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Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake

I always laugh when people ask me what vegans eat. “They just eat grass” “Rabbit food” “Must be boring.”

I guess it’s not their fault though- they simply don’t know all the foods there are to eat. Anything that you eat now can be made into a vegan version: cake, waffles, burgers, pancakes, hot dogs, ice-cream, chocolate bars, pizza; you name it, vegans can make it.

photo 3(1)The best way to introduce your family and friends to veganism is by showing them how amazing the food is. People are always so shocked when they try something vegan I’ve made. “Oh, this is vegan!?? Wow, this actually tastes good.” Or, “Oh, it tastes good for something vegan.”

IMG_0092Vegan baking is literally just baking without the use of eggs or milk. Or honey if you use that. And you can easily substitute any dairy milk with a non-dairy milk. (Almond, coconut, oat, hemp, rice, etc). Eggs are easily substituted as well. (Mashed banana, apple sauce, chia seed egg, flaxseed egg, etc) And as for honey; well, there’s maple syrup (my favourite), agave syrup, rice malt syrup, date syrup, and so many other vegan syrups.

Long story short, vegan baking is not boring, and it is not gross. It is freaking delicious.

So enough rambling from me. Let’s get right into the recipe, shall we?

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Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Dry
  1. 3 cups oat flour
  2. 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  3. 1/2 cup carob powder
  4. 2 tbsp. baking powder
Wet
  1. 1 cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  2. 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 cup apple sauce (or mashed banana)
  4. 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  5. 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  6. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and take out two circular pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add in all of your wet ingredients, (almond milk, vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, melted coconut oil, apple sauce) and whisk together
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients. (oat flour, coconut sugar, carob powder, baking powder)
  4. Add your dry ingredients gradually into your wet ingredients while whisking it together
  5. Grease your two pans with a tiny bit of coconut oil and pour your mix in.
  6. Place them in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Once finished, remove the cakes from the oven, stick a toothpick in the center, and if it comes out dry, they are all done.
  8. Let cool for an hour before cutting or icing.
Icing
  1. In a blender or food processor, add in 1 cup of pitted dates, 3 tbsp. of chocolate peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice), 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 tbsp. carob powder, and 1 tbsp. maple syrup.
  2. Once mixed together, let it sit in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to thicken up, then spread evenly over your cake.
Notes
  1. Keep in the fridge for optimal results
Mindfully Bliss http://mindfullybliss.com/
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Food Recipes

Crunchy Homemade Granola

I have a new obsession – and it’s this granola.

Granola is basically just oatmeal – just with more oomph. You can eat your granola as cereal, or sprinkle it on your nana ice-cream, or even sprinkle it on your oatmeal!

2015-09-10 0112015-09-10 013Last year I wrote a granola and banana mylk recipe here on my blog. And since then, I have improved my granola-making skills by 90%. So, this is my new and improved, revamped and better than ever, HOMEMADE GRANOLA RECIPE!!

The secret trick to getting those clusters? Maple Syrup. (yes, go Canada)

(Watch the video recipe here)

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Crunchy Homemade Granola
Serves 4
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of rolled oats
  2. 1/2 (or more) or maple syrup
  3. 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  4. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  5. 10 dates
  6. 1/4 cup nuts and seeds (trailmix)
  7. vegan chocolate chips (add in after it is cooked)
  8. coconut shreds (add in after it is cooked)
whatever else you desire
  1. hemp hearts
  2. chia seeds
  3. flaxseeds
  4. etc
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, measure out 2 cups of rolled oats.
  3. Add in 1/4 cup coconut sugar, 2 tsp. of cinnamon, along with all the ingredients that you desire, such as nuts, seeds, dates, etc.
  4. Mix these all together, then add in 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
  5. Mix this together well, and if the batch looks like it's sticking together and is thick enough, then that should be enough. The more maple syrup you add, the more clusters you will have, and the crunchier the granola will be.
  6. Line a pan with parchment paper, and pour your granola on.
  7. Place it in the oven and cook for 12 minutes.
  8. Let it cool for 20 minutes before adding in your vegan chocolate chips and coconut shreds.
Notes
  1. The vegan chocolate chips make it amazing, so if you like chocolate, these are a must.
  2. Store in a container in a cool, dry place.
  3. Warning: You may eat the entire batch in one sitting.
Mindfully Bliss http://mindfullybliss.com/
 2015-09-10 009 2015-09-10 010

