I lost half a stone in a week – that’s good isn’t it?

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Wait what? Half a stone – in a week? no that’s not good. Not in any way or by any measure. That’s an unsafe and unsustainable weight loss.

Hang on – you’re 13? What the….

The Keep it Real Campaign estimate that just over half of all 13 year olds have weight concerns and have dabbled with diets. This concern with image is found in children as young as 6!

It’s not just girls but boys tend to be under different pressures: to bulk up, to be beefier, to add muscle.

Where does a child of 13 get the idea that diets and half stone weight losses are positive from? Adults? Parents? The media? Our whole society is rubbing women out. Slimming us down, thinning us out. A nip here, a tuck there. A mouse click to remove inches, to shape, to tone…

A before-and-after image from Britney Spears' 2013 "Work B****" music video obtained by the Daily Mail, which shows the digital slim-down Britney's body received via CGI.

We’ve all seen the like. Poor Britney here carved up on a computer screen and, effectively, rubbed out to take up less space in the world.

Then there’s the current preoccupation with Snapchat filters and the Barbie look. These filters use evolutionary psychology principles to create more ‘appealing’ images. They increase eye size, smooth out complexions, widen foreheads and thin down necks. All of these are synonymous with the idea of retaining juvenile features in an adult face. Known as neotenous features, these are intended to increase attractiveness and suggest vulnerability. Tell me again how these are ‘fun?’ Why are they mostly targeted at women? And by whom?

These trends are insidious. They are misogynistic and  they are damaging. Think about it. Why are we not ok as we are?

The next time you are tempted to fake your appearance ask yourself this. Would I want a 13 year old to feel pressure to look this way? If the answer is no? You’d probably be better giving them a positive, empowered and naturally beautiful role model to emulate. Just as you are.

You are enough.

 

 

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Recipe: Gardener’s Pie

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Gardener's Pie

Gardener's Pie

Ingredients

  • 600g potatoes for mashing (I used Maris Pipers), peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Home-made bouquet garni of leftover herbs. I used bunches of sage, thyme and parsley held together with an elastic band (if not - add dried mixed herbs instead)
  • 2 tins of prepared green lentils or beans (I used haricot and black eyed beans)
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 750ml vegetable bouillon
  • (soya) milk and (soya) butter for the mash

Instructions

  1. Put the potatoes into plenty of salted water, and bring to the boil
  2. Cook until soft enough to mash with the butter and milk, check the seasoning
  3. Heat the oven to 200oc?180oC/Gas 6.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, carrots and celery, cook for 5 minutes
  5. Add the garlic and the bouquet garni
  6. Blitz the sun-dried tomatoes in a hand blender to a paste with some of their oil or chop finely, add to the pan
  7. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes until veg are tender
  8. Add the beans and, once the liquid in the pan has reduced down, take off the heat
  9. Pour into a large ovenproof casserole dish
  10. Top with the mash

Notes

This is perfect for using up leftovers, use anything you have handy but make sure to add protein in the form of lentils or beans to ensure it's a hearty and filling meal 🙂

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/22/recipe-gardeners-pie/

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Recipe: Kale and Toasted Pumpkin Baked Risotto

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Kale and Toasted Pumpkin Baked Risotto

Kale and Toasted Pumpkin Baked Risotto

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 small or two large banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 175g basmati rice
  • 125ml dry white wine (pinot grigio works well)
  • 600ml hot vegetable bouillon
  • 3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 75g kale (picked over for rough stems)
  • 50g sliced greens (picked over for rough stems)
  • 100g soft goats cheese (optional)
  • 25g parmesan (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC Fan/Gas 4
  2. Heat the oil in a medium sized, lidded flameproof casserole dish
  3. Add the shallots and cook gently for 5 minutes
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil for 30 seconds
  5. Pour over the wine and bubble until reduced significantly
  6. Add the hot stock, bring to a simmer, cover and place in pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes
  7. When risotto is cooking, dry fry the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan until cracked and golden
  8. Remove the risotto from the oven, stir in the kale and greens, replace lid and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes until the vegetables have wilted and the rice is cooked, check seasoning
  9. If using, stir through the cheese before serving and top with the parmesan
  10. Finish with the toasted pumpkin seeds and a grinding of black pepper
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/21/recipe-baked-kale-risotto/

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Recipe: Perfect Paella

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Perfect Paella

Perfect Paella

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 500g paella rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1 litre of vegetable bouillon
  • Good pinch of saffron
  • 150g fresh (or frozen) peas
  • A jar of roasted peppers in oil, drained and sliced (I use Aldi's antipasta range)
  • 3 lemons, 1 cut into wedges for garnish the other two juiced (or use good squirt of bottled lemon juice)
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large wok, add the onions, celery and carrots until starting to brown
  2. Add the raw peppers, cook for another 5 minutes, stirring
  3. Add the smoked paprika and tomato paste, stir for a minute
  4. Add the garlic, thyme and chilli
  5. Add the rice, stir well to coat in oil and then pour over the wine
  6. Cook until most of the wine has bubbled away then add the stock or bouillon with the saffron
  7. Bring to the boil then reduce to the lowest heat for 20 minutes
  8. There should be minimal liquid left but the pan should not be dry, if it has dried, add more stock or some boiled water to loosen
  9. Add the peas for the last few minutes of cooking and squeeze over the lemon juice, check the seasoning
  10. If rice is cooked, remove from the heat, add the sliced roasted peppers and cover (lid or tea towel) for a few minutes before serving
  11. Serve garnished with the parsley and lemon wedges
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/19/recipe-perfect-paella/

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Recipe: Super Healthy Stir-fry

