Vegan Journey: Meet Nicole E.

I did a guest piece on Happy Vegan Vibes recently. Thanks Tamika. 🙂

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Skincare Review – Delicious Skin

Recently I was asked by Sydney woman Nicola Marie to try her new brand of cruelty free, all natural skincare range, Delicious Skin. Ah… yes please! I’m always on the look out for quality natural skincare products, and besides I was running low on my current supply.

I’m so impressed with this range. No chemicals, pollutants or irritants, all natural, not tested on animals – so completely vegan. Included in the full range of Delicious Skin is:

A butter cleanser which honestly is the best thing I have ever put on my face. It’s like no other cleanser I’ve used in the past. It contains organic coconut oil, grape seed oil, macadamia nut wax, vanilla and essential oils.

There is a supple silk serum, made from organic rose hip oil, organic argan oil, and essential oils. It’s sensational, not thick like many other serums on the market but light and refreshing. It really ‘wakes up’ your face.

The moisturiser is a sensory delight. The smell of chocolate and vanilla reminds me of a box of delicious chocolate creams. It’s made from organic shea butter organic cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, vanilla and avocado oil. Basically youth promoting ingredients in a jar. You only need a pea size amount and it leaves your skin dewy and soft.

I’ll admit that it’s been a very long time since I’ve done a face mask. With 5 young children it would be fair to say that I don’t get a lot of ‘me’ time but after trying the exfoliating mask, I’m pretty sure I’ll trying to fit some more in. It’s made from betonite clay, organic oats, organic almonds and vanilla powder. Just mix it with 2 tablespoons of any liquid of your choice and kick back for 10 minutes. Total bliss.

No skin care range would be complete without a lip balm. Think chocolate and vanilla kisses.

Did I mention that it’s totally affordable? Bonus!

In summary, quality skincare that is natural, cruelty free and affordable. In other words it’s the complete package. You can buy online now here http://www.deliciousskin.com.au As Nicola Marie states, Nourish your skin. Nourish your soul. Be Delicious!

 

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Interview with Kathy Divine: Author of Plant-Powered Women

 

 

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Recently I had the pleasure to interview Kathy Divine, an inspiring vegan writer, about her new book Plant-Powered Women.  Kathy thanks very much for talking to us today.

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a vegan author from Sydney, Australia. My mission in life is to share the benefits of the vegan lifestyle with others. I’ve published four books: Forever 21, Vegans Are Cool, Plant-powered Men and the soon-to-be-released Plant-Powered Women. I also enjoy blogging and run an interview-based blog at www.VegansAreCool.com.

I love being vegan because it’s a great feeling knowing my food choices don’t cause harm to animals and I feel healthier and happier as a vegan. The food is also super delicious!

 

What lead you to a plant-based lifestyle?

Initially, when I was at university, I lived with a flatmate who was studying to be a dietician. She shared the health benefits of being vegetarian with me, so I tried it. At the same time, I was reading spiritual books about the benefits of being vegetarian for meditation practice, so that also had an effect on me. Soon after that, I began to connect with the animal cruelty aspect of eating, and made the firm commitment to become a lacto-vegetarian. About ten years later, after learning about the cruelty within the dairy industry, I made the commitment to be vegan, and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been vegan for about eight years.

 

How did you find the transition to a plant-based diet?

I really enjoyed fast food when I was younger, so it was a bit hard giving that up. Fortunately, that is not an issue for people wanting to go vegan anymore, because there are businesses such as Lord of the Fries (in Sydney and Melbourne) that cater to the vegan fast food craving. I also loved chocolate and ice cream, but once I discovered the vegan versions, it was very easy to stick with my vegan commitment. These days there is a vegan version of everything you can imagine. It’s a simple transition once you discover the alternatives.

 

What benefits have you noticed?

