Tag: i tried it

I Tried It: Whole30

I haven’t felt like writing much about food and nutrition recently. There’s been a lot going on, personally and professionally. New job, a heavier course load at school and loads of political distraction (every morning, I wake up and think, ‘what now?’. Don’t you?). It’s […]

I Tried It: Making Ghee

Have you ever used ghee? Ghee, a clarified butter, is known as ‘liquid gold’ in some South Asian cultures because it comes from the revered cow. The process of making ghee removes the milk solids and water and leaves you with lovely golden liquid that […]

I Tried It: Going To Bed Early

bed

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for at least seven months now, trying to fit everything in. Being a good mother, being a good wife, cooking, studying for my nutrition degree, doing coursework, working four days a week and trying to fit in some form of regular exercise. I’m exhausted just typing this out.

I’ve been cutting corners on my sleep for too long. Going to bed at 11pm, but lying in bed until midnight, on my phone, then expecting to get up at 6:15 the next morning feeling refreshed. It really is no wonder that the past two weeks have seen me going to bed between 9:30 and 10:30pm most nights, absolutely exhausted. Like fast asleep as soon as I hit the pillow exhausted.

I’m a big advocate of listening to what my body tells me, but in the case of sleep, I’ve been completely disregarding it. I’ve been acting like I’m 25 again and trying to get by on little sleep, with no consequences. Well, there are consequences – dark circles under my eyes, spots and over reliance on coffee, to name a few.

There’s also the little fact that at nearly 3, my son still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night. So going to bed late just compounds the effect of a broken night’s sleep.

It’s hard to overstate the healing powers of sleep and how much the body uses the time to repair and heal itself. Looking at the Chinese medicine clock, your gallbladder (11pm – 1am), liver (1 – 3am), lungs (3 – 5am) and small intestine (5 – 7am) are all active at night and use this time to refresh and regenerate.

Sleep also has a huge effect on weight loss and maintenance, cognitive ability, body repair and regeneration and insulin sensitivity. It’s fascinating to see studies that show that interventions that reduce sleep time by as little as 2 hours daily can induce a state of insulin resistance in otherwise healthy persons within a week, and halving sleep time to 4 hours or less is able to induce insulin resistance after a single night!

So what were the benefits to me of getting some extra sleep? Unsurprisingly, I woke up feeling a little more refreshed than normal, my energy levels were higher, so I could just bounce out of bed, without my usual sluggishness and I was in a far better mood throughout the day.

I can’t say that I’m going to continue going to bed so early every night, because I truly need that time in the evening after my son goes to bed to relax and unwind, but I plan to go to bed earlier at least three nights every week. Here’s to positive habit forming!

Photo by Quin Stevenson

I Tried It: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

As I go further into my Nutrition degree, we’ve been learning more nutrition theory and practical elements, like clinical practice with patients and specific dietary models. The third assignment this year is to trial one of the dietary models we could potentially recommend to a […]

I Tried It: The Mooncup

Have you ever tried a menstrual cup? I hadn’t, until recently. This goop article got me thinking about the implications of the cotton, chemicals and bleach in mainstream tampons. How many tampons do you think the average woman uses in a lifetime? Apparently it’s almost […]

I Tried It: Juicing

I’ll start this blog post by admitting that I have never really been a fan of juicing. I hate the hype and near-religious devotion to it. I hate the waste – seriously, what do juice bars do with all the leftover pulp? I hate that people were replacing meals with giant bottles of green juice. I’ve seen both of Joe Cross’ films, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and its sequel and left both sceptical about how people would go from juicing 100% of the time to eating real food, without any real nutrition education.

After the last few weeks, I like juicing a little more than before. Why, you may be asking?

It all started three weeks ago when my husband reminded me that our Magimix has a juicing attachment. Curiosity struck and the next thing I knew, I was cutting up some vegetables and we had a fun time letting our son feed the chopped veg into the machine and push it down with the plunger. And it was a good result too, for my first try 😄.

