What I'd Like to do in 2016

Self Portrait by Olivia Bossert I'm not very big on New Year's Resolutions. I've never really made them before, because I know for a fact that I'm setting myself up for failure. A New Year's resolution kind of implies to me that in the whole previous year, I've been doing things wrong. I'm quite an ambitious person, though, so I'm always setting myself goals. With Christmas almost here, and New Years approaching fast, resolution stuff begins to pop up left, right and center, and of course that makes me start to reflect on what new goals (or current goals) I'd like to work on. Let's call it a "refocus."

  1. Work. I'm a work-a-holic. I've been "working" on some kind of project since I was 15, all the time. It started off with photography at 15 and it consumed me. Then Atlas came about, and that's been my primary focus since I was 20. We've got so many big projects for Atlas, and I won't go into massive detail about them now because this blog isn't really supposed to focus on Atlas, but I'd like to grow the business more, take our print issues worldwide, grow our audience, and collaborate with more brands in future. It's exciting! See what we're up to here.
  2. Photography. My photography took a bit of a back seat for a few years (for various reasons), but I'm feeling incredibly inspired lately and have been thinking about what kind of work I'd like to produce. My day to day work with Atlas involved reviewing submissions from talented people all around the world. It definitely gets me inspired, and I'd like to start shooting again, more frequently, working with local Cornish designers. I've seen some of the talented designers there are in the area, and it's so inspiring! I'd also like to use film more. It's a medium I adore to work with, but didn't feel confident enough to really test out when I was younger.
  3. Fitness. I'm currently working towards some new goals, which is ongoing and has started well before the New Year. In a nutshell, I'd like to finally push the excess body fat I have around my middle. No, it's not big, and no I'm certainly not overweight at all, but I'm someone who likes to see how far I can go, and I would really really like to be confident in myself in a bikini. I know it's very superficial, but this is a place for honesty, right? I'd also like to see how strong I can get! In the past 6 months, I can't believe how much stronger and fitter I am. Never in a million years did I think I'd be able to run 10 miles (16km), but I can! And I can just about deadlift 60KG (we're working on it), I've improved my sprint time by 5 seconds, I sit between 150 W and 160 W in my spin class, and I can punch harder than I ever thought I could before. Feeling myself get stronger and fitter is the most incredible thing and I can't wait to see where I am in 6 more months!
  4. Health. 2015 was a big year for me in terms of my digestive health. It's well known on this blog that since I was 15, I've struggled more and more with my IBS. It steadily got worse, then when I was 20 I made changes, and it got better, but it would still come and go in waves. I went on the Low FODMAP diet this summer, and it has been life changing for me. Hard, I'll admit, and there are certain things which still trigger my IBS (ie. stress) but overall, I'm so much better than I ever was. All I really want to do in 2016 is to carry on eating what makes me feel good, developing recipes that are Low FODMAP, and sharing them here! (PS. I have loads of new ones, but I'm currently visiting my parents in Switzerland, so I can't photograph any of them to share with you!)
  5. Happiness. One thing that I realized (big time) this year was how important it is for me to take the time to relax. I have a problem where I feel guilty if I'm not constantly working. I feel like there's so much to do, and I'm totally aware of it, so if I stop, sit on the sofa and watch Homeland with my boyfriend, I get a pang of guilt because, really, I could be at my desk hammering out more emails or doing more strategy work. But taking that time out every day to do something that I enjoy, even if it's as simple as reading a few blogs, or watching some YouTube videos refreshes me, and I'm so much more productive (and enthusiastic!) if I've been able to recharge my batteries. In 2016, I'd really like to continue to do that.

So there you go, some goals which aren't really goals cause I'm sort of already doing them, but things I'd like to carry on doing! I find the end of the year is, more than anything, simply a really good time to reflect, think about where you are, and what you'd like to continue working on.

What are your "resolutions?" Do you have any? What's your take on New Year's resolutions? Let me know in the comments bellow!

What I'd Like To Do In 2016 - oliviablogs.com

Low FODMAP Banana and Strawberry Muffins

Low FODMAP Banana and Strawberry Muffins Muffins have become a bit of a "thing" for me recently. They're easy to make, easy to carry, and easy to eat! What's not to love? I've been making my egg muffins a lot, but last weekend I fancied something a bit different so I made an attempt at something new: Banana muffins. They were instantly a massive hit not only with me, but also with Tom. They're sweet, but not too sweet. They're Low FODMAP, so a winner in my eyes, and they don't contain any added sugar at all. Just the lovely natural sugars contained in a banana. Yay! What's not to love?

