How to eat more plant-based

We all know that eating more fruit and vegetables are good for us. But, sometimes it can be quite intimidating and daunting to switch to a majority, or full-on plant-based diet. It doesn’t need to be that way and transitioning to a plant-based diet can be made so easy. There are so many resources and ideas out there, these are just some of my tips and what helped me adopt a plant-based lifestyle.

IMG_20180224_130805_958

There are so many benefits to eating a plant-based diet. Some of these include lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, decreasing your risk of cancer, building a better immune system and aiding in digestion. The benefits are endless, and I really found that eating plant-based has changed the way my body functions. (in the beginning it was the main reason why I went vegan) I have more energy than before, my digestion has improved dramatically, I have lost weight and overall I feel “lighter”. Not necessarily just lighter in weight, but lighter in the sense of eating better quality, high fiber living food, makes you feel energetic and alive! I know all bodies are different and might require different things, but adding in more whole plant-based foods can only be beneficial to your diet and lifestyle.

Often people have the concern, of how do you ensure that you get enough protein in your diet? You know what, in my experience, if you eat enough calories from nutrient dense, whole, plant-based food, you are more than likely getting in enough protein. I love making sure I get enough protein in by adding plenty of the following foods in my diet; Quinoa, lentils, black beans, hummus (chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, broccoli, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Bulking up you meals with enough food will fill you up and sustain you. I also like having a plant-based protein powder in my house, to add to smoothies (making  it creamy and delish and it also gives a little protein boost) And also seeds! Seeds in and on everything! Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds! Sprinkled on breakfast, salads and pasta!

When I started to eat plant-based I would walk in the grocery store and roam around the fruit and vegetables section. I would see what I was drawn to and what looked good to me. I would also take note of what was in season and more available. I would buy colorful food and start experimenting with it. I never enjoyed cooking, and was not comfortable cooking meats. When it comes to cooking plants, there is no fear of eating raw food, getting sick or under-cooking my broccoli. Now, I really enjoy making food, trying out and creating new easy recipes. It is amazing to me how much I can do with plant based foods! Filling up my plate with sweet potatoes, stir fries, brown rice and beans is so tasty, eating food in their original form and feeling it nourish and sustain me is so rewarding. Enjoying every flavour!

cropped-img_20180301_104237_9123.jpg

Making the transition try and focus on one meal at a time. See what foods you enjoy to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and see how you can adjust, change or incorporate more whole foods to them.

For  breakfast, I really enjoy smoothies,  which can be packed and filled with whatever you want. Fruit based, veggies based, dessert for breakfast (think cacao nibs, dates, frozen bananas and berries) and even loaded with superfoods. Experiment with that you like, make sure smoothies are packed with nutrient dense foods and some healthy fats to keep you satiated. I like smoothies because they suit my lifestyle and climate I live in, but sometimes one also feels like something more wholesome, warm and comforting. Oats is such an awesome and versatile base for any delicious plant-based brekkie. Overnight oats with plant milk, chia seeds and berries, warm oats with nut butter and cinnamon and bananas. I also love making oats -based pancakes with berries and fruit on the weekends when I have time.

For lunch I like to have a greens and leaves as the base of my lunch. Lots of lettuce, spinach, rocket with some broccoli, cauliflower or beans. I load it up with quinoa cooked with some carrots and potatoes. Maybe add a wholewheat bun to make a sandwich or yummy burger or some rice spaghetti or pasta to make a pasta salad. I always make sure I have some fruit and berries if I am craving something sweet, and right now I am indulging in granadilla (passion fruit).

For dinner I enjoy experimenting with sauces and stir fries. I love making fresh tomato sauce or a creamy cheese sauce. ( Easy week night dinner idea – Creamy Rosé Sauce , Vegan Cheese sauce ) I love making curries over a bed of spinach and lentils. I use quinoa as a base as it is so versatile and I can use it to add substance and bulk to any veggie plate. I really enjoy sweet potatoes, and sometimes just eat them with some tahini and a big salad. Nutritious, satisfying and packed full of flavour. Creamy carrot and pumpkin soup with coconut milk is also one of my easiest and favourite go-to dinners.

