Calling all vegans, embrace me!

Repost from: 12/01/2016

Ahhh, ageing! Isn’t it wonderful. 

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Courtesy of Flickr: James Bulley “Old woman”

You become wiser, more organised and of course, more riddled with ailments because you were a reckless, sour-sweets, refined-carb, knee-bashing, dancing, monster. Joy!

 

Now, it catching up to me. The weight. The low immunity. The creaky knees. The sore back.

The “urgh”‘s.

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Courtesy of Flickr: mrdoodman “Weight of the weightless”

As I was guzzling a coffee (barley coffee – still trying!), I was talking to a close friend about the lack of energy I had. Not just the lack of energy physically, but mentally.

I’ve realised that my body is so sensitive. If I drink cow’s milk, my mood changes, my skin is “urgh”, my digestion is abnormal. Same with eggs, meat, caffeine. The list goes on. I’ve just come to a point where I want to experience what it’s like to have energy again.

Boy, wouldn’t that be great.

So, I need your help.

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Courtesy of Flickr: Quinn Dombrowski “Help”

I want to transition my lifestyle so I live longer and treat this body right. More specifically, I want to only consume what I feel is right for my body. In my opinion, I think that can only be plant based diet. (Side note: with age, I’m becoming more and more guilty when I consume animal-based anythings, it’s just not sitting how it used to).

Here comes the help bit. I’m not sure really where to start and I thought: “hey, someone might be reading this, who was once in the same position and might want to help”.

Ask and you shall receive.

Does anyone out there have an advice, tips and tricks to help me on my new pursuit. You might be helping me add a few more years to my life, no pressure.

With so much love, 

Nahla

 

 

Hormonal imbalances

I’m hormonal, I’m stressed but not what you’re thinking.

More stressed than these eggs.

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Courtesy of Flickr: Bernard Goldbach “Cracking under stress”

I actually mean in the sense that my hormones are ‘all over the place’ and normal bodily functions do not happen with ease. Sleep no longer equates to rest. Exercise doesn’t produce the same effects it used to (but it’s still awesome) and multivitamins do ZILCH. Yes, I said it. I’ve tried every sort of multivitamin and I used to take them religiously.

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Courtesy of Flickr: Jamie “Pills”

If anyone out here has any recommendations, then I’m all ears!

To add to this, I think the primary reason for my hormonal imbalance is directly connected to the calorific-deficient foods I’ve consumed and that I’m possibly iron-deficient.

After a chat with my aunty Ruby, I was reminded that I was always full of energy when my food was energy-dense and I don’t mean donuts. I could fill my plates to the moon full or greens, oranges, reds and blues and never feel tired. My body was pleased. However, for the past few days I’ve chomped down on a lot of unnecessary animal products and refined carbs.

To be honest with you, this is a pretty low point BUT I WILL ALWAYS PUSH FORWARD. NEVER BACKWARDS. 

I thought this would be a great post to write for anyone out there who suffers from these specific issues but can’t seem to pinpoint what’s going on exactly.

So give me the mic Barack, I’m about to drop some truth (yes, I’m still grieving).

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Courtesy of Flickr: Cameron Collins “Barack Obama”

If you feel:

  • Tired, that is rarely relieved by rest
  • Unable to cope with stress
  • A feeling of tiredness behind the eyes
  • Mood swings
  • General weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive weight gain or weight loss
  • Cravings
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Irregular periods
  • Deficient immunity

Well, then you may also be suffering from dietary deficiencies, that have in effect caused hormonal imbalances in your body. Do not lose hope.

There are solutions: 

  1. Identify moments in your life where you have NOT felt like this. Were you exercising more?  Were you taking 10 minutes out of your day for you? Whatever it is, revisit it!
  2. Catalogue what you are eating during the week. This will help you identify which foods, vitamins and minerals you are neglecting. I personally found I was deficient in vitamin b12 and iron. This is not unheard of and actually is easily treated. 
  3. Begin consuming healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocado. These are nutritionally dense and that’s what we’re looking for.
  4. Eliminate negativity. Be that people, your approach to things, social media, shows. Just simply get rid of them. As humans, we create negative habits that become part of our normal routine. Eliminating these parts will seem difficult but we believe you can do it.
  5. Avoid animal dairy products. Cow milk is riddled with hormones that were never intended for us, they were intended for young calves. If you think of milk in this way, you’ll begin to understand how strange it is that we drink something that was never intended for us.
  6. Lastly, if you feel that these approaches have no helped then I suggest seeking medical attention. Our bodies are intuitive and smart things. What you may seem to brush off may be your body trying to tell you something. However, this doesn’t mean you have to seek traditional Western medicine. There are many options for us out there so choose the best decision that sits well with you. 

