Monthly Archives: November 2019

Time flies when you’re having fun (or being challenged)…

Wow, it’s almost been a month since I started on this journey. Congratulations to me! I got these beautiful flowers from a lovely young lady who did a bit of work experience with me. Totally made my day. :)


In some ways it’s gone fast, in other ways it really hasn’t. When I reflect on last Sunday, gosh, that felt like a very long day. I spent hours in the kitchen chopping & prepping, only to realise that I hadn’t even thought about my dinner for that night!! I felt like crying in that moment.

It’s not all roses and I’m not naturally a domestic goddess. At all. Though I’d like to think that my rather terrible dishes are slowly diminishing. Tonight, I made a big batch of roast vegetables with no oil. I steamed the (mostly) starchy veggies first (potato, sweet potato, pumpkin & carrot) before putting them in the oven.

So, reflecting (once again) on what I’ve noticed in myself since starting this plant-based journey and cutting down significantly on highly processed foods:

  • I’m continuing to slowly lose weight (about 2 kg’s so far) – I’d like to add that this is happening without me trying
  • I feel 100% fine in myself (not sluggish, weak, hungry – all things people have asked me about or assumed I must be feeling lol)
  • I feel that my mind & my body are much more in alignment with each other… let me explain. Though I started this journey to proactively work on my health, I’ve also realised that I wasn’t confronting my truth of what it means to eat meat. It’s easy to distance yourself from meat having been a live animal when a cow is referred to as “beef” and a pig is called “pork”. I feel so much better NOT eating animals anymore and knowing that my carbon footprint has reduced significantly. No amount of showering for shorter time periods, cutting down on plastic or composting will have nearly the same impact as a plant-based diet. I like that. I like that a hell of a lot.
  • I have minimal cravings for crap food
  • I feel fuller for longer
  • I’m enjoying the flavour & taste of food much more than I used to (admittedly, I’m cooking much more now so I’d like to think my cooking skills have increased with practise)
  • My daughter’s lunchbox has never been as healthy as it is now!

All good reason to give this plant-based diet I go – I’m definitely planning on sticking to it for the foreseeable future as I can honestly say that I’ve never been this healthy in my life.

Speaking of which, here is my very simple but very tasty lunch I had today:


I’m also really excited about Christmas! I LOVE Christmas. A LOT. I’m keen to trial some awesome (and healthy!) vegan desserts. I’m sure there’ll be meat in the house (my step-dad would not cope without it) but there’ll also be yummy alternatives available. I cannot wait to make trifle with coconut cream, I bet it’ll taste amazing.

In all honesty, I do have my moments where I question what I’m doing, Mostly because it does take more effort & planning to eat this way. I’ve also eaten meat pretty much all of my life, so I feel it’s a fairly natural reaction. In those moments, it helps me to watch documentaries on plant-based eating. Either new ones or those I’ve seen before. It’s hard to remember all the information so re-watching them can really help cement that understanding. Some of my favourites so far are: The Game Changers, What The Health, Forks Over Knives, The Magic Pill & Cowspiracy (FYI – it was co-produced by Leanorda Di Caprio) as he is a very vocal & active environmentalist.

I’m very much aware that there are two sides to the coin. However once you start looking into some of the facts you see and hear about, you cannot unsee or unhear them. Well, I guess you could but that wouldn’t feel right to me. I’ve had people telling me they don’t want to watch these documentaries because they’re not ready to stop eating meat. Everyone’s on their own journey so I totally get that.

Yet remember that it doesn’t have to be super hard. You may be giving up meat, but you’re gaining so much more! Believe me, if I can do it, YOU definitely can. I’m doing this for myself, but also very much for my daughter. I know there are no guarantees in life but I really do want to be around for as long as possible. I mean, you can’t put a price on health, right?