For snacks, I love to bake. (2 years ago I would never have said this!) I really enjoy making afternoon treats and really putting some time and effort into making enjoyable  healthy snack that can tide me over until dinner time. A quick banana and nut loaf, seed crackers or homemade granola. I also enjoying making energy balls that are so handy and easy to make, carry around and enjoy. ( Easy Energy Balls ) Another easy snack is some crackers with hummus. Super filling and packed with protein.

Eating plant based is anything but dull or boring, and for sure not just a diet consisting of leaves and fruit. I have been eating more food than ever before, experimenting with different types of plant-based foods and learning to cook and make food that is delicious and healthy and nourishing for my body. Our food should feed us, nourish us and help heal our bodies. I am so passionate about this and get really excited to see more people adding a bigger variety of plant based food to their diet!

How I minimized my closet

Living in a country that has mainly just one season, (hot) it is kind of easy to have a small wardrobe. But still, when I got to Thailand 2 and a half years ago, soon my 23 kg belongings and clothes, from arriving here, started to build up. Market trips, cheap shops and big chain stores started to fill up my closet. I never felt like I had enough cute running shoes, or enough gym clothes or enough pairs of shorts from H&M.

In the beginning of 2018, when I decided to make the decision to not buy any new items of clothing or shoes for 4 months, I also started to evaluate what I currently had in my closet.

I decided to go through all my clothes and really decide if this item was useful, adds value to my wardrobe and is decent quality. When I go through my closet I always make four piles.

  1. Keep – Items that I wear and are useful to me. I make sure that I don’t have doubles, or that I am keeping it just because I feel sentimental towards it.
  2. Trash – Any clothes with holes, that have been worn too may times, and that are not of good quality. It is easy to sometimes hold onto items that you think “O, I will for sure fix this soon, or I can stretch this T-shirt for a few more years”. Let go of all clothes that honestly rather belong in the bin.
  3. Donate / Sell –  These are clothes that might be too big or too small, that you don’t feel like suits you anymore, are doubles, or clothes that have been pilling up that you just don’t wear anymore.
  4. Unsure – These are clothes that I still feel I need or use, or can’t let go of yet. I will keep them in my cupboard for maybe a month and then re-evaluate. Did I wear these items during the month?  Would I miss them if they are gone or would someone else find more joy in them.

These four piles make it so easy for me to evaluate what I have and need and let go of things that I don’d have place for anymore. Now, I actually get to enjoy and wear all the items I still have. (I still feel like I can let go of a few more things, and I am in the process of doing so)

The idea of donating clothes also brings me such joy and gratitude. We have so much, we have more than we ever need and there are so so many people who can only dream of having a fraction of what we take for granted. Looking at belongings from that perspective has been so eye-opening for me, knowing that I already have so much and that there are so many people that don’t. Sharing, donating, gifting, is such an amazing way to help out some people who actually need some clothes more than I do.

Another factor that has also been making it a lot easier for me to not go on shopping sprees was watching the documentary “The True Cost”. (Just watching the trailer now again, has brought me to tears). I don’t want to walk around and know that these cheap shorts that I bought were made by workers who were treated badly, not paid well and who work in horrible conditions. It doesn’t seem worth it to me. The poverty, greed and horrible conditions break my heart.  I don’t know all that much that I can actually do about it, but I know, that by not supporting these big chain stores and buying cheap clothes, I am taking a stand. Through this I am saying I do not support that, and don’t want to be a part of people being treated badly, and even dying because of their work environment.

Just being more conscious of what I wear, where I buy it and what I actually have is the key to having a minimalist wardrobe.  Keeping that in mind ,when I sort through my wardrobe, has been so helpful.   I am ready to scale down even more, and work on some fun capsule collections and Project 333. (Where you only dress in 33 items for 3 months!) Investing in quality, local and ethically made clothes and supporting conscious individuals when purchasing clothes is my goal.

