Bondi savoury breakfast bowl - to her core

This past weekend I had one of my oldest and dearest friends come and visit from London. The last time I saw her was when I visited her a little over two years ago, and it was hard saying goodbye when we dropped her off at the airport not knowing the next time we would see one another. We are both a little slack at keeping in contact. I like to jokingly blame her – she’s not a social media fan at all which I use as an excuse, but admittedly I’m sure I could make more of an effort on my part.

I also went along to an amazing wedding of two friends which was gorgeously put together, with beautiful styling and fresh, delicious food – plus a fun rockabilly band that we danced away the night to. So today was a bit rough coming out of a fun three-day weekend and going back to a busy day at work!

Bondi breakfast bowl - tohercore

Bondi breakfast bowl -- to her core

But – onto this recipe. This savoury breakfast bowl is based on a delicious breakfast I had on holiday in Bondi a few weeks back. I wanted to recreate it for here, not only because it’s delicious and healthy, but also because it’s a great example of how adding a few simple flavours to standard ingredients like quinoa and sweet potato can completely transform a dish.

I often roast a few veggies and cook up a big batch of quinoa or other seed/wholegrain at the start of the week that I can quickly chuck into salads, turn into a stirfry or add to a soup. This is another great way to use those standard ingredients, and you could easily substitute other ingredients here, such as roasted pumpkin or cauliflower for the sweet potato or brown rice, freekah or buckwheat for the quinoa.

Though there are a few different components to this dish which may intially seem like a bit of an effort to pull together for breakfast, the main components can be prepared in advance in bulk to last you for breakfasts for the whole week. So that you don’t get bored of eating the same thing, try to add in something different each day – sub out the tofu for tempeh or a crispy egg, mix some fresh herbs through the quinoa, or mash other leftover veggies through the sweet potato miso mix.

Bondi breakfast bowl - to her core

Bondi breakfast bowl

Bondi breakfast bowl

Ingredients

  • Quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 small handful chopped greens
  • 1 Tbsp coconut cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • Sweet potato
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • Tofu/Tempeh
  • Avocado
  • Sauerkraut
  • Micro sprouts to garnish
  • Savoury seed granola

Instructions

  1. To make the quinoa, combine the coconut cream, tahini, tamari, sesame oil and coconut sugar in a small bowl and mixed until smooth. Stir through the cooked and cooled quinoa, and then mix through the greens.
  2. To make the sweet potato, peel and roughly chop and then roast in a hot (220 C) oven around 40 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little, and then add sweet potato to a bowl, add miso, and mash all ingredients together with a fork.
  3. To make the tofu/heat, heat a pan over medium to high heat. Add a little oil (I use coconut) and then add to tofu and fry a minute or two on each side until golden brown.
  4. To assemble bowl, add each component separately to the bowl, then top with sprouts and savoury granola.
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In keeping with our current theme of exercise and increasing fitness as part of the Shaping up for summer – the Healthy way series, we’re having a chat with Krista Stryker who runs the incredibly successful and inspiring blog 12 Minute Athlete. Krista is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to exercise and fitness, and her blog features an abundance of exercise routines, videos and tips for the beginner to the novice.  I signed up for Krista’s newsletters a few years back and more than a few times her emails have arrived at just the right time for me, giving me the extra motivation I needed to get myself to the gym when I’d already resigned myself to going straight home from work as I “didn’t really feel like exercising”. Asides from her uncanny knack of perfectly timing her newsletters, she’s also got some great knowledge and advice on the best ways to get the most out of your workouts. So without further ado, lets say hi to Krista!

Kryster Stryker - to her core
One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to exercise is finding the time to fit it in among all their other commitments. What is the most effective way to exercise when you are time-poor?There’s no question that finding the time is one of the biggest excuses most people make for not working out. And that makes sense if you’re trying to go to the gym for an hour or more at a time—which is why I love high intensity interval training (HIIT) so much.Basically, HIIT is any sort of training where you alternate between periods of really intense training and rest for a really efficient, fast paced workout. Not only does HIIT allow you to get much more done in way less time than traditional moderate paced workouts do, you’ll also actually get in shape faster working out this way. Plus, since HIIT workouts will take you no more than 10 or 20 minutes to complete, you can always find time to fit them in your day, no matter how busy you are.Another challenge for some people is that they haven’t exercised much in the past and aren’t sure where to start. What would you suggest?

Starting a new workout habit can be very intimidating for people—but you have to realize that starting is the hardest part (it gets better from there, really!). If you haven’t exercised vigorously for a while, don’t try to do too much at first. You can start out by just adding more activity to your life—go on an easy bike ride, take a long walk with your dog, go for a hike on the weekend. Then, when you’re feeling up to it, try doing a HIIT workout two to three times a week to begin with. This is plenty for beginners, and much more than that will leave you feeling burnt out and too sore to accomplish much else.

Also, you should be aware that it these style of workouts will be hard at first, and may even feel close to impossible. That’s completely normal. Simply work as hard as you can, be consistent, and you will start to improve before you know it.

Ideally, how much should we be exercising per week to build up fitness, and then to sustain it?

This is a bit of a tough question, because it will be different for everybody and your own individual goals. For people looking to get in fairly good shape, gain strength, and lose some weight or extra body fat, anywhere from three to four times a week is probably ideal. Two is minimum, and one is not enough to help your body make changes. For those people looking to train for a sport or get in shape even faster, five or six days a week of HIIT training is a good amount of days to aim for. Always remember to take at least one day off a week of intense training to give your body time to rest and recover.If you’re simply looking to maintain your current level of fitness and aren’t really concerned about gaining new skills, two to three days is plenty as long as you keep your nutrition in check. However, once you start to make exercise a part of your lifestyle, you’ll probably actually want to work out more often because of how it makes you feel.

