Move over s’mores…it’s BBQ Oreo time

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BBQ #6 this year and #6 being vegan… and aside from Linda McCartney sausages and veggie patties, this time I discovered a real gem; WARM OREOS.
That’s right, whack a bunch of Oreos on the BBQ for a few minutes, wait for the biscuit to warm (it smells like cake), the cream to melt and you have yourself a delicious, naughty vegan treat that gives s’mores a run for their money. Just wow.

They are so exciting and moreish, especially on a restricted diet. Just try not to eat the whole lot (we got through 3 packs).

For the second batch I got crazy and added some dark chocolate on top😍

Divine Devon

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This weekend I was lucky enough to bag a visit to rural county Devon, staying with my cousin and her other half in their new(ish) home. They relocated from our home town in November, and it was my first visit.

Despite leaving loved ones behind, I can see why they easily had no regrets with their decision. Their secluded village sits atop a hill, overlooking the beautiful Devonshire countryside. Woolacombe Beach (dubbed the ‘best beach in the UK’ and I’d say easily comparable to a beach in Spain) is just an hour’s drive, and an array of other touristic gems are dotted around, an even shorter distance away.

It’s experiences like these that remind me England isn’t the dull, grey image that a lot of us often have. It’s brimming with stunning scenery, wildlife and nature spots. At one point near a place called Castle Drogo, I couldn’t believe I was still in the UK. A giant valley filled with luscious green trees, and a convenient path that lets you admire the view from different angles, literally took my breath away.

Fingle Bridge, Castle Drogo

Another trip took us into the heart of a huge gorge, with gushing waterfalls and mossy trees surrounding us on upward spiraling paths.

Lydford Gorge was around 3 miles of massive woodland, ancient tree roots underfoot and an enclosed rock cove/cavern at a spot called the Devil’s Couldron. Standing on a bridge above, you can watch the water bubble and whirlpool madly around below your feet.

Lydford Gorge

Amongst scrambling up rocks, hiking up steep hills and sitting on the edge of cliff faces, I found a sense of tranquility I haven’t experienced in a while. The freedom felt while trekking across fields hundreds of miles from home, from anywhere familiar, was exciting and exhilarating. Living in each moment to moment, taking it as it comes and accepting the fact that it all ‘is what it is’, was an emotional release, to say the least. The fresh air definitely went to my head.

Dartmoor Moors

Devon is a beautiful place and as a ‘Brit’ I feel truly blessed to know we have such serenity on our doorstep- we don’t need to skip countries to get a dose of  escapism from the everyday England we’re used to. We just need to know where to look… and the drive to want to find the rest of the hidden gems the UK has to offer.

So much brocolli 😍

Don’t know whether to trust the weather.

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Wherever we go, as humans we always seem to discuss the weather in social situations. 

“Hot today init?”

“Yeah Nan, baking.”

“I prefer to be cold, me. Can’t be doing with the sweatiness.”

The reason we reference the weather so much is because it’s literally the pinnacle of our survival and existence on Earth.

How we utilise sunlight and fresh oxygen for example, is so important. So when in the UK we go from chilly and rainy to (years overdue) 34°c in the blink of an eye, our bodies respond as such.

We need more hydration, more calcium to absorb the extra vitamin D from the sun, more protein for us to replace the  fat shed while basting in the heat or sweating on the sofa. Just as examples.

Sunbeams creeping in

If one was raised in a relatively sunny climate (or spent enough time in one), the body would adapt to the heat, the skin would gradually build a healthy natural tan (instead of burning like a lobster as many Brits do), etc.
If one is raised in coldness such as in places like Iceland, again the body adapts to such temperatures and grows to its potential in that climate. Iceland interestingly happen to have one of the ‘healthiest’ population in the world.

Here in the UK we tend to jump from.one extreme to another, and I believe it takes quite a toll on many of us. With such rapid change, the body is constantly trying to adapt from one state to another. And with the poor western diet followed by many, it can cause havoc on our bodies and minds, and sometimes serious health issues.

