Chocolate peanut butter banana bread

 

Sometimes all you are craving is chocolate, bread and bananas…. so why not combine all 3 into one and add some peanut butter as well?

In the past i have made banana bread before but this one is by far the best. It turned out fluffy, a little crumbly and the right balance of sweetness according to me. If you have some ripe bananas or just feel like baking… then give this recipe a go! You can see me make this bread in my instagram highlight (itsahealthylifestyle – my banana bread story highlight!)

Recipe:
▪︎
3 ripe bananas (note, leave half a banana to use on top)
180g all purpose flour
90g brown sugar
90g white sugar – or use stevia
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bakingsoda
C.a 50g cacao powder
1 tbsp vanilla sugar(or powder)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp peanut butter… or use another nut butter
75ml coconut oil (neutral) or use melted margarine
C.a 60ml water/oatmylk/aquafaba

Top with: banana, chocolate chips and/or walnuts

How to:
Preheat oven to 175C
In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder/soda, vanilla, salt, cacao). Sifting the flour is the best… but mixing until no clumps also works.

In another bowl mash the bananas (2,5 ripe bananas). Add the oil or melted margarine as well as the peanut butter. Mix until combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix. Add some water as necessary. Add in some chocolate chips and walnuts.

Grease a bread form or make mini muffins.

Pour the mix into the form… top with some extra bananas slices. Cover with some parchment paper or aluminium foil.

Bake in the oven c.a 45-60 minutes… depending on what form you use. I don’t know the exact size of my form but mine baked for about 50-55 minutes… if you use a bread form(i.e longer and not as high) it might not need as long. And if you make muffins it might only need 25-30 minutes.

After 35 minutes check with a potato stick/knife to see if the knife comes out dry … if it does, then it’s done. If not.. bake longer.

When done.. take out of the oven. Pour over some chocolate chips. Allow to cool before eating

 
If you give this recipe a go don’t forget to let me know!!

 

Vegan twix bars |Recipe

Surprisingly… it has taken me 4 years to recreate and veganize twix bars. In the past I have veganized kit-kat andsnickers bars… however they may need an updating soon just to double check the recipe and make a few changes if necessary. But I am surprised that it has taken me so long to try to make twix.One reason… I thought it would be somewhat difficult with the caramel.Two, twix wasn’t my favourite candy bar even when I ate dairy. But I have wanted to try give a homemade version a go.The thing about making homemade twix is that it can easily become… far too sweet. The sweet shortbread base, the sweet caramel and then topped with the sweet chocolate…. It can just become too much. But I found that these were ok, not too sweet…. Even if they were still very sweet.Adding a pinch of salt in the caramel and even adding some sea salt ontop of the chocolate doesn’t just make it look fancy, but is also necessary to balance out the sugar and sweetness.There are a few ways you can make twix which I have seen online.Many go down the route of making it a raw food/no sugar/margarine/flour type of snack…. And I think many presumed that I made these twix from dates, nuts and coconut oil when I shared these on my feed (click here).Unfortunately,…. Or fortunately? These are made from sugar, flour, margarine and sugar…. So if that’s not for you, well then I have linked some alternatives on how to make this down below. However, it wouldn’t give you that caramel pull which I shared on my feed and it won’t taste exactly the same. But it can still be delicious 😊 Personally, I like both alternatives…. The rawfood/only natural sugars type of remakes of candy as well as the real deal – just a veganized version. They have two different purposes and taste slightly different, and well… it’s good that options exist!So… You all came here for the recipe so that is exactly what is coming next.But first, just some notes:

  • You can add some peanut butter or nut butter before the caramel layer to add a little extra salty touch
  • *Note, the shortbread base will be slightly crumbly, but you need to press it compact and store in the fridge to fully cool before baking.
  • Also, make the base rather thin, not too thin that it crumbles but about 1-2 cm. Otherwise it is easy for the base to take over in the completed bar.
  • *How long the shortbread base needs to bake will vary depending on ovens and how big you make the bars, so I highly recommend that you check on the base and not let it overbake. It will firm up when it is cooling, so don’t bake too long, but keep an eye on it as ovens and the size of your base will affect the cooking time.
  • *Use whatever chocolate you like – I added some coconut oil to mine when melting to thin it out and not be too sweet. You could potentially use a darker chocolate which isn’t as sweet, or why not use maybe a dark chocolate with some flavour in it, to kick it up a notch!

How to make these bars with no sugar/margarine/white flour will be posted after the original recipe!

Recipe:

Makes 16 bars. C.a 1 hour prep/cook/chill time. Minimum 2 hours in the freezer before serving.

 

Ingredients:

Shortbread base:

200g margarine (take out of the fridge c.a 15 minutes before using)

100g caster sugar

c.a 260g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1tsp vanilla powder/sugar

½ tsp baking powder

1-2tsbp cold water, if necessary.

Caramel sauce:

500ml vegan cream – either cooking cream (such as imat) or whisking cream such as (Alpro soya)

100ml syrup

3tbsp white sugar & 3 tbsp brown sugar (note, can also use just either or)

2 tbsp margarine

Pinch of salt

Topping:

c.a 100-150g chocolate of choice

Pinch of salt

Optional, 1tbsp coconut oil

How to:

Short bread base:

In a mixer, or a with an electric whisk, cream together the margarine (200g), sugar (100g) and vanilla (1tsp). Once creamed, sift in the flour (260g) and add the salt and baking powder (1/2tsp). Mix until combined and a dough starts to form. Note, you may need to add 1 tbsp of water if it is far too crumbly… but best is to add just a little water at a time so that it doesn’t get too wet. The dough should just about form into a ball/dough.

Wrap the dough in aluminium foil or cling film into a tight ball and place in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes.

In the mean time make the caramel.

Caramel:

To make the caramel, add the cream (500ml), sugar(6tbsp), syrup (100ml) and pinch of salt to a pot. Heat on medium/high temperature and stir to avoid burning. Allow to cook – avoiding burning – for around 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously. The caramel will begin to thicken – remember that it will thicken up more when cooling down. Once the caramel has begun to thicken up, after about 10-12 minutes cooking remove from the heat and add the 2 tbsp of vegan margarine. Allow to melt, stirring if necessary. Set aside and allow to cool down.

Note, if the caramel hasn’t thickened up despite cooling down for atleast 30 minutes, just heat up once again for another few minutes, stirring when necessary, and that will help it to cook a little longer and become thicker.

Preheat the oven to 160C (or 140C with fan). Either grease your baking tray, or place parchment paper in your tray (I personally recommend using parchment paper so you can lift the bar out when done).

Once the shortbread base has chilled in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes, take out of the fridge and press into the base of your baking tray, forming the base of your bars. The dough should have firmed up and not be too crumbly so that you can press it into a base. Remember, to not make the base too thick – or too thin so that it just crumbles apart.

Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes – the time depends on the thickness of your base and what size tray you are making. Just check on the base to make sure it isn’t burning.

Once done, take out of the oven and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate topping:

In the mean time, melt your chocolate over a waterbath. (Heat water in a pot, place a bowl or plate – that can stand the high temperature – ontop of the pot. Place the chocolate in the bowl or plate and it will begin to melt from the steam. Add some coconut oil if you want to thin out the chocolate). Once the chocolate has half way melted, remove the pot from the stove and the chocolate will continue to melt just from the heat.

When the shortbread base has cooled completely and the caramel has thickened up, pour the caramel over the shortbread base and spread out to cover the whole base. Then pour the melted chocolate on top, sprinkle with a little sea salt and place in the fridge to cool and firm up.

In a few hours, take out of the freezer and chop into desired bars or squares! Eat and enjoy 😊 Keep stored in the fridge or freezer, depending on how fast you eat them.

Alternatives:

You can make the base using almond flour and dates which you combine in a food processor (make sure the dates are the fresh kind and not the dry kind).

For the caramel you can make a date based caramel, such as THIS ONE, or you can mix together almond butter, maple syurp and a pinch of vanilla and salt to make a caramel sauce. These are not exactly the same as caramel based on sugar and cream, but it still works.

And for the chocolate topping you can opt for a verk dark chocolate or using sugar free chocolate, or make your “own” chocolate from melted coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla…. Though that definitely won’t be the same result but it can work.

If you give this recipe a go don’t forget to let me know and tell me what you think! You can tag me or message me on Instagram, itsahealthylifestyle!

Are there any other candy bars you would like me to recreate? 😊

Mealprep: Coconutty-sweetpotato and kale soup and pasta with 3 bean bolognese

The first mealprep of 2020 and keeping it very simple.

Though, it is not like any of my mealpreps are that complicated as that sort of defeats the concept of simple, nutritious and quick mealpreps which is what i am to do and share. Though some weeks i guess my mealprep takes more time, requires more ingredients or i do more than 1-2 dishes and therefore is not quite as simple as just making a soup or frying some ingredients.

I will be trying to share my mealpreps on a monthly basis, unsure if i will have time to share every week… and it isn’t certain that i will mealprep everyweek because some weeks i don’t need to. Some weeks i have time to cook dinner each evening and then i just make double to eat for lunch the next day (or dinner the next day and i cook something new for lunch). Otherweeks i batch cook ingredients so i can throw together into meals in the morning and evening… but i will be making posts about that in the future.

Many don’t like mealprepping or think it will take too much time, and i understand that. Mealprepping isn’t for everyone, but i hope i can provide some inspiration and motivation if you are considering getting into prepping your meals. It does save you time and money throughout the week as you won’t have to cook everyday, you won’t have to buy food everyday and also you know you are eating nutritious meals. Not to mention, it will be very helpful if you are giving veganuary a go and still unsure about what to eat/not alot of vegan options in restaurants.

Also remember, you can opt for the easy form of mealprepping which is…. make a huge batch of whatever you are preparing for dinner so you can save in lunch boxes and freeze in for later in the week or so that you have some lunches or dinners prepared for the week. Though this form of mealprepping means you eat the same thing several times in a week, which not everyone likes.

This weeks mealprep consisted of:

Coconutty peanut butter sweet potato soup with rice and pasta with 3 bean bolognaise.

For snacks i am opting for fruit, overnight oats and chia seed pudding. So those i don’t need to prepare for the whole week, instead can just prepare the evening before.

This mealprep will last me about 4-5 days, i will freeze in some of the pasta as that works fine to be frozen and reheated. Rice on the otherhand isn’t the best to freeze, reheat, freeze etc so those will be eaten first.

Also, as i do like to eat varied i do cook other meals during the week so that i don’t just eat the same thing which is also good for the sake of nutrition and health to eat varied!

How long did it take me to mealprep?

I didn’t track the time, but about 1 hour i would say including prepping and cooking.

Nutrition of the meals?

When i mealprep i like to make sure i have foods from all the food grooups, meaning a source of carbohydrate, protein ,vegetables and healthy fats. Typically i go for frozen vegetables as they can be frozen whereas fresh vegetables or salad doesn’t freeze or reheat well, not to mention it quickly goes bad in the fridge. Also i typically try to avoid using rice or roasted potatoes in my meal preps as they just aren’t the most mealprep friendly ingredients, but they are fine to prepare if you will eat the food within 12-48 hours. Being careful about how you store the dishes!

Enough talk about mealprepping… more useful information about mealprepping will be coming to you soon, but if you have any questions feel free to comment down below or message me on Instagram!

For the sake of simplicity and being able to search and find my recipes and meals, i have decided that i will post all the recipes in individual posts and instead link back to them in my weekly (or monthly) meal prep posts. This will mean the posts won’t be too long and i can instead share facts about the meals or tips about meal prepping or time/price/nutrition in these posts 🙂

On to the recipes:

The sweet potato-peanut butter stew RECIPE HERE.

3 bean blognaise with pasta recipe HERE

For some snack ideas…

Overnight oats

Chia seed pudding

Baked oatmeal

Are you into mealprepping… whether you answer yes or no, i would love to know what you like/dislike about it. Or let me know… what are you mealprepping this week?

3 bean pasta bolognaise

One of the tips I always give when someone wants to cut down on meat or try to start eating more vegetarian… or just wants to eat more fruits and vegetables is to try to do 50/50 beans/meat (or plantbased meat) in dishes where possible. For example, lasagne, stews, tacos or bolognaise it works great to omit some of the meat or plantbased meat and instead use beans or lentils.

Personally, I am trying to use less plantbased meats and use more beans and lentils… not just for the sake of saving money but also to not be so dependant on fake meats. I love the texture and taste of them and can gladly eat them twice a day… but just like with meat…. I think it’s best to keep it at a minimal and focus on “wholefoods” when possible. Even if my stance is that it is better to eat plantbased meats than real meat for the sake of the animals. Even if some meat isn’t unhealthy.

Image result for benefits of eating beans

But enough about that….

Bolognaise is the perfect dish to switch 50% of the meat/plantbased meat for beans or lentils. It will provide you with fibre, protein, complex carbs as well as had less impact on the climate… so just positives of making this switch.

You could just use your basic bolognaise recipe and switch beans for meat*, but I thought I would share a simple recipe down below if you don’t have a standard bolognaise recipe you usually use.

Recipe:

250g Pasta of choice – I used penne pasta as that was what I had at home

Sauce:

350ml pasta sauce (or used crushed tomatos and you season the sauce yourself with garlic, onion, black pepper, some rosemary or thyme)

1 shallot onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, mined

2 tbsp tomato paste

Optional, 1 carrot grated

Optional, 1 celery stalk, chopped

Salt, pepper, rosemary (fresh or frozen)

c.a 100ml vegetable stock

c.a 1 package of mixed beans, i used kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas (but white beans would work as well or a premade mixed beans package)

150g vegan mince

100g sweet corn

Serve with some vegan parmesan

How to:

Boil the pasta or spaghetti according to instructions.

In a large frying pan or pot, fry the garlic, onion and minced meat in some oil. After about 5 minutes, add the sauce ingredients (tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, celery and vegetable stock). Allow to boil/simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans and sweet corn along with rosemary, salt, pepper and other seasoning of choice. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve along with the pasta/spaghetti, adding some vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast on top for extra cheeseyness!

You can make bolognaise in many different ways, from just a basic tomato sauce, salt, pepper and minced meat to a red lentil bolognaise (recipe HERE) and some like to go fancy adding red wine or white cooking wine to their sauce along with some extra fancy spices. Whichever type of sauce you prefer… opt to use some beans instead of meat for health, taste, texture, the environment and the animals!! 😊

Peanut butter, sweet potato and kale stew

A perfect, warming and delicious meal to throw together in autumn or winter.

Not only is this dish easy to make and super tasty, it is also packed with vitamin A, iron and fibre.

I decided to add some peanut butter to this “stew” mostly because I like the taste and creaminess it adds, but you can opt out of using peanut butter… or switch to another nut butter if you prefer.

It may also be good to think about whether you can bring food with nuts to school/work or wherever you are bringing the lunch box if you decide to mealprep this dish. Then it may be better to just eat this meal at home or opt out of using nuts if you aren’t allowed food with nuts at school/work.

I have made a similar dish to this before, and made one using tofu and sundried tomatoes which is also super tasty, so you can check that out HERE.

Changes:

  • You can adjust the spices or change the spices depending on your own preference
  • You can change coconut milk for example cooking cream (oat or soya based)
  • You can switch kale for spinach
  • You can switch vegan chicken pieces to tofu or tempeh, or just omit this ingredient

I personally wouldn’t switch sweet potato for regular potato as it just won’t be the same. It is the sweetness from the sweet potato which works so well with the nut butter and gives this dish a slight sweet taste.

Now onto the recipe:

Recipe:

Makes c.a 4-6 portions, takes about 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 small/medium sweet potato – peeled and diced

1 shallot onion

2 cloves garlic

c.a 200g kale – fresh or frozen

150g vegan chicken – can use tempeh, tofu or leave this out

1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter

240ml water

240ml coconut cream (full fat) or plantbased cooking cream

½ can crushed tomatoes

½ can chickpeas

Handful of cocktail tomatoes

1 tsp sambal oelek

1tsp smoked paprika

1-2 tsp brown sugar (for sweetness)

1tsp salt (or use less if you are using a salted peanut butter)

Black pepper

Rice

Top with crushed peanuts and some naan bread

Oil to fry in.

How to:

Start by preparing the rice according to instructions (make sure to rinse the rice a few times before cooking!)

Begin by dicing the onion and garlic. Add to a large pot along with 1tbsp oil and begin to fry until golden brown.

In the mean time, peel and dice the sweet potato into small/medium cubes.

Add the sweet potato to the pot along with the water (240ml) and the tomato juice. Add the peanut butter, sambal oelek, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and pinch of brown sugar. Mix and allow to heat on medium temperature under a lid for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then.

When the sweet potato has begun to soften, pour in half or all of the coconut milk , depending on how thick or loose you want your stew. Add in the kale, vegan chicken, chickpeas and cocktail tomatoes (halved!).

Allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sweet potato are soft and the stew has thickened up a bit. Taste and add more seasoning according to preference.

Once done, serve the stew along with the rice and some crushed peanuts on top!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to let me know what you think 😊

You can find other soups and stews on my blog or other easy mealprep recipes!

31 vegan dinner ideas for veganuary

January the 1st 2020. And many of you are *hopefully* comitting to veganuary… or maybe you have just decided to eat more plantbased and are looking for some meal inspiration…. well then, here are 31 lunch or dinner ideas you can try making or incoporating into your weekly diet!

When you first start eating plantbased you may find it hard to know what to eat and you end up just eating salad, or you take away the meat and dairy but don’t replace it with anything so you end up unsatisfied, hungry and get cravings.

So my best tip is to 1) Remember to substitute what you take away. I.e switch dairy products for non dairy alternatives. And if you take away the meat or fish on your plate, don’t just take it away or substitute with more potatoes. Instead substitute it with tofu, tempeh, beans, soya products or something else that gives you protein.

Another tip is to write down all your favourite meals and find a way to veganize them. Now a days the majority of dishes can be veganized in one way or another. Though of course, you do have to be prepared for the fact that the dish won’t taste exactly the same. So some prefer to note veganize and isntead just recreate new vegan dishes which don’t try to replicate a non vegan dish.

I would suggest you write down a bunch of different meal ideas or recipes you want to try or try to recreate and have that as a back up for when you don’t know what to cook or eat. A good idea is also to have the list on your phone for the days you are tired and hungry and need to quickly shop for food.

Invest in some cookbooks or follow a bunch of vegan recipe creators online (such as myself 😉 Instagram: itsahealthylifestyle)

Also, here is a post with some good staple foods to always have at home &what’s in my fridge/freezer

And for more inspiration or cooking videos, you can follow me on my Youtube channel – IzzyM

Meal ideas

*click the picture for the name of the dish*

There you have many different dishes you can try out 🙂 I have plenty more recipes you can search for on my blog. Also a whole bunch of breakfast, snacks and desserts which you can check out.

So now it is just to get cooking and try different recipes, see what you like and what you don’t like!

If you try any of these recipes, let me know in the comments down below or on my Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle)

New Years Eve vegan dinner ideas

New Years eve is coming up and that may leave you wondering…. what should i make to eat? The last meal of 2019 – and the decade – it should be special right?

Well, of course it doesn’t have to be…. my recommendation is always to just go for your favourite foods or meals to end the year. Why make something complicated and gourmet if you won’t like it?

But of course, many end the year with a 3 course dinner and i thought i would give you some tips on what to cook or prepare…. or what to bring to the party to impress your non vegan friends. Because whether vegan or not, the majority of people can all enjoy a vegan meal! So why not end the year with a vegan 3 course meal….?

So i have gathered some recipes and ideas from the internet which i thought i would share with you. If you want to check out the recipe, click on the name and it will take you to the recipe.

