GREEN BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

Do you ever wake up craving a healthy smoothie? Because I certainly do!

After a week of surviving off pasta, courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines, and a ton of olive oil, I was happy to come home and be able to eat a more varied diet. I spent the week in a resort in Sardinia where the meals were presented in a buffet style and although delicious, without much vegan variety. Breakfast was the most complicated meal as the options consisted of: eggs, bacon, sausage, cake, bread, and corn flakes. So of course, I was glad to come home and finally enjoy the most important meal of the day again. I loved my week in Sardinia but I had missed drinking a delicious and nutritious smoothie in the morning!

What’s important to know about green smoothies is that you cannot just throw a bunch of greens in a blender and hope for the best (been there, done that). A good green smoothie consists of 60% fruits and 40% leafy greens, all mixed with either water or apple juice. Before I was aware of this fruit to leafy greens ratio, my green smoothies were never very tasteful. So I decided to do some research and try to create a healthy green smoothie that I actually enjoyed, and I am very proud of the result. It has been tested and approved by my mother who usually does not enjoy smoothies, so it must be good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi
  • half a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger

method:

  • put the spinach and water in the blender, blend until liquid.
  • add the mango, banana, kiwi, and ginger. Blend until smooth.

That’s it! If you prefer the smoothie to be cooler, you can freeze the banana and/or mango the night before. This smoothie is perfect in the morning as it has all the nutrients that you need to successfully start your day, and it’s delicious! No need to chug it as you whisper to yourself “this is healthy, this is good” (something that I used to do when my green smoothies did not turn out too well).

enjoy!

Marion ★

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LAZY SUNDAY PLAYLIST

Although it is not cold, today is a grey day. I have been quite busy these past few days so I thought that I would spend today doing absolutely nothing. I picked up a book I bought months ago but still hadn’t found the time to read, made some tea, put on some music, and got lost in Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s beautiful world that is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

As I read and had my Daily Mix on Spotify playing in the background, a few songs stood out (some I already knew, some I didn’t), which made me want to create a Lazy Sunday Playlist with all of my favourite slow indie songs that made reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe even more enjoyable. I love listening to good music when I read or write, especially when it mirrors my feelings or the atmosphere of a book perfectly. Enjoy ❀

  1. The Night We Met – Lord Huron
  2. Holocene – Bon Iver
  3. Saturn – Sleeping At Last
  4. Resurrection Fern – Iron & Wine
  5. Healah Dancing (ft. Ren Ford) – Keaton Henson
  6. 3 Rounds And A Sound – Blind Pilot
  7. Vapour – Vancouver Sleep Clinic
  8. All We Do – Oh Wonder
  9. Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine
  10. Conrad – Ben Howard
  11. Technicolour Beat – Oh Wonder
  12. The Lakes – RHODES
  13. Bad Blood – Bear’s Den
  14. You Sigh – Charlie Cunningham
  15. Frozen Pines – Lord Huron
  16. Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us – Keaton Henson
  17. Isaac – Bear’s Dean
  18. Brand New Colony – Handsome Ghost
  19. Love Brought Weight – Old Sea Brigade
  20. Live – Billie Marten
  21. Forest Fires – Axel Flovent
  22. 5AM – Amber Run

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PS: I finished reading this book in just a few hours and I highly recommend it. It’s sweet, it’s vulnerable, it’s beautiful. Read this on days where you’re feeling lost or feeling too much.

Marion ★

VEGAN SPRING QUINOA SALAD

Here I am with yet another recipe!

As the weather is getting warmer, my meals are getting colder. I am back in Belgium for the summer now and we’ve had to deal with 30°C + weather for the past week. My mother ran out of ideas for meals acceptable in this heat, so I introduced her to my favourite spring/summer quinoa salad! An easy and nutritious meal I put together when I was too lazy to cook back in Edinburgh.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 salad tomatoes
  • half a cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salad mix (Iceberg lettuce, spinach, rocket,…)
  • 3 or 4 falafels (home-made or store bought, I used Cauldron Foods)
  • Hummus (I used Tesco’s Chilli Hummus)
  • 1 peeled and sliced apple or pomegranate seeds (if you enjoy the combination of sweet and savoury)
  • Pumpkin seeds

method

  • Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, then add the cup of quinoa
  • Wash and cut all your veggies, then put them in a salad bowl
  • when the quinoa is ready mix it with the veggies

this is it! I’d recommend adding the seasoning, hummus, and falafel to your liking after serving. This recipe makes enough for two so I like to keep the leftovers in the fridge and eat it again later in the week. At that point there is nothing to cook or heat up so it’s super easy! It’s also great as a salad on the go. You could cook the quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight so making the salad the next day is super quick. I have made this on different occasions and still haven’t gotten tired of it!