Which is why it’s so important to follow a constant, healthy diet. And coincidentally why a simple vegan diet works so well (I won’t adapt here, I promise this one isn’t about the v word.!.vegan). Anyway. A diet that is part of your lifestyle, and not about losing weight (although there’s nothing wrong with getting trim; excess weight isn’t generally ‘healthy’).. one that becomes an easy routine, which you can rely on to get you through everyday. Then when the weather shifts from ice valley to dry earth with just a heartbeat in between, you’re always energised, strong and ready.

Butternut squash, chickpea and spinach curry w/ cumin rice and gram flour tortilla

Vegan pon road.

Mother nature (and the universe generally) never cease to amaze. And the way we use the sun to fuel us, growing each new cell and shedding old skin is just another part of that.
I suppose the point I’m making is that, depending where one is on Earth, we could potentially evolve into different kinds of humans. I could go to Costa Rica and become a bronze beauty, to Iceland to get lean and strong, to India and be a happily shrivelled yogi.

Endless possibilities for infinite consciousness. All influenced by the God that is the Sun…… I felt they both needed capitalising. 

Doris; she belongs to my housemate and thrives each year.

I’ll leave with thoughts of sweet, home grown strawberries. Peacee 

Wettest Weekend in Wales

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This weekend I was lucky enough to spend 2 nights camping in the Welsh valleys, specifically Beddgelert in Snowdonia.

The aim was to hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon (invested in hiking boots and everything), but unfortunately the weather didn’t quite allow- 5 hours and 2 small children was already going to be a challenge, but in torrential rain near impossible. So we opted for the toughest route (Watkin path), but only went for a couple of hours.

Some of our group disbanded and went back down after they decided they’d had enough,  and the rest of us continued up to where we could see the clouds.

So yes, I got to stand inside a cloud, and I also drank actual mountain spring water (it was flowing beautifully clear down some slate ‘steps’ and I just had to try it). And yes, it was delicious, crisp and I didn’t die. 

So although I didn’t make it to the top, I’m grateful I have the health to try. And some people who are special to me and have always been afraid to try such ‘adventurous’ activities actually gave it a shot. Which to me is a bigger achievement and far more fulfilling than getting to the peak myself. I was very proud of my friends in those moments.

I was also grateful to bear witness to the magnificence that is the Welsh countryside; rolling hills, huge valleys, sheep running along roads that wind on the sides of cliffs, gushing rivers and sparkling springs, beautiful lucious trees everywhere I turned.. it was just incredible.

All in all it was a wonderful experience and I’d love to go back and attempt the climb again. Hopefully this time the weather holds up! 

Yoga and Life Lesson: remember to breathe!

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I’ve ‘suffered’ with a few ‘ailments’ over the past six months or so; such as hip pain/tightness and bruised knees, and as such forced to decrease the amount of exercise I do, including yoga.

Though I still practice yoga pretty much everyday (though with less intensity), I’ve missed classes etc, in order to not overdo anything. Now more recently, I’ve managed to bruise my left rib/breast bone quite badly, and have minimised even more the amount I’ve been practising.

But of course, there’s always a lesson in these things. And here I learned, I must try harder to breathe. All the time. I must be more mindful of how deep each breath is. Cos each stifling pain cutting through my swollen rib with even half a ‘real’ breath, reminds me every time that I never breathe properly. 

And here I am, 9 days later and the pain is far more bearable. I’m just trying my best not to forget how much it hurt.. so that every inhale is full and each exhale is finished, lungs depleted completely.

Each breathe should be felt. And then peace can pour through.

Since I began my yoga practise, I’ve known real breathing is the part I need to spend the most time on. Only now the universe has become bored of repeating itself, and instead chose to give me the lesson through physical pain. Well waydago universe, it’s working.

But it is kind of crazy, the way the body utilises breath; supplying the sacred heart with power to pump oxygen and life preserving/building nutrients around the body. 

Now time to embrace it, one inhale at a time, one exhale at a time…

Finding ‘blog balance’ between my 2 favourite things

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Lately I’ve been wondering why I share more food moments than yoga moments on my blog.

