Eating vegan in Newcastle

I recently took a trip up north to the Toon with my friend Jade to watch The Weeknd! Although we were only there for one night, this provided us with plenty of opportunity to discover some great, vegan eateries.

I must admit, when Googling vegan places to eat in Newcastle, I was surprised that there wasn’t much on offer in the city centre. However if you head slightly further out, Heaton has tonnes of vegan places to go to, well so Google told me!

Anyway, after a slightly dramatic start to the weekend, a missed train and a lift to York, we made it to Newcastle and checked in to our hotel. We stayed in the Crown Plaza which was just behind the train station, close to the city centre and close to the area, it was the perfect location!

First up for a late lunch/early dinner was The Bohemian, on Pink Lane. A vegetarian and vegan restaurant, there was tonnes to choose from on the menu and some enticing cocktails as well!

Jade and I chose to get a selection of dishes from the tapas section of the menu, so we could try as much as possible.

Here’s what we got:
The classic quesadilla
Shredded Peking jackfruit with hoi sin sauce pancakes, spring onion and cucumber
Tempura vegetables with sweet chili
Fully loaded nachos
The mini meze which was made up on hummus, ciabatta and olives with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

The entire spread was absolutely delicious and we devoured almost all of it (we did order a lot of food!) The highlight for me was most definitely the shredded Peking jackfruit pancakes, they literally tasted like crispy shredded duck pancakes, they were incredible!

I can’t remember exactly what the bill came to, but with a bottle of wine as well, I think it was maybe between £25-30 each which I thought was good for the amount of food we had and a nice bottle of wine. I’d definitely recommend it.

Finding somewhere in the city centre for brunch proved a little more tricky. However, Jade was on the case from about 7am on Sunday morning (!) and found The Ship Ouseburn, Stepney Bank which was about a ten minute uber ride away. For that short car journey, it was definitely worth it.

We were blessed with the weather and were able to sit outside in the sun. Their entire menu is vegan, as are their beers and wines and there was so much to choose from. Both Jade and I went for the ‘fish and chips.’ Thick cut chips with mint peas, horseradish and deep friend seaweed wrapped tofu. Oh my god – this was SO good. Vegan comfort food at its best and the perfect alternative to fish and chips if that’s your thing.

Washed down with a bottle of Vegan wine (I think it was Jack Rabbit!?), we couldn’t resist having a look at the sweet treats on offer. A peanut butter chocolate torte with ice cream – HELLO!! Yes, it was just as unreal as it sounds. If I lived in Newcastle The Ship would definitely be my Sunday local without a doubt.

If you’re in Newcastle I’d recommend giving them both a try if you’re after some good food with a twist. Have you got any recommendations of where to get good vegan food in Newcastle? Let me know!

I’m working with a nutritionist!?

I’ll try and keep this short and sweet (famous last words!) but this is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while but I won’t lie, I have found it quite difficult to write.

Towards the end of summer 2016, I started working and getting help from Chris Lowe, a registered and expert nutritionist, based in Leeds.

Chris has worked with, and continues to work with, a wide variety of athletes, helping them to reach both their performance and aesthetic goals.

The decision to work with Chris came while I was on holiday in Croatia with my boyfriend and our two friends. My relationship with food is something that Dane and I had discussed a number of times but at the time I don’t think I realised just what an issue it was.

Although I didn’t think it back then, for a while I definitely had an unhealthy relationship with food. As a marathon runner (or someone who likes to think she’s a marathon runner!) I train between 5-6 times a week with a mixture of running, strength training and other cardio sessions such as cycling. I definitely wasn’t fuelling my body correctly for the work it was doing and as a result I was often tired, grumpy, weak and quite frankly, miserable. I didn’t even think to look at what I was fuelling my body with though, instead I’d be frustrated at my body for not changing or adapting the way I wanted it to and I’d often take that out on Dane.

I wasn’t eating bad foods, I still had a diet made up of healthy food, but I think what’s important to realise is that even eating a healthy diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healthy, if that makes sense?

