Saturday Kitchen

Not one for a cold salad, especially in the winter, but still a need to get the veggies in, this is a delicious meal.

Coconut and Lime warm salad

50g quinoa

50g bulgur wheat

1 onion chopped finely

400ml stock

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Juice of 1 lime

100g green beans

100g brocolini

1/3 can coconut milk

Chillies (to your heat taste)

1cm ginger chopped

Heat coconut oil, add chopped onion, fry till onion is soft, add some chillies, cook for a further 1 mon. Add quinoa & bulgur wheat and add freshly boiled 400ml water/stock, simmer for 20-25mins until most of the water has evaporated. Leave to stand for 10mins to soak up the rest of the liquid. Add juice of 1 lime.

*** the quinoa & bulgur wheat serves 2-3 so can be kept in the fridge to have with other salads or eaten alone.

In a separate pan:

Heat coconut milk, chilies and ginger. Add greens, heat and turn for 3-5mins depending on how al dente you want them.

Fluff quinoa & bulgur wheat up serve in to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Serves 1 as a main meal or 2 as a side

Have a fantastic weekend

Jen x

How Clean is Your Food?

Day 18 Eat clean

One of my favourite topics of conversation, food.

If you have been eating mindfully (day 5) you will notice when you eat because you are hungry or when you are emotionally eating, and also when you are full. When your brain is switched off from the activity you don’t even notice until you are stuffed.

Now we have our attention switched on when we are eating, we want to make sure that the quality of the food that you are eating is real ‘clean’ food.

When I think of eating clean, I think of fresh produce, single ingredient foods that you can combine together yourself to make amazing tasty meals – unprocessed food.

If out of convenience you do need to buy pre-packaged food (we all get caught out or want a treat from time to time) go for foods with the least amount of ingredients.

Read the ingredients list and make sure you know what everything is.

If you are not sure what it is or how to pronounce it chances are you shouldn’t be eating it.

The more clean, single ingredient foods that you eat mindfully, the less you will have to watch what you are eating and less you will have to worry about over eating.

As you eat (and drink) less processed foods you will find your energy levels will increase, your sleep will be much better quality and your waistline will go down.

Bonus, bonus, bonus….

That is not to say that you can’t ever have a treat, of course you can, but make sure that it is a treat (as in not every single day).

Start your day with a good breakfast:

Porridge, eggs, omelette, Greek yogurt with muesli or a smoothie (mostly made of veg).

Once you get that first good meal in it makes the rest of the day easier to continue. Try to have veg  and protein with every meal to keep you ticking over nicely.

If you start with nothing or cereal chances are you will be craving sugar within a couple of hours.

I would love to hear what your favourite meal is

Jen x

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chew your food

Day 5 Eat Mindfully

How many of your meals do you eat on the run or while you are distracted?

Grab your breakfast and eat it on the commute to work. Sitting at your desk working through lunch while you eat at your desk. Eat your dinner working at the laptop or watching TV. Snacking at the cinema, ever been so engrossed in the movie that you have munched your way through the popcorn and have no memory of eating it?

Generally being distracted while you eat is no use.

When we are distracted we don’t register what we are actually eating, we often don’t chew our food enough, meaning that your stomach isn’t ready to digest the food and it hasn’t been broken down enough before hitting out stomach.

When you are stressed the right hormones don’t fire to prepare the body for eating which cause problems with you not digesting your food properly, then your body can’t take in the nutrients that it needs (no matter how healthy your food is).

Turn off the TV, put away your laptop and phone, move away from your desk at work. If you can, do a quick meditation before you eat to reduce the stress. If you need background noise (I am not a fan of hearing people chew) then put some slow paced music on in the background.

Sit at the table if you have one.

Use your knife and fork, but put them down between mouthfuls, don’t load up your fork read to go in as soon as you swallow.

Chew your food, at least 20 times, get the saliva doing its work, make the task in your tummy easier and hopefully reduce indigestion or heartburn.

