Vegan Tiffin

Enjoy this plant based recipe with coffee or tea and the kiddies love it too.

Ingredients

2.5 Cups Dates

2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter

30g Cacao Powder

1 Box of Nairns Gingernut Oat Biscuits

80g Roasted Hazelnuts

Make from Scratch

In a food processor add dates, peanut butter and cacao powder. Blitz until a paste is formed. Pop into a big mixing bowl.

Add gingernut oat biscuits and roasted hazelnuts to food processor and blitz until they resemble medium size chunks. Add to mixing bowl.

Mix together and pour tiffin mixture onto a line baking tray. Level it out and pop in freezer for 3-4 hours before cutting into bite size squares.

Eco Rascals Bamboo Tableware for Little Ones

I recently discovered Eco Rascals bamboo suction plates at a local market in Abu Dhabi. Eco Rascals is a concept designed by two British Expat Mums in Abu Dhabi. I am very passionate about reducing my usage of plastic so I was delighted to discover this product. The plates, bowls and spoons come in lovely bright colours to make meal times more exciting for the little ones and the suction piece helps reduce spillages.

Screenshot 2018-12-23 at 12.53.45Bamboo suction plate & spoon for baby Dhs 125

About Eco Rascals

Sharing a deep passion with the UAE and local businesses to reduce the use of plastic, we knew we needed to develop a product that was plastic free, sustainable and biodegradable. That’s why we chose bamboo. Bamboo grass matures in five years, significantly faster than any wood product. It is grown and harvested without the use of pesticides. Organic bamboo is eco-friendly, biodegradable, heat, stain, odour and water resistant and most importantly it is non-toxic.

Visit the online store here: https://ecorascals.com

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Working your Pelvic Floor in Pregnancy, Birth and Post Partum

This is a guest blog post by Physiotherapist Amy Gilbert based in Perfect Balance Rehabilitation LLC Abu Dhabi.

Amy specialises in the following:

  • Sports Injury treatment and prevention
  • Women’s health physiotherapy of pelvic pain, incontinence, pain management
  • Dry Needling (Certified Dry Needling Practitioner)
  • Rehabilitation Pilates (STOTT Rehabilitation Pilates Matwork and reformer)
  • Kinesiology Taping
  • Exercise Therapy and Instructing

With professional memberships both National and International:

  • Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD)
  • Healthcare Professions Council UK (HCPC)
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy UK (CSP)
  • Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy UK (POGP)

Amy will discuss pelvic floor health during pregnancy and post partum. From experience the pelvic floor muscles come under pressure both during pregnancy and child birth. It is essential that woman receive education about pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and pelvic floor restoration post partum.

Q&A with Amy Gilbert, Physiotherapist

1. What are your pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that sit on the under side of the pelvis. They have attachments to your pubic bone, tail bone and pelvis. They work all day long in many ways.

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Their main roles are as follows:

– SPHINCTERIC: the muscles of the pelvic floor wrap around and control the opening of the bladder and rectum. When there is increased abdominal pressure (for example when you cough or sneeze, laugh or jump) these muscles contract around the urethra and anus to prevent leakage. Equally as important is the relaxation of these muscles to allow us to urinate and have bowel movements easily.

– SUPPORT: The pelvic floor acts as a basket to support our pelvic organs (bladder, rectum and uterus)against gravity and increases in abdominal pressure. With excess strain on the pelvic floor (especially during pregnancy) or with weakening of the pelvic floor (with age or hormonal changes) the pelvic organs can start to protrude near the vaginal opening. This is referred to as a prolapse.

– SEXUAL: during intercourse the pelvic floor muscles help to achieve and sustain an erection and allow for penetration. Sufficient strength of the pelvic floor muscles is necessary for orgasm, and excessive tension or sensitivity of the pelvic floor can contribute to pain during or after intercourse.

– SUMP-PUMP: just like the calf muscles in your leg act to pump blood and lymphatic fluid back up towards your heart, the pelvic floor muscles act as a blood/lymph pump for the pelvis. A loss of this sump-pump action can contribute to swelling or pelvic congestion.

