Guidelines to Smoothie Making

Smoothie making isn’t as easy as it sounds and some people may struggle with never making the perfect smoothie; I know I used to. I’d thrown in a bunch of ingredients, but never end up with that sweet and fruity flavour I was aiming for. The truth it, it can be complicated, especially when you’re adding varieties of ingredients. Here I have made a short list of guidelines to assist you in your smoothie making.

*side note* I ALWAYS use frozen bananas in my smoothies. It gives a better texture, makes the smoothie colder, and it even makes it taste better! I highly recommend freezing bananas for smoothies. Click here to see banana prep.

1. Amounts and Ratios
Some people believe that in order to make a smoothie you just throw a bunch of fruit into a blender, add some water or milk, and hope for the best. However this is not the case. You need to measure your ingredients properly, and have a perfect ratio of flavours for your end result. For instance; if you’re making a strawberry banana smoothie, I wouldn’t advise putting 3 bananas, and 2 strawberries. You have to even it out so that the flavours are prevalent throughout the smoothie. I would suggest the more banana you put in, the more strawberries. Ex. 3 bananas, 6-8 strawberries. Or if you’re making a green smoothie, 3 bananas, 1 handful of spinach or kale, and half a cup or more of water.

1 01d62. Consistency
The same idea goes for adding liquids. If you are aiming for a thicker smoothie, add less liquid. Most people prefer their smoothies liquidy and more drinkable, so I’d advise adding more water/almond milk to ensure that consistency. But be careful not to add TOO much liquid, for you still want to have that smoothie texture.

IMG_95093. Ingredients
Smoothies all depend on the ingredients you put into them. You have to think and carefully choose what ingredients you want to add to your smoothie. Think about flavours that go well together like banana and strawberry, or chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t go crazy and just pour everything you have in your fridge into one smoothie because you want to fit as much as you can in there. Even a simple smoothie that only has 2-3 ingredients can still be a good one. Chances are the more you add to it and the more complex you make it, the less great it will taste. I know this from experience by trying to make a green smoothie with 7 ingredients. Now i just stick with 3 and I’m golden.

IMG_81664. Mixing flavours
That brings me to my last point: mixing flavours. I know it sounds obvious, but some people still do it. You have to know which flavours go together and which one’s don’t. Everyone makes smoothies differently, but personally, I wouldn’t add preferably strong fruity flavours like orange and pineapple, to a chocolate smoothie. If you are making a chocolate smoothies, keep it simple with just banana, almond milk, cacao powder, peanut butter, and water. When I make chocolate date smoothies, I add a few dates and 1-2 strawberries just for that extra flavour. The same idea applies to fruity smoothies. Don’t add super sweet or dessert flavours like chocolate and peanut butter to a strawberry pineapple smoothie because the flavours will clash.

IMG_8554Hopefully if you stick to these four simple guidelines, you will be able to perfect the art of smoothie making and end up with a sweet and tasty drink!

Shoutout to my dad who made a smoothie with 1 banana, 8 strawberries, greek yogurt, cacao powder and pineapple. According to my mother, It was too thick and didn’t taste good. But kudos for trying paps ❤  This one’s for you.

PS. since that incident he has been practicing and learning how to create better smoothies.

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Humans are Designed to Eat Meat

I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before, and most people probably think it’s true. Silly vegans, of course humans are designed to eat meat. I mean, if they weren’t, than why would we be eating it?

resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-oh-you-re-a-vegan-you-must-think-humans-weren-t-designed-to-eat-red-meat-how-adorable-5c4e6eWell, I’m sorry to break it to you folks, but humans are in fact NOT designed to eat meat. Yep, you heard me correctly. Interested? Keep reading. Not interested? Exit this page. I am in no way trying to put down others eating habits or claim that eating a certain way is the right way. I am simply putting this out there to answer all the people who claim that humans are designed to eat meat.

1. How we’re built. Humans have short, soft fingernails and pathetically small “canine” teeth. In contrast, carnivores all have sharp claws and large canine teeth capable of tearing flesh.

