Chia give me….strength…and healthy skin…and good heart health….

Hands up if you like chia seeds!

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Chia seeds have become one of the most popular ‘super foods’ of the 21st century. The fact their popular almost puts me off them, I’m much more comfortable swimming against the tide. But…nevertheless…the wealth of benefits are too irresistible to me.

Chia literally translates to strength.  These tiny little seeds originate from Mexico, where they were used as currency (believe it or not) as they were famed for their medicinal properties. If only I could use them as currency now, I’d be a millionaire!!! 🤣

It’s reported that Aztec warriors regularly ate chia seeds to give them energy and endurance. Apparently 1tsp gave them elevated energy levels for 24 hours!! That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?

Truth is….I wasn’t around when the Aztec warriors were devouring their chia, so I cannot confirm these claims…but, I have done a shit load of reading around current claims and can say with some certainty that there is a good evidence base for the health benefits of these tiny little seeds!!

So, what do these things do….I hear you ask! Well, let me tell you….they have a whole host of health benefits.

Including;

  • Promotion of healthy skin.
  • Reducing signs of aging.
  • Supporting heart health.
  • Regulated digestive system.
  • Helps build strong bones & muscles.
  • Halt/reverse diabetes!

Considering chia seeds are almost microscopic, they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. They’re rich in fibre, with a whopping 42% of your recommended daily intake in every ounce!

They’re also crazy full of omega-3, you know the good stuff that reduces inflammation, lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon!!! Can you believe that? So, you can get omega-3 from a seed and nobody has to die for it?? Wowza! Surely that’s all you need to hear….shift to chia….your heart will literally thank you! 💞

The humble chia seed is rich in protein, with 4.4g (9% of your daily allowance) from one portion.

They’re also full of vitamins (A, B, E & D) and minerals also. And…get this…they have 77mg of calcium per portion, 18% of your daily allowance. Which btw….isn’t much different from the amazing and necessary (sarcasm) dairy milk. 100mls of whole milk has 113mg…and considering chia seeds are TINY and cruelty free, whereas milk is literally the work of Satan (too severe?)….I don’t even think milk stands a chance here.

Let’s explore specific claims a wee bit more. Let’s start with one all of us will find beneficial; effect on skin and aging.

So, a recent study in Mexico showed that the levels of antioxidant in chia can stop up to 70% of free radicals. (The easiest way to think of free radicals is to image they’re the evil villain and Antioxidants are the body’s super hero of choice to deal with them!) Antioxidants are responsible for skin repair and play an essential role in preventing further skin damage. So….double bonus….loads of antioxidants = less free radicals and reduction in skin damage with speedy repairs! Win win!

These little beuts are also very fibre rich. We know fibre is essential for good gut health. Fibre assists the body to balance insulin levels. They also have a unique little trick – when ingested they begin to produce a gelatin like substance which works to promote the growth of probotics in the guy = healthy gut and healthy jobbies! (Yup, the world stool would have been more grown up there, but I’d have let the side down if, when presented with an opportunity to crowbar the word jobbie in, I didn’t!)

I could go on and on about these seeds. But….I’ll end on the great diabetes topic. Diabetes is a huge public health issue at present. The levels of diabetes in our population is incredible. Yes, lots of it is type 2 and related to poor diet, lifestyle, etc. However, the disease itself is prevalent at present and we should all be doing out bit to reduce the incidence of developing the disease. There are lots of ways of doing this, of course, but I’m particularly fascinated by the impact the chia seed can have on this disease.

A recent study in Argentina found some interested data when they researched this a little more deeply. To cut a very long story short, they fed a group of test rats a diet rich in sucrose with the addition of Chia seeds as fat. The results for these subjects was rather astounding….their blood didn’t alter. These animals didn’t show any signs of morbidity despite their diet consisting of 65% sugar! 😲

The second group of rats were fed a diet high in sucrose to create insulin resistance. These rats were then fed chia seeds for a further 8 weeks…and….yup, you guessed it…they recovered!!! They actually recovered.

So, from this can we go as far as saying chia can halt diabetes and perhaps even reverse it?? I don’t honestly know if we can claim that, as of yet, but what we can say is that they are having some impact. And…quite possibly…they are beneficial in the fight against diabetes.

