Get your health onOct 26, 2014
Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I’m starting a health reboot tomorrow
But why a reboot? It’s basically just me feeling like I need to focus back on my health and clean up my act. Maybe it has something to do with the indulgent two weeks that I’ve had in the USA, or the fact that over the past six months, I have become really lax with my eating, and have started to see sugar and other refined foods creeping into my diet (white flour, rice, e.t.c) and on a more than rare basis, I would even say more than occasionally. Nothing wrong if that’s how you want to eat, but for me, it just makes me feel like I’m not getting enough bang for my buck, and has also made me feel bloated, gassy, congested, and not to mention, turns me into a mean, smelly, farting machine. Truth.
The point of this reboot is to get me back to where it all started, which is eating a diet high in nutritional value and low on crap.
So, where to start? Below is the guidelines that I’m going to follow, and which is by no means what you should do, but this way of eating has helped me in the past to feel my best.
Keep in mind that it takes 2 weeks to form a habit, and then it will become a routine.
My plan for the next 30 days is really quite simple: eat a diet rich in whole plant foods, and avoid sugar, gluten* and processed foods as much as possible. But why not avoid processed foods all together you might be asking, well, the truth is that some foods I eat are processed, like nutritional yeast, vegan protein powder, or the store bought non-dairy mylks which I keep on hand when I haven’t had time to make fresh nut mylk (my current fave at the moment is the vitasoy unsweetened coconut mylk).
Sounds easy right? I assure you it is if you put your mind to it and commit to doing it. What’s 30 days?
To make this a success, you need to be prepared so make sure you keep your pantry stocked with the essentials like gluten-free grains, nori sheets, chia seeds, herbs and spices, stevia, raw cacao powder, seeds, superfood powders of choice, like maca and spirulina.
In your fridge, always have some nut mylks, olives, coconut yoghurt, fresh herbs, fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kefir, flax seed oil, fresh veggies & fruit, ginger. I also always keep frozen berries, bananas, and mangos in my freezer for smoothies, or to make nice cream.
Don’t forget the veggies that you can’t store in the fridge like sweet potatoes, avocadoes, onions, e.t.c.
So for the next 30 days, the aim is to:
Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water per day, starting with drinking 1 litre of water on waking.
Have 3 meals per day with 2-3 snacks in between. I normally can go without the mid-morning snack but really need the 3-3:30 snack.
Move the body for at least 30 minutes per day. Personally, I’m starting the Kayla Itsines BBG 2.0 which is 30 minutes of circuit style training that uses exercises that work your whole body, 3 times per week. I’m also committing to doing a yoga class per week because flexibility is important, 1 weights class per week, and 1 long run (approx. 7 km) per week.
Stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime for optimal digestion.
Meditate. I practice vedic meditation which is 22 minutes, 2x a day. If you’re not a meditator, you could try just sitting in a quite place and taking time out to close your eyes and just breathe.
Go to bed early. This is hard for me as I work late 3 nights a week, but for the remainder, my aim is to be in bed by 9pm.
Speaking of bed, I’m actually so tired right now so I’m going to finish this post with some meal ideas for the reboot.
Chia porridge (my personal fave at the moment, I use a ratio of 2 TBS chia seeds:3/4 cup of liquid) with toppings of choice
Overnight GF oats
GF oats/millet/quinoa porridge with berries and nut/coconut mylk (if you prefer a warm breakfast)
Baby spinach salad with blueberries, strawberries, avocado and lemon juice (because breakfast doesn’t need to be sweet)
Salads, salads, SALADS! Use lots of leafy greens, your fave veggies, some healthy fats (avo, activated nuts and seeds), protein (quinoa, legumes, fermented soy products like tempeh), and herbs for extra flavour. For a dressing, use raw ACV, lemon juice, flax seed oil, e.t.c.
Lots of veggies, baked, raw or steamed, with some protein of choice, and healthy carbs like GF grains, sweet potatoes, potatoes, or other starchy veggies, and some healthy fats.
I was actually going to put up some more detailed dishes but I’m seriously in need of sleep, so they will be coming shortly, I promise!
*a word on gluten: There’s lots of debate going on about gluten at the moment, some experts think it’s a marketing ploy, some think gluten is not really an issue rather just a fad, other experts blame it for a myriad of diseases. I’m going to let you decide whether you leave it out or not. After all, you know your body best.
Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!
