Your vegan life

Veganism is rapidly on the rise and I get asked all the time for advice and help with the transition so thought I would write this blog. I hope you find it helpful!

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First of all I want you to ACCEPT that this is a lifestyle change and not just a diet.  The lifestyle aspect will seem more daunting than the change in food choices because you are opening you mind to a completly new way of living.  ACCEPT that it is not going to easy for everyone.  ACCEPT that you are going to come across some people who won’t understand why you are choosing this lifestyle and also understand that they don’t need to understand.  You don’t need to make them understand and some people will never understand it is just how it is.  ACCEPT that you now must learn a whole new way of eating and seeing food.  A way that goes against everything you have been taught since birth. A whole new way of living!

DON’T THINK ABOUT THE THINGS YOU ARE REMOVING FROM YOUR DIET.  THINK ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL ABUNDANT FOODS YOU ARE GOING TO BE ADDING IN!

You are vegan, thinking of going vegan, newly vegan, a little bit vegan, vegan on a Monday (some may argue whether that is even possible lol)  level 1-10 vegan or just interested in what I have to say about being vegan!

We can all relate to each other in one way or another and 98% of us have been meat eaters or at least dairy consumers since birth.  I ate meat and dairy for the first 31 years of my life.  So we have all been on both sides of the coin!

You may be familiar with a few things that happen when you decide to “Go Vegan” when that “switch” in your brain goes and there is pretty much no going back!

  1. You cry! (I cried a lot)
  2. You feel like you have been lied to by every single governing body, teacher and doctor you have ever had!
  3. You get an over powering urge to independently save the world and all its animals all on your own!
  4. You feel overwhelmed and not quite sure what you are going ever eat again now all food groups have been removed from your diet!
  5. You ring all your family to tell them about what you know and instantly become a pushy vegan forcing your opinion on everyone and asked to respect their choices as they respect yours!
  6. You read every single packet in every single supermarket and say out loud really loud “WHY THE F*^CK IS THERE MILK IN THIS”
  7. You see the world and the people in it very differently!

So these are just some of the symptoms of going vegan and they happen to all of us. The first thing I am going to say about them is that THEY ARE NORMAL!! and feeling those things is NORMAL.  We are all our own kind of normal.  What used to be your normal is now not normal and your new normal is in most peoples eyes a little bit odd! But don’t worry, going vegan doesn’t automatically turn you into a stereotype!  You will change yes! you will annoy people yes! you will inspire MORE! This is totally unavoidable.  The transition is huge and so many aspects of your life will change.  Don’t let this scare you, embrace the change and start letting new things and people into your life.  You will feel lonely at times.  You will feel like you aren’t being heard or understood by some of the closest people in your life and it probably won’t feel very nice.  You are up against cognitive dissonance!  When human morals do not align with our actions and we are challenged, we react in all different kinds of ways.  Most reactions from people who aren’t vegan are because their morals are being challenged in alignment with their actions.  When the transition to veganism happens we are in a position to align these two things leaving us feeling free, pure, clean, cleansed, happy, content are some of the words you hear from people.  Most human beings at the heart of everything are compassionate.  You see a little piggy at a petting farm or a lamb or calf and the natural response is to say awwwww and you love the animal, most humans love animals.  When you begin to see animals in a different light you don’t then go home and eat the animal.  You are in alignment and it is the most amazing feeling in the world!

~Cognitive Dissonance~

“The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.”

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My main purpose in writing this blog is to help where I can in your transition.  Offer some reviews on my favourite products and to give some very simple nutritional advice derived from my own knowledge some of the top plant based medical doctors.  The world health organisation and the UK health guidelines.


My favourite vegan food products and recommendations

My first recommendation is to sign up to The Vegan Kind boxes! I had a year subscription from a very dear friend for my birthday and they are a great way of sampling some really awesome tasty vegan food, snacks and products.  You also get a recipe card with each box too.

This is a combination of two boxes but gives you a good idea of the quality of the products.

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Protein

DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO REPLACE THE ANIMAL PROTEIN!  This is an easy thing to do as we are conditioned and programmed to make sure we eat enough protein.  We are protein mad!!! all you have to do is look in the supermarket and you can buy things like protein bread and protein cereal and protein porridge and protein peanut butter!! It’s everywhere we look, drilling into the minds of the population that we must eat protein.  It is almost prioritised above everything else when really your diet only needs to be around 5-10% protein tops!! Up until now your main source of protein has been from animals so you are naturally going to feel like you need to source it from other places, when in fact it is in everything you eat.  If you look closely at the World Health Organisation recommendations for protein, the chances are on your old animal based diet you will have been eating WAY too much of the stuff and in fact, if you are eating an abundant varied caloric rich plant based diet, it is almost impossible to not eat enough protein on a plant based diet.  Problems occur more with sever calorie restriction and starvation when the body probably isn’t getting enough of everything.

Click here to listen to a short video from Dr Gregor regarding protein requirements.

My favourite places to find protein are in everything I eat and this is based on a healthy whole foods non junk food diet.  Obviously if you are eating a junk food diet vegan or not vegan it isn’t the healthiest option and malnutrition is possible.  There are lots of under nourished and over fed vegans.

