Where did this come from?

As promised, I am going to talk a lot about my diet and my passion for food.

I have always loved food. When I was a gymnast I ate a lot of pasta, potatoes, beans on toast, and proteins – anything that was good enough to fuel my body for training sessions. I was always completely ravenous after training sessions (  I trained 6 days a week, 4 hours a day ) so when I got into the car on the way home, my Mum, or my Dad would literally throw food at me, and 10 minutes later they would be rewarded by a few tired mumbles off  ‘Yeah, my day was good’ or a stern look as if to say ‘back off’ if my day hadn’t gone the way I had hoped. No further questions were asked, and I would always get a wee comforting pat on the shoulder or my hand held as my sore muscles and tired body would slump into a comfortable position and I would stare out the window and watch the world go by on the way home.

26219729_10156245046970809_3637292830437645312_n
This is the ‘Old Salto’ where I trained from the age of 6.

 

I have never asked if my parents if they remember these moments, but I personally  treasure them. They were there for every second of my journey, even if it was just sitting in complete silence. I am sure all parents out there, regardless if your child is training in Elite sport,  can completely relate to this situation – but just know you are dfudgy-wudgys-vanilla-fudge-bars-_1oing an amazing job. Although we don’t thank you for it at the time, those car journey’s will become invaluable memories. I will never forget the countless Fudgy Wudgy Fudge bars my mum would pull out of her bag with a big grin on her face as a treat for me.

My first coach Tony is quite possibly one of the most patient and smart people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Tony coached me since I was 6 years old and  always had a great way of teaching. He was a Maths teacher as well, so I guess that is why he had such a fantastic away of making us all fully understand what he was talking about. I have memories of Tony handing us out oranges during our line up in training, or Vitamin C tablets. Being so young, I didn’t appreciate why I needed to keep my body fuelled with Vitamin C or good food, but I just knew if Tony said it was good for me and it would help, I did it. Plus, all the older girls that I looked up to ate their oranges and took their Vitamin C and I wanted to be just like them, so of course I did too. It wasn’t so fun when I hit the grand old age of 13 and I had oranges stuck in my braces!

 

10394584_10152609077915809_7842732789489311721_n
I can definitely say that I  fuelled my body well, look at those abs!

 

One thing he always stressed was keeping our junk food intake to a minimal. Thursday was our day off and that was my assigned ‘junk day’.

179815_10150168354040809_6748218_n
Me and Tony

Tony once said something to me that was very poignant, something I will always remember. It was along the lines off,  ‘You wouldn’t stick oil in your car instead of petrol and expect it to drive properly and do it’s job, so why would you put junk food in your body like crisps and fizzy drinks and expect it to perform the way you need it to?’ Same could be said for not putting the correct amount of fuel in your car, aka not enough food in your body for it to perform to the highest of its ability.  From that moment, it all made so much sense. Like I said, he had a great way of explaining things so that we understood them. I remember thinking off a car, and putting oil in it instead of petrol and just thinking to myself, ‘ that just..wouldn’t work?. ‘ His message had been received. On my ‘junk day’ I never went overboard, I always treated myself to something, my favourite treat was a cheesy chip from the fish and chip shop in Dunmurry along with a bottle of Sprite. I would drink the Sprite that quickly I would never ever finish even half of my chips! It was okay though, I always had someone in hand to help me finish it off. I didn’t necessarily have a grasp on all the food groups and the exact foods that were good for me being age 8 or 9, but I knew that in order to fuel my body to perform at it’s best 6 days a week 4 hours a day, I needed to eat the food that was recommended to me and eat the food that my parents set in front of me.

The only time Tony never encouraged me to finish my food was at a competition in Belgium or France I can’t remember, and my chicken that I ordered came out and was raw on the inside. I was nearly sick! I sent it back and when they cooked it properly I couldn’t even face eating it, so he let me off with that one – thank goodness!

My mum would prepare my dinner and bring it in the car when she picked me up from school. We ran a strict schedule. We were a great team. I got out of school, ate my dinner that was still warm and wrapped in tin foil. My favourite dinner was tuna and pasta, or a baked potato cheese and beans. I then hid in the back of the car and got changed, and started my homework or quickly had a snooze. My body was that in tune with itself that I woke up at the same place every day, when we were coming around the bend onto the roundabout a Sprucefield. I would go to training from 4.30 – 8.30pm, be home for just after 9pm, or if I stayed to do an ice bath after training I would be home for 9.30pm. Then, I would grab a quick snack – Ready Brek, toast, or banana and yoghurt then go to bed. Up at 5.30am to finish off my homework. And repeat. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Weekends were the same, 4 hours of training or sometimes more if we had a competition coming up, except I started training at 12:30 on a Saturday and 10am on Sundays.

