Body

Today is my 1 year Vegan-niversary 🙂 Cheers to you, tummy! How time flies!! I have to admit it hasn’t all been sunshine, rainbows and butterflies (especially in the beginning!) but it has definitely been my calling in terms of mental and physical health and clarity. So to celebrate I decided to write a little blog post on some of the memorable moments that have happened over the past year including everything from the good, the bad and the ugly! So why not start with the ugly, shall we!?

The first week of hell…

When I first started this lifestyle I decided to write a bit of a food journal and boy am I glad I did this looking back at it now! The diary entries are priceless and it’s pretty clear to see that I was feeling like death in those initial few days. The general consensus of each day being – I HAVE A HEADACHE, MY STOMACH HATES ME, KILL ME. Really my body was just going through a detox from a lifetime of eating crap but even knowing this didn’t make it any easier! Here’s a look at my struggle through Day 3..

Thursday 28th April 2016 – Day 3 Vegan

Woke up with a headache AGAIN.

Made a smoothie for brekkie at 10am

  • 4 nanas
  • 5 dates
  • coconut water
  • almond milk
  • cinnamon
  • ice
  • spinach

Have had chronic upset stomach all morning.

Midday- STILL HAVE HEADACHE. Time to drink a gallon of water to see if that helps.

Tried to eat some fruit (peach, apple + banana) and a cucumber around 2pm but still have headache.

Had a coffee at 4pm.. still have headache.

Made an early dinner of baked sweet potato wedges with homemade tomato soup – headache finally gone! YAY.

Bloated as all hell today, hoping to wake up to a non-bloated, flat tummy tomorrow morning.

HA HA even reading it back again, it still makes me laugh. I can’t actually remember how horrid I felt but from the sound of this bad boy I was not too chipper. These feelings definitely started to clear after day 6 or 7 and I remember how amazing I started to feel once that initial phase was over! No more bloated-ness, no more brain fog and no more HEADACHE. Maybe this was going to be something I really enjoy!?

Revealing the new Vegan diet…

It sounds pretty strange but I was actually really nervous about telling people of my new vegan ways haha. I knew that people would ask questions (they did, and still do!) and I wanted to be able to answer them truthfully and knowledgeably without sounding too preachy or making anyone question their own food choices. Truth is, I still find it tricky sometimes because there is always the odd wangchong out there that gets off on making me feel like I’m missing out or telling me that I am totally batshit crazy but I’ve just come to be able to blow it off now and realise that maybe they have their own insecurities that has nothing to do with my choices. Food is a pretty crazy topic!! My close family has been so supportive (always worrying more about what I can eat before themselves!) and so many of my friends have actually been open enough to suggest going to Vegan restaurants and giving it a go too! So for that I am extremely grateful and feel so lucky to have such supportive, understanding and non-judgemental people in my life 🙂 You too Seewah 😉

Making new discoveries.

The other day I was discussing why I transitioned to Vegan-ism with someone and it really made me realise how many doors it opened for me. Whilst most people would feel like they were giving a lot up (this person I was talking to included), I was never a great lover of meat anyway (I only really ate chicken and fish) and dairy upset my stomach so for me I felt like it wasn’t that hard to just go into it all guns blazing. Little did I know it would then lead me to try SO MANY other new and exciting things ranging from skincare, haircare, beauty products to things like Veganaise and Vegan Cheese! I used to turn my nose up at Tofu, now I crave it! Beans? no thanks.. nowadays they are a staple! It’s forced me to try new recipes and think of different ways of creating meals which has been so much fun 🙂 A few weeks ago Steve and I made Vegan Lasagne and it was AMAZiNG… I never thought something like that would be possible to eat when first starting out on this diet but these days it seems anything is possible! Vegan chicken schnitzels anyone?

So for now I’m going to keep on keeping on with this whole Vegan thing. Steve has become a bit more of a flexi-Vegan, eating Vegan at home but doesn’t mind going for something Vegetarian or Pescatarian when we go out which is totally cool too. I think that people should just do whatever makes them feel best and hey, if you are craving fish.. then maybe your body needs some dang fish! My body however hasn’t craved anything over the past year so that’s why I’ve found it so easy to stick to what I’m doing, not even straying once! I’ve had a few mishaps though which have obviously been when eating out; I’ve been given a focaccia full of cheese one time even after telling the lady I wanted no cheese or dairy in it because I was Vegan.. man I was HANGRY that day (my family can vouch for that!), generally my Asian students have a tough time understanding what Veganism is and always seem to be trying to force feed me Cheesecake and giving me rice balls that contain “no meat” only to bite into it and find a whole heap of red meat and egg inside.. hah! Oh the joys, but luckily I have done a pretty good job at avoiding these obstacles and sticking to my guns 🙂 I haven’t had to give up the things I love in life; coffee, ice-cream (sorbet), pizza and bread and using these new vegan products have improved my skin and hair dramatically so no complaints here!

I think I’ve saved a lot of little animal friends this past year too and as Steve said to me this morning, “Your stomach must be so green it’s growing trees in there.” He he.. #yeahboiii.