Food

Getting to Know: @agirlnamedally

Greetings to the lovely Ally Sheehan from @agirlnamedally. Ally is a lovely, down to earth gal I met through Instagram who has quite a large social media following on both her Instagram, Tumblr, and even Youtube! Ally is from Melbourne, Australia, and she is an avid traveler as well as social activist for feminism, veganism, racism, LGBTQ rights, and many other things. I love Ally’s page because not only is it filled with vibrant, colourful images, but she is also such a sweet and compassionate soul. I love that she does something useful with her large following, and is truly making a huge difference in the world.

So a big thank you to Ally for wanting to answer some questions for me! Let’s get started.

a girlnamed ally

1. When did you create your Instagram and Tumblr pages, and how did you come up with the name @agirlnamedally? (To be honest, when I first saw your page, I thought your name was Dally, and I’m sure you get that a lot hahaha)

Haha yep, you’re definitely not alone on that one! To this day I definitely still get called that, and even my friends have turned it into a nickname. Honestly it wasn’t really by any conscious effort, I was sixteen, had made a tumblr and didn’t want to use my full name but wasn’t creative enough to come up with anything cool, and thus, agirldnamedally was born…

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2. What is your favourite part about being vegan?

SAVING THE WORLD. I mean, more-so lessening the damage that we were once having on it before, but it does feel good to know you’re living lighter upon our planet. I’m pretty sure vegans use 1/16th of the land required for food than meat eaters, and since one acre of rainforest is cut down every SIX seconds for animal farming… its pretty important. 

I also just love being able to connect with other like-minded individuals. Going vegan has brought out all of the best in me, and in others too. I find myself being more compassionate not only to animals, but to myself and people around me as well. Plus, vegan food. Oh my lanta.

3. Are you currently in school or studying anything?

I am! I’m studying Psychology at University 🙂

4. What is your biggest accomplishment in life?

Ooh that’s a good question. This might be a little cheesy, but honestly I think I have to say the community that I’m a part of online. I’m willing to say that I have some of the kindest followers in the world, and I feel very lucky to have that level of support.

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5. What are your thoughts about our growing technological world, and how the main thing people seem to care about these days is digitally documenting everything they do to show other people?

As much as I really love sharing the highlights of my life, creating somewhat of an online scrapbook, I do also have concerns about the blurred lines between reality and the content we convey on social media. I was talking to a friend earlier this week who is a photographer, and she was saying that even the models or bloggers she works with photoshop themselves, which shocked me. We all kind of understand on some level that what we see in magazines and in billboards is altered and edited, but when scrolling through Instagram or Tumblr you have the expectation that what you’re seeing is essentially instantaneous and transparent, when truthfully there is quite a lot of alteration going on behind the scenes. Even if someone isn’t digitally enhancing their photo, I think it’s important to understand that what we see of someone’s life online is only about 2% of it, and it’s a selected, deliberately chosen depiction too. We have to be aware that we are viewing that persons highlight reel, and not to compare it to our own behind-the-scenes.

My other concern is how we tend to equate worth with digital numbers. Likes, followers, notes, messages and so on, have almost become a new currency of popularity or success, which takes away the authenticity and fun of it all. I never started out posting my life with the intention of ‘gaining followers’ or becoming known in a community, and neither did any of my friends who are doing the same thing, so seeing people write self promotions on your picture, or ask how to gain followers, can be a little sad. I understand that people are so passionate about veganism and want to be able to help create a huge difference, but I also just want people to know that they are no more or less valuable in the movement whether they have 100 followers or 100,000.