Even cutting down on meat and joining the ranks of flexitarians is a great option. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Auf Wiedersehen,



Food is just one part of life

Welcome :)

I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for over 3 weeks now. I thought I might list some of the main points I’ve noticed in myself:

  • No after kai (food) crashes or slumps anymore
  • I feel fuller for longer
  • I’m slowly losing weight
  • I have more energy & focus
  • I feel happier in myself – I know I’m eating well
  • I haven’t felt excessively full since eating this way

It’s still early days so I’m keen to explore what other changes I’ll notice in myself over time. Just to throw a picture at you, here’s my pizza I ate the other night which absolutely delicious (even without cheese!):


For those interested: I used a wholemeal wrap for the base and literally threw on veggies I could find and alfalfa sprouts! I added my 7 Veg sauce for good measure and topped it with BBQ sauce. Very tasty!

So, I used to listen to podcasts but that went out the window there for a bit. I’m trying to get back into it! In my job I spend quite a bit of time driving some days and I like to use that time to listen to interesting podcasts and learn something new.

One of my favourite ones’ is Jay Shetty’s “On Purpose.” Jay has an interesting background and, after going off the rails for a bit, found his first calling when he became a monk. He then found his second calling after rejoining the general population and wanting to share his knowledge with everyone.

The recent podcast I listened to was a conversation between Jay and Dr Rangan Chatterjee (I hope I spelt that correctly). Anyway, Rangan (let’s keep this informal, it’s far too hard to type out his last name repeatedly) has been doing some amazing work in regards to helping his patients with life-style changes and aiming to get to the root cause of whatever is causing their issues. He moves away from prescribing medication unless it’s the last resort. He also starred in a BBC documentary called “Doctor in the House” which I’d love to watch at some stage.

Anyway, Rangan wrote a book on the four pillars of health which I’m keen to get my hands on! In his book, he devotes a large section to stress, and what stress is. He explains it really well. Back in the day, we used to experience stress signals when we were exposed to danger. What happens is that our blood sugar rises in a moment of stress, and one part of the brain (the amygdala) starts working over-time. This is referred to as hyper-vigilance, so in simple terms we’re super aware of what is happening in our environment.

In our modern life, this causes all sorts of issues including anxiety, diabetes, fatigue, etc.. Rangan talks about micro & macro stress doses, e.g. a macro stress dose would be a major incident like the loss of a loved one or a relationship break-up. Micro stress doses (MSD’s) are little bouts of stress we experience throughout the day. There are ways of doing preventative work to limit the amount of MSD’s we’re exposed to in a day. Here Rangan talks about the 3 x M’s – movement, mindfulness & mindset.

For example, you might start your morning with 2 minutes of deep breathing, 5 minutes of affirmations & 5 minutes of stretches. This sets you up for a better day as you’re starting it with intention. As well, doing this builds your resilience for the day. Compare this start with you waking up, snoozing your alarm twice, then jumping out of bed in a mad rush. I think of it as setting the foundation for the day!

I guess what I’m really trying to highlight is that food is just ONE part of the picture. If we’re eating well, yet we’re constantly stressed, lonely and lack purpose, the food aspect is  clearly not enough. We need so much more! Find a hobby, something you’re passionate about or you’ve always wanted to learn. Connect with friends and family and deliberately make time for it. Put your phone away when you’re with people (guilty – I need to work on that one!!) and be fully present in the moment.

I’d love for you to listen to the podcast, the one annoying aspect are the ads but hey, there’s still great learning and it’s for free! I honestly didn’t explain it nearly as well as Rangan (and it would take too long – my technology time for the day expired 11 minutes ago eek).

On that note, I’m getting off the laptop to finish this slight rush job. ;)

Auf Wiedersehen,




Too many beans…

Here I am, about 3 weeks into my plant-based diet adventure.

Whilst I’ve seen an amazing range of foods vegans and plant-based dieters cook and bake, right now it feels like it’s only lentils, beans and chickpeas. I clearly need to expand my repertoire.

Today I spent HOURS in the kitchen, luckily it’s Sunday! I made (a version of) Jamie Oliver’s 7 Veg Sauce (I used 5 veggies & halved the recipe) to freeze and put in the fridge for the week. I had some with whole meal pasta for my dinner – it was ooookay. I’d kinda hoped it was going to be nicer. Joke’s on me though as I (literally) just threw it all in the pot, added a few spices and DIDN’T taste it. That won’t happen again!

