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I am terrible for not following recipes! Even my own- sometimes you don’t have everything- or what’s more common you can’t find something the recipe calls for in the shops- so I often improvise and use re pies as more of a guide. Some things come out downright bland sometimes if you follow a recipe. I like to add spices and herbs all the time!

Lentils are pretty bland so when making a burger out of them my husband generally doesn’t expect much so I have to give him flavour. This recipe has morphed out of a few and it takes a bit of artistic license sometimes to get the right consistency to make a patty that doesn’t crumble or slop all o er the place. So if you go a bit off book- you have my permission!

If you can get organic versions of the ingredients- that would be best.
400g cooked/sprouted (if you are feeling that extra step) lentils I usually use the brown French ones- (cooking them in some stock juice half orange and bay leaf often helps too with flavour)
400g cooked/sprouted chickpeas
2 garlic cloves (3 if they are only little)- ginger as well if you like
1 onion
1tbs Harissa (optional-depends on the kiddies)
1/2 pack flat leaf parsley (coriander is also nice also Thai basil or mint- whatever you can find fresh)
1 diced aubergine (celery, carrot, peppers equally work well)
100g breadcrumbs (gluten free if you need them to be) a little cooked rice sometimes works too)
Flour for dusting
Egg maybe but not always necessary depending on if you need to give it a bit more binding
Salt and pepper
Spices can include- turmeric, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, chilli flakes, curry powder whatever takes your fancy.

it’s really important to taste as you go with this- since here’s no meat there’s no danger!

Use a little olive or coconut oil and cook off the garlic, onion, aubergine, chickpeas and lentils. Add spices and other ingredients and pulse in food processor. Mix slowly you don’t want baby purée! You want it mixed but not smooth.
Dust flour on work top and roll balls of the mixture and pat down into patties
Can be done ahead and then frozen or kept in fridge before cooking. Heat a little olive or coconut oil and fry them on both sides until heated through

I like them with my rustic slaw, or pickled cucumber. Or they go well with cauliflower cheese!

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This is a family fav. Its easy to whip up and contains ingredients we always have in! Its also delicious and nutritious. Its also really nice without the Chorizo, just add a little chilli pepper to the hash mix if you are not sharing it with the kiddies (or if the kiddies also like a bit of spice!). My almost 3 year old loves it.

I got it from the BBC Good Food Mag, great for inspiration.

Ingredients:

600g Sweet potato -3/4 large ones- peeled and cubed  (preferably organic)

1tbs olive oil/coconut oil

1 large onion thinly sliced  (preferably organic)

400g cooking Chorizo (about half of a ring) thickly sliced

400g can of chickpeas (preferably organic)

4 large eggs  (preferably organic) or as many eggs as you have people so everyone can have an egg!

1 green chilli -optional

Boil/steam the sweet potatoes (if boiled save the water for your stock pot or for when you make soup) until tender and drain.

Heat oil in pan and cook onion and Chorizo until soft and add sweet potato and chickpeas. Cook for 5 mins

Use a fork to break down mixture and to flatten- not too chunky but also you don’t want it too sloppy.

Heat the Grill, break the eggs onto the top, season with some salt and pepper (works really nice with Pink Himalayan Salt but Sea Salt works just as well!). Put under the grill until the whites are set. Sprinkle on the chilli and serve. Easy peasy!!

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So this week I did one of my runs as sprint training. Partly because this time I was on the treadmill and I get bored easily and partly because I was running low on motivation and I find sprints get my competitive juices going. There are loads of ways to inject sprints into your workshop and they have amazing benefits. Doing sprints will not only spice up your workout they will help increase strength and endurance.

I used to teach spin (I miss it so much) and my favourite track was always the sprint after a really heavy climb. When you sprint your legs just go, your body goes into automatic and it’s where I normally see people’s perfect running form. It’s a reaction so it has to have purpose. Whether that purpose is time (1 min-2mins) or distance (to the 5th lamppost) or away from something- sprinting can only happen when you direct your mind onto something specific.

Sprint as a workout doesn’t have to be a mad dash- it can be jog/sprint, walk/run or walk/walk faster. As long as the effort increases its a ‘sprint’

Here are some fun ways to inject a sprint into your regular run or as a workout in itself;

1 min on: 1 min off -classic sprint (obviously the times can vary 1:2, 1:5, 5:10 depending on your level and goal) this can the be repeated for desired time, till exhaustion, for a desired distance and so on)

1 min on: 1 min off -increasing the speed of the sprint (easiest to monitor on a treadmill such as sprint at 8 run back at 7 then sprint at 9 run back to 7 and so on) for outdoor running just exchange numbers for effort felt.

