Open Ready!

Open Ready!

Last week saw the start of the 5 week CrossFit Open and while I’m by no means an elite athlete I like to give it my all and so in this blog I’m sharing with you 1  little change I’m making in my diet to help my body recover that little bit better from these intense workouts.

What is this you might ask!?

Its simply adding  “Arrabawn Skim Plus Milk” into my morning smoothies and post work out protein shakes.

“Skim Plus milk is a fat free milk enriched with Iron, Folic Acid and vitamins C, D, E, B2 (Riboflavin) and B12. The skim milk product offers many of the healthy nutrients required for a healthy lifestyle.” (According to  Arrabawns website).

After saying that I’m not a huge fan of drinking milk on its own so I tend to add it to things to drink it.

This week, I added it to my morning smoothies:


-200 ml Arrabawn Skim Plus Milk

-One measurement of “Diamond Slim Lite” Protein,

-A handful of Spinach

-200 g  of Tesco Frozen Mixed Berries

-One Banana.


-25 secs Zap in the Nutri Bullet and its ready to drink. 🙂

Easy as that and with only 318 calories it keeps me full for the morning.

I also used the Milk in my post workout protein shake with some more “Diamond Slim Lite”. Its 168 calories and took away that need to eat some thing afterwards and keeps me at bay until dinner time.

Now I’m not here to explain to you the benefits of milk to our bones, muscles, joints but as a person who also has Arthritis and a replaced hip I’m even more aware of what my body needs and the  importance of having at least 3 daily servings of milk/milk products , Iron and these vitamins and so anything that can help with this daily requirement is always going to be given a thumbs up from me.

Ill definitely be keeping this new routine of mine up for the rest of the Open. Keep an eye on my social media – Facebook, Instagram for my process.

Stay holistic 🙂

P.s. Here are photos of me doing the 1st and 2nd ‘Open’ workouts and while I’m not saying that it was because of  the milk but I’m delighted that I’m managed to complete the 1st workout within the recommended time cap and completed more pull ups in the 2nd workout than ever before! 😜
Catherine  x

If you enjoyed this blog you might also enjoy my other blogs on Health Eating (click here) or CrossFit (click here).






My Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

My Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Another Sunday, another bake 🙂 I got this recipe from my sister in law a few weeks ago and with the busy week ahead planned for me with my normal day job, holistic treatments to give, horse racing to go to (Annual Galway Races) and my Crossfit training. It’s always good to have some tasty snacks at the ready.

This weeks bake is a Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.


3 Bananas

130g Coconut Oil

150 ml Almond Milk

320g Spelt Flour

200g Coconut Sugar

80g Oats

3 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

80g Dark Chocolate (I used 75%)

1. Melt the oil and leave to cool.

2. Mix the spelt flour, oats,baking powder, baking soda and the Himalayan pink salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. Mash the banana with your hands into the dry mixture .

4. Whisk in the melted oil and sugar until the mixture is well combined.

5. Add the almond milk into the mixture and stir until all mixed well.

6. Chop the chocolate into smaller pieces and fold it into the mixture.

7. Pour the batter into a well coconut oil greased tin and place in a pre heated oven (175c) for 35-40 minutes or until the bread is a deep golden brown in colour.


My verdict:

This is this first time I’ve made bread and I wasn’t too sure how it would pan out (pardon the pun!) but it’s nice,light and fluffy (due to the spelt flour). The sweetness of the bananas is balanced by the richness of the dark chocolate so it has a nice unique taste.

This bread will last up to 3 days in an airtight container and can be served on its own or with almond butter or nutella for an extra kick if required.

8.  Enjoy 🙂

Have a go and let me know how you get on.

Stay holistic 🙂

P.s Have a look at some other recipes that I have here and email me here if there are any that you would like me to try out.

My Super Seedy Flapjacks

My Super Seedy Flapjacks

Sunday afternoons in my house are about doing a bit of food preparation for the week ahead.  So I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out this recipe I found during the week.