6. If you could go back in time to any time period, generation, or location, where and when would you go?

I was actually asked this question in my history class last week as a getting-to-know-you activity, and I said that I wanted to see the dinosaurs (everyone else picked historical monuments and events, but I’m pretty content with my decision to chill with a triceratops). However, if I can choose a location now instead, I think I’d love to jet myself over to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand or Africa, and spend time with those beautiful creatures. They are my favourite animal, and knowing what we do to them in the world, or how rapidly they’re going instinct just pains my heart, so I would like to go and do whatever I can.

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7. Name your top five favourite vegan foods. It’s tough, I know.

Wow, hard. I’ll pick five meals, so that incorporates a few different ingredients..

  • Smoothie bowls with caramelised buckinis and mulberries on top
  • A big salad with pumpkin, sweet potato, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and corn
  • Veggie stir fries with cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, bean shoots and water chestnut
  • Vegan nachos. Beans and guac everywhere.
  • Any form of breakfast food involving oats – porridge, bircher muesli, it’s allll good.

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 8. How do you cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?

A solo dance party. I blast the most embarrassing pop music I can find, and dance around, often in my underwear. Singing optional.

Talking to a friend also helps, as does sweating it out, but a solo dance party can cure just about anything.

9. Favourite iPhone app?

I’m really loving Snapchat lately. I see it as an opportunity to show people that ‘behind the scenes’ that wouldn’t make it onto the Instagram feed. It’s instant, it’s real, and I can just be myself and ramble my thoughts or show an ugly photo of whatever I’m snacking on that day. It just helps break down that barrier and show that things aren’t always perfect and pretty all of the time.

10. Where are five places next on your list to travel to? PS, come visit me in Canada xx

Haha YES PLEASE!!! Going back to Lake Louise is at the top of my wish list. I also want to go to New Zealand, Fiji, The Phillipines, and back to Hawaii and Yosemite National Park. I’ve fallen in love with so many places lately and my heart is aching to travel again.

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11. If a genie came up to you right now and could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?

  • The ability/funds/time to go on another USA road trip with my friends
  • For my family to always be healthy and happy
  • For the world to stop discriminating against others based on gender, race, sexuality and species.

12. Who are your top four favourite Instagram accounts to follow?

Ooh another great question, here’s a random selection:

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13. Do you want children someday?

Yeah I think so! The idea of playing a part in shaping our next generation definitely interests me. I’m not sure whether I would have my own or adopt, but I like to think there might be kids in my future. Or at least a lot of dogs.

14. If you could create your own business, what would it be?

Some kind of holistic hub that provided a multitude of services – life coaching, wellness sessions, physical classes, social activity, therapy, nutritional education, global awareness and leadership opportunities, self esteem and body image promotion etc. I want to tackle a whole bunch of issues (especially facing young women/girls) and provide the tools for them to do so themselves.

15. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Just how deep my love for all things Harry Potter is. My brain is constantly relating things back to it, and I’m grateful because Jo’s world has absolutely shaped me as a person. Not to mention my insane amount of memorabilia in storage…

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16. I love that you are so passionate about everything you do. (veganism, feminism, racism, social rights, etc) That wasn’t a question, just thought I’d let you know 🙂

Thank you so much!! I really wasn’t educated on any of that stuff AT ALL until a few years ago, so now I want to try and contribute to the discussion and help empower others to do their own research too. It’s a shame that these things aren’t addressed in the mainstream media or even education systems – my parents don’t have any clue about it and I didn’t either when I was at school. It’s awesome how we’re all kind of using social media as a platform for social change now too, it’s been a really positive movement to be a part of.

17. You and I both preach that people are not defined by their Instagram pages. No one is perfect, and although sometimes a Tumblr page or Instagram photo can make it seem that way, they are just quick snippets of people’s lives. What is the biggest misconception people think about you, and in a few words, just explain what makes you so normal.