Can we also take a moment to appreciate my new muffin tray? I had to go to Truro a week ago to return some jeans I accidentally bought in the wrong style (curse you Topshop for hanging black ripped jeans and non ripped jeans on the same rail!) and I ended up wondering into TK MAX.. Oops. The kitchen and stationary sections in there are my favourite, and I can't help but come home with something every time I wonder in. I saw this muffin tray and a little ceramic frying pan, and they both came to only £15! How's a girl to resist? Low FODMAP Banana and Strawberry Muffins Ok back to the serious stuff...muffins!

To make these Low FODMAP Banana and Strawberry Muffins you'll need: 4 eggs, whisked 4 mashed bananas 4 tbsp Coconut oil, melted 2 Cups Peanut Butter 1 tsp Vanilla extract 1 cup Coconut Flour 1 tsp Baking Powder 1 tsp Baking Soda 1 cup of Strawberries, chopped into small pieces

To make them: Heat the oven to 180°C Mix the bananas, eggs, coconut oil, peanut butter and vanilla extract into a large bowl. Mix them together well until totally incorporated. Next, slowly add in the coconut flour, mixing well. Add the baking soda and powder. Mix well. Gently fold in the strawberries. Using coconut oil, grease the muffin tins well. Add mixture to each tin until they're mostly full, but not totally... (does that make sense?!) Place them in the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes until a fork comes out clean! This recipe should make about 12 muffins :)

Low FODMAP Banana and Strawberry Muffins Let me know if you make them, or if you have any suggestions for other muffin recipes I should try out!

Giving Up Wheat

Wheat Free Bread The Low FODMAP diet requires you to go wheat free. Not gluten free, wheat free. Now, I'd done this before a few years ago when we weren't quite sure what was wrong with me. I did a whole year gluten/wheat free, and I definitely think it helped a little bit, but when I was tested for a gluten intolerance, I was coming out fine (I was eating wheat when I was tested to make the test accurate, don't worry!). So when I went back on the Low FODMAP diet, it was a bit upsetting to have to give up wheat again. Lets not kid ourselves, it's difficult. We live in SUCH a wheat dependent society. Now I was no longer the "dairy free girl" but now the "gluten/wheat/dairy/onion/garlic/honey/omgeverything free girl." That's pretty daunting and upsetting, especially when all your friends want to go out for dinner or lunch. It can make things really quite hard!

 But when you've got no choice, you do what you gotta do. I'm not going to lie, I found giving up wheat quite easy. The truth is that I didn't eat a huge amount of wheat anyway. Tom does, but I don't. And when I cook dinner at night, I've always done lots of quinoa and rice. The only thing that's been tricky is when I wake up, haven't made overnight oats, and need to eat something quick! Usually the go to is toast, right? Well, gluten free toast isn't great (and it's pretty bad for you - we'll get to that later), so I try to avoid it as much as I can.

I've gotten pretty used to it now. I read a fascinating book a few weeks ago called Wheat Belly which really opened my eyes to the problems that wheat can cause our bodies. I won't go into too much detail, because you might as well just read the book, but to summarise, William Davis, the author of the book, is a cardiologist and noticed a correlation between people who cut down on wheat, and heart problems. That was the initial realisation and once he began to study it all further, he began to realise that the more people cut down on wheat, the more other health problems vanished as well. It's all to do with spikes in blood sugar, and studies show that wheat causes our blood sugars to soar through the roof. The worst part? Flours used to substitute for gluten containing flours (like Rice flour, tapioca flour) cause our blood sugar levels to go even higher than standard wheat does! It blew my mind.

_OLI7897I'm now on the reintroduction phase of the Low FODMAP diet, and it's been a very slow process so far. Suffice to say that when I tested myself against wheat as a reintroduction of high FODMAP foods, I wasn't too upset to know that I have a bad reaction to wheat. I got really ill! It was scary how quickly, and how badly I reacted.

So what am I doing to replace wheat in my life? Buckwheat pasta is my saviour! It's the nicest form of pasta I've found. I recommend it really highly. I've also had a go at making my own bread, which is photographed here. This bread is from Madeleine Shaw's "Get The Glow" book, which I rave about all the time. Not only is it really yummy, but her recipe is already low FODMAP! I can't take any claim over the recipe though, so I'm afraid I won't be sharing it here. You can buy the book here. I've also embraced quinoa even more, and had a go at cooking with coconut flour as well as buckwheat flour. It's a learning process, for sure! It takes getting used to, and it takes a lot of planning ahead. I can't go out to work in the morning without a lunch to eat, because if I do, the likelihood is I won't find much to eat in the local supermarket!

One things for sure though; I feel better without it.

Have you given up wheat? How do you cope with it? I'd love to hear from you!

Wheat Free Bread