 

 

 

So today I thought I’d share a little recipe that I made the other night because it was an absolute treat! Of course it was plant-based and vegan but that’s not to say you have to stick to the recipe 100%. The best thing about this recipe is that literally ANYTHING can be subbed in our out depending on what you are feeling. I made mine with chickpeas as my form of protein but you could easily switch that out for chicken, tuna or any other meat you fancy. This really allows you to play around with different flavours and be a little more adventurous! Whoever invented Buddha bowls is an absolute genius.

Buddha bowls are typically made from a combination of grains, vegetables, protein, nuts and seeds and are the absolute bomb because you can make up new concoctions every time. It’s a dish I know I can rely on when I don’t have too much time but I want something nourishing and tasty! The highlight of the buddha bowl from the other night though was definitely the coconut rice. I got this idea when I ordered coconut rice from a Thai joint the other week and once I tasted it, knew I had to recreate it at home! Is coconut rice something I’ve been missing out on for a while now?! No, don’t answer that question, I already know the answer 🙁 Either way, normal rice is really going to have a tough time competing against my boy coconut rice now because that stuff is soooo tasty. Sticky, creamy, coconutty.. It’s almost like a pudding *drools*. OK continuing! I used the rice as my base but I’ve seen a lot of other recipes using quinoa too. My stomach absolutely hates quinoa so I try to steer clear from that nasty stuff (no offence to anyone who loves it!!). On top of the rice I banged on a few different veggies; some cooked, some raw, a chickpea concoction, and topped it with pumpkin seeds, pepitas and a semi-homemade dressing. I say semi-homemade because I basically just used two pre-made dressings and mixed them together #chefextraordinaire! The finished product was so delish that Seewah (Steve, remind me to tell you the story) nearly ate two bowls worth! So much for thinking I had lunch covered for tomorrow.. HA! No chance.

Needless to say this recipe is healthy as … but because of the rice it makes it feel a little more hearty than just a regular salad for dinner. I tried to cut and chop the veggies differently to give the bowl more texture and don’t be afraid to go a little wild with the substitutions. I would have loved to have added a bit of avo in there but alas, I ate it all at lunch. Whoops! As these bowls are based on the principles of Chinese and Japanese ways of eating it’s best to try to have a little bit of lots of things rather than just stocking up on one food type (I’d have a whole bowl of rice and nothing else otherwise!). This way of eating is said to be great for lowering your risk of chronic diseases and reducing toxins in the body. Sounds good to me, so time to get creative!

Coconut Rice Buddha Bowl: (serves 2)

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup uncooked sushi rice
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 large cucumber
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 8 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 can chickpeas
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 green capsicum
  • handful of sunflower seed and pepita mix
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing:

  • 2 tbs hummus
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • garlic powder to taste
  • water
  • pepper

TO COOK THE RICE:

  1. Rinse the rice and place into a small pot with coconut milk and roughly 1/4 cup of water
  2. Cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and keep covered to for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Once all liquid is absorbed set aside to cool with lid off

TO MAKE THE DRESSING:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small cup and add enough water to reach the desired consistency. I prefer mine a little more watery than too thick for this recipe

TO MAKE THE SALAD:

  1. Slice the mushrooms and sautée in a little olive oil
  2. Peel the carrots into fine shreds
  3. Julienne the cucumber
  4. Slice the cherry tomatoes, celery and shallots
  5. Dice the green capsicum small
  6. Rinse the chickpeas and place into a mixing bowl and mash them up with a potato masher. Then add in the chopped capsicum and shallots and give it a good mix
  7. Add the ingredients in a layering type system starting with the rice, then top with the salads. Sprinkle seeds onto and finish by drizzling over the dressing. Eat up!

Love, Rachelle xx

 

Today’s blog post is just a cheeky little baby one because it’s Christmas week and I’m feeling on the relaxed side #sorrynotsorry. Although I am sorry for the title.. what a mouthful! Lately I’ve been pretty darn obsessed with H2coco’s “Cocoespresso” drinks to feed my caffeine addiction to the point where it’s getting expensive. I found myself craving one everyday until finally I said “enough is bloody enough” and decided to try and create my own similiar concoction. Well, not to toot my own horn here but I think I may have nailed it. Actually I would maybe go as far to say that I think my recipe is better than the real deal. Shock Horror!! Big call I know, but if you don’t believe me then try for yourself!

WHAT YOU NEED: (Serves 2)

  • 3 tsp instant coffee.. or 2-4 shots of coffee (depending on how strong you like your Coffee!)
  • 500ml coconut water
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar
  • ice
  • blender

METHOD:

  1. Boil your kettle and place instant coffee in a mug. Add roughly 1/4 cup of water or enough water to dissolve the coffee. Alternatively, make some shots of coffee.
  2. Add coffee to the blender
  3. Add coconut water
  4. Add the coconut sugar
  5. Bang in your ice
  6. BLEND AWAY!

