Home made gluten free bread, gluten free bread reciept, free recipe for gluten free bread, gluten free foods

Gluten and Dairy free bread

Gluten and Dairy free bread has improved quite a bit over the last few years and the variety that is now on offer is great. However, products that have to remove ingredients for allergies, then need to substitute them with other things to enhance the flavour.

The best tasting bought bread we have come across is Genius triple seeded sandwich loaf , but at £2.80 a loaf compared to a normal loaf of that size around £1, it isn't cheap.  As with all bought products there are quite a few additional ingredients to help keep the product fresh.  So I decided to experiment for myself.

Well I had a lot of disasters, ranging from powdered gravel, to a rock you could use as a door stop.  What did help was the purchase of a bread machine, this has saved me so much time.  Bread machines don't need to cost a fortune, mine was from Aldi and at £19.99 didn't break the bank.  Once you have a machine, there will be no stopping you, there are so many different recipes to experiment with, you won't know where to start.

This recipe is based on the ingredients on the back of Doves Farm free from gluten white bread flour, which as usual I have slightly adapted.

This will make a medium size loaf in a bread machine.  I wouldn't make a large loaf as it does not contain any ingredients to preserve it, meaning it will only stay fresh for a couple of days.  At around £1.27 a loaf it's certainly cheaper than shop bought (not taking into consideration of the cost of the bread machine).

You can add any kind of seed to this which will add to the nutritional value as well as flavour.  I use Poppy and Sesame seeds, both are a good source of Calcium, Iron and Magnesium.  Poppy seeds also contain Potassium and Sesame seeds contain Vit B6 and Copper.

Ingredients -

2 Egg Whites

6 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cyder vinegar

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp Sugar

380 ml of quite warm water

500g Doves Farm free from gluten white bread flour

2 tsp quick yeast

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp poppy seeds

Method -

  1. Place egg white and water in a bowl a whisk until frothy.
  2. Add oil, vinegar, salt and sugar and whisk again.
  3. Place in the bread machine and gradually mix in the flour.
  4. Sprinkle the yeast on top and bake on the Quick setting and if there is an option of light, medium or dark, put it on dark.
  5. My machine has a setting that allows you to add fillings to your bread about 30 mins in.  If this is the case add the seeds at this point.
  6. I like to leave the bread in the machine for about 15 mins after it has finished cooking.
  7. Place on a wire rack to cool, then place in an air tight container to help to keep it fresh.

 

 

Savoury puff pastry, savoury pastry recipe, healthy savour pastry

Savoury Puff Pastry

This is an easy and healthy(ish) savory puff pastry recipe, which is quick to make when you are pushed for time.  Kids love helping to make these savory pastries, as they can choose which ingredients to add, the toppings will be the deciding factor in how healthy your version is.  Helen was inspired by a Sally Bee Bikini Promose recipe, it's also very similar to one that we used to make in cookery class.

Ingredients

320g packet of ready rolled 'light' puff pastry.

2 - 3 tablespoons of tomato purée.

1/2 onion.

50g cheddar cheese.

Small handful of canned sweetcorn - drained.

pinch of oregano to season (you can use mixed herbs instead).

 

Method

Preheat oven to 220c/gas mark 7

Line baking tray with baking parchment.

Carefully unroll the pastry onto the baking tray.

Score around the edges with sharp knife (roughly 1cm from edge) - do not cut right through.

Spread the tomato purée within the border of the pastry.

Sprinkle on the cheese, onion and sweet corn.

Add any other toppings that you fancy, the options are endless Helen has used a mixture of ham, red onion, pepper, tomatoes, mozzarella instead of cheddar and salami (although this will add to the fat content).  You can of course go for a vegetarian version.

Add a sprinkle of oregano or mixed herbs.

Place in oven and bake for around 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and risen.

This amount of pastry can either make one large version or you can divide into four, add a side salad to finish.

