Chia Pudding (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Believe it, or not, I only tried chia pudding for the first time about 2 weeks ago…however, it’s safe to say, that I have been hooked ever since!

I love chia seeds, not only for their nutritional benefit, but I love both their taste and texture. They make fantastic smoothie toppings, but my new favourite way to enjoy them is in the form of chia pudding.

It makes the perfect breakfast for these warmer summer mornings; especially when topped with fresh fruit, such as berries and kiwi. Another thing I love about this breakfast is that you can make lots of different flavor combinations…However, this one is my current favourite…

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Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4c chia seeds
  • 1c almond milk
  • 1/2 portion pure place protein (vanilla cinnamon) – optional
  • 1/4c water – only add if using protein powder

Method:

  • Simply, combine your ingredients in a bowl, cover and keep in the fridge for 8-12 hours (I soak mine overnight)
  • In the morning, remove the bowl from the fridge and top with whatever you desire (I used coconut flakes, banana, kiwi and strawberries)

This makes a great breakfast, that is sure to keep you full for hours. It is also a fantastic way to pack in lots of calcium, iron, omega 3’s and protein at the start of the day.

Emma xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My 3 Favourite Smoothie Bowl Recipes

As we all know by now, I love my smoothie bowls! However, recently, I have been really enjoying experimenting with different flavours. Through many, many breakfasts and much trail and error, I have come up with my 3 favourites…and believe me, they didn’t all taste good along the way 😉

Peanut butter and Jelly

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
2 ripe fresh bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 tbsp peanut butter

Toppings:
1 banana sliced
3-4 fresh strawberries sliced
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut flakes (optional)
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

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Dark chocolate and strawberry

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
2 ripe fresh bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries

Toppings:
Chocolate sauce (1.5 tbsp carob mixed with 1 tbsp water)
1/2 banana sliced
1/2 cup cacao granola (I used bliss fit foods raw cacao granola)

STAW

Chunky monkey

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
2 ripe fresh bananas
2 tbsp peanut butter

Toppings:
1/2 banana chopped
1 raw fruit and nut banana bar (I used emma and toms), chopped
1 tbsp peanut butter
Chocolate sauce (1.5 tbsp carob mixed with 1 tbsp water)

CHUNKY

And, that is my 3 favourite smoothie bowl combos! They are all super easy to make and don’t require lots of crazy unusual ingredients.

Comment down below which one you want to make first!! Don’t forget to tag me in your beautiful creations on IG; I love seeing and sharing them with my followers.

Emma xx

Magnesium…on a vegan diet

Personally, I have never considered magnesium a nutrient that is particularly difficult to get a sufficient intake of. As I’m sure many of you would agree, the most common nutrients for concern are often calcium, iron, B12 etc…however, I recently learnt that much of the population isn’t actually reaching the recommend magnesium intakes. With this being said, many of these people are also not eating sufficient amounts of plant foods.

Before I get into the magnesium sources themselves, let’s take a step back and discuss why magnesium is so important in the body.

What is magnesium used for?
Basically, it is essential for maintaining many, many enzymatic functions throughout the body. Magnesium is key when it comes to low mood and energy, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping, muscle spasms and regulating levels of calcium, copper, vitamin D, potassium and zinc, in the body.

Now, you’re probably wondering, how much magnesium do I need?
The recommend daily intake for adults (not pregnant or lactating) is 310-320mg per day.

What does this look like in real food?

Almonds 135mg/1/2 cup
Cashews 75mg/1/2 cup
Soy beans 75mg/1/2 cup
Spinach 75mg/1/2 cup
Black beans 60mg/1/2 cup
Potato 50mg/1 medium baked
Peanut butter 50mg/2 tbsp

Some other magnesium power-houses include:

Cacao nibs and powder, contains approx. 275mg in 1 tbsp!!
Pumpkin seeds containing the full 320mg in 1 cup!

As with many essential vitamins and minerals, the key sources are green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts/seeds. And so, when it comes to eating a plant-based diet, magnesium intake generally isn’t a problem…however, if you are struggling to get in enough magnesium, here are 2 great meal ideas that will get you well on your way to 320mg!