So as you can see it’s a really tough recipe and you will need to have some serious kitchen skills to pull it off 😉 But in all seriousness though, for something SO easy it really comes out like something you would get at a hipster cafe. It should turn out to be frothy, light, coffee-coconut-y amazing-ness. If it’s not cold enough, add more ice and blend some more.. I added a good handful of ice for two people. If you want to make it more of a frappe type consistency then add even more ice.. YUM! I just think it’s such a great twist on the typical black iced coffee plus the coconut water is nice and hydrating for the summer (insert thumbs up emoji). It contains no nasties and is Vegan friendly too, perfect for hot days when you want your coffee fix but don’t want to swelter whilst drinking it. I’m personally going to be making gallons of this stuff over the rest of Summer and hey, to join the Christmas festivities I might even add some Vodka and make myself one of my favourite cocktails – the espresso martini! Just the one though, I swear 😉

 

Hope you love the recipe as much as I do and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

love, Rachelle xxx

These past couple of weeks have been a little on the hectic side. Not only have I increased my own training in preparation for the Australian Dancesport Championships (a big competition in Australia for those of you not in the dance scene!) but I’ve also been helping students in their prep also. Throw in a couple of Christmas floorshows and a quick TV appearance on top of that and it’s no wonder why I’m sitting here post competition absolutely knackered and putting off unpacking! So this is why I wanted to post a little blog on recovery and it’s importance, but also I thought it seemed appropriate considering the stressful times that have been the last few days! I shall explain..

Let’s rewind back to last Wednesday morning. The Aussie Championships were 3 days away, we were flying down to Melbourne for the comp the following day, all was well and we felt fit and ready! That was up until Steve got out of bed and couldn’t put any weight on his right foot without being in 7/10 pain. Slight Drama.. talk about throwing a spanner in the works!! Being a head strong male he decided to still head to work for 3 hours of teaching to see if it would “go away” (I know, don’t even get me started!). After about an hour and a half he couldn’t hack the pain anymore and so he cancelled the rest of his day of work and went home. Now let me say at this point that cancelling work and going home is a big deal for Steve, so I knew immediately it wasn’t looking good. He rested a few hours and thought it felt a bit better so after a big fight I finally gave in and decided to let him see if doing some practice with me would “stretch it out”. BIG FAIL. All our practice did was make it worse and ended up leaving him with a limp when he walked. I thought there was no chance we were going to be dancing that weekend.

With our sports masseuse having no time available we spoke to a few people and figured it might be plantar fasciitis which is stemmed from tight calves and hamstrings and overuse of the feet, common in dancers and marathoners. What we also found was that there is nothing that can be done to make it go away, you just have to deal with the pain, stretch that bad boy out and rest. Rest wasn’t really an option in the short-term so we did everything we knew of in terms of active recovery to make it bearable for the coming weekend. In the end we ended up being able to dance at the competition with most people probably not even knowing that there was a problem so it just goes to show how much this stuff works and can really help! So here are a few of the things I swear by:

  • Rest: This one is pretty obvious I know and isn’t always an option but I feel it’s the most important! People dont prioritise rest enough when it comes to a training regime and can easily end up burning out or creating an injury. If you rest well you can come back the following time you train so much stronger and clearer and it’s less likely you will lose determination. So keep that in mind when you aren’t feeling 100%.
  • Stretching: This is something I never really did when I was younger as I never had it drilled into me nor was I ever sore! But.. after you hit 22/23 I think that’s when you really start to feel sore and old haha! Well that’s when I did anyway. What helped me was getting into Ballet Beautiful because it made me realise how much better my body felt after a good stretch. Also if I go into the studio feeling tight (every day!) then I always try to stretch and warm up my muscles before going head first into it! Tight muscles can pull on other muscles which can then lead to injury. As Steve said to me this weekend after learning he really needs to start stretching “I’m really not getting any younger am I!!”. I definitely feel the older we get the more important stretching becomes 🙂
  • Foam roller: If you are a semi active person and you don’t have a foam roller then its time to invest in one! If you’ve never heard of foam rolling then click here! They are the best for rolling out any excess lactic acid in the muscles and releasing tight muscles in your legs, butt, back and shoulders. I love rolling out my ITB’s on the foam roller and always look for it when I’m feeling stiff and sore. Probably should be rolling on it right now rather than typing this to be honest!
  • Massage Ball: The massage ball/trigger ball is one of my favourite travel essentials. I use one with spiky ends but you can use any type of ball really. You can try using a tennis ball, rubber ball or even a golf ball if you’re game! It’s the best at getting into those tricky spots and working on those knots and twinges. So just find the points that are aggravating you and literally roll that on the ball. I like to lay down on some carpet and get the ball into my hips and psoas muscle. It’s also great to roll your feet on after a long day of standing. This was actually one of the things that got Steve through the competition this weekend, rolling his foot out on the spiky ball!
  • Ice Baths: Ok, so I have to admit I’m still a bit of a newbie when it comes to ice baths and at the moment I’ve only tried it on my feet. I know that a lot of athletes use ice baths for their whole body for fast recovery and it was actually suggested to me from my Sports massage therapist. All you need to do is fill up a bucket (or wheelie bin for full body!) with cold water and chuck in around 20-30% ice. You don’t want too much ice that you get freeze burn but you also don’t want just a couple of cubes floating around there either. Then try to stay submerged for roughly 8-10 minutes. Like I said I’ve only attempted feet and its pretty darn painful the first time but once you get used to it it’s not so bad. Also the benefits you reap afterwards are addictive! You will feel like a new you I’m not joking!
  • Anti-inflammatories/gels: This isn’t really active recovery but they are more so a when all else fails type of thing. I love gels as I can apply the product directly to the area I need it and it gets to work almost immediately. Also taking Nurofen isn’t my favourite thing in the world but like I said when you have no other option they do work. I always try to have some form of gel and tablet on hand just incase!

