What I ate today (vegan)

So it’s hot as Hades’ undercarriage and I’m legit melting. I mean I love summer and all (July baby) but this heat wave is making it hard to live. All I want to do is stay inside with the air-conditioner cranked on high all day. But the unit in my tiny apartment can’t keep up with these demon rays Satan is sending up from hell. Normally I don’t even like a/c and can make do with a stand fan or a ceiling fan, but not this year. Fuck you climate change.

I guess the one benefit of this sweltering heat is it has me craving simple raw foods. I’m not a raw vegan though one day I aspire to live a mostly raw vegan lifestyle. But right now, me and cooked food are like Donald Trump and Twitter, can’t function without it but we definitely need less of it.

For the past few days I have incorporated more raw meals in my life. Smoothies for breakfast and lush salads with homemade dressing and avocado for lunch. Fruit and nuts for snacks. Those were fine in the daytime but after a brutal workday, I wanted rice, potatoes, cooked veggies, maybe some mock meat. Simple things really. I think I ate rawtil4 style for about four days this week including today, which is a real accomplishment. I work in a pretty cold office and I’m there for about ten hours a day sometimes, so the temptation to eat warm foods and sugary coffee is high.

But today, I’m hot, tired and fighting a cold, so I want to eat whatever takes the least amount of time to prepare.

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Breakfast was a kale smoothie with frozen banana and pineapple chunks, Ripple non-dairy milk and a teaspoon of my Vita Mineral super greens powder. I always buy lots of bananas, wait until they get black and speckled then store them in a glass Pyrex dish in the freezer. I was lucky to score a ripe pineapple yesterday, ate half of it and cut the rest into chunks then froze them. Cheaper than buying the frozen fruit from the store and you really can’t have a smoothie without frozen fruit. (Fight me if you don’t agree.)

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Lunch was two mangoes I picked up from the farmer’s market today. They were super sweet, the kind that leaves fiber stuck in your teeth and tasted like heaven. Nothing beats a Bahamian mango, let me tell you. The imported ones in the store can’t compare. The best way to eat a mango is to tear into the skin with your teeth and devour the flesh, letting the juice run down your face and hands. It may not be Instagram pretty, but it’s so satisfying.

I also had a coffee with sugar and non-dairy creamer after waking up from a nap with a headache. For some reason the coffee helped. I’m a coffee addict who normally drinks about three cups during the workweek and one or two on weekends. This week, I think I’ve only had three or four cups of coffee in total. Progress!

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My plating skills are horrible! 

Dinner was a vegetable roll and a sweet potato roll from this Japanese restaurant that’s down the street from me. Added a few slices of avocado. I also ate some of my boyfriend’s side of rice with some more avocado (not pictured). Here’s a tip to jazz up vegan sushi, I sprinkle Bragg’s Sea Kelp seasoning to my soy sauce to give it a “fishy” taste. I love the stuff.

I had intentions of cooking for dinner, but as the day wore on, my head cold got worse. Plus, who can say no to sushi? This is no indication of how I eat everyday, trust me I eat more than this but today I’m feeling sick and wanted what was quick and easiest. I’m hoping to go to bed early and wake up early for some yoga. I’ve slacked on my exercise the last few weeks, again, the heat has had me tuckered out and not in the mood for high intensity exercise. But yoga feeds my soul.

How are you coping in this heat?

Peace and light xox

 

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6 Tips For Dating a Non-Vegan

Confession time.

I’m a vegan living with a non-vegan. My kitchen is not vegan because my boyfriend sometimes chooses to purchase meat, eggs and dairy. Although he doesn’t cook often, and actually loves most of my vegan meals, there are times when I can’t cook for him and he makes a meat or dairy laden meal for himself.

When we first started dating I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, so having eggs or milk in the house was not a problem. I even cooked meat for him in the early stages of our relationship. About two years in, I transitioned to veganism. I could no longer deny the atrocities of the dairy industry and also the toll it had taken on my health. Due to my heavy consumption of dairy products, a high-stress job and lack of exercise, I was about 25 pounds overweight.

So I went vegan and never looked back. Although my boyfriend supports my lifestyle and ethics, eating vegan meals whenever I cook, he has not expressed a desire to go vegan himself. Due to my demanding job, I can’t cook all the time and he also chooses to eat meat and dairy when we go out.

It can be tricky navigating a vegan/non-vegan relationship and unless done tactfully, the differences can create a wedge. And because vegans are a minority, many of us plant-based eaters will end up dating or marrying an omnivore.

Here are my tips for making such a relationship work.

