Coconut & Mango Sweet Green Smoothie

Here’s another combination I tried recently and loved. There is nothing better than using up the contents of one’s fridge and freezer and creating something delicious in the process!

Ingredients:

  • Flesh of one mango – frozen
  • Flesh of one small coconut – frozen (4 frozen coconut cream cubes would work perfectly with this as well)
  • 1 cup Pure Harvest Coco Quench (or whatever milk alternative you prefer. Regular Full Cream, Almond, Oat or Coconut & Almond milk would work as well)
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 1 small handful mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Chia seeds for topping (optional)

Method:

I let the frozen coconut flesh and mango thaw a little bit and then added all ingredients and blended together to create a lovely, thick and almost sorbet-textured smoothie. Top with some chia seeds if you like.

Coconut & Mango Sweet Green Smoothie

Coconut & Mango Sweet Green Smoothie

Sinead xx

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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

On the home stretch.

As Week 7 of the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program ends and the final week is looming, it’s about time to stop and reflect on what this program has done for me and whether I’m going to make this a permanent change. To do this I thought it would be easiest to seperate my musings into my key areas of interest and major challenges to do with the I Quit Sugar theory.

Energy levels

This was the major reason for me even beginning the program in the first place. Whilst I’m still suffering from constant lethargy, it is much better than before.

Negativity from others

This has been a difficult challenge for the duration of the program. I simply was not expecting so many negative responses to my own personal choice to give quitting sugar a go, however Sarah Wilson very eloquently points out that this is commonly due to good ol’ envy and fear. You are talking about doing something that a lot of people do not have the courage or will-power to do themselves and therefore by confronting them with your choice there is no surprise that you meet some defensiveness in the process. Sarah therefore encourages you to not push your I Quit Sugar choice in peoples faces and as a result I am trying to preach on about it less when I’m at a social gathering (friends please feel free to let me know if this isn’t working)!

On the up-side I’ve had many people around me show a genuine interest in the program and commend me on being so dedicated. So far the most I’ve slipped up is caving in to a jelly shot at a friend’s Hens party and the odd crisps or chips here and there (sugar-free but still junk). Pretty darn good I think!

Weight Loss

Whilst this wasn’t a major factor in undertaking the I Quit Sugar program, it has definitely been an added benefit! To date I’ve only lost a couple of kilograms but I definitely feel leaner, less bloated and overall a pretty balanced and healthy weight. I was never big to begin with, but it’s nice to no longer calorie count my food or feel guilty about what I eat. I eat a lot, it’s just the good stuff now!

Here’s me actually enjoying a green smoothie with some added blueberries:

Cucumber, Spinach, Chia, Coconut & Blueberrie Smoothie

Not to mention I can still enjoy eating delicious things such as bacon:

Bacon & Egg Cupcakes

Permanency is terrifying!

Numerous times through-out the program I’ve had a minor attack of “WHY THE HELL AM I PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH THIS”. This normally happens when I’ve seen other people enjoying cupcakes or a piece of cake at a friend’s party, or I see famous skinny celebrities on Instagram still enjoying a big fat dose of sugar (hmmm speaking of which I must unfollow, it’s just too darn depressing).

When these moments happen I stop and reflect on why I started this in the first-place, how much healthier I’m going to be because of my choices and thank god for the numerous delicious sugar-free recipes for chocolate!

The Final Decision

When it comes to making the decision as to whether I want to continue with a sugar-free lifestyle following the end of the program it’s a bit of a no-brainer for me. Whilst I’m terrified of the thought of not being able to eat everything that the people around me can eat, it’s all about adjusting your perspective to focus on the awesome things you can enjoy and not the negatives. At the end of the day I want to be healthy and live long, therefore bring on a sugar-free life! Oh and bring on my holiday to Fiji at the end of next week, the first big challenge to put this new lifestyle to the test (no sugary cocktails for me)!

Broccoli Pesto Quinoa Quick Lamb Biryani

 

Week 4 = Detox meltdown!

Zero energy. Headaches. Body Aches. Pimply face. Toilet troubles.
Oh doesn’t week 4 of the I Quit Sugar program sound simply devine!

I genuinely thought I was coming down with the flu this week, but turns out it must be the sugar detox phase! It probably didn’t help I consumed copious amounts of gin, lime and sodas on the weekend either. I don’t think Sarah Wilson had that in mind when she said that was a drink low in sugar but still to drink in moderation. Oops.
I got so bad I had to have a day and a half of work. Instead I lay in bed in the dark watching episode after episode of The Vampire Diaries and crying everytime Elena and Stefan had a fight or someone died (therefore I was crying a lot).
And to top off a crappy start to the week I’m having to consume chunky green liquids for breakfast every day (which fyi actually don’t taste bad but look disgusting).

It’s not all bad this week though. My cravings for sugar have definitely diminished since week 2 and this morning I realised I’ve lost 2kg since starting the program with only minimal exercise being undertaken. Yippee for being able to be a little lazy!
Plus I’m super proud of the fact that I’ve stuck to this plan so well and have genuinely grown an appreciation for ingredients I previously shunned or was too scared of in the kitchen (honestly who would have thought Quinoa would be pronounced kin-wa).

Has the program been worth it so far? Yelp.

Baked Eggplant

Breakfast Bruschetta

Roast Pumpkin and Buckwheat Noodles

And the cravings begin . . .

I started Week 2 of the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program yesterday . . . and all I can think about is the four Ferrero Rochers in the medicine basket in the cupboard above the fridge and how I want stuff them all in my mouth at once. Yelp, the cravings have hit!It started on Saturday when I was feeling rather tired, watching a boring game of Rugby and needing a little pick me up (who wouldn’t when you’re watching Rugby). My body was screaming for a Coke or a Red Bull. I barely even drank either of the products prior to the program, god knows why I’m craving them now.

I’ve also noticed a severe lack of energy has developed, thus resulting in my daily exercise regime suffering (not that it was all that vigorous to begin with if I’m being honest).

Sarah Wilson never lied, she said it was going to be hard. I guess I just wasn’t expecting to start feeling challenged on my second week in. Luckily she gives you plenty of tips and tricks to assist with the detox, give you energy and curb your cravings. Hence why tonight I’m going to try my first tablespoon of Coconut Oil . . . by itself. Quite frankly it sounds disgusting to me but if it will stop me reaching for my secret stash of Jelly Bellys then bring it on!

On the positive side the meals continue to be delicious and full of variety, I feel fuller for longer and I swear my reflection in the mirror is a bit slimmer around the tummy and the thighs. I weighed myself on Friday at 65kg, and while I know that scales are not a good way to monitor weight loss and that 65kg is hardly overweight, it is but one tool I will use to monitor progress and maintain motivation.

This week I’m going to focus on motivating myself and documenting the positive effects I’m noticing in my body. I’m also going to be heavily utilising the quotes and activities in the 2014 Move Nourish Believe – Lorna Jane diary that my best friends gave me for my birthday. One of my favourite quotes so far being:

She believed she could so she did.

IT ALL STARTS WITH BELIEVE.

You can’t live a positive life with a negative mindset, so focus on believing and discovering what it is that you want to achieve in 2014.

Here are some more of the delicious things I’ve been eating so far:

Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms, Sourdough and Cauliflower Mash

Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms, Sourdough and Cauliflower Mash

Roast Chicken, Pumpkin and Pepita Hash

Roast Chicken, Pumpkin and Pepita Hash