Friday, 20 April 2018

Vegan Friday - vegan youtubers to check out

In today's Vegan Friday I'm going to introduce you to some of my favourite vegan youtubers. Youtube is probably my favourite social network, a seemingly endless supply of informative and entertaining videos are waiting for you to watch them. 

Firstly, there's Mic the Vegan:

Mic makes excellent arguments for a plant-based diet and always backs up his point of view with several references to peer-reviewed literature. Well work checking out.

Next up, Pick Up Limes:

Sadia is plant-based minimalist and her videos are calming, non-judgemental and very inspiring.

Kalyn Nicholson is up next:

Kalyn is one of my favourite youtubers, she's inspiring and fun to watch and she's vegan. There are plenty of videos on her channel for meal prep inspiration and 'what I eat in a day' videos.

Who are your favourite vegan youtubers? Who inspires you on the plant-based path? Let me know in the comments.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine if you are lucky enough to have it!


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Sober Wednesday - sober treats

Today was a treat day. I took the day off and had lunch with my bestie. We had facials in the morning and then stuffed our faces in Zizzi.

It felt so self-indulgent and I absolutely loved it. How amazing that now, treating myself actually means treating myself - it used to mean poisoning myself.

Sure, £57 is a lot of money to spend on a facial and lunch out. I can't afford to be doing that all the time, but, when I was drinking, I never thought too much about how much I spent, sharing a bottle of wine before going out, taxis, drinks, cocktails, takeaway food, it all adds up and that's all money I'm saving now. 

So when I splurge, I really feel it, but it's this wonderful gift I'm giving myself, rather than the awful 'gift' of a hangover the day after a night out. 

The difference is that while one treat nourishes, the other depletes.

In the old days, lunch with a friend often meant sharing one, maybe two bottles of wine, followed by cocktails, then before I knew it, it would be 9pm and we'd be drunk, wondering how we were going to get home.

Now we go for facials, massages, and walks. There was a brief moment today when I though 'shall we just get a bottle of red to share?' but the moment passed and I realised that wine wouldn't have added anything to the experience (apart from about £20). 

So I still get a pang from time to time, but at over 100 days in I'm feeling strong and happy in my decision to quit booze, especially if it justifies massages, facials and other such self-indulgence.

Have a great Wednesday, I'll see you here for Vegan Friday in a few days.


Monday, 16 April 2018

Sexy Monday - it's working!

Happy Sexy Monday everyone!

I'm currently feeling fab because I just weighed myself and I lost exactly 0.5kg this week! Bang on target.

Starting weight:         91kg
Current weight:          89.8kg

Weight loss so far:      1.2kg

That's a bit better. I've been working hard this week. Logging food and exercise on myfitnesspal and generally trying to be a bit more active. Here are the workouts I completed this week:

Monday: 20 minute jog & yoga 
Wednesday: outdoor fitness class/bootcamp
Saturday: parkrun (5K)
Sunday: PT session focussed on weights and strength training

This weight loss malarkey is hard!

But, staying out of shape is harder. 

The funny thing is though, the more I exercise and eat well, the less I care about the actual number on the scales, because I know I'm moving in a healthy direction anyway. 

Even though logging food is a total bore it is super useful to start seeing the patterns, here's what I learned this week:

  • oil is ridiculously calorific and will completely throw the day off when given half a chance
  • ditto houmous
  • if I eat oil or houmous it is incredibly hard to stay under 1,880 calories, and don't even talk to me about tahini
  • I can literally half the amount of olive oil I put in pasta dishes and not notice any difference
  • I need to be exercising every day if I'm going to be eating these fatty foods
I mean, I knew this in my brain but it's different when you start actually doing it and living by these parameters. Hopefully my days of weight gain are behind me and I'm on the road to a healthier weight. 85kg is my first target, so we'll see how I feel when I get there. 

I've found some multipack packets of vegan hummus chips at Tesco, only 112 calories per bag, so it's totally worth keeping some in my handbag in case hunger strikes at any point. Being prepared is a huge advantage in this game.

I wonder if I can keep this progress up for another week? I'd like to make sure I do more yoga, I'll maybe try for a minimum of two sessions on my own. Consistency is key if I want to improve my strength, balance and flexibility.

Thanks for reading, and have a fabulous Monday.


Friday, 13 April 2018

Vegan Friday - a super-easy vegan dinner

It's Vegan Friday!