 

 

Inconvenient truth about convenience food, real truth about jars of sauce, whats in your pasta sauce, should processed food carry a warning label

The Inconvenient Truth About Convenience Foods

CONVENIENCE FOOD – HOW NOT TO FEED A FAMILY

I will hold my hands up and say I used to be a can’t cook, won’t cook and don’t even ask me to cook type of person.  I survived on a very random diet of cream crackers and cereals –not the best type of food to fuel your body with.  This worked for me until I met my husband, who showed me what a ‘normal’ person’s diet was.  Luckily for him, he never expected me to be the one providing a cooked meal, we both worked full time and survived on anything that could be warmed up in an oven in less than twenty minutes – I’m not at all sure that this beat my crackers and cereals on a nutritional level, but at least I had progressed to eating hot food every day !

This carried on until I had my first son, I was completely clueless when it came to feeding him, until he could eat real food he lived off pre prepared gloop from a jar and yes he did turn out to be a very fussy eater, although luckily he did love fruit, It’s o.k though he has developed into a normal healthy child and I don’t appear to have caused him any lasting damage!

My husband is a great cook, he will happily take over the kitchen and make a delicious meal from very few ingredients, however he works a lot of hours and I work from home, so unfortunately for my family the main provider of our meals is me!!

CAN I REALLY CALL IT COOKING IF I'M USING A JAR OR A PACKET?

When I had my second son I knew our eating habits as a family would have to change, I was far too dependent on chicken nuggets and microchips.  I bought myself a small food processor (you can now buy ones specifically for baby food - find out more info over at cheekytummy.com).  I also found an excellent baby cook book by Annabel Karmel this was based on using fresh ingredients and freezing them in ice cube trays – it was a nuisance and not what a sleep deprived mother wants to be doing – however the satisfaction of seeing my child eat ‘real’ food outweighed the pain, to this day my youngest child will literally eat anything.  With this success I tried to provide more home cooked meals – or at least what I classed as home cooked meals.  These consisted of jars or packets to make bolognese, lasagne and occasionally a chicken curry, I thought this was real cooking, well at least they were made with fresh meat and the odd carrot chucked in.

TRYING HARD NOT TO RELY ON SAUCE IN A JAR?

I really wanted my children to have a healthy relationship with food and realised in order to do this, I would need to provide meals that were not reliant on jars and packets, I didn’t have a clue where to start, so I went to the best cook I know, my friend Helen, we have persuaded her to share some of her family favourites with us - you can find them on the main blog page.  Most of her skills were self-taught but now and again she would try out a cooking course, I went along with her and we carried on for five years.  The course was cantered around basic home cooked food, it helped to make me more confident in the kitchen and gave me a bank of recipes which are easy and quick to prepare.

I can’t say I cook from scratch all of the time, It’s just not practical and sometimes I really just can’t be bothered or honestly don’t have the time.  I think I provide home cooked food 80 % of the time – no actually scrap that I’m lying I think it’s probably 70%. When I’m strapped for time I do still reach for a packet, but at least it’s not as frequently as before.  This is an on-going mission for me and I'm always trying to improve on the nutritional quality of the meals I make – it’s difficult as cooking is not a natural fit with me, plus I would prefer to spend my time doing literally anything else, however I will continue as I do realise that teaching my kids how to make good food choices will help keep them healthy and fit for life.

Katie however is not so happy about my use of sauces in a jar and sent me the following information to try and persuade me not to use them too frequently.

SHOULD SOME FOODS REALLY COME WITH A WARNING?

There has been lots of media hype over the last year surrounding the use of Dolmio and Uncle Bens Sauces as whether the  fat/salt/sugar levels are too high and should they carry a warning to say that they should only be consumed once a week.

We need to look a little closer to see exactly why this may be.  I have included a lot of figures but I think it is a clearer way of getting to the nitty-gritty bits!!!!

NHS guidelines for high levels are –

High fat content is 17.5g per 100g – no more than 30g for men and 20g for women per day.

High sugar content is 22.5g per 100g - no more than 30g per day.

High salt content is 1.5g per 100g – no more than 6g per day.

Now keep these in mind as we break down the contents of the Sauces -

Dolmio Original Bolognese Sauce per 100g has          0.6g of fat,    5.8g sugar and 0.8g salt.

