Apricot Fudge Slice

Condensed milk is my weakness, and this apricot fudge is condensed milky goodness on steroids. I fangirl for this slice – and it’s so easy! It’s super quick and doesn’t require baking, just mix it all together and forget about it in the fridge for a while and you’re good to go.

Not going to lie, I love pretty much anything that has condensed milk in it. Condensed milk is my weakness, and this apricot fudge is condensed milky goodness on steroids. I fangirl for this slice – and it’s so easy! It’s super quick and doesn’t require baking, just mix it all together and forget about it in the fridge for a while and you’re good to go.

If you love lolly cake (a classic Kiwi treat) you’re bound to love this too. I find that the mix tastes a lot like lolly cake, with the lollies exchanged for apricots…. so it’s essentially lolly cake for grown-ups. I have zero qualms with that.

apricot slice

Also, on an amusing note, it turns out we don’t have a rolling pin at my flat, so I had to use my flatmates hammer. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Remember that you’re allowed to eat things just for the taste. Life is for living to the fullest, and in regards to food, that includes eating to help your body and mind function well, as well as eating things you enjoy, these two things are not mutually exclusive –  you can do both. Health doesn’t require exclusively eating ‘healthy’ foods and shunning all things people tell you are ‘bad’. Your health won’t be ruined by treating yourself. You just have to strike a balance!

– Ingredients – 

  • 1/2 tin condensed milk (200gm)
  • 125gm butter
  • 75gm sugar
  • 1 packet crushed wine biscuits (sweet plain cookies, or graham crackers)
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp desiccated coconut

– Method –

Prepare a slice tin with baking paper.

Crush the biscuits to crumbs. I suggest using the handle of a rolling pin to do this.

Chop butter into a saucepan and melt gently with condensed milk and sugar.

Stir the crushed biscuits and the chopped apricots into the butter mixture.

Press into the prepared tin and sprinkle with desicated coconut.

Place the tin in the fridge to allow the slice to set before cutting. Store in fridge.

 

 

Happy eating! And make sure to let me know what you think below!

 

The Food Bible

Whatever your health and body goals may be, this right here is a compact summarisation of the ‘need to knows’ on what you put into your body. Welcome to Wellth’s Food Bible. Let’s make some miracles happen.

Here it is! Welcome to my wellthy take on healthy eating. Nutrition may not be my area of expertise, however, as nutrition plays a big role in health which is what Wellth is all about, I have done my research so that along with my own two cents, I may lay down some science-based wisdom on the topic and not be talking to you out of my ass.

Whatever your health and body goals may be, this right here is a compact summarisation of the ‘need to knows’ on what you put into your body.

Weight Control:

Everywhere you look, there is someone weighing in on different diets and quick fixes. No skinny tea is going to cause you to lose fat. What does lead to fat loss, is the consumption of fewer calories than you are expending. Simple as that. Reach a caloric deficit and your body has no choice but to dip into pre-stored energy resources (i.e. fat) in order to keep you up and running. Alternatively, if you are trying to gain weight, eating an excess of calories will do just that.

While reaching and maintaining a caloric deficit is simple in theory, many of us know that these things are easier said than done. To reach a deficit you may think you have to eat boring foods and next to nothing, leaving you starving and lured away by temptation until you fall off the wagon entirely, landing right back where you started. But this does not have to be the case. There are ways you can make it easier to maintain a deficit.

Maintaining a Caloric Deficit:

Although you can reduce portion sizes of energy-rich food to create a deficit, this can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. Studies have shown that weight loss is more successful when small portions of energy-dense foods are exchanged for larger, satiating portions of low-energy-dense foods. Basically, load up your meals with lots of low-calorie foods. This will leave you satisfied, and still put you into a calorie deficit. If you don’t know how many calories you should be eating, or the caloric content of different foods, then there are resources that can help you such as MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM and the MyFitnessPal app by Under Armour, or just hit up good old Google. You may want to consider consulting a nutritionist to ensure you’re doing what is healthy and right for you.

Burning Calories:

It is important to take into consideration the amount of exercise you do in relation to your calorie intake. If you are trying to reach a calorie deficit but you do no exercise, you will need to consume fewer calories than you would if you did exercise, because you will be burning fewer calories. This applies if your goals are weight maintenance or weight gain also: the more exercise you do, the more calories will be required to reach your goals. Exercise is important for all health and body goals. Muscle growth is essential for healthy weight gain, and to gain muscle, you need to be exerting those muscles. For the goal of fat loss, exercise is helpful both for allowing you to stay in a calorie deficit through burning calories and for increasing your muscle mass. Muscle requires energy to move, and a higher muscle mass requires more energy from your body to use them even in everyday life as well as during a workout, meaning your calorie burn will be higher. So if you aren’t already, it’s definitely worth getting into fitness. There are bonuses all around.