So I think the best advice I can give on this topic is to listen to your body and try not to turn a blind eye to what it’s telling you! A few years ago I sprained my ankle quite badly and never got it properly checked by a doctor to see if I had done serious damage. I let it rest for only two weeks and was pressured into getting back into my dance shoes and on the floor as soon as possible. Now after getting it properly checked out it turns out I did ligament damage and because I didn’t take at least 8 weeks off and let it heal properly I now have scar tissue. Silly me and even sillier me for listening to other people’s un-expert opinions rather than listening to my gut!! My ankle is now going to be something I constantly have to manage and have looked at because if I don’t it will just turn into a club foot.. haha not what you want as a dancer! I have to crack it everyday otherwise it starts to feel stiff and it’s just a nuisance really. So my advice is look after your body, trust your instincts and put time into recovery!!

If you have any more questions please feel free to ask in the comments below! As I’ve said many times these are only my opinions and things that have worked for me so keep in mind that they may not be right for you 🙂

Love, Rachelle xx

 

Most people who I speak to think that it must be super hard to be a vegan, especially in my case with travelling so much. Surprisingly though, it really isn’t that bad. You just have to know what foods you can and can’t eat and trust that others will respect your choices. The past month and a half I’ve been travelling around the world and have only spent a total of 3 nights in my own bed so that means dealing with tricking eating situations. I’ve been to Germany, England, New Zealand and Western Australia and have only gone hungry once (partially my own fault as I couldn’t be bothered complaining). So if you’re intrigued by the Vegan lifestyle but feel it may be too difficult or just want a few healthy travelling hacks, I’m here to share a few tips that have helped me.

Let’s start with the first problem you can encounter when travelling; airplane food. This is probably the most quick and easy one to fix.. simply go online and order the vegan meal! These days they have so many meal options online to cater for all of us with food preferences so it really isn’t an issue anymore. I’ve eaten the vegan meals of Qantas and British airways flights so far and they have all been fine! The greatest thing is that your foodsies will come out first and if you’re flying with Qantas you will also receive a piece of fruit! I know this sounds so ridiculous to celebrate (woooo! FRUIT!!) but there is something about flying that just really makes me crave fresh fruit and veg. I think it must be those microwave dinners.. in fairness though they are getting better 😉 After eating the vegan meals I’ve never felt stodgy, stomach crampy or bloated like I used to when eating the normal meals. For this reason I would even recommend ordering the vegan option even if you aren’t vegan! The food seems so much fresher and you will feel so much better when you get off the plane! So, flying is an easy one, but if you are worried about getting hungry between meals on the plane or simply don’t want to eat that food then pack some nuts or dried fruit to take on board with you. Just remember those quarantine laws though, you don’t want Sally the sniffer dog leaving you with a hefty fine before you even enter the country!

Of course once you arrive to your new destination you can always scope out your local Vegan eateries on tripadvisor.com but sometimes its not always that easy. Most places these days offer a Vegetarian option which can easily be edited to make the meal Vegan. When eating out I try to look for the (V) options and then speak to the waiter to see if anything can be done to get rid of the dairy or other animal products present. If the waiter has no idea what you’re talking about and is totally un-helpful (had a few of those!) then it’s up to you to try to sort something out for yo’self. If I’m really in a pickle and I’ve exhausted all options then I tend to hit up the sweet potato chips, regular fries or wedges (most places have this option) and I maybe pair it with a simple garden salad. Man have I eaten a lot of sweet potato fries lately haha! No but seriously, it’s not been because I’ve HAD to eat them it’s because I’m addicted to them!!

If you are reeeeally lucky, at some restaurants the chef may make a specific vegan meal for you. This was the case for Steve and I when we recently went to a winery (Millbrook Winery) which only offered a set menu on the weekends. We just mentioned we were Vegan when booking the table over the phone and we were told the chef would look after us. BOY DID HE EVER!! I think this was hands down the best Vegan food I have ever eaten. Maybe the best food I’ve ever eaten period. The dark chocolate sorbet had all my family wishing they were Vegan too (haha only for the dessert of course!). The chef made us all 3 courses so that we didn’t feel like we were missing out and the best thing about this is that it made everyone else at the table feel at ease too. Sometimes it’s not so much me that gets stressed about the food I can eat, it’s whoever I’m with! But, that’s love for ya.

