5 Ways To Incorporate Positivity Into Your Day-to-Day Life

Being positive in general or positive thinking may seem like fluffy terms. Until recently, I myself was quite sceptical but I have discovered that there is more to positive thinking than simply saying positive things, it’s a skill in itself and has numerous benefits.

Positivity all comes from a place of self-care and self-love. It can also help you to learn to love yourself, allow you to grow and to focus on more important things/the bigger picture in life.

There are many positive thinking techniques – below I have listed 5 that you can start to incorporate into your day-to-day life. It will require practice and patience but the benefits will be worth it.

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Every morning, evening, or night before you go to bed write 3 things in your life that you are grateful for, it can be anything simple like “I am grateful for my morning cup of coffee for giving me a boost this morning.”

2. Spend time in nature and away from your phone

Studies suggest that spending a lot of time on your phone everday can have a huge impact on your mood. Think about it… when you’re on Instagram and bombared with skinny, tan, toned people living a luxurious life you are going to compare yourself to them and ultimately feel shit about yourself. Spending time in nature and making an effort to focus on the present e.g. focusing on the colour and shapes of the trees and flowers around you, the different smells, sounds etc., can do wonders for your mood.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

You are who you surround yourself with, don’t let it be nasty, bitter or manipulative people. Find people who support you during the good and bad times.

4. Positive affirmations

To start, think of 1-3 positive affirmations. They can be based on your positive qualities e.g. I am a loyal friend, or they could challenge your negative beliefs about yourself e.g. I am worthy. Write your affirmations on coloured post its and place them around your room, apartment, or house.

5. Do activities you love or you loved as a child

Some examples may be:

  • Watching a funny fillm
  • Watching your favourite TV show
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Going to the library
  • Going to the museum
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Mindful colouring

Also, it’s exciting to explore new activities with a childlike curiosity.

 

Hopefully this was helpful to you all 🙂

 

Tara

 

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My August Workout Playlist

This is the first post I have ever dedicated to fitness! I chose to incorporate fitness into my blog as it plays a big role in my life and I want to give you all an insight into my day-to-day life.

When I finished college at the end of May I felt a bit lost and honestly it has been hard to motivate myself to workout over the past 2 months. However, after taking some time off I recently decided that I needed to find different sources of motivation that weren’t based on how I looked to get me back into the gym. In my opinion, you can’t beat listening to music when you’re working out so below I have shared 7 of my current favourite workout songs (a mix of old and new songs). 

 

  1. Mean What I Mean – Aluna George, Leikeli47 & Dreezy
  2. Pon De Floor – Major Lazer 
  3. Dibby Dibby Sound – DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay ft. Ms Dynamite
  4. Watch n Learn – Rihanna 
  5. I’m Legit – Nicki Minaj ft. Ciara
  6. Louder Than Words – David Guetta & Afrojack ft. Niles Mason
  7. Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon  

 

What are your favourite workout songs? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram (@neutralsandnutrition) and Twitter (@_NandN_)

 

Tara

Raw Mars Bars

I’m soooo excited to share this recipe with you! I have been wanting to make a healthy alternative to mars bars for ages and I’m so happy that this recipe worked out after only one attempt. I hope you enjoy making and eating them as much as I did.

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Makes around 14 squares

Storage: Up to 1 week in the fridge.

Step 1: The Nougat Layer

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Cashew Butter
  • 4 tbsps of 100% Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsps of Ground Almonds

 

Blend all of the above ingredients together either using an electric whisk or a blender until it forms a sticky paste. Spread the paste onto a square baking tin lined with parchment paper (make sure the paste covers the entire inside of the baking tin). Put into the freezer whilst you make the caramel layer.

 

Step 2: The Caramel Layer

 

Ingredients*

  • 1 1/2 cups of Medjool Dates – pitted (around 14-16 dates depending on the size)
  • 2 tbsps of Coconut Oil – melted
  • 2 tbsps of Coconut Milk – solid part only
  • 2 tbsps of Cashew Butter
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • 4 tbsps of Water
  • 4 tbsps of Ground Almonds

 

Blend all of the ingredients in a high power blender e.g. a Nutribullet until it forms a caramel consistency. Take the nougat layer out of the freezer and spread the caramel on top. Again, make sure the caramel covers all of the nougat layer. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

*You will have some caramel left over but it’s so delicious so no harm!

