Elliptigo Eliptical Bike

5 years ago I read about Elliptigo elliptical bikes on a hip replacement Facebook page I’m on. I was looking for an alternative to cycling as I wasn’t very comfortable on a traditional bike with my arthritic neck issues.

I wrote this blog post all about it when I first got the bike. The first couple of years I did get out on my bike quite often and managed to build up to a few 20 mile rides heading off into Milton Keynes and exploring some of the red ways and paths there.

In the last couple of years though I have been struggling with elbow and shoulder aching when I’m on the bike too long. And although I have never fallen off the thing (touch wood), starting up started to make me nervous and I haven’t been going out as often in recent times. Busy junctions mean I need to dismount and start from stopped and it’s hard to find a route with no junctions.

So today I decided no more excuses. I need to get back on my bike, even if its just a short run out, and I went out for half an hour and did 4 miles.

The bike always gets my heart rate up into peak for at least part of the ride, and the upright position means you get great views out in the countryside too. It’s a great running style workout without the impact of running. I need to remember that and get out more often.

What’s your favourite form of exercise and how do you motivate yourself to get out there and move?

Elliptigo launch

Keto Sweet Treats

Today I had a tub of double cream in my fridge which goes out of date soon so I decided to have a go at Orange Jelly Cake Bars as the main ingredient in the cake I love is double cream.

I love taking recipes from the Keto Fitness Club recipe library and tweek them to either use up the ingredients I need to use or changing slightly as I’ve really learned what I do and don’t like with my Keto baking.

My favourite basic cake is the Classic Vanilla Muffin which is in the WTF cookbook (Where’s The Fat) and I’ve used this to make Victoria Sponge, Lemon sponge, and orange jelly cakes too. I recently bought new mini cake molds so I wanted to see what the vanilla muffin mix would be like there.

I made the jelly first in the molds and once set saved them in the fridge while I made the cakes. The full recipe is again in the free recipe library and in the Creative Bakes book.

The classic vanilla muffin mix worked really well in the mold, I just trimmed the tops off and halved them before adding the jelly and drizzling on melted chocolate. The effect was stunning and they are perfect bite size mouthfuls of orangey goodness.

That left a bowl of cake offcuts.. Now what could I do with those? The perfect answer is again in the Creative Bakes book, and I made the Tiffin with my offcuts to replace the microwave cookies which appear in the recipe.

So that’s two great cakes made. Now to prevent over eating I always freeze my cakes, and most need a short time to defrost or taste really great straight from the freezer. It just means I don’t sit and eat cakes all day. And when my husband inevitably brings home his favourite chocolate or cakes I can just grab my pre made treats from the freezer.

What’s your favourite Keto cake? Please share recipe links as I love trying new things.

Experimenting with Keto Vegetables

I always struggled to eat vegetables as a child. I just didn’t like the taste or the texture. I just about managed a few peas but I picked onion out of anything. It was a struggle.

Fast forward to my Keto years as I think I shall call them and I now love recipes with leek, courgette and broccoli and even more with the delicious creamy cheesy sauces. Sprouts are now my favourite vegetable. These ones were harvested from my garden. Boiled for 5 mins, coated in oil, squished on a baking sheet. Salt, pepper and parmisan and baking for 20 mins made them super tasty. I saw the recipe on tiktok of all places.

When I started out I’d use the recipes from Keto Fitness Club like Cauliflower and Broccoli bake and Savoy Carbonara from the WTF cookbook. It doesn’t stand for what you think, it’s Where’s The Fat! You can get your own books from the website here https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/?ref=AloeAly or look there for the free recipe library.

I now have the confidence though to make certain substitutions for recipes otherwise you might end up with lots of half pots in the fridge. I don’t like waste and with keto I mostly only eat twice a day and could end up with so many half pots of cheese and similar products in the fridge.

Soured cream can be swapped with greek yoghurt. I prefer having Greek yoghurt spare as I add a few flavour drops and some nutty Granola from the WTF book and I have a great dessert too to use up a tub.