For all those other times when you are on the road and just can’t find any other options there is always good old Macca’s. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would be recommending McDonald’s on my blog but the other day when Steve and I were in New Zealand we ran into Hunger Town. Both of us were starving, stuck on a freeway and in a bit of a rush. So I thought what better time to try to DIY our own Vegan burger at Micky D’s! It was actually ridiculously good.. all I did was get a bun, no protein, no cheese and added in every dang vegetable on the menu pretty much haha 😀 Beetroot, pineapple, mushrooms, onion, pickles and lettuce were in mine with tomato sauce as the topping (Steve had the same but ordered a hash brown and whacked that inside his burger too #fattyboombah). I was so satisfied and it didn’t leave me with the usual McRegrets I get after eating their food. The only downside being that I don’t think McDonald’s staff are quite used to actually “creating” burgers so we had to wait about 15-20 minutes while they wrapped their heads around it.

perfect snack
The perfect snack!

One final thing I will stress to anyone interested in this lifestyle is that when you get hungry it comes on FAST so it is always best to be prepared. When I know I have a busy day ahead I make lunch in the morning and try to pack fresh or dried fruit with me so that I have things to snack on during the day. Sometimes it is hard to find Vegan food out there guys, but alas if you set your mind to something there is always a way 😉 One place I would always recommend if you are out and about and totally stuck on what to eat is your local grocery store! In Germany, Steve and I went for a walk in a small country town near Frankfurt looking for somewhere to eat for lunch. We came across several cafes that were showing off their meat sambo’s and creamy cakes and we could have just easily been like ahh well, we are hungry, don’t speak the language and that = too hard basket but we decided to try the local grocery shop instead. There was heaps of fresh, local fruit in there and a bakery too! So we bought some fruit (fresh and dried), fruit juice, a few bread rolls and some tomatoes, olives and dolmades (those rice things wrapped in vine leaves) and made some wicked sandwiches which we ate in a park.

I hope this was helpful to those of you out there interested in the plant-based lifestyle! I’ve been rocking it for 7 months now!! I just love how it makes me feel 🙂 If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave below!

Love, Rachelle xx

Following my last foodie based blog, I received lots of love and questions from some of you readers out there! So firstly, thanks so much for reading! and secondly, thank-you for the interest 🙂 I decided that because of this I might follow up with a little more info, providing what foods I DO eat (ha ha, yes I eat more than lettuce!), some vegan snacks I love, how to be vegan in certain sticky situations (going out to dinner, eating at work etc) and any more things I think of. Obviously I can’t cover all these ideas in one blog post as my hands will probably fall off and this post would look more like a thesis, so today I thought I’d stick to some foods/meals that I eat in a day.

BREAKFAST:

Ahh brekkie, my favourite meal of the day. Growing up I actually never used to eat breakfast, which always turned out to be the worst decision ever as it would get to 10am and I would be absolutely STAAAARVING! All I can say is thankfully I have seriously changed!! I’ve already mentioned on numerous occasions that I love a big ol fruit smoothie to break my starvation but going through roughly 7-8 bananas a day (between Steve and I.. not just me alone guys!) means that there are times when stocks are low. So on the occasion when I wake up to minimal nanas I will opt for something different. I always try to start by eating some fruit as it’s easily digested so that’s what you want in your belly first to avoid an upset tum! This is usually whatever I have kicking around the place like an apple, watermelon or some berries. I then tend to veer toward some toast. I love toast because there are so many different options for toppings! Decisions can sometimes be all too much in the morning when I’m feeling groggy though, so I generally do a couple of slices with different toppings on each. If I’m really hungry and know I can’t eat for a while I will have 3 slices. I love Burgen’s Wholemeal and Seeds bread and also Helga’s Wholemeal grain, both of which are vegan. Some of my fave toppings are peanut butter with chopped bananas or strawberries, Jam (my Omi’s cherry jam is the bomb.com!), Peanut Butter + Jam or good ol Aussie Vegemite! If I feel like something more substantial and hot I go for baked beans on toast 🙂

porridge
Porridge + Long Black

Another option I go for in colder months is porridge. This is more of an occasional thing as I do admit I feel rather stodge city after cooked oats but its something I still eat every now and then because I’m a silly billy. I cook 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of an almond milk and water mixture and some salt on the stovetop, bung a banana in a bowl and microwave on high for a couple of minutes and then mix the two together. I then either top with maple syrup or coconut sugar. Dreamy-ness. I tried making overnight oats to take to the airport recently and it was AMAZING! I just mixed together some water, almond milk, coffee and maple syrup to form just over 1 cup of liquid, threw in some chopped dates and mixed with 1/2 cup of oats. I then popped it in the fridge and left it to mellow over night and have now just realised I need to do this more often because it really was delish.

