GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “flavour”

Oats!

Hi there!

Warning: I will use oats and porridge interchangeably.

I’ve already done a post on Stoats, which is a great porridge company based in Scotland. I love their oats and recommend trying their flavours to mix breakfast up! However, if you prefer making your own delicious oats, I’ve made a list of easy toppings that you can cook into the porridge (just cook the toppings with th oats) or throw on after cooking. I usually cook my oats in the microwave also a make it slightly drier.

  • Banana; very simple. If you microwave your oats the banana disappears and creates a delicious and creamy mix.
  • Banana and honey; bit sweeter.
  • Pineapple; this becomes insanely hot in the microwave, but it’s a great sweet and sour flavour. Add some dried/fresh coconut to make a tropical breakfast.
  • Dried fruit; cranberries, raisins, sultanas, apricots, dried coconut, the list goes on! Bananas and raisins are also delicious.
  • Cinnamon; powdered cinnamon is brilliant, throw it in with bananas, apples, raisins for even more flavour.
  • Apples; cook them with the porridge too for delicious, hot breakfast.
  • Berries; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Again, add these on top or cook into the porridge. Cooking them creates a lovely compote.
  • Peanut butter; on its own, with cinnamon, bananas or apples.
  • Jam; a bit more fruit (and a bit more sugar).
  • Peanut Butter and Jam; watch the portions here, but it’s a delicious treat.
  • Dark chocolate; a couple of squares, great if you’re craving some chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder; not as tasty as dark chocolate but better if you’re watching your calories.
  • Yoghurt; I really enjoy cooking up a nice, hot bowl of porridge and adding a tablespoon of low-fat natural or fruit flavoured yoghurt.
  • Granola; top your bowl with a modest amount of granola for a lovely crunch.
  • Almonds; adds a nice crunch and delicious flavour. Best add these in and cook for the final 20 seconds or crush them into your porridge.
  • Protein Powder; I recommend mixing up the protein and milk in your shaker then adding that to the oats before cooking to make sure the protein dissolves well.

You can also make porridge savoury, but I’ve never tried this (yet) but here’s a list of recipes from Shape to try if sweet porridge is not your thing!

If hot porridge is not your thing then try mixing your oats (typical 40g portion) with yoghurt in an airtight container (I use Weight Watchers individual pots, one per breakfast, great flavours), throw in some toppings listed above  and leave it overnight. Next morning you’ll have delicious cold oats, they must be left overnight however to ensure the oats soften. I’ve already mentioned overnight oats before with a recipe for Bircher’s Muesli that my mum makes.

IMPORTANT; porridge doesn’t need to be just for breakfast. Porridge can be a brilliant recovery food. Over the Christmas holidays I enjoyed cold, overnight oats post-run. You can get a great balance of carbohydrates and proteins and some sugars to help your body recover.

I’m a huge fan of porridge in case no one noticed.

Gym Bug

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Water- Liquid Gold

Hi there!

So, water. It’s actually really important if you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lot of you are probably thinking “Yeah, duh, Miss State-the-obvious” but sometimes it needs said!
We lose water throughout the day through sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom and we need to make sure we consistently replenish our water levels throughout the day. This doesn’t mean downing a glass of water every hour, you also get hydration from foods and other non-water beverages.

Why is it important?

Hydration is essential for any form of physical activity. Poor hydrations causes muscle fatigue, reduces coordination, makes us light headed and can cause muscle cramps. Also, if you become dehyrated during sports or physical activity, you reduce your body’s ability to cool-down through sweating. Not to be extreme, but it can lead to heat stroke which has some very serious consequences.

Hydration is also essential for weight loss. Water (particularly the cold stuff) can help boost our metabolism. Also, it can help curb cravings, overeating and boredome eating. If you’re about to sit down for a meal, have a glass of water first, it will reduce your chances of tucking in for more than you nee by filling your stomach up a bit. Proper hydration also reduces bloating.

Dehydration is also a main cause of headaches and fatigue. Keeping hydrated is essential to allow your brain to function normally too and is important for concentration, cognition and general ability to function at a normal level. It also helps the heart pump blood more efficiently around your body and is general good for the function of all muscles.