 

Step 3: The Chocolate Layer

 

Ingredients

  • 240g of Dark Chocolate – I used 92% but you can use anything from 70% or more

 

Melt 120g of the dark chocolate and pour on to the top layer of the nougat/caramel layer, ensuring the area is covered with chocolate. Place in the freezer for 20-25 minutes.

Then, when the 2o-25 minutes are up, melt another 120g of dark chocolate, take the mix out of the freezer and the tray, flip the mix over so that the bottom layer is facing you and pour the chocolate over. Again, place in the freezer for 20-25 minutes.

 

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The perfect Bank Holiday treat!

 

Tara

 

 

Post Workout Protein Pancake

The perfect post workout fuel packed with natural ingredients! 

 

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Knowing that this pancake is at the end of my workout motivates me to get up and ensure that I have a great session. I tend to only have it once a week but how many times you want to have it it is entirely up to you.

Ingredients:

  • 40g Gluten Free Oats
  • 1 tbsp Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp Nut Butter (of your choice)

 

Method:

  1. Blend the oats, yogurt, eggs, and powder in a blender/Nutribullet until all of the ingredients are combined and a liquid consistency is formed.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a small-medium sized frying pan and once it has melted pour the batter into the pan (cook on a medium to low temperature).
  3. When bubbles start to appear, flip the pancake over and allow the other side to cook – it should only take about 30 seconds for the other side to cook .
  4. Put the pancake on a plate and serve with a nut butter of your choice.

 

Now go out and smash your workout!

 

Tara

 

Goodbye fat, hello messed up hormones: The consequences of losing too much weight too fast

This may be a bit much on a Tuesday morning but I was reading through a few blog posts I had written for my old blog and I came across a post about how, although unknown to me at the time, my eating disorder had led to me having osteoporosis at the age of 21. This was mainly because my menstrual cycle was so fucked up from my binging and restricting – I lost about a stone and a half (21lbs) in less than 3 months.
It took months of numerous scans, blood tests, and visiting specialist doctors who just couldn’t tell me what was going on – I know I could’ve had it far worse but at the time it was very frustrating (and expensive!). Then one day when I was scrolling through my Instagram feed I found an article by The Merry Maker Sisters about how losing weight can cause you to lose your period. This article could not have come at a better time, it made me wake up and realise just what I had been doing to my body. Here’s a little testimony I wrote to Emma and Carla after I had read their brilliant article for the first time:
I just wanted to thank Emma and Carla for helping make sense of what I have been dealing with for the past year and a half and for perfectly explaining it, better than any doctor I have seen so far, for being so open and honest about their personal experience and for helping to create awareness about the issue.
This really brought home the importance of staying healthy and losing weight safely and slowly. It also put things into perspective of just how intense I was with exercising and eating to get “the perfect body,” I had unrealistic expectations and I was just simply not living a sustainable lifestyle. Despite what we are made to believe by the media, there really is no one perfect body. Happiness with yourself has to come from within, not from looking a certain way or weighing a certain amount. I hope this will help you to realise the importance of treating your body with the respect it deserves by exercising, eating healthy while allowing yourself a few ‘treats,’ and losing weight (if you want) at a slow pace. I understand that if you are feeling really shit about yourself you want to lose weight as fast as possible and stop feeling so low but I promise you this is not what you want to do, faster does not mean better. Take it from not just me but hundreds of thousands of women who have done this, it will only fuck up your body and will leave you with all sorts of health complications. Complications that will last much longer than the time it would take you to lose weight steadily. It is always better to take it one step at a time, making small changes in order to achieve a sustainable, balanced, and healthy lifestyle.

The bottom line is your body deserves to be treated with love, care, and respect and when you intentionally binge, restrict, overexercise etc. you are not giving your body the love, care, and respect it deserves.
Tara

Nobó 4th of July Cookie Sandwiches

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Celebrate the 4th of July with these cracklingly delicious, healthier version of chocolate chip cookies!

Serving Size:

3 cookie sandwiches or 6-8 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 135g Coconut oil, melted
  • 162g Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 144g Buckwheat Flour
  • 180g Dark Chocolate – I used a combination of 90% chocolate and Ombar chocolate

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas mark 5. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Put the sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut oil in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the egg and sift the flour in, blend again until everything is combined.
  • Break the chocolate into pieces (the pieces don’t need to be too small) and blend for another 15-20 seconds.
  • Use a medium-sized ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to spoon the dough onto the baking tray.
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden then transfer on to a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.
  • Whilst the cookies are cooling, use food colouring pens (as seen in the picture below) to decorate your cookies with the colours of the American flag!

