What I Ate Today

Breakfast 

Spiced Plum Porridge

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This morning I tried a new way of quickly ‘stewing’ these sad looking plums that had been lurking in my fruit bowl for well over two weeks. I placed them in a dish with a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom and microwaved for 2 (ish) mins. They came out lovely and soft!

Lunch 

Sweet Potato Falafel Salad

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These homemade sweet potato falafel were made using this BBC Good Food recipe. I’m not sure if I had less sweet potato than the recipe called for but I found that it was a lot of chickpea flour and I ended up adding slightly less.

Of course you want them to stick together so they don’t fall apart when they’re cooking but I was concerned the end product would taste very floury. My tip would be to add half the recommended amount and then add more accordingly.

Snack

Hippeas Cheese & Love

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These were by far better than Aldi’s offering from last week.

Dinner

Mac n ‘Cheese’

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is white sauce however you would be mistaken. Perhaps you’ll be surprised to know (as was I) that the main ingredient in this sauce is actually cauliflower and as a result it’s remarkably guilt-free.

I found the recipe on Plant Based Jane’s blog and wowie it’s scrumptious and so easy to make. I cheated slightly and boiled the onions and garlic in the pan with the cauliflower and they still added a tasty underlying flavour. You may think that the amount of salt and pepper Jane suggests seems excessive but it’s definitely necessary, I even added a touch more.

Until next time!

 

 

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What I Ate Today

Breakfast

Bircher Museli Bowl

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Whilst in Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago I finally got my hands on some of Deliciously Ella’s Bircher Museli.

I simply soaked a cup of the oaty mix in almond milk and added a couple of dollops of Alpro soya coconut yoghurt. Super delicious and filling.

Lunch

Sausage and Hummus Salad 

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Random I know, but surprisingly tasty. For the hummus dressing I simply watered down a spoonful of hummus and drizzled it over the top.

Snack

Carrot snacks

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Beside the fact that these snacks are technically for littlies, they weren’t exactly delicious. They had the promise of being healthy cheesy wotsits-esque snacks but they were tasteless and clung to the roof of my mouth.

I also then had a little Jazz apple and a handful of cashew nuts – the afternoon munchies were happening.

Dinner

Wholewheat Spaghetti with Chunky Vegetable Sauce

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This the perfect way to get lots of veggies into one meal. So simple to make too – simply cook your cubed veggies of choice, mixed dried herbs, a tin of chopped tomatoes, season and serve with the pasta of your choice. For an extra ‘cheesy’ taste I sprinkled some nutritional yeast over the top.

 

 

October Favourites

If I thought last month’s favourites were random then I think this month might just take the biscuit. Greg Davies and coriander feature: I wasn’t lying.

  1. Exercise

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would voluntarily feature this in my blogposts – and definitely not in a favourites post!

They say that it takes 21 days for something to become part of your routine and after my 30-day exercise challenge in September it’s just become a natural thing to do. Admittedly I’m not exercising every day but I’m aiming for at least 5/6 times a week.

It’s become a way for me channel any stress and anxiety and having spent the majority of the day sitting down I see it as my ‘me time’ to jump around my living room for 30 mins.

2. Fresh Herbs

In the past I’ve always relied on dried herbs to add flavour to my cooking but recently I’ve discovered the world of fresh herbs.

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I had just been buying the fresh pots from the supermarket but whilst perusing in Homebase a couple of weekends ago (went for a lightbulb and came out with much more – even I was surprised in a hardware shop) I ventured into the seed aisle and this caught my attention.

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Suddenly the idea of planting, watering and watching my very own herbs grown before my eyes became my new little project. There’s something so satisfying about cutting fresh herbs that you can then add to your cooking. I’ll know I’ll have made it in life when I have my very own vegetable and herb garden, but for now this will do.

3. Podcasts

The new perfect accompaniment to my lunchtime walks.

I’m currently listening to (and loving):

The Heart of It with Estée Lalonde

Lady Lovin’ – who remembers Lo Bosworth from her Hills days?!

Simon Mayo’s Confessions  – sometimes I leave work late and miss the 5.40 pm confessions on Radio 2. The majority of these never fail to make me gasp and giggle all within the space of ten minutes.

4. Comedy Programmes

I love laughing. Is that a strange thing to say? I love surrounding myself with funny vibrant people that make me laugh.

That being said I never used to be a fan of scripted comedy – Friends being the exception. On the whole I found it cringey and forced. However I’ve recently discovered a new found love for a good comedy programme, popcorn and tea on a Friday night. Wild, I know.

These are on my current watch list:

Would I Lie To You?

Not Going Out

Man Down

5. Nakd Cocoa Coconut

My snack drawer at work, yes that’s a thing I have, is filled to the brim with Nakd bars. They’re filling, all natural and damn delicious.


This new flavour has rocked my world. Coconut and chocolate are already a winning combination in my eyes, back in the days when I ate dairy I would hoover up the unwanted Bountys from the leftover Christmas chocolates, and these are divine. If you are partial to a Bounty then I actually think these are better than the real thing.

This post signals the end of Blogtober! It’s been a lot of work and planning but I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, after all I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. I also plan on doing Blogmas again this year so look out for lots of festive-ness in December time.