I’m so glad you asked this!! I think I am known online for my very optimistic and positive demeanour, which is 100% authentic and definitely how I am most of the time, but it’s important to me that others know it’s not possible (or healthy) to expect to be constantly happy. As humans, we’re designed to experience a full spectrum of emotions – anger, fear, sadness, jealousy, and so on. To deny or ignore these feelings and force a false mood usually only ends up making things worse. To me, it’s fare more admirable to be real and upfront with one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, show that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that we all struggle. I have suffered from depression in the past, but it’s not something people would assume by looking at my pages or even meeting me in person, because there is a lot more to me (and also because a symptom of depression makes you not want to connect with others or share that part of your life). There’s a quote I’ve always loved that is something like “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”, or “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back”. I just think it’s great (and super important) to acknowledge that everyone has ups and downs in life, and you never truly know what somebody else is going through, so always be kind. Be kind wherever possible – and it is always possible.

18. What is the best advice you can give to young girls and boys these days?

LOVE YOURSELF. It’s not selfish, it doesn’t require looking a certain way, and everyone deserves to love themselves and feel good within their skin. I just really wish we would all be more compassionate to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. Life feels so much better that way!

 Also, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

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 Thank you so much for your time Ally, and thank you to all who have read this. I hope you learned a little bit about this fabulous human, and have yourself a splendid day.

Lots of love,
Katrina, xo

Advice Article Food Vegan

Tips for Being Vegan in University

As mid-August approaches, the most dreadful time of the year is right around the corner…. and I think we both know what that is….

SCHOOL.

As much as it pains me to write this post, I know it is necessary to help all the youngens out there going off to college and university. My heart is breaking because Summer is my favourite season. I love the sun, the warmth, swimming, tanning, exploring, adventuring, and… ya know, not going to school.

So without further adieu, here are my tips for being vegan in college or university. (Point formed because well, they’re pretty straight forward)

Dorm Rooms:

Eating food in the dining hall and meal plans:

  • I lived on residence first year and had a meal plan that consisted of 12 meals a week. I went vegan in January/February, but even before that I would always keep certain food in my room because I preferred making my own meals. For breakfast I would make oatmeal, then go to class. I’d come back to my room, make a smoothie for lunch, then go back to class. Then I’d always eat dinner in the dining hall that would consist of a big salad with either potatoes, rice, veggies, fries, or whatever else they had that I could eat. One could say that it’s a waste of money, but my mealplan was pre-paid and I didn’t know I was going to go vegan… but if you are a vegan going into  college or uni, then just buy the smallest meal plan and make do with what you can in your dining hall, and buy a few groceries for what you need.

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Is it hard to cook food in a dorm?

  • I didn’t do any cooking because like I stated above, I would eat dinner in the dining hall. But if you consider oatmeal cooking, I brought my own kettle and would boil water and pour it into the bowl to mix the oatmeal. Some colleges or universities have little kitchens on each floor so you can bring your own kettle/microwave/toaster/fridge whatever you want, but there are also sometimes appliances in the kitchen areas. My dorm had a kitchen that we could rent out, but I never got a chance to use it.

What to keep in your room?

  • Whatever you eat. So in my case, I always kept stocked up on bananas so I could ripen and freeze them for smoothies. I’d also put them on my oatmeal. Also fruit (Strawberries and blueberries) to put in smoothies and on oatmeal. Ummm, almond milk, peanut butter, spinach/kale, mangos, apples, kiwi, oranges, crackers, chips, bread, etc.

How do friends react to it?

  • They didn’t really care that much. I ate my stuff, they ate their stuff. Except sometimes they’d ask questions and be like, “wait, can you have this?” And of course there was always ‘ice cream night’, or muffins being handed out in the caf. And treats in class. But if you have a motivation and continue to remind yourself of it, then you won’t fail.

Is it hard going shopping and keeping stuff in a small area?

  • No not really. On the weekends that I’d go home, I’d stock up on all the main stuff I ate. Then when I was at Uni, I’d take the bus into town some weeks and get stuff I needed. Also one of my friend’s had a car so sometimes I’d go with her.
  • I designated an area in my dorm-room for all my food, and I also brought my mini fridge so it was easy to keep all my stuff in one place.

Dishes?

