Everyone loves a Sunday fry up but with bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, butter, marmalade it's easy to rack up the calories, fat and salt. Add in hash browns, black pudding, fried bread and its heart attack on a plate territory. If you like a traditional breakfast then you can save lots of fat by shunning the frying pan and  having a grill and poach up but if you want to go a step further and make your breakfast nutritious then have a Full English Nouveau brekkie. Eggs scrambled in (odourless) coconut cream (coconut oil/butter is also good but I chose Royal Green Coconut Cooking Cream because you can't taste the coconut which means you can use it for everything. Including your full English Nouveau) , smoked salmon, avocado, lightly grilled tomato and wholemeal toast spread with sunflower seed butter. 
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Breakfast Compare:
Original Full English (Fried)
2 Rashers bacon
1 Pork sausage
2 fried eggs
Baked beans
Black pudding
1 slice fried bread
Low down:
1027 calories and very high in saturated fat

Healthier Option Traditional Full English
Grill and Poach up of all the items above, leaving out the black pudding and replacing fried bread with lightly buttered toast:
537 calories, big difference in calories but still high in saturated fat with few real health benefits.

Healthiest option Full English Nouveau
2 slices Smoked salmon
2 scrambled eggs
quarter of an avocado
half a grilled tomato
slice of wholemeal bread spread with sunflower seed butter
485 calories high in healthy, natural fats, good source of fibre and loaded with vitamins and minerals. I always try to eat some 'raw' foods at every meal because it really bumps up the nutrition. The avocado alone in this breakfast provides 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Avocado is a nutrient booster - the monounsaturated fat in an avocado enables your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins ( A,D,E, and K). The smoked salmon is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and the coconut butter is a raw saturated fat but unlike the cholesterol soaked animal fats, it is stable when heated and actually lowers cholesterol. It has less calories than other saturated fats and has antibacterial properties. Finally sunflower seed butter is full of vitamins and minerals (especially rich in B and E vitamins and manganese) and is a good source of healthy polyunsaturated fat.
I think we have a winner.


Prefer your breakfast in a sandwich? How about this little beauty:
Breakfast Sandwich Nouveau
Wholemeal pitta (warmed)
sliced tomato
sliced avocado (I usually do mashed and use it in place of butter but my avocado wasn't ripe enough)
1 egg and 1 rasher bacon fried in a teaspoon of coconut oil (I drain the excess fat off the egg and bacon on kitchen paper after cooking)
A small slice of Gouda cheese
350 calories, good source of fibre and protein and lots of other good stuff (vitamins and minerals).
 
 
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So, I have an injury. I’ve mentioned this before? Well it does occupy most of my waking hours at the moment, probably because I’ve never had an injury before. My body was always well behaved. I took good care of it (or so I thought) and it served me well. I thought I had a great relations with my physical self but it turns out that I’m the EU and my right calf is David Cameron - vetoing out of the European treaty (Paris marathon) when the rest of me (The EU) thinks it’s a reasonable idea and is raring to go. I’m not political enough to keep that going but you get the point.

I’ve been running for 7 years. What started off as a means to keep fit (and back then by fit, I just meant slim) soon turned into my exercise of choice because I got good at it and always felt reassuringly exhausted. Sprints, hill running and anything that gave me a face that looked like it was on fire is what brought me exercise satisfaction. Yes, I admit to being a red faced exerciser (but that’s a whole other post) and wasn’t happy unless I left the treadmill a red and sweaty mess. Intensity was key (and I stick by that still today), nothing like that feeling of sheer exhaustion as that’s what releases the good stuff – I’m talking about those feel good chemicals.  

Like many runners I like the big hit of endorphins that running releases.  I like that little high and have come to expect it after a run. However good old Davey C isn’t letting me push it hard enough to get my hit which has brought on an unforeseen danger of being injured – pray tell, I hear you say. Well, today I actually came home from a very gentle and very short ‘rehabilitation’ jog with the craving for chocolate…is this to satisfy my endorphin craving because I didn’t achieve it through mild exercise?  If so then I’m embarking on dangerous territory!  
But back to marathon training and the cause of my injury.  After so many years of training my anaerobic system with short, fast (7-11km) runs , I was good at tapping into that energy system and it became automatic. However marathon training requires a much different approach and when I wrote out my marathon train plan, lots of long distance slow running featured heavily. Easy written down that actually done. I did slow down but it wasn’t until I sustained an injury that I fully appreciated how much I needed to slow down on the long endurance runs to build that strong aerobic foundation which I’d always bypassed until now.

The way you exercise determines the shape of your body and the ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch fibres that make up your muscles.  Sprinters will generally be leaner, with larger muscles made up of mainly fast twitch fibres which contract fast and tire easily. Endurance athletes are lighter with less lean mass and a higher number of slow twitch fibres that are able to endure long periods of action.  I’d trained my muscles to sit in the former camp and as form follows function I’d also developed a running technique geared up to a faster running style; on my toes with a forward lean. At the distances that marathon training demands, this technique put far too much pressure on my already over worked and under long distance experienced calf.

On top of that I am guilty of a little neglect. Niggling hip issues made me suspect an imminent injury in that part of my body and so I focused my attention there during stretching, failing to stretch all of the muscles in my lower legs. As in life never focus your attention on those shouting the loudest, they're usually leading you down the wrong path - always take time to listen to the quite ones too. That's my wisdom for the day!

My physio told me to be patient and humble...! Turns out I’m going to have to re-train my brain too then. That’s going to be the hardest part…especially with less than two months to go.

