Homemade Granola

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Ingredients:

  • 125ml maple syrup
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g rolled oats
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g dried berries/fruit
  • 50g desiccated coconut

Method:

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  • Heat over to 150 degrees Celsius
  • Mix/melt the oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla in a large bowl

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  • Mix together the remaining ingredients, except the dried fruit and coconut and tip into bowl

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  • Tip the granola onto baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 15 mins

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  • Remove and scrape onto a flat tray to cool
  • Then mix in the coconut and dried fruit and bake for 10-15 mins
  • Serve with cold milk or yoghurt

The granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month.

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The Reality of Achieving A Six Pack

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The picture on the left is early December just before my work Christmas party in Puerto Rico ( I know very lucky). I was highly motivated and worked my ass off working out twice a day-intense cardio in the morning and heavy weights in the afternoon. My diet was faultless. I got really lean and I had visible abs from the time I got up in the morning until I went to bed.

To get visible abs your body fat needs to drop very low and when your body fat drops that low, your hormones start to take a hit, and  you feel it. Your body goes into a catabolic (muscle eating) state. My body was telling me, in very loud and clear way, that it was ready for a break. I needed to stop training. I needed to rest. For my time home in Ireland for Christmas for two weeks that is exactly what I did and it was heaven. I didn’t train much or count calories, I gained weight but I was rested and ready to ease myself back into training.

The fitness models, bikini pros and the ripped females you see on instagram and social media  are not that lean all year round. There is prep before the lean prep. It takes months of muscle building, a lot of food and a lot of patience before they can even start to get into stage or photo shoot shape. Do not be fooled – if you want a very lean, very muscular body, it’s a temporary result after a lot of hard work.

So January for me is all about the prep- I am lifting a lot of heavy weights and eating a lot of carbs in order to put a bit of meat on my bones so come this summer I will be in my best shape yet!

 

 

Clean Eating Chicken Kiev

 

Chicken that tastes a bit naughty but is full of nutrition. Enjoy x

Ingredients:

  • 4 Medium Chicken Breasts
  • 200g cottage cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 cups spinach, shredded
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 cups quinoa flakes (almond meal also works)

Method:

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Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Using a sharp knife cut a pocket in the side of the chicken.

In a bowl combine spinach, cottage cheese and garlic. Evenly stuff four chicken breasts with cheese mixture

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Carefully dip the chicken into the egg, then generously coat chicken in quinoa flakes.

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Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes

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Serve with rice and courgette noodles.

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FareHealthy

 

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For my birthday my other half brought me to an event at London Borough Markets called FareHealthy. This is a day long wellbeing festival dedicated to healthy living. The line up included foodie favourites Hemsley +Hemsley and Deliciously Ella who gave lectures and demonstrations on the day. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Hemsley +Hemsley lecture which I am so glad I went to as I learned so much. My sister in law bought me the Hemsley+Hemsley cook book for Christmas so I was excited when I got to see them in the flesh- they are BEAUTIFUL and I couldn’t stop staring.

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They also really know what they are talking about and I loved how they have such a healthy outlook on food. In the last few months I was starting to believe all the hype about meat, dairy etc all being bad for you but after the Hemsley lecture they put all those fears to rest. They recommend  a diet that consists of meat, fish, animal fats, dairy and carbs. However, they recommend that we buy grass fed meat, grass fed butter, non pasteurised milk etc.

My biggest take from the lecture was from a book they recommended called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.

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This book is gospel to the Hemsley sisters and is the foundation of their beliefs of a healthy diet. I bought it straight after the event and I LOVE IT. In the book Dr Price travels to every corner of the earth to study isolated, non-modernised populations who were immune to tooth decay and he found that an immunity to tooth decay was associated with dietary factors and not genetics and the same dietary factors conferred immunity to other degenerative diseases.

There is a strong emphasis in his findings of the importance of animal foods such as raw full fat milk and bones (such as in traditional soup broths), butter, cod liver oil and cholesterol-rich organ meats. After the lecture the Hemsley sisters gave everyone a sample of their ox broth (“oil for the bones”) which they have for breakfast.

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After reading the book I realised that I was brought up on the perfect diet up until I went to college and lived on vodka. I grew up on a farm where our milk came straight from a cow, we had our own hens, grew are own vegetables and had our own meat. Then I went to college and my diet went downhill pretty fast!!!!

I currently live in London so replicating my childhood diet is going to be a lot more difficult and a lot more expensive. I am nearly tempted to buy my own cow and a few hens and put them in the garden. But it really opened my eyes as to what I am putting in my body and I immediately wanted all my family to read it to open their eyes to the diseases we could be exposed to by what we eat in modern society.