Enjoy your meal, every mouthful.

If you live with someone, eat and chat with them. Make it a daily occurrence.

You could make this a ritual too along with the meditation!

Eat well

Jen x

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Eat, Drink & Be Happy

As a personal trainer I often get asked the question ‘how do I lose my tummy in 4 weeks? I am going on holiday/ getting married / have an important event soon’

My response… Don’t leave it till 4 weeks before the event for a start. But I also ask the question ‘why do you spend the rest of your year not liking your body to just try and get it in shape at the last minute?’

Ideally we want to be in our best shape all year round, we should feel relatively happy with what we see when we look in the mirror.

When we don’t it is because we have been punishing ourselves with crap food and no activity.

I hear so often ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I try really hard but it’s just not working’.

I am pretty sure if we went through your day, there would be time that could be better utilised and if we analysed the eating, drinking and activity habits you have there would be things that could be improved.

If you have been someone who has tried every diet on the market, chances are you are currently eating very little in a day and still not losing weight. If you are in this category fixing things is going to take a bit longer than someone who just over eats. But it can be done.

If you are not happy with what you see right now, don’t wait until you feel like you really need to look better. Do it for you and do it now.

I don’t care what size or shape you are, eat and move to be healthy and happy in the skin you are in.

If you are someone who wants to eat cake every day, that is fine, just make sure all the rest of your food is good quality and accept that fact that you are likely to be rocking out some curves.

You need to decide what is more important to you to keep you happy. If you are eating that cake every day to try and fill a gap of connection, it’s not going to work. You are going to need to address that reason.

Don’t leave it to the last minute, yes you can flatten your tummy in 4 weeks, but, as soon as you go back to your ways of eating, drinking and moving less it will come back… You could just invest in a pair of spanx…

Have an awesome Thursday eating, drinking and moving to make you happy

Jen x

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Eat Well Stress Less

Food can also play a bit part in stress. What you eat can stress you and stress can make you overeat or under eat depending on how you react to things.

Starting with eating to help reduce the amount of stress in your body…

Avoiding processed foods, these are often high in salt and or sugar and send your blood pressure and blood sugar levels off the scale meaning that your body has to work really hard and bringing the levels back to normal.

Making sure that you have enough magnesium, zinc and omega 3 oils in your diet are really important.

Magnesium rich foods include bananas, dark leafy green veg, nuts, seeds, avocado and dark chocolate. You do only absorb about 14% of the magnesium available in the food so having an eposom salts bath or getting a magnesium spray to apply to your skin is a good way to boost the magnesium, your body takes on about 80% through the skin.

Zinc rich foods include meat, eggs, legumes, and oysters.

Omega 3 oils are found in your oily fish: tuna (not canned), salmon, sardines, mussels, trout, krill, sea algae, flaxseed and chia seeds.

You can supplement with these but I would recommend that if you are on any medication that you speak with your Dr first, and then when buying supplement make sure that they are a good quality brand, especially with the fish oils (if you would like recommended brands please get in touch with me and I can point you in the right direction) but eating whole foods is always your best first step.

Allowing yourself to have the occasional treat is good for your stress levels too. Knowing that you are looking forward to cake and coffee with your friend to have a catch up is a great way to de-stress.

Remember, as soon as you tell yourself that you are not allowed or that you are depriving yourself of something you start to get stressed about it. Treats are just that, not rewards or punishments.

When you eat, you should feel satisfied, full, energised and nourished… If you are still hungry, leave it 20mins then have something else, if you feel sluggish, bloated, sleepy or guilty then you might want to look at what you are eating and see what small changes you can make to make it a better meal for you.

Eat well, stress less

Jen x

Do you find it difficult?

Why is it when we want to look better we obsess about what we can and can’t eat. What we should be doing, what we shouldn’t be doing. What the person we follow on instagram eats and how they look.

