Have you missed me? I sure as heck have missed you all!
Yep that’s us back from our travels to London and what a fab time we had! I loved catching up with family – seeing my many aunties and uncles, my cousins, parents and brother, but also spending some quality time with David and exploring more of the city – surely it will get to the point where I have seen everything in London… actually I doubt it! And I love London for that!
Why does the week we spend on holiday always go so fast?
Is it because we are having so much fun? It is because we are out of our normal routines and time patterns? Or is it because it always leaves us wanting more?
Whatever the reason, you can never have enough quality time with the people that you love and care about in the world – and combine that with having loads of fun, doing lots of fun things equals the perfect break, no matter where you are!
I will be recapping my London vacay over the next few days – both what I did and more importantly, what I ate! (I know that’s what you all want to know! :-P).
Speaking of recapping – just in case you missed my posts from last week… here were my 3 fav’s
– Anaemic, low energy levels or just simply want to prevent yourself from getting to that point? Read my list of natural high iron foods to give yourself that boost (without eating fortified iron products).
And yes in case you are wondering, I didn’t post on Friday. I was planning on it but it was the last day of my holidays, David was off work and instead I decided to spend some more quality time with him and extend my break. Something as bloggers I think we all need to do once in a while.
But Monday is here, back to work and back to normal! Glad to be back with you all – spending today catching up, reading my HUGE backlog of blogs (sorry if you get a comment from a post you did over a week ago!) and finding out what I have missed in the world of healthy living blogging!
So happy Monday all and I will see you tomorrow for my London recap! Funsies!
Iron. We all know we need it and for many of us, we know we don’t have enough of it.
Whether you are diagnosed anaemic or not, it is easy to spot when we have an iron deficiency – I have definitely been there. Symptoms of an iron deficiency include
– Tiredness and feeling like you have a lack of energy
– Headaches and/or dizziness
– Looking pale
– Dry nails
– Shortness of breath
– Ringing in your ears
Recognise any of those? Or just want to make sure you are getting plenty of iron in your diet? Then look no further!
I wanted to find a natural way of getting more iron into my diet. I didn’t want to take supplements or food items that had been ‘fortified’ with iron – I wanted them to occur from natural sources. So I did a bit of research to share with you all.
High Iron Foods
Red Meat – especially organ meats such as liver, but I know that’s not to everyone’s tastes! Fancy trying it? Check out Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for Liver with Onions, I promise it is so good!
Meat such as chicken and turkey do contain iron just not to the same high extent.
Eggs – the whole egg people, the yolk is where the iron is!
Dark leafy greens – kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard etc. Add to eggs at breakfast, salads at lunch or dinner, smoothies/ juices or just wilt into sauces etc!
Dried Fruit – Figs, apricots, raisins and dates. Get your snack on… along with…
Nuts – cashews, almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts.
Seeds – pumpkin and sunflower. Try adding to soups or salads for a crunch instead of croutons!
Veggies – asparagus, leeks, bok choy, sprouts, beets, peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, tomatoes and sweet potatoes – all contain iron but not as high as the leafy greens above. Oh and note, the longer you cook these items, the less iron it will retain.
Herbs and spices – cumin, turmeric, chilli, pepper, basil, oregano and parsley.
Seafood – prawns, tuna, sardines, mackerel and haddock.
A few things to be looking at! I know I was surprised at how many of these I already eat and I know how much my energy levels have improved since eating these foods in my diet.
Some tips to note however, regarding iron absorption in the body…
If you eat the foods above along with foods that are high in vitamin C (citrus fruit, berries, red peppers, broccoli, pineapple, mango, kale, kiwi etc), your body will absorb more of the iron.
Tea and coffee can actually suppress iron absorption so you may want to bear this in mind if you are looking to up your iron intake. Or at least make sure you are not drinking them along with iron rich foods, if you want to gain the benefit.
Hope this has been of interest!
Do you ever feel like you are low in iron?
What is your favourite iron rich food?
(Please note this is my own personal research for your interest and not to be taken as medical advice)
Today, David takes the reins at Chase the Red Grape – bringing to you a post that I’m sure you will all love; I know I learned a lot from it!
Blogging and Photography go hand in hand, but sometimes we all just need a little help to make the most of our photos. Luckily David is rather an expert on these fronts and is on hand to bring us all some hints and tips to make the most of our photography!
Take it away David!
I want to bring you all some tips on Photography that may make your blogging/ or simply taking photos, a little easier in general.
