A week of firsts – Weddings, vegan pizza and Maid Of Honor surprise!

My first week of adapting to the vegan lifestyle has flown by. It hasn’t been a week of feeling deprived and unsatisfied, like I had originally nervously anticipated. After the first 4 days, I started noticing so many changes within myself and my body. Even though it has only been a week, my energy levels have slightly improved, my brain fog has lessened and my junk food cravings have started to diminish. The he majority of what I’m eating are carbs but I do find myself filling my plates with a variety of fruit, veg and legumes instead of breads, pastas and vegan junk food. I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy mindset and look at food as fuel, rather than a treat and whether I end up feeling the best I ever have or I end up piling on loads of weight, and I’m excited to see where this may take me.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this vegan pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker and just had to try it! Paired with a Greek salad (without feta), I recreated this pizza for a midweek treat. Being the pizza fanatic that I am, I was once again pleasantly surprised with the alternative options vegans have these days.

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Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:

Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion. 

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Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.

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Passion green juice @ Mana

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My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula

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Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai! 

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This week was definately a week of firsts. My best friend has asked me to be her Maid Of Honor for her wedding! She seems to think that I would’ve already expected it, but, since she has friends from all over the world, it was such a lovely surprise to open the box below! Not only is the wedding located near her birth town, it is also an area which I hold close to my heart and where my god mother resides and have spent many amazing summers with my family. Bring on the best wedding ever summer 2017 in beautiful Spain!

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Speaking of weddings, I attended my first ever wedding last night which was such a good time. It was held at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui and the setting was beautiful.

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The menu was a 10 course, meat filled, Chinese set menu which unfortunately meant I ended up only eating a few pieces of veg which resulted in my massive hangover today! I have to admit that I did drunkenly consume a few pieces of chocolate which WASN’T vegan. I was starving and intoxicated, but in my eyes, slip ups are always part of every new process. I am someone who feels strongly about the corruption of animals and will try my best to limit all consumption of all animal based products, but, I can’t say on my life, that I will never taste an ice-cream or  piece of cheese ever again. I can only hope and try my best.

Since being inspired to turn vegetarian months ago and now vegan, I’ve noticed that within the vegan community, with some individuals, the focus is being drifted away from the welfare of our beautiful ecosystem and inhumane treatment of animals and on to whether or not you’re sticking to all the 100% strict vegan rules and restrictions. I have seen numerous YouTube vegan activists attempting to publicly shame fellow vegans for accidentally eating something that had contained honey in it. It seems that there are many vegan public figures that believe you should not or cannot ever fail. To me, there should be compassion for both humans and animals and people in no way, shape or form should attempt ‘out vegan’ you.
I understand that the majority of vegans are out there to promote a healthy lifestyle, but, how on earth has coffee been banned by the community? For goodness sake, if you feel like you want a coffee (using soy or almond milk, of course) then have that coffee and do not like anyone tell you otherwise! No animals have been harmed for that coffee so bloody enjoy it!
BUT ANYWAYS, If you’re interested in checking out some lovely, ordinary vegan YouTube channels, you must check these guys out:-
Thats just about enough posting about food. Wishing you a great upcoming week!
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Vegan No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies! (healthier version)

 

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4 ingredients + all Vegan friendly + no oven required = HEAVEN. 

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Ingredients: (makes 8 cookies)

  • 1 cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 40 grams of Vegan chocolate
  • 1 1/2 bananas

Let’s begin!

  1. Mash the banana using a fork. (If your bananas aren’t ripe, throw them in the microwave like I did, for a minute until soft)

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2. Add a cup of oats, one tbsp of peanut butter, your cut chunks of your vegan/dairy free chocolate and mix!

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3. Once mixed, pick a handful of the mixture and roll into a palm sized ball but flattening into a cookie shape

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4. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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5. Enjoy!

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30 days of Vegan.