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Enjoy!

Marion ★

 

VEGAN CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA

After Monday’s serious article I am here today to share something much lighter, a delicious and creamy pasta sauce that I tried yesterday and fell in love with!

My cooking has been very boring this past month. I was so busy with writing essays and our annual dance show that cooking food had become more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Even after my essays and the show was done I still found myself eating junk because I couldn’t be bothered putting much effort into cooking. However, food is fuel and I could feel that I wasn’t fuelling my body properly; I felt tired, unmotivated, and just unhealthy in general. So this week I have decided to fix this and retrieve my love for cooking and eating well. I looked up recipes, did a proper food shopping, and got to work.

For some reason I found myself craving a creamy pasta sauce yesterday and as I realised that since becoming vegan I had only once made a béchamel, I thought that it was time to make one again. So here is a recipe of a pasta sauce that is quick and easy, and most importantly very tasty!

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Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 8 to 12 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used closed cup white mushrooms)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • chopped fresh parley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta of choice (I used spaghetti)

Method:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta (check packaging for time instructions).
  • Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and minced garlic in a pan with olive oil until soft (4 to 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and cook the flour for about one minute. Gradually add the milk and stir until smooth.
  • When you reach the desired consistency of your béchamel, add the mushroom and garlic mixture, salt and pepper, chopped parley, and lemon juice.
  • Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce.

Voila! Easy, isn’t it? This is such a delicious and quick little recipe that I will definitely make and remake. Hope you like it!

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Marion ★

THE SILENT STRUGGLE AGAINST EDNOS

As some of you may know, May 8th to May 14th is Mental Health Awareness Week  so I have decided to write another article about my struggle with an eating disorder. I first wanted to post this for Eating Disorder Awareness Week in February, but never managed to finish it on time as I first of all drowned my MacBook in orange juice which meant two weeks living without one, and after that I have been busy writing essays and trying to perfect this article, debating whether I should publish it or not. Talking about my eating disorder is not easy, but I am slowly learning to do it in order to raise awareness.

Have you ever heard of EDNOS? I would not be surprised if you had not. EDNOS, acronym for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, is the most common yet less talked about eating disorder. Basically, a person with EDNOS can either show symptoms of other eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder, etc.) combined, or not enough symptoms of one disorder to be diagnosed with it. They are therefore put in the category of an eating disorder not otherwise specified. As you can imagine, this is quite problematic for a number of reasons.

Remember how inactive I have been last semester? The reason for this was not because I was too busy or lacked the inspiration, the truth is that in October/November I relapsed into my eating disorder. I started writing an article about it in December but I never managed to publish it. After my blog post ED RECOVERY AND VEGANISM about how much better I was doing and how my vegan lifestyle was helping me recover, I felt incredibly stupid and disappointed that at 20 years old, after years of recovery and priding myself on being the healthiest version of myself that I could be, I suddenly found myself fearing food again. Unfortunately, that is just how it goes with eating disorders and mental illnesses. So here I am, writing an article about it to not only let you know the real reason behind my absence but also to address an illness that has the highest fatality rate of any other mental illness.

I was going to try and explain what it feels like to struggle with an eating disorder but I could write an entire book about it and it still would not be enough. What is important to know is that it is a mental illness and even though it can be treated, it is often a life-long struggle. My battle against this disorder started when I was thirteen years old,  almost eight years ago, and here I still am. What is also important to know is that an eating disorder is a self-destructive coping mechanism. Although when I was thirteen it did start off as a consequence of my low self esteem and a belief that if I lost weight I would be happier, these are not the real issues. My relapse last semester was a consequence of every single bad thing that had happened in 2016 that I had no idea how to deal with. Believe me, I am fully aware that starving is the worst possible way to lose weight and that self induced vomiting only leads to health complications, but unfortunately these things do not matter when I am right in the middle of it. My eating disorder is this sudden phobia of gaining weight and disgust towards food, this uncontrollable voice in my head that keeps telling me that I am worthless and that I have to starve/purge/exercise in order to make myself disappear because I do not deserve to take up space. The worst part? This voice never shuts up. Even when I am recovering and eating well, it’s always there. Eating disorders aren’t about weight loss, they are about control and self destruction.

I struggle with an eating disorder which is known as EDNOS. I show symptoms of both anorexia and bulimia, all the while being at a perfectly healthy weight. The issue with this is that this is a struggle completely invisible to the ones around me, but a struggle that could ultimately lead to my death. Now I know that may sound dramatic, but unfortunately it is the truth. I am currently recovering and healthy but that does not change the fact that for the past eight years I have completely neglected my body. Fortunately, I have received proper treatment early on and the damage that I have caused my body is reversible, however I do still experience some physical side effects of my ED today. The issue here is that not many people are aware of the fatal consequences of all eating disorders; that people with healthy BMI’s also die from this illness, not just the ones who are underweight. Even doctors often minimise a patient’s struggle because it may not look as ‘serious’ as Anorexia. Because of this enormous stigma around eating disorders, most people with EDNOS do not believe that they are ‘sick enough’ to ask for help. However, EDNOS being the most prevalent eating disorder is statistically the deadliest, which is why we absolutely need to talk about it.

