For the first time in my life I have started to notice small changes in my health and the way I feel. I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept well through the night and not woken up without feeling like a groggy knackered mess, but since becoming vegan and cutting out dairy, my digestion, sleep and energy levels have improved remarkably.
One thing that hasn’t magically improved is my weight. After coming back from the UK where I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle of constant boozing, takeaways and lack of sleep, I came back to Hong Kong with my hormones all over the place and 14 kilos heavier (cheers dominos you delicious bastard!). Whilst I am eating the healthiest I ever eaten with a plethora of fruit and veg, I have also not been limiting my processed carbs, vegan junk food and have not been feeling motivated to exercise.
When a friend mentioned an 8 week fitness challenge for charity, I jumped at the opportunity. I needed something out of routine and the norm to push me to live the healthiest life I can live and improve my fitness and hopefully reach (if not exceed) the level of fitness I had 2 years ago. And if I can’t motivate myself, I know raising money for Bali Kids will.
The Angels Fitness Challenge was set up by a HK based non profit organisation, Angels for Orphans , whose aim is to provide funding to improve children’s lives worldwide. All proceeds will be donated to Bali Kids who provide health and medical care. Bali kids are kick starting a new Anti-Smoking Education Program as currently, children in Indonesia do not receive any education on smoking and it is one of the biggest killers. This is something that is very close to my heart as my late father smoked for a large portion of his life and when diagnosed with skin cancer the majority of tumours were found in his lungs. A doctor I am not, but I have always wondered if things could’ve been different if there had been no smoking. It is incredibly sad to think that there are a large number of children as young as four who are hooked on cigarettes and do not know the dangers of this awful habit.
This challenge will last 8 weeks and will include 53 participants from all over Hong Kong. We have been split into teams and I will be proudly competing with my Discovery Bay ladies to win most improved fitness as a group as well as some individual categories. I will be exercising every day for the next 8 weeks, decreasing my intake of processed foods, giving up alcohol and hopefully gaining some muscle! This is something that is going to challenge my mind ever more so than my body and I would be so grateful for your support and enthusiasm!
If you’d like to donate, please click here. Any donation big or small will be greatly appreciated.
Today was introduction day where we met the brains behind Angels Fitness Challenge 2016 as well as top HK nutritionist Lisa Tarquini and were put through our first fitness test! We were tested on planks, wall sits, push ups and had our weight, BMI, measurements and fat percentage measured.
and tomorrow THE CHALLENGE IS ON! Wish me luck :)
now for one last glass of champers…
If you’re interested in following my journey, add me on snapchat @katydayhk and Instagram: @maiden_hk for regular updates.
For the first few weeks into my 30 day vegan challenge, I had this intense feeling of FOMO when it came to letting go of the usual dishes I have grown up with and burgers were one of them. At first, I found it rather hard having to give up my usual junk food treats such as pizza, burgers and desserts, but I soon realised that you can make a vegan alternative to nearly EVERY single dish.
So here’s my take on an easy, cheap, simple, healthier version of a burger:
Vegan chickpea and black bean burgers (6 servings)
1 tin (425 grams) chickpeas
1 tin (425 grams) blackbeans
1 cup of oats
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp himalayan salt (or regular table salt if needed)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
(If you don’t have any of the above seasonings, just add whatever seasonings you fancy!)
1. Blend 1 cup of oats in a blender until it reaches a flour consistency.
2. Add your garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and olive oil and mix.
3. Rinse your chickpeas and black beans.
4. Mix beans with the oat flour and mash together. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry or add a little flour if too wet)
5. Roll into balls and flatten and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, cook in frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil until the surface is browning and crispy.
And don’t forget the oven roasted rosemary chippies!
6. Create your burger! I added half an avocado, red onion and ketchup to my burger bap.
7. Enjoy your burger! Enjoy it even more because no animals were harmed for your tastebuds and your digestive system will thank you :)
If you’re sick of hearing about my transition to Vegan then I would simply close the tab pronto.
