Tuesday, July 30, 2013

beans and burgers

I made the best beans last night! I know that is such a nerd thing to say but it's true. I ate them for lunch today with crumbled up corn chips on top and I am sure everyone was jealous.

I worked today, so didn't get any cooking experiments done. I just woke up, drank my chlorophyll, ate some Crocodile Crunch (YUM), then hung out with Luke for a while, then went to work. I brought a massive green smoothie, homemade trail mix (dried cranberries, goji berries, pepitas, hazelnuts, raw peanuts, dried coconut and cacao nibs) and my bean stew to eat so I wouldn't be caught hungry. I definitely wasn't hungry, although my sweet colleague was still concerned about my vegan diet- she refused to eat her packaged chips in front of me so I didn't feel like I was missing out.

Trust me, I ain't missing out on anything! Eating like an elephant right now. A healthy elephant.

Hello tofu burger, get in my belly

For pre-dinner I ate some brown rice crackers with homemade kale pesto, then for real dinner I had this tofu burger and some vegan liquorice-flavoured chocolate for dessert. It reminds me of Ouzo. I do not enjoy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

i love you alicia silverstone

After waking up at the slightly cray hour of 12.30pm today (I guess I had some sleep debt??) I was starving and went to make my breakfast. Well, brunch. But we all know that I will still have lunch and dinner too. YOLO.

I picked up my well-loved copy of Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Diet" (it always takes a bit of hunting around the house to find it as I carry it around with me and leave it lying around) and looked up a recipe that I have been planning to make for a little while: Crocodile Crunch. And HOLY SHIT - excuse my French- it was INCREDIBLE. I wanted to eat about six bowlfuls of the stuff, but I hadn't made enough! I am so stupid!

Alicia Silverstone is my number one girl crush. This sounds ultra stupid as I have never met her, but she actually inspires me every day. My Dad caught me printing out pictures of Alicia to make a small shrine (just a small shrine, okay?!) and it was quite embarrassing, but I don't care. She is awesome, vegan, kind, bird-fed her baby and stuck up for herself when everyone crapped on her for doing it, and everything I have made from "The Kind Diet" has been a raging success.

The amazing Crocodile Crunch
Thanks, Alicia! Call me!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

sunday lazy sunday

It has been a very slow day today- my Mum is in Victoria visiting my grandparents, and I already have a tonne of fruit and vegetables to use up so I opted out of our traditional Sunday morning market trip.

I woke up this morning feeling awful, like really fatigued deep in my muscles but couldn't go back to sleep. I had porridge for breakfast, and have started soaking my raw nuts as I heard that this helps deactivate the enzymes that inhibit absorption of nutrients from the nuts. And I want my damn nutrients! So I had my porridge with berries, soaked almonds, LSA, maple syrup and almond milk.

My projects today will involve making kale pesto and a big vegetable soup. Preparation for the week ahead is super important, as I hate being stuck with uninspired dinner options when I come home from work and it is much nicer (and generally healthier) to cook good food and freeze it in portions. Hardly a new discovery, I know, but helpful to know nonetheless.

Lunch today was a big green smoothie and a handful each of prunes, walnuts and natural corn chips. Random. Luke said that my smoothie smelled like "a freshly mown lawn," which I think is kind of cute. And true; I sure do put a lot of greenery in there!

In other news, I just ate an entire Sweet William chocolate bar and it was good, but crazily sweet! They are vegan and also gluten and nut-free, so good news for kids, adult or coeliacs with an INSANE sweet tooth.  Why did I eat it right before I am supposed to have dinner? I wasn't even hungry! Sorry, belly.

Goji-topped green smoothie
Giving my Peace Lilly a bit of sun so it doesn't get sad

Thursday, July 25, 2013

happy birthday skye

Today for something different I would like to introduce you all to my friend, Skye, as it is her birthday today and I think she deserves a shout out. Happy Birthday!