Starters/appetizers:

Bruschetta with a tomato and basil mix on top (or 3 other topping ideas, HERE)

Different canapes such as “crostini” with tomato topping, or an olive mix on top.

Spinach, sundried tomato and olive puff pastry

Crisps and guacamole/hummus

Dumplings or bao buns with smoky tofu

Yorkshire puddingsThese look so amazing i am tempted to give them a try myself

Garlic bread

Smashed potatoes with gucamole, or a pea and avocado dip… or why not make a ranch dressing.

Pinrolls with example sundried tomato, basil and cream cheese. Or spinach and cheese pinwheels. 

Focaccia – tomato and thyme

Pizza twists with pesto, cream cheese and vegan bacon

Savoury stuffed dates

Tomato tart

Beetroot, vegan feta cheese, rocket and walnut salad with a balsamic vinagrette

Roasted bread with tahini and israeli salad “vegetable-tahini toast”

Main meals:

Hassleback potatoeswith seitan steakand grilled asparagus with ared wine sauce

Vegan Bouef Beourginon or try THIS recipe by Jävligt Gott(it is in Swedish, but it is a really good recipe)

Baked potatoes with chickpea “tuna” salad.  Or twice baked taco stuffed sweet potato. Or baked potato with vegan feta, rocket and sundried tomatoes.

Vegan “beef” wellington

Creamy Mushroom risotto

Saffron paella

 VegetableStuffed portabello with salad

Pizza or sweet potato pizza – choose your favourite toppings! It can be a fun idea for everyone to make their own pizza or if you buy premade dough that everyone tops their pizza themselves.

Lasagna

Savoury crepe with a creamy mushroom filling

Mini pizzas with vegan feta cheese, walnuts and rocket.

Make your own sushiis also a good idea. It isn’t as difficult as you may think!

Langos with smoked tofu and cream cheese

Potato gratin or give THIS recipe a try by the Minimalist baker

Dessert

Chocolate mousse with whipped cream, nuts and berries on top (or try chocolate mousse based on aquafaba – it is surprisingly good!)

Nutella pizza top with eg. bananas, berries, nuts

White chocolate mousse with saffran cookies – recipe is in Swedish, but should work fine to translate

Creme brulee this recipe includes both tofu and turmeric, which may not be for everyone. So then you can check out THIS recipe which is creme brulee with the basic ingredients like sugar, cream, corn starch.

Tiramisu – can make into portions or in one large form

Saffrons parfait or some other parfait ideas HERE

Mojito cheesecake

Oreo mousse cake

Snickers mousse cake

Raw food chocolate cake

Mango and passionfruit cheesecake

Chocolate ganache pie

Vanilla pana cotta (this recipe is based on cashews) ortry THIS recipe based on coconut milk

Triple layer vegan cookie brownies! [i.e slutty brownies]

 

 

Hopefully these give you some ideas on what to make for new years eve! Remember it doesn’t have to be too complicated just because you want to make vegan food 🙂

I hope you all have an amazing New Years Eve and a great start to the new year!!!

And if you are planning to give Veganuary a go… don’t forget to follow me on here – and myinstagram (itsahealthylifestyle) where i will be sharing tips and advice to help you 🙂

Kale and tofu pie | Updated | Chickpeaflour

Christmas is over for this year…. now it is just another 365 days to go until next Christmas. And i am relieved for that….

I have eaten christmas food non stop for the past week, so i am ready to let that go for a few months… until it is Easter and we eat pretty much the same foods again.

But one dish which i won’t be letting go so easily… or atleast won’t be waiting until Easter until i make this again is this kale and tofu pie.

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So i have made this pie several times before, but then i have made the pie filling from a mix of oatcream and maizena. It has worked, but i decided to try make a filling based on chickpea flour and i have to say that i really liked it.

It did make the cake alot more filling which is of course a good thing. Not to mention the chickpea flour adds some extra protein to this dish… not that it needs it as there is alreayd tofu or vegan chicken in it. But the chickpea flour gives this cake more texture and taste which i really liked.

Chickpea flour isn’t always so easily found which might make it hard to make this recipe. But you may be able to order online… and then you can try making chickpea pancakes or chickpea tofu with the remanining flour.

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This pie works to also make directly in glass lunch boxes, i.e you make 2-3 smaller pies ready to bring to work or school. However, then you may need to increase the pie dough with 50% just so that you can cover the whole base of the glass lunch boxes.

I have also madeportion lasagne in my glass lunch boxes, an easy way to mealprep or if you don’t have any large forms!

Give this pie a try and don’t forget to let me know what you think 🙂 Comment down below or let me know on Instagram (Itsahealthylifestyle)

You can also see when i make this pie in my latest YouTube video (HERE)

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Recipe

Serve 6-8 people

Prep: c.a 20 minutes Cook time: c.a 45 minutes. Cool down: 20 minutes

Pie base:

180g all purpose flour

150g margarine, room temperature

Pinch of salt and pepper

2-3 tbsp water if necessary

Kale filling:

300g frozen kale

1 medium/small red onion

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed

150g tofu or vegan chicken pieces (eg. hälsans kök)

2 tablespoon vegetable fond (not broth)

2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (can be omitted)

Chickpea flour filling:

130g chickpea flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon kala namak

130ml oatcream

100ml water

2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Pinch of salt and pepper

Optional: Top the pie with some walnuts

How to:

Preheat oven to 200C

Begin making the pie dough. Add the flour, salt and pepper to a baking bowl. Chop the margarine into small cubes. Add into the flour and with your hands begin to press/crumble the margarine to mix into the flour.

When the margine is fully crumbled, meaning no large pieces of margarine. Add 1-2 tablespoon of cold water to help turn the crumble into more of a dough. Once the flour/margarine has turned into a dough, i.e not too crumbly and not too wet, place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In the mean time, grease your pie form or glass jars with some oil or margarine.

After the 30 minutes, press the dough into the cake form and begin making the pie base. Press it evenly throughout the whole form and try to press up on the edges of the form as well- otherwise there is risk that the pie filling will just ooze out.

Poke holes in the pie base and then bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

In the mean time, make the kale filling.

Chop and dice the red onion and garlic. Add to a frying pan with a generous amount of oil. Fry until golden brown.

Then add the kale – frozen is best in this recipe. But you can use fresh, just make sure to rinse and chop first (also letting it sit in water with some salt for a while can make it easier to digest).

Add the tofu or vegan chickenpieces and allow fry until golden brown and the kale has begun to shrink. Add the vegetable fond along with the nutritional yeast, fry for a few more minutes or until the kale mix is soft. Then remove from the heat.

Chickpeafilling

Make the chickpea filling by weighing out the chickpea flour and adding to a baking bowl. Add the cornstarch, kala namak, nutritional yeast as well as salt and pepper. Mix.

Then add in the liquid and mix until combined. There should be no clumps and the batter will be similar to pancake batter. Set aside until the pie crust has prebaked.

Once the pie crust has prebaked, take out of the oven and add the kale filling. Then pour over the chickpea flour mix together with the kale filling.

Place bake into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling has firmed up.

Once done, take out of the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Top with some walnuts for extra crunch!

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You can make this pie in many different ways and you can even change the filling… example go for spinach and vegan feta cheese. Or why not go for a tomato and thyme filling?

All you really need is the base pie crust and the chickpea – or cream – filling/”egg”replacement. And the rest of the fillings and seasoning is up to you 🙂

 

Double chocolate ganache birthday cake | Vegan

Looking for a chocolate cake recipe that isn’t based on dates, coconut and avocado? Or looking for a chocolate cake recipe that i can guarantee you won’t turn out dry?

Well then this is the cake for you. 

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A brownie-fudge base and a truffle/ganache filling with a tiny bit of rum for that extra kick. But that is entirely optional and would taste amazing without the liquor.

This cake was the result of mixing two good ideas into one. As it was a birthday cake for my mum i didn’t want to make a super simple chocolate cake, but neither did i want to go full on 4 layers with extra filling and toppings like i have in the past. So this cake idea seemed like a good middle ground. Not to mention, easy to throw together meaning that you really don’t need any baking or cooking skills to make this cake.

Also this cake would be a great addition to the new years eve celebrations or dinner 🙂 And a good way to impress non vegans with some amazing vegan cake!

So if you have the ingredients at home, or just want to try this cake… then give this recipe a go!

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Also note, you can change the cake base to something else if you don’t want the chocolate cake as the base. Example crush some digestives, add melted margarine and press into the base of your cake form, that will give this cake a bit more crunch.

Changes:

If you want more pear taste you could try adding c.a 30ml of the pear juice from the concentrated pears into the mix. But note, don’t add too much as there is risk that the mix won’t firm up in the fridge then.

You can add frozen – or fresh – raspberries straight to the chocolate mix to add more raspberry flavour.

You can opt for lighter or darker chocolate, but then of course the sweetness will change and if you go for very dark chocolate the cake will taste more bitter. But if you go for a very sweet milk or white chocolate you may want to cut back on a little sugar in the base or skip the vanilla sugar.

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Cake recipe:

Serves 12.

30 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook, 2+ hours to chill

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 150 g margarine
  • 100 g vegan chocolate – light or dark
  • 180g all purpose flour
  • 190g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g cacao or around 3tbsp
  • 150ml plantbased milk – go for soya or oat

Cake filling – ganache

100 g margarine
250 ml whisking cream, e.g oat or soya
400 g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon light rum, can be excluded

Topping
1 can of preserved pears
1 box, 100 g, raspberry

 

How to:

Make the base:

Preheat the oven to 175 ° C.
Grease a cake form with some margarine – or place parchment paper around the cake form.
Melt the margarine in a saucepan and remove from the stove. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add into the melted margarine. Let the chocolate melt, mixing when necessary.
In a baking bowl, mix flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt in a bowl and sift in the cocoa. Mix until the dry ingredients are fully combined with no clumps.

Pour the margarine and chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and add the plantbased milk. Mix until it’s a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the cake form.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20-25  minutes. The cake will firm up when it cools down.

Allow to cool down for 20 minutes before placing in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Filling:

Begin by boiling the margarine and cream in a saucepan (the same saucepan), takes around 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.

When the mararine has melted and the cream is boiling, pour it over the chocolate.

Let stand for 1 minute before mixing until you get a smoothchocolate batter.

Add the icing sugar, vanilla sugar and rum into the mix.

Once the cake base has cooled properly (after being in the freezer) pour the chocolate on top of the base and place in the freezer for around 45 minutes to firm up before placing in the fridge for at least 90 minutes before serving.

*Don’t forget to set a timer so you don’t end up forgetting the cake in the freezer!*

Before serving, add some canned pears and raspberries on top!

This cake tastes almost better a day later, so you can make this cake in advance – just don’t top with the pears or raspberries until it is serving time.

 

I highly recommend you give this cake a  go if you like chocolate.

If you do try this cake, let me know what you think down in the comments below… or let me know on my Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle)

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Roasted carrots with tahini and cranberries | Christmas side dish

Christmas is coming up and that means the start of Christmas recipes being posted.

I do already have a bunch of Christmas recipes you can check out here – main meals, appetizers as well as candy and desserts.Though of course, what is traditionally eaten for Christmas will vary between countries. Example, if you live in the UK or U.S you may find that U.K or U.S based food bloggers will provide recipes that better suit your Christmas table. But you may also want to try something new and different… such as Swedish saffron buns, homemade vegan daim or why not some vegan aubergine “herring”.

A few dishes seem to be rather universal when it comes to Christmas dinners/buffets and that is the vegetables…. In some form or another. Such as roasted brussel sprouts or sweet potato. Roasted carrots and roasted potatoes…. Or the pickled red cabbage or kale salads.

That is one thing which I love about the Christmas buffet… all the different vegetables, and when I am in charge of planning or cooking I always make sure we have plenty of vegetables to last several days afterwards, haha.

Do you have any favourite Christmas vegetable dishes or meals that have to be on the table each Christmas? 😊

As you can tell, since my trip to Israel I have been using tahini in huge quantities, and soon my tahini stash is all gone which is rather upsetting because the tahini I can buy in regular food stores just doesn’t taste the same. I may just have to import some of the Alarz tahini I have been using.

So how to make the roasted carrots?

Well, you can make them two ways:

Ingredients:

500g-1kg carrots

1-2tbsp oil, olive or canola (melted margarine also works)

1,5tbsp maple syrup, agave syrup or honey*

1tsp salt

Fresh parsley or coriander

Tahini

Cranberries – or pomegranate seeds

*optional add some balsamic vineger to the wet mix

How to:

First off peel the carrots and chop off the ends.

To prepare them, either steam the carrots until soft (around 10 minutes). You will need a large pot and colander if preparing all the carrots at once.

In the mean time mix together the oil, syrup and salt. (If using balsamic vinegar, add in c.a 1/2-1tsp)

When they are steamed, place in a bowl and cover in the liquid. Mix until all the carrots are coated. Then fry on medium heat until glazed, or bake in the oven at 200C for 10-20 minutes.

The other way to prepare them: Is just to peel them, chop off the tops, place on a baking tray with parchment paper. Coat in the oil/syrup mix and then bake in the oven at 200c for c.a 40-50 minutes. Making sure to check on them so they don’t burn and that the syrup doesn’t burn and cause smoke!!

Once cooked, coat in some parsley or coriander, drizzle over tahini and cranberries!!

Eat warm and enjoy!

This is a christmas inspired appetizer and side dish, but it works well any other time as well. Just like the brussel sprout and sweet potato side dish i love making!!!

Broccoli and tofu red lentil curry with rice

Last Friday when my mum was visiting me we were discussing what to eat or make for dinner and she suggested something warm, such as a curry. Then as usual, my mind began thinking about to throw together this meal and make something delicious…. Preferably not too spicy, too watery or too salty.But I can say, even if it was a throw together meal, it turned out really good and I will definitely be making it again! As I shared this recipe in my Instagram stories, I thought I should also share it on here 😊 I have a a habit of either only sharing on my Instagram stories/captions or only on my blog… but it can infact be useful to share on both platforms.This meal also worked great to be frozen and then reheated… the only thing to think about is being careful with rice and how you cool it and reheat it… preferably it should not be reheated more than once due to bacteria growth. And also to cool the rice rather quickly and not let it stand in room tempterature, so just a little FYI. But if you are worried about this you can of course opt for some quinoa or another form of grain to compliment the curry.

Recipe:

Makes 3-4 portions

Ingredients:

3-4 portions rice

1 red lentil

2 cloves garlic

1-2 cm ginger, in small pieces

250g tofu

1-2 tbsp olive oil

200ml red lentils c.a 160g

1 tsp paprika

1tsp curry powder

1/2tsp curry or 1 tsp sambal oelek

2 tbsp tomato paste

Pinch of salt and pepper

1-2 broccoli

400ml coconut milk

1 vegetable stock & 500ml water

1 handful crushed peanuts

1-2 tsb lime juice

How to:

Begin by rinsing the rice several times and then boiling in the right amount of water according to the portions you are going to make. Boil according to instructions.

In a large pot add 1-2tbsp oil along with the diced onion, garlic and tofu cut into cubes. Allow to fry until golden brown. Add the ginger along with the spices (paprika, curry, chilli) and the tomato pasta.

Pour in 500ml water along with the vegetable stock and 200ml red lentils. Mix and allow to simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.

In the mean time chop the broccoli into small florets.

After 10 minutes, add the coconut milk and broccoli and heat for another 10 minutes under a lid. Add a little lime juice along with salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning according to preference.

Once done, remove from the heat and serve with the rice as well as some salad or coriarnder and salted peanuts.

*Note, there is a lot of liquid in this curry, so you can limit the water to 350ml if you want less liquid and more coconut milk flavour.Also, you can substitute broccoli for cauliflower or add sweet potato instead of either of those.This recipe should work fine to half or double if you have a VERY LARGE pot, haha.

Portion dessert: Saffron and gingerbread cheesecake

Saffron and gingerbread cheesecake parfaits

It’s Christmas and new years… you want dessert but you don’t want to, or don’t need to make a cake for several people… what do you do? Skip dessert… no of course that shouldn’t be an option.

Instead… make parfaits or single portion desserts… then you won’t have a bunch of dessert over that may not be eaten (or let’s be honest, is left over dessert even a thing?). Or maybe it is just date night and you want a tasty dessert for you and your partner or friend. Then here is the perfect dessert fro you.

Or if example, you whipped a bunch of cream and don’t know what to do with it, then this recipe is also for you 😊

Variations: NOTE… you can vary this recipe by making it oreo based. I.e use oreo biscuits as the base and add some crushed oreos to the cream. Or make a snickers based parfait by using digest biscuits in the base, adding chocolate and peanut butter to the soya cream, adding some salted nuts and caramel sauce as well as dark chocolate to the parfait 😊

The actual cake recipes for inspiration: Snickersmousse cake(HERE)& oreo mousse cake (HERE)

There you have 3 easy dessert ideas you can make.

So this recipe has been shared before, HERE, but that was to make an actual cake that serves 6-8 people, and this recipe is basically just downsized to make parfaits.

Recipe:

Ingredients – 2 large pots

c.a 100g-150g gingerbread men (you don’t need to be so precise with how many gingerbread men you use)

C.a50 g vegan margarine (melted) or neutral coconut oil

120ml soyacream, whipped

0,5g saffron

c.a 50g sugar

c.a 150g vegan cream cheese

Optional: some vanilla

How to:

Begin by melting the margarine. Crush the gingerbread men until almost crumbles – some bigger pieces are ok.

You can do this by placing gingerbread men in a plastic bag and then with a rolling pin, rolling over the bag to crush the cookies. Or just smashing down on the cookies with something heavy.

In a bowl, pour the crushed gingerbread men, and then pour over the melted margarine until combined. It should not become mushy or be too much margarine, if there is… then add more crushed cookies. Or vice versa, if it is too dry then it is just to melt a little more margarine.

Pour the base/cookie mix into your desired glasses, jars or pots. Press down to form a base.

Place in the freezer while you make the filling.

In a clean steel (or baking bowl) – make sure there is no oil reisdue, whisk the soya cream with a few drops of lemon juice until stiff peaks begin to show.

In another bowl mix together the cream cheese, sugar and saffron. Then “fold in” the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix. When it is all mixed together, pour into the portions/jars which you placed the gingerbread base and let sit in the freezer to solidify. Take out of the freezer c.a 30 minutes before serving and optional to top with some more gingerbread cookies.

NOTE – you can make layers and parfait. Example, make the gingerbread cookie base, place into the freezer. Add the saffron filling to half way, then add some crushed gingerbread cookies before adding more of the saffron cream. And then place back into the freezer.

Also note, you can use some lingonberry jam on top or in the middle, as that works well with the saffron cream and the gingerbread cookies. Though I don’t know how easy it is to find that jam in countries outside of the Nordic countries.

If you make this, don’t forget to let me know… on here or on my Instagram! It is always fun to hear when you try my recipes and what you think of them…. And yes, that also means constructive feedback 😊 I have been asked to start writing in grams instead of ml or dl which I usually use, and that is feedback which I am keeping in mind and going to try writing in grams instead or as well as ml and dl!

Gingerbread hot chocolate

It’s winter time…. It’s minus degrees and snow outside. And all you want is some warm comforting hot chocolate. I now have the recipe exactly for you!

Gingerbread hot chocolate…… doesn’t that sound amazing? Especially with whipped soya cream and added gingerbread men on top. Not an everyday snack, but definitely a delicious one. And it can of course be completely sugar free if you skip the soya cream or maybe use whipped coconut cream on top… and of course skip the gingerbread men, unless you make your own sugerfree ones.

