Vegan vs plant based 

Let me start by saying I have not eaten meat in almost 19 years (over half my life). I eat seafood 3-6 times a month. A year ago I cut out dairy on the advice of a Naturopath & introduced organic eggs (after never really enjoying eggs previously). I am 85-90% vegan.

I feed my children organic beef, lamb, chicken & sustainable fish. I occasionally buy nitrate-free ham for them. Quality is extremely important to me & I am always willing to pay more for this. They have some non-organic meat (such as when we go to sushi or they get a bacon & egg roll at the Farmer’s Market). They also consume dairy – I ONLY give them organic milk & organic butter. As a side story, I bought my sons a different organic milk a few weeks ago & they refused it, saying they would only drink “the one with the green lid”. If they said they no longer wanted to eat meat, or consume dairy, I would support them but get the advice from a health professional as to what substitutions they may require.

Everyone could benefit from eating less meat.

I am stereotyping here but I don’t believe the extreme approach of some vegans is beneficial & actually encourages people away from a more vegan/vegetarian/plant-based diet. In fact, some omnivores just end up picking fights because of the inability of some vegans to see any different. Ironically a lot of the vegans I follow on Instagram, grew up eating meat & animal products; yet cannot see beyond being a strict vegan, despite having previously led this lifestyle. Let’s assist omnivores by showing them what amazing vegan combinations can work so well to create a delicious salad / curry / roast / soup. Invite your omnivore friends over & present them with a vegan meal & see if they think something is missing. Ask them to consciously write a food diary to see how many times they consume meat a week. Or like a brilliant lecture I watched in my IIN study, commit to being a vegan for certain time frames-  eg this lecturer committed to being “vegan til 6pm” every day, which he had committed to for over 5 years. That meant a plant-based breakfast & lunch, then when he came home for dinner, he could choose a vegan meal, but also wouldn’t feel guilty for consuming good quality meat.

Let’s work as a team – we know there are environmental benefits to consuming vegetables over meat such as what is needed in terms of water/food/land/antibiotics/cost to make an animal from birth to plate. We also know that many people can thrive on a vegetarian diet (although there aren’t as many lifetime vegans). We need to factor in bio-individuality, & what one person can thrive on, others can’t. There are some beautiful role models like @thebalancedblonde who was vegan, then admitted the lifestyle didn’t work for her & of course polarised opinions (I say you go girl & you have every right to eat what your body thrives on). Also @onehungrymami – who was raw vegan a while, then vegan with the odd egg thrown in (again, good on you for being you & your transparency). There is another babe whose name I’m annoyed I can’t currently recall who is predominately plant based but recently posted an image accompanied with a caption about the smell of the roast/bacon in her house. Instant outrage & vitriol was spewed by the ‘loving’ vegan followers. What about the fact this awesome human supports a vegan diet 95% of the time? Does that really not count for anything? I support vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians & omnivores. Not everyone thrives on a vegan lifestyle. Some people try diets including Paleo, eating for their blood type & Ayurveda, but the only thing that can really teach you what you will thrive on is trial & error. I dine out with friends & family, & am not offended by them eating meat. I am encouraging my Mum to try bone broth to assist in recovery from knee surgery. Ironically, vegans are not always the healthiest of people, with many enjoying a high-fructose diet; & monomeals of particular fruits. There is also debate over how healthy soy products are, with many experts encouraging us to avoid them.

I would like to encourage those who follow an omnivore diet to try at least 14 out of 21 meals per week to be plant-based. Part of why I post the food I enjoy is to show how easy this can be. I am not the type to eat 50 bananas a day, I don’t have a diet high in fructose, I don’t like potatoes or pasta.

