Hangover Prevention: Tips & Remedies

Let’s face it…many of us humans enjoy drinking to some extent and I’d guess that ALL of us definitely don’t enjoy being hungover. I’ve had a fluctuating love-hate relationship with alcohol since I began drinking in my teenage years, but I truly feel like I’ve found a good, happy balance with the amount that I drink + my healthy lifestyle. Alcohol is by no stretch of the imagination healthy (no matter what they tell you about polyphenols in red wine – you can get those from grapes!), BUT it is a part of our culture that many people enjoy, and as thus I think it’s best to embrace it and do what we can to have a healthy relationship with alcohol, if we do choose to drink it.

I’ve gone through phases of heavy drinking & partying multiple nights a week, to barely drinking at all for 2 years, to now enjoying a few drinks a week (or more if going out) when I’m having fun with friends. I’ve realized that for me personally the amount of fun and connection I receive is well worth the negative health effects of occasional drinking. Like I said earlier, alcohol is by no means healthy and I certainly don’t condone binge drinking or alcohol abuse. If you’re aiming to drink less, that’s a great and worthy goal. If you’re aiming to feel less guilty about your drinking, consider cutting back a bit and implementing the following tips.

Continue reading “Hangover Prevention: Tips & Remedies”

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Raw Raspberry Cheesecake!

Happy Friday, friends!

You may have seen this delicious cake all over my instagram @passionforplants last weekend…well, I thought it was about time to share the recipe!

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This raw cheesecake is FULL of raspberries, cashews, and coconut – all foods that support your body’s health! I made this cake to be a bit decadent, but not overly so – a healthy sweet treat. It’s mostly date and raspberry-sweetened, and lower oil than your traditional cheesecake. Not to mention it’s vegan and gluten-free as well!

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I made this cake up on the fly, so there’s definitely room for improvement – like adding another chocolate frosting layer on top 😉 give it a whirl and let me know how you like it! You could also make this cake with another berry, like blueberries, without changing the recipe portions too much.

I used a 10–inch cake pan with a spring form on the side so I could remove the cake without ruining the base. I also wrapped the pan base in plastic to avoid the base layer sticking to the pan. You could make this cake in a muffin tin as well to have little cheesecake bites! Get creative – whatever tools you have on hand will be fine to use.

The raspberry glaze layer on top is a little icy compared to the rest of the cake, because there are so many raspberries (berries are watery and water freezes). You could always try more coconut oil to get the glaze to harden more, instead of just freezing.

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RECIPE

Prep before starting: Line a 10-inch cake pan or cake mold with plastic wrap, if you plan on removing the cake to serve from the pan.

Date/cashew/oat base:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup cashew pieces
  • 10 dates, pitted (I used Medjool dates)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • pinch of salt

In a high-speed food processor, first blitz the cashew pieces alone until they are pulverized. Add the oats and repeat until the flour/mixture is fine.

Now add the dates, coconut oil, and salt, and continue blitzing until the mixture is well combined. Depending on the size of your dates, you may need to use more. We’re aiming for a consistency that holds itself together when you try to mold a piece in your hand, so the base doesn’t crumble apart in the cake.

Now that you have the base mixture, use a spatula and your hands to press the mixture into the bottom of your cake pan. Make sure the base is packed into the pan so it doesn’t crumble apart when serving. Smooth and even out the top before continuing. Place this in the freezer while you proceed to the next layer.

Raspberry Cashew Cream middle layer:

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews or cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (full fat is best)
  • 1 cup raspberries (I recommend fresh, but you can use frozen and defrosted – just drain excess water first)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (OPTIONAL – only if you want it sweet!)

Make sure to clean or wipe out your food processor before beginning this step!

In your food processor, once again blitz the cashew pieces alone until well pulverized. Add the coconut milk, raspberries, and maple syrup (if using), and blitz until well incorporated. You should have a gorgeous, light pink/purple cream that is thick and smooth. If it’s not thick enough, add more cashews to the mix and pulverize again.

Remove the cake pan with the cheesecake base from the freezer. Using a spatula, dollop the raspberry cream into the pan and smooth evenly over the cheesecake base. When finished, place back in the freezer and continue to the glaze!

Raspberry coconut glaze topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk (once again, full fat)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

If you have a small personal size blender, I recommend using that to blend the glaze. If not, a regular blender or food processor will do just fine.

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend/blitz until the glaze is smooth and fully mixed. Taste it and add a bit more maple syrup if you’d like it sweeter. You could also add liquid stevia and keep the glaze as is, without being too runny.

