EIGHT LIFE – The Dream

It’s been a long road but somehow I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the last few weeks have been incredibly busy and I am finally beginning to look like I may need a holiday. In fact, scratch that, if I DON’T get a holiday some time in the very near future I may just crumble. Recently – as you may have noticed by the lack of posts – I have been otherwise engaged. I’ve been quietly working away at a project I feel very strongly about indeed; it’s the culmination of my passions into a unique company (my own business) which serves to provide the highest level of Nutritional, Fitness and Health solutions to it’s clientèle, act as an outlet for more of my weird and wonderful ramblings (a more fitness related blog) but which will also serve a higher purpose by providing a community space where people can come together, share ideas and information, create new and inspiring projects and work together to find ways of achieving their goals and help others.

EIGHT

Along my journey over the past 8 months I have met some incredible and inspiring people; people who are not only immensely knowledgeable and talented at what they do, but who genuinely want to help others through their work. In an industry filled with ‘pretenders’ and narcissists, I find it comforting to know that there are so many people who are real and who want to make a difference. It’s restored my faith in the human race and in the health and fitness industry; I want to do my bit to further this by bringing these people together and finding ways in which we can use our combined knowledge and strength to make positive changes. Not only to tackle issues in sports, health and fitness; but also to find ways to tackle bigger global issues which we feel passionately about. There is strength in numbers, have no doubt. There are isolated communities within the sporting world who are immensely strong – now imagine if they could come together, how strong would they be then?

‘I have a dream!’ – This is all going to sound so very cliche; yes, but it’s true. I have a dream, that one day bridges will be built to secure the future of the human race and to improve the outlook for the future of our planet; not for our sakes, but for the sake of our children. There are such a vast number of issues facing us every day, human issues and environmental issues, social, economic issues and global issues that are detrimental to the human race; to our health and well being and to the future of our planet. It amazes me how much time we spend worrying about ourselves when we could be helping others or helping make a change to our surroundings that will enable future generations to live better lives than we do. We forget that what we have is incredibly precious and that it is fragile; we see the world as a robust giant that will weather any storm, and we view our bodies the same way – as indestructible forces which can sustain all the abuse we inflict upon them. We take for granted the natural gifts we have been given; our bodies, our food, our lives and the natural beauty of the world around us. Perhaps we ought to do a little more to preserve these things so that we can enjoy them as they were made to be, and so that there is a chance of a future for our race and our planet?

Below you will see my ‘intention-wall’ or ‘manifesto’ which explains what we’re all about! Oh, and the website will be live soooon! eight life

manifesto

Whole 30 Recap

I know I stopped documenting the progress of my Whole 30 half way through – I’ve been madly busy getting the new blog ready to launch in May and my training has taken a steep curve. Thankfully it’s all going well. In the mean time I figured I best do a quick recap and let you all know how it went. I am happy with the result but feel that with better planning and consistency I could achieve a lot more. I plan to do my second Whole 30 in May this year, hopefully with even better results!

My Whole 30 journey has been a long and tough road, I slipped up badly, I started again; had highs and lows, and for every bad day there was an equally awesome day. I finished, just. Firstly, I need to thank Dallas and Melissa Hartwig for their awesome book “it starts with food”, which was there to remind me of all the reasons I was doing this every time I felt like giving up. I had people along the way who doubted me, who thought I was insane, and almost every person in my life tried to get my to veer off course at every opportunity they had. I may have easily fallen down on any one of the bad days I had, but I didn’t; I’ve noticed as I get older that my resilience, determination and willpower have grown in leaps and bounds – I still have a way to go, but a former me would have given up in the first week of the Whole 30.

WHOLE30 finished

The benefits of the Whole 30 were numerous; my sugar cravings are completely gone; I no longer find baked goods (even Paleo ones) nearly as attractive as I once did and am therefore feeling lighter as a result of not eating them. I have found an altogether healthier love of food and am thoroughly enjoying the super clean diet, long may this continue! My energy levels, although up and down at first, stabilised to a consistent level I have never felt before, keeping me balanced and ready for anything. As a result, my training has improved markedly and I feel stronger and fitter than I have in quite some time.