Peas, love and mungbeans
yum yum cinnamon bunsSep 23, 2014
Like the majority of kids I know, my minis just love to help out in the kitchen. Whether it be stirring, (attempting) chopping, picking herbs or wiping down the tables, they’re always eager to be involved (here’s hoping it lasts forever).
So, when one of them says ‘let’s make someting’, I jump at the chance. But what to make with toddlers? There’s definitely criteria: it needs to be something safe, something that smells good, something that calls for mess, all hands on deck and also creates an air of anticipation.
There’s only one thing that fits all of the above requirements and that something is baked!
So that is exactly what we did. Here’s our recipe for some yummy cinnamon rolls with a twist.
Sticky Date & Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Cashew Frosting
Makes 8 rolls
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup of plain flour
1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
Sweetener of choice to taste (I use liquid stevia)
2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
2 tsp cinnamon
Sticky Date Mixture
8 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup of water
handful of pecans, chopped (optional)
Vanilla Cashew Frosting
1/2 cup of raw cashews (soaked and rinsed)
3/4 cup of water
Sweetener of choice (I used liquid stevia)
1 tsp of organic vanilla paste
In a small pot, place the almond milk and grapeseed oil and place on low heat until mixture is tepid (i.e, you can stick your finger in and it feels comfortable). It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast, for this reason, be careful that it doesn’t come to the boil!
Pour milk mixture in to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Leave it in a warm place in your kitchen for 10 minutes. This will allow it to activate. Once the 1o minutes is up, stir in the sugar and salt.
Mix the spelt and plain flour together first and then start adding it, 1/2 cup at a time, to the yeast mixture, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky and eventually turn into a ball, which you won’t be able to stir, so that’s when you transfer to a clean bench surface that you’ve lightly floured. I still had about 1/2 cup left of flour when it turned into a ball so I just added the flour as I kept kneading and it was all absorbed into the dough, leaving me with a nice round, soft but bouncy ball of dough. Put aside.
Get a clean bowl and add some grapeseed oil and move it around the bowl so that it nicely covers all the surfaces. Place the dough inside and roll around to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, prepare sticky date mixture by blending the dates with water until they are completely smooth, paste like.
Line a cake tin with baking paper, ( I used a round 8×8) and pour over the date mixture, spreading it evenly over the bottom with a spatula, and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans if using. Put aside.
Now prepare the pumpkin filling by blending the pumpkin puree with the spices and sweetener ( I use liquid stevia and never measure it, sorry!). Set aside
When dough is ready, place dough on lightly floured surface and roll it out into a thin rectangle.
Use a spatula to spread over the pumpkin mixture until it’s all used up.
Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a sharp knife, cut the dough into 5 cm sections and position in your 8×8 dish with the date and pecan layer on the bottom (you should have about 8 rolls). Cover with plastic wrap and set on top of the oven to let it briefly rise again while you preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 30-40 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remember all ovens are different so just check that the middle is done by sticking a skewer in the middle and seeing if it comes out dry. Start checking at the 20 minute mark to avoid burning.
Whilst the buns are baking, make the frosting by blending the rinsed cashews with water, sweetener and vanilla paste. You want it to be super smooth and should be the consistency of custard. Place in the fridge.
When buns are ready, take them out and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the cashew frosting on top, you may need a spatula as it will get thicker in the fridge.
Now pull apart the rolls, savour the sweet caramelised sticky date bottoms and devour!
I’ve made vegan cinnamon buns before but these were definitely a winner. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Peas, love and mungbeans
Breakfast is for championsSep 06, 2014
I’ve always had a soft spot for a warm bowl of grains for breakfast. There’s just something so nourishing and nurturing about the whole process of making a big bowl of porridge. With the weather getting cooler, even though it’s meant to be spring, it’s been the perfect time to experiment with some different grains.
Enter the humble teff. This tinie tiny grain, the smallest in the world in fact, is chock full of nutrition, which is probably why it’s eaten as a staple in it’s native Ethiopia. Just 1/4 of a cup of teff contains 7 grams of protein, which is super if you’re on a plant based diet, now you can go and tell everyone where you get your protein from!
Apart from protein, it’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, which are all essential for bone health.
So, for my first dabble in teff, I decided to play it safe and make a really basic and simple porridge. I think this recipe is a good one if you’re starting off as it lets you get used to the flavour and texture and it’s minimally flavoured so you can use it as a base to add your faves and get super creative.