My favourite sources are:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Pulses
  • Grains
  • Brown rice
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Vegan patties
  • Home made burgers using the ingredients above

Here are some examples – the burgers recipe can be found here! and the peanut butter tofu dish can be found here!

Here are a few short educational videos regarding protein requirements and the harmful effects of animal protein in the diet.  Please watch these over the next few weeks.  Knowledge is power and it will really help you relax around the whole protein “fiasco”

These are all things I had no idea about.  Through my whole 33 years of living some of this stuff was such a smack in the face!! you can’t hide from it and the reality is real. Did you know that 30% of the earths land mass is use for animal agriculture and human greed!! the amount we consume is consumed through greed and taste not necessity.


Click here for more information about the effects of animal agriculture on our planet as this is a huge separate topic.  You can also watch the documentary Cowspiracy which exposes a lot of information regarding the environment and certain charities who are supposed to be protecting this planet.


Milk

There are so many plant based milks on the market and it is very much a case of trying them all until you find one you like.  Think about when you normally drink milk?  Is it on your cereal or porridge or tea and coffee.  You may want to try different ones for different things.  Ask on a vegan group on Facebook and you will get a million different responses from people which will leave you even more confused lol!! Also know that plant based milk is not like cows milk and you are unlikely to find one that replicates the taste.  See plant based milk as a welcomed change and allow yourself to see it as a plant based milk not a cows milk substitute.

My favourite milks are – “Rice Dream rice milk” for my tea and coffee – This milk never separates like other milks do and I have tried a lot.  The milk separates when it reaches contact with hot water.  Boiling water can vary slightly in boiling temperature so one that separates for someone may not for you! minefield yes lol!! I like Rude Health milks on my muesli and cereal.  It is so tasty and naturally sweet and my kids also love it.  My little one has rice milk on her cereal as it was the first one she really enjoyed.  Soy milk is great for baking and sauces and things like Yorkshire puddings.  Not so nice in tea and coffee.  But I do enjoy a soy latte from Starbucks they are the best!

You don’t really need to replace the dairy in your diet with non dairy milks for the sake of calcium as you will be getting plenty of calcium from all the extra plant based foods you will be eating. But it is nice to have the option.  Most people consume some kind of milk.  I really enjoy trying different plant based milks.  If I see one I haven’t tried I will always pick it up and give it a try.

Click on the image below to hear a short 3 minute video about what Dr Gregor has to say about calcium from cows milk V plants.

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Cheese

Cheese is something people eat for taste.  Nothing more, nothing less.  We do not need it in our diet for nutritional value. It is literally just one of those things people say “ohhhhh I couldn’t give up cheese” But with a bit of will power and the urge to save the world and all the animals from human greed like I mentioned earlier, it’s pretty easy to give up cheese!! especially with all the AMAZING vegan cheeses on the market!

So some of my favourites are – Violife, Sainsbury’s vegan cheese, they have a whole range of different cheeses usually found in their free from section.  Tesco also do a vegan cheese selection.

My all time favourite vegan cheese has to be from Asparagasm  They also run a vegan cheese work shop where you learn how they make their wonderful vegan cheeses!! I don’t eat cheese very often, I tend to have it as a rarity in my diet and enjoy it when I do.

You can also make amazing cheese sauces using cashew nuts and even vegetables!!! this is my absolute favourite vegan Mac n cheese recipe and it’s made from veggies!! I KNOW!! weird hey? But it is really nice.  Here is a video of someone making it lol!! (don’t watch with kids lol – bad language).  Even my brother liked it, we made it together once after watching the video haha!!

This is a cheese board with raw crackers and chutney.

Beautiful!

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You can also buy vegan pizza from most large Sainsbury’s stores which is topped with vegan cheese – or make your own using a just roll janet pizza base, pizza topping and vegan cheese of choice.

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Eggs

Eggs are actually gametes.  Gametes are sex cells, a female gamete is called ova or egg and the male gamete is called sperm.  Both designed to bond with each other when fertilised.  that is their function.

Chickens do not lay eggs for humans to eat, despite any argument people offer to you about owning their own chickens, they are not for humans!! Eggs are also the highest concentrated form of dietary cholesterol you can find.  There are laws stating that eggs cannot be counted as healthy or nutritious based on the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat found inside them.  You can watch this rather comical short 4 minute video by Dr Gregor which will give you some helpful information on the egg industry.

In the nicest possible way you need to let your passion and health take over here and accept that you will not eat anything remotely eggy tasting again lol except for vegan egg! There are some really good egg alternatives on the market and a few I have tried! in fact I cooked vegan egg and had to throw it away as it was way to eggy and stank my flat out! all the windows were open and I didn’t buy it again! HOWEVER it is very popular in the vegan world so try some vegan egg! you may like it.  Other alternatives are tofu scramble and vegan omelette mixes which are awesome if you like that kind of thing. The brand below also do a cheese sauce which I am a huge fan of.

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You can find a tofu scramble recipe by clicking on the picture below.  The minimalistic baker has some really nice recipes so check out the rest of her site whilst you are there.

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And this breakfast muffin from BOSH is another awesome way to recreate popular egg dishes.