The main benefit is that animals don’t suffer because of my food choices. Even if there were no personal benefits, I would still be vegan because I feel that it’s an ethical and cruelty-free way to live, and ultimately that’s the kind of person I want to be. Being vegan has brought me tremendous health benefits though. I experienced several years of suffering from fibromyalgia. Through seeking the assistance of a vegan naturopath, Robyn Chuter, I was able to eliminate the pain by following her whole food, vegan diet plan. Fibromyalgia is traditionally really hard to reverse, so my experience truly illustrates how powerful vegan food can be.

 

How long have you been a writer?

Well, I’ve been writing since I was about 5 years old, hehe… I published my first book in 2011 called Forever 21. I’ve always enjoyed expressing my thoughts through writing.

 

What inspired you to write Plant-Powered Women?

After publishing Plant-Powered Men last year, many people requested a similar book for women. Aside from that, the countless numbers of vegan women worldwide doing extraordinary things to bring veganism into the mainstream was my inspiration for doing this book and they will continue to be throughout my life. Vegan women are amazing!

 

Who is Plant-Powered Women targeted at?

Plant-Powered Women is the perfect book for anyone wanting inspiration to embark on a vegan lifestyle. It is a great gift to give to your mum, sister, aunt or best friend who has shown an interest in living a healthier lifestyle or a more compassionate one, and you can be reassured that the women in the book will take their hand and lovingly explain and describe what the vegan lifestyle is all about.

 

Where can people purchase your books?

My books are available from all major online bookstores and from selected retailers. To pre-order my new book Plant-Powered Women, click here:igg.me/at/ppwomen.

Thanks again Kathy and all the best with your new book.

 

ppw kathy outlines

 

Blackberry Jam and Cream Smoothie

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Even though it is winter, I still need my frozen fruit meals. This reminds me of my childhood.
For the base:
Blend 1 cup of frozen blackberries
1 ripe banana
200 mls of filtered water

For the top:
Blend 1 ripe banana
1-2 frozen bananas
1 vanilla pod
1 tablespoon of cacao nibs

Pour blackberry jam into a suitable vessel and place a huge dollop of banana cream on top.  Stick your spoon in and push your ice cream top down into your jam. Revisit your childhood 😀

Under the Microscope – Maca.

Under the Microscope - Maca.

Superfood Maca is native to the mountains of Peru and is cultivated as high as 4300 meters above sea level. It has been used for over 3500 years and legend claims that during the peak of the Incan empire, the warriors consumed maca before going into battle to ensure super strength and stamina.  On return from battle however, Incan soldiers were prohibited from using maca in order to protect the women from their insatiable sexual desires. Maca is renowned for providing strength, endurance and enhanced libido.

So what is maca?

A member of the cruciferous  tribe  such as kale and cabbage, maca is abundant in potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, sodium and phosphorous and also contains trace minerals which includes iodine, zinc, selenium, bismuth, copper, magnese, tin and silicon. It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, C and E.

Maca has the ability to stabilise and balance the body’s glandular – hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculature. This makes it great for managing hormones, stress, thyroid and your mood in general.
According to David Wolfe, maca is great if you suffer from:
Anaemia
Chronic fatigue
Depression
Infertility and sterility
Lack of libido
Malnutrition
Menopausal symptoms
Menstrual discomfort and disorders
Poor memory
Stomach cancer
Stress tension
Tuberculosis

How to use it and where to get it?

Seeing as maca is a superfood it can be used in greater quantities than other medicinal herbs.  It has also found to be safe to use long term. You can purchase it online or at most health food stores in dried, raw, organic food. Look for the real deal and only buying from the root, not other parts of the plant.

Use a tablespoon in smoothies, juices, nut milks, tea or coffee, or add to your raw chocolate treats.

Here’s a recipe to get you started:

Blend 2 frozen bananas

2 fresh bananas

3 medjool dates

200mls of filtered water (or your favourite nut milk)

1 heaped teaspoon of maca root powder

Sprinkle with cacao nibs.

