(C) Dinner parties – the clean way! (Part I)

Firstly I would like to apologise for my absence over the past week – it’s been a busy one at work and I haven’t had much spare time to blog. However, I have managed to perfect a three course meal suitable for clean eaters, vegetarians and coeliacs – for those times when you want to have people over but don’t want to break your diet! I’m going to aim to do each recipe so that it can feed up to 4 people, however I do live alone so this may vary depending on how much food people eat (as with every recipe).

First Course/Starter – Flaxseed Bread with Guaca-HOLYMOLY

What you need:

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups milled flaxseed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda OR baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Guaca-HOLYMOLY

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cayenne Chilli Pepper
  • Dried Mixed Herbs (for garnish)

Method:

This recipe is super simple!

For the bread:

Preheat your oven to 200oc or 180oc for a fan oven.

In a mixing bowl (or, if you don’t have one like me, in a large pan), put the milled flaxseed and add 3 eggs, mix this all together so it is a wet mixture.

Add the bicarb of soda/baking powder, ground almonds and salt and mix again, it’s going to dry up pretty quickly so now is the time to crack in the extra egg and add the 3 tbsp of water.

Mix it all up until it is almost a lumpy cake mixture consistency.

That is it, all you need to do now is pour it in to a small loaf pan, pop it in the oven and wait 20-25 mins. Stick a knife through the centre and if it comes out clean, it’s ready! This bread is delicious and surprisingly light – you can add nuts to it or leave it plain. It’s so versatile, it’s worth playing around with adding different ingredients to see how it turns out! (I will be experimenting with Monterey Jack cheese and jalapenõs soon).

Flaxseed bread with guaca-HOLYMOLY

For the Guaca-HOLYMOLY:

Cut the avocados in half and remove the stones. Remove the peel and place all the flesh in to a bowl, cut in to small chunks. Mash the avocado flesh with the back of a fork until it’s a smooth consistency (this can take some elbow grease and patience! It may be easier to do these one at a time). Add in the Cayenne Chilli Pepper and mix it all up, I would suggest doing this a bit at a time and tasting throughout until it’s at a heat that you are happy with.

Once the bread is cool enough, spread the Guaca-HOLYMOLY on to sliced pieces and garnish by sprinkling some dried mixed herbs over the top.

SO SO EASY, yet so full of flavour!

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments section below.

Grading Night!!!

Tonight was my 6th experience of grading, with only 4 left to go until I reach 1st Dan (or to most people – black belt) so I want to give you some background in to what it is that I really do.

Please be aware that different schools have other criteria and the following is all based on my experiences at the Taekwondo Academy in Petersfield.

There are many different types of Taekwondo, all of which have different focusses (Eg some styles focus mainly on technique, some lean more towards sparring etc). The variation that we learn is a mixture of technique and sparring, with a pretty equal focus on both. Taekwondo is a mixed martial art, it has no particular bias towards the hands or the legs as some other martial arts do; you use what you can, but you use it correctly. (Although some would argue that it is more of a kicking sport; those people have never sparred with us).

What a grading (generally) entails

The basic thing you need to know for any grading is your form (sometimes referred to as a pattern), which is a sequence of moves performed in a specific order and can be difficult to remember. Each form has a different amount of moves and is particular to the belt for which you are grading. For instance, my form this evening, Joong-Gun, had 30 moves of varying complexity but my first form, Chon-Ji, had only 14 moves.

Other things you may need to know for your grading include;

  • Escapes – for self defence purposes if you are grabbed
  • One Steps (or sparring drills) – a series of moves performed with a partner to help develop muscle memory during sparring and to improve technique (this is done in a defensive manner, one person will ‘punch’ the other who would then perform the moves)
  • Target drills – to practice technique and help develop muscle memory for sparring
  • Sparring – during grading this helps the instructors to see areas that need to be improved upon, particularly complex moves such as jump kicks, spin kicks and jump/spin kicks
  • The name of your form (in its original Korean) and the amount of moves in your form
  • Pressure points and other trivia
  • The 7 tenets of Taekwondo – Honour, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, Community

As you can see, there can be a lot involved in a grading and although not every topic above may be covered, there is much more to it than you may originally think. A lot of hours need to be put in and any opportunity to practice must be taken (you only need to check the CCTV around the side of my office building to see how serious I am about this!). So imagine being an instructor and having to know all of the above topics… but for 10+ different belts.

The belts (in order)

I get asked a lot what belt I am and when I tell people they generally have no idea where that falls on the spectrum but still say ‘oh cool!’ anyway. Please find the belts we use at the Taekwondo Academy in order below.