I’ll try and explain it a little better. I won’t give you a full run down of what I was eating but essentially, I wasn’t eating enough and I was depriving my body of certain things – mainly carbs – and as a result I’d binge. Usually, I’d have two eggs (sometimes just egg whites!) and some peanut butter before the gym and then usually a protein bar after the gym. I’d be hungry way before lunch time arrived and at lunch I’d usually have a chicken salad and then again, some form of meat and vegetables for dinner. I wasn’t eating enough of, or the right foods in general, to fuel my training. As a result, I was so hungry but instead of just eating something proper and having some carbs, I’d delve into the cereal box or peanut butter jar and then feel terrible about it.

So there you have it – I was a carbohydrate-phobe, not eating enough to fuel my body and on top of that, I was too focused on aesthetics, which is so silly because when I perform well in the gym or have a great run, I don’t care what my body looks like, as long as it can do great things! That’s actually one of the things I say to people quite a lot (not in an offensive way) ‘nice body but what can you do with it?’

What I didn’t realise, until I worked with Chris, was that if your nutrition is right, the aesthetics will follow – and they did indeed!

After having an initial chat with Chris about my diet, I completed a three-day meal plan which was then sent to him for analysis. The results I got back from Chris were extremely detailed and incredibly eye opening. I was restricting my body of so many nutrients and some of these were nutrients that I hadn’t even thought about before!

Chris put together a variety of meal plans for me, one for rest day, one for long run day, run AM, run PM, strength AM, and Strength AM run PM.

I was so excited to get stuck in to them and you’ll be surprised to know that there was zero peanut butter on there – this was a massive thing for me haha and I literally did just go cold turkey. However I felt so satisfied from what I was eating that I actually didn’t want any peanut butter.

For the first few days of the plan I was SO full. I almost felt like I was overeating because I was so full but I persevered and after a week and a bit, my appetite was back. I felt extremely satisfied following the plans and was never left wanting to reach for the snack cupboard or the peanut butter jar.

Not only that, but I found that my sleep quality dramatically improved, as did my mood and energy levels. 5.30am gym sessions no longer felt like a slog, I was lifting well and feeling great for it.

I was also having some really good running sessions, although for the first few weeks I felt a bit heavier but I think that was just my body adjusting to the new diet.

Through weekly conversations with Chris I learned how to fuel my body, what to eat before and after exercise and how to adapt my meals for the day if plans were to change and I couldn’t train due to work for example – this is something that used to really stress me out before!

It sounds silly but if I was going out for dinner, I’d get a bit stressed thinking I’d have to eat ‘bad foods’ or would overeat for example. Now though, I know that having a pizza or a burger for example, isn’t going to change my physique or performance once a week and I can plan my other meals around that to ensure I’m still fuelling my sessions right.

The most important thing for me out of all of this is that I feel a million times better. This for me is far more important than the aesthetics side of things. However, Chris had told me that with the correct nutrition and with the training I was doing, the aesthetics I had once so desperately been craving, would come – and they did – I was amazed! My relationship with food has changed dramatically and I’m so, so happy with it. My diet is far more balanced now and I feel extremely happy with where I’m at now. The issues with food put a massive strain on my relationship with Dane, which is hard to admit, and if I could go back and change all of that, I would in a heartbeat.

Since working with Chris my diet has now changed again, in that I’m not eating animal based products anymore. I’m conscious that I still need to educate myself about this and so I’m excited to be working with Chris again to get his advice to ensure I don’t deplete my body of any nutrients or restrict myself again.

I hope you’ve found this helpful or insightful and I’ll be writing another blog post soon on my journey to eating more of a plant based diet, although don’t worry, this won’t be preachy in any way shape or form – each to their own!

If you want to read more about the work Chris does (please do because he’s awesome) – then you can check out his website here. He also posts some awesome blog posts/nuggets of information on his Facebook page here.

Brunch at Alyssum Cafe Bistro, Sheffield

If you’re looking for a delicious brunch in a super cute setting with mouth-watering cakes to devour afterwards, Alyssum is the place for you.

In a predominately student populated area, you could easily drive past Alyssum, based on Barber Road, Crookesmoor, if you weren’t looking for it.

It’s tucked between a few shops and is really quaint. With just a few tables inside, surrounded by ornate, homely décor, you’re in luck if you get a table straight away.