Btw, use of rats for this study is in no way vegan, but I am simply discussing the study in its entirety. This does not mean I agree with it.

There is a ton more information out there on the chia seed. I could literally write all night! Do some research, see what you think.

They recommend you begin your chia journey with 15g per day of the seed. I have mine on my toast, in sandwiches, smoothies and even sprinkled on my dinner. But you can soak them, have them in tea or make puddings from them. The possibilities are endless.

In Chia I most definitely  trust!

🥄

 

 

 

Friday! My second favourite F word. 😉

TGI Friday, right?

That shit doesn’t fly with me. I don’t work Monday – Friday 9-5. So, your Friday feeling today is my Tuesday feeling. I have another 6 days at work to go before I get a single day off. 🙈

Anyway, enough about my off duty.

Today has been a pretty good day. I haven’t had a chance to take a lot of photos of food, mainly because I’ve been working.

I started the day off with a slice of rye bread, with some peanut butter and chia seeds. Absolutely gorgeous, highly recommend it.

Lunch was the sandwich I posted about last night…with the addition of an apple, banana and a TREK bar.

But dinner….dinner was a new one for me. Tonight I made scrambled tofu!!

Now…tofu is never going to be scrambled egg, let’s get that clear from the onset. But…it’s got similar features. The texture is the same and if you pop it on a bit of toast or bread with a wee dollop (that’s a great word….dollop!) of ketchup it’s a bit of a mind twister. My brain was VERY confused!

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Scrambled tofu, rosemary & red onion sausages, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. 

We served it all with a slice of carrot and pumpkin seed bread. It was absolutely gorgeous.

I’d definitely say that scrambled tofu will not be everyone’s idea of heaven, but I enjoyed it.

If you’re brave….and feel ready….have a go!

Let me know how you get on and if you enjoyed it.

Some people are so poor all they have is money…

Nobody said it was cheap being a vegan. We don’t eat processed food (as a general rule), we use fresh plant based ingredients for every meal. Our shopping usually consists of 80% fruit and vegetables, 10% grains/pasta etc and 10% other items (coffee, sauces, etc). Today….we went equipped with a VERY detailed list and we came home with £105 worth of delicious vegan goodies.

In fairness, this haul will last us for 10-12 days. So it’s not a huge amount per day, but I did watch people go through the checkout with trolleys packed with frozen, processed rubbish; loads of animal proteins/products; alcohol and their trolley came to less than ours!

There is something fundamentally wrong with this! It should not be cheaper to buy rubbish and flesh of a being, than it is to buy plant based fresh food.

I’m forever impressed with Aldi. As well as having fab veg at fab prices, it has now started doing some powders and supplements to add into your diet. I normally buy all of these things from Holland and Barrett, but decided I’d give these a go. They were super cheap, so I’ll use them in my smoothies and let you all know how the fair with their extortionate counterparts.

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Dinner tonight was a new dish for me. I decided to try a West African Peanut ‘soup’.

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Very few ingredients required.

This recipe was super easy to follow. You literally just throw everything into the stock and let it cook down. (I’ll post a separate recipe later, for those interested).

The end result was DELICIOUS!

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West African Peanut ‘soup’ with kale and sweet potatoes. Served with bulgar wheat and roasted cauliflower.

I’d say this has shot to the top of my favourite meals list. It’s actually heaven in a bowl!!! And to think people actually believe vegans have a boring diet and struggle to eat ‘anything’. Pffftttt!! 🤣

Before we left today we had a real lunch of champions. I skipped breakfast, which is rare, but made up for it with an extra half of bagel.

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Bagel with houmous, avocado, tomato and seeds. 💗

Liz is in to marmite in a HUGE way right now, so she swapped the houmous for vegan cream cheese and the seeds for marmite.

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Marmite, do you love it or hate it?

Plan for tonight is to relax (perhaps enjoy a wee coconut cappuccino and some alpro chocolate over fruit later) and watch a movie.