2. What are common problems during and post pregnancy impacting pelvic floor health? (Prenatal pelvic floor health, post natal pelvic floor health)

During pregnancy the pelvic floor under goes a large amount of strain. Good news though it is designed for this. Exercising the pelvic floor is a great way to keep it strong. Complications can arise during delivery or even just the prolonged strain during pregnancy. Common problems that affect the pelvic floor are weakness, tightness, decreased supportive ability and all of these can lead to pain, incontinence and prolapse.

3. What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is provided by a women’s health specialist physiotherapist. It involved the detailed assessment of the pelvic floor and the surrounding pelvis anatomy. Once the pelvic floor has been assessed for strength and stamina, function, muscle integrity (tightness and trigger points), and pain a treatment plan is then formulated. The treatment plan addresses the problem list, and is therefore very much individually tailored physiotherapy. The treatment is aimed at rehabilitating the pelvic floor back to its optimum function.

4. What can you do to protect your pelvic floor?

Be aware of your pelvic floor. Have a specialist Women’s Health physiotherapist assess the function of your pelvic floor to ensure it is working effectively. Just doing general ‘kegels exercises’ is not enough, it is vital to know that you are exercising the pelvic floor correctly.

5. Why is exercise important during pregnancy? What exercises should you avoid? What exercises are recommended?

Exercise is vital during pregnancy to keep your cardiovascular fitness up. Most exercise is safe, with obvious exceptions that put your abdomen at risk. The main rule of thumb is don’t try to start a new form of exercise during pregnancy, for example if you are not normally a runner, we don’t advise you take this up during pregnancy. Exercise that targets a full body workout is recommended. Strengthening those muscles that you will need to work well during pregnancy is great, for example your postural muscles, leg muscles.

6. What is the recommended protocol to protect the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and what is the recommended protocol for restoring the pelvic floor muscles post partum?

To protect the pelvic floor, make sure it is working effectively, have a specialist women’s health physiotherapist assess. To prepare the perineum for delivery, perineal massage (especially for the first pregnancy) can be a beneficial process 6 weeks before the due date. This helps to increase blood flow to the perineal tissue and prepare for the increased strain during delivery.

Post partum we recommend a post-natal assessment to establish the pelvic floor’s function, and we then guide the safe return to exercise.

 

Meatless Monday: Vegan Butterbean, Spinach & Coconut Curry

Meatless Monday is a global message to encourage individuals to omit meat from their diet one day a week. Simple.

This recipe is adapted from The Happy Pear in collaboration with Super Valu, Ireland. It is a mild curry. Depending on your toddlers taste buds, it can be considered toddler friendly whilst containing your 5 a day. I garnished my meal with chilli flakes and salt. In replacement of cashew nuts, I toasted and crushed peanuts. Onion and garlic are optional depending on dietary requirements.

Ingredients

  • 100g sweet potato or white potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 courgette, cut into quarters
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • 3 x 400g tins of butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 1 Kallo low sodium vegetable stock cube, follow packet instructions
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 100g baby spinach
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes, to garnish
  • Salt, to garnish

Made from Scratch

  • In a large saucepan add tsp extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped sweet potatoes, courgette, carrot and saute for a few minutes.
  • Add butterbeans and coconut milk, stock and curry powder. Bring to the boil.
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice and tamarind/soy sauce.
  • Add spinach and allow to wilt.
  • Toast some chopped nuts and garnish your dish.
  • Serve with rice, quinoa or cous cous.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch #makeandbakefromscratch and Facebook: Make & Bake From Scratch

Toddlers in the Kitchen: No Bake Bliss Balls

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Cooking with toddlers in the kitchen is a great activity to keep them entertained but it will teach life skills and form healthy lifestyle and eating habits from an early age.

No bake bliss balls are easy to make and can be stored in the fridge. They can be added to lunch boxes or eaten as a treat. I adapt the recipe depending on what is in the cupboard on a particular day. I roll these bliss balls into smaller sizes so they can fit in the toddlers hand and are easy to eat.