I can no longer stand sifting through my Facebook feed and being presented with crying calfs, skinned dogs and red raw chicken being pumped with hormones. I can no longer BARE to justify buying into these industries when I know the horrible truth and torture these beautiful animals have to endure just to satisfy my taste buds. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that the truth of our meat and dairy industry is finally out there for all to see and it is becoming harder for people to put their blinkers on and play ignorance. But like I have said in my previous blogs, I absolutely love and worship animals and truly think that they are the greatest gift to this earth.

After transitioning from full on meat eater to pescetarian, over the last few weeks living purely on a vegetarian diet, I thought I would attempt to go the full circle and give up all animal products in the hopes that my overall health improves. I have done plenty of research on the nutritional benefits of the vegan diet as well as the deficiencies which can seriously deplete your health, but I guess if I don’t try, I will never know. These days there seems to be scientific evidence backing up every diet, fad or lifestyle, claiming to be the ‘healthiest’ and foods which go from being a cancer causing to a food you are recommended to consume daily. I am a strong believer that everyones body is different and one lifestyle may work for one and not the other, so over the next 30 days I will document my transition (why is it that every time I write transition I automatically envision Caitlin Jenner?) The good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s hoping I finally find a healthy lifestyle that agrees with me!

The beginning…

For breakfast, I started the day with a vegan protein smoothie bowl with spirulina, chia seeds, Rawnola, oats and peanut butter. These bowls are so easy to make and spending those extra two minutes to make it look pretty really makes me feel more grateful for the food I’m eating.

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My boyfriend and I have a wedding next weekend so we decided to head to Tsing Sha Tsui to  do a spot of shopping as well as check out this restaurant I’ve been reading about for a while.

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(Riding the Star Ferry NEVER gets boring.)

Woodlands is located in Wing On Plaza in TST and offers vegetarian (and vegan friendly) Indian food. My boyfriend and I are huge fans of indian food and I was extremely excited to try it!

 

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We shared the South Indian Thali platter which was a full course meal with plain rice and three purees and two chapatis. Two Bajis of the day, Sambar and Rasam. It was full of many flavours and surprisingly felt quite light. We then ordered the veggie samosa’s which were by far, without a doubt, the best samosa’s I have ever had!!! A thinner pastry than usual with extra filling. My boyfriend then ended his meal with an Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun which were deep fried milk balls soaked in syrup.

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After a long day of walking around TST and Mong Kok, we headed back home to catch up on the netflix series, Making A Murderer. For those who haven’t seen it, you must get on it! It may be the most gripping yet frustrating documentary series I have seen yet. My boyfriend and I have this unhealthy habit where we MUST purchase snacks for every film or series we’re following. SO, we picked up our favourite red, The Chocolate Block and a packet of Oreo’s (Oreo’s are vegan! Can you believe it?!)

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Today was not a healthy day at all and I now know more than ever that even though something may be vegan, It sure as hell doesn’t mean it is healthy. It is very easy to devour a pack of oreo’s just because you feel like you are deprived and want to satisfy your cravings. It requires a lot of effort to produce nutritious, balanced plant based meals which do not lack in protein, good carbs and fats.

After this binge fest, I started to feel really really strange. The headaches started to pop their ugly heads followed by a gradual decline in my mood. By the time it was early evening, I started to feel depressed for no apparent reason. I noticed I had a very short temper for the first few days as well as problems with digestion (I was burping every 5 minutes). My craving for cheese has been the strongest it’s ever been and I have been extremely fatigued.

For dinner, I decided to get over my fear of vegetable versions of meat (Quorn is the devil) and try making a veggie bacon and avocado sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised with how similar the ‘bacon’ smelt and tasted.

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I’m now 3 days in and I feel worse than I did before. Lets hope this cleansing/detoxing period doesn’t last long because I’m not sure how much longer I can feel like an irritable, achy zombie.

Wish me luck!

P.s – If you have any tips or product suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. Thanks

 

Weekend Getaway – THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MACAU MADNESS.