Dolmio Carbonara Sauce per 100g has                      10.6g of fat, 2.6g sugar and 0.8g salt

Homepride Creamy Tomato and Herb per 100g has    7.5g of fat,    5.5g sugar and 0.97g salt

Weight watchers Bolognese Sauce per 100g has        0.5g of fat,    3.7g sugar and 0.6g salt

Lloyd Grossmans Bolognese Sauce per 100g has       2.5g of fat,    5.2g sugar and 0.82g salt

So although they don't fall into the NHS 'high' category per 100g, bare in mind that the average jar is 500g and although you could divide this by 4 people I'm pretty sure there are an awful lot of people that might use a whole jar for two.  If you are heavily reliant on them you could easily be exceeding your daily allowance of fat/sugar and salt when combined with everything else you are eating.  My advice - they are o.k now and again, just not for every meal and make sure you, as I do with all my dishes, chuck in a few fresh ingredients to add some nutritional value.

READY MEALS

However there are certain other foods that you should be aware of and maybe really should come with a warning

Tesco Italian Beef Lasagne per 100g has

7.5g of fat, 2.0g sugar and 0.5g salt - however it has 33.4g of fat in the total meal which is already over the recommended daily total for a man.

Tesco Italian Carbonara per 100g has

8.4g of fat, 1.4g sugar and 0.6g salt - however it has 35.3g of fat in the total meal

Tesco Ham and cheese Pizza 100g has

6.9g of fat, 4.3g sugar and 1.1g salt - however it has 20g of fat in the whole pizza 12.4g of sugar and 3g of salt.

Tesco Chicken Tikka Masala and Rice has

6.8g of fat,    2.7g sugar and 0.5g salt - however in the whole meal 30.4g of fat, 12.2g of sugar and 2.4g of salt.

As a busy Mum trying to do the best for your family looking at these labels the per 100g doesn’t look that bad, however when you start to break it down and analyse the total amount contained overall in the meal - it is quite shocking.  A clever bit of labelling can hide a multitude of things.

Maybe meals like these need to have labels on to say only consume once a month or ever!!!!

 

 

Mood and food healthy eating plate, are food and mood connected

Food and Mood -Is there a link between our Nutrition and how we feel?

Food and Mood

Is there a link?

There are a number of different angles in which we can analyze this, but lets keep it simple.  I have been very lucky to be part of a National Research project looking at the impact of Adult Learning on Mental Health and how nutrition can play its part.

We have all been through some emotional roller coaster that can effect how we feel and this may also impact on our behaviour with food.  For some this can mean a loss of appetite, for others it is an increase in comfort eating.  I am sure we can all think back to a time in our lives when food, whether consciously or not, is either our heaven or hell.

However, science has proven that by eating certain types of food, this will have a positive impact on our mental health and the symptoms associated with this.  Remember your brain is another organ and like all other parts of the body needs certain nutrients to keep it functioning correctly.

For example the dry weight of the brain is 60% fat, and 20% of that fat is made from the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.  Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body so they have to come from food.  We need to ensure we have enough omega-3 and 6 within our diet to maintain a healthy balance.  Omega-6 is the slightly easier one as it's found in poultry, eggs, avocado and nuts.  Whereas omega-3 is found in oily fish like salmon, herring and mackerel. You can also get a good source from flax seed and walnuts for the non meat eaters out there.

The brain also needs glucose to fuel it, a great way to include a natural source of glucose is with complex carbohydrates like wholegrain breads pasta and rice.  These release the energy slowly to help maintain concentration and avoid peaks and troughs of energy.  There are many fad diets out there that drastically reduce or totally cut out carbs, this can have a dramatic effect on your mood, focus and cravings.

Neurotransmitters

Dopamine is the Neurotransmitter in the brain that keeps you alert and active, it's also responsible for your emotions, motivation and concentration.  Amino Acids are the protein nutrient for this job, they can be found in beans, chicken, liver, fish, bacon, ham, dairy products, aubergine, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes.
Serotonin, which I have touched on in the past is known as the 'happy' chemical, there has been research which shows that low levels of this can have a real impact on moods and can be associated with depression.  Serotonin is made from  amino acids called tryptophan, this is a type of protein that is found in foods such as turkey, milk, peanuts, sunflower seeds, bananas and eggs.

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the pineal gland in the brain and controls your body clock.  Naturally this will rise after the sun sets to try and persuade your body to go into sleep mode, as the sun rises your levels will dramatically be reduced.  So if you are having problems sleeping, make sure you turn that night light off as this will effect the amount of Melatonin that's produced at bedtime.  A good nights sleep has also been proven to help with mental health, stress and problem solving.  Foods that contain small amounts of this hormone are Goji Berries, sunflower seeds, almonds, coriander, oats, rice, ginger, tomatoes and cherries.