We have been trying to watch more movies recently. If you haven’t seen ‘I, Daniel Blake…’ I urge you all to watch it before you go down to cast your vote. It really is an emotive and informative movie, about the reality of our benefits system. Referring to state assistance as ‘benefits’ is absurd. They make it sound like a luxury, like you’re really hitting the big-time if you’re lucky enough to be in receipt of it. 🤣

Hope you’ve had a good day, whatever you’ve been up to. ✌

Comfort food & chocolate ! 😊

Working nights….haven’t had an actual day off since last Thursday. So, this will be brief.

The palm oil in our hazelnut spread bothered me, so I’ve been searching for an alternative.

Finally, I found something.

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Sweet Freedom chocolate spread. 

This particular brand is all natural, uses fruit sugars for sweetness and best of all…doesn’t contain any palm oil.

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Ticks a lot of boxes that matter to me!

Truth is….jury is out on the taste. It has a bitterness that isn’t there with the other spread. It has an almost coffee taste at the end. It’s nice….but not comparible with the hazelnut spread.

I’ve slept all day and feel like I’m maybe getting the cold. So, it had to be comfort food for us tonight . What’s the best comfort food??

Macaroni cheese ✌

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The ‘cheese’ sauce blitzed and ready to be added to the pasta!

Tonight we had it with frozen chips and peas . I’m so full now I could burst!!

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Creamy, gooey gorgeousness.

Heading to work now. Would rather stay home and snuggle on the sofa, but such is life.

The F*cking Friday Feeling (TFFF).

Back to work today. 😨

It’s always sore going back to work after annual leave. Today was busy…manic busy…and despite my holiday, I’d say I was more tired than usual. 😩

Nevertheless, I made it through the day…! 👍

I’m a bit perplexed. I started on this vegan journey on the 10th April. Initially I was eating a fair deal of soya and substitutes, but for the last 3 weeks I’ve eaten plant based….! I’ve been vegetarian for years, so have always eaten lots of fruit, veg and wholegrains. That part of my diet is not new. However, I’d say the quantity of the fruit/veg has increased 5 fold.

The first 10 days of veganism I lost 9lbs. I was eating a lot of food and eating well, but I lost weight quickly. It felt fabulous. I really felt the difference in my clothes as well as on the scales.

However, I feel I’m now putting weight on again. I feel bloated, like my jeans are getting tighter etc. I dont understand why, truly. I eat 2-3 meals a day, the bulk of my meal is vegetables with some carbs on the side.

Is this weight fluctuation something other people have experienced?

I also had a REALLY bad break out of hayfever and the skin on my face was ridiculousmy sore and dry. I put it all down to the hayfever, however I’m now beginning to think it was my body detoxing from the hormones and antibiotics in dairy?? Is that a common thing?

Anyway, some places I’ve read about it say that your body takes time to adjust to the change. I just didn’t realise my body would be quite as shocked given the fact it’s been veggie for so long.

Today I had my smoothie for breakfast, because I never have enough time to make food. I love a breakfast smoothie and although I know they can/are calorific, I find without them I’m super hungry and feel sluggish . Today I was powered by kale, protein powder (it’s all natural and full of essential nutrients, with only 130kcals), mango, raspberries, blueberries and 100mls of koko milk.

Lunch was a rushed afair. Literally crammed it into my mouth between two stops. I didn’t really taste it, but know i consumed a hummus and avocado sandwich, with a NAKD bar, because my lunch bag was empty! 😭

Liz made a gorgeous spicy chilli for tea. We had a tiny portion of wholegrain rice, loads of the chilli and an avocado blended with lemon juice and salt. Yummmmmmmarraaammmaaa!

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I have also been a super good lassie and  drank lots of water today, which is something I’ve neglected whilst on holiday, if I’m being honest.

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After dinner I had some fruit with a soya chocolate pot thing. (Gorgeous!!) A green tea and an extra glass of water.

I’m working nights as of tomorrow. Blog posts might get a bit screwed up, but you’ll get something!

Peace out! 👌✌

Be still my beating heart – vegan mac & cheese! 💗

How is it even possible to create a mac & cheese without ANY cheese…any cheese replacement…and it taste better than ‘real’ macaroni cheese??

I don’t know how it’s possible . It’s some weird vegan magic. Some voodoo! But, what I do know is that it’s fandabbydozy.

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I served it with roasted brocolli, kale and sweetcorn. I also had a couple of wee bits of left over sweet tattie from last night.

