then eat very restricted (around 500 calories) on the other two, I follow a lot of people on Instagram who  do this, and while it appeals, (and definitely seems to work) I think I would really struggle on my two fasting days. Food is an important part of my day, the thought of only have 500 calories twice a week just makes me sad.

Another form of fasting I heard of used Eating Windows. This is where you only eat within a limited number of hours of the day. After doing a little reading, I found that even limiting your eating to 12 hours a day showed positive side effects, and weight loss. This may seem like common sense, but for me, on a general day this never happens. I get up and often have breakfast by 5 am, don’t have dinner until 7 and sometimes a snack/pudding as late as 9. There is not a lot of space in there! Plus, I have always always always found that if I eat late at night I don’t lose weight. That seems to go against the common thought now that it doesn’t matter what time of day you eat, all you need to do is eat the right stuff. Well, I eat the right foods, even if I have a bowl of cherry tomatoes in the evening it will affect me the next day.

After reading about eating windows I thought I would jump right in and give it a bash, my plan is as follows:

I will finish eating by 7:15 pm every night (except maybe one day at the weekend)

I’m running again, now very early in the morning, 5 am, so on running mornings I will have my breakfast at 7:15 am. I leave for work at 7:30 so I need to be ready to go before having breakfast. This gives me a 12 hour eating window.

On days where I’m not running I will take my breakfast to work and not have it until at least 9:15, however I will attempt to extend that as far as I can. Once I’m in work sitting behind a computer I forget about food more than if I’m up walking about.

So 3 days a week I will do roughly a 12 hour fast, 3 days a week at 14-15 hour fast, and 1 whatever I fancy, fast or not.

I’m 5 days in now and how am I finding it? Fine. Like, totally fine. I’ve lost a pound this week, and I lost two last week (probably due to be restarting running, a post on that is coming soon), so my weight is on the move again.

Another thing to note, I don’t feel anywhere near as bloated in the morning, and I find running a little easier. I am running on an empty stomach (fasted cardio I believe this is called), not for any particular reason other than this is the only time I have to fit it in, but it feels good!

I may eventually stretch the fasting period to 16-8, but it’s hard when I’m out working and not home till 6pm, for the next few weeks though I’ll keep this up and see how it goes!

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit, feel free to follow/add me on any or all of them.

What the Health Review | Vegan Films

I recently purchased and watched What the Health, the new film out by the makers of Cowspiracy and thought I would write a review. First time round they came at a vegan lifestyle from the approach of planetary health, this time they approach from the personal health front.

I really enjoyed cowspiracy and was hyped up for What the Health months ago. My husband thinks I’ve list my mind, I’ve got to be honest, even a year or two again telling me I would be hyped for a film about health, and food choices to promote personal health, I would have laughed my head off. But being healthy has became a pretty important aspect in my life, so yes, I was legitimately excited for this film.

I had heard Kip and Keegan again on the Rich Roll podcast, and had been waiting until I got the chance to watch it properly.

My opinions? It was great, nothing I hadn’t heard before during research but it was great seeing it presented in that way. One thing that surprised me (although I’m not sure why) was the reaction of the American Health Associations, refusing to even have discussions about multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers showing clear correlations between consuming animal products and a multitude of health problems. Red and Processed meat being shown on food plans on websites relating to Diabetes/Cancer were truly shocking, as were the claims that no diet is offered by them, these are standard recipes (even though it says otherwise on the sites).

If I had any complaint it would be that it was very fast paced. There was a lot to say, and to fit it into an hour and a half required for it to be said quickly. I think my enjoyment would have been marginally improved if they had added some time onto the film and said it a little slower.

Shout out to my husband for his dad joke when Rich Roll came on screen and I started saying how much I love him…He asked if I was ever going to give him up…I found it funny!

So there you have it, my short but sweet What the Health review. If you are interested in the health aspects of a plant based diet, you can’t go wrong with this film. Their sources are found with incredible levels of research, the people on the film are legitimate respected doctors in the field (Dr Michael Greger, I love you too!). They cover most of the areas in a fast, yet understandable way. If you aren’t interested, or not vegan and you want to hear some usually unspoken information, you should check it out. If you are vegan, but not plant based, you should check it out. I guess what I am saying here is that everyone should check it out.

You can get it here on Vimeo, watch online, chromecast, download etc.

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