Lucy Goes (Non) Vegan – Week 5

Serves me right really.  When I first suggested me setting myself these challenges in our Sisterhood group I secretly thought it would be a great opportunity to shed a few excess pounds.

Oh boy, that didn’t go to plan.

It made me realise that I wanted to talk about this whole “always wanting” that many of us experience.  When I was over weight, all I wanted was to be thin and yet once I reached “thin” all I wanted was to be defined. Yet of course reaching my personal peak of defined, I could not maintain it and this was before I had even learnt there was this on and off season that people in the fitness world talk about.

My exercise eased off and everything softened slightly and I felt chubby again. And so the cycle started again, I just wanted to be thiner, lighter and feminine and I struggled, gained weight and was heavier again.

Now all I crave is being at a comfortable level. No on or off season, no competition ready abs.  I just want to be comfortable and having suffered previous injuries, my ideal now looks so different to what I have wanted through the last 5 years.

So is that happy spot fixed or fixable?

Can we honestly be content and feel “good enough” just by keeping fit without the goal to compete? Looking well without being pushed to be media’s “beach body ready” and just eating a balanced diet, without following a named diet or approach?

Back to this week and you may or may not be surprised to read that I decided to take a week long break.  The vegan experience had created a snowball effect with my emotions and I wont deny that I literally ate what I wanted, when I wanted and in whatever quantity I wanted.

Surprisingly I did not throw myself into the nearest butchers or cook myself a pile of sausages or bacon butties.  In fact I was not bothered at all about re-acquainting myself with meat, I was too busy working my way through dairy products. Butter, milk, cream and cheese – oh god how I missed cheese!

This blog should have been titled Lucy Goes Nuts or This is What Rebounding from a Diet is Like.

Edging onto the scales at the end of the week, I have to admit I was not ready for what I was about to see. I want to add (and this really isn’t an excuse ) that this was my first week back in the gym after a 12 week recovery from surgery.  Whenever I have more than a few weeks break from the gym I tend to put on a kilo or two that drops off again as its probably just fluid retention.

Anyhow, my weight has still crept up, which is quite unusual for me. I mostly hover around 57/58kg and it isn’t weight that is sitting too comfortable either, not like the small gains I sometimes make when training hard.

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Nevertheless I am thrilled to be back in the gym.  After that initial first visit, where you feel like a complete beginner, awkward and self conscious, I have begun to settle back into a routine.

Suddenly I am excited about the next challenge!

It was supposed to be flexible dieting (also called IIFYM If It Fits Your Macros) but my appetite is literally outta control and having been obese previously, I want to heed my personal warning signs that I need to get my sh*t together.

So IF it is. No I mean I.F, as in intermittent fasting.  Hailed as one of the many trendy ways to drop body fat, I actually happen to agree from past experience.  However what I love it for most is that it seems to kerb my appetite really well and without feeling like I am actually eating less.

My week of freedom has come to an end, but I am definitely looking forward to the next four weeks!

Oh and when I said I did not rush to eat meat, I may have fibbed a little….

Lucy Goes Vegan

This gorgeous burger was made with Kezie Meats Wagyu Beef Burgers bought from Iceland #PowerOfFrozen and if you are interested in the recipe head to my Facebook page www.facebook.com/lucycdoyle

Don’t forget, if you haven’t already joined our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/sfnsisterhood

Lucy Goes Vegan – Week 4

Week Four was, how can I put it, HARD.

So hard in fact it took 2 weeks just to write this blog and even as I type I am rather unsure what to write.

There is absolutely no denying that I found going vegan hard and I knew this would be the case even before I started.  Enjoying a selection of vegan meals is one thing, committing to a full vegan lifestyle is another entirely and its one that by week three I began to resent.

I love having choice and it felt like that diminished rapidly as did my energy levels and mood. But hey, at least the scales would prove a positive, or not…

Lucy Doyle Goes Vegan

Now I am pretty sure just the few days in Disney did not achieve the above figures by themselves, but had my peanut butter and banana and rice cakes addiction got out of control??

