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Around 4 and a half years ago it was brought to my attention that I was over weight. Something that I had no idea had happened, in the space of 8 months I had piled on 2 stone. At 5 ft 2, I weighed 11 stone 9 and was clinically obese. I couldn’t run down the road without crippling pain in my feet, I got out of breath easily – although that could have been down to the 10 a day smoking habit – I generally struggled to breath. I was going to the gym 3 times a week going to HIIT training, doing circuits and I loved spin. But I ate so much “food” that it didn’t matter how much I worked out.

I say “food” because looking back now, it’s hard to call it that. I used to live off Birds Eye chicken escallops, McCains Potato Wedges, Heinz Baked Beans, chicken kieves and I think the only veg I would get is frozen peas! Unless I was eating a massive Sunday roast followed by double portion pudding! I would take lunch to college with me, but still go to the coop and have an egg mayo sandwich, can of coke and a bag of crisps every day. I used to drink about 2 litres of coke every day, ate Mc Donalds at least twice a week – usually after a heavy night on the booze that will have definitely included a kebab and chips at 3am and would demolish large breakfasts at the local weather spoons.

Please don’t get me wrong, those things back then would have been ok. If I had of eaten them in moderation. But this was my life! I would binge drink usually 3 or 4 nights a week and completely abused my body in many ways.

I now know that I developed anorexia during this time. I starved myself by restricting my calories to 1200 a day at most, celebrating when I ate less than that. I stopped eating processed food, I still drank a lot, but less than I used to. An average dinner for me looked like this after a 45 minute intense HIIT work out. Not only was I feeding this to me, but also to my boyfriend who is 6ft 4. I was starving him too and would get so angry at him if he would eat before dinner was ready. I controlled his food intake too because of my own insecurity and everything had to be split 50:50.

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Skip forward 18 months of this and we get to the start of my Vegan journey! By this point I had dropped 2.5 stone and was sitting just above 9 stone – much better for my frame!

But please don’t think that it is all sunshine and roses from here because it isn’t. My eating disorder changed from anorexic to orthorexic and only got worse for the next 6 months. I was literally OBSESSED with everything I was putting in my body. I cut out caffeine – I wouldn’t even eat chocolate because of the theobromine. I went T-total and I was now smashing in the carbs. I mean SMASHING them in. I was eating around 4000 calories a day of pure starchy carbs. Potatoes, pasta, noodles, bread. This is a normal portion for me – 250g pasta with balsamic vinegar.

D589D01B-4DBD-415D-8830-22C0B67B9672At this point, I still couldn’t really cook, I mean I was better than I had been as I could cook from scratch. But now the meat and dairy had gone I actually had to learn about flavours. So instead of doing that all the time, I lived off bean chilli, baked potatoes, rice and tomato pasta. I was out on my bike doing around 100 miles a week, which I absolutely loved. The weight carried on dropping off, but I became obsessed with the scales and getting lean. I weighed myself daily and would make sure I was completely naked, done my morning poop and got rid of any water weight before stepping on as I knew these would change what it said. Some how though I had managed to convince myself that what I was doing was totally normal.

I became completely judgemental of others dietary choices, so much so that my friends wouldn’t tell me what they had eaten in fear of what I would say. I wouldn’t go out for food as I didn’t trust anyone else to make my food for me, I had to make it all myself – or have my boyfriend cook for me. This contributed to a pretty epic breakdown of friendships, I quit my job, my relationship was a mess, the only thing I could control was what I ate.

All of this started to change when I moved to Manchester. I gave up riding my bike because of the road conditions, I started working at Love Juice and learned more about balance. There was unicorn around the corner and I started eating proper, delicious, home cooked food. I stopped smashing in the carbs, I started eating cake, I got into juicing, and learned how to enjoy life! Sam and I were cooking together a lot, it really was such fun. He then had to move back home to Shrewsbury (more info here) leaving me living on my own, working 5 days a week and the other two travelling back to shrewsbury to see him for two days before going back to work. I stopped looking after what I was eating and went back to old habits of convenience. Even though I had access to wonderful food, I just didn’t really take care of myself at all.

