I DID A 5-DAY JUICE CLEANSE

Green Goddess Juice by The Island Vegan

I recently completed a five-day juice cleanse and let me tell you, I am so proud of myself! I’ve wanted to do a cleanse for so long and I have tried many times in the past, but I have never made it past day one — until now.

Like everyone, I’ve been having a tough time over the past few months. Stressing about keeping safe in this pandemic, working from home, dealing with depressing events on the news and feeling powerless as stories of police brutality and racism pop up on my TL — it’s safe to say that I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck.

I also gained about eight pounds during quarantine due to my boyfriend’s newfound talent for bread and pizza making (not to mention the copious amounts of wine and spirits we consumed while stuck at home.) I head back to the office soon and wanted to feel better and let’s be honest, drop some el bees before I squeeze back into my work attire. Read on to learn about my experience and how I stuck with it.

Day 1- I woke up early to go to the grocery store for my supplies for the week. I got mostly organic produce (such as greens, apples, strawberries, carrots, grapes) but also a mix of non-organic fruits with a tough outer layer (cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. I’ve read that these fruits don’t have pesticides in the flesh because of their tough skin. But get as much organic produce as you can.) I made several batches of two types of juice in my Vitamix (apple/grape/kale/celery and orange/ginger/carrot) and sipped on those throughout the day. The apple juice was fine but I had to gag down the carrot concoction because I didn’t strain it after blending and it was too thick. I finished the day off with a small bowl of steamed broccoli and cauliflower (it honestly tasted like the best thing ever by that point!) and some tea and went to bed. I wasn’t that hungry which surprised me.

Day 2 – My juices tasted much better on Tuesday. I made a big batch of green juice with organic seedless grapes, apples, collard greens and celery in my Vitamix and another carrot/orange/ginger juice. I strained both mixes with a wire mesh strainer after blending which really improved the taste. I was feeling a bit tired on day 2 and *TMI alert* I was feeling backed up which is rare for me since I usually get a lot of fiber. I ended up having a smoothie with banana and flax seed to see if it would help, ahem, fix things.

Day 3 – This was the hardest day for me. Although I was less bloated and not really hungry, I just wanted to quit the cleanse. I felt a bit tired, which could be because my cycle was about to start in a few days but it was also from the lack of calories. (I realized later that I wasn’t drinking enough juice.) It didn’t help that my boyfriend brought Chinese food in the house, which is my favorite, and the smells were intoxicating. I went to the store to get more produce. I had more green juice but also switched things up with melon juice. For dinner, I had scrambled tofu with spinach and tomatoes cooked in a tiny amount of olive oil.

Day 4 – I felt much better this day. My backed up problem had been fixed and I was down about three pounds. (Seeing the scale go down each day, even if only marginally really motivated me to keep going.) I experimented with different juices like watermelon and kale and cantaloupe and mint, papaya, carrot and orange. Normally before my period, I have intense craving for carbs, fried food and chocolate and although I felt tired, I didn’t have any extreme cravings. I only drank juice and water that day.

Day 5 – This was the last day of my cleanse. I drank mainly juice and had a smoothie for lunch because I had a family event in the evening. I also snacked on raw cherry tomatoes with a bit of sea salt and a handful of raw cashews. My event ran late and by the time I got home it was after nine and I was starving. I ended day five with a small bit of tofu and spinach seasoned with nutritional yeast.

Verdict: When I weighed myself on morning six, I had lost five pounds, my stomach was less bloated and my digestion was back on track. Because I had been eating small amounts of cooked food most days for dinner while on the cleanse, I wasn’t scared about breaking my fast but decided to still drink some green and fruit juice with my meals. I started off with easy to digest foods and still ate clean. Looking back, on days one and two I should have had more juice, and that probably explains why I felt so icky on day three. It also was tough not chewing things. I think it’s fine to snack on raw veggies and fruits if you want to chew something during a cleanse. I wish I had done that earlier in the week. It’s better to be 80-90% than fail and relapse on something unhealthy because you feel deprived. I also let myself have a cup of organic black coffee every morning because me without caffeine is not a pretty site! I slept better while on this cleanse and also had the most vivid dreams. I also felt great, aside from my evening cravings of just wanting to chew something.

What this cleanse has taught me: The past few days have taught me that I have the willpower to get through things even when I want to throw in the towel and that I can fight my cravings. It’s helped to reset my palate and taught me to enjoy simple meals like steamed vegetables without a ton of sauce or vegan butter. It showed me I can be satisfied without mindlessly gorging on rice or pasta. Before this, I had been consuming too much refined sugar and carbs and not as much vegetables as I would have liked to.