Breakfast meal idea: oatmeal cooked with almond milk and cacao powder, topped with banana, pumpkin seeds and peanut butter

Lunch/Dinner idea: black bean and spinach curry topped with cashew nuts and served with rice

I hope these ideas have given you some food for thought and helped you on your way to that 320mg a day!

Emma xx

 

Calcium On A Vegan Diet

Calcium intake is probably one of the most controversial topics when it comes to a vegan diet…for decades, it has been drilled into society, that calcium is dairy and vice versa. However, those on a vegan diet, or even those who have some knowledge in the field of nutrition, will know that there are many other sources of calcium; dare I say it, there are even some better sources!!

First up, let’s think about why calcium is important

Sure, we need it for strong bones and teeth. However, an adequate calcium intake is also important for clotting our blood, sending nerve messages and contracting muscles.

How much do I need?

The daily recommend intake of calcium is 1000-1200mg per day.

I know, you are probably thinking, what is this in relation to food..

1 cup soy milk can contain between 200 and 400mg (depending on fortification)

1 cup broccoli contains approx. 100mg

1 cup cooked spinach contains approx. 240mg

4oz tofu can contain between 250 and 600mg (depending on the type; soft, firm, branding etc.).

2 tbsp. tahini contains 130mg

1/2c white beans contains approx. 130mg

And the list goes on…as you can see, the calcium content of these plant-based foods is not long adding up!

With this being said, calcium absorption can be an issue. However, there is a solution…

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium (roughly a 2:1 calcium: magnesium)

Incorporating adequate amounts of both these vitamins/minerals into your daily diet, can have a significant impact on the amount of calcium absorbed.

As with many micronutrient needs, including a wide variety of foods into your diet is key; focus on including green veggies, beans/tofu and nuts/seeds for sufficient calcium intake.

Emma xx

90 Days of Yoga

90 days later…I have completed my first yoga challenge!

In all honesty, I am shocked to have made it to the end of this challenge. Not because I haven’t enjoyed it, but because I have never done yoga in such a consistent manner before.

In my previous yoga blog, I wrote about my feelings after the 30 day mark, however, I feel that I have grown a lot in my practice since then.

Things I have learnt from this challenge:

  • Yoga isn’t easy; believe it or not, after practicing everyday for weeks, you’re body gets tired! This is where the importance of easy days comes in…often in the form of a meditative or stretching practice.
  • You won’t always feel like practicing –  mostly, I am pretty good at waking up at 6am to jump on the mat and get my daily yoga in…however, some mornings this is not the case. The key to consistency is enjoyment and pleasure.
  • Don’t get demoralized – for me anyway, yoga isn’t all about progressing physically. I don’t make huge progress week to week. However, I find pleasure in the simple act of movement and clearing the mind. I can’t do hand stands, but I can consistently get on the mat and be present.; this, to me, is an achievement.
  • Every session doesn’t have to be the same length. 10 minutes or 60 minutes, each in its own right is an important practice. You wake up feeling sore, stretch it out for 10-20 minutes. Wake up feeling fresh and energized? hit the mat for a strong vinyasa session.

All in all, I have really enjoyed my yoga challenge. It has taught me great discipline and has allowed me to find a form of movement that fits into my schedule. At this moment in time, yoga just seems right…

Emma xx

Satay Tofu (Vegan, Gluten Free)

As you all of you are probably aware, I rarely cook with tofu, however, when I do, I like to make it flavoursome and delicious! This recipe is super tasty and, better still, very easy…

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 150g extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp water

To serve: basmati rice, lettuce and broccoli

Method:

  • Chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 200c. Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter, tamari, water and curry powder in a container.
  • Remove the tofu from the oven, cool and transfer to the container. Make sure all of the tofu pieces are coated and leave to soak in the sauce for 15 minutes.
  • At this stage, you probably want to put on the rice and any extra veggies you desire.
  • Chop the red capsicum into slices or cubes and sauté for 5 minutes. Now, its time to add the tofu and any remaining sauce that hasn’t been soaked up.
  • Fry the capsicum and tofu together for around 10 minutes; making sure to stir the mixture regularly to prevent sticking.
  • Plate up and enjoy…

 

Emma xx

Fitness Update + New Snack Tasting

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning, you will know that my account originally started as a fitness account…I won’t go into details, as you can find info on my fitness life in previous blogs, however, I will say that fitness was my life.