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Super Healthy Stir Fry

Super Healthy Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli
  • 3 nests of straight to wok or microwave noodles (I used a mix of Aldi's chilli and wholegrain noodles)
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • Bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
  • 150g Fresh peas or frozen if out of season
  • 300g bag of mixed stir-fry veg and bean sprouts (I used a Tesco variety for £1)
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Handful of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, cook the onions until caramelising
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute
  3. Meanwhile Add the trimmed broccoli to a pan of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes
  4. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions (some need microwaved first)
  5. Add the peas to the boiling broccoli for the last minute of cooking, drain
  6. Heat the sesame oil in a wok until shimmering
  7. Add the cooked noodles or straight to wok noodles, stir well
  8. After 2 minutes, add the mixed veg and beansprouts to the wok, stir well
  9. After a minute add the drained broccoli and peas, the fried onions and garlic
  10. Stir fry together and add the soy sauce, stir to coat
  11. Serve garnished with the spring onions and the chopped peanuts

Notes

You can add Quorn 'chicken' pieces to this dish. Add to the onions once starting to caramelise.

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/18/recipe-super-healthy-stir-fry/

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Recipe: Squash and Sage Pasta

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Squash and Sage Pasta

Squash and Sage Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Bunch of sage leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 75g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 400g spinach trottole pasta or orecchiette
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated parmesan (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/180C fan/Gas 6
  2. Place the chopped squash and red pepper onto a baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil and seasoning
  3. Bake for 30 minutes until browned, adding the sage and hazelnuts for the last 5 minutes
  4. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, about 10 minutes before the end of the vegetables cooking time
  5. Once cooked, drain the pasta and mix with the vegetables
  6. Tip into a large serving bowl, drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil, toss well and serve with parmesan if using
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/15/recipe-squash-and-sage-pasta/

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Recipe: Bandit Beans

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Bandit Beans

Bandit Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tsp. smoked paprika
  • 400g can each of butter beans and haricot beans
  • 2 Tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • To Serve:
  • Handful of parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and pepper, fry for 10 minutes or until softened
  2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, paprika, vinegar, beans, sugar and seasoning
  3. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened

Notes

Serve with toast or veggie sausages and hash browns for a tasty, healthy brunch 😀

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/09/recipe-bandit-beans/

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Recipe: Cazza’s Chipotle Cacao Cakes

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Cazza's Chipotle Cacao Cakes

Cazza's Chipotle Cacao Cakes

Ingredients

  • Dry:
  • 50g gram flour
  • 25g rice flour
  • 25g plain gluten-free flour
  • 25g cacao (or cocoa) powder
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Pinch of xantham gum
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • Wet:
  • 1 level Tsp. chipotle chilli and smoked paprika paste (Tesco's 'Ingredients' range) or 1 tsp. chilli flakes (smoked if possible)
  • 120ml olive oil
  • I 100ml pot of apple sauce (I use Aldi's apple and pear baby food pots)
  • 60ml agave syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 60ml hot water
  • Sauce:
  • 50g decent dark chocolate 70g cocoa solids+
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1 Tbsp. agave syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160oC/140oC (fan)/Gas 3
  2. Lightly oil a 12hole cupcake tin (not a muffin tin - they're too deep)
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients together
  4. In a jug, measure the wet ingredients
  5. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir lightly to combine, don't over mix and don't worry if the mixture is runny - these are brownie style cakes and should be moist
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean
  7. To make the sauce: Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30n seconds, checking after every 10 seconds to ensure it doesn't burn
  8. Allow to cool slightly then add the almond butter and agave.
  9. Serve the cakes with the sauce drizzled over
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/07/recipe-cazzas-chipotle-cacao-cakes/

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Recipe: Spicy Sweetcorn Soup

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Spicy Sweetcorn Soup

Spicy Sweetcorn Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tsp. chilli flakes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 large new potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 450g tinned sweetcorn (or fresh on the cob)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 litre of vegetable bouillon
  • To serve: chilli flakes and a handful of sweetcorn kernels, dry toasted

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic in a large saucepan for about 10 minutes or until softened
  2. Add the chilli flakes, salt, potatoes, sweetcorn and the bay leaves, stir
  3. Add the bouillon and bring to the boil
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender
  5. Blend with a stick blender once cooled slightly
  6. Dry fry the remaining sweetcorn kernels and toast until lightly browned
  7. Serve the soup topped with the toasted kernels and a pinch of chilli flakes
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/07/recipe-spicy-sweetcorn-soup/

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Recipe: Roast Tomato Barley Risotto

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Roast Tomato Barley Risotto

Roast Tomato Barley Risotto

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 300g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 150ml white wine
  • 800ml vegetable bouillon
  • 1/2 Tsp. chilli powder
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 40g parmesan, grated (optional)
  • 6 cocktail, on-the-vine tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic flavoured rapeseed oil
  • Sprigs of parsley to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oc/fan 180oC
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion and garlic, cook gently until softened and starting to brown slightly
  3. Add the pearl barley, stir to ensure it is coated in the oily onion mixture, cook until the grains turn opaque
  4. Add the wine and simmer until absorbed (smells gorgeous right about now...)
  5. Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time waiting for each to absorb before adding the next
  6. Place the tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle over a little of the garlic flavoured oil, roast for 10-15 minutes until well cooked
  7. Meanwhile keep stirring and checking the risotto
  8. When the stock is finally absorbed and the barley grains are tender, add the chilli powder, lemon juice and season to taste
  9. To serve, place the risotto in a bowl, sprinkle with parmesan (if using), lemon zest, parsley sprigs and ground black pepper.
  10. Add the roasted tomatoes and drizzle over a little more garlic scented oil
  11. Enjoy 🙂
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/08/06/recipe-roast-tomato-barley-risotto/

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