Spice Up Your Rice!

spice up your rice

Apologies to everyone who’s been asking for recipes recently, I moved house this week so blogging kinda went out the window. BUT, as of today, my content will be much more frequent and I’ve got tons of fab recipes to share.

As anyone who follows me on twitter will know, I’m currently doing a clean bulk. My PT has increased my intake of complex carbs by about tenfold and after two weeks, I’m pretty god damn bored of sweet potatoes and rice. So for the past week I’ve been trying to find ways to jazz it up, while keeping it clean.

This is the first part of the INCREDIBLY exciting mini series ‘Spice up your rice’ (I know, try to contain yourselves…) I’ll post 4 ways I’ve started eating rice which helps me on my way to hitting my massive 400g daily carb target, without going insane. For those of you who meal prep, you can still cook a giant batch of plain rice, then portion it up and add the flavouring ingredients afterwards. First up, Spicy tomato rice.

Ingredients:

  • Rice (I used 75-100g wholegrain rice per serving for this)
  • 3-4 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 peppers (I used 1 red, 1 yellow, for sweetness and colour).
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 chilli (optional)

Method:

Cook the rice according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, finely chop the peppers and chilli, if using. Slice up the spring onions, but separate the green and white parts.

Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Add the white parts of the spring onions and when softened, add the diced peppers. If you like it really hot, add the chilli now too. If not, add it cold at the end. Once the veggies are softened, but still retain their shape, add the tomato puree and rice. Mix everything up well, so the puree colours the rice, and allow the rice to fully heat through. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the green parts of the spring onions for crunch.

This is great with a chicken breast and chipotle sauce if you’re stuck for a decent dinner and need to hit some macros.

Don’t forget to tweet me some pics if you make any of my recipes! Next up…Sticky coconut rice with coriander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Curls for Girls, Weights for Women

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Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I love lifting and am always cheerleading other ladies who love it too. I’ve really gotten into it in the past 6 months and am always trying to educate girls about the benefits and great fun that come with building muscle.

Freeweights and heavy, compound exercises are rarely advertised to women. Better quality women’s fitness magazines, like Women’s Health have been promoting the reason why we should all take a tip from the men, but women who read these probably know this anyway and the message has failed to penetrate the mass media. The fear that lifting heavy makes you bulky still haunts women’s workout schedules, when really, it should be leading them.

I’ve recently joined a new gym which is almost overwhelmingly polarised by gender. Women fill the cardio sections and mats; men run the freeweights room. After a while on a specific training programme, I know my way around an Olympic bar; but I was seriously intimidated by the amount of men in the freeweights room (see above…) and the serious lack of women. After 15 minutes of totally unnecessary extra cardio and many emergency SOS #fitfam tweets, I decided I couldn’t let my own anxieties keep me from completing a decent workout, so I bit the bullet and headed in to the squat rack. I was the only woman in there for 25 minutes. When I left, shaking up my protein, I got a lot of weird looks from other women in the gym.

The sad thing is, I wish they knew how much better they might feel if they lifted too. How much their confidence, energy and strength would increase if they spent one of their workouts somewhere other than the crosstrainer. Don’t get me wrong, cardio obviously has it’s benefits. But combining it with weight training will improve most women’s results ten fold.

While men seem to pack on the gains after a few sessions on the bench, women simply don’t have enough testosterone to build this amount of muscle. Lifting heavy weights on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses will increase metabolism and burn fat for longer than a standard cardio workout. ‘Toning’ simply refers to firm, visible muscle mass and a low body fat percentage. To achieve this, you have to strength train. Not endless reps with light 3kg dumbells, but fewer reps of heavy weights combined with intense cardio sessions like HIIT, a balanced diet and plenty of protein. After a few months on a strength program like this, your results will far surpass what you could have achieved with cardio alone.

In addition to the strong, toned and curvy figure weight training sculpts, I continue to up my weight in the gym because of the surge I have seen in my confidence, energy and focus. Knowing I can give some guys a run for their gym membership gives me an inner strength that matches the gains I’ve made with my figure and I push myself much more in all areas of my life since I started taking my training seriously. Focusing hard on picking up something heavy a few times a week is almost meditative and has made me calmer and happier.

I hope more women start to realise the physical and emotional merits of lifting and that women’s media start to fairly represent this area of fitness. Next time you’re in the gym, book another induction based around the free weights and get a PT to show you how to lift. I haven’t met a woman yet who’s not wished she’d started sooner.

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The Perfect Post-workout

chicken cashew

This is one of my absolute top post workout dinners. High protein (of courrrrrse!) healthy fats and nutritious carbs. Plus 100x more delicious than a standard stir fry. Not to mention seriously little effort and super quick. Doesn’t photograph that well, but trust me, it’s a must try!

Serves 2 – adapted from Nigel Slater’s EAT.

Ingredients:

+ 400g diced chicken breast

+ 3 tsp five spice powder or paste

+ 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

+ 75g salted cashew nuts

+ 200ml boiling water

+ 200g tenderstem broccoli

Method:

Put the chicken in a bowl with the five spice and garlic, mixing well.

Heat a frying pan with a little oil on high and add the chicken mix. Fry for 2 mins, then throw in the cashews.

Add the broccoli to the pan, along with the boiling water. Cover the pan (in my high-tech kitchen I favour tin foil) and leave to steam for about 3 mins. Check the chicken has cooked through here, as depending on the chunk size, some pieces may need a little more time.

Serve, with cooking juices dished over and a little soy sauce.

Macros (roughly, per serving)

Protein – 60g

Carbohydrates – 19g

Fat – 25g

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Strong is the new skinny

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There’s a lot of buzz around at the moment about ‘strong being the new skinny’. Type ‘fitspo’ into Tumblr and you’ll find a myriad of images of toned, tanned beauties with dumbells in their hands or contorted into seriously advanced yoga positions.

I’m all for getting younger girls to work out, especially with all the obesity warnings we’ve been hearing recently. Exercise is so important for my physical and mental wellbeing and if images like this promote that for other people, then brilliant. The danger is that the women in these images are often at least at an intermediate level, if not professional athletes, or have been working out consistently for years before their bodies look that good. On top of this, they’re often photoshopped.

It takes years of commitment and perseverance with clean eating, regular cardio and lifting to sculpt a body like many which are shown on Instagram and Tumblr. Trying to adopt a routine like this overnight and expecting to see changes within a month is naive and potentially dangerous. While it’s healthier than starving yourself or crash dieting, exercise is addictive and it can create similar habits and obsessions.

Everyone’s motivation is different and personal. It has to come from within and be about a desire to adapt your lifestyle for the better. Comparing yourself to others is natural, but rarely healthy. While ‘strong is the new skinny’ does promote a healthier body image, I hope it doesn’t mean replacing one unrealistic and unhealthy goal for another. True strength is about mindfulness, self-respect and progress; if ripped abs come from this then you’ll love them even more.