Like both are my main loves in life, but I guess the balance of ‘want’ and ‘need’ between the two is quite rocky at times.

Most of my days lately have been spent in the kitchen. I mean literally, if I have just an hour free time I’m back in there, looking to throw something together that will help me to get me through another day.

Yoga is a deeper experience, executed mostly by, and with, myself, in a sacred space I have devoted to the practice.

Don’t get me wrong- I still practice every single day. And to a degree this is because it’s something I ‘need’.. but it is also merely a ‘want’, from my body and mind.

Whereas food is comparatively a huge ‘need’, as clearly it’s needed for survival. Even more so now being vegan, I need to make sure I’m always a step ahead of the eating game, and that meals and snacks are prepared and on hand as and when they’re needed.

I suppose with yoga being somewhat of a ‘private’ practice (aside from when I attend classes), I’m less inclined to ‘share’ my experiences on my blog.

But I love to inspire, and I want as many people as possible to experience this wonderful practice. So I will try to incorporate more yoga posts.

Cooking has been one of my main ‘exercises’ of late, and I do want to inspire healthy eating too. Yet again we return to that issue of balance… something I am also working on👌.

Peace and love yogis, chefs and fellow humans. I love you all, unconditionally.

Being Vegan Week 6: Is this level of excitement normal?

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For the past few weeks, I’ve literally been unable to stop thinking about food.

And it isn’t because I’m hungry… it’s because everything I’ve eaten has been so daym delicious, I’m always thinking about what’s coming next.

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Clearly I need to take some self control (yet again, even as a vegan it seems I can’t control my cravings for food… any food), but I just can’t help it.. and now more than ever, knowing that what I’m eating is not only helping preserve the planet (albeit it on a small scale), but is actually good me for, leaves me constantly searching for new recipes.

Since becoming vegan, literally most of my spare time has been devoted to the kitchen (or supermarket). And all the new tastes and flavours dancing over my tongue, and making me feel fantastic afterward (and not sluggish or ugh) are really making this an enjoyable feat.

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From sauces to ice creams to seasonings and dressings, I can’t get enough.

Today alone, I’ve enjoyed:

Banana, almond, coconut and chia smoothie for breakfast.

Almond butter rice krispie squares for mid morning snack.

Carob bar as an afternoon snack (first time trying, I’m not disappointed).

Brocolli with garlic, ginger and spring onion sauce and sesame brown rice for dinner.

Peanut butter cookies for dessert.

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And being unable to stop thinking about more food, despite my tummy already being satisfied, I couldn’t help but indulge in some blueberry and raspberry buckwheat pancakes. Now it’s safe to say I’m VERY full (2 tbps apple cider vinegar with warm water aiding my digestion).

Unfortunately I’ve not taken the time to photograph much of this, as it’s been more of a cook it – eat it style, trying to perfect recipes etc. Plus experimental cooking doesn’t usually make for very appealing food snaps (I’ll add recipes soon enough).

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But over the past few weeks I’ve also enjoyed some gorgeous meals and treats, such as pad tai noodles, courgetti noodles and sundried tomato pesto, roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad, turmeric quinoa coconut curry, falafal, chickpea flour wraps, mushroom burgers, black bean burgers, sweet oat and rice krispie squares, raw chocolate brownies, gooey black bean chocolate brownies, mixed berry crumble, mint choc chip ice cream… not to mention all the amazing stuff I tried in Amsterdam last week!

Yup, I actually made it through 3 days in Dam as a vegan… not one churro, waffle or piece of cheese passed my lips.

Instead, I got to enjoy vegan cheese sticks, samosas, rice wraps, blueberry cheese cake, chocolate cake and ice cream, raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes, houmous salad wraps… most of which I did photograph..

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Turns out Amsterdam is a hot bed of vegan eateries (compared to my small town in the UK anyway). And the food is AMAZING!!