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Nutrient Density

This is your bread and butter!! We all like a treat and something tasty and some good old fashioned traditional meals but your nutrient density is what your body needs.  It’s your fibre, your vitamins and minerals, your water and pretty much everything your body craves.  Cravings come from being under nourished not under fed.  So eating fast food for example.  People eat the meal that is packed with calories yet little to no fibre and little to no goodness,  the body finishes and all you have done is given it calories not nutrients.  The body is still hungry, which is why the feeling of hunger generally returns pretty quickly, so then you eat more, still hungry, eat more.  Before you know it you are obese and all the gut biome in your gut knows is junk food! So this is all it will want.  Bringing forwards the term “over fed and under nourished”.  It is a huge vicious cycle!! So many people are stuck within this cycle!   To get out of this cycle requires a completely different way of seeing food and eating.  It is a huge transition because I have been through it myself and it requires the will to change and to have an excitement around filling your body with goodness.  Making food a lifestyle not a diet.

I am just going to fill your mind with colour and show you some of the large nutrient dense meals I have pretty much on a daily basis!  I have not always eaten this way and it is something that came with time.  When people ask me what I eat as a vegan and assume I don’t eat a lot or varied foods. It always makes me think about what I ate before I was vegan.  I can almost guarantee my plate never looked like this and buying fruit and veg was very rare! I literally can’t even think what I used to eat before.

OH AND YOU HAVE TO MAKE CARROT DOGS!!! DON’T KNOCK UNTIL YOU’VE TRIED!! THEY ARE ONE OF MY FAVOURITE MEALS

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For those who love cake

YES vegans eat cake!! woohoo!!  My all time favourite cake recipes are by BOSH.

Hit the BOSH link below and it will take you to their wonderful Facebook page!! So many amazing EASY recipes!


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You will come to realise that you don’t need eggs to make cakes after making a few of their recipes! Here are a few cakes I have made, minus the princess one.  That was made by The Travelling Cupcake in Andover for my youngest daughters birthday.  They did such a fantastic job and it was 100% vegan.  The Victoria sponge was made for my birthday by my amazing friend Sophie.

Although these are recipes I use as a standard recipe. I have tried a lot of different recipes and also adapted some for my own preference.  A small google search will give you thousands and thousands of ideas and recipes but your standard chocolate and Victoria sponge recipes I recommend BOSH.

This is the bosh Victoria sponge recipe with 1/4 cup of flour subbed with a 1/4 cup of cacao powder to make it chocolate.  YUMMOOOS hey?


Eating out

Eating out as a vegan is getting easier by the day!! Restaurant after restaurant are getting on the vegan menu train! Including small cafes and coffee shops (minus costa coffee they suck!!) The list below is from the top of my head and only chain restaurants and coffee shops.  If you download the mobile phone app “Happy Cow” directory, this will bring up more independent places to eat, based on where you live.

  • Harvester – Vegan options
  • Toby Carvery – Vegan menu (ask for one on arrival and ask for your veg fresh)
  • Pizza Hut – Vegan options
  • Pizza Express – Vegan options
  • Zizzis  – Vegan menu (My absolute faves)
  • Nandos – Vegan options – wrap only!!
  • Bills – Vegan options
  • Wagamama – Vegan options
  • Cafe Nero – Vegan options
  • Starbucks – Vegan options
  • Prett – Vegan options
  • Boswells – Vegan options
  • The Lounges – Vegan menu
  • Cosy Club – Vegan menu
  • WHS – Co-Op – Sainsbury’s – Boots – All have vegan sandwich options in their takeaway sections.

Eating out doesn’t need to be complicated and the easiest thing you can do is look at a menu before you go, if it isn’t one of the places above,  give them a call so they know you are going.  Most chefs are amazing and are more than willing to help.  I went to an Italian restaurant once and they didn’t have anything vegan on the menu but I just let them know and they brought me out the most amazing pizza (well they brought me out ham and pineapple first but were VERY apologetic hahaha)!!! They made the garlic bread with oil not butter and topped my pizza with tons of vegetables and the most amazing pizza sauce.  Worst case scenario I just order a jacket spud with tons of salad (It’s just food) and who doesn’t love a big spud!


B12

I have a whole blog dedicated to this topic!! So click the marmite picture below and it will re direct you to my B12 blog.  (PLEASE READ!!!) also watch this 9 minute video from Bitesize vegan discussing vitamin B12

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Things you won’t even know are vegan and found in every supermarket

Most of the things in the article below you probably already eat, which makes it even better that they are all vegan!!  It can feel so overwhelming going into a supermarket after going vegan! This list will really help because it means you can make a list before you go without having to read labels!!  Sainsbury’s and Tesco especially the bigger stores have really good dairy free fridge sections.  With selections of cheeses and butter and milks, desserts and yoghurts and most dairy free ice cream is found in the normal free from freezer sections.

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Kids

If you have children as I do, do not worry.   As your knowledge grows you will make the changes you need to based on your own parental instincts and personal ethics.  It will feel like the right thing to do.  You will be told by people to “give your children the choice” It is only when we go vegan that we start to give our children the choice.  I know when my two were little I never used to ask them if they wanted to eat chicken pig or a plant based option I just gave them the pig or cow or chicken and they didn’t have a clue what it was.  I didn’t give Phoebe the choice at the age of one whether to drink cows milk or a non dairy alternative I just gave her the cows milk and my youngest is intolerant to cows milk.