On Saturday’s when I was younger, I had a bit of a lie in, then got up to watch ‘The Wild Thornberry’s’ with my Dad and he would make me lemon curd on toast. That was the best. I still love that show. I also still love lemon curd on toast.

 

11062076_1064777553536636_8246263772388079671_n
Tony receiving an NBE at Windsor Castle from Prince Charles for his influence and dedication to our sport.

 

With my history in sport, I guess my childhood was very different. Very regimented and planned out. It had to be, but with that I gained knowledge and skills before my time, or before it would have been expected off me if I hadn’t of been competing and training that intensely.  My attitude and respect towards food may differ to some people, understandably.  I knew how to eat in order to preform at elite level. I knew what I was eating was good for me, and I didn’t want to eat anything that was gong to have a negative effect on my training. That has carried on throughout my whole life even up until this point.

When I retired from Gymnastics at the age of 17, I had some time to enjoy myself and relax a little on what I ate or didn’t eat, but to be really honest, because I grew up eating food that made me feel good, I opted for the healthy choices simply because I enjoyed them, and it really was all I knew. Going back to Tony’s statement about fuelling your body with the right foods. It was applicable to me at that time as an athlete, but also for all of us that have kids, jobs with long hours at work, finding time around our hectic schedules to go to the gym or walking our dog, those of us lacking in energy in the mornings – we all need to fuel our body. Correctly. We owe ourselves that much considering how hard our brains and bodies work to get us through our days.

A strange occurrence in this story happened when I got my tonsils out just after turning 17. I used to be plagued with throat infection after throat infection and I don’t feel like I was ever 100% well for a year or so, just constantly waiting for the next flare up. I seen the doctor after a holiday in Tunisia with my mum where my throat closed over and I could barely breathe, and four days later I was admitted to have my tonsils out. They said they were horrendously bad and full of scar tissue and infection.  After the horrific pain and recovery of the surgery, everything tasted better. I craved tomatoes and mushrooms, which I never like before? I enjoyed experimenting with foods that I never really had a liking to before. I LOVED cheese with all my heart and I then started cooking and got a great sense of satisfaction after I did. I guess my respect towards good food turned into a proper passion whenever I started developing some more cooking skills.

When I went to Australia in October 2016, I basically became a vegetarian. I lived with my Dad and his partner Jenni for a while, and they ate very little meat but cooked stunning meals. When I moved out and into my own place, I continued this system merely because meat was expensive and I didn’t really miss it. Win Win situation. Also, I was severely food poisoned by chicken at a restaurant a few years back and I was so sick and hospitalised for a week, so any time I ate out again I never ordered meat due to the ordeal I went through.

I am fascinated by what a handful of vegetables could turn into, if you give it the love and effort that is required. I am equally fascinated by what flavours go with what and also, how cooking isn’t just about following a recipe – it can be super stressful for some people doing it that way. I just tend to throw in what I have and adjust my recipe as I go along in my head.

If I am not adventurous and don’t put the effort into my food prep, it literally just looks like a handful of  vegetables. That can get boring. Fast. Because I shared a fridge with a few people in my shared house, I bought myself a plastic container and kept all my supplies in that, and vowed that until I used all my ingredients I wouldn’t spend a penny on buying any other items. It Is incredible how cheap you can make your shopping bill, when you shop smart and cook smart. Granted, my shopping list is filled with pretty much the same items per week unless something takes my fancy, but I cook the tastiest variety of meals with the few items I have. It is actually exciting for me to get into the kitchen when I get home from work. Also, I am no gourmet chef. The food I make is completely fool proof.

I love sourcing local food products and supporting local food markets, which I admit, was a heck of a lot easier in Australia where there is a food stall or market just around every corner filled with an array of fruits and veggies to chose from at a remarkable price. I am currently working on sourcing some local businesses to support rather than shopping in the larger chain shops and in the meantime, I am preparing to grow my own veggies again this summer. Maybe I will buy a small greenhouse too!

27540594_10156330021415809_8444547817997567549_n.jpg

I reaped a whole list of benefits from becoming veggie.

  • My tummy issues that came began after the food poisoning have practically been eradicated. This is a miracle for me and such a life changing benefit as I used to be hospitalised at least 2 times a year with stomach problems that were really concerning for both me and the doctors that left me bed bound and stuck in my house miserable.  I had to undergo biopsies, camera tests and all sorts of scans and invasive procedure’s.

 

  • My skin is doing so much better, I have suffered from acne since being a teenager and as I write this blog while sipping away at my water bottle, all I have is a few light scars and ZERO spots. (touch wood)

 

  • All around energy wise I just feel that bit brighter and more energetic, and I guess I will if I am excluding something that made me feel so horrible.

 

  • I have saved a small fortune, which goes towards my Adventure Fund.