I can honestly say this tasted better than regular macaroni cheese. There is NO NEED to use cheese, milk or butter when you can make a dish like this without any cruelty or exploitation.

In case any of you want this recipe (there are loads of vegan mac & cheese recipes).

You’ll need…

  • 200g raw cashew nuts.
  • 3 Tbs of lemon juice.
  • 300 mls water.
  • 5 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • Pinch of Tumeric
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1/2 Tbs Garlic Powder.
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste.

I literally just blitzed it all in the blender. Added some pasta water and then added the sauce to the cooked pasta.

It could not be easier!

Moving away from the food, for a second, we went to see Beauty & the Beast today. Finally my little B wanted to see It and she LOVED it.

After the cinema we went for some household stuff. I had no idea astonish was vegan and cruelty free. So, now I do…I bought a few bits of peices for the noise.

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It’s back to work tomorrow for me. 😭 I hate going back after annual leave…but I know I need to.

Day 32….Surely when you know better, you’ll do better?

Enjoying the last few days of annual leave by staying home and cooking. Bette has been tired since Sunday, I think the birthday week of fun has finally caught up with her.

Today my little love and I stayed home and watched TV and played. Liz did the gardening  (I honestly can’t, my hayfever is super bad! – that’s my story and I’m sticking to It! 🤣).

I did do other things, for example….I ironed a pair of jeans!!! I haven’t done that in a long time, but I truly believe you should do something every day that frightens you. So, I did It!

Tonight I decided to make a Buddha bowl for us. I love picky bowls and thought this one would be a winner.

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Powered by plants!

Even just looking at the ingredients makes you feel healthier. The bowl I chose was creamy sweet potato and chick pea, with kale, broccoli, red onion and crispy baked tofu. I served it with a tiny amount of wholewheat rice and nutritional yeast.

It was absolutely amazing. I’m not going to lie. It ticked every box on my foodie wishlist. Creamy, tasty and fresh! Real plant based goodness. Free from all cruelty and death!

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NOTHING tastes as good as compassion feels. I truly believe this.

We followed our dinner with a lovely wee pudding of soya chocolate pot and fresh fruit. I washed it all down with green tea, whilst Liz had a coconut cappuccino.

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We decided to watch an old classic movie tonight. One of my absolute favourites….’Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’. If you’ve never seen it I highly recommend it. Bette Davis with her rival; Joan Crawford.

On another note, I watched a bit of ‘Earthlings’ this afternoon. I managed 20 minutes and in that time I was crying like a baby. It’s absolutely abhorrent to see how we treat animals. I honestly felt distraught and now find it hard to comprehend how people can know the things I know and still choose to eat meat, drink milk, etc.

My motto has always been ‘you do the best you can…and when you know better, you do better.’

I find it deplorable that people find it easier to bury their head and not learn about the truth, just to allow them to continue living their life trouble free.

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People should not be shielded from the processes behind the creation of their foodstuffs. I won’t scare people into becoming vegan, but I wont shield people from reality either. We need to work together to drive change….because goodness knows, change is long overdue!

I’m perplexed how society find it so easy to separate their food from animals. We claim to be a nation of animal lovers, yet have no problem with the exploitation and abuse of billions of animals every year, for little more than a steak…a sandwich….a sweetie….a yoghurt. Why do people relate to dogs/cats…but not to cows, pigs, sheep etc?

An example of this is the current media surrounding fox hunting. I literally see people up in arms about the prospect of fox hunting being legalised again. Yet not one of these people think twice about posting the ‘ban hunting’ memes whilst bailing into their steak pie or bacon sandwich. What’s wrong with that picture??? I’m genuinely asking!

I’m heading to bed. I have a date with a gorgeous little four year old tomorrow. She finally wants to see ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

I’ll do a wee recipe blog for the Buddha bowl. Should anyone be interested.

Black Bean Burgers

I really fancied a burger today, but really do try to avoid processed things as much as possible. So, I decided I’d attempt to make a nice vegan burger. I read a few different recipes and then decided to make my own version.

So, it’s super simple. All you need is…

  • Oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 large onion chopped finely.
  • 1 shredded carrot.
  • 1 tin of black beans, drained.
  • 6tbs flour, of your choice.
  • 2 slices of bread, made into crumb.
  • 1tsp onion granules.
  • 1tsp garlic granules.
  • Salt & Pepper, to season.

