Top 5: Healthy places to eat in Manchester

From juices to chia pudding, matcha lattes to raw pad Thai, it seems the whole world has gone health food crazy and Manchester is no exception. Having had their fill of infamous burgers topped with pulled pork and dripping with special sauces, it seems Mancunians are ready to grab the reigns, and take control of their diets once and for all.

Here’s my Top 5 healthy places to eat in Manchester this bank holiday weekend.

Cowherds:

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Who:  Cowherds is the ultimate ‘café with conscience’.  Catering for Manchester’s raw food scene, their menu is filled with nutritious juices and delicious healthy treats; all served from their cosy little lunch wagon.  And if you’re looking for a sweet treat without the guilt – Cowherds is the place to be!

Check out my interview with Cowherds here

Order:  If you want a kick in the morning make sure you ask for one of their ginger shots, better for you then coffee and without the crash (and don’t forget some Ying Yang balls for elevenses – they are simply divine)

Where:  Greengate Square, Salford (07974800711)

When: Mon-Fri 8am-2pm

 

Wholesome & Raw:
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Who:  Part of the Kitchens in Spinningfields where six street food traders are battling it out for their own premises, Wholesome and Raw does what it says on the tin.  Serving up delicious juices and smoothies, raw pad Thai and a whole host of delicious goodies. 

Order: If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to your usual hangover breakfast this is the place to be – fill up on organic free range eggs and avocado on wholemeal sourdough, washed down with The Hangover Cure smoothie.

Where: The Kitchens, Leftbank, Spinningfields

When: Mon-Fri 7am – 3pm, Sat 9:30am-5pm

 

Rust & Stone:

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Who:  Spinningfields newest addition to the healthy eating portfolio, Rust and Stone is the brain child of Keep Left who operate neighbouring The Lawn Club.  Their menu has been devised by head chef David Gale and they pride their selves on sourcing the best ingredients both for their customers and for the environment …and with the salads and sandwiches changing on a daily basis, it’s difficult to get bored of the menu! 

Rust & Stone also hold several yoga classes a week, so if you’re feeling like making a morning of it – you know where to go.

Order:  You can’t go wrong with a large mixed salad and their Carrot Detox juice.  And if you’re feeling a bit naughty – shhhh – but they also serve alcohol.  From craft beers to organic and biodynamic wines and a mix of seasonal green cocktails, all to be enjoyed in their Moroccan styled outdoor area. 

Where: Hardman Square, Spinningfields

When: Mon-Fri 7:30am-8pm, Sat 11am-9pm

 

Bosu Body Bar:

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Who:  With the #cleaneating movement going strong it wasn’t long before hipster spot Chorlton got their own protein bar.  This one’s not only for the health conscious out there, but for the lifters amongst us too – they even do a monthly meal prep delivery plan for those getting lean and mean for the stage.  Since Bosu opened its doors the business has been thriving with queues of lululemon and reebok clad gym goers reaching out of the doors making it the number one spot for that refuelling post workout meal. 

Order:  Simple – a protein box with your choice of protein topped up with plenty of rich vegetables and pulses, a muscle up smoothie and a protein ball (Warning: that’s a lot of food – save it for leg day!!)

Where: 559 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton (07772 826548)

When: Mon-Sat 11:30am-8pm

 

Eighth Day Cafe:

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Who:  This one’s for the veggies and vegans of Manchester.  Set in the heart of the student village Eighth Day has been running as a cooperative since the early 70s and is still going strong.  The café is situated in a spacious basement underneath the jam packed 8th Day store, serving everything from stews to salads, soups to juices and breakfast to cakes. 

The 8th Day mission?

‘to encourage the optimum health of its customers and staff by providing quality vegetarian food and advice, whilst remaining a caring, sustainable, democratic and ethical business environment for its workers’

Can’t get much better than that I say!

Order:  If the weather isn’t playing ball this weekend head down to 8th day for a heart-warming stew washed down with one of their Fairtrade flavoursome teas.  And don’t forget to take a look around the shop whilst your there – you’ll thank me for it (even if your purse doesn’t!)

Where:  111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU

When:  Mon/Tue/Fri 9am-5:30pm, Wed/Thurs 9am-7pm & Sat 9:30am-5:30pm

 

Comment below if you visit any of these places over the weekend and let me know what you think… Happy Bank Holiday!!!