If you read my blog from time to time, you would have seen that I took part in 30 days of Vegan where I cut out all meat, dairy and any animal by-products. Whilst it is something I feel very strongly about and continue to document, I too can remember a point where I would constantly roll my eyes at certain vegan Facebook friends who never stopped posting about animal rights. I found them annoying and inappropriate, but after completing 30 days and involving myself within vegan communities, I found myself turning into that very person I use to find irritating.
I found these people irritating because it was easier than facing the facts, it was easier to not feel guilt over my pizza binges, my love of a good burger and be blindingly ignorant. Ignorance REALLY is bliss. To think thousands of animals have been slaughtered for my taste buds during my lifetime, died at my expense for what? For 10 minutes of satisfaction? Now, I am fully aware that my strong opinions will annoy individuals, I may even loose friendships over my choices, but at the end of the day, I feel that this route is for me and if I can open at least one persons eyes to this cruelty free, healthy, environmentally friendly way of life, I feel that my job on this earth is done.
So. I officially completed 30 days of Vegan last week and what did I do? I had a 4 day cheese BINGE. I dug a cheese filled hole full of pizza’s, mac and cheese’s, mozzarella panini’s and cooked and ate half a block of hulloumi for the sake of it. What made me do it? I have no idea. I congratulated myself and convinced myself that if I have a little bit of cheese here and there it won’t be that bad, at least an animal won’t die…right? I was then recommended to watch a 5 minute video and from there, my eyes were well and truly opened and my life forever changed. I can now confidently and happily call myself Vegan and will never consume dairy again.
If you’d like to know the truth behind the dairy industry, please click on the link below.
Now back to the weekend….I feel like I haven’t stopped moving and have had such a great, much needed weekend with family and friends.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY – We woke up early and decided to stay at my boyfriends mum’s house in Sai Kung whilst she was away on holiday. We took the dogs to the beach where I had never seen them happier and then on to Classified for some lunch.
I ordered the Pomegranate & Mango smoothie which included pomegranate kernels, mango, spinach, organic raw cacao and flax seed. It was delicious! Their menu had a variety of 12 different smoothie mixes which is great to see.
I then ordered the dish that started off my cheese binge! Mac’n’Cheese.
We spent the next two days relaxing in the sun, going for walks and watching our dogs run riot in the garden.
MONDAY: The following day, I woke up and devoured a oats bowl full of peanut butter, blueberries, oats, cinnamon and coconut shavings.
Despite my extreme fatigue from consuming all that cheese, my boyfriend dragged me on a mini hike to Mui Wo with one of our friends. Of course we had to stop off at our favourite restaurant, The China Beach Club.
TUESDAY: Today I caught up with a friend over some Mexican food. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find any Vegan options, but how silly was I! Mexican is one of the easily adaptable cuisines when it’s a staple consist of corn tortillas, avocado, salsa, black beans, jalapeños and rice etc. This tortilla bowl salad was THE ONE!
I also tried passionfruit for the first time and oh my days, why did no one ever tell me about the watermelon + passionfruit combo!!
A couple days ago, whilst attempting to make plans with a friend, he mentioned we could go to a restaurant ‘for vegetables’ due to my dietary needs. It just got me thinking how HARD it is being Vegan, just having to eat vegetables all day. I mean, I could go as far as saying it is probably one of the HARDEST things I’ve EVER done.
I mean it is just so HARD eating pancakes with agave nectar and blueberries.
Soy based Coffee ice-cream milkshake? YUCK YUCK YUCK.
I mean Samosa’s….. EWWW
Moo-free Chocolate covered strawberries??? THAT IS SO WRONG.
Salads with colourful and nutritious veg? I CANT EVEN.
Oatmeal cookies…NO NO NO.
Smashed avocado toast with paprika… AVOCADO IS THE DEVIL.