Minimizing my closet has been such a fun “project” and has spilled over into other areas of my home. I want everything I own to have a purpose and add value to my life. Evaluating items with these questions have really helped me.

Next, I will be working on a post about how I minimized the rest of my home. x

victor-garcia-605537-unsplash
Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Easy Energy Balls

One of my favourite snacks to make is, for sure, some yummy energy balls.

They are so easy to make, and you can basically add whatever you want (or have in your fridge) in them.

They also last quite long and you can store them in the fridge.

They are super handy to throw in a small container and have as an on-the-go kind of snack, when you are running late, on the way to the gym after work, or as a sweet little treat after lunch. I love preparing them for when I go on vacation, a nice and easy airport or plane treat!

Screenshot_20180813-122043_Instagram

Continue reading “Easy Energy Balls”

Minimalistic Living

Learning to live a more minimalist lifestyle, didn’t start off that easy for me.

I always liked stuff. Little things on my dresser, decorations and clothes. Lots of clothes, shoes, handbags and products.  I am also very sentimental, so every card, every note, every book, every gift, and bag I would keep and store away.

When leaving for South Korea, I had a bunch of boxes in storage with books, notes, clothes and memorabilia from University. I could not let go and throw stuff away.

Once in Korea, I lived by myself for the first time, and suddenly I could buy things and hoard up even more unnecessary things. Too many clothes, too many shoes, too much stuff!

When leaving Korea after 4 and a half years, I had accumulated quite a lot of stuff that I needed to fit in 2 suitcases to lug back home to South Africa. This was a mission, but I managed to donate, sell and get rid of quite a few things and felt happy that I could let go of some of these. Continue reading “Minimalistic Living”

Easy week night dinner idea – Creamy Rosé Sauce

Sometimes cooking a whole food, plant-based meal can seem intimidating if you don’t know how or you are not use to cooking only plant-based meals.

Vegan dinners don’t need to be fancy and complicated, or on the other hand, it doesn’t need to be just a bowl of leaves and cucumber.

20180707_212304

This is one of my go-to sauces. It is so so easy to make, and it is so versatile. It doesn’t need any fancy ingredients and can be whipped up in about 30 – 35 minutes.

Once the sauce is done, you can add it to some rice spaghetti or pasta, add some of your favourite veggies and even some baked tofu. Continue reading “Easy week night dinner idea – Creamy Rosé Sauce”

How I Quit Smoking

abdiel-ibarra-252921-unsplash
Photo by Abdiel Ibarra on Unsplash

Everyone knows that smoking is really really bad for you! But it can be such a hard and daunting habit to kick and it might take some people a very long time and even a few attempts to quit.

I started smoking during University.  It started off more as just social smoking, but soon became a daily habit.

Well obviously I was addicted to smoking (since I smoked every day), but I also really enjoyed smoking. I loved sitting and having a cup of coffee and a cigarette, a bottle of wine never tasted as good as with a few ciggies with it. When people always said they are trying to quit smoking, I thought, O no, I don’t want to quit, I liked smoking too much. Continue reading “How I Quit Smoking”

Vegan Cheese sauce

I have been dairy free for about a year now,  and I used to love cheese! I mean, the bluer the cheese the better. Eating a lot of cheese never actually made me feel good, but it would be the price I’d pay for some cheesy pizza or creamy pastas.

I went dairy free quite early on in my health journey, and just got used to not eating any cheese or yogurt. Also, living in Asia,  cheese can be quite pricey and was not something I would want to spend a lot of money on.

(After going vegan, I knew there were a lot of vegan cheese options, but they are even harder to find in Thailand. Just this weekend I found some vegan cheese options for the first time in Bangkok in a International supermarket! And as strange as it may seem, I didn’t end up buying any! I was so used to my own delicious cheese sauces that I didn’t feel like spending (way too much) money on, although vegan, processed cheese. It is for sure nice to have it as an option for when I am craving a wine and cheese kind of night, but knowing I can make my own version in abunda

nce is a good feeling. )

20180530_100315 Continue reading “Vegan Cheese sauce”