Live long and prosper,

You lovely beans,

Nahla. 

These are my confessions…

“We are ordering for lunch, are you in?”

This is a question I hear at work every single Friday. If it isn’t pizza, it’s Chinese or kebab/burgers/chicken and chips. Now, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while and having these types of food in moderation but that’s the thing, MODERATION, something I am struggling with at the moment.

I have a confession to make…I love fast food. It’s my favourite emotional tool. I eat it when I am happy, and want to celebrate something or as a pick me up when I am feeling down. It’s a bad habit I am slowly but surely kicking.

I have decided to make a deal with myself. If my lunches carry on looking like this, then I am allowed a cheat takeaway meal once every 2 weeks.


I am a huge believer of making healthy versions of my favourite foods but sometimes you just want the original baby.

 

Ps. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I have been hella busy but I won’t let that stop me sharing with you guys anymore. 

Peace out,

‘Iffiee’ (Inside joke, I’ll bring you all in on it later) ✌🏽️

I used to be a Fitbit tyrant. Call me Tyrion Fitbit Lannister

If you haven’t noticed yet, here at IDWTBFA, we’re a couple of storytellers. This one is a funny one for me. 

Shout out to the Fitbitches aka the FitBit Squad!:

  • Aline (check out her amazing, awesome blog, Nouchaline),
  • Ify (other half of IDWTBFA)
  • and Shahine (my arch nemesis/ex-wife). 

To set the scene, here’s a pic Ify prepared to summarise our Fitbit life: 

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Shout out to Phil Mitchell. Kudos to you if you know who he is. 

Around 2015, the girls and I decided to motivate ourselves and form a health + fitness motivational group. Only problem was, Shahine and Aline both live in Lebanon and Ify and I are here in London. 

After finding that we all could use Fitbit to track and motivate each other, setting up Fitbit challenges was a no-brainer! I love walking and I love challenges. I thought bring it on. 

Typically we would set up weekday and weekend challenges so it would force us to get up and get moving. 

What was great about Fitbit was that if I opened up the challenge and saw Aline, Shahine or Ify pushing themselves, it would force me to get up and go for a walk. No excuses.

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Sometimes, it’s the little things that motivate us

I would motivate everyone by the beginning of the challenge but for some reason my Fitbit was temperamental. It would only ever update every second or after a day. So, my steps bar would shoot up and the girls would side eye me. It was all fun an games. 

One challenge that particularly comes to mind was when Aline was first and I hadn’t updated my Fitbit for two days. Ify, chief instigator, rallied the troops to take part in a hate rally against me. The girls were sick of me taking gold but I wasn’t doing it on purpose. 

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I WAS doing it on purpose 🙂 

 

So, low and behold, just a few minutes before the challenge ended, my Fitbit updated.

I was in the lead.

The troops were not happy with Nahla Tyrion Fitbit Lannister.

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What’s great about all this, is that we all got up to do something and even though they ganged up on me, I laugh every time I use my Fitbit. It makes it fun to be part of something with all your friends. 

Sometimes, you should relax, laugh and take the piss out of yourselves when you’re working out. That year, I lost the most amount of weight and was the happiest I had been. The whole point of this post is to remind you that sometimes you shouldn’t do things on your own and that in this day and age, you can connect with millions of people, who might be going through the same things you’re going through. 

Fitbittin’ on these hoes, 

Nahla

P.S. This post was also an attempt to finally admit the truth and rub in their Fitbit hatin’ faces. Love you guys 🙂 

Indulgent Berry, Chia + Vanilla Yoghurt Granola

This autumn, I’m berry mad about berries and cinnamon! (I had to guys, I had to be corny).

Sometimes porridge every morning becomes boring, that’s why I decided to switch it up and make something crunchy, sweet and delicious!

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Courtesy of Flickr: liz west

The benefits of berries are endless, here are some, just to name a few:

  • Blueberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants, which are particularly beneficial in fighting the prevalence of heart-related diseases. Think red fruits = great for heart health,
  • Berries such as strawberries and blackberries are full of vitamin-enriched antioxidants. Strawberries in particular have a great fibre, potassium, vitamin C, B and K content.
  • Blackberries have a high pectin content. Pectin is a plant sugar-fibre, that’s primarily found in plant walls. Many studies have found that pectin can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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So, even if you decide not to try this out (you’re crazy but whatever…), add a couple of berries to your morning smoothies, porridge, cereals, heck, whatever you have in the morning! Your body will thank you for it!

