I hope whoever has been doing the six weeks of self-love is still loving it and having loads of fun with your passions and pursuits. I’m headed to the end of my second week and I’ve been feeling fantastic overall. Super inspired, super grateful and super happy.
I love getting that balance right, slowly but surely. Most importantly for me I’ve realized the power of resetting the clock in the evening. Forgiving myself for what I wasn’t able to get done that day and promising myself to try kick it up a gear the next day. Which is great because everyday I wake up feeling like I’ve set a challenge for myself.
If you saw my post about starting the six weeks of self love challenge, you will have noticed that I mentioned there that I have mostly been eating vegetarian or vegan meals, which works really well for me and the lifestyle I’m currently leading here in Vietnam. If you never saw the post – check it out here 🙂
Obviously, it isn’t for everyone and that’s totally fine, but if you are interested in just doing a bit of a cleanse or trying it out or just want to get a good kick of vegetables into your life, this is great. I’m just going to share a couple of recipes and tricks that have helped me in terms of making it fun, interesting and easy 🙂
To start it all off, these are the things for me that are great to have in the kitchen for these recipes and to keep you on track. This is excluding all your basic spices and pantry items and some other veggie items that everyone would probably interchange to their own preferences.
With fruits and vegetable, really make it your own – everyone has their own preferences 🙂
Smoothies & fresh fruit
I will say that before moving to a tropical region I underrated fruit BIG time. I don’t know why and I don’t know which health enthusiast/book/dietitian gave me the idea that fruit was basically a snack to have either with a meal or between meals or as a side portion to another meal. I am just calling total bullshit on it all, and I am so happy I figured this out now.
In the mornings I have fallen in love with making smoothies. I don’t make yogurt or milk-based smoothies (I’ve learned to cut dairy out of my diet entirely – my body just feels great off of it, again personal choice). With smoothies though, it’s been so much fun just trying all the different combinations and having something fresh and colorful for brekkie.
- Just a side note here, with smoothies try get a good balance of greens in (like spinach or kale) with fruit, just to keep the sugar level at bay.
What I’ve loved doing and what took me quite a bit of research to figure out is that I’ve been having large portions of one type of fruit (usually mango or pawpaw). It’s called mono meals, you can read more on Earthandys blog – that’s where I first read about it and then just went into the research after that.
I love this after a workout or in the middle of the day when it is crazy hot. The whole point of this is to eat until you are full, even if that means 4 mangoes (it’s amazing 😉 – the mangoes are really big this side so I normally am only able to handle 1 or 2, but that’s entirely up to you). It’s delicious and really easy on your digestive system.
Rawnola & bliss balls
These are an amazing creation also by Earthyandy. They are great to have in your fridge, especially if you have a bit of a sweet tooth or really like treats with your coffee or tea – this is a great healthier alternative.
I love using the rawnola with my smoothies or with some fruit and as toppings to oats or even if you’re a huge yoghurt fan – it will go great with that. Then the bliss balls I love as a small snack with coffee, or if I feel like I need some energy before working out.
They are also very easy to make and super versatile towards your preferences and tastes.
It’s basically date treats but once you’ve cooked the dates it gets the caramel-like consistency and flavor making it even more delicious and then you’re pretty much set to customize them to whichever flavor you like.
So here is the recipe of the ones I like to make, and like I said once you’ve made them once you’ll be able to see how easy it is just change out any of the ingredients for another.
Nutty Chewy Bliss Balls
1- 1 ½ cups Cooking Dates
½ Cup Coconut Sugar (I left this out the last time I made them and it worked fine)
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil (Optional)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Chopped nuts (Almonds, cashew, pistachios – go crazy)
1/2 Cup Chopped Dried Fruit (you normally get dried fruit mixes, I usually add a berry combination one)
- Chop dates and put them in a pan with water and coconut sugar and coconut oil. I left the coconut sugar out last time (because I couldn’t find any – and it still worked perfectly fine for me)
- Cook down for 10 minutes chopping, stirring and squishing on Medium-Low heat.
- Once the consistency is paste like and rid of most lumps (you’ll notice it) then take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Let cool for a few minutes.
- Stir in chopped nuts and 1/2 cup dried fruit (I normally chop them up in a blender/food processor for a few seconds – it just makes life way easier).