I had to cut it our her diet as she used to get huge blister spots.  She had them for 8 months and they wouldn’t go.  I took her to the doctors and they gave me a cream and said it was a virus called Molluscum and would go within 4 years!! (really didn’t sit well with me) So I took it upon myself to do my own research and stop her dairy and not give her the cream so I knew it was the dairy (she was still having small amounts of dairy at nursery and her dads).  Within a week they were drying out and within 3 weeks they were gone.  The picture on the left was when I initially cut the dairy out.  She had them all over her body and in her groin and hair line and ears.  The picture on the right is 3 weeks later.  She hasn’t eaten dairy since.  The reason I have put this in here is because it is VERY common in children.  So if you child has the same thing just cut the diary and see if it goes.

Going vegan opens our children up to so much choice.  So many more options and it also allows them to grow up in a world where they are more aware of where food comes from.  It will become a very natural progression for them and you.  My little Chloe asks people all the time if they drink cow milk, it is quite funny and cute.

It did take me a while to find alternatives for them, and also getting them to try them.  Kids are stubborn little things lol but if you don’t buy the stuff they used to eat they have no option but to try the new things you buy, they are not going to starve themselves.  Kids gut biome and taste have to change just like adults do so it is a challenge for everyone!! My 10 year old has only just found a vegan yoghurt that she likes and she’s been trying them for over a year now.

I have a cupboard high up that the kids can’t reach and it has a whole variety of biscuits and snacks and crisps.  I don’t like this being in reach as they would help themselves so I monitor this kind of food.

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Here are some of the things they enjoy in their packed lunches and lunches at home.  They really love their cucumber and pepper and fruit! usually this goes first before any of the other stuff and before they wouldn’t even tough peppers!  It made me really smile when they started to enjoy peppers and different kinds of vegan cheeses and yoghurts.

This is normal in our house now, we don’t even think about it yet I totally get how daunting it is at first!! but I hope these images just help keep it really simple for you.  One thing I find most kids like too is broccoli lol!! my kids love it and will have nearly a whole head between them with a dinner and these things you can buy frozen along with every other kind of veg and fruit you can think of.  This saves money as well!

There is a new Facebook page called Vegan Kids Magazine


Telling Family

This in my eyes is the BIGGEST obstacle. In an ideal world and having a wonderful supportive family like I do it is an easy effortless transition because they support and cater for your new lifestyle change.  However even my parents had the same questions as most do, as when I initially went vegan my whole family still ate a standard UK diet.  The only difference is that they know I would have done it for good reasons so they were open minded enough to support me and listen.

As I have already said, this is a whole new way of life.  Almost a rebirth lol you are learning a whole new way of living and eating so of course you are not going to have all the answers to all the weird and wonderful questions your family members will ask you and that is perfectly fine.

The first thing I am going to say is DO NOT TRY TO “CONVERT” THEM!! lol yes it is very natural once you have all this new information to let your nearest and dearest know but trust me when I say they may not be ready to hear it or want to hear it.  Lead by example and just be your own kind of vegan initially.  Let them know that you are no longer eating or wearing anything used in the exploitation of animals and that they do not need to do anything other than support you as best they can.

When they are asking you questions you need to figure out what part of them the questions are coming from! If they are generally interested and the questions are coming from a place of care and support and you don’t know the answer you can just let them know that you will send some information over to them by email, as there are other people who are better at explaining the answer to their question.  If their question is coming from a place of defence or trying to mock you or catch you out then you really don’t have to answer or defend yourself because it will just leave you feeling pretty crappy.  You will learn with time that some people just aren’t interested and you are best just leaving them to it.  These people will generally think you are forcing your opinion on them and would respectfully like you to respect their choice to eat meat as they respect your choice to be vegan! (just smile and nod and move on)

Their questions will vary from environmental questions, health questions, comparing us to lions and ethical questions.  Make sure that you have a little collection of video clips saved to send them (I will link some below).  I found with my family it was far easier to send them the information and for them to watch.  In which they did and over time they have evolved.  My mum is now vegan and my dad tries to eat as plant based as he can and both their decisions to eat more plants was for health reasons after watching the information I presented to them.

Documentaries I recommend for families are:

  • Cowspiracy (Environment)
  • What the health (health/environment)
  • Forks over Knives (health)
  • Eating you alive (health)
  • Land of Hope and Glory – look into current day animal agriculture in the UK (ethics)
  • Earthlings (Ethics)
  • Live and let live (health)
  • The truth about cancer (health)

If they are not prepared to watch the information then there is no need to discuss anything with them.  It just demonstrated that they are not willing to be open to new information and you are up against their conditioned thoughts not new information.

I think I have covered pretty much everything for now.  Just enjoy the journey!  It is forever changing and you will learn something new every day and just keep your eyes and mind open to new information.

 

Just another guacamole recipe

So before I went vegan I don’t think I EVER ate avocado or knew what guacamole was apart from being some green weird looking dip I had zero interest in trying! lol So there must be more people like me out there who literally do not know what this stuff is or what it ‘tastes like.

Maybe you have just gone vegan like I did 3 years ago and be thinking hhmmmmm vegans seem to like avocado A LOT so let’s give this stuff a go!!  Yes there are thousands of guacamole recipes so I thought I would post my own version :O) Or maybe you are not vegan and just like guacamole.