3 months of this carried on before I actually made the decision to move back to Shrewsbury. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming back – not even my family. I was an anxious wreck again. I couldn’t go into town on my own in fear of bumping into old friends who I no longer spoke to or bumping into family, ex lovers. All of that stuff that I had buried came bubbling back up to the surface. Of course this then led to depression and a massive HUGE level of resentment towards Sam and his illness. I moved in with a friend for a bit and then with my grandparents again. I was doing what I wanted with no care in the world for anything other than making me cover up the sadness and confusion that was going on in my head – apart from to break down at least once every two days.

Again this led to a break down in friendship, relationship and I hit a new low.

This time, I reached out for help. I went to see my dear friend Steph for some body work (see more here) which led to me going on a retreat last October. Wow. My whole life has changed since this weekend.

I now have a sense of calm, “enoughness” and I truly believe in myself. I have a level of self worth, I know I can do what ever I put my mind to. I have the courage to make decisions and change things that no longer serve me. I have learnt that I am the one in control of my happiness. No-one else.

My biggest achievement to date is being able to have a whole day, on my own, and be completely happy with that. I now love me in a way like I never have before. I have shadow sides that I have had to face and heal. I now have the courage to do things I have only dreamt of. I now eat an ethical diet that is not only healthy for me physically and mentally, but for the planet too. I have a wonderful, strong support network of the most incredible women and I am working on the rest!

You may wonder how I got here from the little overweight sad girl I started this post with, but for me, health is no longer about what size I am or how much I eat. It is everything. I have become a young woman who has a massive understanding for what others may be going through and want to share that journey with all of you with no shame or fear.

With love,

Toyah x

Cacao Mylkshake Breakfast Smoothie NOM

Good Morning everyone!

Today I wanted to share with you a smoothie that I go back to time and time again. It is a classic, but I love it. Drinking chocolate mylkshakes in the morning makes me feel like I’m being cheeky with zero guilt!

I keep referring to this concoction as both a mylkshake and a smoothie as it is both – it just depends on who you’re serving it too! Kids and people after a chocolatey drink = mylkshake. Health conscious people or cleansers or who ever else  = Smoothie.

It’s a mylk based liquid NOM that’s all we need to know.

Organic Cacao powder is used in this drink to make it not just delicious, but great for your body too for all of these reasons!

  1. Jam packed full of anti oxidants – to get the full absorption it is advised to avoid drinking cacao with dairy products as that can prevent you gaining the full benefit! (Not that I advocate dairy in any case!)
  2. Source of sulfur which will help maintain shiny hair & strong nails.
  3. One of the highest concentrations of magnesium which means that it creates energy and can combat fatigue (for those who have or have had adrenal burn out it is best to minimise your intake of cacao as it can over stimulate your adrenals) That said, the magnesium does help to lower blood pressure too!
  4. Weight loss! Yes – chocolate can help you lose weight! This is because cacao contains natural MAO inhibitors that suppress your appetite. (No I am not condoning skipping meals or cutting out anything – use cacao WITH meals)
  5. Age reducing! Ok so it doesn’t turn back the clock – but the polyphenol antioxidants protect our cells from oxidising too early therefor keeping us looking younger!
  6. Good time release! Cacao is an aphrodisiac – oh yes it is! It has a mood enhancing property that releases the same endorphins as when we fall in love or during sex! This is why you are often given chocolate on valentines day – although most chocolate that is actually gifted has non of this property left after all of the processing!

These are just a few examples of why I choose cacao! My dear friend Gavin over at Cacao Love sells the most divine cacao I have ever tasted (I’ve had a lot). It really is a delicious treat, so if the recipe below calls to you – click the link and treat your body to some of the most divine cacao out there.*

 

Cacao Mylkshake Breakfast Smoothie NOM Recipe

1.5 frozen bananas (at least 6 hours)

2 tbsp cacao powder (or cacao from cacao love )

1 tbsp maple

1 tbsp chia seeds

3/4 cup filtered water

3/4 cup almond mylk

Method

Add everything into a blender and blitz until smooth- I use a nutri bullet!