LUNCH:

I have a few go-to lunch options that I try to mix up as much as I can. A lot of the time I have to make my lunch in the morning and take it as a packed lunch. Usually it’s either 1 and a 1/2 sandwiches or a wrap (Mission’s wraps are all vegan) and a piece of fruit. Again, I always eat my fruit first 🙂 If I’m making sandwiches I go for vegan mayo, 1/2 an avocado, grated carrot, cherry tomatoes (minus those watery seeds!) and lettuce. But if I’m doing a wrap I try to cram as many veggies as humanly possible inside that bad boy! I start with hummus and add avo, carrot, beetroot, celery, capsicum, spring onion, cucumber and on occasion some butter beans or cannellini beans.

If by chance I am home for lunch I will generally always make toast with Vegemite and avocado because I LOVE IT SO DAMN MUCH! I could live off it I swear.. Otherwise I will have corn thins with hummus and different veggie toppings like tomatoes, cucumber or beetroot topped with a little chopped spring onion. I like to have a coffee with my lunch too, either a soy latte if I’m out or a long black at home.

I assume that with warmer months ahead I’m going to be making a lot more salads and so I’m sure that will become another go-to lunch option. Also as a side note, really amped for Mango season as I loooove mangoes! Ok.. digressing..

DINNER:

Ok this one is a little bit tricky as I like to mix up my dinner options but I do have a little schematic way of working out what’s for dins. Basically I think of my 5 main bases; pasta, gnocchi, rice, potatoes (normal or sweet) or noodles. Once I decide which base I have on hand/feel like then I work from there.

If I am exploring my Italian cooking and having pasta or gnocchi then I usually make some form of tomato sauce. I buy Barilla pasta as I know their products are vegan friendly. My sauce is usually made up of onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, passata and balsamic vinegar. If I’m feeling adventurous I add some red wine or coffee to pump up the flavour and if I want it more bulky I will add some veg and/or lentils.

Steve and I are obsessed with sushi rice and we buy it from a little local Asian food store where we also pick up our soy sauce and nori paper. With the rice I tend to make a bit of a sushi bowl with mixed veg and nori paper. For the veg I tend to go for mushrooms, onion, capsicum and sometimes eggplant. If I feel like some protein I chuck in some tofu and once cooked pour on some soy sauce.

Potatoes are awesome because they also have so many possibilities! I used to feel neither here nor there when it came to potatoes but now they are something I often find myself craving. I like to make fries, wedges, mash or even bake them whole. When I make fries I use 2 large or 5 medium-sized sweet potatoes for both Steve and I and cook them in the oven. I then either top them with whatever I’m feeling (usually baked beans and shallots) and then whack on some vegan cheese and give them a second grill to make some melty yummy-ness or I leave them plain and dunk them in some sauce (either home-made or bought if I’m being lazy).

soba noodles
Mushroom + Tofu soba noodles

One thing I’ve been eating a lot lately is noodles. Getting home after 10pm with no dinner in my tummy = VERY HANGRY RACHELLE. So when I need something super quick and easy I go for my trusty ramen or soba noodles! I buy the brand Hakubaku which is available at Woolworths or Coles. These guys take two minutes to cook! I quickly whip up some tofu, mushrooms and shallots cooked in coconut oil, make a broth with some vegetable stock (low in sodium of course) and then lob it all together! It is fast becoming my favourite dinner. So warm, so hearty, SO GOOD. You can’t beat a tasty dinner cooked up in 10 minutes.

Before I finish rambling I just wanted to mention a brand that stocks vegan options for those of you that are interested in making the transition to plant-based but still love yo’ meat! Fry food group make amazing vegan chicken schnitzels, chicken nuggets, stir-fry strips and burger patties that all taste seriously legit! It actually shocked me when I first tried them as Steve was the one who wanted to get them and I wasn’t 100% keen or trying something mimicking meat. But these guys are all made from proteins that come from plants and legumes so they really aren’t bad at all. I don’t feel stodgy after eating them and they are as easy and throwing them in the oven and waiting 10-15 minutes! You can buy all of their products from Coles in the freezer section. Definitely worth a look at!

Comment below if you would like me to share some recipes providing a greater depth of the amount of food I eat and what goes in my tummy! Any other vegans out there with some awesome vegan ideas? Hit me up!

 

 

 

There is always controversy surrounding the topic of whether Ballroom Dancing is classified as an art or a sport. Speaking as a full-time Professional Ballroom dancer myself and having danced for 20 years now, I prefer to pop us in the art category but I can totally understand why the argument arises. What we do is seriously demanding stuff, two bodies dancing together for a total of 10 minutes with no stopping. Add 2 and a half-inch heels into the equation and you can see this is no walk in the park. By now you are probably thinking “where is she going with this and how on earth does this relate to Veganism?” but I’m getting there ok! Athletes need a large amount of fuel to be able to compete at maximum performance level, but dancer’s need to have a certain aesthetic ‘dancer’ look as well. I have always struggled with this balance. Not enough fuel, too lethargic to dance to maximum.. enough fuel, but receive complaints of having to lose weight (nasty stuff I know, but it’s unfortunately true). So, what’s a gal to bloody do!?! This is where my title comes in 🙂

Now, please don’t think I wrote this post to come across all preachy and demanding. I simply decided to write it to share some of my own experiences in the hopes that maybe they help you too! I’m no nutritionist so please bare that in mind, but I have done a lot of research on this topic through good old google, some books and watching a few docos. Also, some people have recently been asking me about it so I thought I should just tackle it head on and write a blog post. Steve and I have been eating a plant-based diet now since late April 2016 and I don’t see us going back! We decided to give it a go leading up to one of the biggest comps of our lives, which was in the UK in May. A little risky as who knows what could have happened but luckily I’m pretty sure it was one of the best decisions we have ever made!

