My journey into Intuitive Eating

Autumn pancakes on plate
Autumn pancakes on plate

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez via Unsplash

When I first heard about Intuitive Eating I was a little sceptical, doesn’t it just mean eating whatever you want all the time? Why does this need to be a ‘movement’? Surely there are some health implications for this?

After some serious sarcastic eye rolls and a lot of research later, I discovered Intuitive Eating was much more than that.

Intuitive Eating helps us to develop a happy and healthy relationship with food and teaches us to listen to what our body wants. It stops us from starving and restricting ourselves and helps us to quit binging and overeating for good.

Most importantly, Intuitive Eating sticks its middle finger up to diet culture and refuses to accept it as the norm; instead it encourages you make peace with food and find complete and utter pleasure in eating once again. Sounds great, right?

You can see why I was seduced by Intuitive Eating, but there’s more to it than just cracking open a pack of biscuits and chomping away. In fact, Intuitive Eating has its own set of core principles.

Here are a few of my favourites (because if I went into them all this blog would turn into a book):

Reject the diet mentality

Don’t you think it’s shocking how diet culture has become such a normal part of our society?

Just pick up any beauty magazine and count how many times it mentions weight loss or body transformations. Listen in on people’s conversations and hear how many people are scorning themselves for not ‘being good’ and restricting themselves.

The first step to Intuitive Eating is to reject diet culture by staying away from media that tells you that you need to lose weight to be worthwhile. Avoid diet chat, people that constantly talk about losing weight. I know this may be difficult, so instead of avoiding people you could try not engaging in the conversation when they bring it up.  

Make peace with food

Food is food; it’s not good and it’s not bad. It’s simply fuel that helps you survive.

Although some food is more beneficial to our bodies than others, think blueberries and walnuts, other foods are just enjoyable to eat, mac n cheese and doughnuts here’s looking at you, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so. By following Intuitive Eating, you are giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and not restrict yourself. After all, restriction leads to bingeing and that fosters guilt. Aim to eat foods that make you feel good and offer yourself kind nutritional advice that helps instead of critiques your food choices.

Deal with your Feelings without using food

I’m an emotional eater, always have been. Whenever something happens in my life I turn to food. Whether its sadness, boredom, stress, anxiety, loneliness– I will find a food for that. But eating for an emotional hunger will only make us feel worse in the long run. Once you’ve finished eating, the source of the emotion will still be there, plus the the discomfort of overeating. Find ways to overcome your issues without using food.

Respect your body

Respect your body and embrace the person that you are. As I discussed in this post, it’s important to celebrate our differences and embrace different body shapes. It’s hard to completely reject diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body.

Exercise

You can be body positive and love exercise!

Focus on how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If your only motivation is to lose weight and you consistently put yourself through gruelling sessions, your enjoyment of exercise will quickly be exhausted and you’ll end up hating it.

As you can see, Intuitive Eating is a really positive way to think about food and I am trying to embrace it as much as I can. Since learning about body positivity, I have altered the way I think about eating and the effect diet culture has on my mental health. Although undoing a lifetime of diet culture won’t come easily, I am proud to say that I am making progress and being less critical of myself and my body.

Hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to learn more about Intuitive Eating I found this site helpful when learning about the core principles of Initiative Eating (it includes all 10).

Tampopo Manchester review

Tampopo restaurant review

Tampopo restaurant review

Tampopo restaurant review

Tampopo restaurant review

If you’re from Manchester you may have heard of Tampopo, a group of restaurants that celebrates Pan-Asian cuisine and the flavours of South East Asia.

Interestingly, Tampopo is also the name of a 1985 ‘ramen western’ film about the joys of Japanese food, but for today’s blog post I am going to be focusing on the restaurant Tampopo and their new menu (although if you’re curious, you can read about the film here.)

Tampopo is one of my favourites because a) I love the name, it’s impossible to say it without smiling, b) it has an inviting atmosphere that lends itself to quick bites as well as sociable meals with groups, and c) because the menu is affordable and always evolving.