Carnivores’ jaws move only up and down, requiring them to tear chunks of flesh from their prey and swallow them whole. Humans and other herbivores can move their jaws up and down and from side to side, allowing them to grind up fruit and vegetables with their back teeth. Like other herbivores’ teeth, human back molars are flat for grinding fibrous plant foods. Carnivores lack these flat molars.

08c-human-frugivore-teeth2. Stomach acidity. Carnivores swallow their food whole, relying on their extremely acidic stomach juices to break down flesh and kill the dangerous bacteria in meat that would otherwise sicken or kill them. Our stomach acids are much weaker in comparison because strong acids aren’t needed to digest pre-chewed fruits and vegetables. Also, if we ate raw meat, we would get sick. (food poisoning, salmonella, E coli, etc)

3. Intestinal tracts. Carnivores have short intestinal tracts which reach about 3 times its body length. This allows food to pass through their systems quickly without gaining excess fat. A herbivores intestines are 12 times its body length; humans are closer to herbivores, meaning our food takes much longer to break down and digest.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-05-at-2.24.30-PM14. Hunting. Humans lack the raw abilities to be good hunters. They are not quick like lions, cheetah’s, hawks, and other predators. It was not until the advent of the arrowheads, hatchets and other implements that killing and capturing prey became possible for humans.

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5. Psychology. Humans also lack the instinct that drives carnivores to kill animals and devour their raw carcasses. While carnivores take pleasure in killing animals and eating their raw flesh, any human who killed an animal with his or her bare hands and ate the raw corpse would be considered deranged. Carnivorous animals are excited by the scent of blood and the thrill of the chase. Most humans, on the other hand, are revolted by the sight of blood, intestines and raw flesh, and cannot tolerate hearing the screams of animals being ripped apart and killed. The bloody reality of eating animals is innately repulsive to us, another indication that we were not designed to eat meat.

10-17-2011-faux-carnivore6. Diseases. Ever wonder why so many humans are getting sick and dying? Well perhaps it is the MEAT they are eating. Real carnivores don’t get sick from eating meat, but us humans do.

Carnivorous animals in the wild virtually never suffer from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, or obesity, ailments that are caused in humans in large part by the consumption of the saturated fat and cholesterol in meat. Human bodies, on the other hand, were not designed to process animal flesh, so all the excess fat and cholesterol from a meat-based diet makes us sick. Meat-eaters have a 50 percent higher risk of developing heart disease than vegetarians!

7. Protein. And to all the people out there (because I’m sure there are TONS who are begging the question): where on earth will we ever get our protein?

We consume twice as much protein as we need when we eat a meat-based diet, and this contributes to osteoporosis and kidney stones. Animal protein raises the acid level in our blood, causing calcium to be excreted from the bones to restore the blood’s natural pH balance. This calcium depletion leads to osteoporosis, and the excreted calcium ends up in the kidneys, where it can form kidney stones or even trigger kidney disease.

Consuming animal protein has also been linked to cancer of the colon, breast, prostate, and pancreas. According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the director of the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health, and the Environment, “In the next ten years, one of the things you’re bound to hear is that animal protein … is one of the most toxic nutrients of all that can be considered.”

Eating meat can also have negative consequences for stamina and sexual potency. One Danish study indicated that “Men peddling on a stationary bicycle until muscle failure lasted an average of 114 minutes on a mixed meat and vegetable diet, 57 minutes on a high-meat diet, and a whopping 167 minutes on a strict vegetarian diet.”Besides having increased physical endurance, vegan men are also less likely to suffer from impotence.

558892_480907211951803_1971801497_n1I apologize if these facts are not what you expected. I’m sorry if these facts are not to your liking. I don’t write to please you – I write to bring the facts to light. My goal in this world is to make people aware of what happens to animals and hope that maybe one day we will all be equal beings who inhabit this earth. But a girl can only try.

tombstone2Sources:

http://www.thechinastudy.com/

http://www.peta.org/living/food/natural-human-diet/

http://www.rense.com/general20/meant.htm

http://www.celestialhealing.net/physicalveg3.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/shattering-the-meat-myth_b_214390.html

 

Organic Burst Review

Many of you have probably heard of Organic Burst. They are a company based in the UK that sells organic super foods and powders. I see their products around Instagram all the time, so I thought it was time to check them out. Ekaterina was kind enough to send me 5 bottles of their organic powders!