Now that you have the glaze, check on the cheesecake in the freezer to see if it’s cold enough. You want the raspberry cream middle layer to be firm and almost frozen so that the glaze hardens on top and the two layers don’t mix.

When the cake is almost frozen, slowly pour the glaze into the cake pan. It should be smooth, even and glossy. Cover the cake pan with plastic wrap (without touching the glaze) and place back in the freezer to set. Let it set for at least an hour to make sure it’s fully frozen before serving.

CHOCOLATE TOPPING: If you’re feeling extra, melt some dark chocolate chips on the stovetop or in the microwave and drizzle the chocolate on top of the frozen cheesecake. It should harden quickly. If you have any other toppings you’d like to sprinkle, this is the time! You could try coconut flakes, edible gold dust (this is what I did!), cacao powder, or fresh raspberries. Either way this cake will be delicious!

Serving: serve this cake cold right out of the freezer or fridge – the top layer may melt a bit! Use a large, clean knife to make a clean cut. Store covered in the freezer, or leave leftovers in the fridge. I cut my cake into quarters and froze them in separate containers so I could eat a bit at a time.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe and amazing raw cheesecake! Leave me a comment below or drop a message @passionforplants on Instagram if you do 🙂

Thanks friends! Kathrine

 

Natural Flu and Cold Remedies

Even the healthiest of us get sick sometimes. It can be frustrating when you eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and sleep enough and still end up getting sick every once in a while. However, sometimes there’s nothing we can do and you just have to take the opportunity to rest and recover. Whenever I get sick, I go into full-on immunity boosting mode to help my body heal more quickly. These are a few of my favorite supplements and nutrients to increase while I’m feeling under the weather. I’ll also explain how I change my routine to allow more time for rest and recuperation.

Vitamin C: An essential water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is also an antioxidant and helps to reduce the impact of free radicals in the body. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, which helps to maintain the balance of energy (too little iron, AKA anemia, often results in exhaustion) and supports oxygenation of the blood. Vitamin C is very helpful for white blood cells to ensure their proper function so they can ward off invading pathogens. If you’re deficient in vitamin C, your white blood cells can’t function as well, so you’re likely to be more susceptible to infection.

The best sources of any vitamin or mineral will come from the food you eat! Foods high in vitamin C are citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries, kiwi, and mango, along with some vegetables. If you want to take a supplement, vitamin C will be found as ascorbic acid. Be sure to buy your vitamins and supplements from a reputable brand, where you’re sure of the processing of the supplement. In general, high quality supplements will be more expensive. I don’t purchase this supplement, but the one I would buy can be found here.

Zinc: Zinc is an essential micro-mineral required in at least 20mg/day for proper cell functioning. It’s an antioxidant and functions as a cofactor for many enzymes in your body, helping enzymatic reactions to run more smoothly and efficiently. This mineral is crucial for immune function and cell growth and cell differentiation. People deficient in zinc are more susceptible to infections, and zinc helps the production of various white blood cells, which are like the soldiers of the immune system, seeking out invaders and attacking them before pathogens create an infection.

Zinc is commonly formulated as a lozenge. The most bioavailable forms are types of chelated zinc, including zinc gluconate and zinc citrate, as well as zinc orotate (which is more rare in supplements).

Echinacea: Echinacea is an herb that’s also known as American coneflower. It’s popularly used in tea, herbal extracts, and supplements to help support the immune system and reduce symptoms of cold and flu. Echinacea (along with many herbs) contains phenols, which are antioxidants and antimicrobial. Like many natural compounds, these phenols boost the immune system’s natural functioning, helping to ward off viruses and bacteria.

I like to drink echinacea green tea regularly to support my immune system, and drink it a couple times a day if I’m sick or feel a cold coming on. I also take it as an extract when I feel under the weather to get more concentrated herbal benefits. This tea from Yogi is my favorite echinacea green tea. I also like this herbal extract, although there are plenty of other extracts you could use.

Reishi mushroom: Called the master healing mushroom, reishi is a type of medicinal mushroom with many beneficial properties for your body and immune system. It helps to calm the nervous system and supports immune function. Acting as an immune modulator, it supports the overall function of your entire immune system, not just one specific area. Reishi is anti-fungal and antimicrobial, so it helps to fend off these invading pathogens. Reishi is also anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, helping to reduce cellular stress in the body. These are all extremely useful qualities when you’re sick!