But how much do we need?
We all have heard the “8 Glasses a Day” rule. But that’s no longer applicable. My water needs might be very different from yours and it is possible to overhydrate. This occurs when you drink so much you’re constntly back and forth to the bathroom and you’re removing nutrients from your system that you need (e.g salt), so watch out. You need to consider things such as climate, exercise intensity and duration, what you’re wearing, sweat levels and so on to get a reasonable idea of what you should be consuming.
DO NOT RELY ON THIRST. This is key because if you’re thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated.
A way of measuring how much you need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise, to see how much “water weight” you’ve lost. However, if you’re like me, you avoid scales because they do not always give accurate readings of your health (muscle weighs more than fat, but seeing an increase in weight is never fun).

I keep a bottle of water on me at all times and sip it periodically throughout the day. I also consume a lot of fruit and veg and drink green tea. Typically, I find I remain pretty well hydrated throughout the day as a result. Although I now can’t go anywhere without my water bottle.

Symptoms of Dehydration
These are things to look out for that indicate you may be dehydrated and should get some water pronto;

  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth, lips, eyes
  • Passing small amounts of urine infrequently
  • Passing urine that is dark in colour (basically, the clearer the better)

Sever dehydration has some pretty serious symptoms (I won’t go into them, check out NHS for a list) so try keep any of these symptoms to a minimum in terms of frequency!

And there we have it! A little educational lesson on the importance of water and why it is liquid gold.

I understand that there is probably people out there who genuinly do not like water (we’ll not start the “it’s got no flavour” debate) so here’s some ways to get water into your life!

  • Fruit-infused water (just add some lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, apples etc to your water overnight to give a fruity flavour!)
  • Tea (it’s literally flavoured hot water, best go caffeine free)
  • Fruits and vegetables with high water content (lettuce, cucumbers, apples, oranges)
  • Other beverages (thinking milk, limited amounts of fruit juice and things)

I don’t know this as some innate knowledge, the sources I used are listed below if you want to have some extra reading. I have also included a fun info-graphic to break up the monotony of text-only posts!

Got to love it!

Got to love it!

Have a great evening!

Gym Bug

P.S One month until Santa makes an appearance…

Sources;

http://www.livestrong.com/article/438279-the-importance-of-hydration/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Staying-Hydrated—Staying-Healthy_UCM_441180_Article.jsp

 

Dinner; Panga Stir Fry

Hi there!

Thought I’d share another recipe with you. Last night I had curried panga with vegetables.
Panga is a relatively cheap white fish that’s pretty bland on its own, hence the curried element to it. The photo below is what I had tonight, it doesn’t look amazing. This is because I chunk the panga once it’s cooked to make extra sure it’s cooked. I’m paranoid about eating undercooked poultry, fish, pork etc, so I tend to break it up to make sure it’s all cooked through. Also, it releases more juices and helps flavour the vegetables.

So here we go, the recipe for one person

Ingredients;
1 x panga fillet
1 x medium carrot
1/2 cup brocolli
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup aubergine
1/2 cup courgette
1/2 cup pepper (red, yellow or green)
Handful of spinach
Garlic clove
Curry seasoning (optional)
Black pepper
Olive oil

Method;
1) Rub some curry seasoning onto the panga filet (if you can do this the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight, even better)
2) Chop the onion and garlic (to whatever size you like, I like mine finely sliced)
3) Heat up a little olive oil in a wok/pan
4) Add the onions and garlic and soften them
5) Whilst softening the onions, cube the carrots, brocolli, pepper, aubergine and courgette
6) Once the onions are softened, throw in the vegetables and stir often to prevent anything burning, do this for about 3 minutes
7) Make a space in the middle of the vegetables and add the panga filet
8) Keep the vegetables moving as much as possible, after about 2-3 minutes flip the panga
9) Allow the filet to cook another 2-3 minutes (I, at this point, start breaking the fish up and mixing it with the vegetables, cooks it thoroughly and mixes flavours)
10) Add the spinach and turn off the heat, stir continuosly to wilt the spinach
11) Serve

There should be some nice juices from the panga, flavoured with the garlic, vegetables and curry powder. It’s delicious.

If the curry rub isn’t your thing here are some alternatives I’ve tried;

  • Spicy paprika, oregano, black pepper rub
  • Spicy paprika, black pepper rub
  • Oregano, black pepper rub
  • Black pepper, lemon juice (put this into the wok at the end for a minute or so)

You could other seasonings as well, but it needs something to help give the fish a bit of flavour!