IMG_0558These powders have amazing scientifically proven benefits for the skin, fighting sugar cravings, detox, anti-ageing, hormonal balance, exercise performance and more. Their products are loved by the celebrity health, beauty and fitness experts and have been featured in the leading media such as Vogue, Elle, The Times, Sunday Times Style, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Sun, Grazia and more.

Their products are 100% pure and organic superfoods that are super high in many nutrients, so they are natural alternatives to multivitamins supplements. Each of their chosen superfoods has an amazing history- spirulina was cultivated by the Aztec, maca was taken by the Inca, and the Pharaohs of Egypt took wheatgrass for rejuvenation.

They source from small ethical organic producers all over the world and manufacture in the UK to the highest quality standards. Organic Burst superfoods are a higher quality grade than many conventional superfood brands – with very high levels of potency and purity, UK pharmaceutical grade standard, free from heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, herbicides, fillers or additives and each batch tested in an independent laboratory in the UK.

IMG_0556I’ve heard so much about acai berries and acai powders, but believe it or not, I have never tried it. So as soon as the package came in, the first thing I made was an acai berry bowl.

2014-04-10 001 2014-04-10 008In my blender I added 2 frozen bananas, a handful of raspberries, and broke open 4 capsules of acai (4 is the recommended serving per day) and blended it all together. This beautiful creation was the outcome. It tasted delicious and was packed with super foods and anti-oxidants.

Acai is an Amazonian berry that does wonders for the skin and body. It has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit and vegetables ever tested by science – up to 8 times that of blueberries and 10 to 30 times that of red wine. Its powerful antioxidants, polyphenols and Vitamin E, help slow down the effects of ageing by protecting our cells from degeneration.

IMG_0554Another super food I’ve heard many things about is Maca. It has been used in Peru for endurance, energy and hormonal balance for over 2000 years. Maca root is known as the Peruvian Ginseng due to the variety and density of its minerals: calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, silica and zinc.

I made chocolate Maca oatmeal. I cooked my oats, added 1 tsp of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cacao powder, and 1 tsp of Maca powder. I also added chia seeds, peanut butter and some fruit! Oh, and I drizzled it with some of my homemade vegan chocolate sauce.

2014-04-19 001 2014-04-19 0012014-04-19 001 2014-04-19 002Next I decided to take the Maca powder and pair it with another powerful super food: Wheatgrass.

Organic Burst Wheatgrass is a 100% pure, organic, green wonder-food from a multi-award winning UK brand. Humans have been consuming wheatgrass for over 5000 years, dating back to the Pharaohs of Egypt. It’s well known for its detoxifying and cleansing properties. It contains chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, enzymes and energy-metabolising minerals. Their wheatgrass is organically grown and carefully dried, preserving all its nutrients.

I made these smoothies for my dad and I. I know what you’re probably thinking – they look like grass. But I promise you, they were DELICIOUS! And if you are a health freak like me, or even someone who appreciates nutrition, you will believe me. (Because green smoothies are the bomb) They are simply 4 frozen bananas, lots of spinach, 1-2 tsp. of peanut butter, 1 tsp. of Maca powder, 1 tsp. of Wheatgrass powder, and water!

IMG_0158The fourth powder I tried was Spirulina. Spirulina is a blue-green microscopic plant that has existed on our planet for 3.6 billion years and served as a source of nourishment to many civilizations. It has a full spectrum of nutrients that nourish the body and mind: beta-carotene, iron, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin B complex, chlorophyll, complete protein, GLA and more.

Organic Burst Spirulina is grown organically in clean, freshwater ponds, free of toxins, chemicals or pesticides. Thanks to these strict conditions, their spirulina powder is a completely pure, easily digested, and has a pleasant taste.

