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Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate.

There seems to be a misconception that when you turn vegan you suddenly stop eating chocolate; this is not the case. There are many brands of chocolate offering dairy free options which don’t have to come from the “free from” section. If you like dark chocolate then you will find the transition easy. If you don’t enjoy dark chocolate it could take a while to make the transition however over time you will get used to the taste and start to love it.

It is possible to get milk and white vegan chocolate however it does have to come from the “free from” section because it isn’t naturally made dairy free. As a result the cost will be a bit higher than your regular chocolate bars.

Things to note:

  • not all dark chocolate is vegan so always double check the label.
  • dairy products are mostly always in bold however “butterfat” is sometimes not highlighted; so again double check the label.

Some facts about chocolate:

Chocolate is made from the cacao plant which in its most natural state is actually a health food. Not to be confused with cocoa, cacao is naturally high in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. Alongside a healthy diet, cacao has the ability to balance blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque and ultimately reverse heart disease.

Other health benefits:

  • Its high in magnesium which increases energy levels and protects against osteoporosis.
  • Cacao boosts serotonin levels and endorphins which improve mood and balance mood swings.
  • It contains healthy fats which create chemical reactions for growth, immune function and metabolic function.

I have accumulated a section of photos on my trip around Tesco, finding all the vegan chocolate I could. Other supermarkets and health shops have more choice so you’re never short of options. These are mainstream brands, where as health shops have great raw chocolate varieties (and more!) but at a higher cost.

Other alternatives include raw cacao powder (to create your own great vegan desserts/ treats) and cacao nibs (to add to snacks, smoothies and oats).

Find some of your mainstream varieties below.

Green & Black’s

Tesco’s Own

Lindt

Green & Blacks Thins

Tesco Finest

Bournville

Ritter Sport (not their mint variety)

BENDICK’S

 

To find out more about how chocolate is made, go view my post on how I made chocolate in the Amazon!

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

I don’t know if it has happened to you before but I sometimes feel like I am the only vegan in the village. Eating a vegan diet does make you the minority, although the number of us are on the increase, so there are things you need to accept.

  • people don’t always understand you
  • people think you only eat lettuce and carrots
  • you may be weird to some people
  • some people assume you are judging them OR that they’re making you feel uncomfortable eating meat near you
  • some genuinely don’t know how to cater for you
  • don’t expect to be catered for at parties and don’t take offence!!

As a result of this you have to be confident in what you’re doing, happy with what you’re doing and always be prepared.

Here are some quick tips to help you feel comfortable in party situations:

  • eat before you go: you wont offend anyone at the party because chances are there’s not much substantial you will be able to eat there. Eating before hand ensures you wont be hungry there so you wont get “hangry” and want to leave. You want to be happy and comfortable there so make sure you’re well fed before hand.
  • take something with you:  super easy tip. Take food with you! Share you’re food with others, it will make you blend in and people will appreciate the gift 🙂
  • don’t make comments about there being no vegan food available: in a room full of numerous “normal” eating people, you can’t expect that on top of catering for all them people that they’re going to go that extra mile for you. They have spent a lot of time and effort into preparing the party so don’t mention you’re vegan and there’s nothing to eat, simply say you’re not hungry or “no thank you” to non-vegan offerings.
  • find any vegan food you can and take it before it goes: there’s a chance that there will be a cheese board with fresh or dried fruits. Take some and pop them on your plate before they all go. Bread is normally available and if you’re lucky some salads or veggie sticks. More times than none there will be vegan options but get them on your plate at the beginning of the party, just incase they run out by the time you’re hungry.
  • don’t worry about it: at the end of the day you’re not there for the food, you’re there for the party. Enjoy the party and be social. Social environments don’t always have to revolve around food and if they do just make sure you’re prepared.

I hope these few, quick tips help you for when you feel like the only vegan in the village 🙂

 

 

Top 5 Vegan Breakfast Ideas

Top 5 Vegan Breakfast Ideas

Top 5 Vegan Breakfast Ideas !

As a really young child I remember my Mum always saying to me, “Please Hannah, just eat a piece of fruit at least”. I guess this was engrained into me and now I would never leave the house without eating something.