And the last Neurotransmitter that I am going to touch on is Noradrenaline.  This is produced in the brain and adrenal glands it is responsible for the fight or flight reaction in stressful situations, aggression, moodiness and the responses to stress and anger, it also keeps your brain alert and active.  Vitamin C is required to turn this chemical into Adrenalin. Try combinations of dairy, beans, chicken, chocolate, ham, spinach and tomatoes, with foods rich in vitamin C like blackcurrants, spring greens, strawberries, kale, papaya, kiwi, and oranges.  Don't forget that vitamin C also helps the absorption of Iron in the body.

Everyone knows how important it is to drink plenty of water, but did you know that the brain is made up of 80% water.  So if you are having problems concentrating and can't focus on the job, try a glass of water or green tea.  The best way to keep hydrated is to sip water constantly throughout the day, rather than a massive glass every now and again.

Top tips for good food and mood:

  1. Try to maintain a balanced diet by eating a variety of foods, including plenty of fruit and vegetables.  Unless your doctor has advised you to take supplements, this should be enough to provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need.
  2. Ensure you eat regularly, starting with breakfast.  This is really important as it does what it says in the title - break the fast!  Ensure you have 3 meals a day, plus healthy snacks in between, this will ensure you don't have peaks and troughs of energy due to blood sugar spikes.
  3. Drink 6-8 glasses of fluid every day!  Water and milk are all healthy ways to keep hydrated.  Tea and coffee are OK as long as you don’t get all your fluid from caffeinated drinks.  Avoid sugary drinks as much as possible.
  4. For a good night’s sleep, choose food and drink rich in tryptophan – such as a milky drink before bed and switch those lights off.
  5. Try foods high in potassium, like tomatoes, mushrooms, dried fruits, nuts and bananas  which are essential for your brain and nervous system and helps to regulate body fluids.

Thinking back to times when you were not feeling yourself, can you relate to any of these food issues, good or bad?         I have only touched the surface on the research which is ongoing regarding the connection between nutrition and mental health, but hopefully this will help you realise that their is more to food than just how we look in our clothes.

chicken Pasta Bake

Homemade Chicken Pasta Bake

This homemade Chicken Pasta Bake was inspired by a Mary Berry recipe. I was about to do the usual chicken stir fry for my daughters tea, when she said that she would rather have a pasta bake!  I'm not a fan of sauces from a jar, so I reverted to the good old interweb and found this simple little gem.  However as with all my dishes I have put my own little spin on it, so that I can pack as much veg in as possible to make it a complete meal.

Try comparing how easy this is with a jar of shop bought Pasta Sauce, also compare the ingredients, cost and additives. I know which one I would go for!

Homemade Chicken Pasta Bake Ingredients

250g Pasta

1 Red Onion Chopped

3 Chicken breasts with skin removed and chopped

1 tsp of Paprika

2 tsp of Olive Oil

1 Red Pepper chopped

1/2 Courgette grated

1 Small can of Sweetcorn drained

2 Cubes of frozen Spinach defrosted

Sauce -

50g Butter

50g Flour

750ml Hot Milk

1tsp Dijon Mustard

75g Grated Cheese

Method -

Preheat oven to 200C or gas mark 7

  1. Add pasta and onion to boiling water and cook as instructed. When cooked drain and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta sticking.
  2. While pasta is cooking put the cut chicken and paprika in a bag and shake to ensure the chicken is covered. Add the oil to a heated frying pan and cook the chicken for about 2 mins then add the courgette and peppers and cook for a further 5 mins or until cooked so the middle is no longer pink.
  3. To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan and add the flour, cook for approx 1 min then gradually add the hot milk and then cook until thick. Mix in mustard and 1/2 the cheese and season to taste.
  4. Place the cooked chicken mixture in the base of a large ovenproof dish, and sprinkle with the sweetcorn and spinach. Cover with the pasta and pour over the sauce and loosely mix. Sprinkle with remainder of cheese and bake for approx 20 mins
Shahi Dahl and Roji, Shahi Dahl and Rohi recipe, How to cook Sahi Dhal and Royi

Asma’s wonderful family Shahi Dhal and Roti

I had the pleasure recently to cook with a wonderful lady called Asma, who introduced me to this Dhal recipe. This is a family favourite that Asma has been making for years and very kindly shared with me.  I had never used onions in this way before, so the Tarkha was a completely different approach to adding flavours to a dish.  Quite a lot of my recipes use lentils, as they are packed with Iron, Vitamin B6, Potassium and have a very low GI which helps to regulate your blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer.

