Reviews on Vegan and ethical products, recipes and travel
The future of peanut butter!! In my time I have tried many peanut butters, (weirdo) and I can honestly say this brand has got it going on!! First of all it is palm oil and sugar free so in terms of a healthy option it has it all. Usually peanut butter unless you go for the premium brands, have some element of oil mixture to make it smooth. Secondly the consistency is really smooth, and holds up well in a shake which is where I mostly use the contents of. However it also mixes well with granola or cornflakes (gluten free) a cheeky Sunday breakfast of mine. In addition to the usual flavors most brand will offer, serious spreads comes into it's own with limited edition offers of peanut butter cups, (my personal favorite) blueberries and choc chip. These additions make it a different kind of peanut butter, one that keeps the fun and honesty of a healthy peanut butter but also delivers on flavor and texture. If you're looking for a new way to eat peanut butter then look no further than serious spreads, they are serious about their spreads!! In our member area we offer discounts for loads of ethical products, all have been tried and tested to ensure they are superb quality. Sign up for free to get your discount for serious spreads!!!
During our time in Cambodia, we found a variety of foods which were both rich in culture and born out of a booming tourist industry. First we traveled to Phnom Penh to which we stayed in the main tourist area by the Tonel Sap river and the Royal Palace which is a gleaming gold building bursting with history. Along the river is a great choice of restaurants from, ice cream to homemade noodle houses. The riverside as you can imagine can be more expensive as it has the views to go with it. We however ventured more inland to which we dined in locally run restaurants, it was not only cheaper but had a real local vibe. We mostly enjoyed fried noodle or fried rice dishes with a mix of vegetables and Tofu, all noddles were made in front of your eyes by very skillful chefs who weirdly were always called Dave. This may just be a tourist idea but we enjoyed it. With a regular 30 degree heat beaming down, it was essential that we enjoyed a happy hour beer. Most bars selling the really yummy Cambodian lager which was on tap, and even better was often only 50p a glass. In Phnom Penh we tried to engage in as much of it’s history as we could, and there is plenty to choose from. Hiring a Tuk Tuk driver for the day was a great way to see multiple places and not have to worry about transport. For 11 dollars we visited the Killing fields and the S21 Prison, both were incredibly emotional visits and showed how much the country as changed. A trip I would recommend would be to take a boat cruise on the Mekong river at sunset, the views were incredible and the the colours so vivid. Before heading to Thailand we spent some time in Siem Reap, to get there we went on a 4 hour bus journey with predominantly locals. This was easily organized through our hotel and fairly cheap at 10 dollars a ticket, although a bumpy ride it was pleasant enough. The main reason for visiting this ever growing city was to see the world heritage site, Angor Wat. This was a truly special place we spent all day looking at these beautiful and historic sites, it was made all the more special by the vivid colours of the orange sand, peircing blue sky and overwhelmingly hot sun. It really has to be seen to be believed. What we didn't expect to find was a bustling market city with an aply named Pub Street, to which had a whole street of cheap bars and tourist style restaurants. Although there wasn’t the same culture of food here it was a really genuine and honest city which had locals making a living. We enjoyed the noodles at the side of the road which included tofu, egg and chili super tasty. Cambodia is definitely rough around the edges but it had some really special people who are extremely hard working, to the ever increasing women builders to the road side noodle makers. It oozes culture and history which has to be seen, alongside a bustling city with plenty to see and visit. You have to visit this amazing country!!
Since coming back from traveling I have been trying to improve my strength as I lost over a stone in weight, with that also a lot of strength gains I had made previously. After 9 months of implementing a strength based programme, mixed with a German volume training approach. I have been able to put back on the stone I lost and more importantly increased my bench 1RM by 25kg and my squat by 20kg. For me this is huge and I am still striving to increase my lift strength. Over the 9 months I have been using a method called wave loading, whereby I increase the weight lifted after each set, drop it and increase over sets again. This enables me to overload my nervous system and increase the loads during a session. I really enjoy this type of training as it is low reps and longer rest periods, In addition I mix it with super sets to increase the volume of the session but also speed it up. It's important to mention that a de-load period is important due to the constant load on the nervous system. A typical Bench session for me would be; Bench press 9 sets with 3 waves. Reps- 6,4,2 x3 Each time I am able to increase the load on each wave even if it's just by 1.25kg After each set I will complete reps of chin ups dependent on the amount of reps I have done on the bench. Have a go and see how it feels for you when training. Give me a message if you want help designing a plan.