Kryster Stryker 1 - to her core

Do you have any tips on how to stay motivated and stick to an exercise regime?

The biggest piece of advice I give to my readers and clients to help them stay motivated (especially when they’re first starting out) is to simply commit to working out consistently for 30 days to start. The reason for that is that 30 days is enough time to create a new habit, and any less will just leave you feeling discouraged and like you’re not making any progress.Plus, after a month of consistent workouts, not only will you definitely feel the difference (more energy, stronger, less fatigue, etc.), you’ll probably start to see the difference in your body as well—and that is usually enough of a motivator for people to help them stick with it even longer (and hopefully create a lifelong habit of it).

Another thing I highly recommend to people trying to establish a new fitness habit is to keep track of your progress in either some sort of written journal or online workout log. At a minimum, you should keep track of how often you worked out, progress made in your workouts and any measurements you care about uch as your weight, body fat percentage, and your waist size. Then, when you need a little boost of motivation, all you have to do is go back and look through your old workouts to know that all your hard work is paying off.

Lastly, could you share with us your favorite workout that can be done in a short amount of time with little or no equipment?

I have lots of favorites, but here’s one that you can do with no equipment at all that will get your heart pumping, sweat pouring and muscles burning in just 12 minutes. You’ll need an interval timer to do it, then you’ll set your timer to 18 rounds of 10 second and 30 second intervals. You’ll be resting on the 10 second intervals, then working as hard as you possibly can on the 30 second ones. Don’t hold back! Intensity is key with HIIT workouts. You’ll end up going through the following circuit three times:

1. Burpees
2. Air squats
3. High knees
4. Reptile push ups
5. Jump lunges
6. Pike plank jumps
You can find short video demonstrations of each of the exercises over at Krista’s blog, as well as tons of other examples of HIIT workouts – be sure to check out Krista’s 12 Minute Athlete HIIT workouts app too!

Exercise and weight loss - to her core

Like most young females, growing up I felt pressure to look a certain way – and usually a big part of this was be thin, thus I was constantly trying out new diets in an attempt to lose weight. This normally went hand in hand with upping my gym sessions, sometimes going twice or even three times a day (!) and often to the point where I would feel sore and incredibly tired. What I didn’t realise that all this extra exercise was putting additional stress on my body. Whilst exercise and movement are both important factors in weight management and a healthy lifestyle, too much exercise – either in terms of intensity or frequency, can actually create stress which can lead to all kinds of issues, such as hypothyroidism.

Regular exercise and movement in general – ie walking, doing housework, standing up to talk on the phone – anything really that doesnt involve sitting down which we are doing more and more – is an important part of living a healthy life, however the type of exercise or movement that you do and how often is an incredibly individual thing and depends greatly on a number of factors.

When it comes to exercise and weight-loss in particular, effective exercise is incredibly important, and a lot of research lately had shown that the most effective way to exercise is short bursts of high intensity, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If you’re interested in the science and research behind this, you may be interested in reading this study, or watching this doco aired by the BBC a few years back.

I first dabbled in HIIT training around 6 or so years ago, in the form of short sprints interspersed with jogging or walking on the treadmill. At the time I lost about 4 kilos (10 pounds) in a few weeks – also combined with limiting my food intake and other exercise – however this definitely wasn’t sustainable, and unsurprisingly when I backed off the exercise a little and started eating more regularly again…

I re-gained the weight I had lost.

These days my exercise routine is far more balanced – I do one or two HIIT classes at the gym per week (occasionally 3 if I have enough time and am feeling particularly energetic), plus yoga or Pilates most days, and walking. One thing I have noticed since changing my exercise routine to be more balanced is that nowadays when I exercise, especially something high-impact like HIIT, I feel so good and energised afterwards that I don’t WANT to eat junk. This is definitely a conscious shift in mindset – and a welcome change from all those times I used to go to the gym and not push myself, eg light weights in a Pump class, or only walking on the treadmill (and only staying 20 minutes or so!), and would still then reward myself with chocolate afterwards, justifying the treat by telling myself “well, you did go to the gym this morning!”

But the main thing I like about HIIT, asides from the fact that it is a quick, effective class with visible results, the that keeps me going back – the main thing that I didn’t always get with attack or pump or jogging – is that I feel good afterwards. I feel alive, and energised and healthy – I don’t need to rationalise to myself a “reward” for going because I don’t WANT that chocolate afterwards, I want to maintain the good healthy glow that this style of training gives me.

So – what type of exercise should YOU be doing?

As much as I’d be able to tell you what will work for you to get you your desired results, the fact is that it differs from person to person, and depends on a range of factors. You may be like me and find you get more out of a group fitness activity like a Pilates class or class at the gym, or you might prefer to be able to go it alone and exercise at your own pace. The time of day you exercise may to dictate which classes you can attend, as might your budget. And also your end goal – do you just want to lose a few kilos, or are you more interested in toning up? There are many different factors which can impact what exercise will suit you  and your needs best, and over the next few days as part of the ‘Getting healthy for summer” series, we’ll take a closer look at some of these.

An important thing to remember though is that even though regular exercsie and movement is important for living a healthy, balanced life – when it comes to losing weight, 80% of the effort needs to be through diet and nutrition. After all – you can’t outrun a bad diet!

 Have you tried HIT? Did you love it, or not think it was for you? Whats your favorite way to enjoy working out?