When I mention camera below that means any camera – fancy DSLR down to the camera on your phone. Although the sophistication varies the basics of photography are the same for every camera!
Your camera (and your eyes for that matter) work by assessing the light sources around it. These can be either direct (a light bulb or the sun through window etc) or reflected off an object. You need to give it enough light for it to be able to do its thing. The problem is your eyes are much better at seeing in the dark than your camera. This is why taking a picture when its dark is so hard, the camera sensor just doesn’t “see” enough. Even being indoors can sometimes be just a bit too dark for a camera so keep this in mind and try and take a picture near a bright light source.
But remember, your camera is stupid! If part of the picture contains a bright light source it will make everything else dark. Ever taken a selfie with a window behind you…yup, you disappear into shadows!)
Basically… you want as much light as possible without the source itself being in the picture! Play about with different angles of lighting on your subject but remember that if it is bright and aimed directly at a person they will probably be squinting in the photo!
It is like Goldilocks – too dark, too bright, just right!
Use Flash Wisely
Of course your camera will have a flash which you can use if it is still too dark but just remember that it is just a little light that’s in the same line as the lens is to your subject. It is the equivalent of turning on your car headlights aiming them at someone and then taking a picture! That light isn’t going to flatter anything! It gets particularly bad the closer you are to whatever you are taking a picture of.
If it is a matter of using the flash or getting a picture of blackness use the flash but just be aware it might not be great or flattering light! Also, your built in flash won’t go very far or very wide so don’t expect to be able to light a building up or even something more than a couple of metres away.
Built in camera flash – use me as a last resort. You are better off trying to work with a natural or artificial light source, like a lamp
Modes Most cameras have additional modes, or scenes, that you can use to maximise your shot. If you need a shot taken quickly try sport mode. Landscape mode will enhance the colours in your picture. You might have a dark mode (might also be known as high ISO to be technical) which might be useful if you don’t want to use your flash.
Processing A big part of taking brilliant photos is what happens afterwards. You know how some pictures really come to life once you’ve applied an Instagram filter? Well sometimes you just need to help enhance what was already there. On your phone there are a million apps for this but my personal favourite is Snapseed (link) (available on iOS and Android for free!). A few flicks of the finger can really bring your photo to life. I always tweak the warmth of a photo (how blue or orange it looks) as (once again) your camera tried to guess the situation and might have gotten it wrong!
Sometimes the lighting in a photo is awful, for example a combination of sunlight and light bulb just make everything look an odd shade, some blue bits, some orange. If in doubt black and white is your friend! It can also make your photo quite striking.
Don’t be picture perfect One last thing… all of the above is how to try and get the best shot. But try not to get bogged down in it all. I suffered for too long stressing about the settings, the composition, the lighting without getting any soul in a picture. Jen would just walk up, take 1 snap and get a better picture because she just saw it better. Now with digital cameras snap away to your heart’s content and figure out what works later. I think the worst photo sin of all is not taking the picture in the first place!
– That would be my own! I was replying to a comment someone had left. But if I cant include that it would actually be ‘The Big Mans World’!
The last…recipe you tried out?
– I made my Mum’s honey and mustard chicken legs – served them last night with a salad – so juicy and yummy! I may even post the recipe soon!
The last…item you pinned on Pinterest?
– Eeek! I haven’t been on Pinterest since I joined a few months back! I know, what is with me! I think because I didn’t ‘grasp’ the how to’s when I first joined, other bits and bobs took over and I never went back to it. I know I must though, this thing is huge!
– Last TV show I watched was this morning – The Wright Stuff. It’s a news/ topical/ debate show that is on every weekday morning in the UK. I love it! Great way to catch up with the news and have a good debate at the same time!
The last…trip you took?
– Ok can I technically write this knowing that by the time you are reading it I will have done the trip down to London? Yes I think I will allow that! So yes on Saturday morning David and I took the train down to London! Normally we drive but we thought it would be a lot easier and more relaxing this time if we took the train! So now we are in the midst of our fab holiday! Off to Brighton (the beach!) today!
– I am going to answer this in terms of a bigger purchase rather than a small one! Last week we bought David an Amazing Bullet blender for making bulletproof coffee in the mornings. It looks really cute and I am looking forward to it arriving. As much as I like bulletproof coffee, I can’t really drink more than a few sips – so will probably use the bullet for juices and smoothies! Yum summer smoothies!
And there we have it! Why not head over to @TheBigMansWorld to see how other bloggers have answered!
What was the last thing you ate?
Any tips for a good smoothie/ Juice to make in my bullet?