Food should be fun and being able to experiment with different styles certainly opens your mind to different food types. This should then give you confidence to see a recipe and think 'well lets shake it up a bit and make it different'.  My aim is always to see how many vegetables I can add to a dish to make it as nutritionally packed as I can.

Ingredients -

100g Chana Dhal

100g Red lentils

100g Green lentils

100g Mung Beans

1 1/2 large onion finely sliced

3 Cloves Garlic

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 Medium Tomato

1 tsp salt

2 Pints Water

Tarkha

1/2 large onion finely sliced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Garnish

4 dry red chilies

1 handful of coriander leaves chopped

1 lime cut in quarters

Roti

150g Wholemeal Flour

100ml Boiled water

1/4 tsp salt

flour for dusting

Dhal Method

  1. Soak Channa Dhal for at least 30 mins.
  2. Mix all lentils in a pan and rinse 2-3 times.
  3. Add 1.5 pints of water, onion, garlic, turmeric and salt and bring to the boil.
  4. Stir, cover and let simmer for 15 mins on a low heat. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add chopped tomato and more water if required and simmer for a further 5 mins.

Tarkha Method

  1. Heat oil in a small pan on a high heat, and add onion and garlic.
  2. Ensure you stir vigorously to stop them burning.  Cook until golden brown.
  3. Add to the Lentils.

Roti Method

  1. Mix the salt into the flour and add the water slowly to form a nice dough
  2. Kneed the mixture well and divide into 6 pieces.
  3. Roll each dough ball in your palm and place on a floured surface.
  4. Using a rolling pin roll out until thin and the size of a small side plate.
  5. Heat a non stick frying pan to a medium heat and cook each Roti for around 3-5 mins each side.

Serve the Dhal and garnish with the coriander, lime and chilli.

Try making extra of the Dhal as it freezes really well and will be a great go to meal when you are in a rush.

Catherine, Boditone member

Trials and Tribulations of a Boditone Member – 2nd Installment

CATHERINE'S JOURNEY AS A BODITONE MEMBER.

Catherine was one of the first people to become a Boditone member, she has very graciously agreed to share her journey on finding a longer term solution for her fitness. We think Catherine's story will really resonate with our members and those of you who follow us on social media. Catherine is a 37 year old mum of two, she works part time as a Research Associate, writing programmes to challenge sexism and gender inequality in schools. Catherine has flirted with her fitness goals over the years, favouring sporadic intensity over progressive longevity. She's tried kickboxing, aerobics, running, gym membership and every other class in-between. The only thing to stick is swimming, however it's not enough on it's own to stop the weight creeping back on. Catherine's fitness goals are about consistency and sustainability now, which is why she's joined Boditone.

Part Two Of My Journey.

So you know all that deeply empowering stuff I said about being fine with the way I am? Well today I'm just not feeling it. The core of my self-confidence, which stems from logic and understanding that perpetually measuring yourself next to unachievable, frankly destructive norms only serves to fester a sense of inadequacy, remains intact - however, on days like today, the distance between my actual self and my ideal self seems that much wider.

 

When I open that door to self doubt the illumination hits the shadows of my body image and seems to catch on every flaw. I notice the way my body seems to lack definition, even though I spent the morning swimming in an outdoor lake and my thighs still ache from the lowerbodi workout I did the day before. I think about how far I've got to go before I reach that physical 'ideal' and the sheer 'cost' of energy and time (both of which I feel a distinct lack of). I think of how many times I've worked towards shifting that weight, learning a new sport or increasing my fitness and how many times I've started again. And again. I think about that fact that I'm approaching 40. I think about the pizza and wine I've just had for tea.