  • Washed them in my room because I had a shared bathroom, but there was also a common room that had a sink.

The loud blender?

  • I used it during off times when I hoped it wouldn’t annoy people too much. And if I really needed to use it, people can just suck it up. It takes like 1 minute to blend a smoothie.

living with roommates

Living off campus with roommates:

Buying groceries

  • I would walk or take the bus down the street to the closest grocery store.
  • Always look at flyers to see when there are sales to get the cheapest deals.
  • Bring reusable bags/your own cart and stock up on everything you need for that week.
  • Make a list so you don’t miss or forget anything when you go. (I always forgot at least 1 thing)

Packing food for lunch when you’re on campus all day

  • Use lots of tupperware containers.
  • Meal prep and make your meals the night before if you know you have a busy day.
  • Pack easy lunches or snacks like sandwiches, lots of fruit, lara bars or other snack bars, nuts, crackers, etc.
  • Bring money if you know that there are veg friendly options to buy something on campus. (noodles, sandwiches, etc)

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Social situations

  • Just do your thing and don’t let people bring you down.
  • Don’t bring up the fact that you are vegan unless people ask.
  • Tell the waiter/hostess/etc that you are allergic to certain things so that they make sure not to give it to you.
  • Don’t make a big deal about it.
  • If someone offers you something you can’t have, just politely say “no thank you”
  • Give it time and the more people learn, the more they will come around. My roomies always came to this one vegan restaurant with me and they loved it!

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Dishes and kitchen appliances

  • I’m a very neat and organized person; also a perfectionist. Also a cleanfreak; so I brought a few of my own dishes to the house and used certain separate ones than my roommates.
  • I also created a sponge system so we each have our own sponge so nothing cross contaminates (eggs, meat, cheese, etc)
  • I washed pots/pans/large bowls with steaming hot water and soap before using it (those are the things we all shared)
  • Use the dishwasher as well if you have one. (I personally wash most of my dishes by hand)
  • My roomies and I also have a sticker system so we put a colour star on stuff that is ours so that it is not confused and that no one eats your things.

 

I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, feel free to comment them below! Have a great semester everyone xx

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Food Recipes

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake | Raw Vegan

So after I posted some snapshots of this delicious chocolate cake on Instagram for my birthday, quite a few people asked me for the recipe. So here it is; nice and detailed for you all. But first, some photos:

2015-07-15 003This cheesecake is rich, decadent, and full of flavour. We start off with a nutty crust that resembles a gram cracker. Then the middle layer is a sweet peanut butter banana. The finally we finish with the best part: the chocolate fudge layer.

I also topped mine with crumbled up brownie bits, which you can choose to do if you’d like, or top it with strawberries and other fruit, because that’s always pretty.

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Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cheesecake
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups soaked cashews (soak them the night before)
  2. 3/4 cup coconut oil
  3. 3/4 maple syrup
  4. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1 /2 cup lemon juice
  6. 1/2 cup carob powder
  7. 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  8. 1 ripe banana
  9. 1 cup coconut sugar
  10. 2 tbsp. chocolate peanut butter (if you have any) or melted chocolate chips
Crust
  1. 1/2 cup pitted dates
  2. 1/2 cup dry oats
  3. 1/2 cup almonds
  4. 1/2 cup cashews
Crust
  1. You're going to want to begin by adding in 1/2 cup of dry oats, 1/2 cup of regular cashews (non soaked), and 1/2 cup almonds into your food processor.
  2. Pulse these together until they become a fine powder mixture.
  3. Then add in 1/2 cup of dates.
  4. Pulse these together for a few minutes until you have a sticky texture.
  5. Line a circular pan with parchment paper and press the crust down flat into the pan.
  6. Place it in the freezer while you work on your filling.
Peanut Butter Banana Layer
  1. Place 1.5 cup of your soaked cashews into your food processor.
  2. Add in 1 ripe, mushy banana, and 2 tbsp of peanut butter.
  3. Add in 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/2 cup of coconut sugar, as well as 1 tsp. of vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
  4. Blend everything together for a few minutes until you have a smooth, creamy texture.
  5. Remove your pan from the freezer and pour this layer on.
  6. Place it back in the freezer while you work on your final layer.
Chocolate Fudge Layer
  1. Add in the remaining 1.5 cups of your soaked cashews.
  2. Add in 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1/2 cup carob powder, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 2 tbsp of chocolate peanut butter, of if you don't have that, just melt 1/2 cup vegan chocolate.
  3. Blend everything together well until you have a thick, creamy chocolate texture.
  4. If your mixture is too thick, add in a bit of almond milk to make it a tiny bit more runny.
  5. Pour on your final layer, then place it back in the freezer for 3-4 hours, or leave it overnight (I left mine over night)
Notes
  1. In the morning you can decorate it with coconut sugar, coconut shreds, cacoo nibs, brownie bites, vegan chocolate sauce, strawberries, anything you want really :)
  2. Remove from the freezer 10-15 minutes before eating to thaw.
  3. ENJOY! xoxo
Mindfully Bliss http://mindfullybliss.com/
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Advice Food Personal