Curries with vegetable pakora? HELL NAW.
Even chips with curry sauce….. GROSE.
Veggie burgers with onion rings, avocado and bbq sauce… VOMCANO.
PASTA’S….Garlic pasta in white wine sauce and olive oil… THAT’S JUST NUTS.
Red wine with Oreo’s… WHAT IN GODS NAME!
Cold pressed fruit and veggie juices…ERGH.
Sweet potato and hummus? THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND NOW.
Massaman curry and spring rolls? THIS IS MADNESS.
That doesn’t even cover all the awful nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and grains like rice and couscous, risottos. Don’t even get my started on those vile fruits like mangos, watermelons, berries and vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin, peppers eggplant.
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.
Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:
Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion.
Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.
Passion green juice @ Mana
My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula
Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai!
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!
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.
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:-
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.
Thanks to the lovely weather we we’re graced with this weekend, we unfortunately had to cancel our stay-cation in Sai Kung. Even though my boyfriend grew up in Sai Kung and his family reside there, both him and I have yet to go to Tai Long Wan. Tai Long Wan boasts probably the nicest beach in Hong Kong. This clean, untouched beach has crystal clear water and is only accessible if you hike over or drive by boat. Thankfully, today was much nicer so we took one of our dogs up the mountain here in Discovery Bay for a quick hours walk. I absolutely love hiking and can’t wait to get back into it when the weather cools down and all the creepy crawlies go into hibernation!
On friday, we had the day off so we decided to go to Soho for lunch. I took my boyfriend to Enoteca, which was one of my favourites back in the day and I couldn’t wait to try all the dishes my friends and I use to devour on a saturday night. The dips here are absolutely delicious and accompany the tapas really well. As I’m newly pescetarian (in the hopes of one day transitioning to vegetarian for environmental and ethical reasons), we steered away from the meat section and ordered an array of tasty yet greasy tapas.
Rosemary sea salt tossed potato wedges with balsamic dip
Wild mushroom & parmesan risotto balls
Herbed fish goujons with chilli-lemon aioli
Pan-fried chilli garlic shrimp. Probably the best shrimp I have ever had! The coriander, chilli, garlic, lemon juice flavouring was a serious party in your mouth!
Lastly, the Creamy brie & roasted garlic with toasted focaccia
And to finish it all off, we headed to Holly Brown for gelato and then a little afternoon Shisha to relive our teenage years. Whilst enjoying this piece of heaven, the guilt started to kick in which led us to promising one another that we would finally start this healthy eating programme our friends have introduced us to.
People often say, start as you mean to go on. Full of enthusiasm, our weekly shop completed and our food plan in order, we completed day 1 without any problems! Even though it requires A LOT of prep work, it feels great to be cutting out the crap as well as eradicating all of my intolerance foods. I hope to record and blog everything I eat and the changes or frustrations I encounter on the way. However, I must admit, I am already counting down the days until our cheat meal on sunday!
Breakfast: 3 egg whites, 1 egg yolk omelette with chia seeds, onion and tomato.
Mid morning (post hike): banana, blueberry and pineapple fruit blend
Lunch: Salmon, half a sweet potato and a cup of broccoli
Mid afternoon (post TRX): Half a cookie’s & cream Quest Bar
Dinner: Atlantic cod with homemade tomato sauce and pak choi
Snack: 2 Oat cookies (mashed banana, GF oats, Agave nectar and brown rice flour)
This weekend, I purchased my Elle Fit Active E guide bundle (Get Bendy, Get Splits and Get Inverted) I have followed @Elle_fit on Instagram for a while now and have been wanting to try out her guides to accompany my Hit training and weight sessions. I have really tight hip flexors so I can’t wait to get my stretch on and edge myself closer to being able to do the splits.
Tomorrow is my last day before I start work, studying and early morning get ups. Here’s to a positive, energetic and healthy week ahead.