I just want it to be over if I am honest and I feel bad that I have not adorned this blog post with images of beautifully presented vegan creations, however honesty is what I started with and honesty is what I will finish with.  At least that is one thing I can take away from this experience!

Don’t get me wrong, if I had a chef that prepared all my meals, who ensured I met all my micro nutrients, then I would happily consider a plant based diet – but reality check, that is not going to happen any time soon.

A plant based diet for ethical reasons? Absolutely

A plant based diet for health reasons ? Hmmm I am undecided and would say that I would want to look further into that.

A plant based diet for weight loss ? Absolutely not.

Dont forget, if you haven’t already joined our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/sfnsisterhood 

Lucy Goes Vegan – Week 3

D is for Disneyland.. but also for Disaster !

That just about sums up my week.

Being half term and my daughters 10th birthday, we took her (and my oldest daughter, I’m not that cruel ha ha) on a surprise trip to Disneyland.  We were under the impression we couldn’t take in our own food, this is not the case for anyone keen to go and so I had the worry of finding vegan food.

I gave up after around 90 minutes.

Honestly? I haven’t got the internal desire to fulfil a plant only diet and all I could think about was having a good time with my family. So I well and truly fell off the wagon.  Instead of beating myself up, it really made me realise how bloody hard I am finding this and truthfully I have had enough (insert childish whine).

Compounding my lack of enthusiasm, looking in the mirror this week, I feel crap.  I thought being vegan almost guaranteed weight loss? Oh well not for a smarty pants like me, who has lived off of peanut butter, park chocolate, avocados and rice and pasta!

My stats don’t disagree..

Lucy Doyle Goes Vegan Diet SFN EXPO SFN Sisterhood

It is not me missing meat and dairy so much thats the issue, its the checking of every.. single.. label. If you aren’t having to check labels you are preparing everything from fresh and unless your whole family are doing the same – what a chore!

Don’t even get me started on My Fitness Pal! Logging every random concoction I come up with has become arduous and so of course i gave that up.  This means I am not tracking calories… I WANT MY LIFE BACK.

Yep. Random outbursts like that above have occurred, a lot. So if my husband is reading this I am sorry .  There I said and possibly my hand slipped on the font size, but its the intention that counts?

I am ready physically to return to the gym after surgery, but telling you all on the hush hush. Its not happening until my diet returns to some level of Lucy normality.

Originally, I set out to do these challenges because I wanted to see what each approach was like, myself, but I also wondered what an honest account would really read like. I am not invested in any approach and so thought I could give a fair and realistic review, with a dash of reality.

What I am, is in total support of those who choose a plant based diet, ok if I m honest I am pretty in awe of those who dedicate themselves.  Dedication is what is required and time, oh and did I mention a strong belief system.

I have no doubt that this challenge will shape my future and how I eat, vegan meals will 100% be incorporated into my life.  However using it as a method of weight loss or to improve my health (did I mention that my skin conditions have deteriorated and I have had a horrible virus) it is not the answer for me.

Its important to remember through all of this that each person is different, each experience unique and what “works” for one, may not “work” for another.

I am going to be honest and admit that i am already winding down week 4, because I have simply hit my threshold.  I will still continue to prepare and explore vegan meals but cannot promise I will continue a 100% vegan diet.

PS… Disneyland was AWESOME, yep I am a big kid!

Don’t forget, if you haven’t already joined our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/sfnsisterhood 

Lucy Goes Vegan – Week 2

It was never going to be plain sailing for this foodie..

One topic I have failed to cover in my previous blogs in this series, is exercise. I had major surgery in the latter part of last year that ruled out exercise for 8-10 weeks and so exercise for me has just been walking, walking and more walking!

Naturally it has been hard staying away from the gym and whilst I couldn’t test fully, the effects of a vegetarian diet whilst exercising. I am happy that I have pretty much maintained my weight without fully tracking my calorie intake.

Lucy Doyle SFN Sisterhood Vegan

NOTE: Week 5 and Week 6 are Week 1 and Week 2 of the Vegan Diet. The 4 weeks of vegetarian diet can be found here: Lucy Goes Vegetarian

I am due to start can exercising in a weeks time and I am really apprehensive training on a vegan diet. I am not keen on the vegan protein powders I have tried so far and I cant say I feel overly energised! Thank goodness I will only have a week to go.