This popular brunch spot is a very foodie place indeed and an Instagrammers haven for sure!

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Instagram is in fact how I stumbled across Alyssum and after browsing through their pictures it was quickly added to be brunch ‘to do’ list.

After the gym one morning, I finally headed there with my friend Jade. We both had the vegan Alyssum breakfast which was made up of a potato rosti, house-made tomato and pepper smoke paprika salsa, sautéed mushrooms, falafel and avocado.

It was absolutely delicious, not to mention beautifully presented. The menu speaks for itself, with plenty of choice and lots of delicious Greek options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Take a look for yourself here to get those taste buds tantalised.

Beware though, you’ll definitely want a cake afterwards! The cakes change daily and although I didn’t try one on my most recent trip, it’s safe to say I’ll be back to try one asap. Check out their website here for some seriously insane pictures of their cake creations. They even make vegan chocolate cake too!

Alyssum’s tasty creations don’t stop there though…we need to talk about the coffee! Both Jade and I devoured two cappuccinos (almond milk for Jade, soya for me!) with vanilla syrup in one and hazelnut in the other. They were SO good, seriously – so good! I love coffee. Not to mention, they were presented beautifully as well.

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The menu and pictures speak for themselves but once you’ve read the menu and looked over their Instagram feed, get yourself in the car and head over there!
Enjoy! If you do go, let me know what you think 🙂

My week in training – 50 days to go!

Week 8 of my training plan on the road to the Boston Marathon and there’s just 50 days to go! I feel as though things are really starting to ramp up now, although my weekly mileage hasn’t increased massively, maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, who knows! This week actually felt pretty tough though and I was struggling mentally towards the end of the week, but now the sessions are all done, looking back it has actually been a pretty successful week!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

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Monday:
I woke up in London as I’d spent the weekend there with my friend Liv. We ran the Old Deer Park half-marathon in Richmond the day before but I’d paced Liv to a 2.04 finish time and so felt fine to train on Monday as I had the day off work. I had planned to do my scheduled session 1 but the gym didn’t have everything I needed so I did a bit of a random session made up of some squats, single leg deadlifts, leg press (which I never do!), pull ups and calf work. It was ok but in hindsight I should’ve used it as a rest day.

Tuesday:
Back up north at my mum’s house, I headed out for a late morning run, an easy five miles just to get the legs turning. I used this as my easy pacer/recovery run of the week and it felt fine. Another one ticked off.

Wednesday:
My first proper strength session of the week, woohoo! I’m loving my current gym programme and slowly but surely, thanks to some top programming, I feel like I’m getting stronger. Here’s what today’s session included:
Push jerks
Pause squats SS with box jumps and chin ups
Romanian deadlifts (3 sec pause at the bottom) toes elevated, SS with strict press
Hanging leg raise SS with single leg calf raise

Thursday:
There was only a 20min tempo run on the cards today but I felt absolutely shattered for some reason. However, 20 minutes is 20 minutes and I therefore had no excuses. I also had a dentists appointment to get to so had to run super fast to get back home in time to drive there – motivation ey haha!

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Friday:
I think I must’ve moaned to just about everyone who would (or wouldn’t) listen to me about running on Friday – haha sorry! For me, that’s what training is about sometimes though, especially marathon training, just digging in and getting it done. Tonight’s session was to run 5 mins hard, 1 min super easy until I’d reached 10k. I finished at the supermarket, got some hot chocolate and an uber home!

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Saturday:
With lots to do today I was up fairly early to get to the gym for when it opened – yes I am that person- to do my second and final strength session of the week. I did:
Power cleans from the blocks
Deadlifts
Bulgarian split squats SS with bench press and single arm row
Candlestick progressions SS with calf work
This was followed by a delicious brunch which will be in a blog post next week, so keep an eye out for that!

Sunday:
Sunday funday long run day…ohhh how I hated the first half of this. I was a greedy little piglet before I set off and so spent the first half too full, feeling sick and heavy! I kept it steady and from mile 10 picked it up for the last 6 miles to include a few 7.30s – result! I’m hoping the speed is in there, I just haven’t had the guts to tap in to it properly on long runs yet! We went for a delicious lunch after at Bill’s. I had a vegetable tagine and hummus to start – yummy 🙂

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Here’s to another week down and a much needed rest day tomorrow!!