Like every Hong Konger, you will have either been to Macau or have heard of it. Situated only an hour away by catamaran and coined ‘Asia’s own Las Vegas‘, it is no wonder that it’s a popular destination for anyone over the age of 21.

My boyfriend and I were sitting on the couch one morning discussing how to spend our weekend and within 10 minutes we had booked 2 nights in Macau on a last minute website. We were looking to take a break from responsibility for a couple nights and Macau was the only place that didn’t require either a flight or a visa. So, within an hour we were on route aboard the Turbojet.

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We arrived at the Grand Coloane Resort and the rooms certainly didn’t disappoint. The hotel was located around 10 minutes from the Cotai strip and 25 from the ferry terminal.

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To our surprise the hotel was situated not far from one of Macau’s favourite restaurants; Fernando’s. This Portuguese restaurant is considered a ‘must do’ and attracts locals, tourists and celebrities.

We ordered the garlic prawns and sea bream which were accompanied by french fries. We had heard that Fernando’s did a good sangria to which we were asked if we’d like red, white or green sangria. Yes, you read right. GREEN SANGRIA. I had never heard of this concoction so of course we had to order it. It turned out being sparkling wine with sangria mix and was rather tasty!

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The next day we woke up just in time for breakfast at the hotel. I can’t say I was expecting much, but we were delightfully surprised! For HK$170, the buffet provided such a wide variety of foods from dim sum, to vegetarian curries, to on request omelettes and pancake stations. There were cereals and pastries, cheese, fruit platters, bacon and sausages.

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After breakfast, we decided to delay the casinos and see what more Macau could offer. We bought an open bus sightseeing ticket for HK$150 and hit the road. The first stop was Macau Fisherman’s wharf, which was pretty much a tourist trap. Some built roman architecture with an attached mall of shops and souvenirs. Never again.

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Our second stop was the Macau Science Centre. I wasn’t particularly interested as I didn’t see how it was considered a sight to see, but once we were in there, we ended up having a pretty good time.

 

Our third stop was probably the stop I had been most excited to see, The Ruins of St. Paul’s and Leal Senado Square. It was probably the most cultural area in Macau yet, despite the Portuguese influence, it was overrun with commercialism and more SHOPS.

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For lunch, we found a hidden Dai pai dong offering a range of Vietnamese dishes. We both opted for Pho and my goodness, it was delicious. That’s what I LOVE about Asia! Sometimes the best meals are dirt cheap and are found in makeshift ‘restaurants’. 

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When in Macau, do as the Macanese do and end your meal with a Portuguese egg tart! Fresh out the oven, these bad boys are only priced at $9 and according to my boyfriend, can be eaten by the dozen.

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Our last stop was the Macau Tower. By this time, we had grown tired of sightseeing and were desperate to hit The Venetian. However… After loosing more money than we had hoped on the blackjack and Sic Bo tables, we ended the day with drinks at the Bellini Lounge which is always a great time!

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I have been to Macau many times and have had great nights out and comfortable stays, but it seemed that the more I saw of it outside of the casinos, the more I started to dislike it. I’m a believer that beauty can be found anywhere, even in the darkest of places. Whether it be crystal clear beaches or grimy, smelly back alleys somewhere in mainland China. There is always an element that stands out, whether it be the energy/atmosphere, design or culture in every place I visit. However, I cannot say the same for Macau. I feel like I spent the whole time thinking what it lacked. Sure, it had some gigantic casinos and super clubs where you could experience a couple hours of thrill but the novelty soon wore off. Macau lacks that energy and thrill that it should possess given its comparison to Las Vegas. Macau could have had such potential, but unfortunately 90% of the place looks run down, dirty and ghost town like, purely existing to empty your pockets at tourist traps and gambling.

All in all, I had a great weekend in Macau and at The Grand Coloane Resort but I think that was purely down to the person I was spending time with and what we made of it.

What are your thoughts on Macau?