Fast forward to week 2 of the vegan challenge and whilst physically I feel okay (and I really could not say better than okay) mentally I am struggling.

It has not taken even two weeks to come the conclusion that you have to be utterly devoted to the core reasons that cause you to chose a fully plant based diet.

Oh by the way, “plant based” seems to be the popular term for a diet free of any animal produce.

I am learning so much doing this challenge and it has given me so much food for thought, (sure I’ve milked this pun previously and there I go again!) especially about how I want to approach my nutrition long term.  What I know right now is, a full time plant based diet is not for me. I will continue the challenge because I committed to it, but I would be lying if I said I could get to the end of the four weeks being a dedicated vegan.

Time.

Time is the first obstacle and I have a complete lack of it.  I feel like unless I research every single ingredient in depth, then I have to rule out any packaged foods. Unless you live in a hip urban area or in a busy city, you haven’t got access to shops like Wholefoods. Supermarkets where I live have such a limited range and then foods that are suitable for vegans are not labelled to say so.

Of the meals I have had most have been enjoyable and I have not felt unfulfilled, but thats probably due to the amount of bread, rice and pasta I have been eating! My surprise comes in me missing the eggs that I didn’t miss when I was vegetarian.

Quinoa has featured heavily and I have continued to enjoy nut milks. Breakfast remains based around oats, oat bran, fresh fruit, seeds and the occasional dollop of Alpo soya yoghurt, coconut yoghurt is too high in fat for me to eat regularly.

Stirfries have been great as I can include rice noodles, but I do wonder how much I am accidentally   eating, that I shouldn’t. For instance valentines we had a bottle of Cava and if I am honest it didn’t even cross my mind that it wasn’t vegan friendly. Then I research and find that “fining agents” are used to filter the grapes and these are often animal derived i.e. bone marrow and blood.

So yep, I messed up there. However it does make me question, is that really necessary?

Whilst I am in no way a devout plant based eater in two weeks, I do want to eat more consciously and with a planet that is struggling with the burden we place on it, there are more than suitable non animal alternatives.

As I move into week three the only thing keeping me sane is an invite to an Urban Kitchen Vegan Workshop, being held by the talented Toral Shah!

Dont forget, if you haven’t already joined our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/sfnsisterhood 

Lucy Goes Vegan – Week 1 (What No One Tells You about Going Vegan)

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I cowardly deserted the start of vegan month, or maybe just went into denial that I had accepted this challenge, in the first place.

Fear not! I just got the flu.

Then daughter 1 got the flu and then daughter 2 got a tummy bug, then… Are you getting the picture here?

I joke not with my longstanding tagline “An ordinary girl on an extraordinary (and often bumpy) journey”.

So I am here, albeit a few days late and I have heaps I want to share with you.

Vegan week one began and I quite honestly didn’t know what to expect.

Could I honestly enjoy a plant based diet? Let alone survive healthily?

Lucy Doyle SFN Sisterhood Vegan

It was something I was quite nervous and worried about, mainly because vegetarian month had exposed my disorganised flaws, my dislike for prepping food and my distorted beliefs that “tomorrow I will start being on the ball”. I never found the ball, let alone roll the damn thing!

So entering the week in trepidation, I was immediately struck by how hideous it is, looking for cupboard staples which were vegan friendly. Sure, I could find plenty of vegetarian approved foods, but when I read the ingredients they appeared to be vegan friendly, but didn’t actually state it.

Jeez this was stressful.  Did this mean there was something in there, I had not realised did not constitute suitable for vegans?  Or is it just not common place to stamp it as an “ok product”.

I have been watching Sex & the City for the first time ever with a girlfriend of mine. We have a marathon night every Monday and I had to miss this weeks because I was poorly, totally gutted as even though I consider myself a tomboy – I am hooked.

I love the way Carrie talks about her articles and for several days I dreamed I was The Sisterhood version of her.  Minus the pretty dresses and the meals and the men and.. Well anyway, a girl can daydream?