150g unsalted butter

125g brown sugar

3 tablespoons of golden syrup

Lemon juice

75g seasame seeds

50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

200g porridge oats


  1. Cut the butter into squares and melt it with the maple syrup, lemon juice and sugar over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove from the heat and mix in all the seeds and oats together until all the oats are covered with the liquid.

3. Prepare a baking tin with grease proof paper and spoon the mixture into it. Using the base of the spoon, press the mixture into the tin to pack it together.


4. Bake in a preheated oven (160C) for 20-25 minutes to until it’s golden around the edges.


5. Remove and let it cool (which will allow it to harden a bit so don’t panic if it’s still about soft after the bake) 😀 .

6. Melt some chocolate and spread over the flapjacks and leave to set. This step is completely optional and I do it on one side only so that I have a nice mixture of flapjacks.

7. Cut into sizes of choice and store in an airtight container.

8. Enjoy 🙂

My verdict:

This recipe is easy to make and once in a air tight container and stored in the fridge can last up to 3 days.

Served best with a nice cool glass of milk as a snack but is also very handy during the week for a little bit of energy while on the go.

Have a go and let me know how you get on!

Stay holistic 😀

Catherine x


P.S. Have a look at some other recipes that I have made here. 🙂

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars! 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars! 

I had a little bit too much of that gorgeous June bank holiday sun over the weekend (tan lines to prove it) 😓so I decided today I would stay indoors and busy myself with a little little bit of ‘sweet’ baking !! 😀 (Actually this recipe is even better as it involves no baking at all) YES!!

I spotted this in the Sunday Independent Life magazine . So here it is for those of you who didn’t see it.
🌟Chewy chocolate and peanut butter bars!! 🌟

169grams of oats

125grams of honey

125grams of peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon of sea Salt

100grams of chocolate.

1.Pour the oats into a bowl .

2.Melt the honey over a medium heat and once it boils, stir for 1 minute.

3.Mix the peanut butter and salt and honey together until it’s all combines and the oats are completely covered.

4.Pour this lovely mixture into a pre lined baking tin.

5.Spread the mixture evenly in the tin and press it down around the edges with a base of a spoon.

6.Place the tin in the freezer.
✋Wait 20 mins✋
7.Remove the bar and cut into pieces.

8.Pour the melted chocolate over the pieces and using the base of the spoon spread it evenly. (You can also sprinkle coconut on the chocolate at this stage)

9.Place in an air tight container and store in the fridge until the chocolate has set.

10. Eat!

These never last long in my house but can last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
See it’s that easy, hope you get a chance to make themselves

P.s. They taste great with a glass of milk!

Enjoy 🙂
Stay holistic !
Catherine x

My new fitness friend..

My new fitness friend..

A few months ago I made a new ‘friend’ and over the last few months we have spent almost every day together. So I thought it was time that I introduced you to them.
‘Should himself be worried ?’ you might ask and the simple answer is not at all and if anything he is as delighted for me as I am as this ‘friend’ has successfully helped me with some nutrition issues and goals I’ve had over the last little while.
Who is this friend I speak so highly off??

It’s only ‘My fitness pal’ which is a free and easy nutrition and fitness system that helps people achieve good health. (Or so that’s what it says on its Facebook page.)
Simply put its a phone app that you download for free. To start off, you fill in some personal details, age, sex, current weight, active status and weight goal. (Select lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight) and then what you want your goal weight to be. It then simply tells you what calories you have for that day to maintain that goal and how long it will take you to reach it.

Then as the days go on you input what you have eaten into the daily diary and it will show you your remaining calories. It easily divides it into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and shows you exactly what you are eating. It’s amazing when you see it all written down,you will soon start to see a change in your eating habits.

While it does focus a lot on calories, to me its more that a calorie counter.

The coolest part of the app is the bar code scan at the top. This is for the food that have bar codes and all you need to do is ‘scan’ the bar code and it will tell you exactly what is in the food. For example the calories, the recommended serving size and all the nutrition facts, carbs, fats ( and types of fats), protein etc.