Skye and I met when I happened to sit next to her on the very first day of the Diploma of Animal Technology. I had a look around the room and she looked like a pretty cool girl, lots of ear piercings and really long legs, and I guess I kind of recognised a kindred spirit. We hit it off, sat next to each other that lunchtime and never looked back! 

Since that day, she has acted as the half of my brain that I am missing, and me hers. We have studied for awful exams together, dissected dead rodents (NEVER AGAIN), cried, exercised, laughed, swapped clothes, and seen pets and boyfriends come and go. She cooks for me and I type up assignments. We kicked off 2013 together on New Year's Eve with some vegan nachos and some extremely potent hash brownies, which was a laugh and a half. That NYE was way better than getting drunk in the city with thousands of other people, and much more memorable...

She will also be my Maid of Honour for the wedding, although she is still under the impression that we aren't having a traditional bridal party. Well, we are now! Get your shit together!

When I told her I had become vegan she invited me over for lunch and cooked a delicious Japan-inspired feast of fresh vegetables with black sesame seeds, pan-fried tofu, soba noodles and a couple of amazing vegan cupcakes to top it off. Then I typed a new resume for her. If that ain't friendship, I don't know what is.

Love you x

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

bedridden with a book

I was so fatigued and generally unwell today that I called in sick to work and hung out in bed all day. Exciting, I know! Fortunately, I had some leftover green smoothie, a bar of Loving Earth raw vegan organic chocolate and a  book on my Kobo to keep me company (the stupid thing actually worked for once! Hallelujah!).

[The book] "Vegan Freak: Being Vegan In A Non-Vegan World" by Bob and Jenna Torres is SO FREAKING GOOD. I devoured it in one sitting. Well, I got up to pee and eat, but pretty much one sitting. I didn't pee and eat at the same time, though.

They are hilarious, but also extremely intelligent and well-educated about the ideas behind ethical veganism (Bob Torres also has another book which examines animal rights from a social anarchist position- this guy is quite serious about making changes to the way we regard and treat animals in society). Anyone who is even considering becoming vegan should read "Vegan Freak", as it will totally wipe any doubts you might have had about cutting animal products out of your life and to me, the more people who manage to cut out animal agriculture and all the gross shit that comes with it, the better!

It is also chock-full of practical advice (eg. how to talk to your family without inflaming anyone, how to travel and still eat well as a vegan, food ideas, and how to explain the ideas behind your vegan lifestyle to the haters) for anyone making the change, which I appreciated as I am still obviously a newbie.

Anyway. I am going to go sit on the couch and cuddle with my little family now- love them!

Thanks for making such a delicious product, Loving Earth!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

i eat dog treats

I have spent almost the entire day in the kitchen! First I did the massive mountain of dishes that were totally ruining my vibe, then I set about doing my cooking projects for the day: a tofu pumpkin pie with raw almond-meal crust, and spirulina dog treats inspired by Jess from The Wellness Warrior. I am totally hooked on her blog, girl is amazing!

She originally made these as her pug Edie has an itchy skin condition, and all the ingredients used in the recipe are skin-friendly and, importantly, skin-improving. I decided to make them because I think my little fur baby needs a bit of TLC, vegan-style! I am a bit ashamed as her diet mostly consists of those little individually packaged wet dog food tins and the occasional fresh bone, and I really want to put more effort into taking care of her diet especially. I just want to be a good dog mama! My treats were made from spirulina, raw organic oats, banana, honey, flaxseed oil and cooked beetroot. Unfortunately, the dog treats were so delicious that I ended up eating some of the mixture, so there will be a little less for her. Sorry Totes! But seriously, they taste incredible.

Now I have to go back into the kitchen and clean up my mess (the kitchen is all shades of green and orange due to the spirulina and pumpkin), then I will lovingly cook dinner for my fiance. I feel a bit bad because I really wanted to buy some Udo's 3-6-9 Oil Blend for him today as he has really bad dermatitis on his hands, but my card got rejected at the checkout. How embarrassing. Dinner will have to do! I love him a shitload.