David Woolfe also claims that maca has a special relationship with cacao so use them together regularly to experience the culinary sensation 🙂

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Reference: Woolfe, D. (2009). Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future.  

Breakfast Ice-cream

Breakfast Ice-cream

Ice-cream for breakfast? You can eat it all day long on a high raw, plant based diet

For the base blend: 3 frozen and 1 fresh banana with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and a heaped teaspoon of cacao powder

On the top blend 2 frozen bananas, 3 soft dates and 1 vanilla pod.

And for an extra health kick, drizzle some black strap molasses.

Black strap molasses will give you b vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, and great hair 🙂

Eat it guilt free 🙂

Note: Always make sure you use really ripe bananas (spotty skins) to ensure sweetness and optimal digestion.

Mini Chocolate Cakes

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One of the things that I love about this lifestyle is that you can eat chocolate, ice-cream and dessert at any time of the day, whilst losing weight and feeling healthy.  It is also nice to be able let your kids eat decadent foods that you know aren’t full of rubbish.

These chocolate mini cakes are easy to make.  No dehydrator required, just a food processor and/or high speed blender.

Base:

1 cup of almonds

1 cup of soft dates

1/4 of cup of shredded coconut

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture  holds together. (add a teaspoon of water if needed).  Press a tablespoon of mixture into muffin tins.

Middle:

1/4 cup coconut butter (not to be confused with coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw almond butter

1/4 cup coconut nectar.

In a clean food processor blend together the ingredients for the almond fudge until well blended. Add mixture to your bases and clean your food processor for the chocolate icing.

 

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1 cup of soft dates

1/4 of a cup of coconut oil

1/4 of a cup of cacao powder

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla.

Blend until smooth and spread icing over cupcakes.  Place in the freezer to set.

Licking the spoon is mandatory. photo

Yields 9

 

 

 

 

 

Mango and Turmeric Smoothie

Mango and Turmeric Smoothie

I love turmeric in juices and I love to cook with it. It makes me feel invincible over the winter months. Now that it is back in season, I thought I’d try it in a smoothie. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed.

Recipe:

1 cup of coconut water (you could just use water or almond milk)
1 – 2 inches of fresh turmeric
2 cups of mango (frozen if that is all you have)
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla essence
3 bananas

Peel and chop your turmeric before blending it on medium with your coconut water. If you don’t have a high speed blender,  juice your turmeric first. Add the rest of your ingredients and blend well. If you find you’ve used too much turmeric then add some coconut palm sugar. This yields 4 average servings. Adding frozen bananas will give you a creamier smoothie.

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Nutrient dense

The easiest way to the get the good stuff into my kids is via smoothies.  Nut milks are a great way of balancing out the fruit and keeping their tummies full.  Chia seeds will give them fibre, protein, omega 3 EFA’s, calcium, iron and magnesium.  I have recently discovered the goodness of camu powder.  It is a Peruvian super food which is rich in vitamin C and amino acids.  You purchase it and many other super foods at http://www.iherb.com?rcode=ZNZ931.

Just be sure to make enough for yourself

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Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowl

Move over green smoothies, smoothie bowls are the new black. You’ll need your blender, large bowl, spoon and…

1 tablespoon of Maqui Berry Powder
1 handful of organic baby spinach
1 cup of raspberries
3 frozen bananas
Some water or coconut water for desired consistency
Blend well and top it off with hemp seeds, cacao nibs and raspberries.

We use maqui berry powder in our smoothies often. Whilst you may of seen goji berries or acai berry powder used in many recipes, maqui berries are less known.

Maqui berries grow wild in Chile and Argentina and are one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the berry family. They are a beautiful vibrant purple colour, which comes from a pigment called anthocyanin.

Research indicates that consuming anthocyanin rich foods may protect against high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and have anti-cancer properties.

 

 

EAT GREEN – STAY CLEAN.