After a week partaking in the Seasonal Berries campaign #berriesnotbiscuits, I wanted to share one of the berry inspired recipes that I created, for a delicious breakfast of snack option. For me, breakfast is so important and I honestly don’t think I would ever leave the house in the morning without it. Unless I was popping to the shop.. to pick up ingredients to make breakfast of course! I believe it’s so important to fuel your body properly, so that we can function at an optimal level. I honestly notice such a huge different in my energy levels, mood and just generslly how I feel inside, depending on what I’ve eaten throughout that day. I feel a lot more energised when eating predominantly a whole food based diet and incorporating lots of veggies and low releasing carbs. Once of my absolute favourite carb sources, are oats! if you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, then you’re probably familiar with my daily pre-workout bowl of protein porridge by now. I have now increased this to even MORE oats.. so I think I need to invest in a bigger bowl! I work with a coach for my training and nutrition plan at the moment and my calories have just been increased again.. which means the oats just keep on going up! What a shame.. not! But.. this does just help to reinforce my point! A year, or even 4 months ago, my main focus would to be hitting a certain calorie goal (usually pretty low) and that would be the most important factor when planning out my food. However, now my focus is mainly on eating to fuel my performance and eating to enable my body to feel amazing. Contrary to my previous beliefs, I now think that I have actually managed to look a lot leaner than previously and have definitely been able to gain a lot of muscle, in a pretty short space of time as well. The most important thing that I would say that I’ve gained from this change in my diet and lifestyle habits would have to be how much healthier I feel. Now, when I say this, I don’t just mean physically healthy, but also mentally too. I feel a lot more at peace and content with food, my body and just life in general. I find that I no longer stress or worry abut what I’m going to be eating, binge eating, restricting or spending ages working out what I can fit into my macros. I don’t have to waste hours contemplating whether the way I eat is the ‘healthiest’.. or what kind of diet I should be following. How many grams of carbs I should eat? How I can shred the quickest? Should I follow a paleo diet? Nope, none of those thoughts longer consume my mind!
Believe it or not, these are all things that used to stress me out on a regular basis and with what feels like hundreds of different perceptions of what a ‘healthy’ and ‘optimal’ diet look like, I understand that it can be incredibly difficult to figure out what works best for you. Social media can be a truly wonderful thing, but I do believe that we need to take a lot of the things that we see with a pinch of salt. It’s important to realise that we don’t see every part of people’s lives and also that we are all individual. What one person eats, might not be suitable to you. Similarly, they may have a completely different lifestyle to you. The truth is, I don’t think that there are really any right or wrong answers to this and one size does not fit all. It’s important to spend time figuring out how your body feels and what helps you to function at your best. If you feel that this is something that you find difficult, then there are nutritionists and health professionals that can help advise you. I would strongly advocate seeking professional help, if you feel like you’re having any issues with food or eating habits. Looking after your body is so important!
So, if you;’re still reading this by this point then a huge well done to you! I seem to have wandered off track and entered into a pretty extensive ramble there.. so I apologise for that! Anyway, as I was saying, I’m not focussing on fuelling my body for optimal performance in the gym and also in an attempt to regain more of a balance with my hormonal levels. One major change that has occurred with my diet, is that I’ve dramatically increased my carb intake on both training and rest days. I always thought that my body thrived off a low carb lifestyle and that I preferred eating a higher fat based diet. I would never have dreamed of eating the amount of carbs that I am now and one bowl of oatmeal used to leave me feeling rather drowsy. Now, I don’t think that I could ever return to my lower carb lifestyle.. I just love carbs too much! Haha. I’m not saying that this will work for everyone, or that no-one should eat a low carb diet; but after about 3 years or trial and error, this is the approach that I’ve found to be working best for me. I feel energised, my strength is increasing, I’m enjoying my food and sleeping far better than I have done for an entire year! Speaking of carbs, they’re something that I ALWAYS make sure to fuel up on before training, which is usually in the form of my beloved protein porridge. I wanted to re-create this, but in a slightly more portable and convenient way, so it could be something that you could prep in advance and take to work (or wherever it is that you’re going) with you for a spot of on the go snacking. Que.. the oatmeal bars! I think that I’ve waffled on sufficiently for this post.. so I’m just going to go right ahead and give you the recipe for these now.