There are many ways to consume reishi. I like to use herbal extracts, especially this one from Herb Pharm. However, you could also take reishi in capsules or in a dried powder, like from Four Sigmatic here.

Vitamin D: This is a super-critical fat soluble vitamin that is absolutely necessary for your body’s immune functioning. Multiple research studies have found that people deficient in Vit D are sick more often throughout the year. You can think of vitamin D as an armor for your immune system: it helps ward off attacks from viruses and bacteria. Vitamin D is absorbed through the skin cells via sunlight, and the recommended daily allowance (RDA percentages often seen on packaging) is far lower than what is actually going to benefit your health. Vitamin D specifically helps stimulate the production of AMPs, which are anti-microbial peptides that act as broad-spectrum antibiotics and immune modulators, helping to protect cells from infection.

Getting at least 15 minutes of sun exposure per day (without sunscreen – use caution, of course) or taking a good vit D supplement will help your immune system stay strong year-round. The best vitamin D supplements will be liquid drops that you’ll take under the tongue. My chiropractor and acupuncturist both recommend 3,000-4,000 IUs per day, but depending on where you live and your specific need for D, your supplementation may vary. The bioavailable form found in many supplements is D3, or cholecalciferol. Be sure to look for a vegetarian source, as this form is often extracted from the fat of lamb’s wool (!). I use this supplement.

Apple cider vinegar: Although this vinegar has been a bit overhyped by the media, its unique combination of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals can aid the body’s immune function. ACV is also anti-fungal and anti-microbial, once again helping to defend from potential pathogens invading your body. Always make sure you drink ACV as a dilution! Many people take ACV shots and burn their throats – this is because vinegar is very acidic and can actually damage your throat lining if not diluted. Mix 1 tbsp with a glass of water and drink it slowly, or mix it in with your morning lemon water.

Be sure you’re using unfiltered and organic ACV. My favorite is from Bragg’s, as it’s fermented and contains strains of the ‘mother’, which was the original probiotic source to ferment the vinegar. I use Bragg’s ACV.

Ginger: Ginger is truly a magnificent superfood. It’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-fungal. It also eases nausea, indigestion, and stomach pains or cramps, so it’s perfect as a natural solution to soothing period cramps. Ginger boosts the immune system by providing a stronger shield overall for the body’s internal organs, so the immune system is strong enough to fight off pathogens. Most of these natural plant remedies work to support the function of the body’s immune system, vs. directly killing off pathogens or bacteria.

Ginger can be taken in many ways: as ginger tea made from the ginger root, as a powder added to soups or smoothies, or as an extract or supplement form. I prefer to use ginger in my curries, soups, and smoothies, and to make tonics or juices with it.

Turmeric: Turmeric is another amazing superfood that’s gained a lot of media attention for its incredible anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Turmeric, like ginger, is also a root, but is most commonly found and used in powder. Turmeric contains specific compounds, called curcuminoids, that are beneficial for health. Curcumin is the compound most commonly extracted from turmeric that can be found in supplement form. Be sure to consume turmeric with black pepper, or to purchase a supplement with added black pepper (also called bioperine) to improve absorption of the curcumin. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, which helps to fortify the immune system by reducing any chronic inflammation in the body. When the immune system isn’t constantly dealing with chronic, low-grade inflammation that’s common from poor diet, alcohol or drug use, or chronic diseases, the white blood cells (soldiers of the immune system) can more easily use resources to attack pathogens and prevent infections.

I always add turmeric powder to my curry, tofu scramble, and sometimes even my smoothies if I’m really trying to boost my antioxidant load and improve immunity. If you are buying a curcumin supplement, make sure it’s a high quality supplement company and that the supplement contains bioperine.

 

I hope these tips can help you stay healthy and strong throughout the year as our bodies are exposed to bacteria and pathogens. Of course there are many factors to a healthy body and immune system: these remedies will only help if you’re taking good care of your body – getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water, and eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

To your good health!

Kathrine

 

Sources:

https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/reishi/#1_Reishi_Reduces_Inflammation_and_Acts_as_an_Antioxidant

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19263912

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9701160

https://healthwyze.org/reports/338-why-zinc-should-be-taken-daily-and-how-not-all-zinc-supplements-are-created-equal

https://draxe.com/10-medicinal-ginger-health-benefits/

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/8-impressive-health-benefits-turmeric/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252684.php

Nutrition info: How do you know what’s true?

confusing-nutrition

Hi lovely people! Do you ever get confused about nutrition? I know I do! It’s easy to find nutrition information on the internet – but how do you know what is actually true information, when there’s so much marketing and misinformation out there? For example, many registered dietitian and nutrition programs STILL teach that ‘good nutrition’ is having lean meats, eggs and dairy every day – which, if you have read The China Study or watched Forks Over Knives, you know this is simply NOT true.