 

It's easy to get dizzy on this negative spiral. The view becomes blurred and all those individual feelings begin to feed one another. They become co-dependent, inevitable. I can't see where one negative ideal starts and the other ends. As they swirl around relentlessly that core strength of mine (I'm talking metaphorical here. Planks are still not my friend) is blinking furiously, trying to keep the sand of self-doubt from being kicked up in its eye.

 

I've been here enough times to know that the sandstorm dies down eventually. I reason with myself, increasing the volume on my logical side (it's very convincing and well-informed), yet still there's the sense that I could look and be so much better than I am.

 

Ironically my job is all about challenging gender norms. I lead interventions in secondary schools to challenge the ideals of femininity and masculinity. I argue that stereotyping 'feminine women' as 'beautiful' and 'masculine men' as 'strong' negates the importance of intelligence in one and emotion in the other. By placing our emphasis or sense of self on one ideal, regardless of gender, we do ourselves a disservice.

 

As women, this ideal can stop us from celebrating our own body shape and all the other countless things about us that make us who we are. We are all so wonderfully different and I, for one, see the beauty in that. So why can't I see it in myself?

 

This is where gathering a community of like-minded women around you can be so important. It can be any number and of any origin. Social media connects us in an impatient, hungry way, however that doesn't mean it has no substance. The media will have us believe that women are in competition with each other. That we judge one-another on our hair, relationships, weight, status and dress sense. My experiences couldn't be more different.

 

A group of near strangers on the boditone Facebook page told me I was doing well when I was feeling frustrated with my level of exercise. We all regularly post to share our workouts, what we've done and how we felt and we are all met with a resounding wall of encouragement and support.

 

Tomorrow I'm having my first fitness test after starting up with boditone in February.

 

"I hope I haven't let you down" I text to Sarah (thinking of that pizza and wine)

 

"You could never let me down" was the reply.

 

Sometimes the reflection of ourselves in another's eyes is just enough to calm the storm.

 

Catherine

Catherine, Boditone member

Trials and Tribulations of a Boditone Member – 1st Installment.

 

Catherine's Journey As A Boditone Member.

Catherine one of our very first Boditone members, has very graciously agreed to share her journey on finding a longer term solution for her fitness.  We think Catherine's story will really resonate with our members and those of you who follow us on social media.  Catherine is a 37 year old mum of two, she works part time as a Research Associate, writing programmes to challenge sexism and gender inequality in schools.  Catherine has flirted with her fitness goals over the years, favouring sporadic intensity over progressive longevity.  She's tried kickboxing, aerobics, running, gym membership and every other class in-between.  The only thing to stick is swimming, however it's not enough on it's own to stop the weight creeping back on.  Catherine's fitness goals are about consistency and sustainability now, which is why she's joined Boditone.

My Journey So Far.

Infused with new beginnings and new resolutions many of us are going hurtling towards our latest fitness goal, equipped with the relevant DVD, gym membership or diet book, in January. Then February hits and it begins to get harder and harder to stay on the exercise wagon.

 

All these workout fads are usually centred on quick fixes for optimum results depicted by images blurred by airbrushing and diet pills. The reality is that any new habit or behaviour can take up to three months to demonstrate a difference, whether that’s in your state of mind or waistline.

 

I’ve flirted with my fair share of fitness classes and DVDs. I’ve become irked by Davina’s skipping joke and nodded along in agreement with Jillian Michaels as she states, for the hundredth time, that ‘results don’t come for free’.

 

I’ve joined gyms and become addicted to the rush of exercise endorphins, then I hit my physical happy place and start celebrating with wine and cheese. I’m not adverse to hard work, however I’m no longer looking for a ‘quick fix’ or an ‘all or nothing’ approach.

 

I want something I can stick to, which challenges me and fits in with my lifestyle. I want to be able to tap into a community of like-minded people who can give me advise, set me targets and keep me going, and I want to vary my workouts so I’m not exhausting myself and ensuring that I’m seeing results.

 

Oh, and I don’t want it to cost me an extortionate amount every month.

 

You see; I’m no longer lusting after a body drastically different to the one I’ve got. I know that I could be fitter and leaner, which is why I’m keen to get on an exercise plan that works, however it’s more about how I feel in myself than attempting to look like, well, someone on the front of a workout DVD.

