July 11, 2012 · 9:29 pm

Fun and Fitness

Since July is the month of WIAW Fun, Food and Fitness, I thought I’d begin today’s post with a quick rundown of my current exercise regime.

When I left salaried work a few years ago to set up my own business, I stopped my gym membership to save money. Ever since then, I’ve been exercising in the great outdoors. When I went to the gym, it was all about the exercise. Now it’s so much more. As well as helping me to stay fit, exercising outdoors gives me the opportunity to get some fresh air and take in the beautiful views. It helps me to feel connected to my local environment.

It gives me the opportunity to recite mantras and get connected spiritually.

I also love the opportunities it gives me to interact with members of the local community. There’s lots of smiles, ‘hellos’ and words of encouragement as I make my way along the road or tow path. 

 

For me, exercising outside has had a huge, positive impact on my well-being, both physically and mentally. I used to love going to the gym. Now, the thought of being cooped up in a sweaty room, with no fresh air, and with only machines and screens to look at just doesn’t appeal anymore.

At the moment, I’m running on average twice a week. I have two favourite routes, one flat route along the Kennet & Avon towpath, and a second hilly route up to St Catherine’s Court.

 

4-5 mile runs suit me perfectly and I run around 10 miles per hour now (a whole minute quicker than this time last year. Woo hoo!)

I also cycle 1-2 times a week. I love mountain biking at the weekends with the family, and tend to cycle into Bath once a week too.

 

I sold my car a few years ago (to cut costs) so these days  cycling, walking and running are my modes of transport. I love getting about this way, for the same reasons as I love exercising outside.

Over the past decade I’ve found the optimum level of exercise to suit my body. In my teens and 20s I was prone to knee injuries and seemed to always be at the physio. For the past ten years, I haven’t had a single injury. Long may it continue!

Fun and Food

For this week’s WIAW foodie party, I thought I’d show our eats from today.

Breakfast
A delicious bowl of porridge for me & M. In mine, I added ground cinnamon, mixed spice, almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazils, ground linseed, shelled hempseed and goji berries. It was made with Alpro Original Soya Milk (the version sweetened with apple juice) and I lightly drizzled some Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener on top.

For some people, porridge is a winter breakfast but I can happily eat it all year round :)

Lil’ L chose to have a mix of granola and Shreddies, and I added in some flaked almonds, chopped walnuts, shelled hempseed and ground linseed for a nutritional boost.

Lunch
The night before, while we were washing up, I quickly made some tomato pasta for lunchboxes. It only took a few minutes to prepare. While the organic wholegrain pasta twists were cooking, I finely chopped some veggies – carrot, fine green beans, mushrooms, red pepper, red onion – and let them gently cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil. When the pasta was cooked, I mixed in half a jar of Seeds of Change Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce and the veggies. I also added some sunflower seeds, shelled hempseeds, pine nuts and nutritional yeast for a nutritional boost.

Marigold Nutritional Yeast with Vitamin B12 is one of my all-time favourite health food/vegan products. It’s got a delicious cheesy/nutty flavour which works really well in pasta dishes. I also use it for savoury crumbles, pizzas, pesto and, ground with raw cashews, as a vegetarian replacement for parmesan.

It’s got an amazing nutritional profile. As well as being high in protein, it’s packed with B vitamins and zinc. Just one small 5g serving provides 220% of your B12 RDA.

You can buy the Marigold Nutritional Yeast from health food stores and online. I tend to buy mine from Harvest in Bath, or online from Goodness Direct.

Snacks
- Lil’ L morning snack – seeded flatbreads with home-made humous
- Lil’ L post-school snack – small bowl of raw cashews (he loves these!)
- Lil’ L pre-swimming snack  - 3 mini banana pancakes (leftover from Sunday) with chopped pecans and a drizzle of Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener
- My post-school snack – a mixed bowl of raw nuts (cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds) and raisins.

 

I’m loving this snack at the moment, but I end up eating a pretty big bowlful. I’ve heard that raw nuts are actually a negative calorie food but I must check this out for sure!