Since moving to Australia, I have experimented with different forms of exercise. In the first month here, I was loving group classes and going to the gym. However, once I started working full-time, my enjoyment of this form of exercise spiralled downwards. Despite no longer enjoying it, I felt like I had to go to the gym..I saw so many other people  juggling full time work and working out, that I felt like a failure.

I knew I wasn’t happy, yet I continued to push myself. And then, I suddenly realised, this was not making me happy, so why was I doing it?

Simply, because I was comparing myself to other people. Yes, I was capable for juggling both, however, doing so was not making me happy, My life was rushed, I was running from one thing to the next, my heart was racing, I wasn’t enjoying just being. And so, I very quickly, I stopped.

At this time, I knew the gym wasn’t for me, however, I wanted some form of movement in my life. I just had to figure out what…

This is where yoga came in! I began a 90 day yoga challenge on Youtube (currently on day 83!) which I have really enjoyed. It also works perfectly with my schedule, I wake up at 6am, jump on the mat until 6:45am and then continue getting ready for work.

Whilst I have been loving my daily yoga practice, I also felt the need for something a little more…and this is where walking comes in! I basically walk as much as I can. I walk to and from work, plus an additional after work walk on a daily basis. Instead of running to the gym to workout for an hour or so, I get to spend this time soaking up the sunshine and winding down after a busy day at work. In combination with yoga, I have found this to be an absolute life saver…I love exercise, but at this point in my life, walking and yoga are the form that fits for me.

Moral of the story: Comparison is the thief of joy. Do what works for you, at this time in your life.

ALSOOOOO…

I have been trying out these new snack bars! They are made by The Health Food Guys, an Australian owned company. What I love about these bars is the ingredients are amazing…all raw fruit, nuts and rice protein. Plus, who doesn’t like cacao goji flavoured snacks?!

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If you are on the search for a new snack, I would highly recommend giving these a go! Furthermore, if you are a gym bunny, these bars have 16 grams of protein, so would make a great post workout snack 😉

Have a wonderful week,

Emma xx

 

Product Review – Extraordinary Foods

I found this brand a few weeks back. After noticing they were hand-crafted in Byron Bay, Australia, I was instantly intrigued…this brand brings everything I love into one product…locally grown, organic, plant produce. They are raw, meaning they hold higher nutrients and are packed full of pre AND probiotics!!

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After falling in love with the brand, I had high hopes for the products themselves…In the last week, I have made it my job to incorporate a range of these products on a daily basis. They range from crispy cheesy kale chips to coconut bacon!! All of which I have fallen in love with.

As an extreme sweet tooth, these savoury snacks have definitely won me over and make the PERFECT topping for lunch or dinner bowls.

My favourite products on the range have to be the cashew cheese kale chips, coconut bacon and cashew parmesan.

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Dinner bowl featuring coconut bacon
slaad
Satay salads featuring garlic kale chips and sunflower sprinkle

Note: I would just like to point out that this is NOT a paid post, I just genuinely love this brand and range of products.

I hope you give these a try, and enjoy them as much as I did,

Emma xx

Omega’s on a Plant-based Diet

What are omega’s?

These are essential fatty acids, required for normal functioning on the body. Unlike many other fatty acids, the body can NOT produce them, and therefore, they need to be consumed in the diet.

What do they do in the body?

Omega’s are need to prevent skin disorders, osteoporosis, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, neurological disorders and many digestive problems. However, to achieve these benefits, Omega-6 fatty acid needs to combine with omega-3 fatty acid. Furthermore, in order for this to be accomplished, you should consume around twice as much omega-6 to omega-3 (2:1).

What are the best sources?