As a biology undergraduate student who’s extremely passionate about plant based nutrition and wellness, it pisses me off that there is so much wrong nutrition information out there. I have researched multiple graduate degrees in nutrition, but have a hard time choosing one because I want one that aligns with my truth of plant based veganism.

My point here is this: take every piece of nutritional advice or information with a grain of salt! Do your OWN research using academic research articles and use critical thinking and discernment to determine what is true. It’s also essential to be aware of corporate influences on research. Research studies have to be funded by someone, since they usually require a lot of money to carry out, and often times that ‘someone’ is a big corporation such as the dairy industry or the national beef council. Be a knowledgeable, conscious consumer and stay aware of these things. This also applies to nutritional advice you read from other peoples’ blogs or Instagrams (including mine)! I have learned a great deal about nutrition and holistic wellbeing because of my fascination with achieving optimal health, but am not (yet 😉 ) certified in Nutrition. My number one check is always: are they properly educated in nutrition? Do I trust the education this person has about nutrition? If not, be discerning about what they say/post and do not assume everything they say is sound advice. This rule can be applied to any type of professional whose information or advice you are considering: are they educated and knowledgeable? Do they have experience in this field and know what they’re talking about? If not, seek other, more reliable resources.

The one thing all nutrition experts agree on is that more vegetables is definitely good for everyone. Not surprising – veggies contain a high amount of fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants and are low in calories! Across the board, loading up on veggies, fruits, legumes and whole plant foods will do your body right.

Becoming more conscious consumers is our responsibility, and knowledge is the first step to doing that. Do your background research and read up on scientifically grounded nutrition so you can tell what is and isn’t good advice. Check out this thorough and well-researched article (by scientific researchers and educators!) for more information.

Overeating: love yourself first

Through my own experience with overeating, I’ve realized how I use this behavior to compensate or fill up for the lack of another feeling in my life. I’m sure we’ve all been there – when you eat too much and suddenly you’re like OMG why did I do that?!
I feel like I’m at a tipping point with my own bad eating habits: I have really been able to distinguish between when I’m actually hungry and when I’m just eating for pleasure. Lately, I’ve gotten a lot better about stopping when I’m full and asking myself, ‘What do I need right now? I don’t need more food, but i do need something – so figuring out what that is will help me refocus my overeating.

A lot of the time when I overeat it’s because I’m seeking more pleasure, so I ask myself if what I REALLY need is a good full body stretch, some snuggle time with my cat, a phone call with a friend, to laugh hard at some funny YouTube vid, to spend time reading a book, to go get my shit done and do homework, to be outside and connect with nature, to write in my gratitude journal, etc. I have been much better lately about stopping to ask myself these questions while I’m eating so I can consciously track my feelings as I eat, instead of suddenly realizing how annoyed I am at myself for eating too much after dinner.

Another extremely important thing I’ve realized about sensitive behaviors in general is to remove the feelings of GUILT and SHAME we often associate with overindulging in a certain behavior (overspending or overeating, for example). When you attach these deeply negative feelings to certain behaviors and label something as a ‘guilty’ behavior, you are way more likely to do it again! Humans love being rebellious and doing what we’re not supposed to, so labeling something as guilty – even if it’s an unconscious label – will make you much more likely to come back to that negative behavior. Instead, try not to attach deeper meaning to these behaviors. For me when I overeat now, I say to myself: okay, my body doesn’t feel good. I am sorry, body – I’m sorry I didn’t take better care of you after all that you have done for me. But I FORGIVE myself for overeating. I recognize that habits, like all behaviors, come in ebb and flow, and some days I will eat a lot while others I will not eat as much. I recognize this as the continuous flow of life, and remember that enjoying my food is perfectly okay! Tomorrow, I will be more conscious of my eating and nourish my body with whole plant foods that demonstrate the respect and LOVE I have for my being. I love you, body. Thank you!

Detaching from deeper feelings such as guilt and shame and RELEASING that negativity has been the true catalyst to change in my eating behavior. If you deal with any kind of a guilty behavior, please be kind to yourself and forgive yourself first. To heal a ‘guilty’ habit we must first come from a higher vibration of LOVE! anger and sadness and stronger discipline will not heal such a habit, only make it worse.