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Senior Green
  • Blue
  • Senior Blue
  • Purple
  • Senior Purple
  • Red
  • Senior Red
  • 1st Dan (Black)
  • there are many more beyond this, but I will leave it here for now!

On top of this are the Instructor qualifications which range from Level 4 to Level 1 (Level 1 being the most senior you can get).

At the time of writing this, I am a Senior Blue Level 4 Junior Assistant Instructor. I will find out if I passed my grading and if I have achieved my Purple belt tomorrow evening.

So what is it like?

Grading is terrifying, whether you are prepared or not, but so very worth it. There’s just something about the formality of it, with a panel of people judging you and trying to remember so many things all at once, that really gets the adrenaline going.

Yet nothing beats the feeling when your name is called and you tie your new belt around your waist because you know that you earned it.

The Man. The Myth.
The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Norris made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master.

Stay tuned for more Taekwondo related information and news.

My Kit is here!!!

As most of you are probably aware, I am now a Younique presenter and have started the Clean And Green Girls Make Up Business.

I’ve been waiting for my Presenter’s Kit to arrive for about a week and been itching to try the make up – especially after my sister got the Moodstruck 3D fiber lash mascara and posted this photo on Instagram:

Amelia's Moodstruck 3D fiber lash test

 

So when I was awoken this morning by a knock on my door and opened it to find the postman there holding a box emblazoned with ‘Younique’ you can imagine my excitement!

I opened the box immediately and this is what I found:

Presenters Kit

 

  • Moodstruck 3D fiber lash mascara
  • Divine Daily Moisturizer (50ml)
  • 3 x Moodstruck Minerals Pigment (In shades: Sexy, Confident & Corrupted)
  • A Presenter Guide
  • Cosmetics & Skin Care Catalogue
  • 3 x Brushes (Crease Brush, Deluxe Brush & Liner/Shader Brush)
  • Moodstruck Precision Pencil Eye Liner (In Pristine[white] & Perfect[black])
  • Foundation/Powder Colour Swatch
  • Lucrative Lip Gloss
  • Moodstruck Precision Pencil Lip Liner (In Pompous)
  • A White Status Presenter Charm on a purple ring
  • All of the above was packed in to a lovely embossed case

The first thing I noticed was quality. All of the make up and the brushes just screamed quality to me, I knew that I had made a good decision and wouldn’t regret choosing Younique. My biggest issue when I try to sell something is not believing in the products – already I’ve fallen in love with these!

The products I tested first were the Moodstruck Precision Pencil Eye Liner in Pristine, the Liner/Shader Brush with Moodstruck Minerals Pigment in Sexy and Confident and, of course, the Moodstruck 3D fiber lash mascara and, well, the results speak for themselves!

Moodstruck 3D fiber lash first try

 

I couldn’t believe the results and was so happy when I realised I would never have to fiddle with the glue and associated faff of fake lashes ever again. As an added bonus, I am not worried about any damage to my natural lashes as the mascara actually conditions them – I cannot find a single downside to this mascara and now 100% understand why it is the leading product in the Younique range.

I’ve now been wearing this make up all day and not had any issues, I will admit that I was worried that the fibres would fall in to my eyes and cause irritation but thanks to the transplanting gel, no such issues have occurred. I was dubious of the shade of the Mineral Pigments at first as well but actually really love it now! You can see this a bit better in this photo:

Full eye look

 

All-in-all I am really very impressed with the quality of the make up and how well it really works (no smudging has happened at all today which is quite an achievement for me!).

If any of you want to try any of the products or see them in action, let me know and we can arrange to meet up. I can also do make up parties for anyone interested and there is the opportunity to host your own virtual party here (where you can earn Y cash to get your own free make up!) or to buy directly from one of my parties here. If any of you are interested in becoming a presenter yourself, please feel free to message me on Facebook for more info.

Oh and finally – HAPPY WEEKEND!

(And Happy 1 week anniversary to www.cleanandgreengirls.com!)

 

The Body Image Issue

I am aware that my view may be controversial but it’s one I think a lot of people secretly would agree with. My view is simple:

There is a difference between promoting body confidence and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. 

And we’ve gone too far. In trying to promote self-confidence and a love of oneself, we’ve allowed people who are clinically obese to become ‘supermodels’ and role models, these people are celebrated for ‘breaking the boundaries’ and ‘crushing stereotypes’. These people are also wildly unhealthy – one comment I heard from a self-confessed overweight model is that celebrities don’t get criticised for smoking – so why should she be criticised for being overweight? The response was an outcry of people agreeing that she should be celebrated too. My response? You’re right, the person who is promoting smoking should probably be in some hot water too. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Celebrating obesity isn’t celebrating body confidence – it’s not letting people (especially impressionable young women) know that people come in all shapes and sizes and to be comfortable in themselves – it’s telling these people that it’s okay to be unhealthy. How can we, as a society and as a body image positive movement, justify allowing severely overweight and unhealthy people becoming models when we’ve worked so hard to stop (and in some countries, make illegal) underweight and unhealthy models being hired and shown in the media?