 

Lucy Doyle SFN Sisterhood Vegan

Back To The Topic: My Vegan Diet

The first day I browsed supermarkets, buying anything and everything that was vegan friendly and that my sisters, was not much.

It rapidly dawned on me that if you want to be a great veganista – you have got to be ready to go whole and by that I mean preparing everything from scratch with whole ingredients.

If you don’t, you’ll find your entire free time consumed, with market research and waving good bye to your life savings that will be spent on niche sauces and dare I say it coconut yoghurt that costs £2 for a small tub and contains a staggering 25 grams of fat! That is over a third of my fat intake for a single day, in 3 mouthfuls of dairy free yoghurt. The next option is soya yoghurt and there lay my next issue.

The purpose of this blog is to give an insight into everyday life and so I don’t want to start delving into the science here, which can happen somewhere else. Last week I had a comment in the Facebook group on a picture of my scrambled tofu and baked beans brekkie, served with sough dough toast. I for one was pretty impressed by my creation, but the comment was that, the tofu was bad for me and what ensued, was quite a debate.

Tofu in moderation is not bad for you and is a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians alike and so it was a non-issue. However I did say moderation and it feels like after one week of being vegan, soya is everywhere.

I mean absolutely everywhere.

Soya spread, soya cheese, soya yogurt, soya milk, soya sauces – At the end of this week, I am all soya’d out!

This most definitely bothers me that so many vegan products are soya based and if they aren’t soya based then they are coconut based and load with fat that just doesn’t fit my macros or comfort level (my gallbladder will start screaming at me).

Next up is the varying palatability of these products.  I tried one cream cheese spread and I started chuckling to myself, it was awesome and I really mean that. Even if I return to being non vegan I would by it.  You can check it out here and guess what soya free – http://www.violife.gr/#!violife-creamy/cpxp

I quickly snatched up everything else I could find from this company and they products, whilst not as wow as the cream cheese, did not disappoint.

Unfortunately for cocky old me, I was then brought crashing down to earth with a few other brands that left me gargling salt water, trying to get the hideous taste and residue out of my mouth.

Am I going to spend the next 4 weeks eating Violife Cream Cheese??

I found some pasta that I thought I could eat and got excited, only to read up about fatty acids that could potentially come from animals.  Ok this is tricky business, read here –http://www.veggieglobal.com/nutrition/non-vegetarian-food-additives-no-e.htm

I then continued to info dump myself with what vitamins I needed to worry about and even though I had already begun a course of good quality multivitamins, I still wanted to make sure I was getting the best out of my food.  Getting enough iron was one important thing.  Getting enough vitamin C, at the same time to ensure iron absorption, was an added worry and I began to realise how little I know –http://www.veggieglobal.com/nutrition/notalot.htm

The panic quickly passed as I found that many normal dried types of pasta were fine and I settled into a routine. I even created some dishes that would become a family favourite even for a non-vegan lifestyle.

Oat bran remains my staple brekkie and I just switched to almond milk, added chia seeds and fresh fruits, flaxseeds and when I wanted a protein boost, added Sun Warrior Protein powder.

I did seek comfort on more than one occasion, in this little beauty of a recipe I made up –

Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pudding Recipe

50g Oat bran

25g Dark chocolate (smashed into pieces)

1 tbsp. Peanut Butter

200ml Almond Milk

Place oat bran and milk in a microwavable dish and heat for 2 minutes remove and stir then add the nut butter. Heat for another minute and then remove and add the chocolate. Only stir a few times and then leave to stand for 5 minutes.  This will keep some of the chocolate in melted pockets.

Check back for week two of my Veganista attempts!

In the meantime join me in our Facebook community www.facebook.com/groups/sfnsisterhood

Lucy Goes Veggie – Week 4

My 4 weeks of vegetarian eating has reached the end, but am I relieved? 

If you asked me at the beginning, how I thought I would feel at the end of four weeks of eating no meat or fish? I am pretty sure I would have said terrified.  Now that the end is here, if it wasn’t for the fact I am about to embark on four weeks on vegan eating, then I would have almost felt disappointed returning to meat.