Bags are… well… semi packed! I have laid everything out, that’s something isn’t it! And I am a logistics queen so I know it will all fit. But it’s the last thing you want to do when it’s glorious sunshine outside!
Do not fear, my new posts will still be here – a new one each day from Monday onwards as usual, so please keep visiting, commenting and loving!
Oh and if you want to keep updated on all my London shenanigans, please follow me on twitter @ChasetheRG!
Now time for a 2 in 1 CrossFit recap!
Thursday Morning (19th)
Today I was ready to rock and eager to go – starting off with a lovely block run in the sun as a warm up.
We then came inside and did some downward dogs to stretch out – they felt really good – and a much needed stretch in my hamstrings!
After that we worked on some T spine mobility – again, most needed! This is the area I spend most of my mobility time on but I still have a long way to go. A lot of improvement though since I first started!
More 10RM’s today – and this time my most feared move – the overhead squat.
(A nice little video detailing how to do an overhead squat correctly)
The focus was to go light on weight (no choice with a 10RM) and hone in on improving our technique. What.a.difference. By going down in weight I felt in control, I felt the flow of movement, I stayed balanced, I kept fully locked out. I knew what everything was ‘supposed’ to be like. And I had no fear (my fear of the bar falling backwards…yep it did happen to me – ouch). Now when we have smaller RM’s I can bring up the weight yes, but use the mindset, stance and skills learnt from this to nail it!
The final WOD was one that a lot of CrossFit gyms across the world have been doing the past few days – The Ghost (posted on CrossFit.com on the 17th). Coach calls it ’24 minutes of hell’…
6 rounds – counting reps
1 minute row
1 minute of burpees
1 minute double unders
1 minute rest.
The row I loved. The burpees…well…actually didn’t suck! I just focused on trying to beat my reps from last time so didn’t really think about how sore I was until the end!
Sadly I still don’t have double unders and didn’t manage one during the WOD (which brought my rep score right down). But on the bright side I did have 6 minutes of intense DU practice! My total rep score was 122 (bearing in mind this is solely from rowing and burpees) but I look forward to revisiting this WOD when I have DU’s and can kick its butt!
Friday Morning (20th)
Another bright and sunny morning, another block run to warm up – oh no wait, just when the run was almost over, I was informed it was a double block run. Hate when that happens!
We then came inside to warm up for the strength WOD – we did a combo of standing walk outs, along with jumping jacks. Standing walk outs are always a problem when your leg length and arm length are sooo disproportionate! But hey, I kept smiling!
10RM time! This time in deadlifts.
Deadlifts are tricky to high rep – there is such a potential for injury. Therefore the focus was on touch and go deadlifts with emphasis on, once again, technique. The fact that our Coach hones in on this so much is what makes him amazing, he will not stand for poor technique – better to be a low weight and get it right than a high weight and get it wrong. I finished with 50kg and pretty pleased with that for a 10RM – approx 70% of my 1RM.
The WOD was awesome
3 minute AMRAP x 4 rounds
7 power cleans
7 push jerks
1 minute rest
After my amazing progress on cleans last week I wanted to do the WOD at 25kg, but I’m not there yet with my push jerk (still shoulder mobility issues overhead). So I went down to 20kg – not a bad thing in my book, that’s still more than I ever would imagined a week ago and due to the fact that I never used to be able to clean in a WOD more than 15kg, now I am able to WOD push jerk 20! That’s brilliant!
I really enjoyed every moment of this WOD. It was tough and challenging but I felt in control and I felt strong. Love that feeling, it’s so empowering!
I completed the following reps in each round, pretty much averaging the others. Once again my usual of getting better as the WOD goes on #freak
1 – 1 round plus 3 power cleans
2 – 1 round plus 4 power cleans
3 – 1 round plus 5 power cleans
4 – 1 round plus up to 1 push jerk (I went into beast mode when ‘Run to the Hills’ by Iron Maiden came on!)
When I got home I realised, when chatting to David, that I had been a complete idiot! For some reason, I thought you had to clean and jerk for each push jerk, rather than just jerking each time from the front rack.
I did twice the amount of work I had to! (But somehow still managed to keep to similar reps as the others, probably why I didn’t notice throughout the WOD!). I will NOT make that mistake again! Lots of clean practice though! And I gave myself a killer workout that I really loved so who cares!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Keep visiting while I am away, got some great posts scheduled for you!
Thursday is upon us all –so why not make it a bit random? Time to do some linkage with the wonderful Amanda over @RunningWithSpoons.
Folks, it’s time for ‘Thinking Out Loud’!