This information then is all compiled into a cool pie chart in the nutrition tab and you can really see how your food breaks down (if pie charts are your thing) again it clearly shows your ‘recommended macros’ for you and your lifestyle and where you are currently on that chart.
I like this as it helps himself explain to me the importance of macros and the need for more protein when I’m training in the gym. (Pre and post work out snacks etc).. That’s an exciting conversation!! 🙂 lol

On that it also has a section for exercise so again I select which exercise I did that day and for how long and it was add this into my calories (it’s like plus calories at the end if the day) . 🙂
So does it work and what goals have I achieved?
Firstly I use it mainly doing the week. That’s when I do my training and have my good routine of food. The weekends not so much and over Christmas I took a break. But over the past 4 months, I have steadily lost over 10 pounds (over 5kg) and those inches lost are mainly in my tummy. 🙂 hello new dress size!!!
I don’t see ‘my fitness pal’ as a diet though as anyone that knows me knows that I love my chocolate and this thankfully I still eat. I use eat it in moderation. It’s more a lifestyle app that helps me make positive and more nutritional food decisions.
For anyone that is serious about understanding a bit more about their nutrition and what they are putting into their bodies and maybe managing their weight a bit more I can’t recommend this app this enough.

Have a go and let me know how you get on 🙂
Stay holistic
Catherine x

Sent from my iPad

Homemade Chocolate Non Bake Bark…

Homemade Chocolate Non Bake Bark…

Tomorrow evening, my Crossfit (crossfit Galway) gym are having a ‘friendly’ in house competition and while I’m all ready for the workouts, the weights, the blood, the sweat and the tears ( and no doubt plenty of Burpees) that it will involve. (Bring it on!!!) 🙂

I have to say my favourite part of these events is the fact that we have a get together afterwards. Everyone can bring snacks,treats, food and we just have a nice relaxed laugh and catch up.

Some people also bring their own homemade snacks such as protein power balls, paleo snacks etc. I always find that it’s a great place to try these out and then we swap/ exchange each other recipes for future bakes.

So today I’d decided to make some of my own chocolate non bake bark. I’ve made it before for friends and it went down a storm.

They are very easy to make and you don’t have to follow any hard recipe or even really stick to any measurements. Just have the basics and then add in what you like.
Most of the ingredients you will probably already have in your cupboard or fridge.

For today’s ones I used:

1 punnet of strawberries

150 g of dark cooking chocolate

150 g of milk chocolate

100 g of dried fruit and nut mix or cranberries

50g of sliced almonds

Desiccated coconut
You will also need mixing bowls, grease proof paper and room in your fridge.
Simply melt the 2 types of chocolate in the microwave in separate bowls and then mix these together.

Line a large container with grease proof paper.( I use a large glass Pyrex dish)

Pour the chocolate mixture into it, spreading it about 1 inch deep.

Place the mixed fruit/nut/cranberries over this and gentle push into the wet chocolate with a spoon.

Chop the strawberries into 6/8 pieces and repeat over the fruit/nuts.

Sprinkle the desiccated coconut over these.

Place the bowl into the fridge to set into a bark.

After a few hours you will be able to remove the bark from the dish and slice into smaller pieces. I recommend that you store these in smaller sealable containers and keep refrigerated. I’m told that they can last for days but they never get the chance in my house. 🙂

Have a go yourself and let me know what you think.

Ps. It tastes lovely with a glass of cold milk!


Stay Holistic 🙂
Catherine x

My Ninja!!

My Ninja!!