Protein:

Increasing the amount of protein in your diet (in accordance with your calories, be it calorie deficit, calories for weight maintenance, or calorie excess for weight gain), has many benefits. Diets with elevated protein aid in muscle maintenance or gain (dependent on your goals) and loss of fat. Along with this, protein helps improve satiety, helping you stay fuller for longer, so it’s helpful in the maintenance of a calorie deficit. Another bonus of a higher protein diet is that it increases thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a metabolic process in which your body uses energy to keep itself warm. This means that increased thermogenesis helps keep you in a calorie deficit because it increases your calories burned.

‘Bad’ Foods:

You do not need to entirely remove carbohydrates or fats from your diet. Carbs and fats have been labeled ‘bad’. (Let me just say this about fats real quick: fats are not evil. In fact, there are structures in your brain which are made of fats, in which fats improve function). We’ve been told eating carbs and fats will cause weight gain, but as I explained above, specific foods don’t cause weight gain, an excess of calories causes weight gain. Sure, high fat and high carb foods are high calories, but you can eat these foods and lose weight if you are still in a calorie deficit overall. The whole ‘bad’ food label is no help, it’s better to consider that foods are either high or low calorie and high or low nutrient. In order to be healthy, you need to find balance: provide your body with sufficient energy to function, but not excess energy, and provide your body with the nutrients to support your bodies functions, but not get down on yourself when you eat something low nutrient because you like the taste.

Variety:

From a mental health standpoint, eating a variety of different foods is important for allowing your brain to function optimally. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to a whole load of issues you may not have even known about. Here I’ve compiled a basic run-down, courtesy of my university study notes.

  • Deficiencies in vitamin B6 (found in: meats, whole-grains, vegetables, nuts) can result in depression, cognitive decilne, dementia, and autonomic dysfunction.
  • Deficiencies in vitamin B9 (found in: eggs, green veggies, chickpeas, almonds, orange juice) can result in cognitive function impairment.
  • Vitamin B12  (found in: meat, shellfish, eggs, dairy) is required by every cell for metabolic functions, fatty acid synthesis, and energy production. Deficiencies can result in fatigue, depression, memory issues, and neuropathy.
  • Vitamin A is an antioxidant (found in: dairy, eggs, fish, pumpkin, carrots, oranges) and is required for visual perception, gene expression, and neuronal differentiation during development. Deficiencies can result in impaired night vision, blindness, and altered gene expression.
  • Iron (found in meat, shellfish, lentils, spinach) is the oxygen carrier in our blood. Deficiencies can cause fatigue, depression, memory impairment, decreased attention, and irritability.
  • Zinc (found in: oysters, meat, whole-grains, pumpkin seeds, legumes) is required for the perception of taste and smell, as well as the facilitation of DNA production. Deficiencies can result in neuropsychological impairments.
  • Iodine (found in: iodised salt, seaweed, mussels, eggs, sea fish) is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroxine, deficiencies of which can result in cognitive impairment, fatigue, and depression.
  • Magnesium (found in: walnuts, beans, mussels, dark leafy vegetables, sails (if that’s your thing)) is required for the synthesis of energy by all cells. Deficiencies in magnesium can result in depression, insomnia, muscle twitches, and migraines.

Balance:

I’m an advocate for healthy relationships with food. There are many ways in which you can have a negative relationship with food. Eating an excess of food low in nutrients is detrimental to your physical and mental health. Fearing food groups and being excessively strict and restrictive on yourself indicates an unhealthy mentality towards food. Eating food you deem ‘bad’ and punishing yourself for it, or feeling down on yourself and guilty is unhelpful and detrimental to your wellbeing. Studies show that in restrictive eaters with the tendency to guilt and binge eating after breaking their diets, mindfully considering a diet break with self-compassion reduces guilt and prevents binging. It is important that you fuel your body with love.  Put into your body foods that will help it do its job. Treat it well. But also treat you well – eating foods you love that aren’t of much health value, is not going to make you unhealthy if you otherwise treat your body well. Eating foods you love is you allowing yourself to experience life fully and get all the enjoyment out of life you can. This is why you will find recipes for foods on Wellth that are not so nutritious, but definitely delicious. You should be able to let yourself enjoy these foods too. A balanced relationship with food is a healthy relationship with food.

