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!
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.
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.
(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!
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.
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?!)
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.
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
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.
Lemon and cucumber water
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!)
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
All my life I have suffered with severe fatigue, bloatedness, lack of energy, headaches, joint pains, dizziness…you name it, I experience it on a daily basis. I can’t actually remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed with at least one or more of the symptoms above. After trying to live a healthier life, exercising regularly and educating myself on nutrition, I had hoped to see improvements. Frustratingly enough, after completing an intolerance test, my worst nightmare has peered it’s evil little head. I’m going to have to be one of those Gluten Free, Dairy free assholes.
My report came back and I have a long list of Intolerance’s Ranging above 90%. Wheat, dairy, egg whites, soy, flaxseed, lentils, rye, lettuce (who on earth is intolerant to five different types of LETTUCE?) green beans, sheep & cows milk. This concludes that I will no longer get to indulge in the food of gods…. cheese. Bread. No pizza, no chocolate, no eggs, no bakery items, only a small number of sauces, only a small number of meats as wheat flour or soy is literally in everything! #$%!^&!!!
After cutting out all the above and spending countless minutes reading the ingredients of every single food item I laid my hands on, I started to feel great. I was sleeping well (apart from the occasional disturbances from my snorlax boyfriend), bursting with energy and wasn’t really experiencing any symptoms, bar anger and frustration. However, by day 5, my body was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and turning me into a complete and utter psycho. I felt angry at the world for no particular reason and I felt like I was truly craving processed crap like my life depended on it. Since then, I have had a large number of weak moments which have resulted in painful symptoms for the next 2-3 days.
After attempting to eliminating my intolerances for the second time, I have purchased Deliciously Ella’s book for some inspiration. Her book is filled with gorgeous looking recipes, full of colour, with a number of alternatives to your favourite junk food items. I would highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone interested in nutrition and clean eating. Although you’ll need a good trip (and pricey one at that) to your nearest WholeFoods or local organic shop, her recipes are all pretty simple! Check them out here, http://deliciouslyella.com
Below I attempted her Sweet Potato Brownies –
and an inspired version of her blueberry muffins…..
and for all you pancake lovers, who actually can consume egg (weehh) and you’re craving a full english on a sunday morning, try this healthier breakfast alternative my boyfriend & I created –
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved meat. Steak, burgers, nuggets..you name it, I crave it. There is no better taste than a juicy medium-well steak in my eyes and whilst I’m sat here salivating at the mouth, I have to remind myself that for a person who’s favourite things in the world are animals, why should I be so hyprocritial to indulge in them? I wouldn’t gobble up my boyfriend (even when he’s spent too long on FIFA) so why should I have the right to eat the things I love. Why should I support such an inhumane industry when I want to spend my life trying to protect and stand up for these beautiful creatures? For others, it will not seem hypocritical but for me, it is something that questions my entire being and values. With that being said, I have not and will never judge anyone for the dietary choices they choose to make.
I’m a strong believer in taking things step-by-step and not going full speed ahead. Starting today, I will be cutting out all meat except for fish, eggs and cheese in the hopes of eventually in years to come, cutting those out too. A couple months back I decided to cut out all meat and experienced more side effects than I anticipating. The first few days consisted of gruelling headaches and extreme fatigue whilst my body was detoxing and getting rid of all toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, added hormones, feed additives, flavor enhancers, age-delaying gases and salt-water solutions found in meat. I felt ill and very very weak. This time around I will be educating myself on the right protein sources and making sure I am consuming a healthy, balanced diet. Luckily, in London, meat substitutes and vegan/vegetarian restaurants are extremely popular and readily available.
My #vege sheperds pie 💛 #Quorn with onion, garlic, stock & spices with a half potato & sweet potato with almond milk topping
I can’t guarantee I won’t slip off the bandwagon and at times and I may even treat myself to a birthday burger next month (25 years old.. scary stuff!) but no journey is complete without a few hiccups.
But to me, no taste will be worth an animals life. Simple as.
In the process of bettering my health, I like to occasionally rummage through my favourite London store in Bayswater, Planet Organic. It’s incredibly sad but roaming round this organic haven, attempting to find healthier substituted products is just my ultimate de-stresser. Below are some of my favourites.
Instead of white/wholemeal bread. Try Biona’s organic Rye Bread – Amaranth & Quinoa – Goes amazingly well with avocado and cheese! Biona’s organic crunchy peanut butter is also great as it includes no added salt, sugar or palm oil and is vegetarian, vegan, gluten and diary free for those with allergies and intolerances.
As I’m allergic to caffeine, Rooibos (Red Bush) is perfect for a little sweet pick me up after lunch. Rooibos originates from South Africa and boosts so many health benefits. It contains powerful antioxidants, has a high mineral content, aids iron absorption, relieves stomach and skin complaints and aids a restful sleep. After dinner, I also like to treat myself to a square or two of Green & Black’s organic 70% dark chocolate. It does the trick without splurging on a chocolate bar.