Here’s what I put in it:

1 celery stalk

1 fennel stalk

2 small apples

1 medium carrot

1 knob of ginger

After a good tasting session, we decided to lay off the fennel the next time, because it overwhelmed the rest of the flavours.

Then on Wednesday, I was at home with my little guy. He had just finished his post-nap snack and turned to me and said, “Mama, I want to make juice.” I chuckled, gave a little internal hurray for building good nutrition habits, grabbed all of the juice attachments for the Magimix and we set to work.

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This time, we mixed it up and put a bit more veg in:

1 beetroot

1 golden beetroot

1 celery stalk

2 medium carrots

2 small apples

1 knob ginger

1 knob tumeric

1/2 small cucumber

I ended up with enough for two full glasses and a bottle to put in the fridge for later.

homemade carrot, apple and beetroot juice

Here are my top tips for juicing:

1. Always drink juice with a meal. 

Because the juicing process removes the fibre from the fruit and veg, it gets digested VERY quickly and you get hungry again an hour later. Chewing starts the first part of the digestive process (which happens in the mouth!) and just drinking juice bypasses this, which is not a good thing.

If you drink your juice with a nutritious meal, the protein and fat from the food will slow digestion down and you won’t get hungry again as quickly.

2. Vegetables should form the bulk of the juice. 

The fructose in fruit juices can cause insulin spikes, which can lead to energy crashes. Vegetables modulate this process and keep blood sugars steadier.

3. Use the pulp! 

Apparently, the pulp can be used in broths, smoothies, muffins and omelettes. I’m going to figure this out, because it feels almost criminal to throw out all of this goodness!

Do you juice? What are your top tips?

I Tried It: Making Bone Broth

2015 has been the year of bone broth or stock, as your grandmother would call it. From Brodo to #boilyourbones, the Hemsley sisters’ catchphrase, it seemed like everyone was getting into the long simmer. Real talk: I made a half hearted attempt at making bone […]

I Tried It: Improving My Knife Skills

When you cook, a good knife or set of knives is really important. And they must be sharp. I learned this the hard way when I sliced my finger open trying to cut through a particularly tough sweet potato. It was there and then, I […]

I Tried It: Barry’s Bootcamp

Barry’s Bootcamp has been on my fitness to-do list for ages, but it’s taken me a while to ‘gee’ myself up to try it out.  Any workout that combines treadmill sprints (not my favourite, at the best of times) and strength training is always going to be tough. Add in ‘bootcamp’ and well, you can understand why I was nervous when I rocked up to the London Central branch yesterday morning.

barry's bootcamp london central

Reader, it was f*cking hard. Two circuits of 15 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes of strength training nearly wiped me out for the day. The beginners treadmill speed is 6 mph (9.66 km/h!), which is much faster than I run, EVER. You then go up by 1 or 2 points (miles) throughout the sprints. If the instructor is being nice, you might change it up and let you go up by 0.5 mile intervals. The fastest I ran was 8.5 mph (13.8 km/h!!!!!!) and I thought my legs were going to come up from under me.

Real talk: since giving birth, my pelvic floor isn’t what it used to be, so I had to contend with that, as well as holding back the urge to vomit, during and after the sprints. Note to self: wear black running trousers next time!

The music was absolutely amazing, with lots of uptempo house and hip hop to keep energy levels up. Our instructor for the session was Faisal and he was super motivational, continuously trying to push all of us to our limits and reminding us that it’s supposed be hard. And of course the class is going to be hard – that’s what you pay £20 for. And that’s how you get results.

barry's bootcamp protein shake menu

I ordered a much needed recovery shake to pick up after my workout, custom made with almond butter, banana, cinnamon and almond milk. My only complaint would be that all of their ‘off the rack’ shakes have either chocolate or vanilla whey protein in them and if you don’t do dairy, then you need to go for a custom option to get your protein. I opted for almond butter instead, but I might go for vegan protein next time.

barrys london smoothie

Have you tried Barry’s yet? What do you think?