I have summarised below some of the main points from the Nourishing Traditions book:-

  • Animal fats and Cholesterol are SUPER IMPORTANT-necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels
  • We should eat grass fed butter such as KerryGold and steer well clear of all other butters
  • Always choose full fat over low fat
  • Never throw out your yolk
  • Sour fermented vegetables should be introduced to our diet
  • Grains should be soaked overnight which reduces mineral-binding phyates, enzyme inhibitor and helps pre-digest the grains
  • Foods that are healthy still may not be right for you.
  • People who can tolerate pasteurised milk report that they CAN tolerate raw milk
  • Milk intolerances are largely a secondary problem as a result of gluten intolerance or other factors that have damages ones intestines
  • Raw honey and maple syrup may be far healthier than refined cane sugar but one shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that since these are “healthy” desserts they can be indulged in endlessly.

Before I read this book I eliminated animal fats such as butter and cheese believing they were bad for me. I have now reintroduced these back into my diet (grass fed butter such as KerryGold).  I have cut back on all refined sugars and reduced my healthy sugar intake.

I definitely recommend this book as a nice stocking filler this Christmas.

I also got to meet other foodies such as Deliciously Ella!!

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And to end it off Fergus and I participated in an INSANITY class where we nearly died.

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Let me know if you get the book and what you think?

Thanks

Mary

Changing Gyms

So I just moved gyms as my old gym was closing down. I have moved gyms three times in the last two years and find that is wreaks havoc on my exercise regime. When you are starting in a new gym you have to try figure out the basics- what times are busiest, what equipment is the most popular, where is everything, how do I use the new equipment, where can I do HIITs, abs work etc.

On the first day when I join a gym I  try figure out where everything is. Make sure that your gym has at least two squat racks as boys tend to use these for chest presses and spend all day on them. At first it can be quite hard to find your feet and get into a routine-  your rest periods in between sets are longer than they should be as you are trying to find equipment, you end up doing exercises you didn’t intend to do as you can’t find equipment or you realise that certain equipment is more popular than others and have to wait to use it  etc. Once you know where everything is its easier to create a fitness plan around it. Another important thing to consider is timing. I find early morning the best as it’s not so busy that you don’t get the equipment you want to use.

My main advice for girls is to not be intimidated to go into the weights section. The weights section is where you are going to see real results.  Don’t get me wrong bodyweight exercise such as HIITs are  great but what you have to realise is that the likes of Kayla Itsines, Zuzanna Light lift heavy weights in addition to cardio.  These girls would be mixing up their exercise regime with both cardio (such as HIIT, Kayla Itsines etc) AND weights (ensuring that upper and lower body are worked each week). This is how you will see REAL results.

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Countdown to 30: FINAL WEEK

So my final week in my 20’s turned out to be a VERY special week. I flew home to Ireland to celebrate my 30th birthday with my family and friends and ended up getting engaged on the first morning home. It was such a shock as I always thought I’d see it coming. It was great having our family and friends around to celebrate the special occasion(s) and my mother and fathers reaction was priceless. On the Saturday, I hung out with my family and neighbours and then went to Zuni’s in Kilkenny for the night to celebrate with friends (no I didn’t stick to a clean diet) and then got to stay in the lovely Lyrath Hotel which was a nice surprise.

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The next day the celebrations continued in Durrow Castle where my brother and sister in law had booked me a night in the beautiful castle and 2 hours of spa treatments. Bliss. We spent the evening sitting in the sun with friends, family and my in laws and had a lovely meal in the evening.

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We went back to London the next day to arrive home to another lovely surprise when our London family had decorated the room with balloons and banners and had champagne, prosecco an cake waiting for us. It was such a lovely weekend and one that we will always remember. Thanks to everyone for their well wishes and cards and gifts xxxx

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Back to Reality

The next day was back to reality. After a heavy weekend I felt very bloated and I was glad to get back into my routine. This week I focused on just HIIT’s and cardio in order undo some of the damage and try to lean out. It’s amazing how after one day of eating well how much better you feel. With only a few days to go until I have to get into a bikini I have been strict on myself and have reduced my starchy carb intake focusing on getting my carbs from extra green veggies.

On Thursday, I got ANOTHER surprise when my fiancé (weird saying that) brought me to the Chiltern Firehouse to celebrate. It was very special and the food was delicious and I managed to eat quite clean. I must say that I was disappointed I spotted no celebrities.

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Tomorrow its HOLIDAY TIME!! Really looking forward to a week of relaxation after all the excitement. Only one more day until the BIG 30 but I must say this getting old craic is not so bad after all xxxx