Enough talk, onto the recipe…

Recipe

For 2 cups:

500ml plantbased milk, the best is oat or soya. However pea based mylk should also work

2-3 tbsp cacao – preferably a darker cacaopower but if you want to use a cacao powder specifically for hot chocolate that works as well.

2-3tbsp stevia (you can omit this if you don’t want your hot chocolate sweet)

1tsp gingerbread spice (i.e cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove)

1tsp cinnamon

Optional, 2tsp vanilla powder

100ml soya cream, whipped (note, you can use a few drops lemon juice or vinegar when whisking to help it stiffen up)

Gingerbread men

How to:

Pour the mylk into a pot and heat on medium. Add the cacao powder along with the sweetener and spices. Mix until well combine. Heat until your desired temperature.

In the mean time, whisk the soya cream with a few drops of lmon juice if you have a mixer. If not ,I would recommend ou start whisking the cream first and then leave in the fridge while you make the hot chocolate. Also, you can add ½ tsp gingerbread spices to the cream for extra spice and flavour.

Pour the hot chocolate into mugs, top with the cream and gingerbread men, drink and enjoy.

Let me know if you try this recipe 😊 This will be my new favourite winter drink

P.s note, you can do 50/50 mylk and water, or 50/50 mylk and oat cream depending on what consistency and fat content you want your hot chocolate to have!

Also, you can add some dark chocolate or specific “hot chocolate-chocolate” which you melt in with the milk!

Vegan puff pastries with cream cheese and green kale

I don’t know about you, but puff pastry rolls have become a standard for our Christmas buffet. I made some spinach puff pastry rolls (recipe HERE) last year and they were so appreciated I had to make them again a few days later.

This time I decided to try make with kale and instead of rolls I used precut puff pstry sheets. When buying puff pastry, make sure that it is made from margarine and not butter… typically margarine is used because it is cheaper, so the more expensive puff pastry brand will most likely include butter.

Recipe

Makes 6-8 puff pastries

6-8 puff pastry sheets

200-300g green kale

1 red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Optional, 1 tbsp vegetable fond – or just use some salt and pepper for extra flavour

100g vegan cream cheese

2-3tbsp tahini

Handful of hazelnuts or walnuts

How to:

Place the puff pastry sheets on a baking tray, leave a little space inbetween each pastry sheet

Make a “rectangle/square” in the puff pastry c.a 0.5-1cm from the edge, this is to help when you are going to add the filling as you can push down the middle.

After 10 minutes when the puff pastry has defrosted, if you using frozen, place in the oven at 180C for 5-7 minutes (or according to the instructions on the package). You can cover the puff pastry with a little aquafaba or melted vegan margarine to add flavour and colour.

In the mean time begin making the filling by adding diced onion and garlic to a frying pan with some oil. Once golden brown, add the kale along with alittle more oil. Allow to heat until the kale begins to shrink. If using, add the vegetable stock at the same time as the kale. Otherwise just season with some salt and pepper.

Once the kale has shrunk take away from the heat. When the puff pastry is done, take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly before adding vegan cream cheese, the kale mix as well as pouring over some tahini and crushed hazelnuts or walnuts. (Note you can put back into the oven for 2-3 minutes, but the cream cheese will melt slightly).

These are very easy to throw together, as you noticed. Filled with vitamins and minerals from the kale, and you can of course add some crushed tempeh or tofu to the kale mix to increase the protein amount if you like.

These work great as appetizers or even as a week day snack.

Vegan eats in Tel Aviv | Restaurant review and tips

Together with VibeIsrael, i was invited on their vegan food tour (Gifted trip)

I was contacted a few months ago and at first i didn’t know how to respond… i must admit, i even thought it was just another spam mail. But with a little research i realized that Vibe is infact an established organization that has held many different tours.

I can say, i was honored to be asked to join… even if it was uncertain whether i could travel or not because of my studies. However, i can say now that the trip is over i am so glad that i decided to go, because it was an experience for sure.

If you want to see some of the food we ate and what we did, you can watch my 3 videos, PART 1, PART 2, PART 3 showing you the first 3 days of our trip 🙂

So, i am sure many of you have heard about Tel Aviv being a sort of vegan Haven? One of the top cities to visit if you are a vegan foodie. Not just aesthetically pleasing food, but delicious food. Because it is in the Middle East, Israel has food from many different cultures as well as having lots of fresh fruit and vegetables which often make it the center of the meal. Which i love!

I may be all for vegan soy burgers and fake meats, but there is something incredible about being able to make amazing dishes out of vegetables, spices and “natural/unprocessed foods”. Of course, natural doesn’t have to be better and it is fine with processed foods, but being able to make vegetables taste delicious and make meat eaters enjoy and like eating vegetables is definitely a talent. And we need more of that in our everyday lives.

So i can say, i am excited to bring back all the new food experiences and different meals i have tried. Maybe have vegetables be more in focus in my meals… but of course focusing on Swedish vegetables.

But, in this post i want to focus on some of the vegan restaurants we ate at. I am sure there are many more amazing vegan places to eat at, but these are the ones we went to.

There will be a mix of my own photos as well as photos from a proffessional food photographer, Amir Menahem, who you should check out and follow on his Instagram.

Bana:

A really cosy vibe and atmosphere. A place where you can go to eat and just sit there for hours, ordering in dishes to share among friends. We went during the evening, around 8pm so it was dark outside but still warm enough to sit outside. This restaurant gave me tapas vibes, i.e you order in a bunch of different meals which you share and try together with friends or family.

The food at Bana was my first taste of Israeli food and i can say i was not disappointed, however we got so many dishes served to us and we were so caught up in talking and eating that i didn’t always register what it was that we were being served.

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The menu changes based on what fruits and vegetables are in season, so the dishes i ate might not be there when you go to visit. But there was a sweet potato dish that was amazing, as well as an eggplant and tahini dish. Not to mention the desserts that were incredible, my favourite being the waffle with apples/pears and caramel sauce.

Vegetables are in focus at Bana, however i don’t think you have to be a vegetable lover to appreciate the food. However if you are a hardcore meatlover who wants that smokey taste and texture, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. But it is an amazing place to get inspiration for different vegetable based dishes.

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You can see some of the meals we ate at Bana in THIS VIDEO.

Opa:

Opa is a rather newly opened (when writing this) restaurant which is focused on vegan fine dining. Meaning high class, gourmet meals that use ingredients and ways of cooking, preparing and styling food you may not have seen or heard about before.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Gourmet and fine dining isn’t really my thing if i am honest. I keep my meals simple and don’t like to overcomplicate food and cooking, so this was definitely an experience for me, and a good one at that!

We got about 8-10 different dishes which two people shared. The vegetable was in focus, just like at Bana, and i think the menu changes depedning on the season and what vegetables are in season as well.

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Amir Menahem

There were so many new and different flavours and tastes, and you can definitely tell that it was not the same as home cooked comfort food. If you are into fine dining or just want to try fine dining experience then i recommend going to Opa. It is of course more expensive than a regular restaurant, but it is worth the experience and if you are in Tel Aviv, why not! It is also great for a date night or maybe celebrating an anniversary!

The chocolate dessert was BEYOND AMAZING. So if it is on the menu, then you definitely have to get it

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Photo: Amir Menahem

You can see some of the dishes are my experience in THIS video!

416:

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Photo: Amir Menahem

416 was one of my favourite places to eat while in Tel Aviv. It had very LA vibes…. loud music, lots of plants, friendly staff and vegan remakes of fast food.. but better than fast food. I.e not the greasy burgers and fries or pizza you get at maybe McDonalds or burger king, but the restaurant type of burgers and pizza which taste so much better.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

This is definitely the type of place you would go with friends, maybe before going out dancing. Or if you are celebrating a birthday or just want some good, filling vegan food. it would work great to bring your partner if they are sceptical to vegan food but willing to try as 416 offers vegan fake meat and remakes of different meatbased dishes.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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I.e vegan ceaser salad, vegan sliders, vegan steak, vegan calamari, vegan filled pasta and of course THE DESSERTS. I highly recommend you leave space for dessert, and maybe order in more than one dessert.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Not to mention, they have a vegan cocktail bar meaning… all the drinks are vegan. Which is always a plus because then you don’t need to wonder or ask if the wine is vegan!

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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You can see a video from our dinner at 416, HERE.

If you like fake meats or vegan “fast food” i.e not necessarily just vegetables and plantbased, then i do recommend making time to go to 416.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Price wise… i can’t really say. But it is in the middle/high class. and in general, Tel Aviv is rather expensive so i would recommend you save up before travelling there so that you can fully enjoy yourself and enjoy the food there – it is well worth the money 🙂

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Citizen garden (brunch)

The last place we ate at was citizen garden, which is a brunch/lunch place and the first thing i have to say is that it is VERY INSTRAGRAM FRIENDLY. Of course, i am sure many don’t care about this…the important thing is that the food tastes good – which it definitely did! But it has amazing lighting, there is a cosy outside “garden” which you can sit in and of course the food both tastes and looks amazing… so yes, you will be wanting to take photos.

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It is the type of place you go to have brunch with friends, weekend breakfast with your partner (or solo!), go there to eat lunch, drink coffee and work for several hours… or even the place you go after a night out, feeling kind of hungover and just want a detox juice and salad… and some avocado toast (which was the case for myself and the rest of the group. A detox juice and plenty of coffee was definitely necessary!).

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I really enjoyed the food at Citizen garden and it is the type of food i make and eat even at home. Different bowls, toasts, drinks and cold dishes. You will want to order a little bit of everything, but i have to say that the bowls/salads are very large almost worth sharing.

So it could be a good idea to get a bowl and toast to share between two people, then you get to try more than one thing.

Price wise… well, it is worth the price for the food you get. It tasted very fresh and of course very nutritious. Not to mention lovely staff and atmosphere!

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Hummus HaCarmel in carmel market

Carmel market is the market in Tel Aviv, and there is plenty to see there. Lots of people, lots of stalls, lots to see and try… almost a little overwhelming. I do also recommend that you try to stay clear from the slaughter/meat/fish part of the market if you are vegan… it wasn’t the most pleasant to walk past that part.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

I did try some things from the market such as bread and sauce, some different sweet desserts and an ethiopian coffee. But the place i wanted to recommend was Hummus HaCarmel. I had never heard of this place, but apparently it is rather well known/a tourist place… which i noticed when we got there. There was a line waiting to eat and we had to wait about 15-20 minutes until we got to sit down and order, but it was worth the wait.

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Basically it is a hummus place. So they have different hummus with salad and you also get pita bread. it is basically a small “in the wall” resturants but it has quite alot of places to sit outside and you do get a place to sit, so it is not just to walk in and sit down.

The vibe is very fast paced… people walking by, people waiting, it is not a place you go to sit for a long time and just talk, instead you go there with a mission to eat your hummus and pita bread and leave rather quickly again. Basically a market place cafe.. it is what you would expect regarding the atmosphere.

But it is worth a visit if you enjoy hummus and are in Carmel market. Also, they do have a sink and antiseptic so you can wash your hands before eating which you will most likely want to do as you eat with your hands!

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Price wise… basically the price of a lunch. More expensive than typical market place food which is often rather cheap (according to me). So even if you just get hummus and pita bread it is rather expensive, but worth it atleast once anyway 🙂

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Luna

So, Luna isn’t actually in Tel Aviv, it is in Nazareth (about 2 hours from Tel Aviv) so if you just plan to be in Tel Aviv you may not go here, but if you do have plans to travel around Israel and are in Nazareth, then i do recommend Luna.

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The focus is arabic food. Lots of falafel, tabbouleh, hummus, stuffed cabbage rolls, rice etc

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And the dessert, specifically the Knafeh, was incredible. We were all so full from lunch and our previous eats in the morning that none of us were particularly craving dessert… but one bite in and we all wanted more. So that was definitely a hit!

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Photo: Amir Menahem

The atmosphere…? Definitely a place you go with your family. It was beside a shopping mall, so i am sure many go shopping and then go for lunch there or vice versa. It is definitely easy to eat a whole bunch at Luna and end up with a food coma deluxa.

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One thing i do have to mention is that the owner, Luna, was so incredibly friendly and you could tell that she was so passionate about the food and wanting us to really enjoy it. And it was like you could tell that the food was cooked with love…. hahaha, how true that is i don’t know. But it was a really nice experience eating there.

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Like Opa and Bana, no fake meats… only wholefoods and vegetables in focus. Lots of different spices, which is very typical in the middle easten cuisine. And of course, it seems like you order a bunch of dishes to share among many (though maybe you can order a dish just for yourself which you do in European restaurants).

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Price wise, unfortunatly i don’t know.

Other tips:

Anastasia

I never visited Anastasia, but apparently it has a great vegan brunch but there is usually a queue (specially on weekends), so you will want to go there in time and be ready to queue until you get a place to sit down.

Other places you can eat:

Order a Sabich (“Hole in the wall” restaurant)

Similar to a fish and chips shop in the U.K, i.e they have a small kitchen/cooking area where they prepare the sabich for you freshly when you order. Takes about 10 minutes to make as they fry the eggplant when you order. Typically Sabich is made with egg, but you can skip that if you want to make it vegan.

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Lots of fresh vegetables, Amazing fried eggplant. Delicious tahini and amba sauce. Definitely a meal you should try… and perfect if you just want a quick lunch before walking around Tel Aviv, or maybe one of those before going out partying meals.

I am not sure the exact address for this “restaurant”, but it was close to Carmel market so i am sure with some googling you may find it. Apparently the locals do want to keep it rather secret as well as they don’t want a bunch of tourists going there and ordering when they just want to eat their lunch!

Note, there are 2-3 benches outside to sit on… but it is one of those meals you most likely eat while stnading up or while on the go unless you bring it with you to sit somewhere else 🙂

P.s recipe for homemade Sabich HERE

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Betzavta, a Friday night dinner. Basically you eat Friday night dinner at an Israeli host. You contact Betzavta who match you with a host and then the host cooks you dinner and it is a lovely way to talk to people who are locals to share stories and just make connections! It was a lovely experience for me to have the Friday night dinner.

As each host is different and the food they prepare is different, everyone will have a unique experience. So my experience was a positive one, but it can of course vary depending on what host you get.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Pop up dinner at TheVeganItalianChef (i.e Nadia):

She hosts pop up dinners at her place where she makes vegan italian food. You can book a place during one of her dinners and she will cook you amazing food. I haven’t done this myself, but Nadia is wonderful and her cooking is amazing (we made brunch together with her), so i would definitely recommend you do this if you want to try different food and different food experiences rather than just restaurants and cafes.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

There you have a list of some places to visit if you want to eat vegan while in Tel Aviv!! If you have any other recommendations, comment down below. Or if you have any questions regarding travelling to Israel or my experience, comment down below or contact me via myInstagram (itsahealthylifestyle)

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Salted caramel-tahini-roasted nut nice cream

Ever since I bought my food processor this summer all I have wanted to do is mix foods….. hummus, soup, nice cream…. It has definitely been a well used kitchen appliance.

And the panic that set in when my food processor began overheating and smoke was coming from the motor…. Full on panic that I would no longer be able to make nice cream. It was then I relized that adding smoking hot soup directly to the blender and blending a little too long was not a good idea i.e the motor overheated. But it is working fine now once it had cooled down.

You can see the blender I use HERE: (amazon affiliate link)

As you saw in my previous recipe, I made a salted date caramel, which was tasty just as it was. However once I made the caramel I also realized I didn’t know what to do with it… of course, I would gladly eat it just on it’s own with a spoon… but I thought I should try making something with it.

And it was then when I was looking in my pantry that inspiration struck….tahini and dates works amazing… add it to nice cream along with some roasted nuts. AMAZING, am I right?

And luckily for me, I had some banana slices in the freezer ready to be turned into nice cream when cravings hit.

So what is nicecream… well if you haven’t heard it before, it is basically just bananas, frozen and then mixed into “ice cream”.

Nice = because it is tasty but also nice = as in no animals were harmed to make this ice cream.

You can find some of my other nice cream flavours HERE. But it is just to go wild and crazy and use whatever extras, toppings and flavours you want. Just use bananas as the base and then add in some coconut milk or substitute half of the bananas for berries and then add some nuts, seeds, nut butter, cacao, cookies, brownies, chocolate chips etc

The best is to use a highspeed food processor when making the nice cream. And I recommend you take the bananas out of the freezer 10 minutes before making just to let them get a little softer so that your food processor doesn’t overwork or break from trying to mix the frozen bananas.

How to make the salted caramel tahini nice cream?

Ingredients:

For thesalted caramel, use THISrecipe. Then add 2-3 tbsp or more depending on your preference

Tahini, 2-3 tbsp

1-3 bananas (for one serving). Peel, chop and freezer for 3-4 hours or overnight. (Note, freeze in a container with a lid on, or in a plastic bag/freezer bag

Handful of nuts – salted or unsalted. Either buy preroasted or roast yourself

How to:

Begin by peeling, chopping and freezing the bananas. The best is to buy bananas when on sale and just peel, chop and freeze a whole bunch of them. I recommend you store 2-3 chopped bananas in separate freezer bags so that you have them proportioned instead of freezing them all in one container as then it can be hard to get only some of the banana out.

Freeze for 3-4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Make the date caramel if you haven’t already.

Roast the nuts – Place the nuts on a baking pan, spread them out evenly. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 180c. Note, you can add a little oil/vegan margarine and salt, but then just check on the nuts to make sure they don’t burn. You may need to rotate them after half the time.

Begin making the nice cream by adding the frozen bananas, some date syrup and tahini to the mixer. Mix on high speed until smooth. If necessary, add 1-2tbsp oat milk, though this shouldn’t really be necessary.

Once done, taste and add more date syrup or tahini according to preference. Add the roasted nuts, mix in and then eat and enjoy!!

Another amazing nice cream flavour to add to the books! Not everyone will like this flavour because of the sweet and saltiness… the salt from the salted caramel does stand out against the sweet dates and the sweet nice cream, but I liked that!!

Lastly I do need to note that even if this is nice cream and the caramel is made from dates, do consider this a sweet treat. Fruit sugar may not be exactly the same as white table sugar, but it still contains quite a lot of sugar and therefore it works great as a dessert. Of course if you just use 1-2 bananas and 1-2tsbp date syrup it is not a big deal, but I wouldn’t recommend going overboard with bananas or date syrup.

Salted date caramel

I don’t know about you…. But I love the sweet and salty combo.

Fries in milkshake? Yes please.

Ice cream and crisps? Yes please.

Caramel popcorn? I want it all.

Salted caramel rice cakes? I could eat the whole package at once.

I am a huge fan of salted caramel but I have never made or bought a vegan kind. I think I have eaten brownies with salted caramel sauce in a restaurant, but never tried making my own.

I am pretty sure it is easy to make your own… Brown, coconut milk or soya cream, vanilla and sea salt. Boil it together and make some caramel.

But as I had bought a bunch of dates and I knew date caramel was a thing I thought…. Why not try making salted date caramel?

And I can say….. it was so yummy. Of course, it was not as smooth as maybe a regular caramel sauce or a store bought one as dates has a lot of fiber and the skin is on the dates which contribute to a rougher texture. But it still tastes good.

The best is to use fresh dates, the kind that are super soft and “moist” (gotta love that word!). However, if you do use dry dates just put them in a bowl and soak in boiling hot water for 5-10 minutes, then they will become softer.

I also recommend using a highspeed food processor and not a handmixer, just because it will get the job done quicker and will make it smoother. But you can of course use a handmixer.

I used soya cream at home as that was what I had at home, but it should work fine with coconut cream (though the caramel will have a taste of coconut then) or you could use oat cooking cream.