– On Saturday, David and I are off on holiday! Spending just under a week in one of my favourite places, LONDON!
Planning on spending some time with family, having a day down at the seaside in Brighton, London shopping and just chilling out! Oh and pinkberry and chipotle will be making an appearance, that is law!
Heading over to a CrossFit box that is local to where we are staying too – a little nervous but the CrossFit community is so awesome that I’m sure we will have a great time with them!
– The only downside to going on holiday. I used to love packing, think it was all the planning involved – I love to plan – making lists etc. Now, I have realised there are more important things in life and packing tends to be more last minute. I have most of my clothes worked out though, which is the main thing. Just need to make sure I don’t forget anything – ok so maybe I might have to write one list…!
3) Parma Ham
– We bought the most amazing parma ham from Whole Foods the other week and now finally have gotten around to having it! It was super expensive (but we got it 50% off in a special offer) so I think we had been keeping it aside. For what I do not know!
So today we decided to have it with breakfast! Ham, hardboiled eggs and zucchini patties (not pictured). Oh my goodness it was amazing! I had a few bits of my ham wrapped around some melon too – that truly is the bomb!
– Today is National Sauntering Day (who makes up this stuff?). Actually I know why this day was created – the inventor was fed up of watching people running and jogging and instead wanted people to enjoy their surrounding – therefore choosing sauntering instead. Do you saunter? If you saunter does it make you late?
I don’t tend to, unless I am on holiday and in no rush. I tend to walk pretty fast anyway, curse of long legs! But do I run late? Oh yes, all the time! It’s a bad habit, I know, but please anyone who I am running late for, please note I don’t do it deliberately! And I always feel so bad for being late!
5) Thank goodness it’s a CrossFit day
– I have come to the conclusion that when my day starts with CrossFit, it is a better day in general. I have more energy, I’m more motivated, it gives me a spark! Some people have coffee in the morning to make their day, others yoga, some a nice long lie in. For me, nothing makes me happier than getting sweaty with my fellow zombies at 6.30am!
6) Banana Snackage
– I love packing my snacks for travelling and I love bananas. Bananas and travel usually don’t mix! David and I picked up these beauties for our train journey and I can’t wait to tuck in! Simply air dried banana slices, nothing else – and fair trade to boot, meaning the famers got paid a decent wage for the crop – great! I don’t think these will last long on the journey.
– I don’t follow football/ soccer really – But I enjoy the spirit of the World Cup. David and I have a wee sweepstake – I picked Germany and he picked France. I know Germany have done well so far, France I don’t have a clue!
I can understand people supporting a team if it is their country. I can understand people supporting a team if they have picked it out in a sweepstake. But what I overheard in Starbucks just now takes the biscuit!
On speaking to her friend, I overheard the following…
“I am supporting Costa Rica in the World Cup – 1, because they don’t have any military and 2 because they have the world’s biggest Sloth zoo, and that’s pretty cool”.
So, quite random to end on! Hehe!
Head on over to Amanda’s site for more craziness in other fellow bloggers heads! We are a mad bunch!
Do you enjoy packing?
Are you known for running late or being on time?
What do you do in the morning that guarantees a good day?
Hope you are enjoying a nice sunny Wednesday like I am – Glasgow has been the warmest part of the UK for the past two days! I just love it!
Today I am bringing you a simple, easy summer recipe that come rain or shine will make you smile!
My Hawaiian Summer Salad!
I just love the combination of salty gammon/ ham and the juicy sweetness of the caramelised pineapple – when I was growing up a ham and pineapple pizza (Hawaiian) used to be my favourite. Now I realise it was the toppings that were the star of the show, why not let them shine!
Perfect as for lunch or dinner – this salad comes together in no time at all. You can even make a batch for packed lunches or picnics! A protein packed real food fuel winner!
Serves 1 (easily doubled)
1/2 cup of shredded gammon/ ham/ cured meat
3 rings of fresh or tinned pineapple
1 hardboiled egg – sliced
Chopped cucumber (chunks)
Romaine Lettuce (chopped)
Switch on the grill/ grill pan on the stove – place pineapple rings on – about 2 minutes each side until scorch lines appear. (If you don’t have a grill pan or grill, just use a regular skillet. You won’t get the ‘lines’ but the taste will still be there!).
While the pineapple is cooking, assemble your salad – keep the gammon and egg aside.
Once pineapple has cooked, cut into chunks and assemble on top of salad along with gammon. Top with the egg.
Told you it was easy!