I think everyone should try the whole 30 at least once. I honestly believe it will benefit your life no matter who you are. It takes a bit of courage and a lot of willpower, but the end result goes beyond simple ‘nutrition’ or ‘diet’ – it changes who you are and your relationship with food for the long run. This is not a quick fix, and it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. It’s personal, it’s exactly what YOU need as an individual and it is likely to benefit your health for the rest of your life. Please don’t take my word for it, go out and try it yourself – but read the book first, because if I haven’t managed to convince you, then this definitely will.

 

Making a Change – My Top 5 Motivational Strategies

Motivation is the key; its the deciding factor in whether or not you’re going to make it out the door at 6 in the morning when it’s still dark and bitterly cold outside, whether you make it to the gym in the evening after a long day at work or find the strength to keep going when you hit the proverbial ‘wall’; its the only thing that’s going to help you face the music, get up, put your feet on the ground and keep moving when everything in you wants to give up.

Motivation. Lets talk about motivation for a moment.  What does it mean to you? Are you motivated? How can you improve your motivation?

I’ve come up with a few ideas about how to help keep myself motivated recently, some have worked, others haven’t, but I’m hoping that one, if not more of these, might apply to you. Or if not, at least it will give you something to think about and hopefully spur you on to find your own motivation. One piece of advice I can give you – Don’t Give Up, no matter how hard that road you’re on seems, don’t give up, because the pain you’re going through now and the battle you’re fighting in your mind will all be worth it in the end.

The race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself.

Motivational Strategy #1 – Set Goals and then Break Them Down

One thing I’ve noticed a lot of us get wrong is not that we don’t set goals, but that we set unrealistic goals or unrealistic time frames. Not only that, but we set such enormous goals that we forget to focus on the immediate future and then become impatient and are disappointed with the length of time it takes to see improvement.

Take the time to break your goals down into smaller segments which are achievable in the short term; each time you reach one of these smaller goals you will feel a sense of achievement and it will encourage you to keep going. Reward yourself every time you reach one of these smaller goals!

Don’t be too hard on yourself – nobody is perfect, the only thing you can do is turn up and do your best; because at the end of the day if you turn up, you’re already half way there!

Motivational Strategy #2 – Have Fun

Don’t take yourself too seriously! Whatever you love doing, whatever you enjoy most in life be it music or friends or setting yourself challenges, use it to your advantage by integrating it into a part of your training. Train with someone you can have a laugh with (and learn to laugh at yourself). Listen to music if it helps you or train in the park if you prefer to be outdoors.

Maybe even take on some extra activities, try something new that you think looks like fun like a team sport or ice skating, horse riding, tennis or swimming – it will help break up your usual training and make it feel less monotonous, and you will still be getting active and doing something good for yourself.

Motivation

Motivational Strategy #3 – Go It Alone

Sometimes training can give you some much needed alone time if work and home life is a bit hectic and you just need some breathing space. It’s the one thing I love about running, there’s just me and the road, I don’t have anyone to answer to and I don’t have to worry about what anyone else is doing.

Take a time-out from the stresses of life, turn your phone off, leave it at home and just get out there and do something that gets the blood pumping. It doesn’t matter if you’re the kind of person that wants to go take your frustrations out on a punching bag, or chill out in a gentle yoga session. Find something to restore the calm in your life and give yourself time alone.

Motivational Strategy #4 – Get Social

If you get enough alone time already, find a gym buddy or join a club; when you have other people counting on you to be somewhere at a certain time, you’re less likely to skip it. There are more and more amazing fitness groups, running clubs, healthy social clubs and activities opening up all over the place these days that you would be hard pressed NOT to be able to find one near you!

Motivational Strategy #5 – Change the Way You Think

Easier said than done, I know. Think of it this way; if you change your attitude towards fitness, you will change your actions! This is about making a lifestyle change, and that takes time; exercise should never be a chore – yes, it’s going to be damn hard some days, but if you keep reminding yourself of all the reasons why you started this in the first place and of all the goals you have yet to reach, slowly you will begin to change the way you see things.

Whatever mental triggers work for you, use them. If you need to have post-it notes and pictures on every wall in your house with motivational cues then do that! If you need reminders set on your phone, then set them. Go out and learn, take in as much information as you can about the things that interest you and then use the information to your advantage. Surround yourself with positive people and positive thoughts and remember, you’ve already started, you took the first step; hell, you may have taken several steps, hundreds even. So why stop now? Don’t ever give up; remember, it will be worth it in the end.