Check out the recipe down below if you’re not crazy!

Ingredients

  • Granola or trail mix 
  • Greek yoghurt/Kefir/Yoghurt style products
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Fresh or frozen mix berries
  • Chia seeds 
  • Honey – optional 

Recipe

  • Strain yoghurt using a muslin/cheesecloth overnight. This is only if you want a particularly creamy yoghurt (Skip this step if you’re not too bothered and are pressed for time). 
  • You can also do this using a paper towel, here’s a link I found explaining how to do this.  This is best done overnight. 
  • Add 2-3 drops of vanilla extract to your strained yoghurt, 
  • Sprinkle a heaped teaspoon of chia seeds to yoghurt
  • Scoop a few heaped tablespoons of your yoghurt+chia mixture into a bowl
  • Top with granola. TIP: heat the dried granola for a few seconds in the microwave with a sprinkling of cinnamon- YOU ARE WELCOME…
  • Add berries and squeeze some honey or sprinkle some coconut sugar
  • DEVOUR!

If I had the time to do this every night and morning/then I would!

With berry love, 

Nahla.

Creamy Chicory Coffee Recipe

For my no-coffee challenge, I’ve been scouring high and low for a coffee substitute, that tastes like the real deal. After my Aunty Ruby prepared me a cup of chicory root coffee, I made my decision there and then that I’d transition my way out of this coffee-riddled life.

If you try anything today, try this!

Ingredients: 

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Recipe

  • Add one to two teaspoons of your chicory root granules,
  • Add sweetener to taste (I personally only 1 tsp of Coconut sugar)
  • Add boiling water as you would to coffee granules.
  • Mix
  • Add cashew milk. Cashew milk makes your coffee particularly creamy but if you suffer from nut allergies find an alternative milk brand.
  • If you prefer heating your milk, you can, but I suggest not overheating your milk as you would whole cow’s milk as nut milk’s tend to be quite temperamental.
  • Sip and enjoy!

Note: the consistency on this drink looks like it’s split or similar to the consistency of miso soup. Don’t let this put you off, it’s still delicious!

Coffee alternatives: why I’m deciding to ditch the cup of joe

I’m the poster girl for coffee. from the tender age of 12, I would secretly slurp the remaining drops of my dad’s and uncle’s coffee, left in the sink. It was a secret until now.

After a few years of drinking lukewarm to cold coffee, I upgraded once I had gained a sense of independence and started attending college (high school) in Hampstead, London.

Hampstead is laced with deli’s and coffee shops, with an array of coffee specialities. I became a coffee connoisseur. I could tell the difference between a roast and have a guess as to what type of coffee it was. Kenyan or Venezuelan? I was addicted to it all.  

Coffee

By the age of 26, I realised that I hadn’t gone a complete week without slurping on some variation of coffee. 

Ten years on, I hadn’t taken a step back to realise the problems my coffee addiction had. 

10 years or coffee. 

3650 days of coffee. 

109, 500 minutes (approx 30 minutes a day) consuming coffee. 

Coffee became a ritual. Without it, I would be riddled with migraines, be moody, always dehydrated and would be thinking about my next hit. 

As I’m sat by someone drinking coffee, I realised that I was not alone. Every day, during rush hour, there are queues leading right out of the entrance of coffee shops, providing us with java crack and no one thinks it’s an issue. It’s actually the norm. 

I want to decide, once an for all, if my body works better without this legalised drug. 


 

I am challenging myself, starting today on the 1st November 2016, to stop drinking coffee, and cataloguing my mood, fitness level and overall health.

Alternatives to coffee

  1. Chicory root: so far this is my favourite and is the closest thing to the real deal, without all the jittery issues. You can find some blends that are made with the plant and some with the root. This is definitely a hit or miss product as some products are gross and some are to die for. For those living in the UK, I grabbed some chicory root coffee from Holland and Barrett, although this is mixed with barley. Here’s a list of some you can find in H&B. Chicory cup is a brand that is particularly delicious, introduced to me by my aunty. Check out the recipe here for Creamy Chicory Root Coffee.
  2. Barley: Barley drinks tend to be mixed with figs, to give a rich flavour, I personally enjoy a chicory coffee recipe as opposed to a blend. 
  3. Caro: Caro is a blend of barley malt, barley, chicory root and rye, and is particularly popular amongst those transitioning away from caffeinated drinks. 