Don’t Judge:

I’m going to leave this here as a reminder to let others live. If a specific style of diet is working for someone, great. There is more than one method to reach the same goal. Just because someone’s method is different, doesn’t make the method wrong. (Of course, some methods aren’t as healthy as others or are total BS, but I’m not talking about those here). Veganism, paleo, keto, or whatever floats your boat is great! If you find a diet you enjoy and that makes you feel good, and whats more, that works for you, that’s awesome. You do you.

 

Eating well can be hard, but your health is worth it. Treat your body right, and don’t be afraid to treat your tastebuds sometimes too. Follow this bible and you may achieve some miracles for your body and mind.

Stay wellthy, and happy eating!

 

 

 

References:

1. Julia A Ello-Martin, Jenny H Ledikwe, Barbara J Rolls; The influence of food portion size and energy density on energy intake: implications for weight management, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 82, Issue 1, 1 July 2005, Pages 236S–241S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/82.1.236S

2. Douglas Paddon-Jones, Eric Westman, Richard D Mattes, Robert R Wolfe, Arne Astrup, Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga; Protein, weight management, and satiety, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 5, 1 May 2008, Pages 1558S–1561S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S

3. Claire E. Adams and Mark R. Leary (2007). Promoting Self–Compassionate Attitudes Toward Eating Among Restrictive and Guilty Eaters. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 10, pp. 1120-1144. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2007.26.10.1120

7 Tips From a Bad Uni Student to New Uni Students

Hindsight. It is a beautiful thing. As the end of my studies are drawing near I have the pleasure of looking back and wondering what on earth I was doing half the time over the past three years. Lots of missed opportunities and sub-par decision making. So like a wise older sister I shall now impart to you some worldly knowledge in the hopes that your uni experience is a successful and healthy one.

Tip One: Be thrifty

Whether you are getting a student loan, paying your way, or getting support from your parents, uni is expensive. I have spent a week or two in the last few years eating cereal with water because I ran out of milk and couldn’t afford to get more. Do not let that be you. That’s gross. Make sure you have money for necessities before you go out for lunch or go out drinking, even though its tempting.

Tip Two: Prioritise

Because Uni is so expensive, don’t take it for granted. If you have a loan, you’ll be paying for it later, and if you fail a course and have to re-sit it, you’re adding to the cost for future-you. If you don’t do the work for your classes in favour of your social calendar or your new Netflix subscription, you are wasting your own time and money. That being said, having a good social life is a huge part of your uni experience.  But you do need to make sure you strike a balance between work and play so you form a good work ethic and set yourself up for the rest of your studies.

Tip Three: The ‘Fresher Five’ won’t kill you

If you haven’t heard of the ‘Fresher Five,’ it’s a common phenomenon where you gain five kgs plus in your first year. I’m telling you now, this is a real thing. Obviously, the metabolically blessed among us escape gain-free, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it is brutal and sneaky.

It’s easy to get caught up in the bad habits that are fostered in the first year, especially if you just moved out of home. But first-year and uni, in general, isn’t some alternate ultra-fat-storing universe where weight gain is unavoidable, obviously the usual still applies. You know the drill: eat your fruit and veggies, eat your protein, manage your portion sizes, don’t go ham on the higher calorie treats, and keep active. The major traps in first-year revolve around making new friends and wanting to involve yourself in every social opportunity on offer, and social eating and social drinking are a big part of that. Remember that you can still hang out with people and have fun without over indulging. Sometimes a sugar-free energy drink at a party is just as fun, or choosing the smaller option at lunch and skipping the added cake or fries (or in my case, milkshakes).

Stress eating is another catch, so keep the healthy snacks stocked up so you can turn to those when you need to. Keeping on top of your health is worth it, and as an added bonus it’ll help keep you mentally sharp for your studies.

However! If the fresher five befalls you, do not fret! At different times in life we have different priorities, and if in uni you find that socialising and keeping on top of your workload is what is most important to you, that is perfectly fine. For me, I was well and truly acquainted with the Fresher Five by the end of my first year, but my lifestyle now is a far cry from what it was then and the fresher five is a distant memory. Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up. You have the rest of your life to follow your fitspo dreams.

Tip Four: Don’t procrastinate

Do not do this. I myself used to be terrible at it. Worst of all its been proven that procrastination isn’t some kind of trait, or brought on by anything out of your control. Nothing is making you procrastinate. Procrastination is a choice. I hate this fact, but it is, none the less, a fact. Do not choose to leave your work to the last possible moment.