 

Eating Out Dilemmas

Eating out on a Whole 30 can be challenging; what’s made it particularly difficult are some of the restaurant waiting staff I have encountered on my recent culinary journeys. A good restaurant with well trained waiting staff who are helpful and understanding can make a world of difference when trying to enquire about the possible dairy and grains which might be lurking inside an apparently harmless, seemingly whole 30 compliant meal. You can’t be too careful when it comes to these hidden nasties and believe me, there are many more than you might think. This doesn’t just apply to eating out when on a Whole 30, anyone who eats a relatively Paleo diet will find that certain restaurants cater better to our fairly basic food requirements than others. It’s easy enough to leave out all the simple carbs, but sugars and dairy hide in the most unlikely places and can sometimes be tough to spot on a menu description; I mean it’s not like you can simply read an ingredients list from the packaging.

#Whole8

A lot of waiting staff, if they don’t know the exact content of a meal, will be kind enough to ask the kitchen and help you on your way to making the right choice; exceptional waiting staff will know the answers, make alternative suggestions or advise the kitchen to leave out certain parts of the meal to keep within your specifications. These are rare and extremely welcome when on a Whole 30; the issue I have is when I have to fork out a reasonable chunk of change to dine out at a ‘good’ restaurant, only to encounter unhelpful, uninformed and sometimes rude waiting staff who are simply unaware of what goes into each dish and who are unable or unwilling to meet your requirements.

Sunday lunch (day 8 of the Whole30) was a wonderfully simple meal at Dean Street Townhouse where I experienced some of the most attentive and extremely helpful waiting staff I’ve come across during the Whole 30. Monday night’s dinner was quite the opposite; I took my mum out for a quiet dinner at Villandry on Great Portland Street where the waiting staff were not only rude and inattentive, but had absolutely no idea what each dish contained, nor did they make any effort to assist in obtaining any information from the kitchen. Quite besides the food lacking in flavour, the entire experience made it quite difficult to stomach the £60.00 bill for only a few simple starters. Disappointing, to say the very least.

#Whole7

To recap the last few days of my Whole 30:

Day 7: Brunch of Scrambled eggs served with sauteed kale, mushroom and courgette and half an avocado. An early dinner of leftover Tricolore Paleo Pie to finish off the day, and a banana somewhere in the middle to keep me going on a lazy Saturday!

Day 8: Brunch of poached eggs with almond milk poached smoked haddock; simple and satisfying. Having arrived back in London in time for a late lunch I decided to stop by Dean Street Townhouse for an amazing Sunday Lunch which consisted of a smoked salmon and pickled cucumber starter, followed by Sea trout served with fennel, cockles and monks beard (a type of chicory); aside from having to remove the butter from the lemon sauce, the entire meal was Whole 30 friendly and utterly delicious. A big thank you to the fantastic waiting staff for their patience and helpfulness.

Day 9: Monday morning began with a gentle 15km run – long and slow and utterly fabulous in the early dawn watching the sun rise over the Thames. Sunrise is my favourite time of day for running because even on grey and cloudy days, somehow the sunrise still manages to find it’s way through the clouds and it never ceases to amaze me how incredible nature can be at the most unexpected moments. Breakfast was the usual green smoothie, followed by half a grapefruit and then a plate of scrambled egg and avocado. Light and protein packed for post run refuelling. Lunch consisted of very simple steamed broccoli, bean sprouts and spinach topped with a small grilled salmon fillet. Dinner out at Villandry – almost inedible duck breast salad, flavourless salmon tartare and overcooked lemongrass prawns with a side of equally undercooked green beans.

 

Whole 30 – Day 1&2 (AGAIN)

Following my failure to comply, or even try; I must now begin anew. Day 10… or as it is now called, day 1 – take 2. I was up at sparrow fart (roughly 3am) writing nonsense, responding to a backlog of emails and feeling rather pleased with myself and all that I had accomplished by sunrise at 6am. I ran a 10.9km run and arrived back feeling hangover free and full of energy; having had only 4 hours sleep, this surprised even me. Nevertheless, Sunday went smoothly. My Sunday brunch of Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Spinach, Avocado and Tomato was enough to make me realise that I should start appreciating the things I CAN have, and stop worrying about the list of foods I cannot have during the Whole 30. This realisation was compounded by the following meal that day of Roast Chicken accompanied by a Roast Vegetable spread of carrot, sweet potato, parsnip and broccoli. A toast then, to the finer foods in life; particularly that old classic, the simple Sunday roast.