For today's offering, I wanted to guide you through a super-easy vegan dinner. Maybe you're just starting out on your vegan journey and need something easy for, you know, dinner tonight. There's something about pasta that is just so comforting to eat, and easy to prepare, that you can't really go wrong with it (unless you're low-carb, in which case, I salute you). So here's my go-to easy-peasy vegan pasta dinner.

Here's what you need:

  • pasta (duhh) - I use wholewheat fusilli but whatever is lurking in the cupboard is fine - about 80g of dried pasta per person
  • vegan pesto - the only slightly special ingredient, can be found in the 'free from' section of any supermarket, I get the Tesco own-brand one because it's cheap
  • a glug of olive oil
  • garlic
  • a red onion (or a normal onion)
  • mushrooms
  • olives
  • bell pepper
  • baby spinach
  • pine nuts
  • one small carton of passata will be enough for two servings
  • salt & pepper if desired
If there's a vegetable you don't like in amongst all that, just leave it out, or put in extra. Sweetcorn would be a good idea for example. So here we go:

  1. Put some water in a pan and start heating it ready for the pasta, putting a lid on the pan at this point speeds up the process and saves energy.
  2. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil into a large frying pan and put on a low heat.
  3. Start chopping! Garlic first, double the number of people you are serving, so for one person, two cloves, two people, four cloves etc. Add chopped garlic to the pan.
  4. Peel and chop the onion as small as you like (my preference is the smaller the better) and add to the frying pan.
  5. Your water may be boiling now so stick the pasta on and set a timer for 11 minutes.
  6. Wash, chop and add your mushrooms and peppers to the frying pan if you're having them, maybe turn the heat up a smidge to make sure the mushrooms actually cook and don't come out all squishy.
  7. Add olives and baby spinach. Spinach reduces down to nothing by the way, so feel free to add loads.
  8. Once the spinach has wilted a bit, pour in the passata and stir, add a bit of salt and pepper. Wait for timer to go off.
  9. Beep! Pasta's done, drain it (over the sink, please) before returning it to the saucepan. Add some vegan pesto (I tend to go by one generous teaspoon per person).
  10. Add the pesto pasta to the frying pan and mix in.
  11. Serve.
  12. Add a sprinkling of pine nuts if you're feeling fancy. There's also a vegan parmesan available (I think it's from Violife) - I haven't tried it as I'm trying to lose some weight at the moment and I don't need more calorific treats in my life right now. Nutritional Yeast is also a very very tasty addition, but it can be hard to find in supermarkets and you totally don't need it.
  13. Enjoy!
Have you tried this recipe or a similar one? If so, do let me know. 

I hope you all have a fabulous Vegan Friday.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Sober Wednesday - 100 days!

Today marks 100 days of being alcohol free.


This is undoubtedly the longest I have gone without a drink since I started drinking.

Money is a bit tight at the moment so I'll be celebrating with a bubble bath, and a vegan takeaway pizza. I can't wait.

In terms of weight loss, I've only lost a mere 700g, nothing to write home about. But in general I feel good. People are commenting that I look slimmer and that my skin looks really clear (I LOVE hearing that). 

Sure, there are days when I feel tired and sleep-deprived, but that usually lasts a day and then I'm back feeling fresh the following day. I have the comfort of knowing that I would probably feel worse had I been drinking.

I've probably saved myself around £300 through avoiding the weekly prosecco and large glasses of red, the gin and lemonades and the cocktails. Unfortunately other things have happened to eat all my money (car trouble, messed up pay-days, trying to buy a house) but I'd be in a worse situation had I been drinking. So I have that to be grateful for.

I've danced sober and been a sober wedding guest. I've been to the pub several times and resisted temptation. I've left parties and nights out when they are no longer fun, rather than drinking until they become more fun. I haven't had a single hangover in 2018! 

Two books I read in January really helped inspire me to do this, I'll link them below:

*these are affiliate links that help support the blog, thanks for your support*

Clare Pooley and Catherine Gray are both very inspiring women, go and follow them on instagram if you don't already.

People have asked me if I'll be celebrating with a drink. Ummm, no.

Then they ask how long I'm carrying this on for. I say I honestly don't know. For me right now it's the right choice, one that saves money and promotes health, one that keeps me looking young and feeling fresh. What's not to love about the sober life?

I'm sure a lot of people are at 100 days around now if you gave up around the new year, if that's you, well done! If you're new to quitting booze, welcome, it is worth it. Leave me a comment and say hello if you like.