Note, I used a sweetened soya cream which wasn’t necessary as dates are already so sweet. So I would recommend using an unsweetened cream if possible.

How to store this caramel?

I stored it in an airtight glass jar in the fridge, and it lasted about 5 days. So that is what I can guarantee, but it should store longer.

You can adapt the quantities based on how much caramel you want. You can use more liquid to thin it out, add more sweetener or salt depending on your preferences. So this is just a base recipe, but you can adapt it as much as you like. And if you do want a really thin and smooth caramel sauce I do recommend you go for a coconutmilk/brown sugar caramel sauce and not use dates.

Also, you can use less liquid and instead make more of a date caramel paste which you can use to dip apples in or even use as filling for cakes!

 

Recipe:

I used about 15-20 dates. (Use the fresh kind, if not soak in boiling hot water)

Around 200-300ml soya cream/oatcream/coconut milk or cream

1-2tsp sea salt

Optional, 1tsp vanilla or brown sugar for muskiness (though the dates or so sweet this shouldn’t really be necessary)

How to:

If your dates aren’t fresh, soak them. If they are fresh then add them to a pot along with c.a 200ml liquid (add more as necessary when mixing). Heat on medium for 5-6 minutes and allow to simmer. Add 1 tsp of sea salt.

Pour of the contents into a high speed food processor and mix until smooth, or if using a handmixer, mix directly in the pot until smooth. Keep adding liquid until you have reached the right texture. (add a little at a time). Give the caramel a taste and add more salt according to preference. It is better to start off with a little and add more, rather than add too much and not know how to fix the saltiness.

Once smooth, pour over into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge!

This caramel works great to eat just as it is, or use in cake fillings or why not eat with some apples or crisp bread!

It should of course be noted that even if this is date caramel sauce, it is high in sugar and should still be considered a sweet treat!!!

Have you tried making your own date caramel sauce before…? If not, it is about time you try!!

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments down below if you made this or tag me on Instagram, itsahealthylifestyle.

Creamy kale and tofu pasta | Mealprep Monday

Last week i had a fridge filled with kale and not quite sure how to use it all before it went bad.

At the same time i was craving a creamy pasta dish… and that was when two ideas merged into one! Creamy kale pasta. Quick to make, very nutritious and of course warm and works great for mealprep.

Nutrition benefits of kale:

So what are the nutrition benefits of eating kale? Well, kale is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin K which is important for blood coagulation. It even contains a little omega 3, just like brussel sprouts which are in the same group of vegetables.

It is of course rich in fiber as well which can help with satiety and also important for your gut bacteria 🙂

If you compare kale with spinach, kale has alot less oxalates (anti nutrients – which can decrease the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals), making it alot more nutritious. However, some people can get digestive issues with kale compared to spinach due tot he fiber amount… so not everyone can handle kale. But boiling it, steaming it or cooking it can help with the fiber and digestion 🙂

Some other ideas of what to do with kale:
Kale chips

Kale pie

Kale and apple salad

Kale pizza

Add kale to smoothies!

Just some ideas… but now onto the actual recipe!

Recipe:

Ingredients

2-3 portions pasta (choose the kind you like)

200-300g fresh kale (frozen works as well)

200g tofu (or vegan chicken)

2-3 garlic cloves

1 red onion

1tbsp vegetable fond

150-200ml oat cream (or soya cooking cream)

Hazelnuts or walnuts

Olive oil

Salt and blackpepper

Optional, some nutritional yeast

How to:

Begin by boiling the pasta according to instructions. Cook the amount you want, the sauce is enough for about 2-3 portions, or 4 smaller portions.

While the pasting is boiling, start making the kale sauce.

Dice the onion and garlic and add to a frying pan with the oil. Dice the tofu and add to the pan (or if you are using vegan chicken pieces). Fry until golden brown.

Add the kale and add another tablespoon of oil. Allow the kale to heat and begin to shrink.

Pour in the oatcream along with the vegetable fond. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and allow the sauce to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Once the pasta is done, drain from water.

Once the sauce is done mix together with the pasta. Add some nutritional yeast if you have at home, as well as some crushed walnuts or hazelnuts.

Eat warm, or store in lunchboxes for upcoming meals.

This is definitely a meal you should write up on your “to make” list! I can’t wait until i am home again and can reheat my lunch boxes consisting of this meal prep!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to let me know down below or on my Instagram: itsahealthylifestyle

Different sugars – are natural sugars better than table sugar?

Sugar….. that white crystal powder that makes food sweet. The majority of people have heard that sugar isn’t good for you, that it can lead to negative health consequences. Some people talking about sugar addiction. A debate between sugar and sweeteners, many believing sugar is better because it is “natural”….. but forget that there are plenty of “natural” foods that would be incredibly dangerous or toxic to consume, so natural doesn’t mean healthy.

So I thought I would do a little break down of sugar and different types of sugar.

Are dates and dried fruit better than white sugar? What about agave syrup compared to high fructose corn syrup? Is fruit sugar actually bad?

I have a previous post about sugar vs sweetener, which you can read HERE. There are a lot of different sweeteners, so to get into all of those I would have to dedicate a post just to them. So instead I will just mention them a little in this post and compare them to sugar.

So let’s start off with…. What is sugar and what other names/types of sugar are there?

So white sugar which we all know as caster sugar or cane sugar, or in other terms: Sucrose which consists of two monosaccharides, glucose and fructose. [Glucose is typically found in some fruits, vegetables and honey. Fructose is found mainly in fruit. And there is also galactose which is a single sugar molecule and is found in milk and dairy products]

In the body, sugar (Which I will now refer to as sucrose or table sugar) breaks down into glucose and fructose. The enzyme sucrase has to break down glucose and fructose which have two different absorption methods in the body. Glucose is absorbed directly and used as energy, both for your brain and muscles while fructose goes to the liver first where it is either then converted into energy or stored as fat (if there is an excess of calories).

There are other forms/names of sugars:

Lactose: This is the sugar found in milk and is built up from galactose and glucose. This is why dairy products usually have some sugar in them because of this natural sugar content.

Fructose: This is the sugar found in fruits, vegetables and honey. It is a single molecule/simple sugar.

Glucose: Typically found in starchy vegetables, such as potatoes. Dextrose is also comprised of only glucose, and this is because glucose is the main source of energy for the body as well as the only energy source the brain uses. It is the quickest energy source and also spikes the blood sugar.

Corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is usually 100% glucose, whereas high fructose cornsyup is a mixture of glucose and fructose, just like table sugar.

Other types of sugars: Icing sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, maple sugar, dextrose.

Sweeteners:

Sugar alcohol: So sugar isn’t really sugar, but it is a carbohydrate and consists of a chemical structure that is similar to sugar and alcohol. It is also called polyols, and they are considered sweeteners. They aren’t fully absorbed or metabolized in the body meaning that they contribute with less calories than sugar. These sugar alcohols are also called, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol. Because the structure of these polyls can resemble alcohol structure, some people can get digestive issues from these sweeteners.

With this in mind, you realise that it is not just white table sugar or syrup that has sugar… but many other foods, including vegetables, fruits, dairy. But this isn’t a bad thing, as mentioned above glucose, fructose and lactose (a disaccharide) are infact natural sugars. They provide energy and your body needs glucose found in example starch vegetables and also in fruit.

However, just like with table sugar too much sugar whether it is from potatoes, dates or mangoes isn’t good either. They also spike your blood sugar, insulin is released and too much energy does get stored in the body. However, glucose is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver which is important as the body closely regulates blood so if haven’t eaten for several hours and your blood sugar begins to dip, glycogen will be broken down from your muscles and used to increase your blood sugar.

“In the process of breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, the body is unable to distinguish between sugars that are added to foods and sugars that occur naturally in foods, since they are chemically the same.”

The difference between glucose and fructose is that glucose is absorbed rather instantly in the intestines and goes straight into the blood and can be used as energy for your muscles and your brain. Whereas fructose first has to go through the liver and then be absorbed by the blood, so it doesn’t have the same quick response and release of energy as glucose.

So, what about table sugar or high fructose corn syrup that consists of both glucose and fructose…. This is where sugar/HFCS stands out compared to just fruit or vegetables that consist of single sugar molecules. Table sugar and syrups have to first be broken down by the enzyme sucrase, then the glucose is absorbed in the intestines and then the fructose has to go to the liver where it is metabolised before being released into the blood stream as energy or converted into triglycerides or stored as fat.

The difference between fruit and white sugar, example candy or soda:

Well first off, fruit contains a lot more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than candy or soda. You have to chew fruit (well, you chew candy as well), there is fiber that is important for your gut bacteria, and of course you get vitamin C which is also an antioxidant. The fructose does of course have to go to the liver to be released into the bloodstream, but the amount of fructose you get via 1-2 fruits is very little compared to the amount of fructose/glucose you get via 1-2 handfuls of candy or chocolate. Not to mention, when it is dairy chocolate you are getting lactose sugar as well as fructose and glucose.

Candy or soda basically only have sugar and very little nutrients.

What about fruit or vegetables compared to example buns or cakes? Cakes, buns, cookies all have a lot of sugar… but they also have other ingredients such as butter and flour. So the butter, which is a fat will also slow down the emptying of the stomach and therefore the digestion of nutrients as well as flour containing gluten which is a protein. So yes, you get a lot of sugar but you also get fat (mostly saturated) and white flour (which of course is processed), but you could look at it like cakes/buns/cookies etc would be better than straight up sugared candy or sugared soda. The same goes with chocolate, you could look at it like you are infact getting some dairy which contains calcium (if you consume dairy chocolate), or if you eat dark chocolate you will be getting some antioxidants and iron as well… even if it is miniscule amounts it still contains a little more nutrition rather than just syrup/sugar.

So how does example baking syrup compare to agave syrup or honey?

Agave syrup or honey, just like baking syrup is straight up sugar. There isn’t so much difference aside from agave syrup and honey maybe having 5% more nutrients than regular baking syrup.

What about dates as sweetener compared to white sugar or syrup?

Being objective and sticking to the facts… then dates and dried fruit as sweeteners is rather similar to white sugar or syrup. Granted, it is mostly fructose and not fructose and glucose. But 100ml of dates/date syrup compared to 100ml sugar or syrup, it is similar in sugar content. Of course, if you are using whole dates they will have a little fiber… but they are mostly just fructose i.e sugar, and the same goes for white sugar. But dates and date syrup is a lot more expensive.

Of course, I do believe that using dried fruits as sweeteners is better than white sugar or syrup which consists of 2 sugar molecules. But you can’t forget that dried fruit or agave syrup or date syrup consist of a lot of sugar which will spike your blood sugar and be stored as excess energy. So using those isn’t necessarily that much better, but if you enjoy using them… use them. Just don’t drown your oatmeal, pancakes or toast with them and thinking it is healthier. (Of course, healthier is a relative term as for some that might infact be healthy).

It’s all about marketing:

Date syrup, coconut sugar and any other fancy sugar substitutes have all been marketed as healthy and better than sugar, but nutritionally they are pretty much the same as sugar. Just that some may have a difference in what sugar molecules they are made up of. The best would be to go for sugars made up mostly of glucose. The “healthy” marketed sugar alternatives are just pricy and not always worth the money.

Of course… if you prefer using them and can afford them… then go for it. They do give a different texture and taste which you may prefer in your baking. Just don’t begin pouring agave syrup over your oats or adding coconut sugar to your fruit smoothies or eating 15 dates a day (unless you have a reason for it such as low blood sugar, athlete or need to gain weight). Sugar is still sugar and will break down into the same molecules and have the same effect in the body whether it comes from syrup, honey or raisins.

So how much sugar should we consume? How much is too much sugar?

The recommendation for sugar is c.a 25-35g per day, or about 5-6 tsp. Or nutritionally, only 5-10% of your total calories should come from sugar. Meaning, if you have a requirement of 2000kcal, only about 100-200kcal of those should come from sugar. I.e 1 330ml coke is 35g sugar and your total sugar for the day (according to recommendations). However the majority of people consume double or triple this amount daily.

In the future I might make a post about “Hidden sugar” in certain foods which many aren’t aware of. That is of course not to scare you or make you avoid those foods completely, just to become aware of certain foods that may need to be limited and not eaten on a daily.

To be noted, is that you could also see the sugar recommendation as c.a 210g sugar per week… meaning that you may have one day a week where you eat a bunch of candy and chocolate and drink some wine, but the other 6 days you keep your sugar intake minimal (not including fruits). Or maybe you are someone like me, who likes to have a little bit of chocolate a few times a week and instead of having one day you eat a lot of sugar I keep it minimal/moderate each day. So find what works for you in regards to your sugar intake.

**Important to remember that consuming sugared soda or candy with lots of sugar isn’t the same as eating fruit or if you eat a meal and then some fruit. Because of the fiber and chewing involved when eating the majority of fruits – not all of them, it will give you more satiety as well as vitamins and minerals. If you eat a full meal consisting of protein, carbs and fats, the fat in your meal will actually slow down the emptying of your stomach and your digestion (this isn’t a bad thing… unless maybe you are going to run a half marathon and want quick energy, then eating primarily glucose may be beneficial) and the release of sugars won’t be as quick compared to if you just drink soda or eat candy, where the break down and release of sugar into the blood stream will happen rather quickly.

Which also leads me to: Carbohydrates, i.e which include sugar molecules, begin to break down in your mouth when you chew as you have enzymes in your saliva which begin to break down the sugar molecules. So when you drink sugared soda or eat candy where 50% is glucose, some of the sugar will be broken down and absorbed rather instantly… which can be a good thing if you are feeling faint, need quick energy or have low blood sugar.

Juices and smoothies? Not as much fiber, a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but there will also be a lot of sugar that will spike your blood sugar rather quickly because so much of the fiber – and chewing – is gone when you drink juice and smoothies. Of course you do still get lots of nutrients and vitamins, so it is better to give your child – or yourself – a fruit smoothie than a McDonalds milkshake, but don’t underestimate the amount of sugar in a fruit smoothie.

Excessive sugar intake isn’t good, whether it comes from table sugar, date syrup or mangos. It does spike blood sugar, which in turn can increase risk of developing diabetes or metabolic damage. Not to mention the damage on teeth from consuming too much sugary products. But as previously mentioned, fruit is not the same as eating candy. And nutritionally dried fruit contains more nutrients than candy so it is better to opt for that for the majority of time, but at the end of the day too much sugar whether it is from sugared candy, sugared soda or 10 banana smoothies isn’t healthy or recommended.

I know some people may not agree with this post and may think that “Natural” sources of sugar are better and when it comes to agave syrup in comparison with high fructose corn syrup I will always recommend agave syrup in first hand. Just like I will tell people to opt for dates with peanut butter or go for a fruit instead of grabbing a handful of sugared candy. But at the end of the day, all of those need to be limited and whichever you choose to consume in moderation and limited amounts is up to you because they are all similar in the body anyway.

Final notes, try to avoid added sugars and the clearly obvious sugary products i.e cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy, soda, syrups etc

Vegan “brie”

This recipe has been in my drafts about 2 years…. I guess that shows how great of a blogger I am, hahah.

I was inspired to make this recipe a long time ago when I saw someone post about it in a facebook group. Only 3 ingredients to make vegan “brie”.

Before I went vegan I had a sort of love/hate relationship with brie…. Or well, I couldn’t quite decide if I liked it or not. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn’t. I must admit I am not a huge fan of melted cheese, neither dairy nor vegan cheese. Something about that gooey texture just isn’t for me…

I am really selling this recipe, right?

I decided it was finally time to give this recipe a go and see whether it worked or not.

Vegan cheese (preferably plain, I used Violife cheese), cream cheese (I used oatlys) and some oat cooking cream (I also used Oatly). That is all you need.

The results….? Creamy and cheesey…. A little gooey as well.

If you let the cheese sit for 24 hours in the fridge it does create a sort of thicker outer layer resembling the outer layer of brie cheese, but not quite the same texture. Of course, I haven’t eaten brie cheese in almost 4 years so I am sure if you eat brie first and then eat this remake of it, it won’t be the same. But it does have similar qualities and textures according to me.

I definitely think I can experiment more with this recipe, maybe try another cheese brand to see how it works or add flavours to the cheese such as garlic or chilli or why not some roasted walnuts. (Even though I know brie is just plain in flavour).

Give this recipe a try. I would suggest you half the recipe if you just want to try it or are just making for one person.

Recipe:

200g vegan cheese, plain

100ml oatcream

80g cream cheese

How to:

Chop the cheese into smaller pieces.

Pour the oatcream into a pot and heat on medium. Add the vegan cheese and allow to cook until the cheese begins to melt. Keep stirring. Finally add the cream cheese.

Grease a small pot/jar and pour in the cheese mix. Place in the fridge overnight, but preferably 12-24 hours. Note, you can let it sit in the fridge overnight and then in the morning turn the jar/pot over and place on a plate and naturally it will release from the jar so that you can remove the jar and cut into the brie.

Should last in the fridge atleast a week! I would suggest you keep it covered.

You can double or half this recipe depending on how much you want to make 😊 And try different vegan cheeses if you want flavour or add your own flavour if using a plain cheese.

If you try this, let me know what you think 😊 Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram(itsahealthylifestyle) or comment down below.

Dealing with stomach pain: Elimination method, FODMAP & tips to cope

Many people in todays society deal with stomach pain and discomfort, to certain degrees. Some people just get a little pain from time to time after overeating or maybe eating certain foods, while others can barely live a normal life due to their stomach issues.

In the past, I was the latter. I struggled with a lot of stomach issues and pain.

In this post I am giving you some tips on what you can do to figure out what causes your stomach issues via an elimination method. Though I do advise you to seek help from both a doctor and dietitian so that you don’t end up restricting your intake far too much and far too long so that you end up unhealthy or with nutrient deficiencies.

I have written a post about FODMAP and IBS, which you can read here.

Also a post about dealing with bloating HERE

As well as a post about eating a high fiber diet, which can often lead to cramps and digestive issues, HERE

When you are dealing with stomach pain or digestive issues it can easily lead to a very restrictive diet, either because you don’t want to eat something that triggers the pain, but you don’t know what causes the pain and therefore restrict everything you think might cause pain. Or you infact become scared of certain food because you don’t want the stomach pain and therefore cut it out and get scared to eat those foods.

FODMAP

When someone has IBS they are often recommended to try doing FODMAP with the help of a professional. FODMAP is not a longterm diet or way of eating, it is a way of eating for a (short) period of time to help figure out which foods that cause flareups and stomach issues and which foods you can tolerate.

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”

Common FODMAPs include:

  • Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
  • Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
  • Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
  • Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
  • Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.

These carbohydrates/fibers don’t fully digest and some become nutrition for gut bacteria while others don’t digest at all and can therefore cause bloating, gas, cramps.

In some individuals, FODMAPs are poorly digested, so they end up reaching the colon. They draw water into the intestine and get fermented by hydrogen-producing gut bacteria.” (Healthline.com)

A low FODMAP diet means you eat very little or no foods which contain those carbohydrates/fibers. I.e limiting the amount of foods which can cause symptoms.

When following the FODMAP diet for a period of time you are very restricted in what you can eat, and even more so if you are vegan. (I had to try the FODMAP diet for 3 days during one of my university courses and I didn’t eat much those three days as I was so restricted in food choices.) But overtime you begin to reintroduce foods and eventually have a much more varied diet and will hopefully have figured out which foods you can tolerate and you may even figure out which foods you tolerate in smaller doses and which you can consume in larger doses. However along with FODMAP you also have to look over your lifestyle and the way you eat.