With restaurants in three locations around Manchester; Albert Square, Corn Exchange and the Trafford Centre, Tampopo has captured the hearts of the Mancunians everywhere. As the restaurant are always striving to improve their menu, they regularly change things up and a few weeks ago I was kindly invited to try out the new dishes and review the experience.

I went along with my friend (and fellow blogger) Liz who blogs at Dirty30Crisis and we were joined by none other than Ellie, aka Eleanor Graceful.

The food

Tampopo restaurant review

We had a sharing platter which contained Fresh Spring Rolls, Sticky Wings, Pork Dumplings, Coconut Prawns, Satay Chicken and Corn Fritters. I enjoyed the pork dumplings so much that I didn’t even realise I had eaten both mine and Liz’s…Ellie had the veggie platter which looked just as appetising so I would love to try that next time I’m there.

For our mains, I had Singaporean Curry which is described as a ‘Creamy yellow curry with coconut milk, turmeric, curry leaves, galangal, sweet potato, tamarind and cherry tomatoes’ with added chicken and Liz had the Pad Krapow which is an ‘Asian Basil in a fiery oyster sauce with fine beans, red chillies and red peppers’ with chicken.

As someone who isn’t very good with spice, the Singaporean Curry was perfect for me. It was packed full of flavour and not bland at all like some mild curries can be. Liz enjoyed her Pad Krapow but it was incredibly spicy and she struggled to eat it all due to the heat. Both dishes also came with a large side of rice or noodles.

For dessert, I had a Roti Pancake and the girls opted for a cocktail each. The pancake was a delicious and drizzled with condensed milk, cinnamon sugar and served with cinnamon ice cream. As a complete cinnamon addict, I loved this dessert!

I was stuffed and content after all the food. Before we left, we had a chat with the Manager Sarah, who told us about how the chefs came to final decisions about the new menu, including dialling down on the spice (I wondered how spicy was must have been before, were they dragons?!) and adding more unique flavours. It was clear that the whole team were passionate about getting the food absolutely right.

Overall Tampopo is a great restaurant if you’re looking for a quick and tasty meal. They do lots of vegetarian and gluten free options, as well as catering for meat lovers. You must try the cocktails or mock-tails too!

Thanks for reading my review, what are your favourite South East Asian dishes?

Amino acids, BCAAs & supplement review

amino acids collage

Think that only bodybuilders need to take amino acids? Think again! Amino acid supplements are a simple way to benefit from amino acids which are usually found in food and drink.

optimum nutrition watermelon

 

Let’s get scientific (puts science goggle on…) There are currently 500 amino acids that are known and classified, but only 23 are involved in the process of building proteins. This group is known as the proteinogenic amino acids, which combine into peptide chains (polypeptides) to form the building blocks of a vast array of proteins.

Nine of the 23 proteinogenic group are known as “essential” because your body cannot create them from other compounds. This means you need to consume these amino acids – phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine through your diet.

BCAAs stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids; this refers to the three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Because BCAAs are the only amino acids not regulated by the stomach and liver, it means they head straight to the bloodstream and muscle tissue. Some studies have found that they lower lactate levels, making recovery faster and increase the release of growth hormone during exercise.

Although these occur naturally in certain foods, such as meat and eggs, supplementing your intake with sports nutrition can make it easier to improve muscle protein synthesis and boost recovery. To clarify, you don’t HAVE to take amino acid supplements to get the benefits, you can find these naturally in food, however supplements are a good choice if you cannot get enough from your diet.

Optimum Nutrition AmiN.O Energy Review

For the last month, I have been using Optimum Nutrition’s Essential AmiN.O. Energy supplement in the flavour watermelon, it contains both amino acids and caffeine so it’s the perfect pre-workout drink. I like to mix 2 scoops with a large bottle of water in the mornings before I work out because I find that it gives me an edge that a cup of tea just doesn’t have.

Here are some things I liked about it:

  • The powder form mixes well and doesn’t feel gritty or thick like others
  • It’s a sweet watermelon taste, but doesn’t taste sickly or too ‘fake’
  • It contains vitamin C
  • I could feel the effects after about 30 minutes, it gives great burst of energy for workouts (cardio and lifting)
  • However, due to the high caffeine content I can’t drink it after 3pm or I struggle to sleep (I’m very sensitive to caffeine)

Overall, I’ve noticed a difference in my energy levels on the days that I’ve drank this. I can do longer length sessions in the gym and don’t feel as ‘worn out’ as I usually do the next day.  I use it as a pre-workout for my morning workouts because once I drank it at 4pm and I couldn’t sleep for that evening.