There are a band of people that live for their cheat day just so they can eat or drink whatever they want. And when they do, they go to town on a serious binge. In my opinion this is no way to live and isn’t healthy.

I was reading a blog post the other day about vegetarians and vegetarianism in general, and about how they are so good at sticking to their chosen diet. I am not about to tell you that you need to be vegetarian or vegan, I know plenty of them that don’t eat healthily either.

Up until about 3 months ago not a single piece of meat had passed my lips since 2005 (I had a notion to try fish, one small bite which took me about half an hour to work up to trying, pointless… still don’t want to eat it).

The question is why is it that vegetarians and vegans can stick to their diets so well without wanting to ‘cheat’?

It comes down to their VALUES and personal beliefs. Whether it’s about animal welfare / cruelty, environmental issues, health or whatever their reason is, they don’t sway.

The values are set.  It’s their belief and they stick to it. It’s not even up for discussion.

For many of them their diet is not based around trying to lose weight or look better naked. Anyone who has tried being veggie to lose weight will have discovered pretty quickly that it doesn’t work for them.

For someone who chooses to be veggie, there is not even any temptation, and most of us don’t even think about it, it’s just our way of life.

Why is it then, for so many other people who do want to lose weight and look better naked that they feel hard done by, giving up certain food that they know makes them feel like shit?

From a young age many of us have been rewarded with food – to keep quiet, to behave, to do homework / chores etc. If you are good you will get cake / crisps / sweets etc. That is the value we have then given to food, so when we take it away it feels like a punishment.

Now, I am thinking, if you understand your values, and know WHY you want to look and feel better you won’t feel like you are being hard-done to when you ditch the shit food & drink??

You won’t be relying on willpower to help you resist temptation… There will be no temptation just like for a vegetarian.

Take the time to think about what it is you actually want and what you will get from achieving this particular goal… Will you feel more confident? Happy? Sexy? In control? Or significant? Whatever it is that you really want from achieving the goal is going to help you feel better about the journey.

The food industry are only interested in 1 thing… Profit. They put food out there with chemicals that they know you will be addicted to so you buy more.

Then they produce the diet version for you to get addicted to while you are trying to lose weight from the other crap that makes you so happy but so unhappy at the same time.

Ever eaten a packet of sweets, got the sugar buzz, then the sicky feeling crash that makes you want more sugar to take the edge of the sugar comedown off?

Yeah, me too…

I know which feeling I prefer and it ain’t the sugar comedown.

Ever had that reaction to steak and salad? A plate of roast veggies? A bowl of porridge?

No, me neither…

They also run advertising campaigns that trigger emotions if you eat or drink their product – chocolate = relaxed, coke = fun, haribo = like a kid etc.

Understand and live by your values and reasons why and use them in all areas of your life. All of a sudden life gets a whole lot easier. When you have a dilemma, think about what fits better with your values. Bingo, decision made.

Just something for you to have a think about if you are struggling with the thought of cutting things out.

It doesn’t need to be about willpower (which, like a muscle needs to be worked on)… To help you strengthen your willpower muscle make it about your personal values and see how much more successful you are.

Jen x


There is no magic diet pill (sorry)

‘Oh wow, you are looking amazing, what diet is it you are on?’

‘just healthy eating’

‘oh L ‘ – confused and disappointed.

This is a conversation that many of my clients and I have had with people.

Why is it that people are disappointed to hear that there is no quick fix or magic pill to get them results that they want?

I know so many people that have followed every diet they can find on the internet and are BIGGER than they were before they started on their quest to lose weight.

How many fad diets need to be tried and failed before you believe that eating healthy meals and snacks is the answer?

Why is it that thinking ‘drop a dress size in a day’ is possible and sustainable when it took much longer than that to go up a dress size?

For years meal replacement shakes have been around. Of course you are going to lose weight when you go on them. You replace 2 meals a day with a 200 calorie drink…

It’s simple maths, eat less calories than you expend and you will lose weight… But the reduction in calories needs to be sustainable so you don’t get those hellish cravings and eat a months’ worth of food in an hour.