Why I’m no Longer “HCLF” or “RawTil4”

I’ve mentioned this before in previous videos I have made on my Youtube channel, but I haven’t written anything about it here on my blog. So… that’s what I’m going to do today.

(I also just uploaded another Youtube explaining the same thing as my last video, but in shorter terms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aHClR2bIAM )

Basically I started off eating HCLF and “RawTil4” ish lifestyles around May 2014. HCLF means “High Carb Low Fat”, and Raw Till 4 is a diet/lifestyle where you eat raw fruits and veggies for breakfast and lunch, then have a nice high carb cooked meal for dinner. They are both created, I think, by Youtube sensation Freelee the Banana Girl.

When I first found this diet/lifestyle, I thought it was AMAZING! As you can see here, I wrote ecstatic blog posts detailing how amazing it is and how it works for everybody. Little did I know at the time, it doesn’t, and I was acting like a little brainwashed Freelee child.

 But let’s back up a little bit.

So before I switched to this lifestyle, I was still eating lots of fruit and veggies, and was super healthy and stuff; I just did whatever I wanted, not following any rules or guidelines. I was slim, fit, and happy.

me3

But the more I watched Freelee’s videos, and the more people on Instagram who I saw switching to this lifestyle, made me want to be just like them and do exactly what they were doing. I eventually started increasing my portion sizes and eating tons more because that’s what everybody else does, and that is what Freelee preaches after all: Eating in abundance, no restricting, and eating unlimited calories. Oh, and may I add she also would say “I barely even work out”, or she’d show her stomach off in videos and say, “I eat unlimited calories with minimal exercise”

article-2601633-1CFF8BED00000578-843_638x624I was so brainwashed that I literally believed that just eating raw fruits and vegetables automatically gave you a flat stomach. And whenever I’d feel full or bloated on days, I’d try to go Fully Raw, as if it were a cure for not feeling slim.

So fast forward to Winter 2014. I was eating quite large portion sizes of all HCLF meals. I know many people on this lifestyle eat about 8 or more bananas for breakfast, but I could never do that. I’d always have 4 bananas for breakfast, either in a smoothie or nana ice cream. So 4 bananas, plus fruit, or water/almond mylk, whatever I added to the smoothie. Then for lunch I’d make a sandwich, or oatmeal, or have veggies and hummus. Then for dinner I’d make GIANT salads with spinach, avocado, and every single vegetable in my fridge. Or I’d have 2 cups of rice pasta + tomato sauce, or 4 potatoes cooked into fries. (This is all while I was living away for Uni)

Everybody knew I ate a lot. My family would always ask if my giant salad bowl was for the family, and I’d be like “uhh… no, this is just my portion size”. And at my house where I lived with my friends, they would sometimes say, “oh, you can’t finish all that,” and I’d be like, “yesss I can! This is how much I need to eat!!!”

I literally stretched my stomach so that it needed bigger portion sizes. And I convinced myself that this is how much I needed to eat to suffice myself and “get in enough calories”.