Ingredients

1 cup Oats

12 Seedless Dates

1/2 cup Nuts ( I used peanuts or hazelnuts)

1/4 cup Cacao Nibs

1/4 Cacao Powder

2-3 tbsp Water

Make from Scratch

  1. Pop all dry ingredients into the food processor.
  2. Gradually add water until the mixture bind together like a paste.
  3. Roll in the paste into ball shapes
  4. Sprinkle or roll the bliss balls in unsweetened desiccated coconut or cacao powder or chopped nuts.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch #makeandbakefromscratch and Facebook: Make & Bake From Scratch

Adidas Runners hits Abu Dhabi

IMG_8097I am happy to share the exciting news that Adidas Runners has now arrived in the capital.  It is a great way to get fit post summer holidays whilst meeting like minded people. There is a great community spirit amongst Adidas Runners and you are free to run at your own pace.

IMG_8100There will be weekly sessions that you will not want to miss so head on down and meet new people and the Adidas coaches that will help you attain your fitness goals. The first run will be held on the 16th September 2019. For more details and to get involved download the runtastic app

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I hope to see you there.

Vegan Breakfast Banana Spelt Muffins

_DSC7793.jpgKick start the morning with these delicious vegan breakfast muffins. They are great for children too. My little one loves to pull them apart and eat whilst I clean crumbs off the floor. All ingredients were procured from Spinneys, Abu Dhabi._DSC7791Recipe:  Breakfast, Snack, Vegan

Serves: 12

Cooking Time: 30 mins  Fan oven 180 degrees.

Ingredients
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp (7g) mixed with  2 Tbsp warm water)
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 Tbsp coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp apple puree
  • 1/4 cup sweet freedom fruit syrup
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 180 ml koko unsweetened coconut milk
  • 240g spelt flour
  • 100g oats
  • Optional: cocoa nibs, dried fruit, berries, walnuts, almonds, poppy seeds or pecans.

Make from Scratch:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 and grease muffin tray
  • Prepare flax egg
  • Mash banana with fork or food processor.
  • In a mixing bowl add flax egg, mashed banana, vanilla, coconut oil, apple puree, fruit syrup, salt, cinnamon, coconut milk, spelt flour and oats. Mix it all together with the wooden spoon.
  • Spoon the muffin batter into the muffin tray.
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes depending on oven.
  • Devour with your favourite topping!

Nutritional Information 

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Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch #makeandbakefromscratch and Facebook: Make & Bake From Scratch

Phuket and a Baby

_DSC7331Kata Beach at Sunset

It has been a while since I blogged between moving apartment, growing a human who is now a Baby Boy called Anraoí and finishing an MBA, there was not enough time to fit it all in. For the past few years, we have gone on holidays in October/November, so sticking with tradition we decided to venture back to Thailand with Anraoí this year. Unsure of what to expect, we packed the suitcase and off we went to Phuket.We stayed in the Chalong district. There is a strong focus on health and fitness there, so that was right up my alley.

Travelling with a Baby

IMG_9797These are my personal tips, other parents may do it differently. I have learned over the last few months there is no one size fits all approach to parenting. At the time of travel Anraoí was four months old, so I am sure as he ages the travelling experience will change. We travelled around by taxi or tuk tuk all week but we did see fellow travellers with their baby in a sling on mopeds. The choice is yours to make.

IMG_9768Morning Balcony View

What I learned is that when travelling with a baby the day starts early and can end anywhere between 7pm-9pm. So you learn to work the day and activities within that time frame. You need to consider nap times too. Therefore, try get accommodation that has a balcony where you can chill, practice yoga, tan, read a book or nap too. Source out restaurants that have air conditioning.

IMG_9791Attempting hollow back pose

It was a morning flight from Abu Dhabi, this helped with morning routine. The return flight was a night flight and this was brilliant as it accommodated for night time routine.Prior to leaving we arranged pick ups with our accommodation and a baby cot. For safety reasons we packed the car seat and it was helpful throughout the week. We packed a stroller and a baby bjorn sling. I know what you are thinking all this equipment for one week!

Other essentials included baby sleeping bag, suncream, baby shower gel, coconut oil, plenty of muslin cloths, light clothing, sunglasses, swim shorts and toys. The local supermarkets in Phuket stock nappies, there is even a Tesco but I brought my own supply and stocked up there too.

Eat & Drink

Munch on Protein Pancakes from The Shack

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Enjoy sunset and drinks at Kata Rocks, Phuket.