My Big Fit Home WoDs

Whether you’re a Crossfit veteran that can’t get to the gym or a total newbie who quite likes the look of trying out Crossfit but isn’t sure whether it’s for them, there are plenty of WoD’s that you can try at home.

The following WoD’s need little to no equipment and as long as you have a basic knowledge of exercises such as squats, burpee’s and sit-ups there should be something for you to try.

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Paleo Pepper and Egg Skillet

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You know, Paleo isn’t all about bacon and pigs liver, it’s about fresh, organic (where possible) fruit and vegetables, nuts & seeds, healthy fats and oils, plenty of fish, free range eggs and high quality grass fed meats.
If you’ve been following me for a while now you may have noticed I am taking more of a plant based approach to my diet.  That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd meaty meal – and I’m still enjoying plenty of fish – I’m just looking more into the health benefits of plant based produce and also the ethical and environmental issues that come with eating meat.  I was reading the other day that in the UK our meat consumption is more than double the global average at 84.2kg per person per year and that’s not to mention the fact that animal agriculture is the leading cause of global greenhouse gas emissions*.

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Cowherds: Fast food with feeling

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely folk over at vegan and vegetarian pop up cafe and community outreach company ‘Cowherds’.  Suitably named after Salford’s Reverend Cowherd of the ironically named Beefsteak Chapel, where the first ideas of vegetarianism were formed in Britain.  

Cowherds live and breathe unprocessed plant based nutrition. 

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Paleo Raw Pad Thai

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My diet is constantly changing as I learn more and more about nutrition and how the foods I put in my body help me to create not only a better inside but a better outside; and more still, how they help me to maximise my performance in the gym.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot around the benefits of a raw food diet and I’ve even been to interview a raw food company that has been inspiring a lot of my meals recently.

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5 minutes with Rawnola

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You may remember  that in May I was sent a gift from the Northern based Paleo company ‘Rawnola’ and the product was something of a revelation.  

Well, since then I’ve learnt a lot more about the company, from how they set up there business to the highs and the lows of running your own company, and let me tell you, it’s inspirational.  They developed a company from scratch and within months were catering for some of the UK’s largest Crossfit gyms and athletes, which to me speaks volumes about their product and work ethic.  

I caught up with Rawnola boss Paul for 5 minutes and here’s what he had to say,

What were you doing before Rawnola and where did your inspiration for the company come from?

Many moons ago before RAWnola I was an athlete. I played Wheelchair Tennis for Great Britain, I was 54 in the world at my highest and 2nd in GB. I had shoulder surgery after a competing injury and this is what retired me from the sport….then I found Crossfit.  A buddy was setting up his own Crossfit and asked my help in guiding him in the right direction, he in turn opened my eyes to “clean eating” and “functional movements” which had changed our lives forever.

Who else do you work with?

RAWnola is a family business and I (Paul), my partner (Alison) and our daughter (Alice) all do our part. I have Brittle Bones and met Alison at a conference that I was convening regarding my condition, her daughter also has the same condition. I adopted Alice and this is where our journey began…..

How long did it take from initial conception to launch?

RAWnola happened so fast and it probably sounds like a movie but this is how it happened.  A Crossfit friend who is also a tiler was at our house tiling the bathroom floor, we got on to the conversation of being “a clean eater”.  He said “it sounds a good concept but for the normal working person breakfast is the hardest part. There’s nothing that you can grab and go.  If someone made a grain free breakfast that didn’t taste like sawdust it would be great”.

So I bribed Alison to come up with something just for myself, the tiler and a few others at our local Crossfit.  That night Alison sat down with a pen, paper, laptop and a glass of “the bribe”; the recipe of the first take of rawnola was made. The next day 4 bags evolved for people to try out….. Everyone loved it but when we worked out the nutritional value it was way to high in natural sugars and fat. Work on the nutritional side was done and the next day the new version was made, that was 25th May 2014.  In the first week we started off making 10 bags to see how it went, word spread on social media and by the end of June we had a factory up and running, word had spread at Crossfit competitions and the official launch was at the Rainhill Trials at the end of June 2014.

What’s been the most fun part of the process?

There have been lots of fun parts, to pick one would be hard.  The speed at which things have grown has been amazing, and we still can’t believe where we are a year down the line, but most of all meeting the stockists and getting to know them personally has been the best part. We feel that the most important part is that if someone picks up the phone…….they know who they’re talking to; they know that person by being a friend first. Understanding how a business works, its peeks and its pitfalls is very important in understanding your friend, stockist and client.