I also started jotting down recipes in my plant-based recipe journal and planned some meals for the week. I’m still finding that a tad challenging. I’ve bought so many new kitchen staples but I also seem to lack one or two main ingredients for a lot of dishes, sigh. I’m sure I will get there and that it will get easier! I also had an interesting kale based salad today which, in all honesty, really wasn’t great at all.

So the moral of the story is that some days the food I make is really not very nice, and that’s okay. But I’m hanging in there! I know it takes time, this is a huge change and I’m still learning so much on a daily basis. Which brings me to another point – I generally spend a lot of time (too much) on social media but this seems to have increased ten-fold since starting this journey. I’m constantly looking things up or reading new posts in plant-based or vegan groups.

Reflecting on this new lifestyle, I can honestly say I’ve never cooked this much in my life. I’m also not the biggest fan of cooking, however I feel that if I can come up with some great-tasting dishes this will likely change. At this stage it’s most definitely a work in progress situation.

A few highlights to share though starting with my peanut butter slice:


I made this for a work BBQ I went to on Friday. I wanted to make sure there was a dessert I could eat as I love desserts! It turned out quite well and I’ve frozen a few pieces in order to not eat it all this weekend lol.

I also went out for a meal & movies with two lovely friends of mine (to celebrate our amazingness and our birthdays!). We went to The Screening Room in Masterton who have a vegan menu which is quite cool! The main meal was okay, but the dessert was OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING.

See for yourself:


Who knew you could make pavlova out of chickpeas canning liquid? They taste utterly delicious. The coconut cream was beautiful as was the berry coulis. I would have happily eaten this dessert again! Probably the best dish I’ve had since starting this plant-based adventure.

The work BBQ was interesting too. It’s curious being on the receiving end of people’s judgement and misinformation pertaining to anything plant-based. People are cool with vegetarians yet when you mention eating a vegan diet, people don’t get it. I’m totally fine with that! However I do appreciate an open and curious mind versus a closed and disregarding one.

It is a humbling experience and a welcome reminder to myself to be open-minded and less judgmental in my daily life. I guess judging people and situations is how I make sense of the world, yet it’s also important to realise that my interpretations are just that. An interpretation of a moment in time which only shows me a part of the bigger picture only…

Well, it is Sunday evening and I am feeling rather ready to relax with my Kindle.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Auf Wiedersehen,



Birthday Musings

Today I’m celebrating my 40th birthday! :)

As good a time as any to reflect a bit. So today’s blog will be less food- and more life-oriented.

I’m exceedingly grateful for so many things. For getting a free vegan cookbook today, for my family, my friends. my health, my career and the fact that I endeavour to work on myself. Both physically and mentally – it’s a synergy right?

I’m grateful that I practise gratitude most days but every single work day. I’m grateful that I don’t suffer from any mental health illness and that I love & believe in myself. I always have my own back and that is so vital. I speak positively to & about myself (mostly – work in progress). Your outer voice becomes your inner voice!

From an eating perspective, I’m so grateful I’ve embarked on this vegan journey. I feel better in & about myself, I know I’m healthier and I’m in a better mood. I appreciate that some would not consider me vegan as I’m in it for my health predominantly. Yet when I go into a restaurant, I don’t ask for a plant-based meal but for a vegan one. To me, vegan means eating a plant-based diet and not consuming any animal products. I’m sure this will continue to evolve over time and I’m curious to see how!

I started my degree when I was 30 years old, a single parent of a 2 year old  and on the benefit. 5  years later I finished it, got a job and I haven’t looked back since. I am now supporting myself & my beautiful daughter whilst working in a career that has taught me so much and  often pushes me out of my comfort zone. Like most of us, life hasn’t always been easy. Yet (as cliche as it sounds) every hardship and challenge has made me stronger and more empathetic towards others, different viewpoints and lifestyles.

I’ve been single since my relationship ended about 2 years ago (wow, that’s gone fast). I’ve worked through a lot of stuff in that time as has my daughter. It was hard on both of us and we really needed time to work through the pain and to heal. I’m grateful for my ex-partner as he taught me so much about myself, about relationships, who I am as a parent and as a person. I also got to be a step-mum which was most definitely challenging but also extremely amazing. I miss those kids/teenagers and hope to see them again soon.