 

Doesn’t sound like too much to ask does it? I don’t think so either, which is why I’ve signed up to Boditone and been brave enough to stand for one of those wonderful sports-bra-and-legging shots that show me in all my post-Christmas glory so I can see exactly how far I’ve come when I hit that significant three-month-mark.

 

I want to be clear and say I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way I am. We come in all different shapes and sizes, which is something that should be celebrated. Over the past year all of my fitness has come from swimming. I’ve ventured outdoors and jumped into cold water, swam in rivers and a quarry. My body is strong and I’m so grateful for that. This strength is something I want to build on and maintain so that I can be the very best version of myself.

 

Bring it on.

 

Catherine

 

 

boditone team workout, flat belly workout, womens fitness

Is A Flat Belly Really Possible? Here are our Hints and Tips To Help You Achieve A Flatter Stomach.

Is A Flat Belly Really Possible?

Well yes of course it is, for lots of people, unfortunately for me, that's never been quite the case.  My stomach seems to be a fat magnet.  I've got a short torso and long legs, so when I put on weight I tend to look like a lemon on toothpicks.

My stomach is always going to be my problem area, no matter what I do, I can't seem to regain my pre-pregnancy shape - I know give it time.  Is 16 years long enough?  Yes after all that time I am still battling to get a flatter stomach.  I have toyed with the idea of surgery to repair some of the damaged muscles, I just can't face it, the risks, the recovery and what if I'm not happy with the result.

In pursuit of my abs I have learnt a few lessons, some I am better at implementing than others, hopefully you will find these tips helpful if you are also trying to find the route to a flatter stomach.

Whole Body Approach.

A jelly belly is not just down to lack of muscle, excess body fat also has a part to play.  Now don't go rushing off doing 100's of crunches and spending hours in the plank position.  Working on one area will not remove the wobble from that region, sadly fat cannot be spot reduced.  Revealing your abs is going to involve working the whole body, routines using core based exercises such as bear crawl or mountain climber utilise multiple muscle groups.  This will make your heart work harder, giving you a greater calorie burn, which in turn will help reduce fat levels.

Ramp Up Your Workouts With HIIT.

Exercise for me is not a problem, I am one of those awful people, who actually enjoy it.  I usually go for a mixture of strength/boxing style routines and HIIT.

Here's the sales bit (although I do really believe it is beneficial).

Bodifit is a cardio routine for all levels of fitness, using the principles of HIIT training (high-intensity interval training) to fluctuate the heart rate.  This workout combines high-intensity periods of activity with low-intensity recovery periods, making it a very effective fat burning workout, encouraging the body to burn calories while maintaining muscle mass for optimal results.  This type of exercise will suit all fitness levels and abilities, there is no excuse not to give this a go, most people can manage 30" of exercise if they know a break is coming.

Healthy Diet.

Now I can't preach to you on this subject (katie is the clean eater), I am most definitely not perfect when it comes to food.  Ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen ".  This is where I am going wrong, in order to reveal my efforts in the gym I need to eat a cleaner diet.  After all what's the point in working out, if I am going to come home and eat a packet of M&M's.  What I am trying to say is don't waste your hard work by eating rubbish.  All joking aside I am a lot better at ditching the junk food than I used to be and enjoy the results of that in most areas of my body - just need to be really good, to get rid of my stubborn belly fat (caused by excess M&M consumption).

I think we all know deep down what our food culprits are and this can vary from person to person.  My best advice for eating a healthier diet is to tackle one area at a time, making small changes will make them easier to maintain long term.  That could be drinking more water, eating more fruit, cutting out some of the bad stuff in your diet, including more home cooked meals.  I know the home cooking is easier said than done. Not being the worlds best chef I have found that the slow cooker is my saviour.  I really don't enjoy cooking in the evening, I am usually too tired or busy being a taxi driver for my kids.  I would much rather get up a bit earlier and chuck the ingredients in the pot.  I now have some tried and tested slow cooker recipes that are easy to prepare, the whole family will eat and are healthy (ish). I used to rely on far too many processed ready meals, these tend to contain a lot of sugar and sodium.  Too much sodium in your diet, can lead to dehydration, causing your body to retain water, which in turn will make you look and feel bloated.