We need to raise more awareness for all types of eating disorders. Which is what I hope to achieve by talking about it one here. If you have no experience with an eating disorder I hope this article might have helped you -even a little- to understand it better. If you have experience with eating disorders, know that it does not define you, that you are not alone, and most importantly that you deserve to get help. Recovery is tough, but it is the right way. Also, if you suspect that someone is struggling please reach out to them, talk to them, be there for them. We need to stand tall against this illness and help each other out as best as we can. We need to end the stigma.

Marion★

Interesting further readings:

EDNOS: The Silent Killer

What It’s Like to Feel Like You Are ‘Not Sick Enough’

Anorexia Is No Longer My Best Friend

What NOT to Say to Someone Recovering From an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified — Real Disorders, Real Risks

HOW TO STAY PASSIONATE ABOUT VEGANISM

Hi everyone!

As most of you may or may not know, I became vegan exactly one year ago now as I participated in The Great Vegan University Challenge organised by Animal Aid. I was vegetarian before but switched to a 100% vegan diet in February of 2016 as part of this challenge. It is similar to Veganuary but takes place in February and is organised for students all across the UK. After being vegan for one month I decided to keep it up as that was what I had wanted to do since deciding to become vegetarian and to my surprise, the switch was much easier than I had originally expected.

Although becoming vegan is one of the best decisions that I have ever made and I am currently the healthiest that I have ever been, after one year I have come across a few struggles and there were moments when I lost my motivation. This is a lifestyle after all, and you have to be passionate about it to stay happy about it. So here are a few tips to help you stay in love with this amazing lifestyle!

Stay educated.

There are new researches coming out every single day on the benefits of a plant based diet, the terrible consequences of the meat and dairy industry on global warming, and most importantly on the changes that are happening right now thanks to the rise of people choosing veganism. There are so many documentaries out there and new ones being made all the time. To stay passionate, you have to stay educated. You have to remind yourself every so often why you chose this and why you want to keep choosing this every single day.

Don’t say that you can’t, but that you won’t (normalise veganism).

When I first became vegan and people would offer me non-vegan foods I’d say “no thanks, I can’t eat that”. Truth is, I can eat it, I just choose not to. This may seem simple but just choosing your words more carefully and saying “I won’t eat that” instead of “I can’t eat that” helps you and others have a more positive mindset on your choices. Saying can’t is first of all is a lie, but also has a negative connotation and makes it seem like you’re restricting when you really aren’t. Saying won’t makes it obvious that this is your choice and that you are comfortable with that choice, which will make other people normalise it as well.

Never stop trying new recipes or restaurants.

If you are lucky enough to live in a vegan-friendly city, you will realise that new vegan places open every few months and that more and more chain restaurants are offering vegan dishes. Go and check them out! Also, do not forget to look up vegan recipes or buy new vegan cookbooks. To be vegan is to love food and to love cooking, you have to enjoy trying out new foods and places to stay excited about veganism.

Go to vegan events, volunteer at information stalls, meet people with the same interests.

Stay active in this community! Vegan festivals are happening every year all over the world, go to one and try new foods and meet new people. Go to talks, join vegan Facebook groups, volunteer, educate yourself on vegan organisations in your area, etc. Feeling a part of this community will definitely help you stay motivated about it. You could also even try activism!

Don’t beat yourself up on the days that you are not 100% vegan.

Do not restrict yourself, I repeat, do not restrict yourself. Restricting makes you unhappy, and we don’t want that. When veganism starts feeling like a restriction instead of a choice, then you have to change something. I am passionate about this lifestyle but I won’t lie, this past year there have been some days where I went back to being a vegetarian. Family parties are an example, at a marriage last summer and this Christmas I have eaten vegetarian simply because there were no vegan options and I had not prepared anything in advance. One of the first parties I went to I forced myself to only eat vegan and the consequence was that I basically starved myself all night, got a little too drunk as I was drinking the same amount of wine as everyone else, and I had a miserable time. So I told myself, fuck it, I can make this exception once or twice a year. Of course I do my best to eat vegan all the time, but I try not to beat myself up if I don’t.

Stay informed on nutrition. 