My breakfasts tend to be sweet, fruity and nutrient packed. Here I share 5 great options which will appeal to everyone and anyone. Whether you have 5 minutes in the morning or 30, there is an option for you. Get creative and really try to introduce a meal to your morning, if you don’t already. For some people I know it is difficult but start off slowly and gradually you will be waking up ready for breakfast!

So why is breakfast so important?

Breakfast literally means “to break the fast”. Overnight  our bodies work hard to digest the food from the previous night. In the process of this our body uses it’s main source of fuel, carbohydrates. As a result, our glucose levels can be low when we wake. Glucose (also known as our blood sugars) is the fuel our bodies need to power our muscles and brain. When we eat breakfast this restores our glucose levels, kick starts our metabolism and re-fuels us for the morning ahead. Research suggests that skipping breakfast can result in our body tapping into our energy reserve; in extreme cases this includes energy that is stored in our muscles. All of this results in low energy and lack of concentration, commonly leading on to unhealthy food choices later in the day.

Have a look at some of the options below and I hope you start to love breakfasts like I do. If you do already then I hope this gives you a few more ideas!

Breakfast #1

Smoothies and Nicecream.

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Smoothies are fantastic for when you are in a hurry. They are incredibly satisfying, filling, delicious and transportable. Take them in the car with you, into work, on route to school. Whatever it may be, they are a quick and nutritionally packed breakfast. Simply blend together: liquid of choice (plant based milk, water, coconut water), greens (spinach or kale), a high energy fruit (banana or mango), soft sweet fruits (berries of any kind, pineapple, papaya, kiwi fruit) and an optional extra (protein powders, nuts and seeds). This combination of fruits, greens and healthy fats are a brilliant way to start the day, replenishing all your glycogen stores and more!

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Nicecream is similar to a smoothie but has the consistency of ice cream. These are amazing if you have more time in the morning as they take longer to consume. Simply blend up some frozen bananas with a little milk of choice, or wait for them to thaw for approx. 15minutes. Add into the blender variations of flavours such as:

  • vanilla
  • peanut butter / almond butter
  • soft fruit of choice: mango, kiwi, berries, papaya, passion fruit
  • healthy extras: super greens, hemp, maca, cacao, baobab

When blended into an ice-cream consistency, spoon into a bowl and top with crunchy topping (granola, chia seeds, goji berries, coconut, etc).

Breakfast #2

Oats.

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Oats are super versatile. What I love about them is that they are packed with fibre and keep you full for such a long period of  time. They are a low GI food meaning they release carbohydrates slowly into the body and help maintain glucose levels. You can make so many different variations so that you never get bored and they can be eaten hot or cold! That is correct, oats are great eaten cold and this means you can eat them on the go if you need to.

Some hot oat combinations could be:

  • banana, almond/ peanut butter, maple syrup, milk of choice
  • grated apple, raisins and cinnamon, milk of choice
  • berries, sweetener of choice, plant based milk

The recipes are endless and I’m sure each individual has their own personal favourites.

Eaten cold, soak oats overnight in plant based milk combined with your choice of extras: fresh berries, nut butter, apple, coconut, chia seeds, dried fruits, cinnamon, etc. For fresh fruits that brown, such as banana and apple, add these in the morning for optimal freshness.

Breakfast #3

Toast.

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Who doesn’t love toast? As long as you are eating a high fibre content bread and choosing healthy toppings, it is a great way to start your day. Opt for Rye, Wholegrain and Brown Sourdough for slow release carbohydrates and easy digestion. Toppings are endless but some easy, delicious ideas would be:

  • banana and nut butter (optional: coconut, chia seeds, cinnamon, berries)
  • avocado and tomato
  • nut butter and berries
  • tofu scramble (tofu cooked with tomatoes, greens, onion, soy sauce or spices)
  • baked beans
  • mushrooms
  • hummus and vegetable of choice: cucumber or tomato

 

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Breakfast #4

Pancakes.

