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.

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.

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  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 ;))

 

 

 

 

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?

Chocolate aquafaba mousse

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Aquafaba… the liquid from a tetrapack of chickpeas, this often forgotten about and wasted food.

Nutritionally, it doesn’t add a lot… mostly sodium if you use aquafaba from salted chickpeas. However, it sure adds a lot when cooking or baking, such as being a good binder when it comes to breading foods. But even works great in pancakes, waffles, bread.

I have a post about aquafaba, what it is and what you can do with it which  you can read HERE.

In this post, I am instead going to share the recipe for a chocolate mousse made from aquafaba.

When you think of mousse, the first thing you think about isn’t exactly “chickpea water”… but after you make this recipe you won’t be wanting to waste aquafaba again.

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Granted…. A chocolate mousse made from whipped soy cream or coconut cream might have more of a creamy texture, but this mousse is still tasty for what it is. And even if you may be sceptical… if you have the ingredients at home… give this a try.

I do recommend that you use aquafaba from unsalted chickpeas…however if you only have salted then you may need to add a bit more vanilla and sugar to override the salt.

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So onto the recipe… because that is what you are all here for:

240ml aquafaba (roughly all the aquafaba from one can of chickpeas)

1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar (this helps make the aquafaba stiffen and form peaks)

100g vegan chocolate, melted

1-2tbsp coconut milk (or other plantbased milk)

c.a 2tbsp sugar or stevia (depending on which chocolate you use, if it is vegan milk chocolate you may just want to use 1tbsp sugar).

Optional: Pinch of vanilla, pinch of sea salt if the aquafaba isn’t already salted.

Optional: Top with some banana, peanut butter and berries

How to:

First, make sure that the whisk and bowl you will use to whisk the aquafaba is clean and has no fat residue left in it, as this can stop the aquafaba from forming peaks, which is what you want.

Begin by melting the chocolate – as you don’t want it to be super hot when you mix it in with the aquafaba. I mix mine in a waterbath, meaning you place a plate with the chocolate ontop of a pot with boiling water. The steam and heat will melt the chocolate – stir occasionally. However, you can also melt the chocolate in the microwave, doing it in 20 second intervals to avoid burning the chocolate. Add 1-2tbsp coconut milk to the chocolate, as that will keep it smooth and keep from hardening into a hard chocolate block again.

In the meantime, begin whisking the aquafaba. The best is to use an electric whisk, and then it will take about 5 minutes. By hand it can take around 10 minutes. Note, add some lemon juice or vinegar when mixing as this will help the aquafaba to stiffen.

After about half the time, add the sugar and keep whisking. The aquafaba is done once it has “peaks”, and you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without anything spilling/falling out.

Add in the melted chocolate, being careful to fold it in and not whisk or mix too hard. Note, the mousse will lose some of it’s peaks and stiffness, but that is ok. Just don’t overmix.

Then, either place that bowl into the fridge or pour into your desired mousse forms/cups and then place into the fridge overnight or for atleast 2-3 hours. This will help the mousse set.

Once done, eat and enjoy and make this a weekly dessert because it tastes so good!!

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If you do try this recipe, let me know what you think…. . I personally really like it, but maybe that is just me!

Remember, you can add some liquorice powder, vanilla powder or chilli to add extra flavour to this mousse!!