When you go on these crazy diets, what happens as soon as you start eating again? You gain weight faster than it came off and then add on a bit more.

Sound familiar?

Why does that happen?

Geek time – when you reduce the calories you eat, your body slows down all your systems so it doesn’t need as much energy to run (it’s really smart like that). Then when you increase your calories back to how you were eating before all your systems are still slow, not using energy so you get fat.

The only way to get round that would be to increase your activity so the pluses and minuses even out.

So, rather than losing 2 meals a day to crappy shakes, why not move more and eat better?

Yes the weight loss might be slower, but you won’t feel hungry, you won’t have to cut out food groups, you won’t have to drink nasty shakes.

We need to keep the focus away from weight loss and being what the media portray as the ideal shape or size.

We are all different.

We all look different.

We are all built different.

One size doesn’t fit all.

Eat for health. Eat what makes you feel good (and by that I mean energised, well, refreshed. Not high for 5 minutes followed by a sleepy slump).

It’s a new week. Get yourself organised. Stick to your plan as much as possible. If you fall don’t give up, restart at the next meal and forgive yourself.

Have a good week

Jen x

i won’t let this get the better of me

Hey, hey, how was your weekend?

Some weeks I feel like my feet don’t touch the ground between trips to Galway then to Peterborough, training with the European Master Trainer team, driving home, classes, meetings, exercise rehab, training, preparing food, writing, loving every minute.

In among all this chaos I discover that my Helicobacter has reared its ugly head.

Heartburn, bloating, beltching, cramps among other symptoms I don’t need to share.

I know exactly what happened.

I was really busy, running about, not organised.

When I was on holiday there was a whole week of couple of beers in the evening, chocolate, bread, pizza, food on the run and I didn’t get that much better when I got back…

I have been running about, not taking time out to get organised.

I have been feeding that parasite left right and centre for about a month now.

Now, I could go to the Dr but I know that they will refer me to the hospital and it will be another 8 weeks before I get my test (at least) before they then pump my system with antibiotics.


Last time I had a flare up, I took time to do some research in to natural ways to beat it.

Avoid: sugar, yeast, alcohol, dairy, eggs, and gluten.

Increase: broccoli, ginger, olive oil, coconut oil, pineapple, raspberries, mint, turmeric, cinnamon, kefir, liquorice and oregano.

Lets face it, the avoid list is pretty much what we should be avoiding anyway (apart from eggs and dairy for some people).

Your body is an amazing instrument. It sends out signals when it is not happy.

Skin conditions like acne, eczema & psoriasis. Bloating and excess gas. IBS. Lethargy. PCOS. Even stress, depression and mood swings are linked to the food we eat.

It is so important to listen to these signals and act on them, with your main focus your health and having the energy to live a life that is not just sleep, eat, work, repeat.

I have been listening to some podcasts recently, and one of the guys who was on was talking about turning your symptoms up and down.

Understanding what foods cause what reactions, and if you really want that bit of cake or glass of wine, you will know and understand how your body reacts then how to get it to calm down again.

An interesting thing came up when I was chatting with my mentor last week.

During the summer when he has aggravated hay fever, eating sugar makes it worse and makes him wheeze meaning he needs to take his inhaler.

Sometimes he wants that bit of chocolate more than he cares that he needs to take a shot of inhaler…

Have you ever thought about any ailments you have that you maybe take medication for or put up with and haven’t considered that it could be your lifestyle?

Is your lifestyle too important that you are willing to sacrifice your health?

Has it not even been something you have considered?

One of the things that I get my ladies on the nutrition programme to do is to keep a food, activity and mood diary.

This is the first step in identifying anything that might not quite agree with you.

I spent the day making roast veg, veg soup, quinoa & butternut squash burgers and spicy chickpeas to make sure I am set up for the week ahead.

Get your shit together this time…

Jen x