Cream cheese (make sure you get the full fat but own label brands are fine) is used in lots of different recipes. And when a recipe calls for mascarpone then cream cheese will do just as well. Also another lovely dessert is cream cheese with flavour drops and some granola. Do you spot a theme here?????

I get my flavour drops from my protein. My favourite flavour is white chocolate. It’s also lovely in warmed almond milk to make a delicious warm drink on a cold day. Just 5 drops in a cup is plenty. You can use my link to order form my protein https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.list?applyCode=ALISON-R4QJ&li

So tonight for dinner I had some beef meatballs which needed to be eaten and I wasn’t sure what to have. I also had some courgette peelings and left over cauliflower which I’d cooked and frozen. So I used the basic idea from the cauliflower and broccoli bake but added the courgette peelings in with the leeks, plenty of garlic and fresh broccoli with the defrosted cauliflower. I part cooked the meatballs in my Ninja Foodie and then used cream cheese and cream to make the sauce as I had a pot to use up. Mixing it all together and putting in an ovenproof dish, covered in cheddar and baked for half an hour made a tasty dinner all the family enjoyed.

I hope my little tips help you to experiment more with your food whether you are keto or not. It’s all great food cooked from scratch and totally delicious.

Review – Deliciously Guilt Free

Those who follow we on social media obviously know how I love cooking my own food and sharing pictures on my Facebook page and on Instagram as I just love sharing the fabulous recipes from Keto Fitness Club. But when it comes to Birthday time, Mother’s Day or Christmas family and friends want to be able to buy you something nice – and most commercial chocolates are just not Keto friendly. And also as I am also a Forever Living business owner so I don’t want skincare of bath products as I like to use the Aloe products as they just suit me. I am such a nightmare to buy for.

So I noticed on my Insta Account a like by a company based in Cambridge called Deliciously Guilt Free so I thought it was only right if I ordered some treats from them to taste test so if I like them I can subtly pass the details on to friends and family for future celebrations.

So I asked my friend Stuart, otherwise known as The Rambling Alchemist, if he would like to go halves on an order with me so we could sample a variety of flavours and qualify for free postage. These cakes are not the cheapest as each box costs around £10 for 6 or 8 cakes, but the ingredients used fit perfectly with my Keto lifestyle and the bonus are they are gluten free too.

The flavours we chose to sample were Blueberry and Lemon Drizzle, Pecan Butterscotch Blondie, Salted Caramel Blondie and Strawberries and Cream Blondies and as it was my first order I got 10% off by signing up for their mailing list.

I placed the order on Friday 19th March and the process was quite easy using my phone on their website. I did miss how to get the 10% discount at first but sent them a quick email and got a very quick response from Dan, thanks so much. It says on the website currently 1-5 days to dispatch the order – so I was really pleased to receive mine on the morning of Tuesday 23rd so it was only 4 days – quicker than I expected. Earlier in lockdown I ordered from a different company who took 2 months to send food I didn’t actually like!

The packaging was great, each flavour comes in a box which would fit through the postbox if it was ordered on it’s own – as we ordered 4 boxes they were well packed together. I couldn’t resist opening up the Strawberry and Cream Blondies to start as they were my first choice.

Taste test!

Now I struggle with Erythritol as I get a really bad cooling effect when I cook with it, so I tend to bake using a stevia/erythritol mix when I bake my own cakes, but these were so tasty I could tell it was Erythritol but the cooling effect didn’t bother me. You have to be careful not to eat too many sweet things at once with these sweeteners as they can have a laxative effect, but I could not resist through the day yesterday trying all 4 flavours. I experienced no side effects !

My favourites in order of preference are Pecan Butterscotch, closely followed by Blueberry and Lemon then Strawberries and Cream. The Salted Caramel was my least favourite and I probably wouldn’t order that one again, I think the others were just to full of nuts and fruit that these seemed boring in comparison. All the rest I would definitely order again. I will now freeze the ones I haven’t eaten yet to stop me eating them too quickly.

So I will definitely be recommending Deliciously Guilty Free to others – and I look forward to trying more flavours. If you place your own order use discount AMead10 for 10% off your order here https://deliciouslyguiltfree.com/

Keto Pizza

When I was first introduced to Keto it was by Mark from Keto Fitness Club bringing food for us to try to business networking meetings. He chose popular foods like chocolate brownies, pancakes and pizza just to show that Keto food can be delicious and quite normal too. I’d always go back for a 2nd slice of pizza if I possibly could.