This is so important. To thrive on a plant based diet you have to know how much of what you need on a daily basis. Most ‘unsuccessful vegan stories’ are because the person in question was not informed on nutrition, they simply cut out animal products which is the unhealthiest thing you can do. You have to replace them, you have to know how to get your daily amount of protein, calcium, potassium, vitamins, iron, omega 3, and so on. Also don’t forget to take a vitamin B12 supplement as that it the only vitamin that does not exist in the plant kingdom. Meet up with a nutritionist and get your blood tested about twice a year. Be aware of your body, what it needs, and most importantly how to take care of it.

Remember, veganism is not only about food.

Most of these tips are based on food but veganism is so much more than that. It is about being against any type of cruelty towards animals. This is probably the most difficult transition to make; replacing your household products, beauty products, and clothes to vegan alternatives. Also not going to zoos, aquariums, or anything else that is using (and hurting) animals for humans entertainment. Staying educated on animal rights and cruelty-free products is important to feel good with your lifestyle choice. However,  know that it is almost impossible to be 100% vegan in that regard as we live in a world where most things contain animal products. Anyhow, making an effort to find vegan alternatives and staying educated already goes a long way.

Here’s a nice article I just found today on the progress of veganism, check it out!

Marion ★

HOW TO GET BACK INTO THE UNIVERSITY ROUTINE

Coming back to uni after having been home for a while can be tough. One night you’re sitting on your couch in front of a nice fire and watching a movie with your parents, and the next you’re suddenly all alone in a cold and dark flat. It’s disorienting. You can ask me any time if I ever regret my choice of studying in Edinburgh and moving 1000 km away from home and I’ll respond with a hard and sincere “no”. However, that first night back in my flat after being away for a few weeks, I might respond with “…A little bit?” I do love living in Edinburgh, however that doesn’t change the fact that living so far away from home is not easy, sticking to a healthy routine is not easy, being an adult (or trying to be) and taking care of oneself is not easy.

When I got back to my flat last week the first thing that happened (even before unpacking) was a panic attack. Suddenly I started freaking out about the fact that I was back in Edinburgh and I started questioning everything. For a moment, I was really scared that I had made the wrong decision to study here and leave my comfortable life in Belgium. So of course I called my mother, and she comforted me by telling me that she went through the exact same thing every time she would get back to her flat as a uni student. This made me realise that even if I had stayed in Belgium, I would still feel the same disorientation when leaving home and going back to the university lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the fact that I study in a different country, but has everything to do with the fact that going from holiday mode at home (where you are taken care of and don’t need to worry about money or food) to work/study mode at uni (where you have to take care of yourself and be responsible) is simply a transition, something that every uni student struggles with. So as this transition can be quite tough, especially at this time of year, I decided to make a list of things that you can do to make it go smoother.

  • “Routines save lives” – said a scientist probably. SO GET INTO A ROUTINE. I’m serious, routines are very important to stay sane. Your day doesn’t have to be planned out by the hour, just have something to do every day which will make you want to get out of bed. So plan your week and have certain things you do every week (or day) at approximately the same time. Humans are creatures of habit. Most importantly: start a routine the first day you’re back, don’t wait for uni to start.
  • Buy a 2017 planner/diary and plan ahead! Make plans that will make you look forward to the next few months or so. This is a new semester so make sure it becomes a good one! Plan to see a friend, travel to a near city, or take yourself out to a new restaurant.  Most importantly, same as the routine: STICK TO IT.
  • Concentrate on your uni work. This is why you’re here after all + it will help to take your mind of things when you’re feeling sad or homesick.
  • Hang out with your friends. Don’t be afraid to message them first and just arrange a hang out: go for dinner, go to the cinema, catch up over a glass of wine in your flat. I meet up with one of my vegan friends here every other week and we go out for dinner and just catch up over delicious vegan food.
  • Get out there! I know how easy it is to lock yourself up in your flat but do not do it. Get some fresh air (yes, even when it’s cold), read in a cafe instead of your bed, go to a museum, etc. Enjoy everything that your city has to offer.
  • Don’t forget to stay healthy. Eat well and consistently. Make a weekly meal plan if it helps. Also, STAY ACTIVE. Unfortunately my ankle is injured which means I can’t dance, but that doesn’t stop me from going on walks, doing ab workouts, or yoga. To put it in Elle Woods’s words:635735636410905721-1071011617_tumblr_npjg29l3ex1r9n4hjo2_500

It took me a few days but I am finally comfortable in this routine again, and this list of things is what helped me. I’ve got quite a few things planned for the next couple of months and I’ve also realised that it would be possible for me to go home for a bit during my reading week mid February, which is something to look forward to as well. I’ve also got quite  few books that I need to read this semester,so that will definitely keep me busy!

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Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and are slowly (but surely) readjusting to the student life!

Marion ★