Being honest I didn’t have much belief in myself, that I could do the challenge. Whilst I have slipped up a few times, on the whole I feel quite chuffed at how well I adapted. It has given me a lot to think about for the future as to how I rely on meat for my protein sources.

This final week I asked a few friends what they would like to know about my meat free month; here is a selection of some of the questions;

Have you lost weight?

Ha! As women we are obsessed with a diet that promotes weight loss and I’m sorry to say that pretty much, no, I haven’t lost any weight and nor did I expect to. As much as I enjoyed the meat free time, I never once had it in my mind that removing meat would equal weight loss.  Why would it? I simply replaced the lost calories with other foods, rather than ate less. Weight loss occurs from less calories going in and/or more calories going out.

Did being vegetarian affect your sleep?

At first yes there was some disruption.  There were quite a few days that I went to bed with this hungry feeling, although I had technically eaten enough. However after around 10 days it settled down and my sleeping returned to my “normal”.

Did it cost you more or less money?

It was quite hard to work out, since I shop for a whole family (who are not vegetarian) but I would say that it cost less overall.  This was one aspect I was very happy about.

Did you find it difficult to eat out?  

Surprisingly, not at all. Even at restaurants that specialised in meat, they had good vegetarian options.

Over the four weeks, what is the best nugget of advice that you would pass forward?

I would say that even if you do not plan to eliminate meat from your diet, trying a few weeks meat free not only shows you how much meat you perhaps eat, but it could encourage you to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.

My final week’s stats

Lucy Doyle Goes Veggie Vegetarian Diet

Next week sees me venture into plant based eating. I am slightly anxious because the idea of giving up milk and butter terrifies me! However I am also curious enough to still be approaching it enthusiastically. Look out for my blog next week to find out if I survived the first week.

The SFN Sisterhood: Where It All Began

Whenever I stumble upon something that interests me online, a story, a journey or a movement that is established, I always find myself searching for that birthing point. I search out the blog that tells the story of how it came to be and always feel gutted when there isn’t one.

So here is the story of how the SFN Sisterhood became..

My own journey was very much the foundation of The Sisterhood, everything I wished I had, became cornerstones of this vision I created.

Rewind a fair few years and I was your average woman.  I steadily gained weight when I found love and this carried through to my two pregnancies. I wasn’t oblivious to the weight gain; of course I knew I was having to buy larger and larger clothes.  I avoid the mirrors more than ever, but always had it in the back of mind that I wanted to get back to the person I knew and scarily she was several stone lighter.

What happened over the next few years were a series of what I now consider “crazy diets” because crazy they did make me! Meal replacements, pills, pretty much anything I saw advertised, I tried.  I won’t and never have lied that I did in fact lose several stone this way. Who wouldn’t on 600kcal a day?

What I wasn’t: healthy or happy – essential aspects of a balanced life.

I reached a point where I was in the pits, emotionally and physically. I felt like I had tortured myself enough, that surely my hard work and tears should be rewarded?  Instead I was left with a body ravaged by low calories and a complete lack of nutrients. I also had this issue of flabbiness, but yet everyone was commenting that I was so slim.

So now I was confused, how could I be slim but flabby?

What happened next would change my life for ever. Whilst watching TV one evening I saw a guy training Peter Andre in a gym (I had not been in one of these for years) and I turned to my husband and said “I want him to train me”. Of course he just laughed it off, he should of known better!

By the next day I had contacted Nick Mitchell the owner of UP Fitness Mayfair and expressed an interest, however training with him was going to be impossible due to his schedule and my budget.  I was offered the next best thing, a block of training sessions with James Crossley aka Hunter from Gladiators and I snapped up the chance.

Suddenly this flabby unfit mum of two from Sussex, was making the 3 hour round trip to London twice a week to lift weights in an insane gym.  It was gruelling, but worth every second and I can honestly say I never looked back from there. I joined a gym locally and began looking at my diet differently, eating more protein and even started having protein shakes.

My body began to change, my mood lifted and my energy levels sored. I was hooked.

