4 easy and nutritious ways to jazz up your toast

If you’re like me and used to enjoy your toast with jam nearly every morning but now want to avoid the sugary hit then this post is perfect for you. Toast sometimes gets a bad rap for being boring but these recipes are proof it doesn’t have to be. Furthermore I can vouch for their tastiness having tried and tested all four.

Please note that I always strive to use good quality seeded or wholegrain sourdough bread (the fresh stuff from the bakery at Woolworths is actually really good) as it is a fermented dough that is beneficial to blood sugar levels. Alternatively if all the sourdough is gone I use good quality Rye or Wholegrain breads.

Vegemite, Avocado & Cheese Toasties

I was first exposed to this little gem of a combination in the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program and now eat it nearly once a week for breakfast or as a ‘naughty’ snack. The melted cheese and the gooiness of the avocado just absolutely make it for me! Salty goodness too.

Vegemite, Avocado and Cheese Toastie

Vegemite, Avocado and Cheese Toastie

  • 2 pieces of sourdough lightly toasted on one side under the grill
  • Spread vegemite on the un-toasted side of the of the bread
  • Slice a 1/4 of a large avocado and divide between the slices of the bread
  • Slice enough cheddar cheese to cover both pieces of bread
  • Put under the grill until cheese has melted and started to bubble slightly – you want the avocado to be heated through

‘Peanut Butter & Banana’ and ‘Chocolate & Strawberry’ Toast

I tried both of these for this first time the other day and whilst I think the peanut butter combination was a clear winner, the chocolate and strawberry was also delicious. I think next time I might try adding some cacao nibs on top for extra crunch and a slightly bitter contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries and chocolate spread.

Ingredients for Peanut Butter, Banana, Coco2 and Strawberry Toast

Left - Peanut Butter, Banana & Chia Seeds. Right - Coco2 Spread, Strawberries & Mint.

Left – Peanut Butter, Banana & Chia Seeds. Right – Coco2 Spread, Strawberries & Mint.

  • On one piece of toast is 100% natural crunchy peanut butter (make sure it is ONLY made with peanuts), slices from half a banana and a sprinkle of chia seeds
  • On the other piece is Pureharvest Coco2 Chocolate Spread (this is fructose-free and made with rice malt syrup, coconut oil and cacao and pretty much the best thing ever), a couple of small strawberries sliced and a sprinkling of torn mint leaves

Strawberry & Avocado Toast

I feel like I’m definitely saving the best for last here. I absolutely adore this combination on toast and eat it regularly. For an extra touch of salty/creamy goodness you can add feta on top too. I just don’t normally have feta in the fridge as I nearly always let it go off! For this recipe I recommend slicing the avocado and strawberries either before or while the bread is in the toaster to make sure you don’t eat it cold (I’m speaking from experience).

Avocado & Strawberry Toast

Avocado & Strawberry Toast

  • Toast two pieces of sourdough
  • Divide a 1/4 of a large avocado (1/2 a small one) between the pieces
  • Divide 3 sliced strawberries between the pieces
  • Drizzle a little good quality olive oil over the slices
  • Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper

Enjoy your toast eating!

Sinead xx

Building a healthy relationship with food – Post 1 ‘Guilty Eating’

I’m a firm believer that in order to create healthy eating habits you need to first have a healthy mental relationship with food. In fact it has become somewhat of a little passion of mine. Therefore I’ve decided to write about this issue over a number of posts varying in subject matter with the overall aim that my thoughts and personal discoveries may help someone else.

Guilty Eating

Guilty Eating

After a rather ‘decadent’ weekend of eating and drinking there seems to be no better time to talk about food-guilt! Everyone would know what I mean by food-guilt I’m sure. It’s that horrible nagging at the back of your mind after indulging in a piece of cake (or two), that nauseating and stomach churning feeling you get after eating fast-food or the crippling feeling of worthlessness after a big night out and a stop through Maccas on the way home. Yes a lot of the physical effects are probably due to the fact that you did just consume something unhealthy and lacking any real nutritional value, but so much of it can come down to guilt and the mental beating up you’re giving yourself.

It’s taken me a long time to reach a point where I’m able to indulge without going into a down-ward spiral of emotion and then continued indulgent behaviour. I admit that I’m still not at that point where I’m able to shake the guilty feeling completely, but I am able to move on quickly. At the end of the day, I think moving on really is the key.

If I want to have a piece of my friend’s birthday cake, I will. But I want to enjoy it. There is nothing worse than eating a ‘treat’ but feeling guilty for eating it whilst you are still eating it! I mean, what’s the point of even eating it in the first place if you can’t enjoy it?

It’s this toxic relationship with food that I feel creates health and weight problems more than anything else. My mentality is that if you are going to branch out and treat yourself on the rare occasion then do it, enjoy it and know that after the treat you can go back to eating well and maintaining a balanced lifestyle without any extreme detrimental effects. In essence – move on from it.

For me maintaining a sugar free / fructose free lifestyle is not always practical and is made especially difficult when attending group events or birthday parties. This is why I’m willing to slip up every now and then, all the while knowing that while I am in my home environment I am in control and won’t be putting myself in the road of temptation. I get comfort out of the thought and even look forward to the fact that I can eat so healthily at home.