She will have green poops I think
Mama and baby

sour green smoothie

I am drinking the most amazing green smoothie right now! At first I wasn't quite sure about this one because it is pretty sour, but it has grown on me. This is my dinner (along with a vegan Tim Tam, which is pretty naughty) as I ate my massive lunch at around 4pm. Smoothie contains water, kale, coriander, lemon, green apple, half a banana, barley grass powder, maca powder, flaxseed oil, a splash of apple cider vinegar and some goji berries. 

Today is Sunday so I went to the farmer's market with Mum, then out to breakfast with Luke and his brother Ben at our wedding venue. The waitress was more than happy to oblige my vegan request of a fresh orange juice, some mushrooms, kipfler potatoes and delicious sourdough toast with olive oil. Then we stopped by the other fresh food markets and stocked up on fruit and vegies. 

I purchased Kimberly Synder's "Beauty Detox Foods" today as well and am very excited to read it. There are so many celebrity testimonials in the first few pages of the book- who knew that Ben Stiller started off his mornings with a Glowing Green Smoothie? Not I.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

trying to stay warm

Although my Naturopathy diploma doesn't officially "start" until the 31st of this month (just under two weeks' time), all of the subject material is up online already and it's ready to go. I had a poke around just then and it all looks amazing. I am a bit nervous about getting started- I think I have forgotten how to study!- but I am sure it will be just like riding a bike.

It is so cold in our house tonight. The heater broke about three weeks ago, and in Canberra that is not a good thing in the middle of winter. I am wearing two jumpers and nursing a bowl of hot oats with banana and coconut oil to try and reduce my discomfort (I really feel the cold!), but I think I might just have to admit defeat and crawl into bed with a book. And maybe I will take my living heat pillow, Toto, with me: dogs have a higher core body temperature than people, so she will never drop below 38-39 degrees! And she is a Chihuahua, so typical of the breed she loves to burrow in and make a nest. Win-win.

I am breakfasting at my wedding venue tomorrow morning with Luke and his friend (after my Sunday ritual market trip with Mum, of course), which will be excellent. Now I love the place, but there is a note at the bottom of the menu in big bold letters that says "no alterations to menu items," so I am a bit curious about what to do- all of the breakfast items are non-vegan! I am thinking that I will just order a few animal-friendly sides by themselves and be done with it. I cannot wait to get married to Luke, and this venue is the cutest.

Escaping the winter chill, dog-style
Tonight's dinner

Friday, July 19, 2013

too much dessert

So, I think I might be eating too much.

Today I had an onion bagel for breakfast, then a cup of chai tea with almond milk at my family home, then a nut bar, then some dark goji chocolate, then the remainder of the raw avocado cheesecake, then a bowl of kale, tofu and brown rice, then an entire sweet potato- a BIG one- cut into slices and roasted, dipped into leftover vegan cheese sauce I made the other day, then a black bean brownie. I am stuffed. I feel a bit sick, and looking at that food list I think I understand why. My bad!

I am just so excited by the lifestyle change that I am cooking vast quantities of exciting vegan food and then eating it all myself. Oh, well- you live, you learn, you get indigestion.

My poor over inflated belly (first world problems)
The pudding-like raw cheesecake

Thursday, July 18, 2013

still eating heaps

It constantly surprises me, and deeply touches me the way I seem to be surrounded by people who are so consistently kind and generous. Like, I just don't get it. Today I came into work and my boss had printed out an entire subjects' worth of study material and notes for my Naturopathy diploma, in full colour ink, and had made a special trip out to Officeworks to have it bound. My study notes, made into a book! 

I also just missed a call from Luke- I called him back, and he had found some Lush products being given away from a person at his workplace. He sussed them all out to make sure they were vegan so I could use them, and is bringing them home to me so I can try them out. Gorgeous!! Even though I know he is a bit concerned that I won't be able to stay healthy on my vegan diet and worries about me, he still makes a huge effort to make sure everything is vegan for me if we go to a food shop or make-up store, and always asks the store clerks for weird ingredients if I am feeling too shy. How have I had the good fortune of not only meeting someone like him, but to be marrying him in eight months? I am very blessed and just thank my lucky stars every day.