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What’s the most challenging part of having your own business?

Juggling business and family life has been the biggest challenge.  Our daughter Alice has been very very ill and in and out of hospital a lot over the past 2 years, weeks on end juggling a new business and hospital stays and appointments 90 miles from home has been a massive challenge. If we can manage to do so well in hard times and grow stronger as a business and family then we must be doing something right. It’s been crazy at times, driving from Sheffield Hospital back home to Wigan to pull off a 12 hour shift, leave the factory at 2am and be up at 5am to drive to an event has become the “norm”……be we do it. Life isn’t challenging, it’s the barriers people put up against themselves that are the challenges. If having a disability has taught me something it’s this “no matter what life throws at you, find a way past it. If life puts in front of you a step…..find a ramp, if life throws you lemons………find a bloody good Gin”

What advice do you have for other aspiring food/fitness entrepreneurs?

Be passionate! Know your market! Know your people. Think about who sells it and what they go through, how can you help them? What do people want, who do you aim your product at. How does your product differ from others on the market? How can you protect your product, if your product needs trademarking to stop others copying it then make sure you do that as soon as you can; but first make sure no one already has the trademark before you start to sell your product.

What is your diet/exercise routine like?

At the moment its air squats and burpees at the factory, we are in a very busy transitional period and almost every second is spent working. I see a day when we have more time to look after ourselves …… at the moment there isn’t much time. Being honest before Crossfit when I part of the GB team my regime was horrific, if I knew then what I know now……..I’d of kicked serious ASS! Cleaning up your eating and training correctly is KEY!!! Be functional, be flexible and feed your engine correctly. If I made a petrol in my shed and said “put this in your car…..would you?” You are the most important person so look after yourself and what you eat.

Finally, where can people buy your products?

You can find RAWnola via your local Crossfit, if your Crossfit does not stock us……….ask WHY! We do not sell direct to the public as our aim is to help others first………then us. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is where you can find us…….we will point you in the direction of who sells us.

You can also find RAWnola on:

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Paleo friendly bounty bites

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Coconut is fast becoming an obsession of mine – coconut meat, shredded coconut, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil; coconutty… that’s me!  It all started as a child when I was somewhat obsessed with bounty bars, not the usual number one choice of a minor – but then again I have always been slightly odd :) 

Sitting at my desk today dreaming of my future as a full time food blogger (I live in hope) and all the wonderful things I could create had me reminiscing about my favourite childhood eats and how they could be adapted to fit my healthier adult lifestyle, and I instantly knew I had to make my own Big Fit Bounty TONIGHT!  So, after walking the dog and taking care of the chores I delved into my cupboard and pulled out every coconutty ingredient I could find and got to work.  I poured a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a bit more of this, a bit more of that – all until I got the right consistency and taste and I have to say, the results were better than expected.

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So what do you need –

Filling:

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4-1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Chocolate:

  • 1 cup dark choc drops
  • splash of almond milk
  • Or use my raw chocolate recipe here but make sure you up the quantities  
  1. Mix all dry ingredients 
  2. Add the coconut milk a little at a time until you get a good consistency – it should be sticky but not too wet
  3. Add your vanilla essence
  4. Form mixture into balls (I used my Joseph Joseph tbsp measure)
  5. Tap out onto a parchment lined tray 
  6. Add chocolate drops to a heatproof bowl and sit over a pan of simmering water (a bain marie) until melted.  I added some almond milk at this point to thin the chocolate but be careful not to add too much
  7. Coat your coconut mixture in the chocolate
  8. Place back on your parchment paper and pop in the freezer for at least an hour – I left mine overnight
  9. Keep in the freezer and take out 20minutes before consuming

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I’m definitely going to be making these again and again and again.

Let me know if you try them out and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (below)

Enjoy!!

3 ways meditation can improve your workout

 
No, meditation isn’t just the new fad, in fact archeologists found evidence of meditation in wall art dating from around 5,000 to 3,500 BCE.  The wall art included drawings of people in similar yoga poses to those we would recognise today.  Meditation has been around for centuries, yet your average modern man is only just starting to give it airtime.

So, what do we know about meditation, it’s good for your mind right?  Of course we all know that, but what some people might not know is the effects meditation can have on your body too.  That’s why every athlete should consider meditation as a part of their regular training programme. 

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