 

CNY holidays -My first veggie burger & our fur babies first trip to Sai Kung.

The week before CNY I managed to catch a flu virus which was going round my workplace. I can’t remember the last time I have felt this ill from the flu and spent around a week in bed with minimal interaction with the outside world. By the time it got to the holidays, I was desperate to be able to talk to someone other than my two dogs and determined not to waste anymore time indoors, despite feeling horrendous.

On Saturday, a friend invited me to try out an aerial yoga class in Discovery Bay. This was my second time doing aerial yoga and after getting over the initial laughing fits from watching my friend struggle to move her long limbs whilst upside down, I remembered how fun this type of yoga was. It’s not often you get to stretch your body out whilst swinging from material.

After yoga, we were invited on one of our friends boats for the day. The weather was beautiful, sunny yet cool, just like a good English summers day. Unfortunately, the seas were a little too rough for my liking and not wanting to ruin everyone else’s time with my panic ridden face and gasps, we cut the boat trip short and headed for a bite to eat.

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My boyfriend and I were both craving some Mexican so we headed to our local Mexican chain, Carumba. We started with some jalapeño poppers, (which were definitely worthy of the #foodporn tag!) Nachos Simpatico, accompanied by a green apple mojito.

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The next day we decided to visit my boyfriends mum who resides in Sai Kung. I absolutely LOVE Sai Kung and hope to one day live there myself. The only downside is that it literally couldn’t be any further from where we live, which means, enduring an hours taxi with our two furry little vomit buckets. Much to our luck, we had forgotten some vomit catching bags which resulted in me instinctively catching it in my hands (who does that!?) The rest of the journey was far from pleasant as you can imagine….

We arrived late morning to a fresh fruit breakfast of mango, grapes, blueberries and pomegranate.  Luckily my boyfriends mum always has an array of fresh fruit at the ready which can be a godsend after some greasy Mexican the night before. It’s crazy to me to think I only tried mango around 6 months ago and now I can’t get enough!

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This was the dogs first trip to their grandmas home and they loved every minute of it. They spent most of the day running round the garden and it was so lovely to see. It was nice not having to keep an eye on them at every second whilst outdoors.

We then wandered down to the beach to let them run wild some more. It was so refreshing to have the sun shining down and my feet in the ocean after these winter months.

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After we tired the fur babies out, we headed into Sai Kung town for a drink and a snack. On the way, we passed a couple selling roasted chestnuts and sweet potato. After living in Hong Kong for over 20 years, it was almost embarrassing that I had never tried roasted chestnuts so I had to grab myself a bag. They tasted nothing like I had thought and the texture definitely needed some getting used to.

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We walked along the pier to our favourite hidden snack joint for some egg puffs. These little balls of batter are delicious and will always remind me of my teenage years hanging around Causeway Bay. This place is extremely popular and specialises in bubble tea. I’ve yet to try bubble tea, but will get my hands on some next time I visit.

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With a day well spent, we said our goodbyes headed back home. We finished off the day with yet another bad decision and gobbled up some more greasy food. However, I have to say Mcsorleys do an amazing veggie burger!! With it being my first time trying a veggie burger, I can honestly say I was expecting to hate it, but it tasted so similar to a beef burger AND didn’t make me feel ill after. #winning!

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Veggie patty, red onion, swiss cheese, avocado, bbq sauce and mayo.

Now it’s time to ditch the deep fried foods and finally get over this virus!

 

 

 

10 OF MY KITCHEN MUST-HAVES!

Happy Tuesday! ( doesn’t it always feel like just a second Monday?) Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. This post is going to be dedicated to all those foodies who may suffer from intolerances/allergies or just want ‘healthier’ options. I say healthier in quotation marks as some of the below products may not be the most wholesome of foods when comparing them to 100% organic, GMO free, low glycemic, low fat, low carb blah blah blah. BUT, they are definitely some of the products my kitchen AND taste buds can’t live without. I feel that these products are great substitutes for when you’re craving junk foods and are helping me make better choices on the road to better health.