Drink More

No I am not talking wine, I mean more water.  The last thing you probably want to do if you are feeling bloated is to drink water.  However the bloating you are feeling might be down to lack of fluids, your body will retain water to prevent dehydration.  Water retention causes bloating.  To prevent water retention and bloating it will actually help to drink more water - the recommended amount is 2ltrs per day.

Sleep.

Well I don't get enough sleep, it's all very well to be told to try and get 7-8 hours , wind down, relax, shut off the phones/iPads etc.  In reality that doesn't happen, by the time most of us sit down in the evening, there is no time to 'wind down" and an hour searching the Internet for random rubbish is when we relax.

Having kids has put paid to me ever having a full nights sleep, after years of being woken up by children I have never managed to regain a good sleep pattern.  Now in my 40's, I seem to have the delightful prequel to what I guess will be the menopause, a bit of insomnia mixed with occasional night sweats.

Lack of sleep can play havoc with your metabolism, triggering the release of the hormone cortisol.  This is a stress hormone which comes into play when your body believes it is in a time of famine, it was traditionally utilised to protect your body when food was scarce.  So even though we now have plenty of eat, cortisol does not distinguish between lack of food or sleep as a source of stress.  It tells your body to slow down until the crisis has passed, encouraging the conversion of blood sugar into fat for long term storage.  Lack of sleep can also increase the hunger hormone ghrelin, making your body think it's hungry, encouraging you to eat more than you actually need.

We are more susceptible to making bad food choices when we are tired, usually picking something sugary as a pick me up.  We might also feel less inclined to move as much, due to lack of energy.  So as you can see a good nights sleep really is important in maintaining a healthy body.

There is plenty of advice out there about what food and what routines will help to enhance your sleep, I have tried a few and nothing really works for me, so unfortunately I don't have a magic formula for you.  I try not to get stressed by my disturbed sleep, otherwise it leads to a vicious circle of thinking about how many hours sleep I'm missing out on, resulting in even more hours spent awake instead of sleeping.  Maybe I can blame my less than perfect stomach on lack of sleep rather than excess M&M consumption after all.

I'm Not Sure How To Break It to You.

I have saved this bit until last, as I know you will want to stop reading as soon as I mention cutting back on alcohol. Before you run away, I just wanted to let you know, that your favourite tipple might be the culprit for your jiggly belly.  I know this is painful to hear, you might just need to cut back a little on your weekly consumption to help you in your pursuit of a flatter stomach.

Everyone talks about the empty calories in alcohol and assumes switching to a vodka and Diet Coke is a good option. What you might not realise is, it's not just down to the calories consumed that contribute to weight gain.

When alcohol is consumed it can impare liver function, making it difficult to cleanse the blood of excess oestrogen. Raised Oestrogen can cause insulin problems, instead of pushing glucose towards your liver and muscles, it leaves higher sugar levels in the blood stream which can lead to your body storing glucose as fat. Oestrogen dominance can be caused by diet/lifestyle/health issues.

Plus if you are anything like me, you have probably made some really bad food choices after one to many - kebab anyone? now that's not going to help reduce the wobble.

Healthy Sweet Treat, Coconut and Honey Cupcakes

Healthy Coconut, Honey and Blueberry Cupcakes.

These Coconut and Honey cupcakes are super quick and easy to make and combine all my favourite ingredients.

My daughter loves to get involved when I am baking and although this gets a bit messy, I don't mind as I think it's important to let kids get involved with cooking.  This will hopefully set them on the right path towards a healthy diet when they are older, if they know how to cook they shouldn't always have to rely on convenience food.

As a personal trainer, I try to eat a healthy and varied diet.  This is important as I need to fuel my body, so that it can function well with the demands placed upon it.  As part of a healthy diet I think it's perfectly acceptable to include treats - after all life would be pretty miserable without them.

When you are trying to be good, but just need something sweet, these cupcakes should hit the spot.

 

Ingredients:

200g ground almonds.

100g dessicated coconut.

4 x bananas.

3 x eggs.

1tsp vanilla essence.

1tsp baking powder.

Large dollop of honey.

Large handful blueberries.

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients, except the blueberries together thoroughly.

Add in the blueberries, mix gently.

Place cupcake cases into cupcake tin.

Fill each case almost to the top with cake mixture.

Bake: 160-180 fan oven for approx 20 mins.