Anyway. Enough about my ridiculous good fortune, and onto my food. I woke up really late this morning and sleepily ate a blueberry bagel with Nuttelex spread, prunes, walnuts, and drank my chlorophyll and coffee. For lunch I ate some leftovers (raw avocado cheesecake for lunch, yes please), then a nut bar when I got to work. I was feeling quite sore and fatigued for most of the day, and experienced some nausea too, so I made a hot drink of apple cider vinegar and honey and took it to work in a thermos. It was quite soothing to sip on and I did actually feel better after drinking it. Dinner was an elephant-sized vegetable rice paper roll, and dessert was a black bean brownie. A bit of an accidental "raw" theme today.

Now I am going to kick back, help myself to another brownie and watch those Krazy Kardashians go about their business. Peace out!

Feeling foxy today...I went there
I ate both

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

five days in

Five days of no animal products whatsoever and I am feeling pretty good! A few people have commented that my skin is looking nice, which is always a plus.

Today I got up early to make breakfast before work (didn't want to have to grab a processed breakfast bar again!). I ate a wholemeal bagel with Tofutti cream cheese and a banana, and it was delicious! Bagels have always been a love of mine, so I am very glad that I can still have them as a vegan.

My cooking experiments for today include vegan macaroni cheese sauce (made from non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, miso paste and a variety of spices), and a raw avocado lime cheesecake. The vegan cheese sauce tasted great but was way too runny- I had no corn starch, so it didn't thicken properly! And the same went for the raw cheesecake: tasted amazing, but didn't hold itself together as I had no coconut oil and substituted for macadamia oil. Even though it didn't resemble a cheesecake- more like a green pudding- even my fiance loved it, and he can be picky about desserts. Success!

So, the cheesecake went into my belly before I could photograph it, so tonight you may have a photograph of my Chihuahua instead. Her name is Toto.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

work and brownies

I have been vegan for a couple of days now and I have to say, I have never eaten so much or so well! Thanks for buying me a food processor, Mum- I am using it pretty much every day now, and I very much appreciate it's food-blending powers.

Today I had leftover buckwheat porridge for breakfast, then took my dog for a slow-paced walk, then had a nap, and went to work. I took a green smoothie (kale, pear, banana, barley grass powder, maca powder and LSA) and some homemade hommous with brown rice crackers to munch on. I ate dinner as soon as I got home, which was a polenta and vegetable bake I made a couple of nights ago.

Right now I am munching on some vegan black bean brownies than I made from The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon. It uses a lot of branded processed soy products that are not as widely available in Australia as they must be in America, but also has a lot of good, fairly simple recipes to try out as well. Also vegan and low fat (although I am not really much of a stickler for low fat stuff- give me good fats, and lots of 'em!).

Now off to bed, even though it is really early. I have had a physically difficult day, as I woke up drenched due to night sweats, felt extremely fatigued and have aching muscles worse than usual. I cannot believe how sore my body feels.Thanks, glandy! I think that I am getting slowly better though, and am sleeping less in the day (what an achievement!).

Polenta bake, yay! The brown crap on top is soy sauce

Before I go: just received an email advising me that I can start my Advanced Diploma in around five days' time! I feel so positive and ready for it in my life.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

turn the day around

This morning I woke up feeling fine, but quickly descended into a soggy mess of tears and anxiety (we are under a bit of financial stress at the moment and I am not handling it as well as I'd like).

I cried for a couple of minutes, then I got a crazy nosebleed and it went on for like ten minutes and I got it all over the bed- it looked like a crime scene! The ridiculousness of the blood spatter and my fiance's excellent sense of humour thankfully shook me out of my bad mood, and then I ate breakfast, which felt extremely nourishing and...healing. A day turned around! I love that love and food have the power to make me feel better when I'm on the floor.