Basic Teff Porridge
1/4 cup of teff grain
1 1/2 cups of water
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Stevia drops as desired
Heat up a small saucepan on medium heat and add the grain. Toast the grain slightly (you will hear little popping sounds) to bring out the nuttiness of the grain. Add the water (if the pan is really hot, it will spit and splatter so becareful), and stir to combine. Add salt, stir and cover with lid. Turn heat down to med-low and stir intermittently until it’s ready, about 15-20 minutes. You may need to add more water if it becomes too dry. Or you can add your plant mylk of choice at this time.
Once ready, stir in the stevia and coconut oil and stir to combine.
I served it with some cinnamon stewed apples and pears, which you can easily make by placing pear and apple slices in a saucepan and add some water (not too much as the fruit will drop it’s own liquid). Add some cinnamon powder or a cinnamon quill, cover with a lid, and cook on low-med until fruit is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve on top of your porridge with a sprinkling of your fave nuts/seeds.
Now let’s not stop experimenting, it is after all, the yummiest and most fun way of discovering new treats! Next up I experimented making porridge with millet grain.
Millet is normally found in bird food, but this little round grain shouldn’t be kept just for birds, as they are rich in essential minerals, specifically copper, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.
Hmmm, I think the birds are on to something!
1/3 cup of millet grain
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of water
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
stevia drops to taste
1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
2 Tbs of rose water
stevia drops to taste
Make the strawberries first by mixing the stevia and rose water in a shallow bowl, then add the strawberry slices and make sure you swirl them around so that they get infused with the rose water. Set aside to infuse whilst you make the porridge.
For the porridge, place millet grain in a coffee grinder or use the dry container for your blender. Blend/grind until the grains are about 3/4 ground.
Place a small saucepan on medium heat, and add the semi-ground millet and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and cover with lid. When it starts to simmer, take off lid, give it a good stir until it’s all creamy and smooth. Turn heat down to low, cover with lid and leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes.
After the time is up, give it a good stir. If it’s too runny, give it a couple of more minutes. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more water or milk.
Pour into a bowl and add the strawberries, and pour a Tbs of the liquid on top.
I also added some coconut kefir yoghurt and pistachio crumbs to mine for some texture and added coconut flavour.
But what about if you’re craving a sweet little treat? Sometimes there’s nothing like a cheeky slice of toasted banana bread to get you going.
Here’s a recipe that I adapted from the lovely Caroline and you can find the original recipe on her blog here.
I like this recipe because it’s gluten, sugar, and oil free. Can you believe it? So good!
I made this for my minis who are ravenous when they come back from school. It went down a treat and lasted only two days, admittedly, I had three slices to myself but hey, the cook’s allowed some too right?!
Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine
1 cup gluten-free oats, ground to flour
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp of stevia
3 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 medium banana, sliced into coins
extra ground cinnamon
1 tbs of shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Mix oat flour, almond meal, shredded coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt in a bowl.
In another bowl mix the mashed bananas with the vanilla extract, coconut milk and stevia and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until everything is well mixed.
Pour the dough into a prepared loaf pan that’s been lined with baking paper. Top with banana coins and sprinkle on some cinnamon and 1/2 Tbs of the shredded coconut.
Bake in the oven, middle rack, for about 40-50 minutes. Stick a skewer through the centre , it should come out mostly clean with only a little bit of moisture on the end.
Cool on rack and top with the left over coconut before slicing.
Let me know if you give any of the recipes a try and don’t forget to tag me if you’re on IG so that I can see your creations.
Peas, love and mungbeans
let’s get saucyAug 25, 2014
Pasta is the reliable friend you can count on when your creative kitchen mojo has left you stuck and timepoor, and your pack of loved ones are screaming to be fed.
But what makes a pasta a GOOD pasta. After all, if there’s good, there’s also bad. My money is on the sauce. If you have a super tasty sauce, man, you own it!
Here’s a recipe for a delicious sauce that’s sure to keep the family happy and you, with your sanity intact.
Makes about 300 mls or enough to feed 4 hungry bellies
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pinenuts
4 TBS nutritional yeast
Add all ingredients to your blender and and blend until smooth. You many need to scrape the sides and push the ingredients down to incorporate them into the blending.
Place pesto in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Here’s a recipe that I made with it (pictured).