Dinner
For dinner, we had one of our all-time favourite meals …. Veggie Fajitas.   This is my favourite kind of ‘fast food’ – it’s ready in less than 10 minutes, only uses one pan (gotta love the ‘one pans’!), it’s really tasty and healthy! I wish all ‘fast food’ could be like this!

You can make veggie fajitas simply by using veggies and seeds, but I also like to add in half a pack of Fry’s Vegetarian Chunky Strips for added flavour and texture. These can be bought in the freezer section of health food stores like Holland and Barrett.

 

 To make the fajitas, I simply stir fried some veggies, seeds and the vegetarian chunky strips in a little olive oil. I then sprinkled on some fajita seasoning mix (not too much as Lil’ L doesn’t like his dinners too spicy). Once I’d removed Lil’ L’s portion I added some Linghams Chilli Sauce to add more heat for me & M.

Just look at all those beautiful colours in the pan :)

The fajitas were served in Tesco wholemeal seeded tortilla wraps. We had two each, and Lil’ L took the leftovers to school the next day for his lunch.

Dessert
For dessert we had some fresh pineapple chunks and a fresh strawberry jelly. Lil’ L absolutely loves these jellies…. and I love the fact that they’re sugar-free, gelatine-free and contain real strawberries (which he normally runs a mile from!) Recipe coming very soon! 

After dinner Lil’ L and M tried one of the raw chocolate-coated lime creams that I made yesterday.  They got a big thumbs up :)  

Here’s how they looked before I added the chocolate coating…

They really do make a refreshing after-dinner treat.  Both M and Lil’ L loved the raw chocolate coating I added after the pic, whereas I prefer them without. Lil’ L said that I’m over-ruled so the chocolate’s staying!

Well, that was another great day of eats. Time to head over to the lovely Jenn’s and check out the yummy WIAW food gallery.

Happy Wednesday everyone! :) xx

Do you enjoy exercising outside or do you prefer hitting the gym? 

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  • http://twitter.com/keephealthstyle Laura Agar Wilson

    I love your personal exercise philosophy! Sounds like you have found the perfect balance. I would love to do more outdoors but running is off the cards for me at the moment. I’m thinking that doing more walking would be good though!

    • http://www.bitofthegoodstuff.com Sharon

      Hiking in the countryside is good for the soul too and there’s probably less risk of injury … unless you fall in deep rut full of cow poo like I did last time. I ruined a perfectly good pair of grey pumps. I couldn’t help but laugh though. I must have looked ridiculous!

  • http://twitter.com/PoweredbyPB Lauren

    I love working out in the great outdoors! It’s great to get fresh air, and not be staring at four walls during your workout. I also got rid of my car earlier in the year, so I get about on my bike/walking/running, and I ahve found it quite liberating, I don’t miss driving at all! I love nutritional yeast too, I wasn’t sure the first time I tried it, but the last few months, I have been all over it!

    • http://www.bitofthegoodstuff.com Sharon

      Yay a fellow car ditcher! It’s so liberating to travel around by bike. I find I get into the city so much quicker than the cars. They’re all backed up in the traffic jams and I just cycle past :) I don’t have to stress about parking either :)
      Like you, I wasn’t too sure about nutritional yeast the first time I tried it. My hubbie mentioned that it looked like fish food and that really put me off. After a couple of tries though I actually started to love it. Now I can’t get enough of it!

  • http://twitter.com/I_LoveLiveLearn Sophie

    I love the way you write about your fitness and attitude to exercise – it was so nice to read. You view it all so positively and it’s lovely that you stay connected to the environment around you :)

    Your food looks delicious – the pasta is just the sort of thing that I make when I need a quick lunch and your dinner looks so tasty!

    • http://www.bitofthegoodstuff.com Sharon

      Thanks Sophie! I do feel really lucky to have such a lovely environment to exercise in. I’m even starting to enjoy running in the rain, which is a good thing considering the ‘monsoon’ we’re having at the moment.
      I hope you’re having a fantastic summer. It must be such a relief to have all the hard work finished :)