- Transfer to a cutting board or parchment paper to let cool enough to handle.
- Roll into bite size balls and cover either in desiccated coconut or cocoa powder, whatever you fancy 🙂
- If you want to make rawnola, just chop it up into small chunks. I normally add more coconut or nuts, sometimes even oats to give a granola texture.
Whilst I have been this side I have also discovered the amazing, underrated product which is rice wraps. It’s a type of Vietnamese raw spring roll and it’s really amazing and again you can play around with flavors depending on what is in your fridge or what you like.
Some people don’t enjoy the texture but, life hack: if you buy the bigger ones you can put more crunchy and leafy greens in there which completely offset the texture and just make them amazing.
With these you just submerge them in cold water for a few seconds until they get soft, place on a plate and then add any filling you like. Loads of lettuce leaves and greens, cucumber, red cabbage, coriander, basil, some thin mango/pineapple slices, avocado – literally whatever you fancy.
Vegetarian green curry
Have a good vegetarian curry in your armory, it’s great for cold weather days (Like South Africa is probably experiencing now) or when you just feel like a nice homely meal.
So again, here just a complete change of perspective over the last year. To me curry had a meat base like chicken or lamb. And the rest was just flavor additives. Everything else in my meal was working to make the meat portion taste good and that was it. Minimal vegetables, which is actually a huge bummer.
So, I have discovered on this side how absolutely delicious vegetarian curries can be and what is great about these is that you really don’t have to hold back on what you put in, honestly the more the merrier and the healthier. So you end up feeling great about your meal.
I really like green curry – so I’ll add the version of vegetable green curry I usually make. The measurements aren’t exact because this is really just a chuck-in-pot and lets go situation.
Vegetarian green curry
½ tsps. Olive oil
1 ½ – 2 tsps good quality green curry paste
1 chopped onion
1 clove of garlic (optional)
2 chopped sweet potatoes
2-3 medium sized chopped carrots
1-cup green beans (chopped or whole)
1-2 cups baby corn
1 cup chickpeas (optional)
1 cup water/vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
1 giant handful of coriander.
Salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.
- Add olive oil into a pot along with onions and garlic – stir continuously so they sweat instead of burn.
- Add carrots and vegetable stock and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, let the moisture cook down a bit.
- Then I add the sweet potato (about 5 minutes after the carrots, because the tend to cook a bit faster than the carrots.
- Add the coconut milk when the sweet potato and carrots are just off that crunchy phase.
- Then I cuck everything else in (green beans, baby corn and 1/3 of the coriander – chickpeas too, if you want them in there)
- Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- When the carrots and sweet potato have an ‘al dente’ feel to them, then I turn of the heat. (I like to leave some crunch in all the vegetables that way they keep a bit of their sweetness and the curry doesn’t get too stodgy/heavy)
- Serve and top off with seasoning of your choice and a bunch of coriander on top. 🙂
Last minute notes:
Just to add a few more tips and trick without getting too sidetracked:
- Never underestimate a good vegetarian soup recipe.
- Plan ahead and prepare as much as you can beforehand.
- Salads are easy and delicious, add as much colour in there as you can. Don’t feel like you have to restrict yourself when it comes to a salad.
- There is loads of versatility in sweet potato and bananas (I could do a whole post on so many recipes with these ingredients as the base – I previously had no idea that they were that versatile)
- Get excited: For me food is exciting and a form of creative expression and from the time I started this transition, I have found the challenge of finding healthy alternatives so welcoming because i’m learning so much and i’m really pushed to be creative with meals and that’s when I know I am being mindful about the things I’m eating. 🙂
I hope you guys enjoy some of the recipes or appreciate the insight in terms of what has made me excited about the transition into a mostly vegetarian and raw food diet. If you don’t want such a drastic transition you can just use some of the recipes or ideas that I’ve mentioned, that’s great too.
As a bit of a disclaimer, I’m not claiming to know the secret to a healthy lifestyle, these are just the tips, tricks and recipes that for me have really made the transition easy and exciting, and it may be because of where I am living that the option of ‘no meat’ is actually really easy – but it is something that I have felt great on so I am definitely going to try stick to it.
But, enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I hope you all have a lovely week, and keep sticking to those six weeks of self love.
Much love Xxx