We were training like bosses leading up to the competition, doing 4 rounds twice a week (’rounds’ means 5 dances, full tracks of music, no stopping which = ABSOLUTE DANCER DEATH) and I just felt so knackered all the time and couldn’t even notice a change in my body either. This was discouraging to say the least considering I felt like the dancing equivalent of a hamster on a spin wheel. Then one night I watched Cowspiracy and something clicked. I then started researching plant-based diets and decided that I wanted to give it a go. My decision was purely based on the fact that these people were eating roughly 3000 calories a day and looked amazing but also said they felt great too. Also, I am always up for trying something new and if it’s not for me well.. no harm done!

I noticed a change pretty much immediately in terms of my energy levels and alertness. Coming from my previous diet of a lot of protein, good fats, minimal carbs and minimal food in general this was probably an obvious one but I still wasn’t 100% sure on what I should and shouldn’t eat. This became a little bit of a work in progress for both Steve and I as we tried new things but something that really helped us track our intakes and progress was cronometer.com. Here we could enter the foods we were eating and see how we were going with all our vitamins and macro intakes. What I was surprised by was how we were covering all bases with this new way of eating.. it also gave me somewhat of a cheeky response when people said to me “but where do you get your protein!?” The only vitamin that was lacking was Vitamin B12 which us humans get from animal products. When I researched this though, it seems most people are deficient in this vitamin and so we simply bought a supplement which we take twice weekly 🙂

vegan burger
Getting stuck into a Vegan Burger in London!

Some things were hard to give up (yoghurt 🙁 I’ll miss you!) but it also made other options that the old me would have never gone near ( HELLO BREAD AND PASTA!) totally accessible. We also found a few vegan alternatives for the things we missed like sorbet for icecream, vegan cheese, veganaise for mayonnaise, falafel burgers and plant-based protein powders. We are currently using PRANA ON protein powder and it’s delish! The other thing I did discover though is how good I felt eating a diet based on fruits, vegetables and grains. These days I eat around 2,500-3,000 calories a day and I feel leaner, stronger, more alert and I have so much more energy. I no longer get to 3pm craving a chocolate bar pick-me-up and I’m not starving for crap food at 11pm like I was before. My skin has improved and I’ve lost around 5 kgs!

As you can see, I could write all day about how happy this lifestyle has made me but I know that everybody is different so you have to do your own research on what works best for you and play around with a little trial and error. Anyone that really knows me, knows I have gone through waaaaay too many silly fad diets because of the pressure I’ve had put on me which have all had short term effects and little reward. That’s why I’m so passionate about this and I don’t feel like it’s another ‘diet’ as I’m not really giving up anything if I vouch for how much better I feel 🙂 Plus I’m sure I’ve made some little animals out there very happy #DOUBLEWIN.

If you’re interested in hearing any more about what food I eat etc. please, oh please leave me a comment below!

Love, Rachelle xx

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A dancer’s clock is not like most. We go to bed late and wake up late-er. Usually, I’m in the studio for 10 – 11am and then finish around the same time in the pm. That’s not to say I don’t get a few hours free here and there but it’s still a loooong day for the body. Because of this schedule I’m not really a morning person. You will definitely not see me running the streets at the crack of dawn showing Rocky Balboa how it’s really done. No, I will be asleep until my 3rd alarm goes off meaning I have 45 minutes to get my ass into gear!

breakfast-smoothie
Good Morning!

This love of sleep/sleeping in means that I need a nutritious brekky that I can whip up like lightning. At the mo, I’m eating a plant-based diet. (Yes, I’m Vegan.. wanna know more about it? Comment below!) This means that I need to get in a lot of nutritious foods and calories so that I don’t burn out before lunchtime and get #hangry. My favourite way of doing this of late is with my trusty little blender. Hello morning smoothie!

Now, don’t be alarmed by the sheer size of this smoothie. I’ve been downing one of these a day for about 4 months now (when I’m not travelling of course.. no gargantuan smoothies at the buffet brekky) and if anything I feel it has made me leaner. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe giving my whole diet a re-haul has helped but I’ve tried other vegan breakfast options and none leave me feeling as satisfied and energized as this smoothie. And as an added bonus, it tastes like frothy, dreamy, amazing-ness. My mum (non-vegan) tried it and she said it was so good it made her want to turn plant-based.. that’s a big deal if you don’t know my mum!

pre-blend-smoothie
Pre-Blend.