SFN Sisterhood Lucy Doyle

This was a bittersweet development.

As I watched my physique morph into something I felt proud of and my knowledge grew, so did my anger at all what I had been through. The loneliness I felt, the crap I had fallen for and the money had wasted.

Most of all I felt sad for how isolated I had been on my journey.  I knew it would have been so much more enjoyable if I had the support I needed. I decided at that point to use my anger to fuel something positive and enrolled on a Precision Nutrition Certification, I didn’t want other women to go through what I did.

Lean with Lucy became a reality not long after and I began helping other ordinary women, steering them away from fad diets and pills promising miracles. It was rewarding watching women develop their understanding and thus avoiding many of the pitfalls I had encountered.

One thing remained at the back of my mind, there were only so many women I could work with personally and as the workload grew I realised I had to stick with my integrity and accept I could not help so many in the capacity I was hoping to. It was then that we expanded and I took on several fantastic coaches to work with me and Lean with Lucy & Co was reborn. The Sisterhood movement was developing in the background and I loved seeing so many tweets with #GirlsSupportingGirls and #TheSisterhood.  I knew then that I wanted to grow the community, keeping its real and raw roots at the same time reaching a global audience.

When I came across the SFN Expo and its founders Jamie Rose and Neil Mclean, I was literally blown away by their vision and integrity and knew straight away that I wanted to work with them.  Thank god they wanted to work with me; otherwise I would have had to take to stalking.

So SFN and The Sisterhood joined forces and in a matter of months 1000 women came together in our group and a dream of mine, became reality.

At the SFN Expo 2015 we saw a huge rise in female attendance, taking it to a whopping 52% women and not just athletes or fitpro’s. Ordinary women, just like me, I was like a kid at Christmas!

We are 2000 strong and the most diverse group of women I have seen in one place, all who have one thing in common – a desire to improve their health, fitness, nutrition and they want to do so with the help and support from other empowered women.  I could not have realised my dream without the SFN team believing in me and every single woman who joins is another person who makes the global Sisterhood, what it is today.

SFN Sisterhood Lucy Doyle

If you haven’t joined us yet you can do so here www.facebook.com/groups/SFNSisterhood

To find out more about The Sisterhood’s future plans www.TheSisterhood.Club

To purchase your Sisterhood ticket to SFN 2016 and join us for a weekend of learning, inspiring and networking www.sfnexpo.co.uk and enter the code SISTERHOOD to receive a 10% discount on your ticket (early bird prices for just a few more days)

Lucy Goes Veggie – Week 3

I wanted to do this challenge and follow on blog because I wanted to write something totally unedited. I wanted to write in the way I would have liked to read, warts and all. Bearing this in mind I sat down today with no choice but to stick with this, which meant not telling fibs and not hiding behind a perfect story.

I am not sure where this week went wrong. I can straight up say that I have not missed meat once (truth!) but nevertheless I confess to eating meat twice. I am even surprised myself as I write this, not surprised that I tripped (I had half expected that as a lifelong meat eater) but I am surprised because I thought it would be because the craving for meat would get so bad that I would give in.

Far from it, both occasions were due to circumstances and I decided that it would just be easier to go with the flow. So yes, oddly I have some sense of pride that I didn’t fall foul because I gave in to my desires, but just because it was easier in those moments.

Here is what I did find – meat is filling.

Late one night last week, I received a call from Lee Fitzpatrick from MuscleCake (check them out on Facebook as they are a company you’ll want to know) who deliver high protein brownies, direct to your door – yes I know epic right?

Anyway, the call wasn’t one I was expecting, neither was I expecting to be on a plane to Edinburgh just 12 hours later, to attend a black tie “Evening with Arnie” with the Muscle Cake and EFN team. I will avoid gloating about how awesome Arnold Schwarzenegger was (does that actually count towards gloating ha ha) but basically the site down meal was awesome and contained chicken.  I ate it with a pang of guilt, but I’m too long in the tooth to put myself on a guilt trip.