If you cant make it to the gym this week then try this cheeky home workout. It will really get the juices flowing. 30 Burpees 25 squat thrusts 20 Squat Jumps 15 Press ups 10 Diamond Press ups 15 Lunges 20 Squats 25 Toe taps 30 Ab crunches x3 rounds 2 minute rest after each round finish with x3 1 minute Plank This is ideal for fat loss, and when done in the morning before breakfast your body will release fat cells to provide energy. Instead of the carbohydrates you may have eaten for breakfast. This is a method I often use with my clients when mixed with a lower calorie diet plan.
It is important when changing diet that you provide the body with all the essential nutrients it needs, which all can be found from a plant based diet. Key things to remember when choosing a meat free diet; 1. Increase almond uptake to maintain calcium 2. Increase Iron from foods, spinach can be a good example 3. Maintain complete amino acids you get from meat, can be found in quinoa, buckwheat and chia seeds. 4. Invest in a Vegan protein powder if you are training and need to hit a set protein gram a day 5. Variety is key, replace meat with natural sources of protein such as chickpeas, beans and Tofu. There are so many great tofu recipes out there and taste really good. 6. Avoid meat replacements such as Quorn, or frozen pre-made burgers, they can taste good but are artificially created and not good on the body. Burgers are very easy to make and recipes are a plenty.
In my experience exclusion diets help to narrow down certain habits or foods to which might be causing those nasty symptoms to arise in the gut. When my gut decided to flare up I tried for around a year to exclude different foods, calculate what I ate and keep a diary of the types of food I was eating. Here's a snapshot of what I did.First removed Gluten and Dairy for 5-7 days to try and settle my gut down from being inflamed. Then only placed dairy back into the diet being careful not over do it. After doing this for 3 weeks I still had issues and decided again to reset the gut for 5 days then exclude dairy. However I still had problems and decided to eliminate high Fod-map vegetables and fruits, which tend to ferment in the gut. These included, apples, broccoli, cauliflower and bananas. This had some success and I was feeling better so I carried this on for a period of time but noticed I would have flare ups as set times and that was post workout. So after doing some research I found that Whey protein was causing my issues and being a dairy product this made a lot of sense to me. Hence my need to switch to a vegan protein.So in my experience this was my trigger and since then and with a steady back up of healthy gut bacteria I have had no issues and continue to enjoy a symptom free gut.I have to throw a disclaimer in here and say that a visit to your doctor is always advised prior to completing an exclusion diet and I would recommend you ask for help on the types of foods and timelines your excluding foods from your diet.This process worked for me and I'm a huge advocate, but it doesn't always tell the full story as stress is a huge factor behind leaky gut, and excluding foods only stops the symptoms.Please throw me a comment for any advice or guidance.
When we arrived in Phucket the first thing people told us was you need to visit 7/11, it has all you need to survive on if you don’t fancy eating too much local food. What we didn’t realise was they are everywhere, on street corners in supermarkets and even on the islands. This shop is great for providing you with the essentials but really should be avoided if your looking for a hot meal!! In Thailand we spent most of our time in the south, island hopping. We first went to Koh-Lanta which was only a minibus drive from Krabi, a large town with many travel companies willing to help organise travel. Before you head over just take your time to visit the local market for it has some great taster dishes from chocolate pineapple to deep fried potato balls. More interestingly there are some amazing temples in Krabi which are free to walk around and definitely worth a visit. On this island there is many local dishes to munch on, the south is known for it’s spicy curries. To which we ate in a local restaurant with a really nice owner who upon asking for a Tofu curry, wanted to know what percentage spicy we would like. He proceeded to show us a chart and how people have liked it in the past, I went for 30% which was way too hot for me but it was a really tasty curry. You will find loads of little local places that make amazing curries and tofu dishes, don’t be afraid to try and taste it all. We then took a boat over to a tiny island called Koh-Mook, this boasts of emerald green seas and a huge open sandy beach. However one side of the island is owned by a huge hotel, but if you head to the eastern side of the island you can walk behind the houses to a hotel that allows the public to sit and enjoy the tasty views out to sea. Grab a iced Thai tea and enjoy the view. I truly loved this island and although small it really feels like you’re living with the locals and has a homely feel to it, we stayed in some bamboo huts which were cool at night and boasted sea views. On our way back towards the mainland and Bangkok we visited Ao-Nang which is south of Krabi, and has a beautiful blue sea and a more developed town to visit and enjoy a night on the town. From here we made a base and rented a scooter, visiting the tiger temple which amazingly is free, however to reach the top of the mountain there are over a 1000 steps! It was a very sacred place and proper clothing was vital, we had a special day driving around the town and countryside taking in the sites. This was made better by stopping of a the local market to buy a Thai tea, banana and chocolate covered pancake so yummy!! We loved Thailand, the people are so kind and the food is special, being a veggie is not hard with dishes like pad Thai, and tofu curry how can you go wrong. I always just asked for a dish instead of chicken to have tofu and they will always say yes. Safe Travels