Business Networking with 4N

I’d thought Keto Pizza would have to have a cauliflower base, and I’ve never liked cauliflower. It really was not something I wanted to try. But Mark showed us a recipe called Fathead Dough which only has 4 ingredients. Grated mozzarella, cream cheese, an egg and almond flour.

The first time I tried to make the recipe it was really messy and not that easy. It felt difficult but did make a great pizza. I found though that each time I made it, it got easier and now I can make it without even thinking about it. Practice makes perfect.

Also a suggestion was made that the dough doesn’t really need an egg added, and that was the messiest part, so now I just make it without the egg. In fact I have even converted my non Keto husband to preferring this pizza to a shop bought one, although I don’t like wasting them on him!

One batch of dough makes enough for 2 people, and you can either cook the base and freeze it untopped for another day, or make 2 x full pizzas and freeze to reheat. I like to have a pizza base in the freezer for those can’t be bothered days and I even took a base on holiday with me so I could easily make a pizza when the rest of the family got take out.

But fathead dough is not the only pizza base I have tried whilst on Keto. In the Keto Fitness Club there is Meatza which is a base of minced meat like turkey mince, but this was not a favourite of mine so I’ve only tried it once. But I did love the Megga Bread dough rolled out as a pizza base. One batch of Megga Loaf dough can make half a dozen bread rolls and a pizza base easily.

Another favourite base is a chicken breast butterfly cut and flattened with a rolling pin. And I was really pleased when I went to a Pizza chain in the UK and found they had an option on the menu which had the chicken breast base so I could keep to keto when out with friends.

I choose to top my pizza with passata, but I only need part of the jar as I’m not a huge tomato fan, so I freeze the unused portion in ice cube trays so I can defrost however little of much I need another day. Then I had ham or chicken and bacon, a cheeky bit of sweetcorn which you shouldn’t eat too much of and sometimes a little Leek or broccoli then smother in cheddar cheese.

And the best thing about the fathead dough without the egg is it’s really versatile, we call it Michele’s Keto Dough or MKD in the club as Michele has created recipes for all sorts of options like pasties, splats, and there’s sausage rolls too.

To access the free recipe library to see some of the recipes yourself then go to https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly. You won’t regret it.

The Search for Keto Bread

When I first did Keto I struggled for portable packed lunch ideas to have ready to take out. I’d always had a sandwich for lunch and I’m not a salad fan even now.

A Pre Keto Typical Lunch

To start with I bought Joseph’s Lavash wraps through Mark at Keto fitness club. These aren’t clean Keto due to the ingredients but they are a lot lower carb than regular bread. They were a life saver in preventing me from making bad choices with fast food when I was out and about. Following a keto lifestyle for me is not being 100% on it all of the time, but making the best decisions I can while eating foods that remain convenient. I still have a few cheats but it hasn’t stopped me achieving the results I was looking for.

A Lavash Sandwich

After my break from Keto when I cambered back on the wagon the Keto Fitness Club had new recipes including some pretty good bread alternatives using almond flour and linseed. I tried the almond butter bread and the tahini bread but they really weren’t to my taste. The 90 second bread and 2 minute breads were OK but still not quite right for me.

90 Second Bread

When Michele Cooper joined Keto Fitness Club she was on a mission to find a bread recipe her husband would accept, and from her experimentation Megga Loaf was born.

This bread started of as my nemesis. Again it is not strict Keto as it uses vital wheat gluten so isn’t gluten free, but I couldn’t get my loaf to be anything other than a bit of a brick as I couldn’t mix and prove it well enough to get the ait in. I didn’t know if it was my yeast or my method.

Early Bread Experiments

My husband then surprised me with a kenwood chef mixer with a dough hook but my bread still wouldn’t rise and get airy. I always ate my failures as I hate waste but I was getting frustrated.