If I manage to complete this marathon, I should get a tattoo of DC’s face on my right calf. Good lord that would be hideous.  Second thought I should be made to get the tattoo if I don't manage to finish the race.  I'd probably win it if that were the case.

So remember do your stretches and train smart or your body will punish you with pain, the inability to exercise and the need for chocolate. Don't say I didn't warn you.


 
 
If there is a breakfast club I want to be president. I love any meal time but breakfast is the best. Many a mid-week mornings start with something seedy in our house...
This is my favourite take on porridge - I've named it the Oatsey Jumble (mainly because I'm the kind of loser who names meals). I use jumbo oats heated up on the stove (never microwave!) with water and almond milk and throw on a few items from my breakfast sweet shop; including flaxseed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries and finished with a dollop of sunflower seed butter.
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Part of the breakfast sweet shop
Unlike me, Juri (the husband) isn't a massive fan of seeds. Up until recently he would say, 'hold the bird food' when I was making oats and I did for a while, then I started sneaking in the odd teaspoon, (under the porridge at the bottom of the bowl) building it up slowly adding a bit more each time and now well we might as well call him big bird - he can't get enough. The seeds will win out eventually! Even if you're not a big fan of the taste, it's worth re-training your brain to like bird food.

Because seeds are packed with nutrients:-

1. Minerals
Rich source of iron (helps your blood deliver oxygen to muscles), zinc (keeps the immune system strong) and also good source of calcium, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus.

2. Vitamins
Excellent source of the B vitamins folic acid and niacin (help your body convert food to energy and improve circulation). Also rich in vitamin E, the beauty vitamin (gives you good hair, nails, skin)

3. Healthy fats
Seeds are high in the good fats - poly and monounsaturated 'heart healthy' fats that your body uses to reduce cholesterol, manage inflammation, and maintain the integrity of your cells. If we don't give our body what it needs then its going to look for it - best to have a bit of the good stuff than to be craving crisps later on...I've yet to meet anyone (bird or human) who got fat from a sprinkling of seeds!

4. Protein
Around 5 grams of protein for every ounce (28g) of sunflower, chia and flax and 8.5g of protein in an ounce of pumpkin seeds!

5. Makes you brave enough to skate on the frozen harbour outside your house! oh I'm such a dare devil!

 
 
_ When the frost sets in we crave warmth and comfort usually in the form of fats and sugars. Don't be hard on yourself - it’s not your fault, its evolution! Cold weather makes your brain want to add on the blubber to keep you warm to prepare for times ahead.  Someone should tell mother nature about cashmere socks and thermal undies but until then we best get smart and have a plan when it comes to fighting the cold front with calorie dense snack cravings. Have healthier fats and natural sugars on hand to satisfy those comfort food demands and sneak in some powerful nutrients while you're at it!
Here are some of my favourites:
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_ Chai Tea with Honey and a Square of Dark Chocolate Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamon, I can’t get enough of chai tea at the moment. The most natural way to warm up from the inside out. Add a teaspoon of honey if you like it sweet and a square of dark, organic (and maybe even raw for the super healthy) chocolate…purely for the antioxidant hit mind!
Calories: 70 (with honey)



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_ Nairns Stem Ginger Oat Biscuits
Warming, sweet and satisfying. These biscuits are made with natural ingredients, wheat Free, Low GI, high fibre and wholegrain. Convenient and easily available from the supermarket.
Calories: 43 each


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_ Banana and Peanut Butter
...are made for each other (and were a firm favourite of Elvis I hear, but in a fried sandwich no doubt). Half a banana spread with a teaspoon of natural peanut butter (without added sugar or oils - my favourite brand is Meridian). Natural sugars, healthy fats, potassium and a little protein.
Calories: 100


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_ Avocado Smoothie 
Adding avocado to your smoothie makes it really creamy and satisfies your body's need for essential fats. See my smoothie recipe. Calories: Depends on what goes in but who cares its all good, healthy stuff! 

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_ Home-made Trail Mix
In the mix: cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, a handful of wholemeal cereal flakes, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans...and a fun size bag of Milky Way Magic Stars! (milky way is lighter and lower calorie than most chocolate bars) 
Calories: 200 for two handfuls


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_Walnut Kiss Cookies by Buttercream Blondie Not necessarily the healthiest option on the list but I like the fact that they contain ground walnuts for essential fats, they are home-made (leaving out the processed nasties that interfere with your metabolism), they’re small and can be frozen in individual balls so you can keep them in the freezer and bake when necessary. You can have a single, freshly baked home cookie in 12 minutes. No need to do a dozen - Genius!
Calories: Hard to say, it depends on the size of your cookie. Best Ask Buttercream Blondie herself but I’d guess 50 cals each (if a dough scoop is the size of a ping pong ball)


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_ Greek Yoghurt, Nuts and Honey
The classic Greek dessert is packed with healthy fats, natural sugars and protein. Also makes a nice breakfast.
Calories: 200 for 100g Greek Yoghurt, 14 walnut halves and 1 TBSP honey. Nice one shown here from SkinnyTaste.com


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_ (Home popped) Popcorn.
Home popped corn is the easiest thing in the world and the best part is – you can control exactly what oil it’s cooked in (I hope you’ll choose coconut) and what goes on it. Have a look here for plenty of popcorn topping inspiration!



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_ Puffed Rice, Dark Chocolate Crispy Buns
Similar to it’s cousin the Rice Crispy Bun but with less sugar and more decadence. I add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut to mine for the essential fats and satisfying crunch.
Calories: 76 each

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_ Oatmeal apple crisp. Not my creation. This belongs to 'yes i want cake'. Not sure on calories but less than apple crumble, with more benefits for your health and your time..this can be whipped up in no time at all!