As I start my quest to implement a healthier, balanced life, any pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan recipes recommendation would be greatly appreciated.
I’ve always been one for a challenge and even though I pathetically found not drinking for a month hard, it just wasn’t the life changing experience i had been looking for. So after a friend suggested partaking in this Muay Thai madness, I couldn’t not tag along!
I had one of the best and most physically challenging 2 weeks I’ve ever had and would highly recommend this to anyone. However, before even thinking about it, have a read through 10 things to expect whilst staying at a Muay Thai Camp:-
1. EXPECT – Limited security. The doors could be opened using the fork and windows broken so I wouldn’t suggest taking anything of high value. I also didn’t take comfort In the fact that there were no guards at the camp! but then again who in their right minds would want to rob a camp filled with a high number of experienced fighters?
2. DON’T EXPECT – A constant array of smiley faces . Don’t get me wrong, I met some really great people over the 14 days.. but don’t expect everyone to warm to you straight away. Remember, you’re at a camp where people have to wake up at 7 to do 2 hours of exercise before you can even mutter the words BREAKFAST… as well as endure a good beating in the afternoon. Who in their right minds would be cheery Charlie’s 24/7 ?
3. EXPECT – lack of sleep. Let me get one thing straight, your pillow will NOT be your friend. Just as you feel yourself dozing off, you’ll hear jab after jab, kick after kick. But you’re in Thailand. Get off your backside and go explore all that magestic Thailand has to offer!
4. EXPECT – Basic Accommodation – I’ve luckily stayed in such a wide range of hospitality over my glorious 22 years and I know a few of my high- maintenance friends would not dare book a room we stayed in but you’re not there to be pampered or waited on.
Apart from the occasional trail of ants throwing a party on your pillow or the cement-esque bed, It’s really not that bad at all. In order to grow, sometimes you just need to step out of your comfort zone.
5. EXPECT – Sweat. Living in Hong Kong, I constantly sweat bullets even walking into an air conditioned room, however this really is another story. All i can say is, bring as much underwear and deodorant as you can.
6. EXPECT – Eye candy. Sometimes you just need a good ole’ distraction. Watching beautiful buff men spar and grapple each other kept me somewhat giggly in times of exhaustion/muscle pain.
7. EXPECT – Increased strength & muscle pain. Watch out arrogant rugby men whom slither around SOLAS, don’t expect me to not uppercut your face into a broken nose :)
8. EXPECT – Fun, laughter and ‘banter’!
Challenging yourself everyday gives you an unexplainable thrill. You become stronger than you were the previous day, mentally and physically. You meet a bunch of new people, build great friendships with the brilliant trainers and learn a lot about yourself and you’re own strength.
I’m so grateful for the experiences and friendships I built over such a short time and can’t wait to book in a months training next year…..
So, If you’re looking to do something different and don’t mind a challenge, Book yourself into SINBI Muay Thai, Nai Harn, Phuket.
Cheung Sha Beach is located south of Lantau Island. Stretching around 2.5km, Cheung Sha is known to be the longest beach in Hong Kong and to celebrate the long weekend, we found a trip to this beach rather fitting. Packed with 4 bottles of Park ‘n’ shops cheapest wine and desperation of building our tans, we caught a 20 minute bus from Mui Wo to Upper Cheung Sha.
While I feel that this beach isn’t the most scenic beach in Hong Kong, it did provide most of the essentials. Beach chairs, umbrellas and float’s are all available to rent as well as snacks, public showers & toilets and even a variety of restaurants located at the beginning of lower Cheung Sha. I would recommend visiting The Steop for jugs of sangria and South African platters. (http://thestoep.com/about/)
How to get there:
* Mui Wo ferry from Central Pier No. 5 -> Board bus 1 or 2 bound for Tai O.
* MTR to Tung Chung board bus No.11 to Tai O.
For people who: Enjoy the peace and quiet, BBQ’s, Windsurfing and soft sand.
When I first heard my friend Sam, say he would be embarking on a intensive 12 week body building program my initial thought was regrettably, doubt. Don’t get me wrong, I support my friends 100% in anything they take on but 3 months without alcohol, an extremely strict diet, high level intensity lifting 5 days a week and cardio 7 days. It just seemed impossible to me because quite frankly, Sam’s lifestyle didn’t exactly mirror this.
The regime Sam adapted was the 12 week plan by Kris Gethin. The workout split works on chest & triceps, back & biceps, legs, calves & abs and shoulders including 2 x 20 minute cardio sessions a day. Food intake focuses on eating every 2-3 hours equaling to 6-7 meals a day, consisting of various protein (fish, poultry, steak, egg whites and protein powder), carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, wheat pasta and oats) and natural fats.
The motivation and strength I witnessed over the next 12 weeks was extremely inspiring to me and I feel that his determination could inspire others to achieve their own personal goals.
What first attracted you to the program?