Visualize your ideal self, forgive yourself, express your love for yourself, and RELEASE the behavior – and the freer you will be. ✨

Sending beautiful love and light to all beings everywhere! Namaste 🌟🙏

How going vegan transformed me spiritually

When I became vegan in March 2014, I began to notice an unexpected shift in my perspective: I felt more harmonized and in sync with my true moral compass. This makes sense, as I was finally living the ethic of nonviolence that all of us have deeply rooted in our souls. I had been previously heard of intuition and was beginning to dive further into spiritual wellbeing while I was vegetarian, but I remember feeling impatient and disconnected from tools like meditation or concepts such as ‘being present’, because I didn’t really understand what they were and how to incorporate them into my life.

 

After I began eating and living in accordance with my morals, I felt revitalized – not just by the plants I was consuming, but by living in such alignment with my soul. This awakened my intuition, the internal guidance system each of us have, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. I recently realized, after watching the documentary Thrive*, that the reason I could become so in tune with my intuition was because I was now living in alignment with my core beliefs of compassion and nonviolence. I realized that I had been unknowingly muffling my soul’s intuitive compass by not living by my morals.

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I believe this happens to many of us, as we grow up in a society that tells us what to eat, wear, think and how to act. As children, we would never want to eat animals if we put  two and two together to realize that animals are been brutally killed for our consumption, but since we have made it ‘normal’ to eat animal products, we usually don’t think twice about it. As a kid, I remember occasionally hearing about vegetarians and briefly considering why they don’t eat meat, and I would sometimes think about how it was bad to kill animals so we could eat them – a thought that was quickly buried in my mind by other thoughts like ‘But it tastes so good!’ and ‘Everyone else does it!’.

 

I am profoundly grateful that I reached a tipping point and educated myself about the truth of consuming animals so that I now live wholeheartedly by my morals and am guided by my intuition. My personal spiritual evolution was catalyzed by my going vegan that March, after which I began watching documentaries and learning more about metaphysics, meditation, and the power of positive thinking. It was again catalyzed the following July when I was very intuitively guided to a book that changed my worldview, The Celestine Prophecy.

 

I was guided to that very book one afternoon walking on the Avenida de Libertad, the central shopping street in Lisbon, Portugal with my brother, Magnus. This street is extremely wide, and there are many stores lining both sides, as well as booths in the middle of the street. I spotted a used bookstore on my right, and noticed a sign that they were having a book sale: all books for one Euro – of course I had to go! I dragged my brother with me over there as I got the sense that there was something I was supposed to find in that store, something waiting for me. When I walked into the store, I felt it even more strongly, and began looking for the book that my intuition told me I came for. Most of the books were in Spanish or Portuguese, however, and I was beginning to second guess myself when I saw a box of English books in the corner. Magnus was growing impatient, and I told him he could wait outside – there was something I had to find first. As I sorted through the books, I looked for keywords that would stand out to me. I finally found what I came for when I picked up The Celestine Prophecy, but at first it didn’t seem like much – I wouldn’t have bought the book if not for the strong gut feeling telling me this was the one. But I bought it, and quickly read it, and soon got around to ordering the other four books the author, James Redfield, wrote afterwards.

 

The Celestine Prophecy is sort of an adult fable: an American professor goes on a quest in the moutains of Peru, where he is guided my spiritual teachers through the nine insights of how to live in emotional harmony with others, ourselves, and the world. This book defined many of the beliefs I now hold, and has deeply impacted my life for the better. The story I told above of how I found it in that bookstore is one of the strongest moments of intuition I’ve ever felt to this day. I wouldn’t be near as in touch with my soul and true self if not for the change that opened the door to my own spiritual evolution: going vegan.

 

I hope my personal experience sheds light on the impact changing your diet can have on your lifestyle and belief system, and can inspire you to live a life that follows your moral and spiritual compass.

Peace, love, and plants!

Kathrine

 

 

*Thrive is an incredibly well-made documentary explaining the system we currently live in of central banking and the elite who rule the corporations behind Big Ag, Big Pharma, and the fossil fuel industry. It succinctly explains the problem and how we can solve it in a way that left me feeling inspired and hopeful for the future of humankind. You can watch it here, and learn more about the movement at www.thrivemovement.com.