Sometimes the problem may not actually be the food, but it may be that you are very stressed, that you are anxious around food, that you don’t actually sit down to eat or you eat your food within 5 minutes while standing or on the go. All of these can cause stomach issues, but also foods such as gum, carbonated drinks, alcohol, certain sweeteners and caffeine can lead to gas, stomach issues and caffeine can heighten anxiety which can lead to stomach discomfort or pain.

Image result for fodmap

HOW YOU EAT:

So along with looking at what you eat, you also have to look at how you eat. Changing how you eat and even where you eat can make a big impact on your stomach issues. If you are eating in very stressful environments or you don’t have time to eat, then you can easily feel anxious and stressed or you don’t really enjoy or chew your food and all of that can lead to stomach discomfort. So making time to eat while resting and preferably sitting and in quiet environments can make a big difference.

As mentioned above, a FODMAP diet should be done with the help of a professional, otherwise it is easy that your diet becomes far too restrictive and that you don’t actually begin implementing certain foods again, instead you just stick to the “green” foods. It is also important to note, that everyone is different. Some people with IBS may be able to consume foods that are listed as red, while they get stomach pain while consuming certain foods that are green. So you do have to try

different foods and see what works for you.

Image result for fodmap

WRITE A FOOD DIARY

If you don’t have IBS, just stomach issues, the first thing you can do is to write a food diary for 2-3 weeks.

Write down what you eat, what time you eat, the environment/situation when you ate and even how you felt before/during/after, along with any symptoms you felt during or after the meal.

This will help you get a better overview of what and how you eat as well as tracking symptoms.

After 2-3 weeks it will give you better understanding and overview, compared to just a few days or one week of tracking. The important thing is to eat just as normal… don’t begin cutting out food or changing your diet. Write down everything, even the handful of nuts, the latte on the go or the piece of chocolate you eat standing in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook.

The diary may just be for you to analyse and get a better understanding of how/what you eat, but may even be useful if you do go to a doctor or dietitian for help.

Once you have written the food diary, begin to look over it. Are there certain meals with certain ingredients that cause symptoms or flareups? Are there certain situations that cause pain and discomfort… such as the rushed lunch during school/work, or maybe the dinner straight after training or the lunch you ate while super stressed?

Once you have found out which meals or situations cause the most flare ups it can be easier to make adjustments.

However, now is when the long process begins. The important thing is to not cut out everything at once…. Instead, you do it one by one. If you think that maybe garlic, onion, chickpeas and gluten cause stomach pain… then begin by just omitting garlic from your meals and diet for a week… see what happens and how you feel. Then the next week omit onion and add in garlic (depending on how you felt the previous week i.e symptoms or no symptoms). It is a long process of finding out what works.

You could of course group certain foods together such as all beans, all sweeteners, all foods with gluten, onion and garlic, all dairy products etc and then one week remove all the foods in one certain group, and slowly reintroduce them one by one. Because it may be that you are sensitive to chickpeas but not to blackbeans, or it may be that you can’t tolerate aspartame but you are fine with stevia.

I would also recommend that you do infact limit your caffeine intake (coffee, black tea, energy drinks) as well as not chewing gum or sugar free pastilles, as they can all cause stomach discomfort.

I do also want to note that many believe they are gluten intolerant and cut out all products with gluten, however many products that include gluten also include certain fibers that are hard to break down. So it may not be the gluten you are sensitive too, but the fibers.

Which is an important thing to note, fibers can cause stomach discomfort and pain. There are certain fibers that are hard to break down and cause gas and bloating. So limiting fiber intake and drinking plenty of water can be one step if you don’t want to do the whole elimination process. Though then you won’t be able to tell which foods cause pain or symptoms if you eliminate them all at once.

I also recommend that you keep your meals very simple, just 2-4 different ingredients. The more ingredients and foods you eat in a meal the harder it can be to digest as well as figure out what causes your pain or discomfort.

FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE STOMACH PAIN

There are certain foods that are more likely to give stomach discomfort and they are:

Beans and peas – this is due to their fiber content and that the fibers are hard to break down

Sweeteners – Many sweeteners aren’t broken down or absorbed in the body and therefore lead to gas and bloating

Carbonated beverages, sugarfree pastilles, gum – the bubbles in carbonated drinsk along with both caffeine and sweeteners, basically a triple whammy. With gum, when you chew you are swallowing air which can lead to gas and bloating, as well as gum usually having sweeteners (even if it’s only very small doses)

High fat meals – including creamy and/or, oily dishes. Typically fast food, dairy full fat (specifically cream) or certain takeout meals such as Chinese. Fat leads to feeling full quicker and is also harder to break down compared to carbohydrates. It can also often lead to heartburn. Many find that eating fat sources from avocado, nuts, nut butters and seeds don’t cause the same stomach issues.

Food with lactose or gluten – many cut out lactose and gluten thinking they are intolerant to them. Some may be, but as already mentioned. Many foods with gluten also include hard to break down fibers which may be the issue and not the gluten. With lactose, many can’t handle a lot of lactose or they don’t have enough lactase enzyme which breaks down the dairy. Though this isn’t so strange considering that dairy is actually for baby cows, and not for humans… or well, not in the huge amounts that many consume dairy products now a days.

Too much fruit – Fruit has a lot of fiber but also fruit sugar which can cause certain individuals discomfort if they eat too much of it. And by that I mean eating maybe 4-6 fruits in one go.

Note, just because i mention these foods doesn’t mean that YOU are sensitive to them. Everyone is individual and everyone reacts differently to different foods. You may be able to digest those in small amounts, ,aybe not at all or maybe they don’t trigger you at all.

When you are dealing with stomach pain, it is easy to get scared of food because oyu don’t want to deal with the stomach pain. But you can not completely restrict yourself, the best is to get proffessional care, but if you can’t because of reasons- Then remember to not completely cut out food and if you do cut out food youshould try to reintroduce it. Otherwise your diet can become very restrictive. Also be reintroducing it into your diet after not eating the food(s) for a while you can better understand what is causing stomach pain.

Also remember, if you do think you are sensitive to gluten and want to get it checked. Youahve to eat gluten to do the tests… so don’t cut out gluten and then get checked because the results won’t show any intolerance/allergies then.

Stomach issues and pain is complex. Many get the diagnosis IBS because doctors can’t find any other diagnosis that causes the pain. But IBS is about more than just food, as previously mentioned. Stomach issues aren’t always due to food, but due to other factors which also makes it hard to treat. It often requires changes in diet, lifestyle and way of eating.

It is incredibly debilitating to live with stomach pain, I did for several years. Many plans that were cancelled, many evenings I lay curled in a ball on my bed with extreme pain, many tears due to the discomfort and a lot of constant bloating. What helped me was to go vegan and start eating plantbased, but of course that also meant letting my body adapt to a higher fiber diet. I can still get stomach pain from certain foods, but I have learnt to figure out which foods cause me pain and also know that too much of certain food will give me discomfort… and then it is up to me to make the decision whether I want to eat the food and deal with the discomfort afterwards or to just skip the food or choose something else.

For stomach pain and nausea ginger or peppermint tea can help, as well as having something warm on your stomach.

If you are dealing with a lot of stomach pain, I highly recommend you go to both a doctor and a dietitian. Be persistent with your doctor so that you get all tests done, just to rule out any serious conditions. However, I do also recommend that you keep a food diary for 2-3 weeks, get an overview of your symptoms, how and what you eat and see if your symptoms may just be due to anxiety and stress and certain foods such as caffeine, sweeteners and high fiber.

(From personal experience I can also add that when I am very stressed and anxious, then I can get stomach pain and bloating even if I am eating the same as usual. So it is important to look at your stress and anxiety levels).

Vegetable-tahini sandwich

Vegetables, tahini and bread… what is not to love about this combination?

It is so incredibly simple and hardly requires a recipe, but I am sharing this more as inspiration for your next sandwich idea! Not all recipes are actual recipes, but more a source of inspiration… which brings me to, what inspired me to make this sandwich.

As mentioned in earlier posts, I went on a vegan food tour in Tel Aviv, Israel along with VibeIsrael. There I got to try lots of different meals and dishes, and you can already see 3 of the meals I ate in my FIRSTand SECOND vlog from my trip. (Click to watch, and don’t forget to subscribe – the third video is coming out on Sunday.)

A post with recommendations of reviews of where we ate will be coming as well.

But while I was there I definitely got inspired to make different dishes at home, try to use some of the spices I got and recreate some dishes. However… for many of the meals we ate so many dishes it was hard to remember what was actually in the dishes or what it was I ate. So luckily I can look back on some of the video footage I got to get inspired. But what inspired me most was actually the simple meals I ate….. such as, the Sabich (recipe), Hummus (recipe)and also this tahini-vegetable sandwich.

I have seen others from the trip recreate this sandwich – it was definitely a favourite – but also seen some of them attempt Challah bread, which is far too complicated for me to even try! Instead I like to recreate the simple meals which I know all of you can recreate at home as well.

What to think about for the recipe:

Get soft, brown, fluffy bread. Preferablly challah or maybe sourdough. No pre sliced bread and it has to be fresh!

Use tahini that is smooth!

You can add different vegetables or add some avocado or tofu to the mix, but the standard is cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, radishes even some sprouts.

I added some vegan oat crème fraiche just to make it a little more creamy as I think the café used some type of tahini mix… maybe used some cashew cream or sourcream to mix the tahini.

It does get messy to eat… but it is worth the mess!

This breakfast is filled with fiber, healthy fats, calcium, iron, C vitamin and other vitamins!!! The only change I would make to this is to add some tofu or tempeh on top… though it definitely isn’t a necessity!

Onto the recipe:

1-2 slices of thick, fluffy brown bread. Such as challah or sourdough. Or any other fluffy bread you like.

2-3tbsp tahini, runny kind.

Some oat crème fraiche or vegan mayonnaise, c.a 2tbsp

Rocket

¼ cucumber

2-3 cocktail tomatoes or 1 large tomato, diced

¼ red bell pepper

c.a 1tsp lemon juice

c.a ½-1tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

1-2 radishes(optional)

How to:

Begin by rinsing and chopping the vegetables. Add cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, rocket and any other vegetables to a bowl. Pour over the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Slice your bread. Spread the oat crème fraiche/mayonnaise on the bread and then the tahini.

Top with the vegetable mix. Add more tahini if you want, or add some crushed nuts on top, or why not sprinkle over some sea salt.

Eat, enjoy and make again the next day!!!

This has become a new favourite breakfast of mine… or even as a snack! It’s a way to get in your veggies as well if you don’t like vegetables, not to mention tahini is a great source of calcium.

Of course I am sure that the tahini I use – which is from Israel – makes a huge difference as it just tastes so much smoothier compared to the storebought ones I usually use. But you can always try making your own tahini at home (recipe here) and make it super smooth.

Give this a try and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle)if you do try it 😊

This was my third and final recipe in collaboration with VibeIsrael, however it most likely won’t be my last inspired recipe from Israel!

Tofu “egg” salad

When i was a child, my parents sometimes made me egg sandwiches for lunch. I loved them…. but i can say, i wasn’t particularly popular those days because of the smell of egg. Hahah, it’s one of those meals that is best eaten at home alone and maybe not eaten in public. Though that is just my opinon.

Now that i am vegan i haven’t eaten egg in 3,5 years, but i can say… it is one of the animal products i truly loved. Both the taste, texture and of course the nutritional value of egg.

Tofu is one of the best replacements for egg, both in texture and the ability to add different seasoning to make it taste a bit more like egg. You can make tofu scramble, tofu omelettte and i have even seen some people make “fried egg” using tofu.

To get the egg taste you use kala namak, or so called black salt. It contains alot of sulphur which gives the smell and taste of egg…. so just be aware that your kitchen will smell like sulphur/fart when you open the package, hahah.

I have made a tofu salad in the past but then i used nutritional yeast for a cheesey flavour and used soya creme fraiche for the sauce. But now i stepped it up and used kala namak and home made vegan mayonnaise (RECIPE) and this was a very delicious “salad.”

Or not sure i can call it salad… it’s more an american style salad due to the mayonnaise base.

This recipe is in collaboration with VibeIsrael. I was a part of their vegan food tour 2019, and on the second last day we had an italian/israeli breakfast where we ate vegan croissants, home made tofu based cheese, challah, coucscous based sallad, deep dish pizza and also a tofu salad.

So i don’t think tofu salad is meditarranean or israeli food…. instead it feels rather english or swedish. But i got inspired by my trip in Israel to make this dish!

You can of course look at my other israeli inspired dish, Sabich, which is alot more mediterranean. 

I still have more recipes to post inspired by my trip, i just need to get around to make them when there is daylight to photograph the food, haha.

Recipe

Vegan egg (tofu) salad

250g tofu

2 sping onion or ¼ leek

½ large avocado – or 1 small

1 half bell pepper – red or green

c.a 100ml mayonnaise (recipe)

1-2tsp kala namak

1/4 – 1/2 tsp turmeric – to give colour

2-3tbsp nutritional yeast

1tsp salt

1/2tsp black pepper

Optional, add a little pinch of chilli

 

How to:

Begin by making the mayonnaise if you are making your own. Instructions linked above. Otherwise you can use storebought or switch for creme fraiche or soya quark.

Then in a bowl crumble tofu (use a firm sort of tofu), add the chopped spring onion,bell pepper and avocado. Optional, add in some chickpeas.

Add the kala namak, salt and pepper, nutritional yeast and a little nutritional yeast. Add the mayonnaise and mix. Add some more mayonnaise as required.

Taste test and adjust seasoning according to preference.

Eat as it is or top a salad. Or why not eat with some bread like i did, or top a baked potato with the tofu salad!

 

Very easy to make, and also a protein rich salad as tofu has between 15-22g protein per 100g. And like mentioned, if you want a lower fat option use soya quark or creme fraiche instead of mayonnaise.

If you give this recipe a try, don’t forget to let me know and tag me on Instagram: Itsahealthylifestyle

The best homemade hummus (&how to boil your own chickpeas)

A few weeks ago I was in Israel, together with VibeIsrael, where I got to try some of the amazing food that Israel has to offer. We were predominantly in Tel Aviv, which is known as one of the vegan capitals of the world, and I can say that there is a reason for that. If you want to know where we ate or are in need of some recommendations of places to eat at if you are in Tel Aviv, then i have a post coming up real soon with some tips and recommendations.

We only visited a few places, so of course I can’t say that all places are amazing for vegan food. However, we tried both gourmet food, fast food, market places, to go pizzas, brunch places and different restuarants which all made amazing food, so I can only say good things about the food.

Of course, it is worth mentioning that it is expensive in Tel Aviv, so even if it is an amazing place for plantbased food… you might want to come there ready to spend money as you will want to try all the amazing places.

While I was there I got very inspired with all the different foods. So many different spices that are used in the food, which I want to try incorporate into some of my future recipes. However, one standard food which could be found almost anywhere was hummus. And you know I love hummus….. it is a staple in my diet and meals. But now, after trying hummus in Israel, storebought hummus just isn’t the same… and I want my own homemade version to taste even better.

So I thought it was finally time to update my hummus recipe, also sharing tips on how to prepare dried chickpeas yourself so you can make a large batch of hummus for yourself.

Below, I will also share 2 other variations of hummus you can try.

The tahini I am using in the recipe comes from Al Araz, and I got the tahini while I was in Israel…. Which makes it feel a little more authenthic.

Tips when preparing your own chickpeas:

The first is to soak them for atleast 10-12 hours. This is important as raw chickpeas have lectins, so called anti nutrients, which you don’t want to consume and can be toxic for humans. So by soaking legumes you decrease the amount of anti nutrients they have and therefore make them edible. Bubbles and foam will begin to appear during the soaking time, so you can change the water after half the time If you like.

Tips, I usually soak mine before I go to bed and then boil in the morning. Or I soak them in the morning before I head to school and then in the evening when I am home again, they will have soaked for long enough.

You can add 1 tsp baking soda in the water when they are soaking, this helps them to soften up more, which is what you want when making hummus.

Before boiling the chickpeas, you need to pour away the water that they have soaked in and rinse for 2-3 minutes to make sure they are clean.

Fill a large pot with the chickpeas and pour over water that covers the chickpeas and a little more. Bring to the stove and bring to a boil. Allow the chickpeas to boil for about 5-10 minutes, before lowering the heat to medium and covering the pot with a lid and allowing to simmer for 60-90 minutes. Note, a foam may form when the chickpeas are boiling which you should remove.

Tip, after about 40-50 minutes, add half a tbsp baking soda. This will soften the chickpeas. You can also add some onion to the water to give the chickpeas an onion flavour.

Also note, if you remove the “skin” from the chickpeas once they are cooked it will give much smoother and leaner hummus. This may take some time to do. But you can place the chickpeas in a plastic bag and sort of “roll” the chickpeas on a hard surface and that can help to loosen the skins off the chickpeas… but it is a time consuming process, but it is worth it.

Key ingredients when making a good hummus:

Good quality olive oil, which of course may not be easy to find. Fresh garlic. Good quality tahini, use the runny kind. Fresh lemon juice. Salt and pepper.

Spices: Ground cumin, coriander, sumac

And of course… what mixer you use is important. If you don’t use a high quality mixer it won’t be as smooth. My mixer isn’t as high quality as i may like, hence why my hummus isn’t 100% smooth. But nonetheless it is tasty.

Note: No, I am not saying hummus is an Israeli food, it is a middle eastern food. Certain food may originiate in certain countries, however it does not necessarily belong to a certain country either. And I am aware that the food in Israel is a mixture from different cultures, so hummus may originate in another country, but you still find a lot of it in Israel.

How to make the best hummus:

(250 grams) cooked chickpeas (c.a 2 cans). Prefarbly with no “skin”

1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup (60 ml) runny tahini (recipe to make your own tahini)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) olive oil (more for serving)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water or aquafaba(should be cold)

Optional: Add sumac or coriander to the mix or on top for serving

Serve with some fresh corianer or parsley, pita bread or why not some fried tofu

How to:

Add the chickpeas and tahini to your food processor. Begin mixing for 1 minute before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Note, start off with only half the liquid (oil and water/aquafaba) and add more as necessary. Keep mixing as it will take a few minutes to get it fully creamy…. don’t be scared to add more olive oil as that adds flavour.

The best is to eat it fresh, but it does store in the fridge up to 5 days if stored in an airtight jar!

Adpations to this recipe:

Roast 2-3 red peppers in the oven for 20 minutes at 200c. Note, drizzle some olive oil and salt over the peppers before hand. Add to the hummus mix. Roasted red pepper hummus | Recipe

You can aslo make beetroot hummus by adding 2-3 precooked beetroots. Note, y ou will have to add more liquid. Beetroot hummus & different types of hummus recipe

Or make some roasted carrot hummus. Similar to the roasted red pepper recipe. I.e chop carrots, drizzle over some oil and salt. Bake in the oven for c.a 30 minutes and then add to the originial hummus mix. Note, the liquid amount will have to be increased. (Roasted carrot hummus | Recipe

Other hummus adaptions:

Sweet potato hummus | Vegan recipe

How to make vegan mayonnaise

Mayonnaise… either you love it or you hate…. I have never heard someone say they are “Ok” with it. It is either love or hate.

Let me know in the comments which type you are…. Though I am guessing that if you are actually looking at this recipe you are someone who loves mayonnaise and maybe wants to figure out how to make their own version to save money, or just know how to make a vegan one.

So in the past, I have seen some different ways to make mayonnaise… one based on aquafaba and another based on cashews.

I have never personally liked mayonnaise, so making my own has never been something that has occurred to me… why make something I don’t even like. Hence why I have used crème fraiche in many of my creamy salads!

But I recently learnt how to make my own vegan mayonnaise and it looked so simple so I thought… I have to give it a go. Because if it is that simple, then of course I want all of you to know how to make it yourself.