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IMG_9736Whiskey Sour 

Other places I recommend are:

The Boathouse, Phuket

The Red Duck

Santosa Phuket they offer a vegan buffet.

Pure Vegan Heaven

Greze Healthy Kitchen

Nommy Frozen Yogurt

Sweat

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You can join Unit 27, Thailand for a multitude of fitness classes every day. I joined the Primal Fitness Unit for the week because I am restoring that pelvic floor post baby, so no jumping or running movement, just yet. They have a cafe called Muscle Bar which in my opinion had the best smoothies of the week. Check out Unit 27 website for full list of classes and prices.

Fun & Frolics

Head to Nai Harn Beach and drink fresh coconuts by the sea shore.

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Old Town Phuket has beautiful architecture, street art, colourful buildings and coffee shops.

Street Art by Alex Face

There is an Cat Cafe in Phuket Old Town for cat lovers.

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IMG_9654Kata Beach, Phuket 

We survived the first holiday as parents and here’s to many more.

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Ceylon Adventure: Soul & Surf, Sri Lanka

On a recent adventure to Sri Lanka I had an extremely fun week staying in Soul and Surf. In the beginning there was 24 strangers from all corners of the earth, all under the one roof participating in daily yoga, eating all meals and surfing together. By the end of the week we were no longer strangers and I was lucky enough to have this lovely bunch along with all the crew at Soul and Surf sing “Happy Birthday”, to me with a freshly made Banana cake.

Kabalana Beach

Kabalana Beach at Sunset, Sri Lanka.

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”, (Jack Keroauc, On the Road).

The Activities

Actvity BoardSoul & Surf Daily Activity Board

Each day commences with a 6:45am Vinyasa Flow Yoga session, followed by a light snack. Surfers head off to catch some waves whilst Non Surfers (Me) visited tea plantations, had one to one private yoga session tailored for pregnancy, learned how to cook delicious Sri Lankan food and relaxed with pregnancy tailored massages. These Non Surfer activities were spread throughout the 7 day trip over the course of the day.

Yoga ViewView from the Yoga Studio.

Handunugoda Tea Plantation

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Once all the Surfers returned there was a communal area for breakfast and it was served at 11:30am. This was a nice time to catch up with the group. Lunch was served around 2:00pm. There was time to chill out, soak up the vitamin D or read a book when the rain showers appeared.

Lounge AreaLounging Area to chill out and catch up.

In the evening around 4:30pm Surfers would head off for an evening surf and upon return snacks were provided followed by dinner at 7:30-8:00pm. As a Non Surfer I was able to chill out on the beach, dip my toes in the sea and take some snaps.

_DSC6867Fisherman at Kabalana Beach, Sri Lanka.

Processed with VSCO with b2 presetStilt Fishermen, Sri Lanka.

SunsetEvening Sunset and Surf, Kabalana Beach.

Final SunsetAnother magnificent Sunset, Kabalana Beach, Sri Lanka.

_DSC6961Local Woman in Sri Lanka.

The Fuel 

Below are a colourful display of the delicious food served at Soul and Surf, Sri Lanka. If you have special dietary requirements, email beforehand and they will accommodate meal requirements. There was a mix a vegetarian and meat based options mainly chicken and fish.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetArt work in the Dinner Lounge.

_DSC6970Coconut Porridge.Fruit PlatterBreakfast Fruit Platter.

Salad OneLunch Salad usually served with Chickpea Burgers or Wraps.

Cookery ClassDinner and the Sri Lankan Cookery Class included Sri Lankan Dahl Curry, Coconut Sambol and Tempered Potatoes. There was fresh prawns served too.

_DSC6860Coconut Sambol is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made with coconut and spices.

How to get to Soul and Surf?

Airport pick up is organised with Soul & Surf Head of Vibes prior to departure. The drive is between 2.5hr -3hrs depending on weather conditions.

The Packages

Being six months pregnant I opted for the Non Surfer Package. There was ample activity planned throughout the day and massages and yoga session were tailored for pregnancy, I found this extremely helpful.

There’s plenty of surf, yoga, and activities for everyone.