I also wasn’t working out much, because I don’t usually workout in the winter time. (Cause school=stress, and it’s freezing in Canada, and ya) (I usually always start working out in April for summer time and go for bike rides daily etc) AND I THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS OKAY BECAUSE APPARENTLY FREELEE DOES MINIMAL EXERCISE AND HAS THE MOST BANGIN BOD EVER.

This clearly wasn’t working for me, but I was oblivious to that.

I had a wakeup call when I went to the doctor’s for my yearly physical, and glanced down at the paper work to see my weight.

Now, coming from a past of disordered thoughts and eating, I stopped weighing myself over a year ago. Once I found plant based veganism, I was so happy and learned self-love and happiness. I never needed to weigh myself.

But once I saw the number on that page, I freaked. According to the doctor’s scale, I had gained 30 lbs (13.6 kg for you Aussies) over the winter.

I WAS SHOCKED. APPALLED. How could I have gained so much weight when I was eating all the right foods and doing exactly what Freelee and everyone else says to do?

I was determined that it was my fault. That I was eating too many vegan treats, like chips+hummus as a snack once in a while. So I cut out all my favourite vegan treats and stopped night time snacking.

It wasn’t until about April or May 2015 (so now it’s summer season approaching) that I noticed I had stretch marks on my bum, and cellulite on my tummy. I have NEVER had these things before, and it made me so upset.

I heard about Dry Brushing, and had to try it to get rid of cellulite on my stomach.

I feel like I was in a state of denial about my eating and weight gain, until my mom told me, “it’s because you’re eating too much”

And I was all like, “NO, YOU’RE WRONG. Freelee eats 3000+ calories a day and barely works out, so can I”

I had this brainwashed mindset that was so CLEARLY WRONG FOR ME, and wasn’t working for me, yet I ignored all the signs my body was giving me because I was too busy listening to other people’s advice instead of my own body.

In June 2015 (current time) I went away to Australia for a month to travel. I ate out at a lot of vegan restaurants, had vegan treats, but I also had fruit and veg a lot and went for lots of walks and bike rides. I didn’t care what I was eating and I was happy.

When I came home, I knew I had to make a change because I was so unhappy with my body.

Currently:

It’s now July 2015 and I’ve made some great changes so far in my diet and exercise.

I now understand that Freelee wasn’t wrong, and I wasn’t wrong, I was just too caught up in other people’s lives/advice, and what works for them that I forgot what works for ME, Katrina.

That’s amazing that Freelee can eat 2500 to 3000 calories a day – but now I know that she cycles A LOT. In Chang Mai, she cycled up the mountain every single day. She works her body and is constantly moving, so she NEEDS that many calories to sustain herself. So she is 100%…. for her OWN body.

My body is different. Everyone’s bodies are different. So I don’t think she should be taking what works best for HER, and recommending other girls and boys being doing the exact same thing.

It messes with people’s lives because here I was, a naive teenage girl, thinking that I could eat 3000+ calories and not workout. And look what happened – I gained weight.

So I appreciate what she is doing and that’s awesome that it works for her – but remember people, your body is not her body. We are all different and what works for one person may not work for the next.

I currently have shrunk my portion sizes to eat until I am satisfied, no longer stuffing myself to fit in calories.

Also when I was in Australia, I think I was eating less amounts because I didn’t always have such a huge variety/selection of food. I was constantly traveling from city to city and couldn’t do a proper grocery shop, so I basically just ate whatever I bought that day or day before, which resulted in eating smaller portion sizes.

So it was no problem coming home and eating less. In fact, on my second day home, I tried to have 3 bananas in my nana ice cream, and I was so full half way through. I didn’t listen to my body though – I pushed through and finished the whole thing. Then I felt like shit afterwards and was way to full. After that, I learned my lesson and now will eat less, and stop when I am actually full. No more making the same mistakes as before.