According to others who ate the mayonnaise, it is similar to the real thing… though you do want to be careful with how much kala namak you use as it gives off a very sulphur smell and taste meaning that your apartment will smell like egg/fart when you use it 😊 Just a little warning!

What is kala namak?

It is also known as himalyen black salt. Because of the components it is made up of, alot of sulphur, it gives off a very eggy smell/taste which makes it great when making tofu scramble or chickpea omelette. However it may not be the most appetizing smell.

I would also recommend you buy preground kala namak and not the hard rocks which you need to ground yourself, because there is risk that the grinder you use to grind the salt will forever smell like sulfur!

The key to make this recipe successful is:

Make sure that all the ingredients are in room temperature, if you use milk that is too cold it might not work out.

I also need to mention that I can not guarantee the results if you use another plantbased milk than soya milk, and the same goes for using another oil than olive oil. However, I am pretty sure using rapeseed oil should work fine instead of olive oil.

Use a handmixer and some type of shaker/glass. It might work in a bowl, I haven’t personally tested but you can give it a try and let me know in the comments below.

If the mixture is too loose, then just add a little more oil and keep mixing, it will thicken up.

Note, after some time in the fridge the mix may not be as “loose”, but it is just to mix it and then it is fine again. Just like with homemade oatmilk, when you store it in the fridge it is not always the same as the storebought versions that have added preservatives to keep them fresh and long lasting.

Adaptions:

Make chili mayonnaise by adding some chilli to make mix

Or why not some garlic mayonnaise… adding some extra salt and crushed garlic

Or make your own vegan aioli, with the mayonnaise as the base (Recipe example)

Chiptole mayonnaise (120ml mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1.5 tsp chipotle powder, squeeze of lime, pinch of salt)

Recipe:

Ingredients:

240ml olive oil (or rapeseed oil)

120ml soya milk – at rooms temperature

½ tsp kala namak

1tsp mustard

½-1tsp lemon juice

Pinch of salt, optional

Add chilli/garlic if you want to spice up the flavour.

How to:

Begin by adding the oil and soya milk to a jar/glass. These two won’t mix, i.e a coagulation will happen. So add the mustard along with the kala namak and lemon juice.

Then begin mixing with the handmixer. It shouldn’t take too long, c.a 2-3 minutes, but be patient.

If it doesn’t begin to thicken up add some more oil… and if necessary a little more mustard as that will help combine the oil and plantbased milk (which contains water i.e oil and water don’t mix, so you need mustard or vinegar to help with that).

If the mixture really doesn’t mix then it could be that the ingredients are too cold. However, this recipe should work if you follow the instructions 😊

If you try this recipe, let me know how it went… also if you made any adaptions to the recipe or the flavour 🙂

Processed foods are unhealthy? – What are processed foods exactly?

In my life, I have both heard and read many people say processed foods are unhealthy. I understand what they mean, but their statement isn’t totally correct.

What the majority of people may mean when they say processed food, is the highly processed foods such as frozen pizzas, cakes and buns, meatballs, baconand soda which are often high in saturated fat, sugar and salt. But what people forget is that processed food entails anyfood that has been altered in some way from their natural state.

This meaning…. Prechopped frozen vegetables, canned beans, crushed tomatoes, tofu, oatmilk, bread are just some examples of processed foods which are not unhealthy or filled with saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt.

Why process food?

Processing food is actually a way to limit food waste and to help preserve food. Processing food can help keep them nutritious and can even make them more nutritious via fortification, example adding D vitamin and calcium to oatmilk, cereals and orange juice. Via pasterization it also makes dairy products safe to eat by removing harmful bacteria. Not everyone can cook their own beans, so buying precooked in a can is amazing. Now a days there are also usually salted and unsalted precooked beans you can buy. Not everyone can bake their own bread or not everyone has the money to buy fresh produce or food that hasn’t been altered in any way. Not to mention, just because a food hasn’t been processed doesn’t automatically mean it is healthier or more nutritious.

Also, you can’t forget that certain processed foods make it convenient and easier to eat and buy…. Example if you’re having a picnic then you might run into the store and grab some bread, tofu, premade hummus and some prewashed, ready to eat spinach. I.e a processed meal but also a highly nutritious meal.

Buying frozen vegetables is both cheaper and a way to limit food waste as many don’t manage to eat the fresh vegetables they buy before they go bad, so then frozen vegetables are a good alternative. Have written a post regarding the nutrition in frozen vegetables vs fresh vegetables, you can read it HERE, but to quickly summarize… they are still very nutritious and sometimes more nutritious than certain fresh vegetables as the deep freezing helps protect the vegetables and nutrients during transport and storing. But just like with all fruits and vegetables, the process of heating them up and preparing them can affect the nutritional value but in such a small way that it isn’t anything you need to think about.

Types of processing:

There are different ways of processing foods such as freezing, canning, drying, baking or for dairy products, pasteurizing the milk is a form of processing. And in the case of pasteurization, that is actually necessary to make the milk safe to consume as it removes harmful bacteria… so without that step of processing, it wouldn’t be as safe to consume.

So what counts as processed food?

Well as you have just read… there are a lot of foods that count as processed. But there are different degrees of processed, example frozen pizzas, different meat products such as sausage, meatballs, granola bars, certain cereals and even fake meats can all be classified as highly processed. These types of products often contain added sugar and salt and are typically high in saturated fat or cholesterol.

There is nothing wrong with eating these foods in moderation, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of your diet.

Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:

  • Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience.
  • Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
  • Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
  • Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
  • The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.

(Source: Eatright.org)

You don’t need to avoid processed food

But you should of course be aware of certain processed foods… such as the ones stated above where you can infact try to make your own version at home if you eat those foods a lot. Example, make your own pizza at home (Recipe, recipe), make your own snack bars (recipe,), you can even try making your own seitan instead of buying your own…. (recipe), however because of the marinade it will still contain a lot of sugar, salt and oil so making your own seitan will be similar to buying fake meat.

I have not got around to writing a post about fake meat vs. real meat (I began writing already in July!), but it is better to eat fake meats than red meat. However the best is to consume other protein sources such as legumes, tofu, tempeh, oats, quinoa, nuts as your majority of protein source and include fake meat as an extra/smaller part of your diet and protein source. And if you eat meat, then choosing white meat such as chicken, turkey and fish (also including salmon) is a lot better than red meat from a health perspective, but it is also recommended to consum plantbased protein sources as the ones mentioned above.

So next time someone says that processed foods are unhealthy, link them to this post or tell them what processed food actually entails.

Just like with all foods, too much of anything isn’t good. Trying to choose the alternatives with no added sugar or salt and contain mono and polyunsaturated fat instead of transfat or saturated fat is best.

And lastly… not eating processed food will definitely limit and restrict your food choices. It will mean you have to do alot of cooking and preparation yourself. Also it has no health benefits avoiding all processed foods…. even if there are benefits in limiting or avoiding highly processed foods.

Vegan Sabich recipe

While I was in Israel – invited there by VibeIsrael – for their Vegan food tour 2019.

One vegetable which I noticed was occurring in many of the dishes we ate was aubergine, or so called eggplant. Mushroom was another reoccurring vegetable, however as I don’t like mushroom I am not going to make any recipes based on this vegetable.

Aubergine is one of those vegetables which is very hit or miss. It is very easy for it to turn out mushy and tasteless. It is one of those vegetables which you definitely need to know how to prepare to make it edible.

I have some different eggplant recipes you can try if you are interested: eggplant schnitzel, they are thin and crispy and super amazing. Stuffed eggplant, another amazing dish which I really like.

Inspired by some of the meals I ate while in Israel, I wanted to recreate some meals I ate while there. And the first one is a Sabich sandwich.

I had to do some googling in regards to what is actually in a Sabich, because lets be honest… when I ate it I just enjoyed it and didn’t think too much about it. The good thing about the trip was that I never had to think about if something was vegan or not, as it was already planned and organized already.

From my googling, I saw that there are different ways to make this sandwich. Different vegetables and fillings. I also tried to figure out if there were any specific spices necessary to make this sandwich, but apparently there weren’t any… it was the sauces that added the flavours. I.e hummus, tahini and amba.

Amba is a type of pickled mango sauce with lots of spices.

Originally a Sabich has egg in it, but of course that is excluded in this recipe.

I do understand that if you are from Israel, or the middle east where you may eat this type of meal on a regular basis, you may think that this isn’t the “exact/original recipe”. And I agree… it isn’t. It is my homemade, Swedish style Sabich. It is missing the amba (I used mango chutney instead) and is also missing the Israeli pickles, but it still worked great!!

Pita bread, hummus and vegetables that just don’t compare to the kind I ate while in Israel… but that is ok. I can atleast try to replicate this dish as much as is possible.

It’s funny how I have never thought of this amazing sandwich combo… all the fillings and sauces work so well together, and the fried aubergine is the cherry on top. So next time you make a sandwich, give this one a go.

If you have tried this sandwich before, let me know what you thought…? 😊

Changes you can make to this recipe:

You can bake the aubergine instead, c.a 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Use plenty of oil, garlic and salt. Also, using the spice sumac on the onion or on the eggplant is recommended!

Recipe

Makes 3-4 pita bread

2/3 large aubergine, in thin slices

Plenty of olive oil

Salt

Tahini – a runny kind

Hummus – preferably homemade

Cabbage, purple or white

½ red onion, sliced thinly

4 boiled potatoes, cold and sliced (this is optional)

Tomatoes, chopped

Cucumber, chopped

Lemon juice

Cilantro or parsley

Amba sauce, or mango chutney

4 small/medium potatoes

3-4 pita bread

How to:

Begin by washing the aubergine and slicing thinly. Then fry on medium heat in plenty of olive oil, until golden. Take about 3-5 minutes on both sides. Add some salt either while frying, or once they are done.

If using potatoes, rinse the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes until almost soft. Then place in the fridge to cool down before slicing into thin slices.

In the mean time you can prepare the vegetables. The best is to make a mix of cucumber, onion and tomatoes, which you drizzle over some lemon, cilantro and olive oil and let sit for 30 minutes.

Also, making your own hummus is the best but store bought works as well. Recipe for homemade hummus (HERE).

Recipe for homemade tahini, (HERE), however I do infact recommend storebought one for this recipe.

Once the veggies are done, heat the pita bread in the oven (200 degrees) for 2-3 minutes.

Then begin to layer the sandwich, first with hummus then cabbage, followed by the cucumber and tomatoes. Then add the aubergine and potatoes and lastly the tahini and amba sauce.

Eat warm, and don’t be scared to make a mess!!!

**Note, i have not stated any quantities for the vegetables or sauce because it is all about the quantities YOU want to use. I.e more sauce, less vegetables or vice versa 🙂 You don’t really need measurements for this recipe.

Eat and enjoy and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle) if you try this recipe.

Pumpkin spice peanut butter

November is pumpkin spice season…. And if i am honest, i have never actuall tried a pumpkin spice latter… or pumpkin spice anything. Or…. now when i am writing this, i think i actually have tried a pumpkin spice latte when i was in Lisabon 3 years ago.

In the U.S there seems to be pumpkin spice everything during October-December, and it hit me that pumpkin spice peanut butter would be an amazing idea. I am all about combining 1 or 2 delicious things and making it into something even more delicious.

I have posted how to make your own peanut butter HERE, as well as a video on my instagram. It is super simple, and you can make it just using peanuts, but i personally add a little oil and salt to get the right texture. As well as roasting the peanuts before hand to give more flavour.

You can of course make this spice mix and use in other dishes, such as PS oatmeal which i made and it was delicious. Or why not make some PS cookies, or some PS nice cream. You can also make this using another nut such as almonds or cashews. I just used peanuts as that was what i had at home.

If you want alot of spice mix, i recommend you double this recipe. As i was just trying out this spice mix combo i just made a small batch, but it did disappear a little too quickly so need to make a new batch!

Pumpkin spice mix:

2,5tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp gingerpowder
1,5 tsp nutmeg (powder)
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp clove (powder)

Mix together and store in a container or small spice jar.
To make the peanut butter i used 400g salted and roasted peanuts. Added to a food processor, along with 2tbsp pumpkin spice.

Mix until crumbly/almost smooth and then add a little neutral oil to thin it out.

Mix until the desired consistency!

(Note, you can add a little brown sugar or vanilla if you want to make your PB sweet 👌 you can also make this using another nut!)

Store in a clean glass container. Try to avoid double dipping i.e use a clean knife/spoon, this is to avoid bacteria growth in the peanut butter! Should store fine up to 2 weeks in the fridge… if you don’t use the oil it won’t store as long.

And there you have your own pumpkin spice peanut butter…. eat, enjoy and don’t forget to let me know if you try making it!

I’m an introvert and that’s ok

If i am honest….. i have many times gotten sad over the fact that i am an introvert. I have tried to be extroverted…. but it just isn’t me.

I am not someone who needs to be around people all the time.

I am not someone who needs the attention on me.

I am someone who needs my alone time. I enjoy being with my close friends who give me energy… but it also takes alot of time for people to break down those walls around me to actually become a close friend

I am not saying that all extroverts want attention or to always be around people. Everyone needs their alone time…. i just need more than others.

Of course i am more of an ambivert in recent years. Wanting to be more social, wanting to spend more time with my close friends, wanting to meet new people and not always be on my own. Not needing as much alone time as i did before. In a way, i guess the majority of people are ambivert, i.e both introverted and extroverted… even if some are just either or the other.

When i ask people to describe me… or what their first impression of me is/was, the answer is 95% of the time:

You are rather quiet. You observe before you speak and you choose your words. You are never someone who judges and i feel like i can tell you anything without being judged. You are amazing at listening.

But i also get… You are very different when i actually get to know you. You are sarcastic, joke and laugh alot when you are comfortable around people.

Of course… for me to get to that stage where i feel comfortable just being myself, being sarcastic, open and laughing… it does take a while. Which is of course why i can come across as very shy, in the background, listening…. not taking up alot of space. I don’t like small talk…. i prefer to talk about other things and meaningful things. Even if i love jokes, sarcasm and memes. I am not someone who feels the need to speak… i can walk beside you in silence and not feel awkward or feel the need to say anything… but of course, if the person i am walking beside gives of an awkward energy because they don’t like being quiet… then i also begin to feel awkward. But i like spending time with people who are ok with just being quiet sometimes… not feeling the need to fill every second with sound and talking.

What is an introvert and extrovert?

“An introvert is often thought of as a quiet, reserved, and thoughtful individual. They don’t seek out special attention or social engagements, as these events can leave introverts feeling exhausted and drained.

Introverts are the opposite of extroverts. Extroverts are often described as the life of a party. They seek out interaction and conversations. They aren’t one to miss a social gathering, and they thrive in the frenzy of a busy environment.” (Healthline)

Being introverted, having my guards up does make it hard for me to make friends… or atleast very close friends. I have alot of friends, but maybe not ones who are super close because i never really get to that stage where i let my walls down.

And this does sadden me…. sometimes i feel like i need to change. I need to change who i am. I need to change my personality and try to be someone else… someone more extroverted… someone who has lots of friends… someone who is social all the time. But on the other hand, i tell myself that this is just who i am and i should accept it….

On my recent trip, we were talking about being extroverted and introverted, and everyone else was pretty much an extrovert, even if some were more like me…. slighly held back and maybe not as open and energetic at first. However i was told that i was very introverted…. and even if i am aware of it. It saddened me…. maybe because i feel like i am really trying? And i didn’t feel like i was holding back or being shy, infact… it was the most extroverted, open, friendly and energetic i have been around others. To think that i spent 12 hours a day with a group of people and never once felt tired or drained of energy from being social, instead felt comfortable being myself…. but yet, i still came across as very introverted. They didn’t mean it in a bad way, but it made me sad…. and that was what sparked me to write this post.

To make me realize it is ok to be an introvert. I am ok the way i am. I don’t have to change or try to be anyone else. People like me the way i am… even if it takes time to truly see my personality and true self. I still socialize, i still have friends, i still enjoy meeting new people and being social. But i also want my alone time…. i don’t always have to say what i am thinking, instead sometimes i can just listen…. be someone who people want to talk to or feel like they can talk to me about anything – which is what many people say that they feel when speaking to me.

I am telling myself that i am ok the way i am.

And if you are introverted, just like me…. tell yourself the same thing, that it is ok to be an introvert. Of course… do push yourself to be social, do push yourself to meet new people. When you find the people you feel truly comfortable and yourself around, they will fill you with energy. For me personally, my closest friends and family always give me energy and i can spend hours with them without feeling drained…. Find people who love you for who you are and want to spend time with you. You may feel lonely….

Even if introverts, like myself, love their alone time… love spending time alone and just doing what you want to do. It can get lonely, or it can feel like no one really likes you because you have a small group of friends or never really open up enough to let people know the real you. But remember, try to just be yourself… try to be as open and friendly as you can be with new people. People will like you for who you are, and you don’t need to be someone else… it won’t last anyway. In the past i have tried to be someone else… put on a personality and facade that wasn’t truly me, just because i thought i needed to act a certain way to please others and make them like me. The fact is, it doesn’t work that way. Be true to yourself and accept yourself the way you are….. even if you also need to be honest with yourself and change the habits or personality traits which may be self destructive or harmful to others. I.e just saying that you are a bithco r have a hot temperament as an excuse to be rude to people is not ok… and is instead a personaity trait that can be changed or atleast controlled.

It is ok to be an introvert… we need both introverts and extroverts in society. Just don’t isolate yourself because you feel/are introverted…. you still need to push yourself to be social and step outside of your comfort zone.

Letting go of food anxiety and control when travelling | Advice

A post about travelling… there are many different directions i can take this post.

How to be vegan when travelling.

How to be healthy/keep up with routines when travelling.

And also… how to be ok with letting go of routines and control and enjoy your holiday.

I want to write about all three, because they are all relevant to different people. For some people, they do need tips on how to maybe stay active during holiday, what to think about with food so as to not go all in all day with the food.

But for others… that is not the type of advice they need. Instead, they need advice on how to be ok with letting go of routines. How to be ok with not exercising for a week. How to be ok with not having planned or structured meals. Eating out several times a day. How to enjoy your holiday, GUILT and ANXIETY free.

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Of course is there a magical answer on how to do this… not really, the first time or first holiday may not be the easiest. But i can say, the only way to find that balance, to be able to enjoy a holiday without letting food or exercise control it or give you anxiety, is to face those fears.

If your holiday is just a week, then realise that it is one week out of 52 weeks. It is 7 days out of 365 days, what does it matter if you eat more than usual? What does it matter if you don’t exercise.

If anything… it will just do you good, because the honest truth is that if you need this reminder that it is ok to not exercise and it is ok to just rest, then you are more than likely doing more exercise than necessary to be healthy and resting will just be beneficial for you. Not to mention, eating differently when you are on holiday, enjoying the food and allowing yourself to try new foods and get that spontaneous ice cream, smoothie or glass of wine is just part of it.

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Think like this….. in the future, you will remember the memories. You will remember the experience and you hopefully want to make it a positive one.

Remember that food is not the enemy. Controlling your body, letting anxiety and fear foods control you won’t bring you happiness. Amir Menahem1437.jpg

  1. Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

 

Some useful tips if you do struggle with anxiety around food because you are eating out or not able to exercise is:

Knowing where you are going to eat can be helpful. Just to mentally know where you are going to eat, what type of food is being served. NO… this doesn’t mean you compensate with salad for lunch because you are eating burgers for dinner, or that you skip breakfast because you are eating pasta for lunch. It can just help with the control issues which i am sure many know struggle with an eating disorder, or need this advice, may struggle with. Mentally preparing yourself can be helpful.