    1. Be patient, not preachy

I think one of the biggest errors many new vegans (myself included) make is that we tend to evangelize our veganism to our loved ones, turning them off. While it is understandable that you will want to riddle off statistics and launch into a diatribe about the horrors of factory farming when you see your loved one eating or preparing animal products, that approach can do more harm than good when trying to win someone over to your side. What someone eats is a very personal thing and resentment can surface if they feel attacked each time they eat something they enjoy. Instead, talk up the benefits of veganism by saying how good you feel since you made the switch. Exercise and eat healthy so you can be an example even without saying a word. If they ask for advice, then explain why veganism is the best lifestyle. Remember, unless you were lucky enough to be raised vegan, you once were in their shoes and would not want to be attacked for doing what you see as normal.

    1. Cook yummy traditional dishes with vegan replacements

A way I got my boyfriend to cut down on meat eating was just by using mock meats in dishes, such as meatless meatballs in spaghetti, vegan sausage with tofu scrambles for breakfast, or yummy vegan pancakes. Gardein and Field Roast make amazing mock meats. While I don’t think they should be eaten everyday, they are great to help people transition and eat less animal fat while enjoying the tastes they are familiar with. Curries are very popular in the Bahamas, but instead of chicken I use chickpeas and other veggies.

    1. Offer to do more cooking and food shopping

Although I don’t have time to cook dinner every night like I would like, I do the bulk of food preparation in the house. My meals are generally healthy but tasty and that way my boyfriend is eating vegan more often than he is realizing. When shopping, I purchase vegan dairy products – the new options like Good Karma flax milk, Silk soy creamer and Daiya vegan cheeses taste so much like the real thing, they satisfy vegan and non-vegan taste buds alike. Nearly every week new vegan options are popping up in my supermarket, making it even easier for those of us outside the United States to not feel deprived.

    1. Ask them to watch a documentary with you

As I said earlier, what someone eats is a personal thing. We connect food to our childhood, happy memories, our cultural identity. An omnivore may think giving up meat or dairy means changing who they are. Additionally, many people do not realize the Standard American Diet, which has spread to many other countries including mine, is detrimental to their health. By exposing your loved one to documentaries like What the Health, Earthlings or the Netlflix movie Okja, it can help open their eyes to the benefits of veganism.

    1. Don’t expect change overnight

When you become vegan, it’s understandable to get angry when others around you do not become immediately enlightened and give up meat and dairy. Some people will make a connection right away once they start eating plant-based meals and see how much better they feel. They may want to eschew animal products right away after watching videos of animal cruelty. Others will be stubborn and can take years to make the switch. If you love the person, I suggest being patient and accepting them. Remember, you are planting a seed that undoubtedly will sprout someday.

    1. Don’t compromise your ethics

Last but not least, do not be forced into compromising your ethics. While I understand my partner has the freedom to eat and purchase what he wants, I do not purchase animal products for him. Although he sometimes gets irritated, I just state calmly that I do not want my dollars going towards these items nor do I want to pick them up in the store. But he is free to do so if he wishes. I think the best way to cohabit with someone on a different spectrum than you is to respect their beliefs and that swings both ways. If the person you are with is frequently pushing you to do something you don’t feel comfortable with and not respecting your boundaries, then it is time to reevaluate the relationship.


One-Pot Vegan Jambalaya

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Louisiana flavors with a plant-based twist.

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. I’ve been careless with a delicate domain. And it’s a sad, sad world, when a girl neglects a blog just because she can.

Okay, I’ll stop! I’m showing my age with my Fiona Apple reference. But on the real, I’ve neglected this blog for so many reasons because life, laziness and general procrastination got in the way. But I’m back and determined to start anew. And I’ve got a delicious, one-pot, simple summer recipe to share with you.

Yes, it’s officially summer. And it’s HOT out. I live in the Bahamas, where it’s hot 98 percent of the year, but in the summer it is brutal let me tell you. I can barely walk my dogs without breaking into a sweat after a few minutes and craving the comfort of shade and air-conditioning! Summer is the time when we don’t want to spend hours slaving in the kitchen and sweating in front of an oven. And while we crave light meals around this time of the year, that doesn’t mean we will subsist on salad and soup!

Enter this jambalaya.

I love one-pot dishes. It makes kitchen cleanup that much easier (I detest doing dishes and usually leave them in a pile in the sink until my boyfriend can’t take it anymore and caves in!) I also love recipes that come together quickly and use what most of us have on hand.

According to Wikipedia, jambalaya is a Louisiana dish of French and Spanish influence. It’s usually rice, veggies, seafood and meat. But it can be easily veganised and you won’t miss the meat, I swear.

The result was tasty, savory, filling and oh so delicious. This is fine on its own, or you can serve it with vegan sausage on the side, some hearty mushrooms or whatever your heart desires.

Enjoy!