Before I go into what kickstarted me into this program from hell i’ll tell you a little about myself leading up to the beginning of the 12 weeks. In November 2009 at the age of 18 I was diagnosed with a disorder called alopecia totalis. (Alopecia totalis is the loss of all head hair. Its causes are unclear, but it is currently believed to be an autoimmune disorder. Stress is sometimes thought to be a contributor in alopecia areata.) Before the diagnosis I weighed 115kg and unfortunately it was mostly fat. Over the next year I decided I needed to do something about it so I started to walk up the DB mountain and limited my diet to a smoothie in the morning, apple at lunch and steak at dinner. In just seven months my weight was down to 76kg and my hair was starting to grow back but, I soon realised that I was so skinny that I looked ill, I also still had the same amount of body fat as I did when I was 115kg.
I focused the next couple of months on gaining my weight back simply by eating, drinking and occasionally going into the GYM and sure enough in 3 months I was back up to 100kg. Although the gut that had followed me through the past couple of years had, unfortunately, stayed with me. I realised that all the programs on the internet are pretty accurate when they tell you to do your cardio and eat your meals (often up to 8 a day!)
I was ready for my next challenge and this time I was going to do it by the book! A friend mentioned this program to me and at first, I read through it and soon realised that I was subconsciously cutting deals with myself. Deals like; “I will do 3 weeks without alcohol and then go back to normal but still stick the program.” After dwelling on these deals for a few days I thought to myself 12 weeks of my life, its not the longest time when you think of it in relation to your life. So I decided to go all out and push myself to the limit. I read a few corny inspirational quotes, (“Success rests not only on ability, but upon commitment, loyalty, and pride.” – Vince Lombardi worked quite well.) I haven’t looked back.
Anyway that’s why I started this 12 week program from hell. I have two weeks left haven’t had a drop of alcohol, haven’t smoked a single cigarette and have kept up with my cardio, gym work and eating plan. So far I have lost 7kg, it may not seem like a lot when I compare it to the 30 odd kilos I lost before but this time around it is fat I am losing not muscle.
How has your body changed?
My body has changed dramatically! It is the only time IN MY LIFE that my extremely shy abs have shown themselves. I am also a thousand times more fit than I have ever been and my overall BMI has dropped considerably.
What was your biggest struggle?
The most difficult parts of the program for me were keeping up with my meals and cardio- I personally have never been one to enjoy cardio in fact I find it extremely boring! But I realised that if you focused on the big picture (not the 50 minutes of cardio you’re doing each day) time would fly by. Having a gym partner has also made it a lot more achievable.
Did the program affect your state of mind?
The change that I have felt the most was surprisingly not my physical change but my mental change, I have felt more far more comfortable in myself which has lead me to push my limits both at the GYM and at work (I have even started my own enterprise, a fishing camp for kids which has so far been very successful.)
Are you happy with the results?
I am extremely happy with my progress! It has only been 12 weeks and it feels like I have 12 months of results.
What have you learnt from the program?
This program has taught me a lot. It has shown me how important your diet is and that eating more is often good!The most valuable thing however is the mental gains that this program has brought about, It really pushes you in all departments. I realised that I could push myself through the toughest of times just by having the right attitude and I found that I could apply this to all situations in and out of the GYM which has really helped my productivity.
What tips would you give anyone interested in the program?
If you are thinking about starting any program or even looking to get fit this is the program for you! It is tailor made for both men and women and for all ages (I have even got my mum thinking about it so no excuses!) This program is really helpful and keeps your commitment as he (Kris Gethin) is doing it every step of the way with you.
For those interested in finding out more about this program visit – http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/kris-gethin-12-week-daily-trainer.html. Many thanks to Sam.
A couple friends of ours have decided to start a watermelon diet, which pretty much consists of watermelon all day with the exception of a meal or two. I’ve never been the one to diet (because why would I want to deprive myself of the greatest gift on earth!)
So being that great friend that I am, I decided to research alternative watermelon meals. The recipe that caught my eye was watermelon salsa.
So we went for it and chopped up all the ingredients, tested our dipping skills with some cheese sun-chips and my god was it good!
I highly recommend this for dinner parties, picnics or even packed lunches.
Watermelon Red peppers Jalapeños Cucumber Red onion Lemon juice Basil
If I had a dollar for every time I said I wanted to get fit and loose weight for summer, I would literally be a millionaire. (And I’m not talking a Hong Kong millionaire, more of a british millionaire.) However, this year will be different. Not only have I totally changed my lifestyle around with healthy eating and regular exercise but I’ve also stupidly signed up to do a Muay Thai camp in Phuket with one of my newly fit male friends.
So my summer goal is to get as fit as I possibly can in 3 and a half weeks, before i endure 48 hours of exercise in 12 days. I will be posting recipes, exercises and experiences of mine and friends I work out with in the hopes motivating myself and friends to becoming the healthiest we’ve ever been.
Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.