Would I do a cleanse again? Yes, most definitely. First of all, I loved juicing so much that I plan to keep drinking green juice at least once a day for the foreseeable future. It made me feel energized and like I was doing something good for my body. I’ve also juiced fruits that I normally don’t eat or like, such as watermelon, papaya and grapefruit. Next month I’ll probably try a two or three day cleanse as I feel like five days was too long. But a couple of days is fine for a reset or refresh.

Cons: Juicing is expensive. I live in the Bahamas where food is generally pricey and imported, especially organic produce. Next time I’ll hit up a farmer’s market to try and find cheaper fruits and veg, but because of the pandemic I haven’t been to the market in months. It’s also a lot of prep work to clean your produce, chop it up, blend (or juice if you have a juicer), strain it in my case, and then wash your blender/juicer. Like I said, I was working from home, but when I get back to the office, I don’t know if I will have the time to make multiple juices every day.

If you are thinking about doing a cleanse, my advice is it start incorporating one or two green juices into your diet first to get used to the taste before going full throttle. Also experiment with different fruits and flavors so you don’t get bored. Add citrus to your juice and another flavor enhancer like a bit of ginger root, tumeric or mint leaves. And it’s perfectly fine to do a partial cleanse like I did, having juice in the day and a small meal of steamed or raw veggies at night if you desire. Do what feels best for you.

For those interested in a juice cleanse, please consult your doctor first.

Comforting Chickpea Stew

My favorite recipes are ones that are simple, quick to make and full of flavor.

While I love spending time in the kitchen and making elaborate dishes, most of the time I don’t have the time, but that doesn’t mean I want to skimp on taste or food quality.

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of stews. They are easy to make and customize with what I’ve got in the fridge and pantry, and also are very comforting in the cool weather we’ve had in the Bahamas in the evenings for the past few months, which is rare.

A few days ago I whipped up a chickpea stew that reminded me of my recent trip to Costa Rica, which I will blog about soon. The recipe came about as a result of me needing to use up some items left over in my fridge from before my trip and also me craving a layer of flavors.

Vegan chickpea stew

The end result was very satisfying and tasty, so I hope you try it out and let me know what you think!

Comforting chickpea stew (makes four servings)

One small onion, diced

1 ¼ cup of diced white mushrooms

1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used cherry)

1 16 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup of frozen corn kernels

1 ½ tsp ground sage

1 tsp cumin

¼ tsp chipotle powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of red pepper flakes (for garnish)

Chopped cilantro (for garnish)  

1 1//4 cup of veggie broth

1 tbsp of tapioca starch or cornstarch

Oil for sautéing

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add diced onions and cook until transluscent, about two to three minutes. Add mushrooms and tomatoes, stirring occassionally and cook for about two minutes more.

Add tapioca starch to veggie broth and stir to combine, ensuring there are no clumps. Add broth/tapioca mix to pot and stir. Add chickpeas and spices except red pepper flakes and cilantro. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 20 minutes. Then add frozen corn and cook for another five minutes uncovered.

Garnish with red pepper flakes and cilantro and serve with rice.

Chocolate Cake For One

Some days I feel like baking a whole cake and getting all fancy, other times I get a chocolate craving at 7 pm and just want a few bites of something sweet, without having leftovers in the fridge to tempt me the next day (and the next!).

That’s where this chocolate mug cake comes in. It’s dairy-free, egg-free and a cinch to make. You can make this in the microwave, but I decided to bake mine because I try to nuke things as little as possible.

I have made mug cakes in the past that have just been okay, but this chocolate baby came out moist, fluffy, gooey in the center and fudgy. I knew it was a win because my boyfriend finished it off for me after I got full.

If you enjoy this recipe, please like and comment and follow this blog for more content.

Vegan Chocolate Cake
Chocolate cake for one

Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake

  • Servings: 1-2
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Ingredients


– 4 tbsp flour
– 3 tbsp sugar
– 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 5 tbsp non-dairy milk
– 1/2 tsp white vinegar
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients in a mug or ramekin. I used a ramekin. Add liquid ingredients and stir with a fork, being careful to scrape the bottom to combine the mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. You can also make this in the microwave by nuking it for one to three minutes, starting at one minute and cooking for 30 second intervals until desired doneness is reached. Let cool and enjoy.

Bahamian-Style Corn Fritters

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you guys!

Anyone familiar with Bahamian food knows that conch is a frequent feature in our delicacies. Bahamians love it so much that it’s pretty much everywhere. Conch chowder, cracked conch (basically deep-fried, battered conch served usually with fries), conch salad (think ceviche), conch fritters and the list goes on.

Top on my list was always conch fritters. There was a time in my life when I ate them every week. My friends and I would go to the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, where every Sunday night without fail, I would order a plate of fritters and a Miami Vice daiquiri.