I then remembered my Mum still had my Dad’s old breadmaker in the back of a cupboard. He loved making bread but since we lost him to cancer it just wasn’t mum’s thing. So I borrowed the breadmaker and tried my loaf in there. My breadmaker had instructions for a normal loaf which was all the wet ingredients, then all the dry ingredients, and then put the yeast in a well on top so I tried that method.

Light and airy.

Well finally I had the most wonderful loaf, light, airy, and delicious. I think if I had tried this loaf earlier in my Keto journey I would have struggled with the taste in comparison to my old white loaf habit. But getting this bread after more than a year of no toast was just heaven.

Every successful loaf is celebrated

I did this video about making this bread and uploaded it to YouTube as how to do the Megga Loaf recipe in a breadmaker is a very common question asked on the Keto Fitness Club support group regularly.

So if you want to try this recipe too then go and look up the Megga Loaf in the Keto Fitness Club free recipe library here under the breads section https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly and please let me know how you get on.

And if you struggle to get the ingredients such as the Vital Wheat Gluten and Oat Fibre needed I get mine from Whole Foods Online, but now Keto Fitness Club sells the loaves, rolls and pizza bases through a partnership with a local bakery in Northamptonshire, and also packs made up of the dry ingredients if you want to try your own without buying loads of ingredients.

I now make bread about once a fortnight as I don’t eat it every day, especially as lockdown means I don’t need packed lunches right now. There are also fab new recipes using the megga loaf as a base like pizza bases and cinnamon swirls. Each loaf I make reminds me of my Dad and how he loved making his own bread. I just wish he was still around to share my new love of food with me.

Family flashback.
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Keto Success Story

I have always had a totally unhealthy relationship with food. I was so ill as a child I got away with being really fussy, I was the girl who had gravy pie as I didn’t like the meat, I didn’t eat any vegetables, and my favourite food was sausages.

And when I grew up I didn’t get much better. I don’t think I even tried a pizza until my best friend at University made me try one and I couldn’t stand salad. I ate a small range of foods and the only vegetable I touched was peas.

When I was married and became a Mum I put quite a lot of weight on with each child and moved from being 10 to 11 stone to, after two children, over 14 stone. Also my arthritis flared up regularly and in my mid 30s I had a hip replacement as I couldn’t keep up with my 2 kids. I did improve a little as I didn’t want my children to have the same issues with food I did and I hid vegetables from myself in the Shepherds Pie!

Feb 2007 after my hip replacement

When I discovered Forever Living and Aloe Vera Gel my health started to improve. I was also diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea and the Cpap machine helped too, and finally I started to lose weight and my tastes began to change. I had great success with the Clean 9 and used the Forever Living shakes to help me make healthier choices.

Except if I stopped calorie counting and ate ‘normal food’ the weight would pile on. If I calorie counted, was really careful, and exercised I lost weight but I felt like I was denying myself. I would keep getting stalls on weight loss even though my diet had improved and if I even looked at a biscuit I would put weight on. I was able to get a lot fitter and exercise more and my shape improved but I just felt stuck and miserable a lot of the time.

Then 3 years ago through business networking I met Mark Brereton from Keto fitness club and tried some of his low carb and no sugar recipe alternatives, and heard about a different way of eating. Avoiding beige carbs (bread, rice and pasta , and potatoes) cooking without sugar but using plant based natural sweetener alternatives to bake too.

In 7 months I lost a stone and was doing really well and really enjoying the new recipes. I even started to quite like cauliflower mash. Fathead dough was the most delicious pizza base and I made pancakes and Berry bakes with cream cheese and almond flour and loved them all.

Then I went on the holiday of a lifetime to New York with my husband, and had a real carb fest, and when I returned home I just couldn’t get back on the keto wagon. Every single week I meant to go back to my Keto habits, and apart from still cooking some of my recipes I didn’t cut the carbs and sugar and I really piled on the lbs and nearly snuck back to my original 14 stone weight. Something had to change.

New York

So almost 2 years ago I took the decisions to return to the Keto way of eating, but this time my mindset was different. It wasn’t a diet in order to get to a weight goal, it was a new way of eating with the focus on picking foods which wouldn’t trigger inflammation (my arthritis could return at any time).