Pyramid sprints- (either intersected with rest times or not) so over the time sections getting harder to hardest and coming back down again. Like a pyramid shape

Fartlek- random speeds for random times- the most fun of them all!

Hill sprints- sprint/run up a hill and jog/walk back down and repeat either number of times or till exhaustion. Can also flip that- walk/run uphill and sprint/jog downhill. Especially good if you have a hill in your regular run to break it up. You could also use stairs.

Static sprints- sprint the distance between two lamp posts and walk/run back

Shuttle runs- going a different distance each time.

Box sprints- if using a field to run round sprint the length or the widths and jog/ walk the others. Every lap you can then vary and do sprinting two lengths, then doing 3 then sprinting the whole thing to finish off.

Bleep test- not for the faint hearted! This you may have to download the bleep test and measure the distance to run between. The distance stays the same but the bleeps you have to run that distance in get shorter. Good for if you have little space/time but want to get a really good workout in. If you are training with someone it’s great to have someone to compete against.

There are other ways I’m sure- its there to play with and to keep your body guessing and working. I find it really fun- and I love doing it better, faster, for longer each time. It certainly makes the time go quicker!

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Rax that was for you!

Today we had a party to ‘Wet the Head’ of my son. Just a few friends round for lunch. Party food can be really healthy and delicious. Here’s my spin to get the most nutrients out of a few favourites!

Homemade Sausage Rolls:

I would love to say I made my own pastry. I have tried many times (my gluten free one was a disaster) they have never quite hit it. If you have a recipe I would love you to share it with me….

16 good quality Cumberland Sausages (or Chipolatas)

6 Sheets of Puff pastry cut in half

1 egg beaten

sesame seeds for the top

Cut the sausages out of the casing. Try and keep them as sausages.

Places the sausage meat down the left hand side of the pastry. Roll until sausage it completely covered. Egg wash the overlap and continue rolling with overlap side down. Egg wash the top and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. Cut to desired size and cook at 180-200C for 20 mins until golden brown.

Rustic Slaw:

Half a red cabbage

2 Large carrots peeled (unless organic- then just washed) and grated

1 apple peeled, cored and grated

1 Red onion thinly sliced

2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds

a really good dollup of organic mayo

a good dollup of Dijon mustard

Half a lemon

Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix till mayo covers everything.

Broccoli salad:

I found this on Pinterest and changed a couple of things

2 Heads of Broccoli

Handful of pecarino cheese grated

10 slices of cooked crispy pancetta

Half a red onion finely diced

1 really good dollup of organic mayo

A couple of good dashes of white wine vinegar

About a tsp worth of maple syrup/ coconut nectar

Squeeze half a lemon

Salt and pepper

Cook the broccoli till soft with a bite (save your broccoli water to make stock if you have boiled it- otherwise steam it). Let it cool. Meanwhile, cook pancetta and cut up, grate cheese and dice onion. Add everything to a bowl and mix till dressing covers everything.

We also had marinaded Rack of lamb, Roasted Ratatouille, hummus and crudite. But those we can leave for another day to share…

For the sweet teeth!

Kane Festive Rocky Road:

This is normally only kept for Christmas and is a Kane family tradition to make on Christmas Eve- but it was a party and its much better for you than a cake or other puddings. Beware though it is incredibly moreish!!!

5 bars of organic dark chocolate (i used 4 70% and one 85% Madagascan Dark Chocolate)

Then the world is your oyster- we never repeat the same ingredients as its what we have in the cupboards or what we like the look of when collecting ingredients!!! This one included- nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, goiji berries, dried blueberries, rasins, thin almond cookies, homemade rose cookies, mini marshmallows, maltesers, pecans, ground almonds, dried banana and amonds. I have in the past put cut up jaffa cakes, any nut or seed, apricot kernals, bashed shortbread, different flavoured chocolate, digestive biscuits, any dried fruit, coconut. The great thing about it is it always tastes different!

Gently melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie. Cut, bash, break up the ingrdients into a bowl. Put 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper ready. When the chocolate has melted add to the bowl of ‘rocks’. Add the ground almond, sesame seeds, coconut at the end to absorb any still wet chocolate. Make sure everyone has a stir. At Christmas we each have a wish while we stir!!!