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You can never have too much sauce!

That was years before I gave up eating animals. If you truly love conch, the best thing to do is leave it off your plate. According to this 2017 Miami Herald article, conch populations in Florida are in trouble and researchers are worried about declining young conchs in the Bahamas.

“A marine preserve in the Bahamas famed for its abundance of queen conchs and intended to help keep the country’s population thriving is missing something: young conchs. Researchers studying the no-take park off Exuma, one of hundreds throughout the Caribbean, found that over the last two decades, the number of young has sharply declined as adult conchs steadily matured and died off. The population hasn’t crashed yet like it has in the Florida Keys, but in the last five years, the number of adult conchs in one of the Bahamas’ healthiest populations dropped by 71 percent,” the article reported.

Humans are overfishing this treasured resource, and if we aren’t careful, the Bahamian conch could one day go extinct. If that isn’t reason not to eat this sea-snail, I don’t know what is.

Lately I’ve been craving a vegan version of fritters. There’s just something about deep-fried food that makes you remember your childhood right? Sweet corn is a perfect substitute for conch in this recipe, but you can also use mushrooms and I’m sure they will turn out just as delish. I added a few sheets of salty seaweed sheets (I used Annie Chun’s Seaweed Snacks, wasabi flavor) to give it more of a “fishy” taste but you can totally leave them out.

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I’m happy to report that these fritters hit the spot. Crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. But the dipping sauce is what really pushes it over the top.

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Look at that deep fried goodness!

If you make these, please don’t skimp out on the sauce, because that’s part of the experience!

Bahamian-Style Corn Fritters

  • Servings: About 4
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Ingredients

    For the fritters
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 flax egg
  • ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • Old Bay seasoning or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh sweet corn kernels
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 4 small seaweed sheets, crushed (optional)
  • For the dipping sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Half a tsp to one tsp of hot pepper sauce or hot sauce

Directions

  1. Prepare flax egg by mixing one tbsp of ground flax seeds with three tbsp water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix dipping sauce ingredients together then set aside.
  3. 3. Heat oil in pot or a deep fryer.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour and spices, mix together.
  5. Add milk, flax egg and crushed seaweed sheets, if using. Mix together.
  6. Drop batter into hot oil, one rounded tablespoon at a time.
  7. Fry fritters until golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve with sauce and enjoy!

Adapted from: Conch fritter recipe

Easy Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Happy Monday!

I’ve been up to so much lately, working, (binging TV shows on Netflix) and planning last-minute details for my upcoming trip to Greece with the bf. I am beyond excited as it’s a dream come true for me. I’ve been daydreaming about visiting Greece since I was about 12 or 13.

After years of dreaming and postponing, I decided to finally make it happen. My boyfriend and I saved up for a few months, set the time aside and after all this anticipation, we are nearly off!! We will be island hopping, staying in a mix of hotels and Airbnbs. From what I’ve researched, Greece is pretty vegan friendly. Lots of fresh vegetables, salads, fruits, hummus, falafel etc. So I’m not too worried about going hungry! I’m also going to take lots of pictures and put together a guide for eating vegan in Greece based on my experiences.

But in the midst of all this planning, I’ve also been cooking up (and eating) a storm. The best of the bunch has been these vegan blueberry banana muffins that came out super fluffy, tasty and are filled with fresh blueberries that turn gooey as you bake them, exploding like candy in your mouth.

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This recipe only calls for half a cup of sugar but the sweetness in the banana more than makes up for it. I don’t like things too sweet to be honest, and I can fool myself into thinking these are healthy because there’s not a ton of sugar in there, right? Also, the mashed banana replaces the need for oil, another win. Even without oil, these muffins came out moist (how much did that word make you cringe?) – not dry at all.

These muffins are perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.

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I noshed on one during my break at work yesterday.

I hope you give this recipe a try. If you do, please let me know how they turn out. This is definitely going to be my go-to muffin recipe from now on. Next time I will try them with nuts and shredded carrots. Nom, nom, nom.

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A quick breakfast. Veg sausage strips, avocado, muffins and fruit.

Easy Vegan Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 8-9
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • half cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • half a cup of sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare flax egg. (Mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water. Mix and set aside until it congeals, about ten minutes.)
  3. Peel banana. In a small bowl, mash it with a fork until it resembles pudding and set aside.
  4. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together.
  5. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and then add flax egg and wet ingredients. Mix well to combine with a spoon, but do not over mix. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Line muffin tin with nine paper cups and fill each one. If you have remaining cups, fill them with one or two tablespoons of water to ensure even baking.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops are brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy!

Adapted from https://www.inspiredtaste.net/18982/our-favorite-easy-blueberry-muffin-recipe/

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