 

November Resolutions

Christmas lights are slowly being put up, bonfire night is around the corner and the nights are drawing in: Must be my favourite time of year.

It’s alarming to think how quickly this year has gone and this will be my penultimate monthly resolutions for 2017.

1. Walk more 

This primarily applies to the weekends. Working a sedentary job means that there isn’t much scope to be active during the week (apart from lunchtimes) so Saturday and Sunday pose the prime opportunity to get moving.

2. Read

Speaking to the majority of my friends this is definitely something that most of them also strive to do. It’s so easy to become immersed in Instagram or a Netflix series and seeing as I spend most of my life staring at a screen I need to incorporate more downtime into my daily routine.

It shouldn’t be too challenging this time of year as is there anything better that being snuggled up in bed, rain lashing on the windows, cup of tea in hand and a good book?

3. Be kinder to myself

This is a constant battle I have with myself as I’m always beating myself; usually over something very meagre.

If I’m feeling tired have an early night or allow myself to have a lie in at the weekend.

If it gets to Friday night, or any night, and I don’t have the strength to cook not feel so bad about nipping to the shop for a ready meal.

4. Eat more leafy greens

I know that typically people tend to get on the salad/leafy veg hype during spring/summer (summer bods and all) but with it being the typical cold and flu season there’s no harm in giving my immune system a healthy boost.

5. Wash my makeup brushes regularly

It’s so easy to forget to do this but I’m a firm believer that this is a key factor in any good beauty regime.

Johnson’s baby shampoo is my makeup brush wash of choice, it’s nice and gentle yet very effective at removing product that, well let’s just say, has been there a while…

 

 

What I Ate Today

Breakfast

Banana and Berry Yoghurty Oats

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Of course I woke up craving oats, but I didn’t fancy them warm and hadn’t thought ahead to let them soak overnight. So this ended up being a cheat’s version of overnight oats.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup oats

1 cup almond milk

3 spoonfuls of yoghurt (dairy-free or not)

Handful of raisins

1/2 banana

1 cup frozen berries (defrosted in the microwave for 1 min)

Sprinkling of coconut flakes

Method:

Soak wet and dry ingredients in a bowl for 5-10 mins. Add toppings and enjoy.

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Lunch

Veggie, Pitta and Hummus Snack Plate

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In my head I had wanted to try this falafel recipe from BBC Good Food but I must have unknowingly eaten the can of chickpeas I had bought specially to make them at the beginning of the week. My lazy pyjama day was in full swing so there was no way I was nipping to the shops. Made do with a picky plate instead.

 Snack 

Jazz Apple with Cashew Nuts and Raisins


I used to be Gala apple girl but now it’s all about Jazz apples. So crisp and juicy. 

I also love fresh mint tea. So refreshing and cleansing. 

Dinner 

Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Bowl


I was flicking through Instagram one day last week when Minimalist Baker posted this recipe. 

Of course mine was never going to look exactly like hers but looks aside this was delicious. The coriander sauce, although very garlicky, added a nice dimension. 

I will definitely be making it again. 

Snack

Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn and Fizzy Cola Bottles 


These gelatine free cola bottles from Holland and Barrett (by ‘Goody Good Stuff’ are the perfect alternative to the real thing. 

Zesty and Herby Green Vegetable Soup

This recipe actually came into being by accident a few Sundays ago.

I was faced with a random selection of leftover vegetables in my fridge, it was tipping it down outside and all I wanted to do was snuggle on the sofa with something warm and hearty. Aside from being very filling and comforting, this recipe is so quick and simple to make.

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Ingredients

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp mixed herbs

1 tsp vegetable stock powder

5-6 small new potatoes

1/3 cup of macaroni – or other small pasta shapes

1/2 courgette

Handful of mangetout

2 stalk black kale

1 lemon

Handful of basil

Water – enough to cover all the ingredients

Handful of frozen peas

Teaspoon of dairy-free pesto

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mince the garlic and roughly chop the vegetables.

Add to a pan alongside the herbs, vegetable stock powder, pasta shapes, basil, enough water to cover and the juice of one lemon.

Simmer until the vegetables are cooked, only adding the frozen peas in the last 3-4 minutes.

Dish up into a bowl and add a dollop of pesto on the top.

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Diet Update

It’s two years since I went pescatarian and for the past seven months my diet has been around 90% plant based. I say 90% because there are times when a friend has taken me out for afternoon tea or my granny has forgotten and cooked me a piece of salmon along with everyone else. I’ll be honest, in those situations I don’t have the heart to decline what has been so lovingly placed in front of me. I’d much rather spare someone else’s feelings than my own.

I’ve always been fascinated by this way of eating and have spent hour upon hour watching countless YouTube videos, Netflix documentaries and reading books – How Not To Die being my bible. It’s hard not to be lured in by the glowing and radiant appearance of people who eat a healthy plant based diet. They look and say that they feel phenomenal. And I agree, they look great and seem to have such a zest for life.