Omega-3:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Grains
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Spirulina
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Walnuts
  • Avocado

Omega-6:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Hemp seeds
  • Avocado

Also, using vegetable oils (rapeseed) instead of oils such as sunflower, corn or sesame can help to keep the balance of omegas in the right proportions.

Another top tip for consuming omegas in the correct ratio is the use of sea vegetables, such as nori; these have a higher 3:6 ratio than most foods.

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Smoothie bowl with chia and pumpkin seeds, containing omegas 3 and 6

Once consumed in the correct amounts, the body can then process these fatty acids to make DHA and EPA. Both of which may help slow age-related memory loss, support learning abilities, healthy brain function and positive mood, whilst helping the metabolism of dietary fat and cholesterol.

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Dinner bowl containing leafy greens, lettuce, tahini (sesame seeds) and sea dulse

To end this blog, I would just like to say, eating a wide variety of nuts, seeds and leafy greens, should enable you to consume enough omegas, in the right proportions. However, if you are concerned about your intake of omega’s there are many plant-based supplements out there to help you meet your needs.

Emma xx

 

 

Becoming Vegan: Top Tips

Starting on a vegan journey is a lifestyle change, however, it is no more difficult than any other diet/lifestyle change. Providing you have the right resources, tips and advice, the adjustment period should be relatively smooth. So, here are some of my top tips to becoming vegan.

  1. Take it at your own pace – the change over period into this lifestyle will be different for everyone. For some, going vegan overnight doesn’t require a second thought, however, for others, the adjustment period can take weeks or even months! Give yourself the time you need; it is better to make the transition meaningful rather than rushed.
  2. Know WHY – this may seem obvious, but before going vegan, you need to know WHY! You will get asked this question regularly and it is important to have a clear idea in your head as to why you have made this decision. Do your research and find out what is important to you.
  3. Get online – if you haven’t already, I highly recommend starting an Instagram account. You don’t have to be a professional photographer, but the relationships and support you will find online will definitely make the lifestyle change easier. Furthermore, this is a great way to find recipes and meal ideas that are suited to your taste; there are so many ways to go vegan, you’ve just got to find your way. (Check out my recent blog on favourite IG accounts)
  4. Recipes – one of the first things I did after making the decision to go vegan, was find recipes. This was a great tool at the beginning. It allows you to experiment with different cuisines, textures and flavours. I highly recommend finding 5-7 recipes that you love and become familiar with making them; that way you are never stuck! (I’ve got buckets of recipes here on my blog)
  5. Nutrients over Calories – rather than focusing on the number of calories a food has, change your focus to how much nutrition a food has. For example, “spinach is high in iron and calcium” “beans are high in protein and fibre” etc. This way you will be consciously consuming a good variety of nutrients.
  6. Don’t be too hard on yourself – people are often scared by the word vegan or veganism, however, this process doesn’t need to be scary. Nobody expects you to be perfect, veganism is about doing the best you can and that given point in time. Accidents happen, nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes and so can you. If you slip up, brush it off and jump back on the horse (not literally!)
  7. Treat yourself – going vegan does not been eating healthy 24/7, it does not mean missing out on your favourite treats, it just means finding an alternative. Don’t deprive yourself of your favourite ice cream, just find a vegan one that you enjoy! I promise, your taste buds will adapt.
  8. Find a restaurant – if anything, I’ve actually eaten out more since going vegan. I highly suggest looking up ‘Happy Cow’ and finding a vegan restaurant in your area. If there isn’t a veggie/vegan restaurant, do not fear! With time you will realise that you can go to almost any restaurant and get a vegan option, whether it be combining side dishes or talking to the waiter and asking what your options are. Indian, Asian, Mexican and Italian restaurants are particularly good options for finding a vegan option. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask, for example, you can order a veggie pizza with no cheese, or a stir fry + rice. There are always options.

I could write an essay on this topic, however, these are my top tips to starting out on your vegan journey. If you would like any more help/advice, just shoot me a message or comment below any topics you would like me to cover.

Good luck, and most of all, Enjoy,

Emma xx