 

Plant-based Alternatives to Meat & Dairy

I wanted to share some alternatives to animal-based products we use on the regular. Most people don’t go vegan ‘cold turkey’ – a gradual transition is easier to manage and more likely to be sustainable in the long term. If you have tried to go vegan before but just couldn’t stick with it, don’t get down on yourself! Set yourself up for success by educating yourself about plant-based alternatives to your favorite regular foods.

I advise slowly cutting animal products out of your diet, unless you’re ready to do it all at once. Be sure to replace the animal products you currently eat with plant-based options, instead of just eliminating them – this is how new vegans suddenly end up eating mainly bagels and potato chips when they don’t know what to feed themselves! Research how to meet your nutritional needs on a plant-based diet and try new recipes. It’s a whole new world of variety when you adjust your diet 🙂

Try replacing one food group at a time with vegan alternatives to ease yourself into a healthier, plant-based lifestyle. Here are some simple swaps to begin!

Cow’s milk: The market is flooded with nondairy milk these days! A plethora of nondairy deliciousness awaits at your local health food store. Try replacing dairy milk with almond, coconut, soy, hemp, flax, rice,  or even quinoa milk! I like to use coconut milk for cereal and smoothies, and enjoy soy milk in coffee. I love hemp milk for homemade hot chocolate!

Dairy cheese: instead of parmesan, try sprinkling nutritional yeast over your pasta! You could even make your own parmesan ‘cheeze’ using cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt. If making pizza, try one of the many dairy free cheeses on the market (Daiya, Heidi Ho, Miyoko’s Creamery, etc) – just keep in mind these won’t taste like real cheese, but will give you a similar texture. For pasta sauces, I prefer to make my own cheezy sauce (for example a healthy vegan mac n cheez) from a mixture of cooked potatoes, onions, carrots, nutritional yeast, and paprika. Use the internet to find delicious dairy free cheez recipes! Plant-based cream cheese is available in most health food stores.

Sour cream/Yogurt: There are many kinds of nondairy yogurt on the market today. My favorite is the unsweetened So Delicious coconut yogurt, but there are also almond-based yogurts and soy-based yogurts. Try a few different kinds to see which one you like!

Meat alternatives: Try tempeh, seitan, tofu, or legumes! There are also many faux meat products on the market these days, such as Tofurkey, Beyond Meat, and Gardein. These products are great for those transitioning into a vegan lifestyle, but I prefer to use whole foods alternatives as they are usually more natural. Use cubed or crumbled tempeh or tofu in stir fries, pasta sauces, chili, and soups. Try a tofu scramble or crumbled tempeh instead of ground beef for tacos! There are so many protein-rich meat alternatives once – again, the internet is your friend. 😉

Ice cream: Make banana ice cream! Peel and freeze overripe bananas, then blend with your favorite flavorings (mine are vanilla extract, cacao powder, and peanut butter) and some coconut milk to get a super creamy, healthy and DELICIOUS plant-based ice cream. If you crave something richer, nearly all grocery stores offer nondairy ice creams these days – usually made of coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk. Just watch out for eggs hiding in the ingredients! Sounds strange, but there are a couple nondairy ice creams out there containing egg.

Eggs: Instead of scrambled eggs, try a tofu scramble with turmeric for an eggy look! There is even a ‘Vegan Egg’ on the market that looks and resembles a real egg. For baking, use 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, or 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp to replace 1 egg. Both of these alternatives need to be stirred and allowed to sit for a couple minutes, after which they form a gel that holds up just like an egg in most baked goods. You could also try Egg Replacer products – these work similarly and can be found in health stores!

If you would like to go vegan, but that currently feels too far out of reach for you, begin where you can. Baby steps are still progress! If you eat many kinds of meat, try eliminating 1 or 2 types of meat (for example, beef or pork) and replace them with plant-based protein alternatives. Alternatively, you could choose to eliminate processed meats from your diet (sausage, jerky, hot dogs, cold cut meats, etc) in favor of plant-based alternatives or a more whole version of that meat – for example, grilled chicken in favor of a chicken burger. If eliminating meat feels impossible to you right now, try starting with dairy products! Every step away from animal products is a step in the right direction.

Fluffy Banana Bread

After sharing a photo of this banana bread on Instagram a few weeks ago, a few people asked for the recipe – so here it finally is! Make this bread, share it with friends, and then make some more….it’s that good.