I created a beautiful coloured smoothie that included: 3 frozen bananas, blueberries, almond milk, and 1 tsp of Spirulina.

spirulina The last powder I tried was Baobab. Baobab fruit powder is a powerful new superfood and Africa’s best-kept secret until now. It’s known as the “Tree of Life” and has been cherished by locals across the African continent for centuries. It has a unique nutritional profile, with more Vitamin C than oranges, more iron than red meat and a rich content of alkalising minerals: calcium, potassium and magnesium.

I made a green smoothie that was 2 frozen bananas, 1 tsp. of peanut butter, a handful of spinach, 1 tsp. of Baobab, 1 tsp. of Wheatgrass, and 1 cup of water!

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 006This smoothie was so good and refreshing that my parents even asked for some so I had to make more. You know Organic Burst is good when the whole family wants some.

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 007Organic Burst is a wonderful company that has some amazing products. I will for sure being using these in every smoothie I make. You can also add them to oatmeal, pancakes, cookies, brownies, quinoa; virtually anything. They are all powders, except for the Acai which is capsules, but you can open them and use the powder inside. They are fun, healthy, and make a great super food.

For more information about Organic Burst or to purchase some of their products online, visit their website: http://organicburst.com/

IMG_9797IMG_0625

Spinach, Tofu and Quinoa

I must say this is one of the best vegan meals I’ve made yet! It had the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and a perfect ratio of vegetables to grains to legumes. If you are looking for a great dinner to make this Easter, I highly recommend this collection of super foods.

IMG_0352Looks delicious doesn’t it? I had such a busy hectic forty minutes in the kitchen! I made this last week when my mother and brother were having pizza and egg salad. So I was in there busily trying to create a plant based meal for myself. (Which my dad would later ask for my food over the family’s. Plant based: 1, Regular food: 0)

So there I was standing over the stove busily stirring my quinoa, poking at my broccoli, tossing my tofu, and flipping my sweet potato fries. Yep, it was just as hectic as it sounds. But I remained calm and collected and simply turned on the oven fan to get all the heat out. Not to mention my mother was also boiling eggs on the stove as well.

IMG_0343What you’ll need: 1 large sweet potato, broccoli, asparagus, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, walnuts, cucumber, kale and spinach.

1. Sweet Potato Fries. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. You will begin with your sweet potato fries, where you can find my full recipe here. Cook until they are golden and crispy. *Note, I left the skin on for these ones and they tasted great!)

IMG_06642. Quinoa. Turn one of your burners to high. In a pot, pour in 2 cups of water, and 1 cup of quinoa. (Make sure you always use the ratio of 1 cup of water to half a cup of Quinoa). Once it starts cooking, turn it down to medium and continuously stir it until it’s nice and fluffy. When it’s finished, stir in 1 tsp. of coconut oil.

IMG_06603. Tofu. Turn another burner to medium, grease it with coconut oil, and fry your tofu. Cook until it has a light brown colour to it. (Remember to press your tofu before hand to get the water out).

2014-04-09 005 2014-04-09 0124. Broccoli and Asparagus. Turn one more burner to high and get ready to boil your broccoli and asparagus. Once it’s finished, squeeze lemon on top and a dash of salt.

IMG_03535. Presentation. Wash you spinach and kale and put it onto your plate. Once everything is done cooking, you can begin adding everything on top. I first added quinoa to the center, put my broccoli and asparagus to the side, sprinkled some chickpeas, walnuts, and cucumber around the edges, put my sweet potato fries to the other side, and finished with my fried tofu on top.

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100 days Meat Free

I wrote a post exactly 50 days ago titled “50 days vegetarian”. Today I am writing this post because I have officially hit 100 days. It doesn’t even seem that long ago that I had the idea to try cutting meat out from my diet for one week. Who would have thought that 100 days later I would be living a completely different lifestyle. Not only did I become a vegetarian after that one week challenge, but also a plant based vegan.