I tried googling but they all asked for lemons or limes which I didn’t have but I did have satsumas which I think are a more common thing for people to have in their fridge or fruit bowl. For an impulsive guacamole making session like I had, satsumas worked well. Although I do usually have lemons lying around just not on this occasion.

So here you have it my take on the guacamole.

1 serving (just double or triple or quadruple based on how many people it’s for)

You will need:

  • 1 large avocado
  • 6 on the vine cherry toms (or any cherry toms)
  • 1 clove of garlic (or don’t believe me and use 3)
  • tbsp of orange juice (or squeeze a satsuma into your hand like I did)
  • smoked salt (lidl) or any salt – about a tsp
  • pepper (go mad)
  • tsp paprika
  • teeny tiny chopped up red onion
  • sprinkle of pomegranate
  • chilli flakes (dependent on how spicy you like your life)

Method:

Mash the avocado with a fork (I like it a little lumpy) then chuck in everything else and mix.  And that’s it!! I served mine on a jacket spud with a loads of vegetables and beans but this would be amazing on nachos or toast or even mixed into pasta or anything else guacamole is used for.

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Best Vegan Banana Bread Recipe!

(flour free – oil free – sugar free – dairy free – gluten free – vegan)

I cannot take all the credit for this awesome recipe, however I did tweak ever so slightly on just a few things, and will talk you through exactly how I made this awesome, wonderful, amazing banana loaf!

So first of all you will need to gather together all of your ingredients:

  • 3 Ripe bananas
  • 2 Cups of oats (normal or gluten-free or whatever oats you prefer to use or pre made oat flour)
  • 12 Big juicy pitted medajool dates (I use the tesco organic ones you find in the fruit and veg section, usually with all the nuts)
  • 1/2 cup of non dairy milk (I used rice milk)
  • 2 tbsp of flaxseed or chia seeds (I used flax)\
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Cinnamon (kinda just poured a load in, maybe 2 tsp)
  • Mixed spices (same as above)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • A loaf tin
  • OPTIONAL – Raisins, dark chocolate chips, crushed nuts.

PRE HEAT YOUR OVEN TO 150! (Make sure you bake this on a lower heat and for a longer time than it says on the original recipe, which I have linked at the bottom of the post)

First of all: Take your flax seeds and mix them with 6 tbsp of cold water and set to one side.

Then – Take your oats and grind them up in a food processor or blender, or use the nutribullet milling blade.  Once you have done that it is important that you sieve the oats, seive them as much as you can and you will be left with some gritty bits.  Just chuck them away or feed them to the birds (tweet tweet) :O) It does take a little while but I feel it is quite an important part for creating the end result.

Add the other dry ingredients – spices, baking soda, baking powder and mix.

Next step – Take your blender.  I use a Magimix food blender.  Add the banana, the dates, milk, flaxseed/water mixture, apple cider, and blend until smoooooooooth.

Then all you need to do is combine the dry, the wet and mix well.  I used a wooden spoon and allowed air to get into the batter.  From here add crushed nuts or dark chocolate chips or dried fruit.

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The mixture is quite a thick batter, you will not be able to just pour the mixture into the tin, you will have to use a spoon, so you are not looking for a really runny consistency.

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Then all you need to do is stick it in the oven.  I do not have a fan oven.  I baked it on around 150 for 50 minutes, then I checked it and re set the timer for another 20 minutes, checking it periodically.  You will know when it is done because a knife will come out clean and the top goes really crispy and brown.

 

Leave to cool – or if you are like me, don’t leave to cool!! because it smells to freeking nice, I just couldn’t.  It was straight out the tin and into my mouth.  P.S  This loaf cut perfect the next day when it was totally cool, it wasnt sticky or under cooked.

Perfect tea loaf, or breakfast loaf, or whatever time of day loaf :O)

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ENJOY!

Thank You!

<<http://sweetsimplevegan.com/2015/10/date-sweetened-banana-bread/>&gt;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you find the time?

The concept of time is made up by Man to make sense of the world around him. Without Man, the universe will proceed with or without structured Time. It is man that came up with the concept of a Day, who then proceeded to divide that into hours, mins and seconds.
I quite often get asked how I find time to eat the way I do. To which I don’t really understand, people find time to eat whatever they eat, it all comes down to a matter of choice and what we choose to eat. My meals take no longer to make if not are considerably quicker to make than any other meal.
 
Food is our life source it is something we have to do to survive and be healthy. We must prioritize in other ways and make time for the things we do around eating. I don’t feel like eating and making food is something I need to make time for because it is a part of my day.
 
A lot of this is habit, and creating a lifestyle that is sustainable and simple. Don’t complicate your mind with breakfast, lunch and dinner, or eating after a certain time, or eating too many carbs or not enough protein, or feeling like you must have breakfast ect. Eat food! get up in the morning and eat once your are hungry and make it a meal that will give you energy, even if its oats in a tub that you take to work with you and eat at your desk of on the go or just a large selection of fruit, and eliminate the things you know you aren’t good for you, because most people are aware of the initial things they need to stop or change.
 