Food diary for today looks like this: breakfast was creamy buckwheat porridge with pepitas, chopped dried apricots, almonds, a drizzle of agave syrup and some brown rice milk. I also had my daily glass of chlorophyll before breakfast, which is a given. Luke and I went for a drive and I had a bottle of diluted apple cider vinegar, a homemade muesli bar and a cup of green tea from a cafe we stopped at. Lunch was homemade hommous with some tamari brown rice crackers and a spoon of natural peanut butter. Dinner is yet to come, but should be vegan alfredo pasta if all goes well. For dessert, I have leftover baked apple with orange juice, walnuts and sultanas from last night.

Extremely well-fed right now! Being vegan is making me very happy in my belly so far. I am eating more than ever! Pictures below include a dark, blurry photo of my homemade hommous and a grainy webcam of me licking peanut butter off the spoon. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

the journey begins

Well, technically the journey began yesterday, but I didn't end up posting. Soz!

V-Day itself was actually pretty uninspiring, food-wise! A lack of planning for the morning meant that I ended up grabbing a shitty commercial breakfast bar to eat in the car on the way to work, and although it was vegan, it was pretty full of preservatives and artificial flavours which I will be mostly trying to avoid. For morning snacks, I had some black coffee and a banana. Lunch was a bowl of oats with flaxseeds and banana, and dinner was reheated homemade carrot soup and a wholegrain sourdough roll. For dessert I just ate a large spoonful of natural peanut butter- this is actually something I do quite regularly.

Today should be a little bit more exciting as I am planning to monopolize the kitchen and have a cook-up for the week ahead so I don't get caught with my pants down again. Yesterday at the market I bought a whole heap of good food including polenta, butternut pumpkin, kale, buckwheat hot cereal, black beans, coconut flakes, fruit, zucchini and carrots, so I should be able to come up a few good meals to keep me going.

I am also going to clean up my study area in preparation for my studies. Man, I am just so excited to start my Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy. I feel super inspired about it (the word "inspired" has not been featuring regularly in my vocabulary since I got sick, so this is a pretty big deal).

Pictured below is me munching on a Pink Lady apple- fruit is pretty much the best vegan snack out- and a batch of homemade vegan muesli bars, which were awesome.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

biding my time

Tomorrow is V-Day!

Today I will be eating the last dairy-containing foods in my pantry and possibly also preparing some vegan meals in advance and freezing them. There is a soft avocado in the fruit bowl that is destined for use in a vegan alfredo pasta (it doesn't know this yet).

Tomorrow is also Market Day, which is a Saturday afternoon tradition Luke and I have kept for over a year now. I love looking at all the fresh fruits and vegies, and also visiting the health food store and having a poke around. Luke likes getting his meat from proper butchers, instead of supporting huge supermarket chains. I plan to buy some coconut butter, although it is hella expensive.

Yesterday we went for an outing to the city and I checked out Lush, a company that make fresh handmade soaps, haircare and cosmetics. They are totally against animal testing, use natural ingredients and have a massive selection of vegan stuff. I was hoping that this would be the case, as I will be overhauling my lifestyle as well as my diet.

Unfortch, all the shoes in my favourite shoe store are leather, which is obviously off the list. I will have to do some searching when my current shoes wear out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

mud mask

I am going to be a Naturopath! The study is going to take ages, as I will have to do it part-time, but still. I am very excited. The subjects look amazing- naturopathic philosophy, flower essences, herbal medicine, chemistry, iridology, massage therapy...right up my alley. The course begins on the 31st of this month, which is very soon. Like, twenty days away soon. Excellent.

I have been doing some cooking in preparation for V-Day; I need to practice some nice vegan recipes so I get to enjoy good meals, but also...I just like to eat. Don't we all! The kale chips pictured below were amazing, and ludicrously simple to make- I just tore a few bunches of kale into pieces, rubbed some olive oil (from the farmer's market, love them!) into my palms and massaged it into the kale, put them in the oven on a really low heat, and took them out when they were crispy- but BEFORE they were brown. This is important, or else it will taste like you are eating burnt paper. I sprinkled them with some pink sea salt and then consumed the whole batch on my own.