 

And just like i said in my most recent YouTube video about how to stop counting calories, (Youtube, IzzyM), is that when you go out to eat… ORDER THE FOOD YOU WANT. I know it may be tough, especially when you may be doing it 3 or more times in one day. But do it. I promise you, if you order a food you want, like or want to try, you will enjoy it so much more.

 

Hopefully you will be travelling with friends or family who don’t have any food rules or are very restrictive with their diet. Hopefully you are surrounded by people who can enjoy food, both vegetables and ice cream, and that can help you feel more comfortable and want to do the same thing.

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  1. Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

Of course, if you are travelling with others who maybe are on a diet, make alot of food comments or are very restrictive in their way of eating it can be very triggering, and maybe make you feel uncomfortable with ordering and eating the amount or type of food you want. But then you have to ask yourself…. what type of life do i want to live? How do i want to remember this trip? Do i want to remember it filled with anxiety and restricitve behaviour… wanting to try a food but not allowing yourself? Or do you want to remember it with delicious food, seeing new places and a good time?

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Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

It can be helpful to maybe spend a weekend away to start off with, where you don’t actively workout and allow yourself to eat the foods you want when you go out to eat. It can be a good way to start facing your fears.

Have coping skills and ways to cope with your anxiety planned. What works best for you… being alone or being with others? Does it help to just sit and breathe or do you maybe want some time to journal or maybe talk with others to help with the anxiety?

Also remember that the anxiety WILL pass after a meal. I know there may be anxiety before a meal and after, but it will pass… and the only way to make the anxiety lessen, is to face it. Unless you step outside of your comfort zone to face the anxiety, it will continue to control you.

Lastly a reminder… that even if you don’t have the courage to try a whole dish or a certain food all by yourself… if you are travelling with others, suggest you share. Because that can be the start of you facing your fears and fear foods. So if you don’t feel like you can handle finishing an ice cream by yourself, but you still want one…. suggest you share one. Of course… if you truly want th ewhole ice cream – then go for it, because you deserve it!

And remember, even if you don’t go to the gym or go for a run, you are most likely active in other ways…. exploring a new city and walking around. Walking to the beach, moving from place to place. And even if you don’t do that, and all you do is lie on the beach for a whole week… that is ok as well. Remember that it is just a short period of your life.

I know this post isn’t for everyone…. but for many, they may need these reminders.

In the past i could never travel or be away from home. Just the thought of having to eat out more than once in a week or not being able to workout while still having to eat several times a day would have sent me into panic mode. But the only way to get over those fears was to face them…. to travel, to allow myself to eat and enjoy food, to allow myself rest and know that my routines and habits will be there again when i am home. But allowing myself to truly enjoy myself, enjoy food and enjoy the company while i am travelling is so much more important than the amount of calories i eat or the amount of time i spent exercising.

 

When travelling, there can be a lot of anxiety… just because of all the changes… so just be aware and be prepared. Find out what works for you… what helps you cope with your anxiety. Be kind to your self and know that the only way to get better is to step outside of your comfort zone and do the things that scare you, and in that case it means facing fear foods and allowing yourself to rest. It may be easier said than done for some, but you can’t reach that place if you don’t even try or try to face your fears.

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If you have any other post suggestions you want me to make, just let me know!

The importance of regular meal times

Many people like to focus on the small details of nutrition and food, but maybe forget the larger picture.  Often times people focus on amount of protein they eat, or how gmany rams of carbohydrates they eat, or how much salt is in their food…. But maybe forget about the bigger picture such as, eating enough fruit and vegetables each day, eating balanced meals and also eating regular meal times.

Before focusing on the smaller details of food and nutrition, you should look at your intake in total.

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And one of the best nutrition and health tips I can give is…. Eating regular meal times.

There are many benefits to this which I will mention down below.

Some people skip meals to “save” calories.

Others skip meals just because they aren’t hungry or don’t have time.

 

But skipping meals can lead to:

  •  Sweet cravings in the evenings.
  • Ending up snacking lots in the evenings or in the following days to “make up” for the lost energy.
  • Not having energy, concentration or focus because you have skipped a meal.
  • Feeling hangry, i.e hungry and angry… and that may just cause you to lash out or get angry or irritated at those around you.

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The best thing is to have a routine with your eating in general, even if somedays may vary from that routine. If you aren’t a huge breakfast person, that is ok…. You can eat brunch or a later breakfast instead. Or if you are someone who prefers an earlier dinner… or maybe someone who prefers a later dinner, that is ok as well. Just that you have some form of routine and regular meal times.

The best of course is to eat between 3-6 meals a day, just to keep yourself energized all day and avoid going far too long without food which can make you feel tired, rely on caffeine or lose concentration.

But some people prefer 3 bigger meals, and that is ok a well… just as long as it doesn’t go 10-12 hours between your meals each time.

Eating every 3-4 hours is recommended for the general population, even if there are some benefits to fasting for some people as well. It is not recommended for everyone. And what I can say is that it is better to just eat all your meals between example 6am and 9pm each day, and not constantly be eating from 6am to 12pm each day.

So why eat regular meal times?

  • It will give you energy throughout the day
  • It can minimize cravings because you will energize and fuel your body with your main meals and snacks
  • Typically your main meals and snacks will be composed of healthy foods, which also helps you get all your vitamins and minerals you need. Whereas spontaneous snacks chosen out of hanger or extreme hunger due to skipping meals are most often not the most nutritious…. Unless you are someone who naturally grabs a fruit or some nuts in those panic-hunger moments.
  • Better concentration and focus throughout the day. Also with a regular routine with your meal times your body will adapt to this and you will feel hungry at those times.
  • Your body feels “safer”/more balanced if you eat at similar times each day, compared to one day eating 3 meals, another day eating 6 meals. One day eating your first meal at 10 am the next day eating your first meal at 6am

If possible, mealprepping or packing snacks with you is a good idea. Then you will always have nutritious food with you for when you feel hungry and need some more energy.

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Often times, as mentioned above, people can skip meals to save calories or because of fear of weight gain… if this is how you think, then now is a good time to combat those fears and thoughts. Because regular meal times is actually one way to help maintain a healthy weight. Often those who skip meals end up overeating or binging, or snacking on less nutritious foods due to extreme hunger and that can lead to weightgain. Or lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and a binge-restrict cycle.

So for overall health, mental and physical, regular meal times is recommended.

As mentioned, when you eat regular meal times you are also more likely to plan your meals and have them prepared and therefore also eat more nutritious meals which is beneficial for overall health.

So… if you are someone who eats irregular meal times or has no routine with eating or mealtimes… then it may be time to structure up your eating and mealtimes and find your routine.

No, you don’t have to eat breakfast at 7am, no you don’t have to eat 6 meals a day. …. Maybe you are someone who wants to eat your first meal at 10am and only eats breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is ok… just try to stick to that routine everyday. (Of course… if you are on holiday or away from your regular routines, there may be a difference in how, what and how much you eat… that is ok. As mentioned in the beginning, focusing on the bigger picture and what you do the majority of times matters more than what you do/eat/how you eat from time to time!)

Of course, eating breakfast does set you up for the day and gives you the right fuel when you need it the most. But I will save that for another post, talking all about the pro’s of eating breakfast!

If you like this type of nutrition post, let me know in the comments down below or let me know if there are any other nutrition related posts you want me to write about or talk about on my Youtube Channel (follow me there ;))

 

 

 

 

Gingerbread cookie nicecream

It’s not even November yet and i have already begun planning Christmas recipes!! The life of a (part time!) Recipe creator!

So expect christmas recipes already in November…. because I’m not sure i can wait to post the recipes and meals until December. Of course i am mostly looking at creating some winter/christmas inspired breakfasts, snacks and desserts… but there will even be some main meals as well. But what is traditionally eaten for christmas varies so much between countries and cultures so it’s hard to make christmas main meals that will be relevant for many.

But i would love to know what you traditionally eat for christmas?

It can of course be questioned…. is nice cream really a christmas food? And my answer to that would be no. Far from actually.

Instead… it is all about the warm dishes. Oats and rice pudding among other meals. But in some parts of the world it is actually warm during Christmas, so then why not make this dish…. ot maybe you just want some gingerbread flavoured nice cream during summer… that works as well!!

So….

Typically nice cream is just bananas with your flavours of choice.

And ice cream is based on cream and sugar.

This recipe is something in between.

Based on bananas, but added coconut cream for extra creaminess.

The coconut cream can of course be excluded, and just use bananas or add in some whipped soya cream. The coconut cream does add quite a bit of coconut flavour which may not be for everyone.

In prep for this recipe, don’t forget to peel, dice and freeze bananas. I used 2 bananas but you can freeze in more and just use the amount you need for each time you make nice cream! So if bananas are ever on sale… then buy a bunch and freeze in!

What coconut cream to use?

I used the top part (the cream) from a can of full fat coconut milk. But you can use an actual can of coconut cream instead.

So this recipe does require some freezing, mixing, refreezing and then defrosting. But it is worth it… and like i mentioned earlier, you could make a big batch and just defrost/freeze when you want to eat some!

Recipe:

Prep: 5-10 minutes, cooling time: 1-2 hours, defrosting: 30 minutes

2+ bananas, peeled, diced and frozen for atleast 2-3hours in advance

10+ gingerbread cookies. Or use as many or as little as you like.

100- 150ml coconut cream or whipped soya cream

Optional, pinch of ginger, cardamom and cinnamon or some gingerbread spices.

How to:

In a mixer, place the bananas, coconut cream and crumbled cookies and mix on high speed until smooth. If you don’t have a high speed food processor, allow the bananas to defrost a little before mixing so you don’t break your mixer.

Add in the extra spices if using. Taste and add more spices or cookies according to preference.

Pour the mixture into a container and place into the fridge for 30-60+ minutes

Then, once cooled, allow to defrost a little before eating!!

A very simple recipe. Almost so simple it doesn’t require instructions or a recipe!!

Give this recipe a try, or check out some of my other nicecream/ice cream recipes and let me know what you think!!

Vegan chocolate mudcake | Portionsize

Halloween is coming up…. and that means candy and chocolate in overload!

Typically it is candy you eat and want… but who can say no to chocolate cake? Of course… i am just using Halloween as an excuse to make these because they are so amazing. And also great to have in the freezer and ready to heat for when you get that chocolate craving… or maybe if you have friends or family over.

These are also the best way to impress anti-vegans or those who are sceptiacal to vegan food. Then whip these together and impress them with some chocolaty goodness!

If you are looking for some candy ideas then i have several homemade candy recipes you can try:

Kitkat, snickers, daim, ferrero rocher, oreo truffles,

In the future i need to try making some vegan twix or vegan mars!

If you have the ingredients at home then make these asap! You can half the recipe to make less, or double the recipe if you are having a party!!!

They work great to freeze in… so you have something chocolatey ready when you need some!!!

This recipe is definitely my go to when i want to bake something sweet or when baking to impress or give away to others!!!

If you have some nuts, coconut shreds or chili at home… you can always those to the mix!!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

180g flour

200g sugar

50ml cacao

1tbsp vanilla sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g vegan margarine, melted

100ml vegan cream, cooking or baking(not whipped)

Pinch of salt

* extras, nuts, coconut, chili powder, espresso, nut butter

*muffin/cupcake forms – the best is to use reusable ones. Preferably, use sturdier forms as otherwise the mixture will spread out when baking.

How to:

Preheat oven to 180c

Begin by melting the margarine.

In the mean time mix together the flour, sugar, cacao, baking powder and pinch of salt. Make sure it is fully mixed and no clumps!

Once the margarine is melted pour over the dry mix along with 100ml plantbased cream. Mix until it all comes together.

Pour into individual forms. Fill about 3/4 of the way.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.

They will still be a little loose in the middle, but my recommendation is to allow them to cool in the fridge or freezer so that they get fudgy!!

Either eat warm, after cooling a little or eat when cold and fudgy!!!

These are the perfect dessert to throw together for any occasion!!!

Note, you can try making this in one long form but i can’t guarantee the results and the baking time may differ.

If you try these, don’t forget to comment below or let me know on instagram: itsahealthylifestyle

Banana bread granola

Crispy, crunchy granola…. amazing to snack on just as it is!!

I remember when i was younger -and even now as an adult – i love eating granola right out of the package!

However storebought granola is often rather expensive – if you want the yummy kind – and it is not so economic for me to buy granola at the same pace i eat granola! So… making my own is definitely a money saver.

Of course nutritionally granola isn’t the best food to eat lots of. This granola recipe – among many others is made with margarine and syrup. That is what adds the sweetness and the crunch.

Sugar and margarine free?

I haven’t personally managed to make a tasty granola without any source of fat – whether it’s oil or margarine. Also the syrup does help with the crunch, but you can use stevia or a sugar free syrup… but i can’t guarantee the results will be the same.

Granola is one of those foods it’s easy to alot of. But just be aware of the sugar content of this granola! But nothing wrong with eating this as a sweet treat with some soya quark and berries!!

If you want another granola recipe, i have made an amazing chocolate and PB granola which you can also try!! RECIPE

How to store the granola?

In a clean, airtight jar. As the granola has banana it does have the risk of getting mushy, especially if it gets wet or is stored in an open jar.

My granola only lasted about 5-7 days, so that is the period i can guarantee it is still ok. But should store up to 10 days.

Tips:

Make sure you let the granola crisp up in the oven. It will still be drying and crisping up after it has baked.

Don’t over crowd the baking pan. It is better to use two baking pans and spread the granola out, so that it all bakes evenly.

If you have some ripe bananas, give this recipe a go 🙂

Recipe:

Prep: 10 minutes, cook time: 35 minutes, cooling time: 2-3 hours

250g oats

100ml syrup

200ml melted vegan margarine

2 bananas, mashed

2tbsp peanut butter *can be omitted

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp chia seeds

Options: banana chips, coconut shreds, pumpkin seeds

How to:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Begin by adding the dry ingredients in a bowl – oats, seasoning, chia seeds and also if you want some walnuts, coconut pieces or other extras.

Melt the margarine in a pot, add the syrup once melted.

Mash the bananas and add to the margarine mix along with the peanut butter. Mix until combined.

Pour the liquid over the oats and mix so that all the oats are covered.

Pour the granola onto 1-2 baking oans with parchment paper, spread the granola out. However it is ok to leave some clusters, as that is what makes the granola crunchy!

Bake in the oven for around 35-40 minutes. Check on the granola after 20 minutes and stir the granola a little so it bakes evenly.

After c.a 35 minutes, turn the oven off and you can let the granola sit in the oven for 30-60 minutes to cool (leave the oven open a little) before placing in the open to cool for another 2-3 hours. Or you can take the granola out and allow to FULLY cool for 2-3 hours before placing in airtight jars.

As you can see, it is rather easy to make your own granola. You just have to be patient and also try not to eat all the granola at once!!!

If you do try this recipe, let me know what you think 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram: itsahealthylifestyle where i share more vegan meals and recipes!

Cucumber salad – with vegan greek cheese | Vegan

Do you ever buy vegetables with the intentionof eating them but then suddenly a week has passed and the vegetable is in it’s last few days/hours….. yeah, that’s me and cucumbers.

Sure i like – infact love – vegetables…. but there’s something about cucumbers. They just don’t appeal to me.

But suddenly i had two cucumbers and no idea what to do with them.

Sure… i could them just as they are. Or dip in hummus or even add to water. But i didn’t feel like eating any of those ideas.

So…. i thought… what’s better than a regular plain salad? A creamy salad.

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Sometimes you just need to throw everything into a big bowl, add some garlic, salt and pepper and mix together with some van creme fraiche or mayonnaise.

And that’s exactly what i did. And i can tell you…. i was not disappointed.

Well… aside from the fact that i am trying to limit my intake of garlic and onion, especially raw…. but taste wise this was delicious.

Vitamins, nutrients, fiber, protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. You got it all in this meal!

Recipe

In all honesty, this recipe doesn’t really require measurements…. it’s mostly freestyle and adjust the measurements according to the amount you want to eat and make!

Ingredients:

3/4 large cucumber, or 1 medium sized

1 small red onion, diced

1/2 block vegan feta cheese

1/2 can chickpeas

1/2 red pepper. diced

1 avocado

Vegan creme fraiche, around 150-200ml. Note you can use 50/50 vegan creme fraiche and mayonnaise or opt for a lighter version by using soya quark or vegan greek yoghurt.

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Salt

Black pepper

How to:

Dice cucumber, red onion and bell pepper. Chop the avocado and greek cheese into small cubes. Rinse the chickpeas (save the aquafaba for another recipe).

In a large salad bowl add all the ingredients, including the minced garlic, salt and pepper. Mix together with creme fraiche, or your alternative.

Either eat right away with example some bean burgers or as filling in a baguette, or place in the fridge and allow the flavours of the salad to combine and eat later!

 

For some other salad ideas:

Vegan tuna salad

BBQ chickpea salad

Vegan ch*cken curry salad

Beetroot salad

Swedish tofu skagenröra

Potato salad and coleslaw

Next time you don’t know what to eat…. throw some foods into a bowl and mix together with some vegan creme fraiche, saltand garlic…. 50% chance it will turn out good…. sounds like a good idea!!!

Apple pie baked oatmeal recipe

To think that i have only really known and eaen baked oats for 6 months….. feels like it’s been part of my life so much longer than that!!

I am so thankful that oats are cheap – and local – because i sure consume alot of oats each week! But what can i say…. i love this amazing food.

A new baked oatmeal combo to add to all the other baked oatmeals i have made in the past. You can see them here!

Infact i am thinking it’s time i make a masterpost with all the baked oatmeaal recipes i already have on my blog so that i can just refer to that masterpost and continualy update it! Sounds like a good idea.

This meal is definitely what i would classify as cheap, nutritious, vegan eats. Basically everything i love and hopefully you love as well!

No need to overcomplicate food or make it more expensive than it has to be!!!

This recipe works great as a snack, breakfast or dessert! And if you are making it for dessert you can always choose to serve it with ice cream or custard instead of vanilla yoghurt!!!

I made mine in 2 individual glass jars but you can make it in a baking form instead.

Recipe

2-3 portions
200g oats
3 apples
C. 250ml warm liquid (water or mylk)
100-150ml vanilla yoghurt
Cinnamon
1 tbsp peanut butter
Optional: 2tbsp chia seeds
2-3tbsp stevia or syrup (or dates)
Margarine or oil to fry the apples in.

How to:

Preheat oven to 180C
Chop the apples into pieces and fry in some margarine with cinnamon and vanilla powder.

In a baking bowl mix together the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, cardamum, pinch of salt, stevia, PB and yoghurt. Add 3/4 of the fried apples.

Mix until combined.

Place in a baking tray or individual jars.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C. Once baked all the way through, top with extra apples and vanilla yoghurt (or ice cream 🙄🤔😋)

Hopefully you give this a try and enjoy it just a much as i did!!

Peanut butter cookies recipe

Peanut butter fudge cookies…. what else can you want?

Recipe testing can go two ways….. you try to create a dish and it turns out amazing so i have to quickly write down the ingredients and measurements as to not forget them.

Or the dish can turn out unedible and can’t be saved….. but even then i write down the measurements and ingredients so that i can adjust for next time.

With this recipe… i thought it was the latter. A fiirst the cookies didn’t really turn out as i hd expected or wanted. They very soft coming out of the oven and thought maybe it was too much margarine. They didn’t quite taste like the crispy, crunchy cookies you can buy in stores.

But they were still tasty so i covered them an placed them in the fridge overnight…. andthe next day. Well that’s when i realized these cookies turned out suoer good anyway. They just needed time to fully cool!!

They are more soft and fudgy… almost like snickerdoodle cookies.