I’m truly grateful to be vegan right now. Sure it takes some effort and preparation, but if you plan ahead and always make sure there’s at least one healthy snack on hand, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

Embracing new flavours and ingredients, reworking my taste buds and retraining my body to enjoy vegan alternatives, has left me lighter (I don’t weigh myself but I’ve definitely lost weight), more energetic and generally happier. I’m also creating a whole new self.. I’ve begun a journey that I just know will take me to places I never imagined before,  in whatever form that may be.

And I cannot wait! Nor can I wait for breakfast tomorrow!! I’m thinking hemp seed and fruit smoothie, and possibly more buckwheat pancakes.

Nommm blessings and goodnight!

Skewers are a BBQ-loving Vegan’s best friend

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My fourth BBQ in 3 weeks of turning vegan. And I’ve realised how much of a life saver 4 simple metal skewers have been.

Just simply marinating some chopped vegetables in the morning, transporting them in the same container, poking the skewer through them when you’re ready to cook, and whacking them on the grill, has proven deliciously helpful.

I went to a treetop climbing/zip line adventure in the woods today to celebrate my birthday with friends. We decided late the night before to have a BBQ, leaving me no time to prepare.. “F***, I’m vegan, cooking on a BBQ for dinner! ”

Then there’s always a nice side dish to go with whatever the main may be. My favourite veg so far has been courgette, red onion, pepper, mushrooms and baby plum tomatoes. They can be nice and crispy or just warm and tender, with a hint of smoky charred BBQy loveliness.

Because there’s nothing quite like cooking and eating outdoors, and the alluring smell of the coal heating up, drifting through the warm spring/summer air… and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue to be an enjoyable experience, whether vegan or vegetarian.

For these I have no recipe… I literally poured Nandos garlic sauce over and let it baste. Super quick, tasty and vegan.

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Adding some colour

There’s nothing like a good independent documentary to get you riled on a Tuesday evening. Happy ChooseDay

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Today has been another one of those days.

Witnessing the reactions and repercussions of choices made.

So on becoming vegan, I’ve sort of rewritten my future. Just to give one recent example, I’ve been to three BBQ’s in the past two weeks. With my new dietary requirements, I’m now in a position where I need to prepare and bring my own food (with enough to share, of course). This has been somewhat of a ‘deal’ at all three BBQ’s, not unsurprisingly.

I’ve found being a vegan at a BBQ (at these particular gatherings) was like how being the sober person in a nightclub can sometimes feel; like nobody really knows why you’re there; and they’re certainly not interested in sharing your sinless concoction.

Anyhow, had I not decided to turn vegan the past two weeks, and had shown up with my standard spicy chicken skewers, much of these experiences had played out slightly differently.

Then tonight I watched the documentary,  Cowspiracy. And wow. Just wow when the universe flows so perfectly. (Although we try our best not to doubt ourselves), when one feels the confirmation, the knowing that the choices you’ve made are the right ones, it feels amazing.

Just to sum up Cowspiracy – basically animal agriculture (that’s everything meat-industry related, including rearing and feeding animals) is the biggest cause of deforestation. Erm, we are destroying Mother Earth by choosing to eat animals.

Not only that, but this information is purposefully kept from the public. You don’t even see animal agriculture listed as one of the biggest issues on ‘environmentalist’ websites such as Greenpeace. When it is in fact, having the biggest impact on our planet.

And… we’re destroying land for the purposes of raising animals to sell for food for richer people… in countries where other humans are starving.

The logic. I cannot comprehend.

So yeah, I’m embracing being vegan. I’ve also had a lot of number synchronicities lately, including the 33’s telling me my path is true.

 

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Had the tastiest vegan dinner so far today

Even if I do have to be the awkward twat at BBQ’s and weddings (also got two of those coming up, I’ve had to again be an inconvenience and change my dietary requirements.. 🙈), it’s all worth it.

I can live in peace knowing I’m not contributing to the constant suffering of animals or the rapid destruction of the planet.

And then it’s make some waves… who knows what amazing changes will come about? But they’re bound to happen, all the same.

Peace and love everybody