STANDARD PACKAGE
7 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast, Light Lunch and 2 Course Dinner
Unlimited Drinking Water
Snacks & Water During Surf Sessions
 5 Morning’s 2hr Surf Coaching or Guide (Sun to Fri but not Weds)
 5 Evening’s Sunset-Surf Sessions (Sun to Fri but not Weds)
 1 Video Feedback Session
 1 Surf Theory Lesson
 7 Day Surfboard Hire
Complimentary Soul & Surf Rash Vest
5 Vinyasa Flow Yoga Classes
2 Yin Yoga Classes
1 Pranayama Session
1 Guided Meditation
A Group Photo
1 Guided SUP Session or Canoe Ride down the River on Weds morning

Our Non Surfer Package is specifically designed for and only available to someone who is sharing a room with a standard package guest.

NON SURFER PACKAGE
7 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast, Light Lunch and 2 Course Dinner
Unlimited Drinking Water
5 Vinyasa Flow Yoga Classes
2 Yin Yoga Classes
1 Pranayama Session
1 Guided Meditation
A One to One Yoga Class
An Extra Non-Surfer specific Yoga class (max. 3 people)
A Tuk Tuk trip to a nearby white tea plantation
Two 1hr 15min treatment with our in-house therapists
A Group Photo
A Guided SUP Session or Canoe Ride down the River on Wednesday
A Sri Lankan Cooking Demonstration

The Day Off

On Wednesday you are free agent and you can plan your own activities. We headed to Galle Fort in a tuk tuk, the drive took about 40 minutes. Galle Fort has hotels, restaurants, boutiques and jewellery shops. Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. You can arrange your travels plans with the Head of Vibes.

_DSC6932Mode of Transport in Sri Lanka a Tuk Tuk.

Galle FortGalle Fort Lighthouse.

Processed with VSCO with c2 presetSchool Children in the rain, Galle Fort.

_DSC6936Art work in Galle, Fort.

To eat in Galle Fort, visit Poonies Kitchen and try the infamous Salad Thali:

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On the final day the group heads to the beach to surf, watch the sunset and enjoy a beer. Followed by this there is a BBQ back at the Villa. Throughout the day you will need to settle any outstanding bills. This can be done with the Head of Vibes.

One leaves Soul and Surf refreshed and revitalised to take on the next challenge life presents. For further information regarding prices, please visit the Soul and Surf website 

Bite Size Blondies

blondiesRecently, I was researching almond flour recipes and came across a recipe for Blondies. A Blondie is essentially a Blonde Brownie. The recipe I had found online called for ½ cup of coconut oil and 1 cup of sugar. According to myfitnesspal.com a ½ cup coconut = 960 calories and 1 cup of sugar = 720 calories. I challenged myself to re-create the recipe omitting the above and decreasing the overall calorie content whilst keeping the delicious gooey Blondie consistency and texture. Baking with almond flour creates a dense, moreish Blondie, as you can see from the image. Allow them to cool before cutting into bite size pieces, this allows the mixture to set and easier to cut.

The Blondie recipe I re-created used fruit puree as an alternative to coconut oil and natvia stevia as an alternative to sugar. This reduced calories per serving from 205 to 128, however, this is not a reason to over indulge. Moderation is key however; it can be hard to exercise this mindset when presented with these tasty creations. Below is the nutritional breakdown from myfitnesspal.com:

calorie-content

Bite Size Blondies

(Bite size – 20 pieces)

2 cups Almond Flour

6 tsp. Natvia Stevia

1 tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Salt

100g Chocolate Chips

100g White Chocolate Chips

200g Clear Spring Apple & Mango Puree

2 Eggs (2 egg whites, one egg yolk)

Made from Scratch:

  •  Preheat the oven 170, fan oven and grease an 8” square baking tray or line with grease proof paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl add almond flour,  natvia stevia, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl add eggs and fruit puree, combine well and fold into the dry mixture. Mix until combined well.
  • Pour the blondie mixture into the baking tray and level it off with a wooden spoon or fork.
  • Pop in the oven, bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting or it will crumble.

*All ingredients are available in Spinneys or your local supermarket. To read more about Natvia, click here.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch #makeandbakefromscratch and Facebook: Make & Bake From Scratch