And you can include anything in there that you want – red onion, sweetcorn, capers, peppers – the list is endless. You can also drizzle with some olive oil if you like, but I prefer just the juices of the caramelised pineapple seeping through.
You could also top with a runny gooey egg instead of a hard boiled one if you prefer. Mmmmmm!
Tip – if you are making this to then eat cold, wait until the pineapple has cooled down before assembling.
Linking up today with Jenn over @Peasandcrayons for ‘What I Ate Wednesday’. Be sure to check the page out for more tasty inspiration!
The sun is shining, it’s nice and warm, I started the day with CrossFit = all equating to an excellent Tuesday so far!
Let’s hope things are just as wonderful with you where you are!
And now time for a recap of today’s CrossFit!
Tuesday Morning (17th)
After a very hot and humid night, I don’t think David and I were too fussed about having to get up this morning. It was so difficult to sleep anyway!
So we got rocking and rolling and got down to the box – began with a double block run as a warm up… sigh…
After a wee bit of mobility in our arms and shoulders we moved straight on to the first part of the WOD – a knees to elbow clinic.
Basically, the first step to getting toes to bar is to get your knees to your elbow – then it is just a matter of bringing your feet up.
(A great video showing you the technique)
I am working on it and definitely seeing progress but it’s very difficult – arms are definitely stronger but my legs are still massively freakishly long and it is quite a task to get them up there!
From there we used this practice to do the following…
45 seconds knees to elbows/ high knee raises
45 seconds rest
45 seconds pull ups/ jumping pull ups
45 seconds rest
And it floored us all! Along with some rather nasty looking hand calluses! #CrossFitProblems
Straight away we were on to the next segment – working on gaining a new 10 rep max push press.
10RM’s are tricky – 1 and 3 are very heavy, 5 you can judge quite well where you are at, 10 is so different. I was quite pleased with my 10RM though – 20kg (my 1RM is 27.5kg).
To end, we had a nice juicy little (!?) 5 minute AMRAP – time for beast mode!
5 minute AMRAP
10 deadlifts – 42.5kg
30 double unders/ tuck jumps.
And because it was only 5 minutes, you went to the max! I really enjoyed it though and completed 2 rounds and up to 15 tuck jumps in the third. I swear tuck jumps are enough to make you practice double unders …! I will master those unders if it is the last thing I do! 🙂
Hope you are well and had a wonderful weekend full of fun and games!
I woke up super early this morning, hot in Glasgow today (!), and thought I would enjoy sitting in the sunshine, with my cup of hot honey and lemon, writing my post – lovely!
Today I bring you a mix of a weekend recap within my ‘Explore What’s On Your Door’ series…
Explore What’s On Your Door – Tough Mudder Style!
As you may remember from Friday’s post, David was participating in the Tough Mudder Scotland yesterday – and he did so well! I am so proud!
The course was situated at Dalkeith Country Park in Edinburgh – about an hour’s drive from us here in Glasgow.
We woke early and headed off in the car just after 7am. David had the perfect pre Mudder fuel of 2 hard boiled eggs, a huge sweet potato and (far too much) almond butter! (Although as David always says, is there such a thing as too much AB??) The perfect mix of protein, carbs and fats that, honestly saw him through the whole race.
We met up with David’s team mates, one of whom, Colin, is a fellow CrossFitter, and set off for registration/ the start!
They say pictures say a thousand words so here we go – David’s Mudder…
Walk the Plank…
Mud run/ walk!
The wall (s)
Everest was evil! #teamwork
Happy Team! Now time to shower…!
I loved being a spectator – we actually saw quite a lot and there was the ability to do a lot of walking. I really enjoyed that, it’s a lovely country park and in total I spent 6 hours walking around it!
We were mostly waking!
Would I do it? Probably not- but not because I don’t think I could make it. I honestly think if I trained a bit more with my running I could do it. However the big no no for me is the ice water bath – I can’t stand being cold and my whole body stops working if I am cold – not good! Maybe if we lived in a warmer country!
Would David do it again? Probably! He loved it and was smiling the whole way through – major team spirit which David just loves being a part of. He would however do a different course in another country/ city, rather than the same one again – that’s his only stipulation!
So today David has the day off work to relax (sleep) and recover – although to be fair, doing CrossFit meant that he hasn’t really been affected by doing it. #CrossFitTheUltimateTraining. But it’s always nice to have a chill out day and it just happens to be a lovely day outside which is a major bonus!
(If you still want to sponsor David, the link to his sponsor page is still open! All monies raised goes to ‘Help For Heros’ – LINK)