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It really is simple….oil your pan, throw your onion and carrot into it and fry them slowly until they’re soft.

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Meanwhile, fire your drained black beans into a tub/dish and mash the shit outta them. Go crazy on them until they’re nearly mush!

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Now…this is where it gets complex. Try and keep up….

Throw all the other stuff in with the mushed black beans. Mix, mix, mix. I took my jewellery off and got right in about it with my hands.

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Once it’s all combined. Shape into burger shapes. I got 4 out of these quantities. Chill burgers in fridge for a while.

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Once they’re chilled. Oil your pan and fry your burgers on a very low heat (you want them heated through) and turn them often.

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They’re surprisingly meaty looking in the pan….and hold their shape perfectly.

I served mine with chunky chips, tossed in oil and garlic and cooked in actifry.

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Once cooked I added some vegan cheese, egg free garlic mayo, tomatoes and salad on a warm bun…and served!

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If I do say so myself. It was really good!!

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For pudding we had passion fruit nicecream with cacao nibs and unsweetened coconut flakes.

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Gorgeous dinner! If you fancy a burger you should definitely try this one!

The irony of your face turning to leather when you’re a vegan!

The last week has been HELL for me with hayfever. I’ve always suffered, but never like this. I’m at a point where my entire face is actually turning to leather….a vegan with a leather face??? That’s got to be a cruel joke!

My eyes are on fire. Swollen. Burning. Wattering. My face is so painful and the skin is hard and burning. Even my lips are agony.

I’ve tried all the over the counter and herbal remedies, but nothing will touch this level of irritation. So, last resort…a visit to my local general practitioner. She agreed I’m in a bad way and prescribed some meds that should hopefully help. Anyone who knows me will know I’m very anti non essential medicating…vaccinating…etc. (that’s an entirely other post).

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Now, before we go any further. No medication is technically vegan. We all know this. But…for me…I need to take medication at times and although I’d prefer it to be vegan, if it is not, I’m still going to take it. A dead vegan is no use to anyone! You can’t do much fighting for a cause if you’re pushing up daisys. Of course, hayfever will not end my life…but I’m miserable and I may commit an atrocious act to an innocent by passer because of my constant pain and irritibility. So, for me…the risk outweighs the bad.

Lunch today was left over sweet tattie and white bean chilli, with some rice and a blitzed avocado with loads of chilli and lemon juice.

Now for some house work…and to convince my child that she needs to have a shower.

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Btw…have you any idea how hard it is to find a lip balm suitable for vegans?? I now have one, but there was only one in Holland and Barrett!

 

It’s a gorgeous day. I hope you get to enjoy some time out in the sun! I won’t be….for reasons mentioned above, but I will take the dugs a walk tonight before bed….when the pollen has stopped flying around.

 

Food shop day…!

We’ve had a super busy week (with Bette’s multiple birthday celebrations), so it’s been some time since I did an actual shop.

I wrote a menu planner and made an extensive shopping list, as I always do. I’m very anal about my shopping lists.

After visiting Holland and Barrett for my protein powder, B12 supplements, Bette’s multivitamins and some nooch, etc. We headed to three other supermarkets: Morrisons for the bulk of our shopping, Aldi for avocados and vegan chocolate (It’s on offer this week) and finally Sainsburys for bread and juice, etc.

It is definitely more expensive to shop vegan, as they know they have you by the short and curlies and as such whack you with silly prices….but….the selection of produce is gorgeous. You almost feel happier and healthier just looking at it.

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Anyone with a keen eye will spot two non vegan foods (they contain milk) but you’ve got to remember I’m the only vegan in this household. My wife is almost vegan and my daughter is a vegetarian. So…considering they eat vegan with me as a general rule. I think it’s a pretty impressive shopping trolley. 

I’m enjoying the last few days off my annual leave, before returning to work on Friday.

I’m suffering terribly from hay fever, which is entirely new for me. It’s so bad though that my eyes are swelling and my face is breaking out. Pain is awful, I’ve tried natural remedies and over the counter…but it’s looking like I’ll need something from the doctor.

Hope you have a lovely night, whatever you’re doing.