 

  • I feel a great sense off fulfilment when I grow and maintain my own veggies and herbs, as well as saving money over time. It is so awesome to see people truly enjoying the food you cook for them and knowing the effort and love you put into it.

By the way guys,  I am not the meat police whatsoever. I predict if you don’t like vegetables this may bore you to tears OR it may inspire you branch out and try something completely new. I will dedicate a full blog to my personal non-meat eating health benefits at a later stage. This is just my experience and as I previously mentioned, I may only inspire one person in this world – in which I will happily take that.

Stay tuned for my new blog at the end of the week to see how I turn my £16 food shop into a week or more of tasty nutritious meals!

Thanks for reading, and keep smiling – Becky xx

 

 

 

Life as I know It.

If you have made it this far, thank you for your welcomed support!

I am certain that most of you reading these blogs are my friends or people that know me, however,  if you have stumbled across this page and don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself.

23376118_10156066390965809_7928524420653702046_n

My name is Becky. I was born and raised in a small, but beautiful town by the sea called Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland. I grew up alongside my two older brothers James and Chris, and my Mum and Dad.

20626373_1396360467080085_8527186427195524431_o
I still have this bear – Huxley

In a few short days I will 25. I remember when I was around the age off 11 my friends and I would always say things to each other like, ‘When I am 25 I will be married, have a house and two kids’ or wishing our lives away and say, ‘Oh I can’t wait until I am 25 and I am an adult. Everything will be easy and you can just do whatever you want.’

Hm, well… none of them statements actually turned out to be true.18402743_10155472949775809_8538927329254081442_n I still live at home with my beloved Mum while I am saving for a deposit on a house, I am not married, and the closest thing I have to a child is my dog Coco. Although I do not have the life that I had envisaged when I was 11, I have a superb life – and given the opportunity, I would change nothing.

I have all the time in the world for the stuff that I so desperately dreamed off when I was little, but now when I reflect on my last few years, I have had some kick ass adventures, met some incredible people and learned some invaluable life lessons in order for me to achieve my hopes for a house, marriage and babies in the future. I plan on living and learning for a little while longer and I hope to document these things along the way, and share with you guys in the hope to inspire even just one person.

Life as I know it? My life is pretty simple. Just how I like it.

– I work as hard as I can, with a smile on my face, in order to save some pocket money that will enable me to see the world and the places I aspire to see. In my eyes, the best form of education and life lessons is Travel. In the last couple years I worked in the US for the summer, then went back again for a visit to work at Thanksgiving Clinic, and I lived in Brisbane Australia for nearly a year and travelled many spectacular places within that beautiful country which I now call my second home. I have visited Oz a few times now as my Dad lives there with his Ozzy partner Jenni. I will go to see them in the next couple years while I am ticking off a few more places I seek to travel to.

 

You will usually find me with my best friend Sian. Her and I are like Ant and Dec, you really wouldn’t see one without the other. We enjoy everything together, even if that’s just sitting watching Coronation Street, eati20992600_10155832772340809_4868439187607354187_nng pickled onion Monster Munch, going for a run or playing badminton. I am working on getting her to love Museums. It isn’t going very well.

I am also determined to bring her to Australia for a holiday, because being without her on my travels sucks. We met when we were 17, and ever since then we have been best buddies. I call her my sister and couldn’t imagine my life without her. Everyone needs a friend like Sian in their life.

 

I lov20258174_10155742423640809_8990085616000814878_n.jpge cooking. I think everyone should fall in love with cooking. There is so much for me to talk about on this topic but that is being kept for a later date!

 

 

 

I am an ex International Gymnast. I started gymnastics whenever I could walk, and I fell in love with the sport.  I had the privilege of representing my country from the age of 8. It truly was my first love and still remains a huge part of my life even after I have retired. The way I view life, behave,  have a severe case of Wanderlust,  manage my time, can hold a conversation with just about anyone,  respect my body by exercising and eating well, is all down to my first love. I travelled the world with Gymnastics and my team mates/coaches that I met when I was just a little girl. To this day I am friends with all of them and adore them – they continue to inspire me.

In the summer months when it is warm, I do my exercising and flip around in any place that allows me to. I love it. Being outdoors is so therapeutic to me.

 

 

Why have I chosen to write this blog?

Well, I love writing. I have always loved writing, whatever the subject. When I have been away on my travels I loved writing to my loved ones as I always feel like a letter is so much more heart felt than a simple Facebook message.

I love sharing my food and lifestyle hacks with my friends on social media

11743010_10153610166640809_1982700174049971974_n
Writing home in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania USA

and many people have told me to start blogging what I have learned along the way. Recently with my posts about my food, lots of people have messaged and been inspired by what I put up which I found so awesome, so I hope to continue posting and passing on what I learn, and documenting my travels and experiences in my life.

 

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Becky xx