So I decided to see what it was all about. I’ve never enjoyed eating meat and dairy wasn’t hard as I’ve been lactose intolerant on and off all my life but eggs and fish are where I struggle. Of course, this is made easier nowadays by the plethora of vegan substitutes now available. Linda McCartney sausages are my all time favourite and Alpro Soy Vanilla Ice Cream is better than the real thing in my opinion. That being said, I started this journey in order to become a healthier version of my former self so I don’t eat these things on a regular basis.

When I first started I fell into the trap of thinking that I could eat endless amounts of anything as long as it was wholegrain, cue the two bread rolls (with dairy free butter and jam) as an afternoon snack, the midnight snack bowls of all-bran cereal with handful upon handful of raisins. I gained weight. Not a tremendous amount but my jeans that once were loose were now snugger than ever. I also didn’t feel particularly great either, didn’t have a lot of energy and felt like nothing could satisfy my never ending hunger.

That’s when I decided to properly put my mind to it and read the advice of qualified scientists and nutritionists. Enter the likes of Dr Michael Greger, Dr Neal Barnard, Dr McDougall. Their theories and research are astounding, I challenge anyone to not read one of their books and not feel compelled to make a change, no matter how big or small. Thanks to their guidance and knowledge I’ve now managed decipher what foods work for me and what don’t. I eat a lot of leafy veggies, potatoes, beans and pulses, nuts and oats. I tend to steer clear of bread and white pasta as they don’t really satiate me and as a result I could probably eat a family size serving of pesto pasta in one sitting and not think anything of it.

There is something else that I wanted to touch on: Animal welfare. I didn’t feel I could write this post and overlook the primary reason most people choose to stop consuming animal products. Whilst I genuinely find the idea of eating another living thing somewhat repulsive, it’s sometime easy to forget that side of it when you’re presented with it to eat. I know that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense for some people, I doesn’t really for me now I’ve said it out loud. I would never call myself a vegan because besides from the few occasions I eat fish and eggs, I wear leather and I can’t guarantee that every beauty product I own hasn’t been tested on animals. I think it’s unrealistic to suddenly dive in head first with a change as radical as this one and I don’t think it’s right that people are chastised by hardcore vegans because they wear leather. Instead people should be praised, as any change, big or small, towards living a life free of animal products should be celebrated.

I commend people who suddenly decide to commit to not consuming animal products anymore, that’s really an amazing feat. Of course if I really wanted to do it then I could, there’s nothing stopping me. However I know myself, and I know the best way for me to stick to something is not to rush into anything, and instead slowly incorporate it into my life so that it’s sustainable in the long term. No one knows you better than you, so always do what’s right for you and don’t be discouraged by anyone else’s comments or feel that you have to label yourself.

So, onto a lighter note: What changes have I noticed within myself?

  • Stronger nails
  • Shiny, thick hair
  • Clearer skin – this isn’t to say that I still don’t get spots but they’re a lot less angry and frequent
  • Improved energy levels. I am no longer a victim of the classic 3pm blood sugar level sump.
  • Eating a wider variety of foods
  • Cooking a wider variety of recipes
  • Lower food bills. Think about it, a £0.46 tin of kidney beans vs £3.50 for a chicken breast.

 

What I eat:

Breakfast

Oats: Microwaved // Baked // Overnight // Homemade museli // Stovetop

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Flaxseed/cinnamon/cacao powder/nutmeg

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Banana, grated apple, berries, nectarine, raisins, pear, plum, peach, dates, courgette*

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Water, almond milk, coconut and almond milk, oat milk

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Agave nectar, golden syrup, coconut sugar, choc shot

*If I’m feeling extra peckish then I add grated courgette to bulk up my oats, extra greens and you can’t even taste it.

A combination of all of these things form my breakfast 95% of the time. Other breakfast items I reach for are:

Toast + dairy-free butter// jam/marmalade // almond butter/banana // avocado/tomato

Fruit salad and yoghurt

Parfait – yoghurt + granola + fruit

Lunch

Leftovers

Salad: Lettuce, cucumber, pepper, radish, beetroot, spring onion, sweetcorn, apple, any leftover veggies

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Starch/Carbohydrate : White potato, sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice, white rice, couscous, buckwheat, pearl barley

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Protein: Beans (borlotti, cannellini, kidney, black), chickpeas, tofu, falafel

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Dressing: Balsamic/mustard, hummus, dairy-free mayo, white wine vinegar

Dinner

Stir-fry // Stew // Lentil casserole // Nourish bowl // Curry // Veggie Pie // Sausages and mash // Chilli // Burrito bowl // Soup //

On the whole I try to keep my diet pretty clean, i.e. not eating a lot of processed foods – during the week anyway, weekends are a different matter entirely ;). As such, I use ingredients in their whole, natural state and incorporate them into making veggie/vegan twists on the classics i.e. Veggie shepherd’s pie, lentil casserole, bean chilli etc.

I’ve included some snaps from my foodie Instagram account for your perusal.

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If anyone has any questions/is more curious about my transition so far then please ask away. I almost wish I had been able to ask someone questions when I was considering eating a more plant based diet.

Also – if anyone has any blogs/vegan foodie websites that they turn to then please let me know, I’m always on the hunt for new recipes.