Tips for those transitioning: 

  1. Think about the ritual. Is it the actual taste of coffee that makes you crave a cup or simply the ritual? for me, I particularly like the smell of coffee so even if I’m not drinking a cup, just smelling a cup of Joe satisfies the urge (partially). Try going a day without coffee but continue wit the ritual of coffee. 
  2. It might be about the sugar? Sometimes drinking a cup of coffee was more about the sweet fix than the caffeine. Sugar poses a real issue for many of us and can be the reason why we pile on unnecessary weight. Sugar can not only increase your risk of diabetes and other immune related diseases but can cause an imbalance in endogenous bacterial species. A particular type of sugar can cause a particular type of bacteria, Candida,  to grow, which is particularly prominent amongst women. 
  3. Venture out of coffee places. Instead of meeting up for an afternoon coffee with friends, try doing something active or going somewhere out of your comfort zone. Often doing something different can keep your mind off of the coffee beans. For ideas, check out the blog “We tell, you tell.” for ideas on doing something out of your comfort zone with friends. 
  4. Take it one day at a time. You are more likely to stick to something, if you take it one day at a time. So, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. 

If I can do it then you can, too. 

With some chicory loving, 

Nahla

 

Long term love affair with Joe and the Juice

It hit me (Nahla) the other day, that Ify and I have had a long term love affair with Joe and the Juice. 

About two years ago (maybe a year a half, my mind is foggy), Ify and I were tired of always hitting up restaurants, where we’d eat until we were bloated. Kinda feel gross just talking about it.

During this particular moment in our lives, we were losing weight, eating healthily and we were walking more than stuffing our faces.

After searching the net for a juice bar where we could chat and sit, eat without feeling guilty and sip something green and mean,  we stumbled across Joe and the Juice and it became our hotspot for a fair few months.

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What’s great about Joe and the Juice is their varied menu. I think I’ve tried most of the juices on the menu but I can’t stick to ONE as my favourite.

For quite a while, I was in love with one juice called the Arthaway but I suspect that they’ve taken that off of the menu 😦

A few weeks ago, after gruelling workouts, Ify and I met up at Regent’s Street, London and got ourselves a feast!.

I got a flat white, a “Sex me up” and a “Tunacado: and if I remember correctly, Ify got a Joe’s Green Mile and a turkey panini. We practically spent the day there because the music was that amazing.

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Sex Me Up: Passion fruit, ginger + apple

Joe’s Green Mile : Broccoli, spinach, avocado, lemon + apple

I have taken many friends who both love and hate juice but somehow Joe and the Juice offers them something. The coffee is great, and lovingly made. The panini’s are packed with ingredients – my fave is a tunacado: hybrid between tuna and avocado and I suspect theres red onions and some dill in the tuna mix.

I don’t think I can rave about this place as much as I’d like. It’s quickly pressed juice and ready for anyone on the go.

Pros: great ingredients, great juice recipes and sizes. Music you can dance to and a buzzing environment.

Cons: Music can get a bit too loud at times but only bothers me when I have no more energy. Also, they always get my name wrong but then again, so does Starbucks 🙂

We ❤ you Joe and the Juice, we salute you juice-fiends.

To many more juices,

Nahla

Blueberry rice cakes with almond butter + banana

I’m a sucker for something sweet in the mornings and with a strong cup of joe. Lately, I’ve been heading to the gym pretty early because that’s when my body allows me to do some light jogging or high intensity cardio work. If you’re into something salty and sweet then I’d highly suggest having a go at stacking one of these bad boys.

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Ingredients:

Recipe: 

  • Come on man… just plonk them all together and eat it already!!

Thai Sweet Chilli Salmon 

Making a lifestyle change, one meal at a time is very important to us at IDWTBFA. What is also important to us is eating healthily at a good price.

Here is a recepie for not only a delicious and healthy meal but a cost effective one too!

Ingredients :

100g salmon fillet

240g carrot, broccoli and cauliflower mix

Marinade: ginger and garlic to taste, 1 tbspoon of dark soy sauce reduced salt and 2 tbspoon of Thai sweet chilli sauce. 

1)Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over salmon fillet.

2)Cook in the oven at a medium heat for 25- 30 mins.

3)While the salmon is cooking, steam the vegetables for 5-10 minutes on a moderate heat.

4)Once cooked, squeeze some lemon over the salmon for extra flavour. Bish bash bosh, the meal is ready.

Nutritional information:

Energy – 786kJ, 188kCal  9% of RDA*

Fat – 4.5g  6% of RDA; saturates 1.1g  6% of RDA

Sugars – 6.8g  8% of RDA

Salt – 0.4g  7% of RDA

*RDA= recommended daily amount

Cost: £1.69

Money saving tip: buy frozen as opposed to fresh salmon, they are still good quality but much cheaper.