Han xx

 

 

Full body gym workout

I thought I’d share a recent full body workout I filmed the other weekend for you! It’s gym based and is part of the second phase of my current gym programme.

Below is the full video, showing most of the exercises minus the core and calf work. I’ve also written the full session below if you want to give it a go! If you haven’t done any of these movements before though, there are plenty of progressions and I’d always advise asking a trained professional to talk you through the movement to ensure your form is on point! If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask 🙂

 

Hannah’s Happy Pace Full Body Gym Workout:

Power clean & Jerk 4 x 4

Deadlifts 3 x 6

Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 8
Barbell Bench Press 3 x 8
Dumbbell Incline Bench Row 3 x 12

Candlestick/Dragon Fly Progressions 3 x 3-6
Single Leg Eccentric Calf Raise 3 x 15
Seated Bent Leg Calf Raise 3 x 15

 

I’m going to Boston!

Image result for boston marathon 2017
So as you probably know from my other posts, I’m going to Boston in April to run the Boston Marathon!

AHHHHH, can we just take a second to let that sink in – THE BOSTON MARATHON! It actually hit me when I was doing a cruise session yesterday; I’m training to run the Boston Marathon! Haha, I’ll stop talking about it eventually, but for the next four months, it’s all about Boston.

My lovely friend Bryony bought me a Boston Lonely Planet guidebook (I am addicted to these!) and I’ve not been able to put it down since. Boston looks amazing, so diverse, and I’m really excited to explore and see lots of different parts of it –as well as running the marathon!

This post is essentially to ask you guys whether you have any recommendations about hotels, or where to stay, what to do, what to see and of course, where to eat!

I fly out on April 12 and leave on April 20. We actually managed to find super cheap flights so I’m really pleased about that. Now I just need to find somewhere to stay.

I have started looking at hotels but they seem pretty expensive. Air B&B is also an option. So basically, where would you recommend I stay?

If you have any Boston tips, please please comment below, email me (visit my contact page), or Tweet me @hannahbryan91.

Thanks and hope to speak to some of you soon 🙂

My top five healthy work snacks

Walk into any office and you can usually spot a ‘treats table,’ a vending machine, or somewhere to get a cheeky afternoon slump pick me up.

My office is no different, our treats table is usually stocked with flapjacks, biscuits or sweets and I know how tempting it is when you get a little bit hungry or stressed to hit the sweet stuff.

Obviously if you do fancy hitting up that table from time to time, go for it, but for me, I find it better to have healthy snacks with me, either in the fridge at work, or something in my desk draw I can nibble on.

I’ve written down my top five (in no particular order).

1) Nuts – this is such a simple one, but keeping a bagful of nuts in your desk draw for snacks is a great option. Fats keep you feeling fuller for longer, too. Be careful not to eat too many though, as they are high in fat. Half a handful is perfect.

2) High protein yoghurt. This has to be one of my favourites and is a staple on rest days, or when I’ve trained in the morning. I buy the Skyr natural yoghurt, which you can get from most supermarkets. I’d have this with some blueberries and half a handful of walnuts or almonds.

3) Veggies and hummus. Take a carrot, or a couple of carrots, cucumber, or celery and a small pot of hummus to keep in the fridge at work.

4) Apple and peanut butter. If you’re a peanut butter addict like me, don’t take the whole tub to work! Instead, empty some into a small pot to spread onto a chopped apple. M&S also do a perfect little snack pot size of this!

5) Hard boiled eggs. Ok, so this is probably the last appealing sounding one, unless you love eggs. However, hard boiled eggs and some spinach is great for a snack. The fats and protein will keep you feeling full. Take two with you and some veg such as spinach or rocket for a snack in the afternoon.

Other snacks such as homemade energy balls, which you can find in my recipe section, are also great for snacks. But remember, life is about everything in moderation – so if one day you want a flapjack or a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar, get one!

What are your favourite healthy snacks? Comment below or Tweet me @hannahbryan91 🙂