Spinach pesto and zucchini pasta
Enough pasta for 4 people (approx. just over half a regular pack)
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 medium brown onion, finely diced
1 quantity of spinach pesto (as above)
3/4 cup of plant mylk (I used unsweetened almond)
Cook pasta al dente, rinse in a colander with warm water and set aside.
In a large frying pan, lightly sauté zucchini and brown onion with a little bit of water. Add the pesto and stir to warm through. It will be thick, so add your mylk a little at a time to maintain a thick and creamy sauce. You may not need to add all of it. When the zucchini is soft and your sauce is as creamy and thick/thin as you like it, add the cooked pasta and toss to cover each and every single pasta piece.
Taste and season if required. Serve immediately with a fresh crisp salad simply dressed in lemon juice. This will go well with the rich tasting pasta. You could also add some more nutritional yeast on top or sprinkle on some hemp seeds.
* I used gluten free quinoa pasta
Ok, now I’m going to share with you my favourite ALL TIME sauce. it’s a pesto but I use it raw. You can cook it if you like but my suggestion is that you use it raw. It makes a great sauce for raw zucchini pasta, a deliciously creamy salad dressing, and you can also have it as a dip with a bunch of your fave veggies or on top of some raw crackers.
One Hungry Mami’s Almond Pesto
Makes 50o mls
1 cup of raw almonds, soaked overnight and rinsed well
1/2 bunch of parsley, leaves and stems
1/2 zucchini, chopped
handful of baby spinach
4 Tbs of nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp of spirulina (optional)
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of water
Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You will need to stop and push the ingredients down, as well as scrape the sides to incorporate all the ingredients. You can add extra water also, just do so a little bit at a time.
Adding the zuchinni to the blender first will also help the blending process, as it releases fluid when blended.
This keeps well if kept in a glass jar with tight fitting lid. However, mine usually only lasts 3 days as i have it a lot. Basically have been living off it for the last week, oops!
Peas, love and mungbeans
Loco for tacoAug 17, 2014
There’s just something about tacos that makes me think of parties, fun, music, laughter and good times. Maybe it’s the vibrant colour of the ingredients, or perhaps the freshness of the flavours that incites good memories, but whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. Tacos are amazing and a definite crowd pleaser.
Here’s a simple recipe that’s raw vegan and packs enough flavour punch to keep your tastes buds dancing with joy.
‘Soft shell’ Cabbage Tacos
Walnut Taco Meat
1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight and rinsed well
1/2 cup of packed cup sun dried tomatoes (you can get ones with no oil)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
2 radish, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
2 cups of baby spinach
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 medium ripe avocado
1 cup of red capsicum, diced
1/2 cup of red onion, diced
Mexican Mayo (makes approx. 500 mL)
1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight and rinsed well
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of ground coriander
1/3 cup of banana chilli or red capsicum
2 TBS of nutritional yeast
1 tsp of Himalayan pink salt or to taste
1 head of purple cabbage (A small one is usually enough and I cut it in halve first and get nice even sized ‘tacos’)
Cover the sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water and leave to soak for about 10 minutes whilst you get the other ingredients ready.
Once tomatoes have had time to soak, process all of the walnut taco meat ingredients in a food processor until well combined, but still chunky. Set aside.
Blend all of the Mexican Mayo ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
To assemble the tacos, just layer your salad ingredients on a piece of red cabbage leaf and top with walnut taco ‘meat’ and mayo.
If you think this is too fiddly, you could also make it into a salad and pop it into bowl, just shred the cabbage finely first so that it’s easy to eat.
Sometimes I make a big quantity of the taco meat and keep it in the fridge and take it to work for lunch or dinner. It looks something like this:
For each jar you will need:
1 cup of cos
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of yellow capsicum
1/4 cup of fresh coriander
1/4 piece of the avocado, chopped
1/4 cup of red capsicum
2 TBS of red onion
1/4 cup of walnut meat
Juice of half a lemon/lime (if you run out of mayo)
Just layer each of the ingredients in your mason jar and add the mayo or lemon juice prior to eating otherwise it can make your salad soggy if you add it to the jar.
And if you’re wondering what’s in the cups, it’s actually one of my all time favourite smoothies (I know, I have a lot of those)!
All you need to make this delicious smoothie is 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 1/2 beetroot, 1 1/2 cup of water.
Place it all in a blender and before you can say antioxidants, you’ll have a deliciously thick and creamy berry beet smoothie.
Peas, love and mungbeans