Pour into baking sheets and put in fidge or freezer till chocolate hardens again. Cut into squares…beware while you are cutting the desire to taste the little bits is too much to resist!!!!

Enjoy…Just try and pace yourself on the Rocky Road- or at least do a workout the next day!!!!

 

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I have always loved watching people run. Nowadays as a Personal Trainer I just love watching peoples Gait and going through my mind how I would help make them more efficient, run faster and so often how they can prevent injuries I can see coming. As a kid and teenager I always loved the idea of being a runner, how easy people made it look and how cool they were. I however have always found running hard.

At school I enjoyed the 200 metres. I could never get the speed quick enough for the 100 metres and liked the 400, but the 200 metres was where I was happy. I really liked running the bend and would always pick that stretch when part of the 4x100m relays. I was also cross country house captain- only because no one else would do it and I was a sucker for a badge and responsibility! I really tried to coach myself through the cross country but it was not for me. I played hockey and netball at school- team sports I loved. Then I went to Uni and did nothing for a year (one game of hockey in the snow finished it for me!!)

I missed exercise and when acting was proving not to be my vocation I knew the thing that made me happy was exercise- so I decided to make it my job. I signed up for 5ks and loved them, tried 10k and loved the extra challenge. Then I decided to make triathlons my thing- and got pregnant. I have since really enjoyed a run 20mins to an hour being my max. I really sort my head out and run though what I want from life when I am swimming, but when I am running I am constantly coaching myself.

I need motivation when I am running, music is my main motivation and I love running with a mate and putting the world to rights- recently that person was Gisella, but she’s in London and now I’m in HK. I miss our tues morning runs- come rain or shine. I have run through 2 pregnancies and have felt great in both and have just come back to it since giving birth to my son (I had to stop when we moved at 28 weeks because it was summer in the tropics and way too hot!)

My point is it has never come naturally to me, but I have always kept trying, I have an image of a lithe, elegant effortless runner in my head when I run. I know I’m not the fastest, will never be the best, but I’m always gonna keep trying. I feel great after, always end with a sprint to keep my competitive spirit up and it continually signing up for races gets me up and out. My route right now is along the water with the Ting Kao bridge in sight and with the sun shining and the right beats and a sing-along I am happy. Especially when there is some dance running to be had!

So my point- find out what motivates you, what makes you happy- and keep trying it! If all else fails- buy some really pretty shoes (that are also awesome on your feet) like I have and all I want to do at the moment is put them on and run!!

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Have been collecting these, not tried any yet, let me know if you do

http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2009/03/quick-stick-deodorant.htmlic-deodorant-crystal-stone-fragrance-free

http://www.etsy.com/listing/35641572/deodorant-cream

http://m.vitacost.com/lafes-natural-and-organic

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I have added Chia seeds to my muesli mix for ages now. I knew as a seed they would add great protein and fat to my breakfast. Also when added to liquid they become very mucilaginous and added to the oats in the muesli would help to calm and repair my digestive system. beyond that I am only just learning its other benefits. Many are claiming great things from the humble seed. From weight loss, Cardiovascular, blood sugar, detoxification, akaline the body, and even have hormonal and mood related properties. They even supposedly bring out the flavour in your foods, so make chocolate more chocolatey!

Seeds are designed to grow new life, therefore they are a bit like eggs in that they have everything you would want to grow and develop. Protein, fats and all the vitamins and minerals. However much like an egg you have to ‘crack’ them to release the nutrients so they can be absorbed. Seeds and nuts should be soaked or sprouted or at the very least ground to get the full benefit from them. With Chia the longer they are soaked the better, but 10 mins should do the trick.


I have been drinking 2 tbs in half a cup of coconut water and a tsp of greens. I really like it and have found it has helped to settle my digestive system, balancing my blood sugar, giving energy and I am finding my skin and hair is also improving. I have been doing it for 4 weeks and along with exercising and eating a healthy balanced diet rich with nutrients, I am losing size. Especially around my belly button and hips- a stubborn area for me due to my poor blood sugar control and digestive issues. It’s all in the combination. I am also breast-feeding and so still also losing baby weight. Do I think they are a wonder food- they are pretty good-but I think most foods high in nutrients and unprocessed are pretty wonderful

I have tried to compile the information I have found about them but I have found myself just copying what others have already successfully written… Here are the links I have found

Chia recipes and information:

http://www.rawreform.com/content/view/345/127/

http://www.chiaseedrecipes.com/40-ways-to-use-chia-seeds.php

http://chiaseeds.co/

btw they are the same…

 

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Having just done an interview with a local tv station as a parent who is going to have Homebirth I felt compelled to share my reasoning.