I want to share with you all a little secret I discovered 2 months ago and it has really helped me a lot. It has increased my energy levels, helped me feel less sluggish (you know that feeling you get from eating too fast or a lot of the wrong things) and also and most importantly for me this change has helped clear my skin up! What is it you may ask?!?
Its the one and only Nutri Ninja smoothie/juice maker! 🙂

Ok maybe it’s not a big secret to some of you but I only discovered it in October and I use it now at least 5 mornings a week!
It was recommended to me by a few different friends who admired the fact that because it takes the whole fruit / vegetable. It leaves no mess, no waste and it’s so easy to clean(dish washer friendly). I was a bit hesitate at first as it was €120 euro in all retailers and I thought it would lose its shine after a few weeks like the old juicer and non branded smoothie maker I had. However this never did, it’s so easy to use and I now use it at least 5 mornings a week. November was extra busy for me and I have to say it’s definitely helped me stay on track with my healthy eating. I would use it in the morning and sometimes again after a training session or instead of a cooked dinner when I am very time restricted.
There are so many different recipes out there that you will never get bored with it and its sharp and power blades will blitz through every thing. ( I know someone who puts turnips into it!) 🙂
Below is my favourite recipe that I got inspiration for from ‘Deliciously Ella’s’ cook book and this is the one I use most work mornings. I even prepare it the night before and put in the fridge ready to go so I’ve no excuse.

Banana (peeled)
Spinach (handful)
Cup of frozen mixed berries (I get mine from Tesco -handy re sealable bag)
100ml almond milk
A scoop of protein powder (I use platinum and diamond)
2 tablespoons of porridge oats
The banana, oats and milk make it thick and the berries give it a sweet taste and a nice reddish colour and the spinach and protein powder give me that kick start that i need for the day ahead. (Working from the inside out).
In the morning take it out, blend for 20 seconds and drink straight away!! No fuzz!!

Honestly it’s that simple and there are days I’ve added kale/ celery or cucumber or forgotten to put in one ingredients and it’s no big problem.
These smoothies can be any combination and any colour and you know they are still going to be pure goodness.
I feel great after just a few weeks of starting to use this and I would highly recommend that if you have the money to invest in one,do. It’s a long term investment for your overall health and that’s always a good thing.

Ps if you have any nice recipes please feel free to share them with us here in The Holistic Toolkit. I’d love to hear from you.
Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine x

Clean and Lean Granola

Clean and Lean Granola

Anyone that knows me well knows that I’m no Jamie Oliver in the kitchen and up until recently I didn’t own any cook books (bar ‘1001 cupcakes and cookies recipes) but one of my New Years resolutions this year was to spend more time learning how to cook healthier and reduce my processed food intake. I even went as far as getting Derval O Rourke and Loraine Pascals healthy eating books and getting a Nutri Ninja processor. (Which really does make a lot of difference when it comes to easy on the go food) 🙂
I’ve been experimenting with these books and other recipes in magazines and I’ve had some success and not so success stories but I’m slowly getting better (my poor boyfriend would be delighted to hear!!)

So when one of the ladies in a course I recently delivered with Arthritis Ireland (more on that in future blogs) offered me her recipe for Granola. I was a little hesitate as I thought it would be beyond my skills. However I was pleasantly surprised that it only involved 5 ingredients.(all of which I surprisingly  had in my cupboard).

-200g of organic porridge meal

-200g of pecans,

-100g of walnuts,(or any other nut) -100g of desiccated coconut

-1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

She calls it her ‘Clean and Lean Granola and this weekend I had a chance to put the recipe to work.

First preheat the oven to 180 degrees/350/gas mark 4.

Then the easy bit, weight out the ingredients on my new digital weighting scales and mix these with your hands in a large bowl until they are all well mixed up. (Break and crush the pecans as you go)

After afew minutes of mixing empty the mixture onto a large baking tray and even it out.

Place this is the oven for about 20 minutes (or until brown) and toss it occasionally.

Once you are happy will this toasted look. Remove from the oven and let it cool down before storing it in an airtight container.

This can then be used for breakfast for the next few days. Or if your house is anything like mine, those late evening snacks when you just want to curl up on the couch in front of the fire. (I’m writing this with the fire on and the rain smashing against the window) 😦

Ps.I use almond milk with mine but any milk or yoghurt would do.

So that’s it .. A nice easy healthy granola and believe me if I can make it.. Anyone can.. Why not give it a go yourself!

Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine x

My Wellfest 2015

My Wellfest 2015

The date was the 19th of September 2015. The venue was Herbert Park, Dublin. The time was 6.15am!!!! And the reason why I was up so early was to drive up to Ireland’s first health and fitness festival called Wellfest!