Just because it’s (generally) easier to be overweight than underweight it doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. This has to stop.

I absolutely believe that everyone should be comfortable in their own body, and will admit that I was not comfortable in mine  – I am still self-conscious but I didn’t realise it for years. The time I started to embrace my differences is when I focused on health and fitness rather than looks. The one thing I say to people and fully believe is that it’s okay to be any shape, size, colour, or whatever as long as you are healthy! I don’t mean you need to be as fitness obsessed as myself – rather you shouldn’t feel bloated all the time or fear the slightest bit of exercise. To me it’s that simple.

So PLEASE, let’s stop celebrating unhealthy people because it’s in fashion, let’s stop idolising overweight people because they ‘promote body confidence’. Let’s not undo all of the hard work that was put in to having healthy models in magazines rather than underweight ones. Let’s get real – let’s celebrate healthy, strong people.

nike-women-make-yourself-team-group-1
Photo from Nike Ad Campaign

(C) Tilly’s Chunky Spag Bol with a twist

My recipes will be very rough guides, don’t follow them too closely, this is cooking – not science!

What you will need:

For the pasta:

  • 1 courgette
  • A spiralizer

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 pack baby plum tomatoes
  • A splash of Apple Cider vinegar
  • 4 asparagus stalks
  • 6 baby corn
  • Dried Mixed Herbs
  • Dried Coriander Leaf (can use fresh if you want)
  • Dried Chives (can also use fresh if you have it!)
  • 100g-200g Mincemeat/Quorn or any alternative thereof

Method:

Using the spiralizer, create your “pasta” from the courgette and place off to one side.

Chop the baby plum tomatoes in to quarters (if you prefer, remove the seeds at this time as well. I leave them in but it doesn’t really make much difference) and place in a pan on the hob on a high heat, add a splash of apple cider vinegar (it really doesn’t need to be a lot, apple cider vinegar is very acidic and has a very strong taste).

Stir the tomatoes until they start to break up. Chop the asparagus and baby corn in to small pieces and add to the pan. Keep stirring until the tomatoes have completely broken down, adding roughly 1tbsp of each of the dried herbs or an amount to your taste (this is where it starts to smell REALLY good). Stir and turn the heat down to a simmer.

In a separate pan, cook your mincemeat until it’s brown all the way through.

Whilst the mincemeat and sauce are cooking, it’s time to cook the “pasta” – you have two choices here; you can steam it or you can boil it, either way cook until the courgette starts to go soft or until it’s the same consistency that you would normally have your pasta. This does not take long so you will need to keep an eye on it.

Drain the excess water/vinegar from the sauce and the fat from the mincemeat and mix together in one of the pans. Heat through.

You’re ready to serve it up! This recipe will serve one active, hungry person (okay, I mean it’ll serve someone who eats a lot like me!) or could feed up to two people, if it’s not enough just add more asparagus, baby corn and mincemeat or scale up the whole recipe. Enjoy and don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Travis and his super long pasta
Travis (my Taekwondo instructor) with a super long piece of courgette pasta – his review of the food “That was lovely – thanks!’

We are Generation (wh)Y

Every new generation brings a definitive, collective movement. Think suffragettes, think MLK and Rosa Parks; now imagine a whole generation campaigning for equality. That’s us. There’s no definitive age range for Generation Y (or Millennials as we’re also known), so I’m going to go with anyone born in the 1980’s all the way through to the early 2000’s.

2014 saw a huge amount of protest and focus on the inequalities people are faced with, whether you’re LGBTQ, black, a woman or Fergusonany of a variety of other minorities, there was a huge movement for you to get behind and it’s still going. (Think: Ferguson, #TransIsBeautiful and #HeForShe, to name a few.)

We’re a generation where the majority of us have never seen a whole year of peace, who have been hit with worldwide recession and who are constantly called ‘lazy, unengaged and unsociable’ by our predecessors. We’re also a generation of innovation, a generation who focuses on health and the environment, who campaign for inclusion and equality. The evidence is that we are more active,  more engaged with politics and current affairs (as could be seen on anyone’s Facebook timeline during the 2015 UK General Election) and more social thanks  to the invention of social media.