My first pregnancy was very straight forward. I didn’t want a homebirth as I couldnt imagine how it would work, but I did want a natural birth. No drugs, no interventions and definately in water. I had been accepted to have it in the birthing centre I had opted for and was finally relaxing that it was gonna happen as planned. Then the day before I had ny first appointment at the centre for my birthing plan, I went into spontaneous labour at 36 weeks. I thought it was braxton hicks and when it became completely obvious tht it wasn’t my daughter just made it into the delivery room where I was for 7 mins before she was born. It was a very chaotic experience with many people in the room and I really felt I had to push for what I wanted. What happened afterwards with the lack of support breastfeeding and the dreadful food in the hospital, I just wanted out of there, when my husband had to leave and I spent my first night in hospital alone and very confused, I vowed I would not go through this again.

When I got pregnant with my second, there was not a chance I was going to go through that again, not to say the least that I almost didn’t make it to the hospital the first time, I was having my baby at home. Then life has a funny way of challenging you and we were moving back home to Hong Kong where Home-births are not the standard practice that they are in the uk. Luckily I found a midwife who is willing to do homebirths and she accepted my plan. Thankfully I did. Due to hospital policy here and from stories I have heard of births in Hong Kong C-sections in some private hospitals here are at 70-90%. In most western countries it is alarming if the percentage is above 15%.

I’m pleased to update that I had my home birth and it almost went to plan, a little compromise here and there. My perfect son is doing well and I can’t imagine it going half as well if I wasn’t at home. My two babies births couldn’t have been more different. Although the active birth part for my son was just as quick as with my first the experience was completely different.

I wasnt expecting going to 41 +5 to be so emotional. To the extent I believed I was somehow failing by going over my due date. I was so consumed with how others felt or how I perceived them to feel about me going over my due date. I kept pushing on. From 37 weeks I had strong indications that labour was round the corner then lost my mucous plug at 38 weeks. Nothing but intermittent persistent Braxton Hicks until 4th July my baby independence day.

Every week I had an emotional purge. I would cry about something, I was releasing my fears, my grief that my mother wasn’t here to meet my son, my guilt that I had everyone on standby, my anger that I couldn’t control the situation and just sheer emotional exhaustion of putting on a happy face. I was using all of the usual natural labour induction methods and some others not so usual. I was taking my Bach flower remedies and they continuously told me to let go and to trust. When my daughter chose to come in when I was at my lowest with a remedy she had picked at random that was for strength I knew I had to let go and just trust everything would be okay. It was.

When I got my show on the 4th July I was excited. Although I just checked and your bloody show still meant anytime but not imminent (with my daughter I got my show an hour before she was born- it had just been Braxton hicks pains until then) we spent the day as planned- took my daughter to her class in tst. After her class I was getting cramps at a level I could no longer ignore. So we went to city super to get food for dinner. At dinner I apologised for panicking (we were meant to be eating out) and we probably could have still eaten out- at that exact moment my waters then broke! It was a few hours after that when things changed (this was 8pm at 11.30 I was still only 2 cm dilated and my son was born at 1.53 am).

After finding I was only 2 cm dilated and still not in active labour I went in the bath to try and space out the contractions and make them more productive. Also to calm down as I was getting emotional that this was still not happening! The suspense of the last 2 weeks and longer was too much! As soon as I got in the bath it was more uncomfortable and trying to space them out was having the completely opposite effect. There was now no break between the contractions and they were getting stronger by the minute- I decided to get out of the bath. It’s just as well I did because the gear change was unreal- this was most definitely it!

My midwife came back and I started to freeze up and freak out a little as there was no breathing space- just wave after wave of contraction and I could feel his head traveling down it was the oddest sensation like a long tunnel- which is exactly what it is. My midwife was wonderfully calming and empowering and I came back into control. I made it to the bedroom (a mere couple of steps through the wardrobe area from the ensuite but what felt like a vast desert away) and onto the bed and the breathing out happened instantaneously. My hubby was a complete rock giving me sips of water with rescue remedy, words of support and physical support also. I remember the feeling of the head traveling through felt like it was taking forever (apparently it all took 15 mins the ‘pushing’ bit. I remember tensing up- it was so different. My midwife git me to feel the top of his head. It was really soft, a very odd sensation! Like a light bulb I suddenly thought- the more you resist the longer you are gonna be doing this. It changed completely- the ‘pain’ was completely different and my breathing changed. It wasn’t long after that the head was out. My midwife told me one big push which I thought was strange as we weren’t using that language. That familiar tension then complete release and gush out he came.