It's easy in life to get bogged down with what is good and what is bad for you! But what does that really mean, and how to even begin to find out which foods are which. I have long been trying to see food instead of how it makes me feel and more about its benefit to my body both nutritionally, and it's affects on my energy levels. For me this slight change has allowed me to make smarter choices when making a meal plan or finding a post workout meal. It brings awareness into how the food is benefiting the body and what affect that will have on me in my life. It's very important to try and move away from labeling something as good and bad as this can lead you to develop a negative mindset towards food, and the secret to a successful diet plan is to remain positive as best you can. If we see the nutritional benefits of each key groups of food we can then apply this base to create multiple different meal options but keeping that essential groups of core principles. let's take an example of this. Knowing what our wholegrain carbohydrate options are such as Couscous, Quinoa, Rice and Spelt. We can base our meals around them and chop and change dependent on weather, meal times and exercise requirements. So what this does is avoid the common stance which is Carbs are bad for me so I'm going to cut them out, which in reality is going to leave you tired, frustrated and ready to quit. I have to admit bringing awareness to different calorie amounts and how this affects our digestion can take time to develop. But if you read labels, ask for help and even use Pintrest which I have to say gives me a lot of meal ideas. You will soon be a master manipulator of food groups and have the knowledge to manage your diet effectively. Key points is to stay positive, take time to plan what you eat and if your stuck don't be afraid to ask for help!!
Why am I sitting here typing this story? Well, for me my transition from a fully fledged meat eater to a vegan started in January 1st 2016. However you could say that starting a daily routine of meditation each day has opened my eyes and mind into how we as humans are affecting the world around us. I became very aware of my impact upon animals and how my choices dictated others livelihoods and methods of treating animals. So after a Christmas period I made a vow to stop eating meat and to buy sustainable animal products such as free range and organic. I can safley say I have never had any health problems or even issues choosing what food to eat, I am lucky enough to have a strong support network who understand my choice and are willing to adapt. In particular my wife Laura has been amazing in finding meals for us both to eat and accepting my change in lifestyle and fully supporting me not just with consent but with action, and that is so important to me. My past experience working in personal training, teaching and running a sports therapy business have enabled me to plan and prepare my meals correctly not just to avoid meat but to ensure my meals are just as nutritionally beneficial for me. Such as when cutting meat out finding good alternative protein sources is incredibly important and also replacing vitamins such as Iron, Zinc and Magnesium. My hope is that anyone who is facing a decision to either stop eating meat has that support network I have had and that I can provide some of the nutritional know-how when it comes to getting the body what it needs. Through my blog and member area I want to help you make that decision to improve your happiness and well-being in a supportive and healthy manner. Sign up to our Free trial member area on the sign up page to receive advice and guidance on IBS and vegan nutrition to improve your health. Please comment if you have any questions we will respond!!
Vegan Vietnamese sandwich Inspired by trips to Vietnam and having great roadside sandwiches so easy to make and pickling the veg was fun. You’ll need for the Tofu (block firm organic ) - tsp turmeric - 1 tbsp corn flour - salt and pepper pinch Pickled Veg - 1 clear jar 1ltr - 1 cup of apple cider vinegar - fill to half way of water - cut carrots and cucumber into slices and put in the jar all together and leave for an hour or more Find what bread you fancy and cut the tofu into strips 1cm thick, light grill with olive oil for approx 4 mins on each side and your done. Set up your sandwich to taste, we used a great vegan mayo we found at Sainsbury’s. Love to see any pics of your efforts
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