Vegan Jambalaya (serves four to six)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Half an onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (I used orange and green)
  • One cup of fresh or frozen okra chunks
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • One can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • One cup of long grain rice

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, garlic and peppers and cook on medium heat for about five to six minutes until almost soft.

Add okra chunks and cook for another five minutes, stirring frequently to avoid veggies sticking to the pot. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning and stir, cooking for about one to two minutes more.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, rice and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Adapted from delish.com


Carrot Mango Juice

I’ve been craving fresh juice lately. Maybe it’s because my gym has started selling fresh pressed juice from a local company and the ads keep popping up. But each time I’m tempted to shell out $10 a bottle (eep!) for single serving that could have been made days ago, I remind myself that I have organic produce in the fridge and a Vitamix begging for a spin. Since I got my Vitamix, my old juicer has been catching dust. It took too much prep and clean up was a chore. Also, by making this in your high-speed blender, you get all of the fiber you would normally lose with a juicer. I don’t strain my blended juices. This helps your body absorb the natural sugars at a slower pace and also, who doesn’t need more fiber in their life?

A few years ago I tried a juice fast and let me tell you, those are not for me. Either I wasn’t drinking enough or my body just needed solid food, but I was overwhelmed with headaches and fatigue. I think I only got through half a day before giving up and eating cooked food. Those who have the willpower for such things, I envy you! I don’t really believe in detoxes anyway, but I think every so often we need a reset to get ourselves back in order. A reset from fast food, processed junk, work stress, family drama, etc. If you change what you are putting in your body and eat mindfully, I truly believe it extends to other parts of your life.

I have really bad anxiety sometimes which leads me to eat emotionally, then I feel bad about myself and the cycle continues. This week I decided I would reset eating, not diet or limit my portions, but to choose whole foods and leave the vegan junk and heavily processed stuff in the background.

The juice is so simple to make and chock full of goodness like vitamin C, beta carotene, antioxidants, calcium – I could go on!

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Carrots are my go to for fresh juice and I added mango and apple for extra natural sweetness.

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I’m sure this would be lovely with some fresh ginger, to give it more of a kick.

If it’s not sweet enough, you can always add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup to the mixture.


Carrot Mango Juice – two servings

  • Three organic carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • One small organic apple, washed and chopped
  • One cup of diced organic mango, frozen or fresh
  • One cup filtered water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Half cup of ice

Put all ingredients in your blender, starting with the water first. Blend on high until desired consistency is reached and enjoy!


Vegan Split Pea Soup

When I’m craving something filling and comforting, but also simple to make and healthy, my go to is soup. Even though it’s March, the weather here in Nassau has been crazy the past few weeks, hot in the day but breezy and cool at night. I’m an island girl and I like my days hot and my nights balmy.

The colder weather means I don’t always want to eat a salad and I’m craving more carbs than usual – cue me gorging on rice, pasta, pizza, you name it. So after a few weeks of me eating more for convenience than health, I’ve decided to reset this week.

Enter this soup recipe. Split pea and ham soup was a staple for me growing up. It’s a common dish here in the Bahamas, where we like our soups thick and chunky, usually filled with meat and dumplings and lots and lots of salt. I wanted to recreate something that reminded me of the soup from my childhood, but without the cruelty, and was also super simple to make.

You can double up on this recipe if you want more leftovers or if you are cooking for a family. I’m usually just cooking for me and my bf, also I don’t like old food, so I tend to only make two to four portions of food at a time.

I hope you enjoy and this can be tweaked to add other seasonings to your taste and vegetables like celery or carrots. I just used what I had in the fridge and pantry and also what took the least amount of time to go from fridge to stove. Yeah, I’m lazy like that!

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Vegan split pea soup – serves two to three people

  • 1 cup split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 1/4 of a purple onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups of hot veggie broth
  • 1 cup of hot water (can use broth instead but I ran out)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and saute until translucent on medium low heat for about four minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for two to four more minutes, until mushrooms look wilted. Add broth and water to the pot, followed by split peas. Add seasonings except for salt and pepper. Stir ingredients then simmer mixture with lid tilted on the pot for about 30-35 minutes.

Once peas are soft, transfer about 3/4 of the mixture to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, however a few chunks are okay. (I like it chunky.) Return blended soup back to pot and stir with reserved broth. (I like to leave a little of the broth in the pot, so that when I put the blended mixture back in, it’s not too thick.) If it is too thick, you can always thin it out with a little broth or water (adding a little at a time to get desired consistency). Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir and serve.


So I love, love this soup. It is super filling on its own, or would go great with some fresh bread or salad. I find this tastes better the next day once the flavors have time to meld. It’s definitely one to keep in your dinner rotation.

Let me know what you think,

xo