But here’s the thing. I don’t know if it was my excitement at Arnie being a few metres away, or I was genuinely unable to eat more than half the chicken breast, on my plate. It was unbelievably filling. Once upon a time I could eat a whole chicken in Nandos, true!

Those of you following me on My Fitness Pal will notice I haven’t written in my diary this week, blame my IPhone 6, that decided to self-combust (not literally, but it did overheat and die)

Whilst I cannot divulge my every move this last week, I can share the end result and also say that my meals are becoming more regular and I am enjoy eggs far more than I did before. Then only food I miss right now is tuna, but this serves to show how much I rely on tuna in my diet as a lean protein source.

I have also noticed that I am drinking more water. Related to my new eating habits or pure coincidence? Who knows?

Here are my stats;

Lucy Goes Veggie Lucy Doyle

For detailed daily breakdowns, don’t forget to follow me on My Fitness Pal www.myfitnesspal.com/TheSisterhood

This week I interviewed Toral Shah from The Urban Kitchen; she is resident foodie in the SFN Sisterhood and quite honestly is the queen of everything veggie!

Can you tell us how you started Urban Kitchen?

I began experimenting in the kitchen at university when I left medical school and found that I suddenly had more free time with fewer lectures in my BSc Cell Biology course. I specialised in studying cancer during the day and cooking for my friends and family in my spare time. Food became a huge passion so I studied at Le Cordon Bleu during the evenings and holiday. I probably was one of the best fed students at UCL!

When I was working in the City, I really got into training and noticed that there was v little healthy food to eat at the time. I had to cook my own food each day. Luckily, my office had a small kitchen so I sometimes threw salads together there. I had this idea for a healthy meal company 10 years ago when I worked in the City and was working, training, travelling and partying hard. I knew I needed to learn more about nutrition so left my job and went back to university, studying for an MSc in Nutritional Medicine.

Whilst I was studying, people kept asking me to teach them to cook or cater for events – that was the birth of Urban Kitchen. It’s evolved over the years but always been about a healthy gourmet lifestyle. Now, it’s more about nutrition, the science behind it and healthy recipes. I specialise in cancer nutrition as that has always been my passion. My MSc thesis focussed on the importance of diet and nutrition, in the prevention of breast cancer recurrence. I am now working on my first book explaining the science behind cancer preventing foods and sharing some of my delicious recipes.

2. Do you follow a vegetarian diet?

No, but I try to have a couple of vegetarian or vegan days a week.

3. What are your top 3 vegetarian recipe books?

A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia and Vegetarian by Alice Hart. Three incredibly innovative books.

4. What number one tip do you have for women thinking about giving a vegetarian diet a go?

The supermarkets are so much better for ingredients so rather than using meat substitutes, try actual plant based meals and mix the types of ingredients to ensure that you have a complete protein mix. Most vegetarian foods don’t have all the essential amino acids except quinoa and amaranth.

5. How do you keep protein high when not eating meat or fish?

As above, you have to ensure that you get enough protein from different sources. The government only recommends that you need 0.45g per kg body weight. I suggest a min of 1g per bodyweight but I actually eat between 1.5g and 2g per kg body weight a day. Most grains have quite a lot of protein, as do pulses, eggs, quinoa, soy products and dairy.

6. Do you have any events coming up? 

Yes, we also have a range of healthy eating classes. We have high protein for vegan class on Tues 23rd Feb.

http://www.theurbankitchen.co.uk/collections/classes/products/healthy-cooking-test

Lucy Goes Veggie – Week 2

I can’t be the only woman who likes to imagine they have an organised and normal lifestyle, but behind closed doors – absolute mayhem. This second week has really made me question firstly how disorganised I am, but also how little time and thought I put in to each meals. I would say I am sporadically inspired!

Lucy Goes Veggie – What I USUALLY Eat

This may come as a surprise to those who follow me on social media, as I am rather partial to sharing a picture or two of my meals, but what about the other meals of that day, that I don’t post a picture of? Only last week did I write about the life we tell on social media and then the life we truly live.  Both are often different and let’s be honest, most of our lives are far less sparkly than they appear on bowl of reality check.