Just remember that there is no need to let one ‘treat’ lead you into another and another, you have not ruined your diet by having just the one. Having many though will have more lasting effects. YOU are in control of what goes into your mouth, so enjoy that brief moment of naughtiness and then continue on your wholesome and healthy journey.

Sinead xx

Empowering poetry for your Friday . . . “she”

To keep in the general theme of the week (yes I know it was International Women’s DAY but I really think we deserve a week at least) here’s a bit of poetry from author and poet Robert M. Drake who I absolutely adore and follow on Instagram (@rmdrk just fyi).

I’m not one to read long and lingering poems, but RM Drake’s pieces are short, sharp and extremely poignant. A nice little addition to my Insta feed to break up the images of food, clothes, shoes and Kardashians (yep, guilty as charged!).

‘She’ by R.M Drake #187

she was fierce, she was strong,

she wasn’t simple. she was crazy

and sometimes she barely slept.

she always had something to say.

she had flaws and that was ok.

and when she was down, she got

right back up. she was a beast

in her own way, but one idea

described her best. she was

unstoppable and she took anything

she wanted with a  smile.

Sinead xx

When it tastes better than it looks . . .

I don’t know about you but I definitely have not perfected the art of making pretty food. Good, wholesome, tasty food I can produce easily but I’ve found it very rarely looks as appetising as other people’s concoctions. Maybe I need a better app on my phone, maybe I lack creative flair or maybe I’m just an everyday home-cook like everyone else!

The problem is that so many of the food blogs we are exposed to create unrealistic expectations. Again it’s that thing where we compare ourselves to everyone else, but the introduction of social media means we are comparing ourselves to the ‘highlight reel’ of other people’s lives and not necessarily their reality.

We must keep in mind that a majority of food bloggers probably have a good quality camera (or some whiz-bang phone app that wasn’t in the “Top 25 Free Apps” list), spent a good 10mins cleaning the specks off their plate and presenting their food, sprinkled it with pretty herbs that they had to chop separately just for the purpose of presentation and then would have had to sit down and eat their now cold, but attractive dish. I’ve been there and tried it and let me tell you, it’s just not worth eating the food cold or wilted.

The purpose of this post is to embrace ugly, but tasty, food! Here’s a few of my failed attempts or less attractive dishes that still tasted pretty darn good if I say so myself:

  • That time I tried to make Daniel Churchill’s Ricotta, Beetroot and Zucchini slice and it came out fluorescent pink and sloppy . . . maybe I’ll use a smaller beetroot next time.
Ricotta, Beetroot and Zucchini Slice Sinead Style

Ricotta, Beetroot and Zucchini Slice Sinead Style

  • When I attempted my first smoothie bowl . . .
Berry Coco Oaty Smoothie Bowl Comparison - mine is obviously on the right.

Berry Coco Oaty Smoothie Bowl Comparison – mine is obviously on the right.

  • When I tried to make the ‘I Quit Sugar for Life’ Sustainable Fish and Chips recipe and I ended up with soggy chips and my cheese congealed to make some pretty ugly looking fish fingers. Tasted SO good though . . . .
Sustainable Fish n Chips Sinead Style

Sustainable Fish n Chips Sinead Style

What it’s meant to look like . . . .

Sustainable Fish n Chips I Quit Sugar Style

Sustainable Fish n Chips I Quit Sugar Style

  • When I tried to make the Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake but got a bit excited with the dollop and swirl process and then didn’t have any fresh raspberries for decoration . . .
Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Sinead Style

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Sinead Style

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake I Quit Sugar Style

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake I Quit Sugar Style

  • And last, but certainly not least, that time I bought a fresh coconut to drink and feel fancy and exotic but struggled to get it open with the drill and then didn’t have any straws in the house except for a hideous one my boyfriend bought years ago when he was obsessed with the movie ‘Cars’ . . . .
The only straw I could find . . .

The only straw I could find . . .

You’re welcome,

Sinead xx

I Am Woman – Celebrating International Women’s Day

On a day such as International Women’s Day it seems most appropriate to acknowledge some of the amazing women that have inspired, supported and surrounded me. Here are some things I would like to say to those women . . .

here’s to STRONG women,

may we KNOW them,

may we BE them,

may we RAISE them.

To my mother –  thank you for supporting my life choices and then pulling me out of the dark places if that’s where my choices have taken me. No questions were asked and no judgements were made by you. Thank you for being a pillar of strength and showing me the beauty of being an independent woman.

To my sister – thank you for being so unbelievably unique, outgoing and innocent. You are brave where I am scared and I can’t wait to watch you turn into a beautiful and strong young woman.

To my grandmother – whilst at times you are quiet and unsure of yourself, you are unwavering in your support and love. I admire you more than you know, not just because you overcame your battle with cancer, but because you shy away from acknowledgement or praise for it.

