plant-based

Today is my 1 year Vegan-niversary ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 stomachย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ You too Seewah ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 goingย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™ 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 absolutelyย 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:ย (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 sautรฉe 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

 

As I’ve mentioned before onย numerous occasions, I am a total sucker for trying out new products. The good news is that I don’t think I’m alone.. amiright!? I especially love giving all natural products a go because if a cruelty free, plant-based product can deliver the goods, I’m sold! For the past 2 months I’ve been trialling a couple of products from The Jojoba Company range as I’d heard so much about Jojoba (pronounce hoh-hoh-buh for those of you wondering!) and all the benefits it has on skin. When I found the range at a Chemist near my Dance Studio I knew it was time to bite the bullet and give some of their products a go and so I walked out of there with the Jojoba Bead Facial Cleanser and the 100% Natural Australian Jojoba Oil.

What on earth is Jojoba I hear you ask? No, you didn’t? Well I’ll tell ya anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ Jojoba oil comes from the Jojoba bean and is so beneficial for our skin because the oil is a very similiar consistency to that of the protective wax we create ourselves (sebum) that keeps our skin moisturised and silky smooth. Because of this similiar consistency it is able to penetrate deep into the skins layers where cell regeneration and synthesis occursย carrying other nutrients with it. It contains Vitamins A, D and E and other anti-oxidents and fatty acids which are also known for their skin healing and protective qualities. Jojoba is naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and hypo-allergenic and works wonders on all skin types ranging from oily skin to baby skin. If you want to know any more about Jojoba and The Jojoba Company then click here.

The Jojoba Bead Facial Cleanser ($34.95) comes in a paste form containing naturally solidified jojoba beads which help to exfoliate any dry skin and leaves my skin feeling oh so smooth and clean. It also contains Vitamin C, aloe vera and Vitamin E which help to hydrate the skin and dissolve any impurities. See you later dryness! I’ve been using this product every morning and it really wakes my skin up and leaves me feeling rejuvenated and awake. You only need to use about a marble’s amount and you cleanse in circular motions around the face and neck and then rinse off with a warm muslin cloth or with some warm water. It’s suitable for all skin types and is completely safe and eco-friendly.. boom baby!

The highlight product for me though has to be the Jojoba Oil ($29.95 for 85ml). This stuff is like a little bottle of liquid gold. Having skin that’s normal to dry I feel like the oil has really helped to bring moisture to my skin, especially while I’ve been travelling and submitting my skin to extreme temperatures (-3 degrees to 38 degrees anyone?!). I only need one tiny pump and that will smooth all over my face and neck and I just rub any excess into my hands. Whilst it is an oil product, it doesn’t at all feel heavy and greasy on my skin and within about 5-10 minutes it’s completely soaked in. My skin drinks that stuff up!! Since using it though, I have altered my routine a little and try to cleanse and oil my face as soon as I wake up so that the product has time to soak in whilst I’m having my brekkie. That way it’s done its business before I go and hit my skin with makeup products ๐Ÿ™‚ This oil is also suitable for all skin types so don’t be afraid if you have oily/combination skin!

my-skin
My skin sans foundation ๐Ÿ™‚

Now don’t get me wrong, I do still love my Dr Hauschka products as they are just SO luxurious and lovely but they do have a little more of a hefty price tag than the products from The Jojoba Company. I also love the simplicity of putting one ingredient onto my skin and having that ingredient be so similiar to the sebum my skin already naturally produces. In the past couple of months I haven’t had any breakouts, no dry skin, no patchiness and it has helped with dryness that I used to experience under my eyes too. I have loved the effect on my skin so much that I am definitely going to try some of their other products.. I’m looking at you Hydrating Face Mask!ย So if you’re looking to try something all natural and 100% Australian that works a treat on the skin then I would definitely recommend giving the Jojoba Oil a go and try it for yourself!

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:ย (Serves 2)

  • 3 tsp instant coffee.. or 2-4 shots of coffee (depending on how strong you like your Coffee!)
  • 500mlย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 aย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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

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 canโ€™t eat and trust that others will respect your choices. The past month and a half Iโ€™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. Iโ€™ve been to Germany, England, New Zealand and Western Australia and have only gone hungry once (partially my own fault as I couldnโ€™t be bothered complaining). So if youโ€™re intrigued by the Vegan lifestyle but feel it may be too difficult or just want a few healthy travelling hacks, Iโ€™m here to share a few tips that have helped me.

Letโ€™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. Iโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ After eating the vegan meals Iโ€™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 youโ€™re talking about and is totally un-helpful (had a few of those!) then itโ€™s up to you to try to sort something out for yo’self. If Iโ€™m really in a pickle and Iโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave below!

Love, Rachelle xx