 

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  • To create the cookie sandwich wait for the cookies to cool. Once the cookies have cooled use a small (either 2cm or 2.7cm) round cookie cutter to divide the dough into two parts and onto two separate plates (the bottom half of the sandwich on one plate and the top half on another). Spread a Nobó flavour of your choice (I used Vanilla + Coconut) on top of the bottom half of the sandwich then place the top half on top of the frozen goodness.

 

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Enjoy + happy 4th July to all my American friends!

 

Tara

Mind Your Head

In recent years, the stigma around mental health, especially in Ireland, is slowly evaporating which is amazing but we still have a long way to go!

When it comes to our mental health we really need to make more of a conscious effort to build a healthy mindset, being healthy is not just going to the gym, it involves your body, mind, and soul. For example, for a few years I was constantly on some sort of a diet and I believed that if I was a certain size I would be truly happy and could start living my life, achieving my goals, and chasing my dreams. In fact, it was quite the opposite – when I reached my goal weight I was miserable, anxious, and terrified to leave my house or to go out with my friends. Through these experiences and from talking to others I’ve noticed just how important having a healthy mindset is. I’m by no means a professional or trained in this area but I want to share what I find helpful, especially when I’m having a bad day. I’m also not naive, whilst I do have mental health issues myself I do understand that some people have it much worse than I do and can find getting out of bed a daily struggle. However, I do hope that this post provides you with some ideas or inspiration on how you can take steps to make things a bit easier for your day-to-day life.

Challenge Negative Thoughts 

Negative thoughts about yourself are the worst aren’t they? They can be so difficult to control and very easy to believe. A complete lose-lose situation. What really helps me is to write these thoughts down and to challenge them – are they fact or opinion? Is there evidence for or against these thoughts? Quite often you will find that these thoughts are not true and over time the more you question these thoughts the less you believe them and you will slowly start to gain more confidence in yourself and see that you are an amazing human being who deserves love, kindness, and to live a happy life.

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SBC/ Instagram

Positivity 

This one is particularly difficult when you’re having a bad day but I would recommend writing 1-3 things that you are grateful for, no matter how big or small, every night before you go to bed. Also, add a bit of structure to your day by setting daily goals, again no matter how big or small, and share these goals with your loved ones so they can encourage you to complete them.

 

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Foundr Magazine/Instagram

Self Care

Firstly, it is important to put yourself and your recovery first and to stop trying to be a people-pleaser (this will only lead to resentment). Simply put, self-care is about recognising that you do deserve love and that you need a break, even if it’s only for 20 minutes a day. Self-care does not have to be extravagant, it can be something simple like watching your favourite TV show or film, reading a book, having a bath etc., as long as it’s something that you enjoy.

 

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Support

You cannot go through your problems on your own, support from family, friends, and professionals are extremely important and although the thought of asking for support may terrify you I promise you won’t regret it. It is essential that you have a support group who you can rely on especially during your recovery. Personally, I’ve always been afraid to ask for support especially from professionals but recently I started an eating disorder recovery program and it has honestly been one of the best decisions I have ever made for my mental health. Professional support is also great for having an outsider’s view on your problems and for identifying and addressing your underlying issues.

 

Exercise

Exercise both physically – running, swimming, gym etc. (if you’re in the postion/healthy mind frame or weight to do so) and mentally – practicing mindfulness e.g. mediation. Headspace is a great meditation app!

 

I hope this post is of some help for you. Focus on your recovery, nourish important relationships, and remember this too shall pass.

 

Tara

Chocolate + Caramel Roses

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I absolutely adore anything with caramel and I was on a mission to make a healthier version of Cadbury’s caramel bar when I came across a chocolate rose mould in Stock on King Street in Dublin. These little roses are the perfect size because you don’t feel heavy or bloated (even if you eat them all at once) but you still get that amazing crunch and sweetness.

First, you need a chocolate rose mould like the one in the picture below. Like I said, I got this mould in Stock for about but you can try TK Maxx or even online stores like Amazon to see if you can get a better deal.

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Second, melt about 3 squares of dark chocolate (I used Viviani’s 90% dark chocolate) and then pour it into the moulds until the chocolate covers about 3/4 of the mould. Put in the freezer for about 1 hour.