We arrived in plenty of time and even bagged ourselves some free stuff from ‘Yelp’!!.  First impressions looked good with people bussing about and the Insanity fit zone in full swing on the main well stage.

The sun was out at this stage and so were the guns.. Dominic Munnellys guns that is and his ‘Ultimate guide to looking good and feeling awesome ‘ was funny and easy to listen to as well as informative. Who knew macros and calories could be so easy to understand.. (Look up Dominic’s website for more information. Definately worth a look).

I skipped off to the ‘well being’ tent for some Pilates and as I haven’t done this since my hip replacement it was a nice gentle intro back into that world which i thoroughly enjoyed.

My next workshop was a Q and A session about Crossfit with Dara O Boyle and Lucy Keneflick.. While I attend crossfit regularly myself these guys are great coaches and also worth spending time listening to. The Happy Pear started a cookery demo and that’s when my stomach reminded me that I hadn’t eaten in a while and off i went in search of some good food.

There was a good variety to choose from, paleo snacks, BBQ spicy food, yoghurt pots, noodles, juices, protein stands etc and queues for most so always a good sign. Meanwhile Heather Gordon and her Piloxing class was on the main stage and the crowd were giving it socks, 100 or so people stomping all over the grass… Looked like so much fun!

Sarah Doyle’s of the Better life project gave a talk about Body Image and Self Love which got a lot of heads nodding in agreement from the ladies in the crowd about how we need to treat ourselves more positively and love our bodies and be happy in our own skin.

I was off to the ‘well being’ tent for Mari Kenndys meditation. I loved this body scan method and could of happily lay there for another 20 minutes.I was very zen like afterwards, However Crossfit 353 challenges were calling us ..’Highest double Unders in 30 seconds’ !! 46 is my highest ever but today wasnt the day and I couldn’t get over 30!!.. (The record was 61) I blame my shoes, my glasses, my got very close so I’m very proud 🙂

The queue for the coffee seemed the shortest it had been all day and I needed a caffeine top up and the bulletproof coffee was recommended. However here lies my only disappointing  part of the day. With all the great stalls, food stands and amazing workshops there was only one coffee vendor. The vendor himself wasn’t at fault, he was truly run off his feet. There was hundreds of people there and I’m sure most of them drank coffee so had to queue at some point and this didn’t add value to anyone’s day 😦 ps the coffee was good! Well done Cocobrew!!

Off then to the last talk off the day – the much anticapted Bressie and his very open talk about mental health. The tent was full and silent and he didn’t disappoint. He spoke about personal experiences and gave us tips about building a more resilient Ireland. He recommends that we all start by doing these 5 things for 10 days and see what differences it makes:

  1. Move  away from toxic environments- people, situations etc.
  2. Have more self compassion – pick one nice/good thing you did or felt today and remember it just before you fall asleep.
  3. Be grateful (for everything) say 30 thank you’s in the morning.
  4. Be more mindful – pick 30 moments and really feel them, taste them etc.
  5. Stop judging others. This does nothing for you and your health.

These seems like all doable things and I recommend that we all try them and see what difference it makes. Bressie also spoke about the Headspace App and I love this meditation app. Try their 10 minutes for 10 days challenge and I bet you will love it. Bressies talk was a great end to a great day.

Wellfest was a great festival(coffee aside!) . It had a bit of everything and for everyone, from the beginners to the advanced, in fitness, dance, TRX, Pilates, yoga, roam rolling, meditation, mindfullness , crossfit as well as some wonderful and inspiring speakers.

Maybe next year, you could have a relaxation tent. Massage, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage… Just an idea maybe?!? 😉

Until then, well done Wellfest and hope to see you next year.

Stay Holistic!!

Catherine x

ps I’ve photos up on my Facebook and Instagram 🙂

#wellfest #theholistictoolkit #crossfit #dominicmunnelly #crossfit353 #sarahdoyle #bressie #meditation #marikennedy #cocobrew.