Friday, 3 October 2014

Curried Squash, Lentil + Coconut Soup | Clean Eating

How excited are you that the days are getting colder and it's fast approaching soup season! Soup is one of the only things that makes me look forward to the colder months. Pumpkin, parsnips, squash, sweet potato.. just some of my favourite vegetables to use in soups. I stumbled across this curried soup recipe whilst browsing for Indian inspired dishes and I've since made 2 big batches of it, so I thought I'd share with you my slightly modified version.

This vegetarian soup is perfect if you enjoy the delicious taste of curry and it's extremely mild and also very sweet so it's even great for those of you who don't particularly enjoy spicy foods. It's very creamy, filling and is one of those dishes that's perfect for freezing as food prep! It tastes best when served with buttered naan bread, but I have also enjoyed it with a wholemeal pitta, and a seeded wholemeal bun which was equally as yummy.

The ingredients I have used are 100% clean although I do tend to have this soup as more of a treat or perhaps without an evening dessert also, as it is fairly high in saturated fats (due to the coconut) and although they're good, natural fats - I personally like to keep my sat fat intake as low as I can so I can squeeze in an evening snack, or two!

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
1 (about 660g) butternut squash, peeled + deseeded + diced
200g carrots, diced
100g red lentils
1 tbsp curry powder, must contain turmeric
700ml vegetable stock (I used Boullion)
1 can / 400ml reduced-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp oil (I used rapeseed)
coriander
your bread of choice to serve

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1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the diced squash and carrot, stir and sizzle for 1 minute

2. Add your curry powder, stir until all vegetables are coated. Cook for about 1 minute whilst preparing your stock

3. Tip in the dried lentils, vegetable stock, coconut milk and stir. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until the vegetables are tender

4. Use a hand blender to blitz until smooth

5. Season with salt and pepper if you wish and serve scattered with coriander and the bread of your choice

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (EXCLUDING BREAD):
Calories: 313
Total fat: 12.2g
Sat fat: 10.7g
Carbs: 47.15g
Sugars: 10.4g
Fiber: 7.1g
Protein: 9.6g

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Enjoy!
xoxo

Monday, 29 September 2014

Crazy for Hennes & Mauritz | OOTD

TOPSHOP EARRINGS

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Hello lovelies!

Here's a little outfit that I wore last Saturday to go for food and shopping with James. I'm wearing these shoes, skirt and earrings for the first time... isn't that just the best feeling ever?! Nothing feels as special as something new, and I'm just absolutely in love with these shoes - no matter how uncomfortable they were! They're new to H&M and I'm pretty certain that they'll sell out quick, they're so unique and such a bargain at only £39.99! And this skirt... oh goodness, it is so perfect and flattering. I love this style of skirt that H&M has been bringing out lately in tons of different designs, I'm obsessed and now I need the new leather-look ones!

Don't you think everything from H&M is just amazing at the minute?
The Hennes & Mauritz stores are my favourites - COS, & Other Stories, H&M, Monki, Cheap Monday... They're all incredible!

xoxo

Friday, 26 September 2014

Has 'Clean-Eating' been taken to the extreme?


Being a self confessed 'clean-eater' myself, over the last couple of years I have noticed how out of control this way of life (or what should be) has become. It is becoming quite the growing trend to get healthy and fit which is fantastic, but it's worrying that lifestyle choices such as eating-clean aren't being used in the healthiest way! I personally feel that social networking websites, such as Instagram and Tumblr, are promoting healthy eating with a distorted image, even promoting issues that are as dangerous as eating disorders and poor body image - something that I have experienced first hand.

So firstly, what does it mean to be a 'clean-eater'?
Clean eating is to eat a whole-food diet, to be mindful of the foods pathway to your plate. Clean eaters will eat "real" foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, anything that is not processed or refined, which basically leaves vegetables, fruits and all naturally sourced products.

It sounds fairly easy, right? But not quite - with modern food being made the way it is, it can be quite challenging to keep on top of what is secretly added to our food, therefore turning your food shopping into more of a nutritional lesson, endlessly reading ingredients lists and nutritional information.
I, myself have loved living the clean-eating lifestyle and have been doing so for 2 years now. But with me being quite a controlling and addictive person, for a while I became obsessed with cutting out sugar, reading ingredients lists, etc. and I eventually dangerously restricted my diet which has now actually had awful effects. And I know I'm not the only person, I've seen many Instagram accounts and have heard many stories that are similar to mine, if not a lot worse.

I knew by heart the sugars to avoid on ingredients lists, I cut out all foods that contained preservatives, I wouldn't use cows milk, I wouldn't eat honey, I stopped eating out at restaurants, I would only cook for myself, I exercised for at least 1hr every day of the week with no rest, I ate very small portions and lost quite a lot of weight. I thought this was great! It all seemed totally healthy on paper, I had a lean athletic figure, low body fat and a massive mindful of knowledge on nutrition, exercise and how to be the 'best version of myself' as I used to say. 
However if you talk to my Mum, who I was living with at the time, then you will hear a different story. She now tells me that I was irritable all the time, my patience was at zero, I didn't have time for her or anyone else, I distanced myself from my boyfriend, all I cared about was myself, my only conversation would be about health or how much protein I'd consumed, my anxiety was sky-high, I was wafer-thin, my body-fat was dangerously low, I was moody and grumpy... And she wasn't the only person who noticed this in me.

The scary thing is, I convinced... or even believed that all this was fine because:

- I wasn't obsessively weighing myself on the scales
- I wasn't counting calories
- I was eating more than my 5-a-day
- I wasn't losing weight, I was gaining weight due to muscle
- I wasn't putting 'rubbish' into my body
- I was getting fit
- I felt that I had more energy
- People were inspired by me and were taking my advice (this is a major!)

Surely you've seen this all too many times?

It all became too much for my body to handle and it gave up. After a year of this lifestyle my body just couldn't take any more and I was crippled with back pain. I later found out at the beginning of this year that I now have sciatica and I truly 100% believe that my ridiculously strict lifestyle was a major factor to my sciatica. 

It has taken me from February 'til only earlier this month to realise what I was actually doing to my body. And I really feel that the 'famous' clean-eaters and fitness-fanatics of Instagram are turning healthy eating into a very dangerous obsession!

Balance is everything
For me, eating 'clean' is a lifestyle choice, just the the same as any other fairly restricting lifestyle choice such as being vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, etc. But the key to any diet/lifestyle is balance. I am not strict or restrictive on myself at all anymore. I have a good amount of sugar in my diet now, mostly natural and some artificial. I need it. It keeps me sane! Without it, I become an anxious, stressed-out wreck. I treat myself every weekend, all weekend. I don't go crazy, I don't binge, I eat what I want when I want. If I want some ice cream on a weekday then I'll have some. I just choose to eat clean the majority of the time, which is working for me.

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Basically, my message is to keep safe and let yourself go without worrying about it. I know it's always said but life is short, we only get one chance at it, so if you want some milk in your coffee, some honey on your porridge, some ketchup with your sweet potato fries then have it, for goodness sake. I think we all need to take a step back and realise how ridiculous we're being!

Happy eating, lovelies :-)
Keep healthy 

xx