Keto Fitness Club with Mark was also developing as a business and there were cooking classes, new recipes to try including a bread recipe which was new since my first Keto foray, and lots of support on the mindset and practical help with the recipes.

Megga Loaf Breaf

A year later lockdown came along and it could go one of two ways, and at first I was at risk of going the wrong way and putting weight on. But staying home and not going out meant I could take control and the Keto Fitness Club started regular online cooking classes, zoom coffee mornings, mindset chats and support. We shared favourite recipes, kitchen gadgets (we all love Ninja Foodie) and other kitchen accessories to make cooking easier.

In December 2020 I had a milestone birthday, I hit 50. The week of my birthday I hit my target weight of 11 stone and the bigger target of finally after almost 30 years of being together I weighed less than my husband. I had always weighed a significant amount more than him, always. And now we are the same weight. That was a HUGE milestone.

Happy 50th to me

But the best thing is I eat delicious food every day. I don’t feel like I am denying myself anything. I have cake and pizza and meat and cream and cheese. The only downside is that I have to cook everything myself from scratch. It’s fine most of the time but every now and again it would be nice to find a keto convenience food. But that’s changing gradually as more people come to understand the Keto way.

I have to admit I am a little concerned about keeping to keto once the world opens up and I can go out and eat socially again. But there is no way I am compromising my new way of eating. Eating sugar laden foods is no longer a treat so my ploy will be to take my own breads or treats when eating out and just being a bit more organised while waiting for the world to catch on that sugar is the enemy and not fat.

Arrowroot Yorkshire Puddings

If you would like the help and support of Keto Fitness Club then you can get access to their recipes for free here https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly. There is a public Facebook group you can join for free, linked to from the web link. Also if you are new to Keto the Kick-start session is a great way to learn all about what you need and will help you understand where to start. From there then there is a members group with fabulous cooking classes and fitness classes and lots more support. Getting involved with Keto Fitness Club has made my journey 100% easier and I know I would have got stuck in a rut with foods and got bored without it.

So if regular diets aren’t working for you, or you always put on the weight or get stuck on calorie restricted diets then why not try something different. You might just find you get unexpected results.

Jan 2018 to Feb 2021
Chocolate Caramels

Walk1000Miles Update

If you have joined me in walking more in 2021 then how is it going? Are you keeping up or are you waiting for the summer months to really get going?

I had a storming start in January on the #walk1000miles challenge and walked just over 100 miles to get ahead of myself – and it is a good job I did as in mid February I bent down to pick up my pilates mat after my class and something in my back went ping. Who says exercise isn’t dangerous?

I was lucky that my osteopath was able to set me on the right track for recovery, and I was strictly told not to walk longer than 20 mins once the original spasms had faded, so I was glad to have a few extra miles ahead of the game. I just had to move regularly and go for more shorter walks and I managed to just keep on track in February. My Aloe Heat Lotion and MSM Gel were absolutely invaluable too and I applied them regularly to my lower back.

Now in March my back is still a little stiff, but I am back walking longer distances and really enjoying the great outdoors – and today, 10th March, I hit the 200 miles in 2021 mark. I am nearing Plymouth according to the My Virtual Mission #walk1000miles map tracking my #1000miles from Lands End to John O’Groats.

What I am really pleased about is back allowing I have been getting out rain or shine, mud or mist, and enjoying the local countryside and trying out new footpaths and seeing some great scenery all within walking distance of my front door, and walking with all the family too.

Here are a few of my favourite pics and the sights we have seen in my first 200 miles in 2021. Please share your stories and progress in the comments here and also join my Facebook support group if you are doing a walking challenge too this year.

Walking 1000 Miles in 2021

How are you keeping motivated during this #lockdown3 to keep moving and keep healthy? Back in 2012 when was 5 years post op from my hip replacement I started in January using Endomondo and doing a walk 100 miles in January challenge with my best mate.

We got quite competitive with it, and once January was done decided to do the same in February. At the time I was a school run mum and we didn’t even have a dog so I used to walk with my bestie, short ones during the week mostly and longer on the lovely 6 mile walk round our local forest at the weekends. But it still wasn’t quite enough so I used to get to outside my kid’s school for the school run early and then just walk round in circles on the streets around the school any opportunity I got. There was no getting away with it – and doing the challenge definitely helped me move more.