So there you have it, if you’re looking for a new pre-workout I’d definitely recommend Optimum Nutrition’s Essential AmiN.O. Energy supplement. There are loads more flavours I want to try like Blue Raspberry, Strawberry lime and peach cranberry. Some protein powders contain BCAAs so definitely lookout for those too, you can read my review of one here. 

Do you use pre-workouts, I’d love some recommendations in the comments if you do!

 

*Product was gifted to me, however all opinions are my own*

Are these the best protein bars ever?

Multipower protein

Big news: I tried some new protein bars and actually enjoyed them…

Sometimes I think I must be a bad fitness blogger because I hate the taste of protein and I almost never drink protein shakes. The thought of drinking a protein shake with water straight after a workout makes me shudder. Sure, I add a few scoops into my porridge in the morning, but that’s usually as far as my relationship with protein goes. I guess I’m a bit of a protein snob because I stick to the same brands that I know are high in quality (and don’t taste like the bottom of a shoe).

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Sampling vegan delights at Vapiano Manchester

vapiano collage

The vegan movement has significantly risen in popularity, so much so that 2016 could be the most important year for vegans yet. It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the UK are vegan and young people and teens make up the highest proportion of that number.

Whether it’s for health reasons, animal welfare, or to be more ethically conscious, veganism is having a renaissance and is no longer just associated with hippies. The vegan lifestyle is being integrated into our community as a norm, a rather trendy norm at that.

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Five of my favourite protein powders

protein powder shaker with weight

Protein powders have evolved so much in terms of flavour, texture and taste. A few years ago it was hard to find more than 3 flavours, but now companies have produced an array of protein products that cater to veggies, vegans and people with a real sweet tooth (aka me). They also happen to be the best post workout supplement.

The flavours have been developed to offer a large range of tastes, so you aren’t just stuck with vanilla or chocolate, plus the marketing has evolved to be more inclusive of everyone – although let’s not mention Protein World’s Beach Body fuck up.

In general, more ‘normal’ people are using protein powders to boost their health and wellbeing whether they attend the gym or not, for example some people use it to supplement their diet if they don’t eat a lot of meat, while others will use it to increase muscle.

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How to stay healthy at a festival

girls standing at lost village festival

I can hear you moaning already, ‘who wants to be healthy at a festival?’ I know I know, I’m that person that sucks the fun out of everything. The whole sentence is basically an oxymoron, fun AND healthy, how is that even possible right?

True, a festival is one of the only places where you can free yourself from the shackles of adult-life and go shower-and-inhibitions free for a weekend, but it doesn’t automatically mean you have to have a super unhealthy weekend and come back 10 lbs heavier. Some of us work really hard to stay in shape and look after ourselves, so why shouldn’t we enjoy a sprinkling of health over our leisurely activities? Continue Reading

I tried to eat like Clean Eating Alice for a week

For the next five* days I am going to adopt the diet of Instagram angel Alice Liveing, also known as Clean Eating Alice. She is a personal trainer and part of the LDN Muscle gang, but she’s arguably just as famous for her amazing abs and remarkable culinary skills.

I have admired this lady for a long time now, pawing at her beautiful recipes on Instagram, but I have never actively followed them. Her virtual life points to a pint size trainer who is brimming with energy and enthusiasm; she is very positive and motivated and I wonder whether that is due to her diet. Also you’d be a fool not to notice that she looks smoking hot – I assume I will metaphorise into a tiny, glowing goddess once my first 24 hours of being Clean Eating Alice is complete!

A photo posted by Alice (@clean_eating_alice) on

So I am taking on this challenge to see whether I will have more energy and generally be in better health from eating this kind of diet. Alice is also renowned for her beautiful Instagram arrangements, I can’t promise mine will be half as good but I will try as I copy Clean Eating Alice’s recipes for the next seven days.  Continue Reading