#Whole1

Day 2: I have never been a big fan of Mondays, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. Best cure for a Monday morning is a GREEN SMOOTHIE 🙂 and then some healthy eats; Ham, Egg, Mushroom and Avocado which I made very short work of. Lunch was a bit of a random prawn and veg salad, nothing too exciting but enough to lift the spirits and keep me going.

Monday night was pretty spectacular as far as Mondays go, I set off early from work to Kings Cross for a Guardian Masterclass with the one and only Jay Rayner – food critic extraordinaire and sometimes TV personality who ponces about on Masterchef occasionally. Funny guy, but more than that, the man is eloquent and engaging; he has a superior command of the English language which can only come from so many years of writing. His writing, as we know, is brilliant; I just never thought of him as a speaker. I felt the need to share this simply because I was somewhat taken aback by just how wonderful he is to listen to. The man is an excellent teacher and has the ability to make you feel smarter simply by being in the same room; the mark of a truly intelligent person. I will say this; perhaps I am not destined to be a journalist or reporter, but I did learn a lot and for that I am truly grateful. I take heed of the wise words and will be using the lessons learnt to my advantage in future writing endeavours.

I treated myself to braised beef cheeks and roasted root vegetables at Corrigans of Mayfair for dinner and then promptly went home to sleep. No, I didnt take any pictures of my dinner, and no, I’m not going to bore you with the details. It was fabulous, it always is at Corrigans.

Whole30 Journey – Days 1&2

Yesterday I embarked on a Whole30 for the first time, after reading several blogs and supporting articles and speaking to several Whole30 advocates, I decided it was time to give it a go; it’s not the first time I’ve done a 30 day detox, but it is the first time I’ve done one which lets me eat meat and fish – this makes things just that little bit more awesome! If you’re reading this and thinking ‘what the hell is she on about?’ then please go and check out whole9life.com, the home of Whole30 founders Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The Whole30 is a detox programme designed around the ‘Paleo’ diet of whole foods and nothing else; caveman style! Prior to starting my Whole30 on the 1st of March, I cleared the house of all Forbidden Foods and promptly set about ordering the greenest grocery delivery I’ve ever had, which was delivered on the morning of the 1st. It felt good, like spring cleaning. For the next 29 days (I’m 1.5 days in) I will be documenting my progress here, with a blog post every second day; in addition to the Whole30 food programme I will also be taking on new fitness challenges during my 30 days which include running no less than 5 days a week, attending 2 fight classes at my local MMA gym (Stars Gym) per week and doing a lot more yoga (I seem to have slipped in my consistent practice recently). I will also be throwing in a few extra classes here and there and taking on swimming, spinning and cycling to keep myself as active as possible. This month is the Game Changer!

whole30#1

I start most days with a #GreenSmoothie – so no change there, just a little bit less fruit (cutting down on sugar, even the natural ones) and adding more vegetables. I like the fact that I don’t have to change too many eating habits, but I will be getting rid of all the bad ones and clearing out the foodie cobwebs that have appeared in certain parts of my diet since Christmas.

So, Day #1 Breakfast: Green Smoothie followed by 2 Scrambled Eggs with 1/2 an Avocado and a mix of sauted kale and tomato. Lunch was a light salad of Spinach, Celery, Artichoke Hearts and Yellow pepper, which apparently went down extremely well with my Whole30 partner in crime (yes I have inflicted this regime on some unsuspecting soul). I finished the day with a wholesome but light dinner of a single pan fried haddock fillet served with a mixed veg side made of closed cup mushrooms (5), Yellow Pepper (1/2), Cabbage (6 Large Leaves) and 1/2 a tin of chopped tomato all lightly sauted and served with a teeny sprinkle of cumin – this was SERIOUSLY good eating and tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. It just goes to show that healthy food can be exciting and taste amazing too (and it wont leave you feeling bloated and sluggish. Bonus!).

Day #2 Breakfast: 750ml Green Smoothie and 1 boiled egg for protein after a 6km run and solid 20 minute leg workout. Lunch, pictured above, was leftovers from Day #1 Dinner – the second pan fried haddock fillet served with a mixed veg side. Dinner was a bit of whimsical creation which I decided on after taking a long walk over to the farm store at a nearby farm and picking up some really lovely lean venison mince and sweet potatoes. It’s my unusual Paleo take on a Shepherds Pie – see recipe and pics below 🙂 This was truly something I have never even attempted before, but it came out well and I am pleased as punch – especially since I still have leftovers for Monday lunch which saves me cooking too much on a work day!