I’ve lived in the Wairarapa for almost 2 years now and it’s been a good move for us. Although it’s not all butterflies and rainbows, some of it most definitely is! We’ve met many awesome people, my sister is only about an hour away and the scenery is breathtaking (and includes a DOUBLE rainbow). Let me show you.

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Most excitingly, my mum and stepdad will be visiting us at the end of the month and will be spending Christmas with us! My brother & my sister will come and stay for a bit too and we are planning a Gisborne trip (East Coast) which I’m super excited about. So much to look forward to!

On that note, I hope you are grateful for many things too and have something to look forward to.

Auf Wiedersehen,





Still chugging along merrily!

I’ve been doing this (mostly) vegan business for over a week now (or nearly two weeks – I’m losing track already) and I’m feeling good!

I found an interesting post the other day stating that 70% of our serotonin hormone (the key hormone to stabilise our mood, feelings of well-being and happiness – thanks Google) is produced in our gut.

So the logical conclusion is that if we eat well, we feel good! Makes a lot of sense to me as I’m very familiar with my shitty moods when I haven’t been eating well.

Let’s review. I’m eating more vegetables, more fruit, more legumes/beans, more whole grain products, minimal dairy (I had mayo last night eek) and no meat. Of course there’s lots of debate on what constitutes a healthy diet, however there are some facts that, in my opinion, cannot be argued with.

E.g. vegetarians, on average, live approx. 5-6 years longer than meat-eaters. A plant-based diet is the only diet that can reverse certain types of diseases. I mean, how powerful is that in itself?

Yet really, it all comes down to going back to basics. Eating whole foods and moving away from processed and refined foods. So moving away from foods that have minimal nutrients but are often high in fats, sodium and sugar.

I recently saw a picture of a car, having the wrong petrol pumped into it. The analogy, of course, is that if we put the wrong fuel into our bodies, our bodies break down! They don’t function well and can get sick more easily.

Since starting my vegan journey, I’ve started to really enjoy food on a level I haven’t before. I’ve never been much of a cook but I’m now learning to cook from scratch following a bunch of really interesting recipes! Adulting win, surely?

Just tonight my darling daughter & I whipped up a potato & black bean chili dish. Okay, we didn’t include chili (it’s now on my shopping list, don’t worry) and the potatoes were slightly under-cooked, but the taste was delicious. I’m also pretty sure I’ve never had black beans before. FYI, they’re a nutritional powerhouse! Full of calcium, protein & fiber. Cant’ argue with that!


Not the best picture (I forgot to take a plated picture), these are the leftovers that I’ll very likely eat tomorrow or end up freezing.

Another interesting experience was my first Cafe visit eating vegan food. Luckily we arrived a bit early so I could ask what vegan options were available. Yes, I did try to check out their menu online prior however there was none!

I was pleased to see that they did have a few vegan options, however I spied some tasty-looking chick pea balls in the cabinet and inquired about those. Lo and behold, they were vegan (as long as they weren’t served with yoghurt dressing) – easy enough to avoid.

I must admit, I don’t do too well with too many choices so this vegan business might just work quite well for me. Choices are most definitely reduced! Looks good though right? It was a tad spicy but definitely enjoyable. :)


Another topic I wanted to bring up was meal planning apps! I found one called Mealime app (this is where I got the potato & black bean chili dish recipe) which has got some really yummy and relatively easy-to-make recipes. Well, I’ve only tried the one but I’m very happy with that one.

You can plan your meals for the week, it produces a shopping list and you can cross out what you’ve already got on hand, very helpful. I haven’t yet used it for that purpose but I’ll be aiming to do so and shall report back on how that went. Also, you can add whatever diet you’re eating and it will customise the recipes!

Enough of this food talk (I’m now slowly but surely getting a tad peckish), my day is coming to an end and I need my beauty sleep. After all, my big 4-0 is just around the corner!!

Auf Wiedersehen,