To my best girlfriends (you know who you are) – thank you for being you! Thank you for showing me the true meaning of friendship and thank you for inspiring me every day. Thank you for listening to my not-so-pretty honesty after a few wines and being witness to my variable behaviour with no judgement. You are so unbelievably beautiful inside and out, my only wish would be for you to actually realise this.

An impromptu celebratory picnic with some of my favourite ladies at Telegraph Station in Alice Springs yesterday. I admire every single one of these women and think they are all amazing!

An impromptu celebratory picnic with some of my favourite ladies at Telegraph Station in Alice Springs yesterday. I admire every single one of these women and think they are all amazing!

We all know that it’s so important as women to empower each other instead of pointing out each other’s faults or weaknesses, and yet it’s still so prevalent in our society. Yesterday I reflected on my own behaviour and was able to think of far too many examples where I have put another woman down to make myself feel better. As a result I am making the following pledge to myself and goal for the following year:

From now on I will seek to let other women’s strength empower and inspire me, rather than push me to identify my own weaknesses and lash out in jealousy. I will use their beauty to help me identify my own.

Please join me in striving for a better culture amongst the women of today. Let’s do our best to move away from unhealthy bitchiness and towards positive self-reflection.

Sinead xx

Simple and to the point. I adore Jennifer Lawrence and her unashamedly beautiful-goof ways.

Simple and to the point. I adore Jennifer Lawrence and her unashamedly beautiful-goof ways.

Banana, Strawberry and Coconut Breakfast Smoothie

I made this smoothie for breakfast this morning and enjoyed it so much I had to share.

It was particularly filling which was exactly what I needed after a 7.4km run this morning to start the day. I also used frozen berries for the recipe so the end result was almost like eating ice cream, perfect for while it’s still quite warm in the mornings!

Frozen raspberries would work well also if you want a lower fructose option and it would taste just as good if you omit the protein powder too.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • half a frozen banana
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • 1 heaped tablespoon coconut protein powder (vanilla would work also – I had some 180 nutrition protein powder leftover from some samples)
180 Natural Protein Superfood - 100% natural ingredients and gluten and sugar-free! I prefer the coconut flavour over the chocolate.  Go to 180nutrition.com.au

180 Natural Protein Superfood – 100% natural ingredients and gluten and sugar-free! I prefer the coconut flavour over the chocolate.
Go to 180nutrition.com.au

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup (250ml) So Good Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk
So Good Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk - low in calories and sugar and delicious also.

So Good Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk – low in calories and sugar and delicious also.

Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Sinead xx

Banana, Strawberry and Coconut Breakfast Smoothie

Banana, Strawberry and Coconut Breakfast Smoothie

Un-intimidating Yoga at home

It took me a long time to work up the courage to attempt yoga. I’ve always struggled with flexibility. Visions of myself struggling in ballet class as an 8 year old tend to haunt me whenever I attempt the sit and reach test or to even try and touch my toes. The thought of attending a yoga class and attempting to turn myself into a human pretzel in front of others was pretty much terrifying. As a result I pretty much ignored flexibility and stretching all together . .  which was obviously a bad choice!

That is until I discovered the YouTube channel ‘Yoga with Adriene’. I’m just going to come right out and say that I have a huge girl crush on Adriene Mishler. She is beautiful, funny, witty and just devine! Her channel has literally every type of Yoga you could ask for. Beginner’s yoga, yoga for weight-loss, yoga for your butt and thighs, yoga for core strength, yoga at your desk and even individual videos devoted to particular poses in case there’s a particular one you just can’t get the hang of. One of my personal favourites is the ‘Yoga for Hangovers’ video, she has literally thought of everything! Not to mention her motto is ‘find what feels good’ which focuses on encouraging you to move and experiment with the poses instead of just cranking into them and trying to hold for minutes at a time.

Since attempting a few beginner’s videos and her 30 Days of Yoga challenge over the past few months I have noticed:

  • Improved flexibility
  • Less back pain
  • Better focus and less stress
  • Better sleeping patterns
  • Reduced cellulite around my butt and thighs
  • Increased strength in my core
  • Better tone in my arms

Of course it’s natural to be sceptical as to how well you can learn and practice yoga at home and without the face to face instruction of a teacher,  however I can assure you Adriene’s videos are extremely informative and clearly articulated. Quite often I am able to simply listen to the video and not worry about straining my neck between my downward dog pose to see what move she is attempting next!

I will, however, be looking to start trying to attend a yoga class every couple of weeks or so now that I am more confident in the basics and to supplement my at-home practice to ensure I’m not doing anything too wrong.

If you’re looking to get into yoga or use it to supplement your existing fitness regime I highly recommend taking the following steps to get started:

  • Buy a good quality yoga mat (I have a mat from Lorna Jane with an inspirational quote on it that I absolute love)
  • Ensure you have a space and time to do your yoga where you will be the least interrupted (I try and do in the morning in the lounge room before my partner and housemate get up)
  • Attempt the videos in the ‘Yoga for Beginners’ playlist a couple of times each
  • Attempt the 30 Days of Yoga challenge
  • Reap the rewards!

To find the above mentioned videos and playlists go to

http://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

Sinead xx