I have the morning off today, so I put on a natural mud mask and plan to go for a walk in the lovely winter sunshine. I think getting a bit of exercise and some sun helps me feel better and fights the glandy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

liquorice pipe

I have been eating uncontrollably in the lead up to V-Day! As previously mentioned, I am trying to get through my small stockpile of non-vegan pantry and freezer items so as to not waste food. The task is proving more difficult than I had first thought- I am really not craving prepackaged frozen dinners or creamy pasta at all. Even yoghurt is not calling to me at the moment, and I normally like it.

Although I have taken a lot of food liberties this past few days that I wouldn't normally (ice-cream, random slices of toast with butter, chocolate) and it has been fun to relax my "rules," I am still really keen to restrict my diet to plants and their products. My body doesn't feel too good eating all this extra sugar and dairy.

Pictured below is me very suavely sucking on my liquorice pipe. Black liquorice is such a treat, I love it.

P.S- Holy shit. I just pressed "enrol" for an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

a nice sunny day

During last night's routine grocery shop with Luke, we inspected some food items in anticipation of next week. I was somewhat heartbroken to discover that my favourite "butter," Alpha One Rice Bran Oil Spread, is not vegan! Sadly, it contains milk solids. Off the list! Also surprising to me was that some of the nut and grain bars in the health food aisle were labelled "vegan" but contained honey. So, not really vegan after all. Looks like I will be making my own.

Breakfast this morning was still vegan, even though I am not starting properly until Saturday. A wholemeal bagel from the farmer's market with Nuttelex spread, Tofutti vegan cream cheese, prunes, walnuts, half a banana, and coffee with soy milk.

I am becoming itchy to get started! Also a little itchy due to a sweat rash. I have been getting really crazy night sweats since I came down with glandular fever about four months ago. I had to sleep on a towel the other night! Highly attractive.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

counting down the days

What you see here in this grainy webcam photograph is me holding the wrapper of the last Mars Bar I intend to eat for a good long time, hopefully forever.

I am very excited to announce that I have decided to become...vegan! The purpose of this blog will be to document the process, one unflattering photo at a time. And also to convince the non-believers that I can survive without animal products in my life. 

Now, a bit of background information about me: 

I am a twenty-three year-old girl from Australia with passion for organic food and nutrition. I love Chihuahuas, health food stores, pink lipstick, magazines, farmer's markets, sleeping in, and bagels. 

Academically, I have a background in Animal Technology (which means that I am qualified as a veterinary nurse, although I chose not to go down that path) and I currently work for a weight-loss company with a bunch of lovely girls my age. 

At the moment I am only working part-time due to an extended (unwelcome) bout of glandular fever, but as soon as I have more energy I intend to embark on either a degree in Nutrition or Naturopathy- undecided at this stage. 

I am getting married in March 2014 to Luke, the best guy in the universe. I found my dress in an op-shop, and the wedding will be in a beautiful green plant nursery about half an hour from where I live.

I am climbing aboard the vegan train because I love animals and frankly don't want to contribute to animal cruelty in any way, shape or form. I have been toying with the idea for a while: when I was eighteen I was pescetarian for two years (which excludes meat and poultry, but allows fish and other animal products). For the past seven months I have been vegetarian (no meat, but other animal products such as dairy and eggs) and quite happy. Veganism is kind of happening organically and I am going to follow my heart.

The journey will start as of this Saturday, 13th July 2013. This week will be a week of eating all the non-vegan food I have in my cupboards- although I am not thrilled about this, I still don't want to be wasteful. I am highly excited for my first vegan day to come- am going to buy a celebratory packet of nutritional yeast at the market on Saturday to kick off the journey.

P.S- The aforementioned Mars Bar gave me gastrointestinal upsets- perhaps the poor cows who produced the "milk solids" are trying to send me a message of support. Thanks, guys!