On top of this, thanks to the World Wide Web, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips, accessible at any time through smart phones, laptops or tablets (or any internet capable device – the Internet of Things is real, people). We question ‘Why?’ and we find an immediate answer. This has helped us to be more informed and so we fear social change less than previous generations as we can truly understand different perspectives on topical matters. We are willing to learn and work hard to grow, it may be easier to access the information but we still make the effort to look for it – because of that simple question ‘Why?’.

So next time you’re told our generation ‘has it easy’, is ‘entitled’ and are ‘lazy’, don’t be afraid to question it – why do you think that? We’ve been through economical hell, been discriminated against, and are trying to fix the planet that has been destroyed by your greed and entitlement. We are (for the most part) working towards a safer, more inclusive, healthier society and you don’t hear us blaming you constantly for the state society and our planet have been left in.

Stop fighting against us, stop pushing us down. Work with us on creating a new world and fix the mistakes humans have made in the past. I promise you everyone will be happier that way.

Defend_Equality_free_your_mind_by_domnx
Graphic by domnx on DeviantArt

Disclaimer: I am aware that segregating the generations isn’t 100% accurate and that there are, indeed, some ignorant idiots in our generation and there are a lot of inclusive and active people in previous generations but just let me have this one, okay? 

#GetHenchMonday

#GetHenchMonday started as a bit of a joke; I was in my car after completing Taekwondo and an hour at the gym and feeling good about it, so I took a classic bicep curl selfie and plastered it across social media. I’ll even (begrudgingly) post the offending photo here for you:

How embarrassing...
Oh dear… How embarrassing!

Please don’t hold it against me…

Since then, however, #GetHenchMonday has started to mean more to me. It’s become a motivator, a way to start the week off right and to clear my head after (everyone’s favourite) work day.

On Mondays I always push myself harder and continue going for longer, I can’t plan anything social on a Monday anymore because the Iron Paradise and the dojo are the only places I belong! It’s silly and it’s cheesy but it’s become a lot more than just a hashtag – it’s the reason I rush home from work to run to Taekwondo, the reason I am willing to run 3k to the gym after an hour and a half of Taekwondo, push the weights hard for an hour and run back home. It’s the motivator behind exercising from the moment I get home until around 10pm (approx. 5 hours every Monday!).

It also helps me get back in to the swing of things during the work week, reminding me how much I enjoy the exercise, the training, the discipline so I don’t miss a night at the gym. This is especially important if I’ve had a lazy weekend or start trying to make excuses in my head!

I’m also a self-confessed over thinker. We could have a seemingly innocuous conversation about nothing in particular and I may dwell on it for hours, thinking I should have said something differently – or was how I said that rude? Did I come across as pushy? Or a thousand other questions that pop in to my head. This doesn’t happen with every conversation, of course, and it doesn’t happen with every single person. (It isn’t always limited to specific people either though.) Exercise is the BEST and the ONLY way I have found to stop this, and it’s great! Not only does #GetHenchMonday discipline my body, but my mind benefits considerably as well.

As silly as it sounds, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, start your own hashtag for something you enjoy or something you want to do, do it every Monday and you’ll become more enthusiastic about and learn to look forward to and love it! It doesn’t have to be exercise either – it could be studying or knitting or cuddling your cat. Give it a try and see how you feel – don’t forget to comment your results below!

I’ll leave you with the results of tonight’s #GetHenchMonday here:

Resistance Training
Resistance Training 08.06.2015 (Jefit Pro)
Fitbit Screenshot
Fitbit data 08.06.2015
MapMyRun data screen shot
MapMyRun data 08.06.2015
MapMyFitness data screenshot
MapMyFitness data 08.06.2015

It’s our launch!

Hello!

Firstly I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to have a look around! As you can see from the above tabs, we have 4 main focusses on this blog; beauty, fitness, food and thoughts.

The two main contributors to this blog are myself (Tilly) and Jo, we hope to update you daily with our latest strides towards a happier, healthier lifestyle!

We believe we are part of one of the most interesting, inclusive generations to date, a generation who uses the wide world of Big Data and science to work towards a healthier lifestyle, whilst ensuring that everyone knows that they are important and individuality is celebrated. (We’ll discuss this more later under ‘Thoughts’).

We also really really really love food! Experimenting in the kitchen can turn out amazingly well (or sometimes not so well) and we will share our favourite recipes with you here.

This is a double launch with my new venture with Younique. The Clean and Green Girls business sells ethical, high quality, affordable beauty products. You can buy from my current party or set up a party yourself to earn free make up products!

Always feel free to comment on any of our posts and join in the discussion.

It’s great to be here – thanks for joining us!

Tilly

Josh, Jo and Tilly
Jo (centre) and Tilly (bottom) with our friend Josh (left)