Yes I eat fruit, yes I eat vegetables and yes I eat nuts.  However when I break that down, what I actually mean is that I eat berries (doesn’t the fitness industry just love their berries because, antioxidants).  I eat sweet potatoes, you have to eat them if you are into fitness and I love peanut butter by the spoon. If you do not eat peanut butter then you basically don’t count as a fitspo and I really don’t want to not be some form of fitspo.

This is of course all tongue in cheek and you shouldn’t have to subscribe to these foods, but the truth is my vision of myself being this woman who eats a huge variety of fruit and veg does not exist.  Yes I tick the food group’s boxes, but my diet is nowhere near varied enough.

Now if this means I have to hand back my “healthy foodie” crown, then so be it because I would rather start from scratch and see where it takes me as a person, than worry about producing the odd #cleaneating image for Instagram.

It will probably come as no surprise, if you have been following me on My Fitness Pal, that whilst I succeeded in getting near to my macro goals, it was achieved with a pretty repetitive approach.  I now feel that having confessed all and with the help of expert foodie Toral from Urban Kitchen, I can start to broaden my horizons experimenting with a wider variety of fruits/vegetables/lentils/nuts/seeds.

Now to fill you in on actual progress, see below;

Lucy Doyle Goes Veggie Week 2 Results

Lucy Doyle Goes Veggie Week 2 Results

For detailed daily breakdowns, don’t forget to follow me on My Fitness Pal www.myfitnesspal.com/TheSisterhood

It wasn’t all doom and gloom this week, honest! I began to lose what I felt was “meat hunger” by Wednesday. This was not a hunger for meat per se, more the hunger I was left with after my veggie meals that made me feel a bit ratty.  However by Wednesday this had gradually started to reduce and I felt less moody. I was hand delivered a stunning vegetable and paneer curry by a fellow Sisterhood member Lucy Platt (and she walked my dog, but that’s another story) and I felt truly spoilt.  The curry was loaded with lots of yummy stuff including cashews, raisins and the paneer almost left me thinking it was chicken.

I began devouring it cold; because I am greedy like that and as a mum always feel excited when someone cooks for me. That one meal gave me the breathing space I needed to not just think but also acknowledge its ok to get support from others when you are new to something. This week I hope to do a little cooking session with Lucy as she is a skilled vegetarian.

Don’t forget to comment below if you have a question or would like me to explore a particular area of vegetarianism.

Until next time

Lucy

Lucy Doyle: 20 Things I Would Tell My Newbie Self

  1. Having abs will not complete you as a person.
  2. You won’t always feel pumped after a gym session.
  3. Most women’s tummies hang a little when they get into a plank, its normal.
  4. No matter the expression on other women’s faces, they will be struggling just as much holding plank position; they’ve just managed to smile better than you.
  5. Egg whites will never taste delicious, regardless of what you make with them.
  6. You are not the only one pretending to adore dark chocolate.
  7. Just because everyone raves about peanut butter in the fitness world, it does not mean you can eat as much of it as you want.
  8. Compression clothing. Invest.
  9. However, never wear a sports bra too tight to the gym. It always ends in awkward moments in the changing rooms.
  10.   Be mindful of what you hashtag, it will come back to haunt  you #cleaneating #fitfam
  11.   Every fitspo you follow carries their own problems.  Their lives are not perfect no matter how it looks on social media.
  12.   Do not wear grey leggings to the gym. You will regret it.
  13. Pullups are hard. Period.
  14. If you do miss the gym for just one week, you will feel like a complete newbie when you return. Get over it, the feeling passes in just one session.
  15. Do not get your goals confused with others; stick with what is important to you.
  16. Buy supplements one at a time, no matter how over excited you get or how much you get in your paid that month.
  17. Be kind and smile at other women during exercise, they are just as nervous as you.
  18. You haven’t got to get sponsored to have achieved something.
  19. Your goals and dreams will change; don’t be afraid to change with them.
  20. No matter what people say you have not got to “go hard or go home” and neither do you have to get your “ass to grass”. Who does squats on grass anyway?

Till next time,

Lucy Doyle

www.facebook.com/groups/SFNSisterhood for more helpful tips and support