While you’re putting off your work, yes, life is good, but that it sets you up for a very, very not good time ahead. Often you underestimate how long an assignment is going to take, or you run into some unforeseen issues that you haven’t left yourself the time to sort out. Issues like this make doing your uni work suck way more than it needs to. Its no fun and wreaks havoc on your stress levels.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘diamonds are formed under pressure,’ because while you may somehow pull an A+ out of your ass the night before the deadline, that does not mean you will manage that miracle every time. Don’t be lazy. Make like Shia LaBeouf and just do it.

Tip Five: Sleep

Partying and late night cram studying can absolutely ruin your sleeping pattern, and leave you sleep-deprived. This is bad for you, more so than you may think as sleep plays a role in keeping your cognition on point, your mental health, and your weight regulation. Go to sleep at a regular hour like a regular person as often as you can. Enough said. Go to bed.

Tip Six: Use successful study methods

I study psychology, and one thing they drill into us is that in order to consolidate your learning, to really get it to stick, you need to engage with the material. The more involved your processing of information, the better you will learn it. For a start, don’t skip lectures. Second of all, take notes. When it comes to note taking though, not every method is equal. You’re better off going old school and taking notes by hand, not on a laptop because writing by hand has been shown to improve learning as it requires more processing than typing. On top of that, if you have readings to do, take notes by hand for that too because reading often isn’t enough. In fact, its been shown that when you re-read material and it becomes easier to read, that isn’t necessarily because you learned the content, it can mean that you have simply become familiar with the writing allowing the act of reading to flow more smoothly.

Tip Seven: Take opportunities

Get involved in Uni life. There are so many clubs and study groups and extracurricular opportunities that can help your learning, forge valuable connections, and give you the boost you need to make things easier when it comes to getting a job at the other end. I wish now that I took what opportunities I could early on, and I’m kicking myself for it now. You have the chance to give yourself an advantage, so why wouldn’t you?

Take these tips and let my learnings through trial and many errors be a lesson to you. Even though I have managed to be successful in my studies (please don’t think I’m a total loser I promise I’m doing fine), it could have been a hell of a lot smoother, and I could have done myself much prouder had I adhered to this advice. You have been warned. My conscience is now clear. Go forth and kick some academic ass.

Green Exercise

Low mood, high stress, low self-esteem. All bad for your wellbeing, and all unfortunately very common.

Succumbing to the pressure to conform when social media faces you with swathes of what it likes to think are ‘perfect people’ is easy. It is common to get sucked into trying to attain that ideal image and seeing yourself as less-than. Although it’s a positive and healthy change that ‘strong is sexy’ is in vogue for women’s bodies over the extreme thinness that was once strived for, feeling pressure to look a certain type of way is never healthy (for women or men). Feeling negatively about the way your body looks can be detrimental to your self-esteem. Working out is supposed to be rewarding, not a punishment, and you should be loving, not hating, your body at all stages of your fitness journey.

Feeling down and stressed can stem from many unavoidable aspects of life. Whether it be school, work, or relationship dramas, life doesn’t always go smoothly. Unfortunately for many, low mood and high stress can stick around longer than it should or feel to be permanent. Whatever the case is, there are things you can do to combat these feelings.

Working out, in general, makes you feel good (thank you, endorphins), and is obviously good for your health. A lot of us also spend the majority of our time cooped up indoors, and surrounded by an urban landscape, and then go to the gym to workout indoors as well. While this is still going to help you physically and mentally, there is more you can do to keep your body and mind in top shape.

Studies into ‘Green Exercise’ are showing that moving your workout into a natural environment can do more to relieve stress, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. Even a short period of exercise in a natural environment has a substantial effect. Whats more, the improvement in self-esteem was found to be even greater for those suffering from mental illness.

For those of you who turn to the gym to lift and run away from a negative body image, who could use a pick-me-up, or just generally want to reap the benefits, consider changing it up and take your dose of exercise somewhere beautiful outdoors. A workout away from the gym won’t ruin your gains, I promise.

 

 

References:

1. Mackay, G. J., & Neill, J. T. (2010). The effect of “green exercise” on state anxiety and the role of exercise duration, intensity, and greenness: A quasi-experimental study. Psychology of sport and exercise, 11(3), 238-245.

2. Gladwell, V. F., Brown, D. K., Wood, C., Sandercock, G. R., & Barton, J. L. (2013). The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extreme physiology & medicine, 2(1), 3.

3. Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental science & technology, 44(10), 3947-3955.