Monday, 9 April 2018

Sexy Monday - I put on weight.

Hello and welcome to another Sexy Monday post. 

Having weighed myself at the gym today I can confirm that I have gained weight (0.3kg) since I weighed in last week. My stats now look something like this:

Starting weight:              91kg
Current weight:              90.3kg

Overall weight loss:          700g

Seven hundred grams. I think I know why this is, I had a couple of rather large meals over the weekend. I was at my (future) in-laws' home for dinner two nights on the trot. They are more than happy to cook vegetarian for me but not vegan. I am not ready to turn down food from my partner's parents yet so I just eat what they give me. And there was a lot of food. There was a cheese course, which I could (and should) have left alone, and a lovely dessert called Almondy, which I had far too much of.

So, in the spirit of being totally honest on this blog (what good is lying??) I am grateful that the weight gain was only 300g, it could have been worse (had I also been drinking wine, for example).

Tonight is date night (I'm writing this on Sunday) and Mr SSV and I are going to a place that I know has plenty of vegan options. My mission is to stick to these and to eat a sensible amount - not to stuff my face.

Other missions this week include:

  • Going for at least one run. I've been mainly doing weight training and yoga but a bit of running would go down a treat and probably help my weight loss efforts.
  • Continue logging food on myfitnesspal. I did this for a few days, but fell off the wagon, it's almost impossible to accurately log food that is home-cooked by someone that isn't me. I'll get back on it and do my best to estimate when I'm out and about. Logging food is tedious and time-consuming but it's giving me a good idea of how much I'm actually eating.
  • Keep it more vegan when I'm out of the house. Being outside my home does not give me a good enough reason to dive head first into a baked camembert.
So there we are, lessons learned, time to dust myself off and keep moving forward. 

I really don't want to become obsessed with my weight and with losing weight. That's a rabbit hole it's really not worth going down. But, at the same time, I do need to lose a bit of weight and keeping myself accountable on here means that I don't lose momentum.

Being at a healthy weight and feeling strong and fit is sexy. That's what I'm aiming for.

I'll be here again on Wednesday for another instalment of Sober Wednesday. 


Friday, 6 April 2018

Vegan Friday - find your tribe

Happy Vegan Friday! 

I think for a lot of us the Easter Holidays are coming to an end, and work begins again next week. I'm going to try to use these last few days to relax, get organised and make sure I'm ready for the next few weeks. Maybe I'll get some Spring Cleaning done...

As you may know if you read this week’s Sober Wednesday post, I was down in Surrey last weekend for a wedding. I only mention this because, not only was I the only one refusing wine on my table, I was the only one refusing meat as well. I kind of felt like I stuck out a bit.

This is where the importance of finding your tribe comes in. Isn’t the internet an amazing place? Whatever your interests or beliefs, you can find people who share them and tada! a tribe is formed. 

Having a tribe means it doesn’t matter if no one else you’re with is on board with your beliefs and choices, you know there are others in your corner, probably finding themselves in similar situations wherever they are.

So if this is what you want to do, you want to go after a lifestyle that will keep you young and healthy, while being compassionate and doing your bit for the planet, go for it. Go out into the world and make the difficult choices, report back here with how you went on. Goodness knows I'm the first person to report all the ways in which I'm a 'bad vegan' - the important thing is that we are doing our best, we are trying and we get back on the train if we slip up.

Follow vegan blogs, vegan youtubers, watch vegan films, anything we can do to educate ourselves is another piece of armour we have when people accuse us of being 'boring' for not partaking in the latest barbecue or hog roast. If you are invited to these, maybe take something vegan, a pasta salad or some houmous and wedges, veggie skewers or a fruit salad for pudding - I'd bet that whatever you take proves to be popular with everyone (possibly not leaving any for you - sorry) and you might just get into conversation with someone who is interested in adopting a vegan lifestyle.

I'll take you through some of my favourite vegan youtubers and films in a future Vegan Friday, so be sure to follow this blog to stay in touch, and let me know about your vegan adventures in the big wide world!

Confession time: my super-sweet niece offered me some of her chocolate ice-cream yesterday. I'm not saying no to that.

See you next week,

Vegan Friday - vegan youtubers to check out

In today's Vegan Friday I'm going to introduce you to some of my favourite vegan youtubers. Youtube is probably my favourite social...