This banana bread is DELICIOUS, vegan, refined sugar free, oil free and basically super duper healthy – no excuse not to try this 😉

INGREDIENTS ~

  • 1 3/4 cups to 2 cups of oat flour (to make, blend or grind whole rolled oats in your blender)
  • 4 ripe bananas, 3 for the batter and 1 for topping
  • 15-20 pitted gooey dates, depending on size (if using dried dates, soak in hot water for an hour)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 chia eggs (to make: stir 3 tbsp chia seeds with 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used soy milk) OR water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Optional: 3 tbsp cacao powder for chocolate banana bread, or 1/2 cup dairy free chocolate  chips!

TO MAKE ~

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a blender, blend the nondairy milk (or water), 3 bananas, and half of the pitted dates until they are smooth and liquefied. Pour the mixture into a bowl and slowly stir in the oat flour, starting with 1.5 cups. Add the chia eggs after they’ve gelled, then stir in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the rest of the dates!

Chop the dates into pieces, then place in a small bowl and coat them with some of the oat flour. This prevents the date pieces from sticking to each other in the batter so that they’ll be evenly distributed in the bread 🙂 After coating, add to the batter and pour the batter into a baking paper-lined loaf pan. Slice the last banana in half, then slice each of the halves vertically in half, so you’re left with four long banana slices. Use these to top your banana bread. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min – the bread will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy bread! I had this for breakfast, lunch and dinner the day I made it….I highly suggest doubling the recipe xD.

 

Back in action + Junk food Vegan vs. Plant based Vegan

Hello! I’m happy to say that I’m back to posting on this blog 🙂 I’ve changed the name from Kathrine’s Kitchen to Passion for Plants, which is also the name of my foodie Instagram account (link here!). I started that account last summer, upon pausing posts to this blog, as I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted with this page. At the time, a blog was too wide for me: so many possibilities for posts, I didn’t know where to begin! As I began my first year of college last fall I decided to focus on school, continue posting meals and recipes from Instagram, and come back to the blog when I was ready.

So, here I am!

This time, I have an overall idea about what I want for this page: to inform and inspire others to eat more plants. I will be sharing my ideas and opinions on topics that interest me: mainly the plant-based lifestyle, natural living and DIY knowledge I’ve picked up, tips for others who would like to transition to eating more plants, recipes, and so on. Please comment if you have questions or would like to hear about a topic!

Today I want to point out the variety of diets the word ‘vegan’ can define. The term has come to mean a lot lately: everything from potato chips and Oreos to lentils and fresh produce are vegan, but we can see there’s a huge range between these two types of food. Many foods, such as soy-based mock meats, nondairy cheeses, nondairy ice cream, Pop Tarts, and even some boxed cake mixes are technically vegan! Obviously, these aren’t exactly health-optimizing. Sour Patch Kids are a far cry from a fresh salad with beans and veggies.

When I first tell people about my lifestyle, I tell them I’m vegan, but recently I’ve realized that this is not enough to describe the plant-based food I mainly eat.

So what’s the other end of the spectrum? Although there are many ways to healthfully eat a vegan diet, the whole food plant based diet is one that’s quickly gaining popularity, thanks to the eye-opening documentary Forks Over Knives.

“A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.” From FOK

This means largely avoiding processed foods, as most of these tend to have refined flour, sugar and/or oil. I aim to stick to this way of eating as much as possible, although I often enjoy nuts, seeds, and oils, such as coconut, hemp seed or olive. I still eat some processed snacks, like chips or crackers (preferably without additives or GMOs), but I know I feel better when I eat fresh foods. Another thing that’s made a difference for my diet is making more food at home – meals, snacks – and bringing them with me, to avoid being forced to buy something I wouldn’t normally eat because I didn’t plan ahead.

I have learned that I feel a thousand times better when eating whole, fresh foods (preferably organic and non GMO): fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and when avoiding greasy foods. I think more clearly, have much more energy, and generally feel happier. I thrive living this way. Knowing that I can feel this good all the time by eating plants only motivates me to continue, and gives me such a passion for this lifestyle. I hope I can share my passion with you!