So what do I eat?
I eat organic gluten-free bread because it makes me feel better than gluten-based bread (my absolute favourite is Naturis buckwheat bread).
In winter I love to make a buckwheat ‘porridge’ with apple, berries & of course, a big dollop of almond butter.
I eat nuts or nut butters, & seeds – almost every meal I have has sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top for a little protein hit.
I enjoy whole fruits – current favourites are strawberries & pink grapefruit (obsessed), as well as the occasional whole apple (usually slathered with peanut butter) & oranges (which were brilliant for morning sickness)
I love vegetables – sweet potato is a staple (we go through about 4 a week), I love lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pumpkin, celeriac, tomatoes, avocadoes, cucumber, beetroots, snow peas, eggplant, parsnip. I use tons of herbs & spices to add flavour – ginger, thyme, basil, parsley, mint, coriander, cumin. I can’t tolerate onion or garlic.
I have legumes a couple of times a month – in a chickpea fritter, or a curry.
I use a lot of olive oil (perhaps too much), & love organic mustard & apple cider vinegar, as well as salt, pepper & chilli to season.
I make my own chocolate from cacao butter, cacao, tahini with either stevia or rice malt syrup as a low-fructose sweetener.
I make my own muffins using usually a nut-based ‘flour’, carrots, banana, berries sometimes apples & do add organic eggs to them.
Sushi is a treat which I enjoy & I almost always have some form of seafood – tuna, salmon, prawns; but also happily enjoy avocado & veggie-based sushi. I don’t eat the soy sauce!
I don’t eat soy-based products often, but used to drink soy milk in my coffee from 2008-2015. I don’t eat store bought sweets or cakes but used to LOVE both & indulge regularly in my sweet tooth – like eating a whole pack of sweets on the way home from work.

We are fortunate that there is a growing community of vegan restaurants & nowadays the word ‘vegan’ is not just associated with tie-dye t-shirts, the smell of incense & dreadlocks. Being vegan is cool. It shows you care about your own health; but also the environment. Check out Sadhana Kitchen, Earth to Table, Nalini’s in Bondi Junction or many of the ‘healthy cafes’ like Paleo Cafe, Bondi Wholefoods & Henley’s Wholefoods, have vegan options.

I am not trying to spark debate here, as a predominately plant based person (I don’t want to label myself as vegan as I am not 100% vegan), I agree that steering towards plant-based is the way of the future. Let’s build people up, educate & help them be more imaginative about eating more vegan meals, not tear them down for doing things that many vegans used to do themselves….

I welcome your feedback.
Peas, love & healthiness xxx Alice

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banana coconut choc peanut butter smoothie

Well hey, it’s Friday here in Australia & with a forecast of 29 degrees & torturous humidity in our second week of Autumn, there’s no better excuse for a smoothie.

This one is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, no cane sugar, no soy, no preservatives, no grains, but plenty of good fats, naturally occuring sugars (banana) & protein.

INGREDIENTS
Remainder of a jar of certified organic Mayver’s peanut butter & coconut (or plain peanut butter is also fine). I estimated there was abour 1/4 cup or less in the jar
2 bananas, frozen overnight
1/4 cup coconut milk, frozen overnight
2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons cacao
**optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla & 1 teaspoon cinnamon. I add these 2 ingredients to almost everything!

Substitutes: if you’re anything like me, you see a recipe & you need to make it. now. But then you check your pantry…..chia seeds are purely a nutritional boost & won’t affect the smoothie. No coconut milk? Just add a little extra banana. No peanut butter? Almond butter would also be delicious in this combination.

METHOD
1. Soak the chia seeds in water, stir occasionally. They should be done in 5 minutes
2. While chia seeds are soaking, scoop about half of the remaining PB out of the jar (this will go on top at the end). Set aside in a little bowl.
2. On a low heat in a small saucepan, combine the cacao & coconut oil – this stuff is awesome, when poured on the (frozen) smoothie, it goes hard almost immediately like a healthy ice-magic.
3. Blend bananas, coconut milk, chia mix, vanilla & cinnamon (if using)
4. Pour frozen mixture into the jar. Top with remaining peanut butter, then slowly drizzle over the chocolate mix. You may have some remaining which can be frozen in moulds
5. Eat. immediately. Probably best to share it.

I love your feedback – let me know what you think of this recipe. Shall I create more like it?
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