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Slightly controversial as a “health food” but when made vegan these ARE healthy! The ingredients are the same as a bowl of porridge: oats, banana and plant based milk. This is a simple 3 ingredient recipe which can be varied adding in spices (cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg), flavourings (vanilla, almond, cacao, coconut), nuts, etc. But for simple recipe ideas follow: 1 cup oats, 1 banana, 1 cup plant based milk. Blend all in a blender and make into pancakes; its that simple. For a thicker style pancake add in 1 + 1/2 cups of oats instead. Top with fresh fruits, maple syrup, honey, nuts and seeds.

These are definitely a treat I would say, but they are an option for a special day, or weekend winner.

Breakfast #5

Cereals.

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If you are more of a cereal kind of person then cereal is an option. Make sure the cereal is as natural as possible, great ingredients, high in fibre and wholegrains, and as little refined sugar content as you can find. I personally don’t eat cereal but I know that many people do, and for some this is the only option suitable at present.

Shredded Wheat is a popular UK choice and as for ingredients it is pretty good. Try health food shops for natural cereals such as: muesli, popped quinoa, puffed rice etc. When topping your cereals opt for fresh berries, banana and a plant based milk.

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These are a variety of options for you all to try and enjoy. I hope this has given you ideas and options to try. Like I said, I know some people do struggle to get a meal down them in the morning but start slow. Smoothies are a fantastic idea as you can vary your quantities. If that isn’t for you, try with a piece of fruit or slice of toast and nut butter. You will build a habit and introduce your body to eating in the morning. Once you build up to a full meal you wont look back again. Your energy will be optimised, you will think clearer and you will kick start your metabolism for the entire day.

Don’t be afraid to eat breakfast. For all current breakfast lovers, I hope this has helped give you ideas too!

Until next time,

Have a great week!

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Chocolate Cafe: Huanchaco – Peru

Chocolate Cafe: Huanchaco – Peru

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Greetings from Huanchaco – Peru !

I have had just two days here in Huanchaco and I have absolutely loved this place. One of its winning points (along with so many, of course!) is this absolute gem of a cafe: Chocolate Cafe.

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When walking and exploring this “old fishing town”, I came across this tucked away beauty, hidden beneath the bushes. I went inside and it had cute little hideaway spaces which people were occupying reading books and sipping on their colourful fruit smoothies.

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After this first visit (in which I HAD to stop and try their avocado, hummus and grilled vegetable sandwhich – incredible) I returned for both breakfast and lunch the following day.

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The food was absolutely delicious. They have a variety of smoothies, juices, salads, wraps, sandwiches and pastas. All of which looked, sounded and tasted amazing!

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The cafe is not a vegetarian or vegan specific, however they have a great variety of optIons and it’s a great place for everyone and anyone to eat at.

Prices are also really affordable and it’s chilled vibe on top of it all just makes it the perfect place to visit in Huanchaco and Peru in general.

Don’t miss out if visiting, and….

ENJOY !!

🙂

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P.S. The staff were also really nice and friendly – Bonus !

Pear and Chocolate Oats with Caramel Sauce

Pear and Chocolate Oats with Caramel Sauce

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I am someone who very much sticks to what they like and will continue having the same food over and over until I get bored of it. Today I thought I would try something different and I absolutely love it; you will continue to see this post on my Instagram feed for a while I’m sure.

Pear in oats is something that isn’t knew but it is such a nice subtle sweetness to the oats and as they are a soft fruit, compared to apple for example, they cook really well when left in chunks.

The caramel sauce is a newbie for me but it worked really well and adds a delicious sweetness to the oats. This sauce could be used for raw desserts also, the combination of caramel and chocolate is an absolute winner!

Lets get into the recipe and I hope you enjoy 🙂

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Porridge:

  • 3/4 cup Oats
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 Pear – peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 heaped tbsp. Raw Cacao
  • 2 tbsp. Frozen Raspberries
For the Caramel Sauce:
  • 3-4 Dates
  • 1 level tbsp. Tahini
  • 3 tbsp. Boiled Water

METHOD:

  1. Mash the banana and then put all the porridge ingredients into a sauce pan with boiling water and cook over a low heat.
  2. Whilst this is cooking chop the dates and put the caramel sauce ingredients into a small frying pan.
  3. Mash together the dates, tahini and water with a fork over the lowest heat, until well combined.
  4. Once the caramel is all ready (approx. 1 minute), turn off the heat and set aside.
  5. Continue to cook the oats until ready, then top off the oats with the sauce.
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Dreamy Chocolate Smoothie

Dreamy Chocolate Smoothie

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Dreamy Chocolate Smoothie; “dreamy” because it’s a chocolate smoothie with a creamy smooth twist. This recipe includes raspberries to give it some tartness, mango for a fruity creamy texture and dates for added sweetness.