These cookies are quick to make, however they do need time to fully cool down so the wit until you can eat them may be a little longer than other cookies… but it’s worth the wait!!

Can you switch peanut butter for another nut butter?

I haven’t personally tried but i don’t see why not…. so you could give it a try!

Gluten free or sugar free version?

No, making these gluten free won’t work… inead it’s better to opt for another recipe 🙂 such as my chickpea peanut butter cookies

As for sugar free… it should work fine to switch the sugar for stevia. With the syrup… you should be able to use a stevia syrup/sweetener syrup, but that is alot more expensive. Or you could just add a little more liquid and make the cookies less sweet. However i can not guarantee the results if you do make this switch.

If you try these cookies… let me know wha you think!!

Recipe

Makes 10-12 cookies

Ingredients:

240g flour

150g sugar

100-150ml syrup

100ml peanut butter

200g margarine, room temperature

2tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

1tsp bicarbonate

1 tsp vanilla powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

How to:

Preheat the oven to 175 C

In a bowl whisk together the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the peanut butter and syrup.

In another bowl mix together the dry ingredints.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Cover 1-2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Form the dough into balls and place on the pparchment paper. Press down slightly. They will spread out a little so leave room for them to flatten and spread out.

Bake in the oven for 13-16 minutes.

Note… they will be rather soft when you take them out of the oven. So allow them to cool FULLY. Even placing them in the fridge a few hours before eating and then they will be more fudgy rather than crispy.

These work fine to be frozen and reheated 🙂 should also work fine to half the recipe!

Intuitive eating vs tracking | which nutrition advice is right?

On social media, everyone seems to be a nutritionist…. There is a lot of nutrition advice given, for both the better and the worse.

There are plenty of qualified people online giving nutrition advice, which is great… they are sharing their knowledge to help others. And then there are also those who have gotten their nutrition information online from maybe not the most scientific sources. However, this is not what I am going to discuss today…. But there are some red flags to be aware of when getting your nutrition information online from different sources. But that can be for another post.

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Instead, this post is about….. the type and way nutrition information shared. I have noticed that there are two ways of sharing nutrition information and advice – and you can easily tell which category I fall into – and that is, “eat whatever you want when you want it, try to eat intuitively and balanced. Everything in moderation” vs. “Track your calories and macros. Eat according to a schedule and mealplan if possible. Only eat certain foods on certain days, and do a tough workout either before or after your ‘cheatmeal’ to earn it”.

So… which is right? Do you need to track your food and earn your “cheatmeals”, or can you just eat whatever you want when you want?

This may not be the answer you want to hear, but I would say…. It is very individual what works.

For some people, they may struggle with a more restrictive mindset. Feel guilt around food and want to restrict calories or certain foods. Then, giving them the reminder that everything in moderation is healthy (this is of course true for EVERYONE, regardless of weight or goal). Also reminding the person that they should try to listen to their body, follow their hunger and fullness signals and allow themselves to eat…. To overcome the fear and guilt associated with food.

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Whereas for others who may have tendencies towards overeating, binging, extreme emotional eating and may gravitate more towards eating processed and junkfood on the daily. Then giving the advice to follow a mealplan or to track their intake and keep portions and foods in line with their goal.

Just eating whatever and whenever may not be the best advice for some… just like telling others to track their food and calories and that they have to “earn” their food may not be the best advice for others.

It is very individual. And as a nutritionist or dietitian you give different advice to different people, depending on their goal and situation. There are food and nutrition recommendations for the general population, but individual advice may differ for different individuals.

But on social media… what may be individual advice is instead given to a large population. It is aimed at “everyone”, even if the advice may only be healthy and applicable for some groups of people. THIS is something that YOU as a reader should be aware of. Not all nutrition advice is applicable for everyone…. You also have to be aware of, “is this advice and recommendation suitable for me?”

The advice for someone who is recovering from anorexia will vary from someone who has a large overweight and needs to lose weight. But will also vary between those two groups and someone who has a healthy weight and maybe wants to build muscle.

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The thing you will notice online is that the person giving the nutrition advice will most likely adjust their advice given according to their followers… if someone has a lot of followers who struggle with overeating and need to/want to lose weight, they will give different recommendations from someone like me… who knows that I have a lot of followers who struggle with different forms of restrictive eating.

My personal opinion is that…. It is not necessarily wrong to track your food intake or follow a meal plan. For some people, that is what they need to do for a SHORT period of time to readjust to regular portion sizes and try to find balance with food again. However, how precisely you track your food intake is another question…. And that is very individual. Some people can track their calories or macros without it ever getting obsessive, while others easily get consumed and obsessed with numbers if they try to track their food. So my general recommendation is to not focus on calories, but to focus more on healthy foods and eating the right size portions.

My nutrition advice is of course adjusted for the individual when working with individuals, but my overall recommendation for everyone is to try to focus on balanced and intuitive eating. Even if it may be a long process to get to that stage, that should be the ultimate goal. To be able to listen to your body, to not have to overthink food or track every single food you eat.

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When you begin listening to your body and find intuitive eating, you do fall into a routine…. You feel hungry at certain times, you find meals and foods you like which become a regular, but you also aren’t scared to try new foods or meals or eat at different times when the hunger kicks in. That should be the ultimate goal, which is also why I share that message so often.

To summarize this post…

Well, there is a lot of nutrition advice out there and it is not applicable to everyone. You as a reader, do also need to think rationally and ask yourself… is this information relevant and healthy for me? Would it be healthy for me to track my calories or exercise to compensate for food? Would it be healthy for me to just listen to my body? Would it be healthy for me to just eat what my body tells me… ?(For some people at certain stages of their life, this method isn’t the healthiest… it may be the goal but at certain times a mealplan may be necessary to find structure and balance with food again).

Lastly… I also think that the majority of people will follow those online who give the nutrition advice that most suits them. If they are someone who wants to eat more intuitively and balanced, they will most likely follow someone who gives that advice and motivates them to eat that way. Whereas, if someone wants a stricter approach to eating and wants to track their food and be reminded of portion sizes or calorie amounts in food, they will follow people who give that sort of advice.

However on social media… you can’t always control what appears in your feed or recommended pages, so sometimes you get nutrition advice and recommendations which may not be the ones aimed at you or the advice you want to hear or see.  But that’s social media.

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So which is better….. it is individual, one isn’t necessarily better than the other… even if I personally believe that the intuitive eating and balanced approach to eating should be the ultimate goal for everyone. You as an individual also need to ask yourself, which approach to food and eating works best for you?

Vegan remake of pickled herring | Vegansk skärgårdssill | Aubergine “herring” | Classic Swedish dish

In Sweden it is common to eat pickled herring, especially during high times such as Christmas, Easter and Midsummer.

In the past i did like eating the pickled herring, however it was mostly the sauce i liked and not so much the raw fish. Since going vegan i have never tried to recreate this dish, because it just hasn’t been something i have wanted or felt the need to eat. However a few weeks ago i had some extra aubergine i needed to use, as well as all the ingredients to try recreate the sauce so i thought… why not give it a go.

The sauce has a slightly fishy taste from the vegan caviar, but it also has a sweetness due to the marinade, and of course the creaminess from the creme fraiche.

I would recommend you use vegan mayonnaise, or 50/50 vegan creme fraiche and mayonnaise as that will give the best results. But you can switch for a lighter version such as creme fraiche or soya quark.

For the marinade, i have written less sugar than i used as mine was a little too sweet for my preference, so in the recipe it is about 60% sugar than what i used which will hopefully give a better balance, but you can of course use even less, as the sugar is mostly for preserving and giving a little flavour but it shouldn’t be overly sweet.

This dish may sound strange for many who aren’t from the Nordic countries, but all countries have their different cuisines and dishes… so if you are willing to try something new and different, give this a try. Of course, i don’t know who readily available vegan caviar is in other countries…. Maybe Ikea will have it if you have an Ikea close by…? Otherwise you could always try adding some seaweed flakes/crushed up seaweed to give it a slightly “fishy taste”.

Also, in Sweden there are many different types of pickled herring with different sauces such as onion based, mustard based and each year they have a new sauce the exclusive/limited edition sauce, hahah. But many companies have also realised that not everyone wants to eat fish and have made alternatives based on tofu, which are very tasty in my opinon.

Notes!

You could switch the aubergine for tofu in this recipe, though i would then use a firm tofu and you don’t need to salt it… however you should press it of water before marinating!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

100ml vinegar

100g sugar

300ml water

3 bay leaf

8 black peppercorns

½ small red onion, diced

For the “herring”

1 aubergine

Salt

For the sauce:

½ red onion

200ml vegan creme fraiche, or 50/50 crème fraiche and vegan mayonnaise

Fresh dill

2 tbsp vegan caviar

½ lemon (juice)

Salt and pepper

How to:

In a pot, add all the ingredients for the “marinade” and allow to boil for a few minutes.

In the meantime, rinse the aubergine and chop into small cubes. Pour over a little salt and allow sit for about 10 minutes, so that some of the moisture is drawn out.

 

Add the aubergine to the “marinade” and allow to boil for a few minutes before removing from the heat. Then allow to cool down before placing in the fridge overnight.

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Prepare the other sauce as well, so that it can sit overnight as well, and the flavours will be a lot stronger and combined.

To make the sauce, dice the onion and the dill. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning according to preference. Allow sit in the fridge overnight as well.

In the morning, pour away the “marinade” from the aubergine and mix the aubergine into the other sauce. Preferably, you then let that sauce sit for another few hours in the fridge, but it is fine to just mix and eat directly.

 

This is a remake of a class Swedish dish, i.e skärgårdssill. You can make this recipe using tofu instead of aubergine, and you can make a mustard sauce instead of the caviar based one.

In the future I will be making this for Christmas, midsummer, Easter and all those other hightimes when the non vegan version is classic at the table!

 

 

 

 

 

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Roasted vegetable pasta with vegan meatballs

Thorw togetehr meals are my forte! I feel like throw together meals should get alot more credit than they do….. you don’t always need a recipe. Sometimes you just need some creativity.

Of course…. with throw together meals, there is always a risk that the meal will be a disaster, that something goes wrong along the way. Maybe to much salt, maybe too much garlic (is that even a thing?), maybe too much or too little sauce… Sometimes the seasoning combo just doesn’t work.

For me personally, i find that the majjority of these types of meals always turn out good. Alot better than expected… maybe because i always have such low expecations of the results, hahah.

So what do i mean by a throw together meal? When you just throw together a bunch of ingredients and foods you have at home. Often making a stew, or a stir fry. Sometimes just throwing a bunch of veggies, beans and tofu onto a baking tray (i.e after washing and peeling) and into the oven is a throw together meal. But usually i make some sort of stiry fry, stew or pasta sauce using what i have at home.

This meal which i will post the recipe for down below was a throw together meal. I opened my fridge and cabinets and asked myself… what can i do with the food i have at home?

And the result was a vegetable pasta with vegan meatballs.

After these throw together recipes, i also usually find other adaptions you can make to the recipe and things i can do differently for next time. But usually it is the first step of a recipe or developing a new meal idea… just testing and then adapting the next time.

Adaptions for this recipe is that you can grill/roast the veggies instead of frying them like i did. The roasting process will give alot more flavour.

I made the meatballs out of Anamma vegan soy mince. All you need to do is defrost the mince and then it is ready to foll and form like regular minced meat. However you can of course make bean balls, falafels or skip the vegan meatballs and maybe add some beans or fried tofu along with the pasta.

Recipe:

Pasta of choice – i used 2-3 portions so that i have enough for lunch boxes.

1 red bell pepper, chopped in larger pieces

1/2 zucchini, chopped in larger pieces

Cocktail tomatoes, cut in half

2 red oinons, chopped in larger pieces

3 garlic cloves, diced

Oil to fry in

Salt and pepper

Parsley

Crushed tomato sauce

50ml oatcream

For the vegan meatballs:

200g Vegan soymince from Anamma (formbar färs)

1-2 tbop bread crumbs

Around 1/2tbsp soya sauce

2 tsp mustard (you can use dijon, but a sweet/strong mustard also works)

Black pepper

How to:

Boil pasta according to instructions. Take the soy mince out of the freezer and allow to defrost, if you haven’t already done this.

In a frying pan add a little oil. Begin by frying the garlic and onion until golden brown. Then add the zucchini and bell pepper and allow to fry until soft. Add the cocktail tomatoes along with some salt, pepper and parsley.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain of water. Then pour in the pasta with the fried vegetables. Add some crushed tomatoes along with a little oatcream and allow to simmer. Mix so that it is well combined. After about 5-10 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside.

Begin making the vegan meatballs by combining all the ingredients to make the meatballs. Mix. Then form into small balls and fry in some oil on medium heat. Rotate the balls so that they cook evenly.

Add the meatballs to the pasta and roast vegetable mix. Serve warm, and save the rest for later!

This meal would also work great with some garlic bread, which you can find a recipe for HERE.

This meal was an absolute hit according to me. Infact just writing out this recipe makes me want to rush home and make this again.

It’s crazy how somethign so simple can be so good… but the roasted vegetables was key!

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle) if you try this recipe, or comment down below what you thought 🙂

Red lentil and carrot soup with naan bread

Cheap vegan eats…. that is going to be my new hashtag and theme of eating.

Or maybe…. quick student eats.

There are so many food blogs out there, so many recipe creators and so many amazing vegan youtubers sharing amazing meals.

And where do i fit in among all these creators….? Well, i fall in the category of “student”, “nutritious food”, “cheap food”, “20 minute cooking”.

I want my food to be quick and easy to make. I want it to be relativly cheap… even if i also know that my food buget is higher than other students out there, because i run a food blog and isntagram, and treat myself to vegan soya products and vegan cheese/creme fraiche etc

I also want my food to be nutritious. Even if not all my food has to be 100% nutritious, i want it to be based on wholefoods and lots of vegetables.

This is my niche and focus among all the other food creators. And i also think that is why many follow me and recreate my recipes… because they are simple. And that is what i will stick to…. even if i will also try making more fancy meals time to time, because i do also enjoy that!

I also want to show how easy it can be to eat plantbased and to also eat healthy. Because you can eat plantbased and just noodles and ketchup, that is vegan and cheap… but maybe not so nutritious. Many think eating plantbased is complicated or takes alot of time, but it doesn’t have to. You can veganize pretty much any meal.

Of course, seasoning is key. Learn how to season – and i am still learning. I am the type of person who relies alot on garlic and onion as well as salt and pepper to season my food. But also pepper, ginger, lime, soya, brown sugar, parsley, basil…. and even cacao and red wine can be used to season certain foods!

Also, don’t be scared to buy premade seasoning mixes if you don’t feel like seasoning or mixing together spices yourself.

Adaptions to this recipe:
You can use sweet potato instead of regular potato

You can skip the chickpeas

You can skip the crushed tomatoes, or use coconut milk instead, or just use water

Recipe:

This recipe makes about 5-6 portions. Time: 30 minutes

450ml red lentils

4 carrots, peeled and diced

5 potatoes

750ml water

1 can of chickpeas (240g)

2-3 cloves garlic

1 red onion

optional, 1 vegetabl stock

Chili powder, paprika powder

Salt and pepper

400ml crushed tomatoes (optional) you can choose to just use vegetable stock or use coconut cream instead

Top with some cilantro or parsley

How to:

In a pot, add diced carrots and potatoes. Add a little salt and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes so that the carrots have softened before adding the red lentils. Add 1 vegetable stock to the water.

While the carrots and potatoes are boiling you can chop and dice the red onion and garlic and fry in a little oil to bring out more flavour. However you can skip this and just add these directly to the stew along with the red lentils.

When you have added the red lentils, allow to simmer/boil for about 10-15 minutes until the red lentils are soft. Add the garlic and red onion, as well as your spices of choice. Example, chilli, paprika powder, salt and black pepper.

Pour away a little of the water if it is too much, and if you are using the crushed tomatoes add them now.

Add the chickpieas (save the aquafaba for another recipe).

With a handmixer, mix until desired consistency. Whether you want it super smooth or still want a little texture from the carrots and lentils.

The best cheap meal which tastes just as good cold as it does warm!

Recipe for the naan bread:

Original recipe from Lovingitvegan.

The naan bread is very simple to make, all you need to do is mix together the ingredients, allow to yeast and rise for 30 minutes and then you form into naan bread and fry in some oil for about 3-4 minutes on each side. The result is fluffy, warm bread.

My adaption to her recipe is to add some garlic, sea salt and parsley to the mix so that the bread tastes even more. Also, you can make some garlic butter and spread a little on each side of the naan bread before frying so that it tastes extra of garlic!

If you are craving bread and have these ingredients at home, as well as can wait about 60 minutes… then give this bread a go. Also works great to freeze, hahaha.

If you try either of these recipes or get inspired by the meals i eat, don’t forget to tag me and let me know!!

Chickpea peanut butter cookies

Cookies made out of chickpeas…. i know you may be sceptical. You may just be thinking, wow vegans have really gone too far now.

However if you haven’t tried chickpea cookie dough before then you are missing out. Your first thought when you think of chickpea cookie dough may be hummus with chocolate chips. But trust me… that is not how it tastes. It is thick, sweet and so delicious. Not to mention you don’t have to worry about salmonella like you do when eating raw cookie dough with eggs/flour. Also chickpea cookie dough works just as great for breakfast as it does for snacks or desserts.

So… i decided to turn chickpeas into actual cookies. Perfect to bring with me to school or when at home studying.

So let’s start off with the fact that these cookies aren’t crunchy like regular cookies. But i am pretty sure nobody expects these to be exactly like regular cookies. You have to enjoy these cookies for what they are!!

If you want another snack cookie to make, i have made banana oat cookies Here:

Also chickpea cookie dough squares.

 

My recommendation with these cookies is to allow them to cool fully before eating. They might be a little crumbly.

These also work great to be frozen and reheated… or if super hungry, eat frozen hahha. They don’t turn super hard when frozen so works fine to eat when still cold.

Adaptions:

You can switch peanut butter for other nut butter.

You can use nuts or dried fruit instead of chocolate.

Necessary kitchen appliances:

Food processor or handmixer

Recipe:

Ingredients:

240g chickpeas

8 fresh dates – pitted

40g rolled oats

2-4 tbsp peanut butter

3 tbsp stevia or syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g chocolate, chopped

Pinch of salt – optional sea salt

How to:

In food processor, or in a baking bowl if you are using a hand mixer, add all the ingredients aside from the chocolate chips.

Mix until smooth, but shouldn’t turn into hummus texture either. Taste and add more dates, sweetener or pinch of salt according to your preference.

Add the chopped chocolate and mix in.

Form into cookie shapes (note, if the mixture is far too lose and you it doesn’t hold together. Add more rolled oats).

The cookies won’t change shape in the oven, so you can make them the size you want. However i wouldn’t make them farr too big as then it may not cook evenly.

Place the cookies on a baking tray with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes at 175C.

Once they are baked, allow them to cool completely before eating. Optional, add a little sea salt on top for that perfect sweet and salty combo.

These work great to be frozen!

Note, you can also decide to skip the baking and just eat the cookie dough as it is.

You can see a video when i make these on my Instagram: itsahealthylifestyle

If you try these, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or comment below!

Carrot cake overnight oats

Carrot cake… who doesn’t love it.

Of course… it doesn’t seem to be socially acceptable to eat carrot cake for breakfast… but with this meal, it is ok to do that!!

Carrot cake overnight oats… perfect to prepare the night before and have ready for breakfast or snack the next day. No excuses to skip breakfast or snacks!

To make this more like carrot cake you can make a cream cheese mix to top with, or use some soya yoghurt and mix with some ginger, cardamom, vanilla and sweetener!