OK, I’ve got something to tell you all.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve not been as active on it this year. That’s because I’ve been sooooo busy, I’ve even pushed my own definitions of what the word busy means. At the beginning of March I enrolled on a course that began four months of intense physical and mental study, exam papers (haven’t had to deal with them since I left sixth form in 1998!), what seemed like endless coursework and very little time to sleep. I’m very proud to say, though, that all that hard work was worth it because at the end of June I became a fully qualified personal trainer! If you’d have known me six years ago, you’d have thought I had more chance of becoming an astronaut or brain surgeon in my thirties than working in the fitness industry.
Since qualifying, I’ve kept myself just as busy working three jobs whilst I transition between my current full-time role and hopefully working for myself one day. Hence the reason sasieology hasn’t been posting as frequently. You’ll probably also notice some changes in my blog, because now not only am I obsessed about living plant-based and travelling, I’m also obsessed about fitness as well. I’m learning more and more every day, and I love it.
On Saturday, I took myself along to the Eat Well: Live Well Expo right here in Cardiff. I enjoyed the day so much and came away with so many great ideas for my blog and my business, and I want to share with you what I learnt about the amazing products, services and people that I met during the day. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see all the events because I had to dash off to one of my paid jobs (the story of my life at the moment!), but here’s what I did manage to catch.
Tara Hammett actually told me about the event, so I have to say a big thank you to her. She put some lucky volunteers through their paces for one of her 12 minute workouts, and having witnessed first hand the sweat pouring off them at the end of it I can testify that they really do work. I also got to try one of Tara’s famous chocolate sprouts. They may sound strange, but don’t knock it until you try it because they are delicious. Check out her website for info about the chocolate sprouts, workouts and lots more tips and tricks to stay in shape.
Having recently started adding vegan protein powder to my diet, I was excited to discover that Marvellous make their own right here in Wales with hemp and pea protein. I’ve started using it alongside Sun Warrior on days when I’m training and I already feel more energised. As a rule I advise people to stay away from protein powders, especially animal proteins, but Marvellous is 100% organic, gluten free and vegan, nothing like the synthetic chemicals I see people guzzling at the gym. They specialise in other superfood powders too, and you can order straight from their website.
Juicing is something that I’ve wanted to get into for ages, but I’ve not been able to make it work for me so far. Until I discovered the Natural Juice Junkie that is. If you have any questions about juicing, juicers, what to juice, when to juice, how to fit juicing into your life or how to make it work for you, this is the guy to ask. During a fantastic, informative and entertaining presentation, Neil told us his personal story, how he came to completely change his life through juicing and how he helps other people through their own journeys. I then harassed some of his team with lots of questions, and they were brilliant. They answered everything I asked, and encouraged me to download some free juicing recipes from their website. The Natural Juice Junkie is holding a 2 day masterclass in Swindon in November which I would recommend to anyone seriously considering incorporating juicing into their healthy diet. I’ve already had my juicer back out and been giving it another go, and I’ve found it so much easier with the great, simple recipes and advice Neil gave us.
If you’re still unsure about buying a juicer and venturing down the juicing path yourself, there are great companies out there that can deliver the juices straight to your door for you. Fresh Start offers such a service here in Cardiff and they deliver all over the UK. I tried two of their lovely juices on the day. Beat It is a comforting mix of apple, beetroot, carrot, lemon, mint and a kick of ginger. Super Survivor is a healthy green blend of apple, cucumber, kale, pineapple, watercress and lemon. They both tasted delicious, and I can’t wait to try more of the other juices that Fresh Start make.
I was happily surprised when I came across the Hero Health Room stand, because it’s the first time I’ve seen the term ‘Plant-Based’ actually written on anything in the UK. Luke and his team are committed to helping people live a healthier, happier, plant-based lifestyle. As you can imagine, I had lots to talk to them about and it was great to share plant-based experiences with people face to face.
I am a chocaholic! There, I said it. Even though I no longer eat dairy chocolate, I still treat myself to vegan and dark chocolate and when there is some on offer I can’t resist. Shirley’s Raw Chocolate is some of the best vegan, gluten free chocolate I have ever tasted, and believe me I have tried a lot of different brands. I was spoilt for choice with all the different flavours to choose from, but in the ended I went with the orange chocolate and it is to die for! You can find Shirley’s-Homemade Raw Chocolate on Facebook.
Luckily I didn’t fill up on the chocolate, and I left enough room to try some of the great snack bars from Ernest Food Co. Filled with nuts, fruit, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa and puffed quinoa to add a satisfying crunch, their bars are totally natural with no added sugar, syrups or flavourings. I have officially found my new snack of choice for when I’m travelling/hiking/away from home in the middle of nowhere with no plant-based food around.
PROMO CODE ALERT! The lovely people at Ernest Food Co have given me a promo code to share with you guys so you too can experience the yumminess of their snack bars. Enter the code “ernestlove” when you order a carton of snack bars from their website and receive 20% off.
As well as chatting to all the amazing people I met, and trying all the free samples, I also had lunch from The Parsnipship, a long time favourite vegetarian caterer of mine. Some of the Boulders team were also there with the mobile climbing wall. I’ve been a member of Boulders for a few year, and as you know I love climbing, so it was great to see them. Anyway, I’ve got to go and try and get some sleep before I’m up at 5.30am for one of my jobs :)