This chocolate smoothie recipe is so delicious and satisfying and can be taken on the run as it is, or eaten in bowl topped with your favourite superfoods. Why not try cacao nibs? They’re the absolute King of superfoods, containing the highest amount of Antioxidents and Vitamin C than any other food! They also contain the highest natural source of magnesium, zinc, copper and iron, all of which are essential for a healthy metabolism.

Now let’s get into the recipe !

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh mango (approx half a regular mango)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (add more for thinner texture)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 + 1/2 tbsp raw cacao

METHOD:

  1. Blend together all ingredients in high speed blender
  2. pour into a bowl and top with your choice of topping OR pour into glass and drink as a smoothie !
  3. Enjoy 🙂

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3 ingredient pancakes

3 ingredient pancakes

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” I couldn’t live without chocolate ” – no me neither !! 😄 Eating plant based does not mean you can’t have chocolate ! This lifestyle allows you to be flexible and find healthier alternatives so that you can still indulge but in a healthy and happy way.

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Pancake day is quickly arriving so I thought I would share a really simple, 3 ingredient recipe for you all to try ! It’s healthy and delicious so what more could you ask for ?! Add fresh fruits, lemon, maple syrup, anything you like to it to make it your own. I’ve made a warm chocolate sauce for mine 😍 Serious indulgence !! These will keep you full for ages, I promise !!

lets get into the recipe 😉

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups of oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup dairy free milk (I used coconut by Rude Health)
  • dash of cinnamon

Chocolate sauce:

  • 4 soft pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • hot water to desired consistency (you won’t need a lot)

METHOD:

  1. blend together oats, banana and milk
  2. pour into skillet making small circles
  3. patiently wait until they’re ready to flip over, roughly 2-3 minutes each side
  4. stack on top of each other on a plate
  5. then create/ chose toppings !!

if making chocolate sauce:

  1. blend together dates, cacao and water (hot or cold, up to you)
  2. pour over stack of pancakes 😍

ENJOY !!!

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Kiwi and Cherry Nicecream

Kiwi and Cherry Nicecream

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My ultimate favourite breakfast is a bowl of fruit blended into a smoothie or Icecream, and this beauty is just incredible. Kiwi and Cherry Nicecream: The absolute best !

A few little facts about cherries:

  • Help fight diabetes due to a super low GI
  • Rich in antioxidents helping combat Alzeimers 
  • Slows the aging process, great for your skin
  • Reduces muscle inflammation meaning reduced muscle pains
  • Reduces joint pains from osteoarthritis

The difference between eating a bowl of Dairy Icecream and Banana Ice cream (aka Nicecream) other than the obvious health differences, is that Nicecream will leave you Satisfied and Nourished.

Dairy and sugar laden Icecream may taste good but it doesn’t leave you FULL. The high sugar and fat content makes you crave More and More to the point where you’ll probably feel quite sick. Nicecream however gives you that satisfaction of taste but will also keep you full for hours, nourished and not a shadow of guilt.

Now let’s stop the chit chat and get you started with the recipe 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Frozen Bananas
  • 1 Cup Frozen Cherries
  • 3 Kiwi Fruit

Optional:

  • Squeeze of 1/2 lime (I just looove lime)
  • 1 tsp hemp protein powder (added protein)

METHOD:

  1. Add all ingredients into a high speed blender and BLITZ.

TIPS:

  • Add the fresh fruit to the bottom where the blades are so they can blend up first and give you some fluid to get the frozen fruit blended.
  • Be patient. Don’t overheat your blender. If the frozen fruit isn’t blending, stop, give it a mix and try again. If it still doesn’t blend, add in a little water, coconut water or dairyfree milk to get the blender going.
  • Frozen cherries from Tesco.