#Whole30-2

Venison & Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie: Serves 4

  • 500g Packet of Venison Mince
  • 1 Large Red Onion; finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves; finely chopped
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomato
  • Olive Oil

For the topping

  • 2 Medium – Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 a Savoy Cabbage (chopped as finely as you can get it!)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil

Optional: Serve with a side of green veg like Broccoli or Spinach 🙂

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Place the chopped onion and garlic into a pan on a medium heat with the olive oil, saute the onion until it is clear in colour. Add the meat and break it up using a wooden spoon, gentle stir and until all the meat is lightly browned. Pour in the tomato and turn down to a medium to low heat and simmer for 30 – 45  minutes or until its a thick consistency with only a little liquid.

Turn the oven on and heat to 180 degrees c. Peel the sweet potato and chop each one into quarters, place in a pan of boiling water and boil on a medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft enough to mash (should be able to spike it with a knife easily). In a separate pan add coconut oil and melt on a low heat, add the finely chopped cabbage, fry this on low heat until it soft (roughly 10 minutes depending on the size of the pan). Once both of these are cooked, drain and place them in a large bowl. Mash them together gently with a little sea salt and black pepper using a normal potato masher, don’t worry if its lumpy, the texture adds to this dish! Put this aside until the meat is done.

Pour the cooked meat into a small – medium sized rectangular ceramic roasting dish, spoon the sweet potato and cabbage topping on and spread gently over the entire dish and into the corners using the back of a knife. Sprinkle cumin over the top of the dish and place in the oven for 20-25  minutes. Remove from the over and cover with foil and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving. ENJOY 🙂

PUREARTH Juice Cleanse – Day 7

Bananas, today I thought of nothing besides bananas. I thought about bananas because I was cold, tired, and thought that perhaps if I ate only a banana that I would a) feel a lot better, and b) that it wouldn’t really be cheating because it’s only one banana and bananas are fruit. No, I didn’t eat a banana; instead I beat that banana craving right out of my head. I have been true to my word and stuck it out, even though today is my Birthday and I want nothing more than to devour an entire slab of rich and sticky chocolate cake; which is unusual since I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate cake. This is neither here nor there however; the point is, today was tough. This was, I’m fairly certain, due to the fact that I had in the back of mind, the niggling thought that I could begin reintroducing food to my life tomorrow, and since I’m impatient by nature, I naturally wanted tomorrow to be today. The wait is almost over; almost, but not quite.

It’s been a very cleansing week, and one I am proud to say I have completed with flying colours; no cheating and no issues of any kind, or at least none that I can think of. Although I’m told my moods have not always been as consistent as I thought. I’ve really enjoyed the experience and although it seemed daunting and almost impossible to begin with, it does get easier, it isn’t the Everest I though it would be and I’ve come through the other side with an entirely new perspective on cleansing. I’d like to try a longer cleanse at some point, but I might wait a while as I think it would be a really great thing to do at the end of winter when my body really needs it again. It’s made me appreciate food in an entirely new way, it’s given me a chance to relax and take some time out for myself without hard exercise, and it’s helped to restore a little balance to my life. I began with no expectations and a lot of self-doubt, I have found out more about myself through this than I have during some of my hardest runs, and I have left with a sense of pride.

Not only has this been extremely beneficial physically – I have a glowing complexion, have lost a few pounds of excess water and fat, have stronger and healthier hair and nails and feel light as air – but the mental benefits have been equally profound and I really couldn’t ask for more. So, to sum this experience up in as few words as possible; it’s been emotional, it’s been fun, it’s been tough and it’s  definitely worth a try. No regrets. I have to thank the amazing Angelina, co-owner of PurEarth alongside the beautiful Tenna, who has made my journey that much more enjoyable with her constant support and her unstoppable enthusiasm; you are a diamond and I couldn’t have done it without you! If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, this is definitely the one to try; the personal attention and exceptional service make it a much smoother ride, and the juices taste pretty fantastic.

PUREARTH | http://www.purearth.co.uk | cleanse@purearth.co.uk | Tenna +44 7769 251 782 | Angelina +44 7875 263 101