 

Meanwhile, make the caramel: 

  • 1 1/2 cups of Medjool Dates – pitted (around 14-16 dates depending on the size)
  • 2 tbsps of Coconut Oil – melted
  • 2 tbsps of Coconut Milk – solid part only
  • 2 tbsps of Cashew Butter
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • 4 tbsps of Water
  • 4 tbsps of Ground Almonds

 

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If you don’t want extra caramel I would cut the above recipe in half, but this caramel is honestly insanely delicious so it’s always good to have a little extra lying around!

 

After the hour is up, take the mould out of the fridge and spread the caramel on top of the chocolate so that it covers the entire mould. After this, melt another 3-4 squares of dark chocolate and pour it over the caramel – be generous and don’t be afraid of overflowing, you will need to do so in order to ensure that your roses will come out with perfect layers. Put in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight – the longer you keep them in the fridge the better the crunch of the chocolate is.

 

And there you have it, a perfect combination of crisp chocolate and gooey caramel. Feel free to tag me in your recreations on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Tara

The Importance Of Setting Weekly Goals

Good evening!

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet because really the bottom line is that setting weekly goals is so important as they can help motivate you and add a bit of structure to your life. You should have a combination of long-term goals and short-term goals that led up to these long-term goals.

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Each week, maybe the Sunday before the beginning of a new week, write down goal(s) under the following headings;

Self Care

What will you do this week to treat yourself? E.g. get your nails done, have a bath, get your hair done.

Compassion/Social

How will you interact or nourish your most important relationships this week? E.g. meet up with a good friend you haven’t seen in a long time, spend some quality time with your brother/sister/parents/partner? When thinking of your compassion/social goal for the week don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable or that you simply don’t want to do, this is YOUR goal so it also has to be of benefit to YOU. For example, although a relationship is a two-way street and support is essential for any relationship, I’m sure we all have one friend that can be a bit of an ‘energy vampire’ and it is just not good for your own well being so don’t feel that you HAVE to listen to their problems, especially if it is exhausting and draining for you.

Meal Plan

This is particularly relevant for those who, like myself, are recovering from an eating disorder. An example of a meal plan goal could be to stick to your meal plan for the week (typically 3 main meals and 2 snacks a day), or to try foods that you might consider ‘bad’ or have a fear around.

Fitness

Shona Vertue perfectly explained fitness goals on one of her Instagram posts: “Time and time again I realise in my own fitness regime the importance of skill based goals to help sustain motivation to train. Aesthetic goals just aren’t enough to empower us to keep pushing through a program or plan. We all want to look good, but if you haven’t got a deeper motivation for training than just simply a low body fat percentage, your enthusiasm will waiver.”

Job/Career

This can be anything big from going for that promotion to maybe something smaller like managing my time more efficiently or getting certain tasks done on a certain day or week.

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I hope this post helps you and feel free to share your own weekly goals with me in the comments section or on Twitter or Instagram.

Don’t forget to take it week by week but to also check in every other week and remind yourself of the bigger picture/long-term goal.

 

Tara

5 Mindful Eating Techniques

Love it or hate it, mindfulness is everywhere today and while it may not work for everyone, for some the benefits can be huge. One way of incorporating mindfulness into your life is using a technique called ‘mindful eating.’

 

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Mindful eating is a great mindfulness technique that involves you tuning into your body as well exploring the different colours, textures, aromas, and tastes of your food. It allows you to appreciate every single meal and it can be very helpful for people who struggle with an eating disorder, especially binge eating. Below I have written 5 simple tips to get you started.

 

1. Put your phone away

This is very hard but necessary when eating mindfully but it’s simple really, smartphone = distraction. In fact, those who eat while scrolling on their phone at the same time are actually more likely to gain weight than those who don’t, so leave your phone to the side and concentrate on the beautiful meal you’ve made yourself!

 

2. Listen to your body

Before you eat, ask yourself “am I really hungry?” Listen to your body, is your tummy rumbling and in need of food ASAP, are you starting to feel hungry, or are you just bored? Likewise, listen to your body to determine when you are full and don’t feel that you have to finish every meal, you can always save some for later.

 

3. Use your senses 

This is another important mindful eating step, use all of your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and even touch) to really pay attention to the different textures, colours, smells, sounds, and tastes of your food.

 

4. Slow down

It is important to slow down and chew your food (don’t count the number of ‘chews’), again, savouring the flavours and appreciating the meal you have made for yourself. There’s no rush!

 

5. Portion control

Smaller plates leave you feeling fuller for longer.

 

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It can be hard to sit still and actually concentrate or remember to do so but practice makes perfect and you will soon find there are lots of benefits to this exercise.

 

Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday weekend!

 

Tara