We actually kept the challenge going every month that year, and ended up realising on New Years Eve we were 6 miles off having walked 1300 miles in one year, so off we went and hit the target. I felt though that walking was very time consuming, and I was losing weight and getting fitter and I wanted to do other things with my time, so I parked the excessive walking, and in 2015 when we got Daisy Dog, our Jack Russell Cross, we walked more again but just not quite as much as previously.

Daisy in 2015

So when in my Keto Fitness Club chat they were talking about the #walk1000mile challenge I was reluctant to join in. I was feeling like I didn’t have the time, the head space or the energy. And my best mate now has two primary school aged kids which make it difficult to for the longer walks, and she likes to run, which I tried but gave up as I don’t want my hip replacement to wear out too quick.

But then news of the latest lockdown came out again, and walking is something you can do right through the winter if you pick your moment or just wear the right gear, and the dog needs to go out every day anyway, and I can walk on shorter walks with my best mate and her new puppy but still do additional walks myself to get the miles in, so I thought why not join in.

Walking with the Puppy !

So the long and the short of it is I am doing the #1000miles challenge – and I have set up a facebook group for others joining in too, so if you fancy motivating yourself to get out and move more then do come and join us.

I have found now in the first 13 days of January I have already walked 45 miles ‘boots on ‘ (I am even learning the lingo – this means I am only counting outdoor walking and not converting my fitbit steps to miles – although either method is perfectly acceptable) and joining the challenge and being able to walk with others being the only way we are permitted to actually see and speak to anyone right now is definitely helping me stay off the sofa more and get outdoors more – even if my dog has now sometimes decided to not come with me !

If you have chosen to do a walking challenge too then let me know in the comment below and let’s support each other !

Learning new Skills

Although personally up until now (is it week 5 or week 6 ??  who knows) in my lockdown I have been quite busy with my ‘day’ job, helping people understand the furlough grants and supporting my clients with their bookkeeping, I know there are many who are finding the time to learn new skills or try new hobbies.

So what have you tried out since lockdown?  What have you learned?  Can you share resources in the comments here that others might find interesting or useful?  If you fancy writing a blog post about something you have enjoyed, found useful or want to share then do get in touch as I’m always happy to feature guest bloggers here if I feel my audience would appreciate the information.

So what have I learned that’s new?

I have been following a Keto (low carb low sugar) lifestyle for over a year now and my health is so much better for it.  So even though I have been busy working I’ve been cooking from scratch from home every day, and so I don’t get bored and tempted to dive on my old favourites of highly processed sugary foods I have been trying different recipes.

The reason I have been able to stick to this way of eating for so long, and not drifted back to bad habits sooner, is that I have fallen in love with this food, and I have the support of my friends at the Keto Fitness Club, run by Mark Brereton and his family, who keep me engaged, amused and motivated in equal measure.

This week I mastered the Megga Bread recipe, which you can get from the free recipe library on the Keto Fitness Club link I have posted – I am so happy to have a decent slice of low carb bread to eat now that I am going to be using this one a lot.  Initially, I was short of yeast but I managed to get a delivery from BuyWHoleFoodsOnline.co.uk , and they supply the vital wheat gluten you need too – and I have plenty of the Oat Fibre but this can be replaced by ground Chia seeds which are more commonly available in supermarkets if needed.

Here is a little montage with a few of my favourite recipes like the Toad in the Hole, , Chicken Pizza, Haloumi Fries, Scotch Egg, Berry Bake, Megga Bread, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake and my absolute favourite crumble and custard! IMG_20200422_110354-COLLAGE

If you want to try some of these recipes then you can download them for free at their free online recipe library, then if you like them as much as I do you can then support Mark and his family by buying their recipe books also available on the site.

And the other bonus is some of the recipes use protein shakes in them to up the protein levels of the recipes, and I can use my Forever Lite Ultra Vanilla or Chocolate shakes in those recipes too.  Double Bonus!

Aloe Aly x