She was asking for the suction and I couldn’t see what was going on as I was on my knees facing the other way and the cord made it impossible to turn round, she was giving him a little shake to get him to respond. I kept asking if he was okay what was going on and he was making noise. Then my midwife said she had to cut the cord and I thought it a little odd she hadn’t given him to me or got me to turn around at all. I knew all her focus was on him and I trusted her so wasn’t worried. This was all a bit in slow motion as a memory, she wrapped him up in a towel and put him in the bed and was just holding the oxygen next to him. I could see him breathing but he was gasping a bit. My first instinct was rescue remedy. Two drops on the crown of his head. My dad came in hearing the crying and was on the phone to my bro! I asked him to wait I still had t held my boy but I was talking to him and stroking his face. He was a good pink colour and my midwife said he had a strong heart beat and was a strong boy! The second midwife then arrived, my midwife was asking if she had ever heard the noise he was making, the second midwife was not worried and they just held the oxygen for a bit longer. He quickly regulated his breathing and I could feel the contractions again we turned at tension to delivering the placenta. Again very odd sensations full on contractions.

Last time they gave me the injection as soon as my first was born I didn’t even have time to think.
After a few mins had passed I started to feed my son to get the contractions to be a bit more productive. He had such a strong latch so quickly another completely different feeling it was such a relief as my first had latch problems for 6 months. Still no placenta. After a big gush of blood my midwife started to get a bit nervous. I think we were all a little on edge after the whole breathing thing. She said it was the injection or we may have to think about going to hospital as that was a fair amount of blood and it had been half an hour almost 40 mins. So I agreed, my birth plan said 30 mins and then I would consider it. I was in no mood to argue and I could tell my midwife was getting a bit worried- I certainly did not want the hospital. I had 2 injections when I thought it might be easier if I get up- gravity and all. That’s all it took, out it came and straight into the bowl ready to consume when my placenta encapsulation specialist arrived. All I needed now was a couple of stitches and my baby to cuddle. It was so perfect doing that in the comfort of my own home. I was able to have something to eat, drink and completely relaxed and shared my baby with my husband and my dad.

Most special bit though was just as we went to bed as the sun was coming up- in came my daughter who had slept through it all- she gasped and said- he’s come out! Family cuddles all round. Priceless!

 

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So this week I wanted a circuit I could either do I. It’s entirety or one I could do bits of to fit around the day. With a baby and toddler you never know how much time you are gonna get and righ now I would rather succeed in my goals than fail and give up.

So far my goals this week are 1 x20 mins swim, a 20 run outside and one on the treadmill and then a part of this circuit everyday- whether it’s the whole 15 mins or just the 1 min plank. I did my swim this morning in the glorious sunshine and it motivated me to do an extra 10 mins. So 30 mins freestyle swim is ticked off this week.

Make your goals really specific, what day you will do it, what time, for how long and make sure you make your goals achievable. If you say you will run every day and you haven’t run for years, it will seem daunting. If you say I will go out for a run/walk once this week- on Wednesday morning, for 10 mins, it is more likely you will do it. Achieving a goal makes you motivated to set more goals, you might even do it for longer, or again in the week- there’s no better feeling than smashing a target! Above all else make sure it’s something you enjoy- if your goal is to go for a walk, put on music you want to sing along to- one of the great things I love about outdoor running is you can sing along or do what I like to call dance running- if anyone sees you it doesn’t matter you’ve gone past them already anyway!!!!

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Before you do any high impact exercise like running or weights (like body pump) you need to ensure your abdominals have come back together to protect your spine. There is a simple test you can do to check. Ideally I would come and show you how to do it, if you are a member of a gym, ask who is pre and post natal trained and ask them to check for you and to show you how to do it. Until then I have found this on You Tube- I thought it was the best example and well described:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OayM54bmQig&feature=plcp

There are several exercises you can do to reduce this abdominal separation. I recommend you contact a pre and post natal trained PT, Pilates instructor or Yoga teacher to show you how to do these exercises. It is better to have someone there to correct you and talk you through it so that you can be doing them correctly. Any questions or comments let me know.

 

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