IMG_9050I have to say, switching to this life style was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. Back in December I would eat meat, eggs, fish, cheese, dairy, and other things. I often found that after I ate dinner (that’s when I’d eat those kinds of foods) I would feel very full and bloated. My stomach would ache and I’d get bad pains. I just thought that I had eaten too much and that I needed to cut back. Boy was I ever wrong.

I started off by challenging myself. I said that I would try not eating meat for 7 days. After the 7 days had passed and I realized how easy it was, I continued. After two weeks I said I’d never go back to eating meat again. Now while cutting out meat did help a bit, I still found myself feeling bloated and having stomach pains after certain foods. I remember one night I had grilled cheese for dinner and thought it was a good choice because it was vegetarian. But after I ate that, my stomach grumbled and felt so full and gross. That’s when I had the sudden thought to go vegan. I hopped on my computer and began to do my research. “How do vegan’s get protein” I typed into Google. “What foods can vegan’s eat?”

I compiled a list of foods with the vitamins they contain. I brought the page downstairs and told my parents I was going to try going vegan. They told me that it was not a good idea, and rather than making such a drastic change, to gradually try cutting out the foods that upset my stomach.

So that Monday, I cut out dairy. I didn’t have dairy for a whole week, and I felt a little better. I have always eaten all my super fruits and vegetables, but now I was starting to make them the primary food in my diet. I kept my fridge stocked with tons of whole plant based foods, and incorporated them into my diet every day. I listened to my parents (at first) and did not go vegan. I cut out pretty much everything except for Greek yogurt and quest bars, and I was feeling better!

I kept this up for a while until February 21st. On that day, I did not eat Greek yogurt. (I usually have it everyday). The next day I didn’t have any either. A week went by and I did not eat any Greek yogurt or quest bars. I had officially gone vegan for a week. And you know what? I felt GREAT! And I wasn’t even missing the yogurt or quest bars. (even though both are quite delicious).

So here I am today, writing this. It’s been 100 days since I cut out meat, and a little over a month since I switched to a full plant based vegan diet. And I am here writing this to share my story and to help other people who are in the same situation as me. I used to think it was my fault that I would get these stomach pains. I told myself that I over ate, and that next time I would eat less. I am here telling you this to let you know how wrong I was. Today, I eat TONS of foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I load up my plate with fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, lentils, etc and I feel awesome afterwards. I want to let you know that there are so many misconceptions about going vegan. No you won’t die. No you won’t miss your old lifestyle. No you won’t suffer from vitamin deficiencies. And no you won’t be deprived from enjoyable and delicious foods. If anything, you get to eat more and get the opportunity to experiment and try out new foods.

So if you have read all of this and realize you are having the same problems, try cutting out foods that bother you and narrow it down. We are what we eat – literally. So if you are putting all these harmful toxins into your body such as fast food, greasy food, and processed foods, your body won’t be the best. You have to know what is right for your body and nourish it. I promise you, once you find the perfect diet for you that suits your needs, you will feel 100x better than you did before. All you have to do is start.

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Wondering about the Vegan Diet?

If you are reading this post you are:

a)      An avid reader of my blog
b)      Just happen to stumble across this page
c)       A vegan who’s eye was captured by the title
d)      A non-vegan who is curious about a vegan lifestyle

If you find yourself as a person who falls under any of those categories, you are in the right place! So since I am newly vegan, I have found myself getting asked A LOT of the same questions, especially from friends and family. This post is here to answer ANY of those questions you may have if you or someone you know are making the transition into a vegan lifestyle, or are already a vegan.

1. How do you get your protein?

Ah, my favourite, and by far, the most popular one. If you are a vegan, you KNOW this is the first question someone asks when you say you are a vegan.

b5e3b49e0cfd76bc22c1d3e075701670Okay, first of all, it is just an urban myth that vegans do not get any protein and nutrients. News flash to everyone out there, animal by-products are not the only things in the world that have protein and vitamins…. Here are a list of some food sources for vegans that are very high in protein:

Quinoa, Green Peas, Nuts and Nut butter, Beans, Chickpeas, Tempeh and Tofu, Edamame, Spinach and Kale, Hemp, Chia Seeds, Sesame, sunflower, and poppy seeds, Seitan, Almond Milk, and Raw Cacao Powder.