Look at how you do your food shopping and the things you choose to buy each week, this may need to change for you to start creating change in your life around nutrition. It literally takes 10 minutes to chuck a huge salad together with avocado and beans or tofu and some brown rice pasta. It takes 2 seconds to stick a jacket potato in the oven and set a timer and let it cook, use 10 minutes to prepare a nutrient dense salad to have with it and when it’s cooked chuck in some mixed beans or mashed avocado. The muesli in the picture below took me about 60 seconds to make and it is nourishing and full of goodness and energy.  Whatever shifts you work or hours you work, however big your family is or how manic your life is it all boils down to choice.  An apple or a kitkat.  Jacket potato or oven chips.  Grapes or skittles.  Microwave meal or wholemeal pasta with veg (both of these probably take the same amount of time to make, one just being far more healthy)
If you are overweight or unhappy with your nutrition, then  keep a food diary of everything you eat and see how you are finding time to eat the things you do eat.   Doing this will give you perspective.
 
To change we have to be open-minded and invite new things and ideas into our life with open arms and embrace it. We have to take responsibility for our own choices even amongst having a family, a husband or kids.  We can’t always expect them to take on board the changes you want to create so we need to adapt our mind.
You want to create something sustainable and ongoing, something that can slowly evolve into a new normal.

Avonara (like carbonara just with avocado)

I am just going to keep it really short and sweet!!

I just absolutely love this meal, it is so easy and quick to make, and should be a go to recipe if you have a really busy lifestyle, with limited time in the kitchen.

You will need:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1.5 Cup of rice milk (plus more)
  • 1.5 cup of cashew nuts
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • A punnet of mushrooms
  • Pasta of choice (In this recipe I used the one below)

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There are many variations of this sauce that I have made.  If I had nutritional yeast I would have added some as well but I didn’t have any, however it was perfect just like this.  You can also wilt spinach into the mushrooms as they are cooking.

METHOD:

Put a pan of water on the boil ready to add the pasta, and this can be cooking whilst you cook the mushrooms and make the sauce.

For the sauce put all the avocado, nuts and milk into a high-speed blender, along with the garlic powder, paprika and some pepper.  Begin blending then add more milk slowly until you get a sauce consistency that you can easily pour out.

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Cook the mushrooms in a pan, I usually use a small amount of water rather than oil, but cook them how you prefer.  Use a lot of mushrooms as they are the foundation of the dish.

Once the mushrooms are cooked you can then add the pasta which should be cooked by this point, then add the sauce and stir and heat through.

Serve with cherry tomatoes, or a warm whole grain baguette. (or both)

ENJOY!!!

Tip:  You can even sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese or some kind of other vegan cheese.

Banana and Muesli Cookies (vegan)

I love creating recipes by using the natural sweetness in fruit and grains.   I was in the car today and got the urge to make some cookies, but something slightly different to the usual banana foundation/base.  I wanted to add a little fat as well so I can use them for long runs as  a fuel source.  I usually make bars and add some kind of nut butter to them, so these are pretty similar.

I also wanted to add apple to make them extra sweet, as I knew the apple would caramelize and make them a little crispy on the edges as they cooked.

So for the prep I headed to Tesco and brought some ripe bananas (reduced to 58p as they were extra ripe – doesn’t beat Asda though, I got loads for 18p in there last week lol)  I also got a bag of cashew nuts, two jars of apple baby food ( Hipp Organic) as I was being lazy lol! definitely make your own, it’s so easy to stew up some apples and puree them.   I was also on the look out for some no added sugar muesli which in my own experience is usually really hard to come by, or it is sweetened with honey, which I don’t eat! However Quaker seem to have upped their game a little bit and I managed to get some, which you can see below:  I will look forward to having this for breakfast too with some rice milk and frozen fruit.

That was all I needed to buy so headed home and got too it.  I kinda just chucked it as per usual but kept an eye on measurements this time so I could blog it, as I had good thoughts about this one lol!

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The ingredients are:

  • 3 Ripe bananas
  • 2 small jars of just apple (Hipp Organic) baby food
  • 1 cup of cashew nuts
  • 2.5 cups of muesli
  • half a cup of ground up oats
  • half a cup of dried fruit. I used raisins and some diced dates
  • cinnamon to taste.  I used about 2 teaspoons

METHOD:

Pre heat the oven to 160 (mine isn’t a fan oven so may vary)

Put the banana, nuts and apple jars (not the actual jars, just their content haha) into a high speed blender and blend until smooooooooooth.  It will literally go like a thick pancake batter.

Pour the batter into a large bowl.

Add the muesli and ground oats, cinnamon and dried fruit and mix together with a wooden spoon, or metal spoon or any spoon you like :O)

 

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IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS

Then simple mould the cookie to whatever size you like.  I used an 1/8 cup to scoop out the mixture onto the tray.

 

Then just wack in the oven and cook for 20 minutes – you can vary this depending on how you like them.  Longer for extra crispy, or less time for a gooeyer cookie.

Use variation as well, so add dark chocholate chips if you like, or use a different dried fruit, or no dried fruit, or extra walnuts.

ENJOY!  Please share your feedback on my social media if you decide to make them.  Feel free to friend me or follow my AimHigh-BeStrong page – Both links are below.

https://www.facebook.com/rachy.pixie.1

https://www.facebook.com/aimhighbestrong/?fref=ts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Works?

Almost every single person I come across are seeking a diet “that works” and the only reason why I am writing about this is because I used to search for a diet that worked as well, and now I don’t. So maybe when you tell someone you are on a diet, maybe the response should be “a diet of what?”