It’s super simple, quick, cheap and healthy.

Panga Stir Fry

This has the paprika, oregano, black pepper rub

Panga Stir Fry

Tonight’s dinner with the curry rub and black pepper

Panga Stir Fry

Here is the paprika, oregano, black pepper version cooking in the wok

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Gym Bug

Stoats; Fuelling you with Scottish greatness

Hi there!

Now, I’m a huge fan of porridge. I think it’s a super kick start to your day; excellent source of energy, filling, warm and low GI. For me, porridge ticks all the boxes and it’s NOT BORING. You can add fruit, sauces, chocolate, peanut butter; the list is endless with a good old bowl of oats! I eat a variety of brands of porridge but my all-time favourite has to be good old Stoats. It was my dad that picked up a box a while ago because it was on special in the supermarket. He came home with Apricot and Sultana, and the box didn’t last the week (my dad and I especially partial to this flavour).
The oats are Scottish (waving the flag here, you go Stoats) and they use all natural ingredients like fruits and seeds (always a huge bonus).
Here’s a run-down of what they’ve got;

  • Apricot & Sultana Porridge;
    Stoats get their proportion of fruit to oats spot on here. Juicy sultanas and dried apricots bring the occasional bite of sweetness without it being too much. You don’t even need to add anything; it’s delicious on its own.
  • Sunflower & Poppy Seed Porridge;
    My twin loves this one. I definitely prefer the apricot one but this always made a nice break. The subtle crunch of the seeds gave a nice, subtle flavour. I’ll admit, my sister adds peanut butter, but it’s a very good porridge with or without it (given my obsession with peanut butter, it’s very good with it).
  • Apple & Cinnamon;
    A tummy hug. Best way to describe it. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon, but they’ve again got the balance spot on. The apples compliment the cinnamon perfectly so rather than being overwhelmed and feeling like you’ve done the Cinnamon Challenge you’re left with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy. This is excellent on a cold morning.
  • Original Oats;
    We usually have a box in the house as back-up in case we run out of the others. I chop through banana, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apple, raisins etc (maybe some peanut butter) to give it a bit more flavour. But these oats are very filling and perfect to get you up and going.
  • Quick Pots;
    These are one portioned sized boxes of porridge for on the go dining. As a snack or as a breakfast these are great for chucking in your bag and going. Like most oats, you can make it with hot water, so you don’t even need to worry about heating up milk. They come in 3 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Original and Cranberry & Blueberry. They DON’T offer the Cranberry & Blueberry in large boxes only in porridge pot form, but I recommend giving it a try, nice tangy berries always make a great start to the morning.
  • Porridge Bars;
    Energy packed bars for snacking or a quick breakfast. They come in 6 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Apricot & Sultana, Blueberry & Honey, Fig & Date, Raspberry & Honey and White Choc & Hazelnut. I’m a fan of Apple & Cinnamon as well as their Raspberry & Honey. But I can tell you, they’re all delicious and filling.
  • Oatcakes;
    I didn’t actually know they produced these. I learned this by checking out their website. I’m a fan of oatcakes (and cheese, anybody?), so I’m sure their amazing.
Taken from their Pinterest page

Taken from their Pinterest page, look at that range!

What’s also great is how much they care about customer feedback. My dad e-mailed them to let them know we’re huge fans and to ask a question about production. They responded with a really kind e-mail and then SENT US STOATS GOODIES. Now, I’m a sucker for freebies so that sends them from 0 to hero in my book. It shows a different level of customer commitment.  They were also incredibly helpful in making sure I got all my information correct for you readers out there!
I would like to point out the box of goodies event occurred months ago and Stoats is not sponsoring this post, the onset of winter and the finishing of my only box of Stoats here in Madrid prompted this post.

Something that’s also great is that they’re not necessarily for breakfast. My dad enjoys a bowl of Stoats to fuel him for his long-distance runs.

You can purchase their products on their online store or keep an eye for their oats, bars and pots in Asda, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and lots of independent deli’s, cafes and farm shops! They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (some great recipes).

Stoats of Scotland, woot woot! If you’re looking for a great meal (breakfast is the most important meals of the day) then go for Stoats. You won’t regret it.

Gym Bug

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