Notes

To gain a thicker more luxurious smoothie, ensure your bananas are fully frozen as this creates a lovely creamy texture.

I use half water, half mylk to reduce the fat content as this is a nice big smoothie recipe! (Not that fat is bad – just personal preference) feel free to use 1.5 cups of mylk if you would prefer!

If you plan to recreate this smoothie at home, take a photo and tag me on Instagram – I’d love to see them!

Until next time!

Toyah x

 

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*my post is NOT sponsored. It is purely my opinion that Cacao Love is the best quality Cacao I have come across 🙂

Pea ‘n’ Avo’ SMASH!

I love avo. I love peas. Sam knows this & he made me the most glorious lunch this afternoon!

It is very simple to make so i wanted to share it with you so that you can give it a go for yourselves.

Ingredients

1 avocado cubed & mashed slightly

1/2 cup defrosted peas (do this by putting them in some warm water)

1/2 lime juiced

1 clove garlic finely diced

Salt

Pepper

Drizzle Olive Oil

as much bread as you want – we recommend 2 pieces each!

Method

  1. Defrost the peas
  2. Add everything except the onion & avo into the peas and mash em together
  3. Add the avo & mash it slightly
  4. Spoon it onto some toast, sprinkle with the chopped spring onion. We also added some dried crushed chilli & seas seeds.

It was dreamy.

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Bali Bali Bali

So many people I know lately have been wondering off to Bali & my body is just yearning to go. Until I get myself together, I shall suffice with “bali like” smoothies with my new bamboo straw ! This one was created because I saw @lifealchemyhealth ’s coconut this morning. This is a tropical delight made of Coconut Water, Mango, Pineapple, Spinach & Lemon. I made extra and shared it with my gorgeous granma this morning! Oh & of course I had to really tuned into the spring vibe with my favourite flowers in the back ground. Tulips have been my favourite flowers for years now & pairing them with daff’s is just SO springy. So many people I know lately have been wondering off to Bali & my body is just yearning to go ️Until I get myself together, I shall suffice with “bali like” smoothies with my new bamboo straw ! This one was created because I saw @lifealchemyhealth ’s coconut this morning. This is a tropical delight made of Coconut Water, Mango, Pineapple, Spinach & Lemon. I made extra and shared it with my gorgeous granma this morning! Oh & of course I had to really tuned into the spring vibe with my favourite flowers in the back ground. Tulips have been my favourite flowers for years now & pairing them with daff’s is just SO springy. #mybodyismytemple #recipecreator #smoothielover

NOT DOG!

Throw back to when I found @notdogsuk in Birmingham! I read about their amazing van which they travelled round all the festivals with & had no clue they’d set up a pop up! It was a faaaab discovery & I recognised they story immediately (a year after reading it) This way by far the best vegan sausage I’ve eaten & I’ve had a few!

Throw back to when I found @notdogsuk in Birmingham! I read about their amazing van which they travelled round all the festivals with & had no clue they'd set up a pop up! It was a faaaab discovery & I recognised they story immediately (a year after reading it) This way by far the best vegan sausage I've eaten & I've had a few #veganised #deliciousvegan #meatywithoutthemeat #sausageparty

Back to basic.

Basic lunches are exciting me so much at the moment! Today I had quinoa (keen-wah) cooked with a no salt, no sugar, gluten free stock cube, boiled peas & carrots 🥕 and some steamed Savoy cabbage  I also cooked up some chickpeas to add, of course added a sh*t tonne of nooch & whipped up a batch of healthy healing habits Aioli.

Basic lunches are exciting me so much at the moment! Today I had quinoa (keen-wah) cooked with a no salt, no sugar, gluten free stock cube, boiled peas & carrots 🥕 and some steamed Savoy cabbage  I also cooked up some chickpeas to add, of course added a sh*t tonne of nooch & whipped up a batch of @healthyhealinghabits Alioli #eatmoreplants #plantbasedlove #wholefoodplantbased