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I feel like I have been in a lot of people shoes and I have experimented on my own body with high this and low that. This many calories and that many calories, that I know how it feels!!! Yes! It’s bloody tiring I know!  I have weighed out my food, carrots and potatoes and even put one carrot back to make the amount exact because I thought something would happen if I ate “over” on a specific food group.

I can’t even remember when the transition happened, all I know is that it has been a slow transition over the period of about 3 years, maybe a little more.  My interest in nutrition and health has just grown and grown right from the start of my journey.

One of the major aspects for me was how people are healing themselves from Cancer and heart disease and other diseases by eating a whole foods plant-based diet, cutting out animal products, eating for health and longevity and reversing diseases.  Nearly all disease is brought on by poor dietary choices, so to me it is only common sense that they can also be reversed by dietary choices.  Please take some time to watch the video in this link, it will give you an insight into what I see.  It is the reason why I am venturing into nutritional medicine because I want to help the ones who want to be helped, and it can be a lot easier than we are led to believe.

The biggest transition for me was the volume of fruit and veg, grains and beans I started eating that kind of replaced the other food I was eating before and I found myself actually feeling “satisfied” and when I say satisfied I mean my body was getting exactly what it needed from the food I was eating.  I make huge green salads and struggle to finish them.

I was talking with a client last night about this, and literally sat there and thought “what do omnivore’s eat?”  Because I know for me before going plant-based my diet hugely lacked any source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.  Fruit and veg rarely went into my trolley and if it did it would go mouldy in my fridge! I guess I used to eat a lot of processed food as well as meat dairy and eggs.  They would dominate my plate.

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This is a way of life and I feel for most it’s a struggle or it’s restrictive, or it’s too complicated! But it is a way of life I have had as a goal, to me it is just food, it hasn’t come overnight and I have invested my whole self into changing.  Not just in what I eat but in who I choose to be around, what I choose to do as a job, how I choose to move.

You can ignore the ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ aspect of why I choose to eat this way because for me health overrides any of the other reasons, and for me it is difficult and painful to see how much people abuse their body to get to their “Goal Weight”

People are obsessed with what they eat!  everyone has different ethical views, different bias, different opinions and views on what health is, what health looks like.  Most like the idea of moderation, yet is it effective for weight loss?  Moderation can be seen as holding onto habits that really need to be said goodbye too, demons that will eventually come back and bite you in the bum.

Keeping your previous needs topped up whilst trying to create change, some may call it a vicious circle!  You might be better just creating new choices around the moderation, scrap the moderation and make the changes you actually need to make, to be where you want to be on a long-term basis, rather than having a goal weight as a finish line, then putting it all back on again, which in most cases is what happens.

When you see food as “food” so one ingredient item, whole foods.  Nothing added, no added sugar, just natural sugar already inside the fruit or vegetable. When you see that protein is in everything you are able to let go of “adding protein” to meals! you do not need to add anything to meals.  By eating whole foods you are getting proportion, amino acids, fat and energy, and you also get to feel satisfied.  When your body says to you “aahhhh yes I needed that” and it stays like that for a good while, if you are eating the right kinds of food you should never feel hungry after eating a meal, because you aren’t hungry, you have just eaten a nutritious meal.  Eat a meal that lacks nutrients yet packed with calories you may feel bloated and full and a bit “stuffed” yet your body will still be hungry, because you haven’t given it what it needs.

Most of the time the body is craving rather than hungry (over fed under nourished) type thing. So the body is hungry for nourishment rather than calories. But then people just grab any old thing, pumping in more calories rather than what it needs, then round we go again.  So an obese person can be just as malnourished as an underweight person just through the food choices they make.

Why feel hungry when you have access to food pretty much 24/4. I believe food is massively over thought about and complicated, it really is very simple, but in front of the simplicity we have addiction, impulse, social pressure, family pressure, wants, needs, tradition, moderation (which ethically generally does not work in the long run) Let go of all these and it all appears very differently.

Use your body as a guide, eat whole foods.  An abundance of dark leafy greens, mushroom, bulbs and vegetables.  Add energy were needed, beans, legumes, lentils, fruits (including dried fruit like dates, figs and apricots) veg, potatoes, wild rice, whole grains.  Eat nuts, seeds and flax daily.  Just go into a supermarket and look at how much choice there is around whole foods. Please also download the Dr Gregor Daily Dozen app its awesome!  Introduce these things into your day, and allow the animal products to reduce.

Ultimately you have a choice with everything, what you choose is up to you.  This picture below was a “I’m in a real rush and need to grab something quick to eat” moment.  Something I hear a lot from people.  Generally this would look like crisps and a packaged sandwich for most people.  This is the other option, fruit dates and nuts! perfect combo! and I felt satisfied after eating it.

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Ask yourself these questions.

What do you think your body looks like? Write it down now……….

What do you think other people see when they look at your body?  Write it down now…….

What do you think your children see when they look at your body? Write it down now……

What do you want? Write it down now……….

When you get what you want, then what? Write it down now………….

What does your ‘Goal Weight’ look like?  Write it down now…………

How will your ‘Goal Weight” feel?  Write it down now……..

When you reach your ‘Goal Weight’ then what? Write it down……..

What are you prepared to do to get to your ‘Goal Weight’? (realistic or unrealistic) Write it down now………..