 

Have a happy Wednesday, and be sure to check out my Instagram to see what I’m making 🙂 – Kathrine

 

“If you don’t eat meat, where do you get your protein?” The ever-popular question of plant-based protein sources

So, where do vegans get their protein? In today’s society, it is widely assumed that humans need a ton their daily calories from protein. We have been misled to believe that we need a lot of this specific nutrient – when really all nutrients combined work together to fuel the body. The true, proper daily intake of protein should be anywhere from 10-25% of your caloric needs, based on your weight, height and activity level. Believe it or not, plants do contain a decent amount of protein: a 100 calorie serving of broccoli contains over 8g of protein! And tons of fiber, vitamins and minerals too? Count me in.   There is an incredible assortment of healthy, plant-based proteins to choose from: 1) Legumes: Beans & Lentils. Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red lentils, green lentils, black lentils….the list goes on! A 1/2 cup serving of black beans has

  • 130 calories
  • 15 grams of fiber (wow!)
  • 7.5 grams of protein
  • 10% of daily iron intake

And only 4 calories from fat. Legumes are also a great source of magnesium, manganese, and folate – all important in regulating cellular functions and converting energy. 2) Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan. Tofu, which is curdled from soybeans, is a versatile and high-protein food. It takes on the flavor of whatever dish you’re making and is therefore easy to add to recipes. Tempeh, which is fermented tofu, is more firm than tofu and has a nutty flavor to it. This is great for stir fries, salads, bowls-just about anything. Both contain anywhere from 10-15g protein per 1/2 cup, along with essential vitamins and minerals. Seitan: Also known as wheat gluten, seitan is a great substitute for meat, as it has a similar texture and look. A low calorie food, a one ounce serving of seitan contains 21g of protein and only a few calories from fat. These foods can easily be baked, grilled or sautéed to be eaten with a meal. 3) Nuts & Seeds. There are so many great seeds to choose from – flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower. A three tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains a whopping 11g of protein and tons of healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews….the list goes on! Nuts are a fantastic source of protein and healthy fatty acids as well – just make sure  you don’t eat too many of these, as they are high in fat. I like to limit nut butter or raw nuts/seeds to once a day. I enjoy nuts and seeds in smoothie bowls, salads, or sprinkled over quinoa and veggies…even eaten plain! Their uses and benefits are endless. 4) Grains: Quinoa, millet, barley, wild rice, brown rice, rye, wheat, oats…There are so many types of grains to choose from! Enjoy any of these protein-rich, fiber-packed grains with your next dinner, lunch or even breakfast. Whole grains are low fat and contain plenty of protein as well as fiber, which helps you stay full longer. Many grains are gluten-free as well, a great option for celiacs or those with gluten intolerance.   These foods are certainly not the only way to get protein: as I mentioned earlier, all vegetables contain protein AND fiber (meat contains no fiber). Fortified plant milks (almond, coconut, soy, hemp, hazelnut, cashew, oat, etc) can also be enjoyed in cereal, smoothies or recipes. Fruits are usually low on protein, but contain a lot of fiber and tons of antioxidants and vitamins. Eat a colorful, balanced diet and you’ll be sure to get what you need throughout the day.  

Speedy Chickpea Scramble 

Let’s end this protein post with an awesome, high protein recipe: Chickpea Flour Scramble! Originally adapted from Bonzai Aphrodite’s recipe (see her version here). Also called besan flour, chickpea flour can be a little tricky to find, but is usually in natural grocery stores or health stores. This high-protein, soy-free flour can be cooked into many things – I’ve even made pancakes with them! This recipe reminds me of scrambled eggs…but this is a much healthier version, with significantly less fat and no cholesterol or animal protein. Go plants.

 

IMG_1073

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Enough water to make it a runny batter
  • Spices of choice: turmeric, cumin, cayenne, coriander, chili, chipotle, garlic, paprika, italian seasoning, S & P (I recommend using some turmeric to achieve a yellow color)
  • Veggie add-ins: This can be whatever you have on hand or left in the fridge: mine above was rainbow chard, kale, jalapeño, onion, and celery. Once it was almost done cooking I added tomatoes and cilantro. Feel free to add any type of greens, zucchini, bell pepper, hot pepper, mushrooms, garlic and other fresh herbs or veggies!

  Mix your spices with the bowl of chickpea batter and baking soda. Sauté your veggies in a little oil until soft. Slowly pour batter into pan – be sure to keep the pan around medium heat. If the batter starts sticking to the pan, pour some water in to avoid burning. This stuff takes longer to cook than scrambled eggs – patience is key 🙂 Once it starts to thicken up, begin scrambling and flipping some pieces in the pan. When most of the batter has cooked, add in fresh herbs and tomatoes, if using. When the batter is done cooking, remove from heat and enjoy with avocado, toast, salad…whatever you like! This is an easy and versatile recipe, so feel free to play around.   Hope you all learned something today! If you are curious about anything or have questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask – I love to answer. Do you have a favorite go-to recipe including plant protein? Share with me in the comments 🙂 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend, Kathrine