 

Ok so let’s get to it, my smoothie usually includes the following:

  • 3 or 4 bananas. Make sure they are as ripe as possible, the more spots the better. Nobody likes a hard, green, sour banana.. except maybe a really hungry monkey.
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries.
  • 6 or 7 dates. Don’t ask why such a random number! I started with 10 dates and gradually lowered it til I found the amount I liked 🙂
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk or any other dairy free alternative I have. I like Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk from Almond Breeze!
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 big cup of water.. very accurate I know. Usually I just pour water in and stop pouring when it gets to the top of all the fruit..
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
  • coconut sugar to taste (optional)
breakfast-smoothie
Smoothie as big as my head!

I add coconut sugar because uhh.. it’s not sweet enough already with all them bananas and dates, obviously! Ha ha! No but seriously, it adds a caramel-y flavour that I love and just brings out the other flavours so much more. But, if you don’t want to add more sugar but still want a little hit of flavour you could always add vanilla essence instead.

Blend that bad boy up! I always keep the base ingredients the same but sometimes mix up the amounts if I decide to add extra/different fruits (dried cherries are the BOMB.com) Also, if I feel like it I sometimes add a tablespoon of Peanut Butter. I say ‘sometimes’ because Peanut Butter is my weakness so I try not to eat it everyday because once the lid is off I literally have no stop button! The smoothie is a little calorific but I don’t count calories to keep them low, I count them to make sure I’m getting enough. Especially since becoming vegan, I aim for around 2500-3000 cals a day. This way I have an abundance of energy for dancing and teaching and I lower my risk of injury.

So even if you don’t eat a plant-based diet give this smoothie a go and try to start your morning with fresh fruit and veg 🙂 It will leave your tummy feeling happy and will wake you up better than a cup of coffee (this is coming from a die-hard coffee lover btw). Enjoy!

Anyone here watched the movie Black Swan? If you haven’t its time to come out from under the rock and go and watch it!! If you have, I’m sure you were thinking how on earth did Natalie Portman transform her body into that of a professional Ballerina!? Or was that just me? Either way, I have the answer. Mary Helen Bowers, that’s who. Mary is the owner of Ballet Beautiful, a company she developed consisting of Ballet techniques and exercises that are adapted for us non-ballet gals to do at home! As an ex ballet dancer she has created a variety of workouts that can be done either on a mat or the carpet that target trouble areas around the core, bum, back of the legs, hips and thighs. Finding this was like finding gold for me as the muscle groups activated in her workouts aren’t too dissimilar to the ones I use as a Ballroom dancer. So for all my fellow dancing girls out there, this one’s for you!

ballet-beautiful-book

There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes as a professional Ballroom dancer that most people don’t know about. We have to juggle our own dancing with teaching and travel but another important part is nutrition and fitness. I’ve tried a few different things in the past for toning my body; weights at the gym, cardio and HIIT, Kayla Itsines BBG, yoga, Pilates and whilst I enjoyed all of these activities I feel Ballet Beautiful has the best pay off for me. It tones and sculpts my muscles and leans them out at the same time, without leaving me bulky. Let me tell you, I bulk really easily. I was once told that I could switch out my dancing career and become a body builder, no problems! Not reaaaally the look I’m going for y’know? So yeah, I learnt that one the hard way of course.. hence no more jump squats or box jumps or jump lunges or any type of squatting action for me! I’ve been practicing Ballet Beautiful now for about 4 years and it really has worked wonders on my legs, core and bum! It may sound silly but if I don’t do it for a couple of weeks I can really feel the difference in my body.

Ballet Beautiful is available online via YouTube videos or you can buy the book. I have the book but I personally find it so much easier following Mary on YouTube. She counts you through each set and rep and all you need to do is follow. She will also stop and take time in between each set to stretch and allow you to have a sip (or guzzle) of water. I usually allocate about an hour so that I can comfortably work my way through 5 or so of her workouts and I do this once or twice a week. My favourites are the lean legs and butt shaper workout, lean hips and outer thighs workout, lean legs and buns workout, lean and firm inner thighs workout and the ab workout (click each link to take you straight to each workout on YouTube!) While these workouts don’t have you jumping around like a loony, they will make you sweat and they will burn the muscles like crazy! Not only is it great for targeting zones that you want to burn but it works on perfecting your poise and posture too.. #winwin. No need to worry if your just starting out either as with most of the workouts she offers a few different options depending on what you’re capable of. I started off not being able to complete any of the exercises without yelling profanities and stopping for breathers but have slowly worked my way towards completing it comfortably without hitting the pause button!

ballet-beautiful

So even if you are a non-dancer I really recommend you give these workouts a go. Besides what lady doesn’t want perfectly toned lean legs and a perkier bum?! Your legs will shake and you should be sore the next day but it is so WORTH IT! If I had the time to do this workout every other day (need that rest day guys!) I would, because the results are there.. just look at Natalie Portman in Black Swan if you need some more motivation! Mary Helen Bowers, you legend 🙂

To check out Mary Helen Bowers’ YouTube channel for more workouts click HERE.