What does health feel like to you?  Write it down now…………

 Then just read the answers and see how you feel, reflect on them.  Why do people over think food when there is so much choice out there.  Why are you forever searching for something that works, to me there is only one way to eat food, and that is to just eat “food” – look deeper into what I am saying, not just what it appears like on the surface.

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My thoughts on B12

B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is critical for the correct functioning of the brain and nervous system and also the formation of red blood cells, so it is essential that vegans or non vegans ensure they get the right amount of vitamin B12

First of all, I just want to say that having to take a natural supplement does not make a plant-based diet deficient.   B12 is probably one of the only supplements that I advise vegans taking on top of an optimum caloric nutrient and energy dense lifestyle (which varies with everyone) unless they are demonstrating symptoms of any other deficiency.

B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is critical for the correct functioning of the brain and nervous system and also the formation of red blood cells, so it is essential that vegans or non vegans ensure they get the right amount of vitamin B12, non vegans become deficient as well, not as many of them, in fact the percentage is small compared to vegetarians and vegan, however they still do, although it is probably more down to absorption rather than anything else.

B12 is synthesised in bacteria, so is found in areas of bacterial growth, most commonly in soil and dirt. B12 is also synthesised inside the small intestine, however cannot be not reabsorbed into the body, otherwise no one would have to supplement because we would be able to use our own supply.  So to be able to sufficiently supplement the body with B12 using our own synthesised supply it appears that we would need to eat our own poop! and studies have been carried out showing this being done, and to be very successful!

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Soil degradation or otherwise known as the ‘silent disaster’ is a very real problem.  We cannot rely on our soils as a source of B12 as we may have done many years ago due to where it are so damaged.  Farmers will have used animal manure to fertilise soil and crops, even by doing this they are getting dirty,  dirt gets under the nails ect!  This fertilised soil is what our root vegetables and grains would have been grown in.

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So you may be wondering where do the animals get their B12 from? it certainly doesn’t just naturally produce.  Animals get their B12 exactly the same as we do.  It is to my knowledge that most animals do actually eat their own poo (coprophagia), and we already know from the study linked above that eating poo is an awesome way of getting adequate B12! However that’s pretty gross right?

Animal products contain very high levels of B12.  Could this be present based on the process the meat goes through? once the animal dies, the body of the animal starts to rot and decompose.  This process will naturally generate bacteria, with the knowledge that B12 cannot be absorbed via the colon it puts into question the whole concept of animals ‘naturally’ synthesising B12? Do they? Yes they will have a supply in their colon but similar to humans this will not be absorbed back into the body.   It is also a common practice in current years for farmers to inject their cattle with B12.  Animals also eat a LOT of soil and dirt, bugs and insects and grass.  Humans do not!

“In over 60 years of vegan experimentation only B12 fortified foods and B12 supplements have proven themselves as reliable sources of B12, capable of supporting optimal health. It is very important that all vegans ensure they have an adequate intake of B12, from fortified foods or supplements. This will benefit our health and help to attract others to veganism through our example.”

“vegans are taking their B12 from the same source as every other animal on the planet – micro-organisms – without causing suffering to any sentient being or causing environmental damage.”

For the everyday reader just wanting some simple easy information regarding B12, my advise to you is, don’t try to be a hero! use your common sense, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone and it doesn’t make you any less superior to anyone else, if you take a B12 supplement.  Yes you can get B12 if you eat meat and dairy, and it is generally nothing to worry about for omnivores, however, along with the B12 you are getting the baggage and byproducts of meat and dairy.  The saturated fat, IGF-1 cancer growing hormones, the carcinogenic compounds in meat, higher diabetes and heart disease risk, and the catastrophic impact that animal agriculture is having on our environment.  I know what I would rather do!

There is not enough evidence based information out there to convince any plant-based doctor or dietician to not supplement with B12, so who am I to advise clients or friend and family any other way, and to be honest, it’s just not worth it.  The repercussions and health implications of a B12 deficiency can be pretty serious.  So just play it safe, make it a daily practice to ensure you eat some kind of fortified food and take a supplement.

Ways of supplementing B12 are:

Take a daily supplement – You can see what the daily requirements are using this link, it will take you to the vegan society website which holds most up to date information.

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Supplementation also comes in the form of a spray or injection you can request at your doctors.  You may also want to make it a regular practice to get your B12 levels checked each year to ensure the supplement you are using is actually being absorbed by the body, there are different variations of B12 – and there are different variations of humans, check you are using the right one for you.

Fortified foods like, non dairy milk, whole grain cereals, marmite and nutritional yeast.

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Or you could just eat your own poop!

You can view several short videos by Dr Gregor regarding B12 which will just add to your understanding, then I guess you are just left with your own choices.

Click the image below for more videos from Dr Gregor regarding vitamin B12.

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I would like to leave this article up to discussion, and if anyone is being advised by their doctor, nutritional therapist or dietician that they do not need to supplement with vitamin B12, I would really really appreciate your comments.  I would be interested in listening to them regarding why they advise this.  They may have some data they can send me to look and that I can pass on to get looked at too.  I am yet to find any valid information saying it is safe to not supplement.

I hope you enjoyed this blog.  I just wanted to send something out that demonstrates common sense, and offers really simple, easy to read information that just an every day person will understand.