Okay, so lets get started.

  1. Lemon and cucumber water 

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I am completely obsessed with water infusions! I’m not one of those people who finds it hard drinking copious amounts of water, but water + fruit = heaven. Not only does lemon and cucumber water alkalize the body, which aids in your body functioning at its optimal level, but its also packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and silica making it an amazing immune system booster and a nice energy boost. It will also cleanse toxins as well as purify the liver and digestion (great for those party animals!)

2. CHOCOLATE!

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Okay, who doesn’t love chocolate? When I was living in London I developed this really unhealthy habit of HAVING to have something sweet after lunch and dinner to cleanse my palette so to say. This 72% dark chocolate bar is made of organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar and organic cocoa butter. It is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and is organic, wheat-free, gluten free, soya free, dairy free, nut free, low GI and all natural! It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron; a delightfully natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. BEAUT!

3. Himalayan salt

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Pink Himalayan salt boosts 84 naturally occurring minerals and is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago. The many benefits of Himalayan salt includes effective detoxification purposes, (and has been proven to be much more effective than white table salt versions) lowering your blood pressure, aids you in replenishing the loss of electrolytes, banishing sinus and respiratory conditions and improving the condition of your sleep. I use Himalayan salt when seasoning my food, but the two most uses for this salt for me is straight after incredibly sweaty exercise classes and for gargling a mixture of water and himalayan salt when I have a sore or phlegmy throat. It works wonders!

4. DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM 

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At first I was a little hesitant to try a dairy free ice cream, but after tasting it, you can see why this vegan ice-cream is stocked in numerous stores around Hong Kong. All Happy Cow ice creams are dairy free, soy free, gluten free and low glycemic. They have a coconut cream base and offer 25 flavours ranging from chocolate chilli to strawberry shortcake. These ice creams really are the SHIZZ.

5. HERBAL TEA 

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There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and settling down with a herbal tea. I use the wild apple and cinnamon with ginger when i’m craving something sweet, the warming camomile and spiced apple(camomile has a very calming effect on the body, allowing for a more restful sleep) before I go to sleep and the peppermint infusion for when my intolerances are acting up and I am sporting a sexy bloated stomach.

6. Brown rice pasta

Even though these pastas are still processed, they are however perfect for people with gluten and wheat intolerances. They are just as delicious as white or whole wheat pasta , however, the texture may need some getting used to. Brown rice pasta = happy tummy.

7. Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) 

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The ultimate probiotic. The grains in water kefir are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The healthy bacteria that feeds on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. It is suitable for vegans as it provides an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

8. Roasted chickpeas

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yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I do normally make my own roasted chickpeas, but when I’m short of time, I usually pick up some of these store bought bad boys! Chickpeas have become a regular in my diet since giving up poultry and they contain healthy protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some good flavour combinations for roasted chickpeas are cayenne pepper & Manuka honey, simple salt and pepper and cinnamon.

9. Soy sauce and apple cider vinegar 

Living in Asia, it can be a nightmare ordering Chinese food when soy sauce has a such a high gluten content. Everything is coated in the stuff. However, my local health food store has just started stocking gluten free soy sauce and this is music to my ears! This calls for some homemade fried rice and noodles.

Now Apple Cider Vinegar is my go to salad dressing. I could live off the stuff. Apple cider vinegar has many uses. It can help dissolve kidney stones, detoxify the body, relieve allergies and heartburn as well as help kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It wards off the flu, lowers cholesterol, soothes bug bites and clears skin. A good time all around.

10. Granola & Almond Milk – 

Anything But Salad’s Life Rawnola is Organic and includes dehydrated clusters of sprouted buckwheat groats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It is GF, a good source of protein and fibre as well as high levels of antioxidants. Paired with some almond milk, it makes an easy and nutritious breakfast.

What foods are your everyday go-to’s?