Wow, that’s a lot of food that is high in protein that doesn’t contain ANY animal by-products – they just came from the ground!

Also, I had a friend ask me how I get calcium because “you can only get calcium from dairy”.  For any of you out there who are wondering this, there are tons of foods that contain calcium: Kale, Broccoli, Tofu, Almonds, Oranges, Figs, Chickpeas, Tahini, Carob etc.

2.Do you ever get full?

I had one of my friends ask me this the other day. YES VEGAN FOOD CAN BE FILLING! Just imagine, you are eating all organic and plant based foods, which are all FULL of vitamins and nutrients. They are all super healthy for you, and there is so much variety and flavour. So what do you do? You indulge.

vegans_o_280209When I eat dinner, I load up my plate, and eat till I am stuffed. Just because I do not eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs, doesn’t mean I don’t eat anything at all.  Here’s a link to my post “Vegan Dinners”. It gives you a good idea of what I usually or can eat for dinners. I eat as much as I want, because I know I am nourishing my body, and giving it the good stuff it needs. The only time I’d be concerned about stuffing myself at dinner would be if I was having meat, dairy or eggs. Those things did not help my body in ways that I wanted, and would often leave me feeling full and bloated. I felt gross afterwards, but when I eat spinach salads, Quinoa, Broccoli, Asparagus, Carrots, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, etc, I feel awesome and energized!

3. Is it hard being vegan?

No, not at all! 5 months ago, I was eating a regular, full meat and dairy diet. I too was tricked by society into thinking all these things about vegans. I thought it would be impossible for me to take on this lifestyle because a) No Reese’s Pieces. And b) I thought it was unhealthy and I’d die.

2014-01-28 003 2014-01-28 001I now know that I was terribly mistaken and very uneducated on the subject. It is not hard AT ALL! In fact, now that I eat a vegan plant based diet, I have found my creative side. Waking up in the morning and having a bowl of cheerio’s is boring. Having steak and mashed potatoes is boring. I now get to experiment in the kitchen and try SO many different super foods and recipes. For breakfast I have a big bowl of oatmeal loaded with nut butters, nuts and fruits. For dinner I have got the experience to try a variety of different super foods I didn’t even know existed, but are so good for me! Through veganism, I was able to open up my perspective of food and nutrition, and give my body the chance to have more than I ever did before.

4. Do you eat fish?

Are fish animals?….. Then no.

5. Do you ever miss meat?

No. Once you get on the vegan track, there’s no goin back. (Meaning, yes I can eat meat if I want to, but I don’t feel the need!)

2014-02-21 004 2014-02-21 0056. How do you have treats and sweets?

Well, let me tell you a little bit about vegan desserts. They are usually super healthy, and have natural sugars, not artificial sweeteners or additives. If you look on my blog, you will find multiple different treats and sweets that I can have and enjoy very much. A few favourites would be banana ice-cream, pitted dates with all natural peanut butter (so sweet and delicious) and I’ve also been experimenting with vegan baking and raw desserts! (Quite fantastic!)

IMG_81747. What do you do when you go to restaurants?

There are a few different things I can order. A salad, a vegetable wrap, certain breads or pastas, soup, rice, potatoes, etc. Also, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants around with tons of options!

2014-02-21 004 2014-02-21 0048. If you care about animals so much, why are you eating their food?

Stop.

2014-02-21 004 2014-02-21 003 People often get so caught up with the stereotype of how veganism isn’t good for you that they have no idea that vegan diets are actually healthier than regular ones. Look into it, do your research and you’ll find it’s not that bad or that hard. I’m not saying any other diet is bad, and that you shouldn’t eat certain foods. You can eat whatever your heart desires- just know that there are so many options out there for us.

After writing this, i created a short survey to ask a few people on my floor about their knowledge on veganism.

meredith

adam Brooke carlee Kenny