I also started cycling everyday. I usually do that in the summer anyways, and it felt so good to get back on my bike and just ride. I started off doing 5k, then 8k, then I was doing 10k for a couple days, and now, just two days ago, I did 20k in one day 🙂 I feel so proud and accomplished when I finish a long cycle.

I still eat the exact same foods as before, just smaller portion sizes.

Because my body still doesn’t need as much as Freelee’s. So I bike as much as I want, and I eat as much as I can, and if that means only 2 bananas and 2 mangos in 1 smoothie, then that is fine with me. I also used to make GIANT salads for dinner, but now I use a smaller bowl to portion-control myself.

Hopefully this new regime works for ME and helps me tone up and lose that excess weight that I gained over the winter time. I just want to be happy and healthy, with both my mind and my body.

And I want that for everybody else as well.

So if you’re reading this, just remember, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!! Eat what works best for you. Some people can have smoothies for breakfast, some people can have oatmeal. Some people can eat 20 bananas, some people can only eat 1. And that’s 100% okay because we are all so different and unique in our own ways. So from now on, throw out the diets and advice from other people. Stop following what works for them, and start doing what works for YOU!

I’m not ‘high carb low fat’, or ‘raw till 4’….. I’m just Katrina.

I hope this helps and I’m sorry for ranting for so long. I just had to talk about this.

Lots of love,
Katrina

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Article Food Vegan

Vegan vs Plant Based

When I first heard the word vegan, I honestly had no idea what it was. I thought it was like a vegetarian, but more extreme. It isn’t until now, a year and a half since I decided to go vegan, that I look back and realize there is such a drastic difference between being a vegan, and being someone who follows a plant based diet.

veganism vs plant basedIn all fairness, health is trending right now. That also means that veganism is trending now. People are all about health; going to the gym, drinking green smoothies, and “eating vegan”. But little do they know that being a vegan actually has almost nothing to do with what you eat, but more about what you think.

The word Vegan was created with the sole purpose of animal rights. A vegan does not believe in exploiting other living beings. So yes, this is why vegans don’t consume honey, go to circuses or zoos, use cosmetics that were tested on animals, wear fur, leather etc, or participate in any other exploitation of animals/living sentient beings.

An individual who decides to go PLANT BASED, probably chose this diet for health purposes. There’s no denying it – eating plant based foods is way healthier than following  SAD (Standard America Diet) 100%. There’s been multiple studies proving so. One of the best documentaries on it is Forks over Knives, as well as the books, The China Study, and WHOLE.

But all health put aside – a vegan is someone who solely believes in not exploiting other living beings, and causing as little harm as possible. They believe in love, equality, and justice. There is nothing wrong with being Plant Based, but to all the people reading this: please do not get the two terms confused and mixed up. If you follow a plant based diet and still use leather and eat honey, do not put “Vegan” in your Instagram bio or tell people proudly that you are vegan, because this is an incorrect definition, and is probably why the rest of the world is getting confused on what a vegan is.

For example; if my parents were to define themselves (which they don’t), my dad would be considered mostly “plant based”, and my mom would be a “vegetarian-almost-vegan”. Because my dad only thinks about the health side of what he eats, but my mom thinks about the animals. (She also thinks about health too though)

Originally I went “vegan” because animal by-products were hurting my stomach and causing really bad bloating. I never did it for the animals or the environment, but I still called myself a ‘plant based vegan’, which was partially true I guess. But after a couple months of being a “Vegan”, I educated myself, watched tons of documentaries, and now am aware about the horrible mistreatment of animals that goes on, not only in Factory Farms, but in almost every single industry on the planet. I know how degrading Animal Agriculture is to our planet. And I am 100% vegan for both of those reasons. But I am plant based as well for my health. But I am not restrictive what so ever. I eat vegan junk food once in a while, and that is okay, because I am not a vegan for myself anymore- I am vegan for everything.

The reason my Instagram is food, and my blog and Youtube talk a lot about food and diet is because that’s the best way to reach the mass audiences. Yes, many people care about the animals and want to make a change, but even more people want to be healthy, and since health is such a huge thing right now, that is the best way to grab people’s attention. Food is the best way to grab peope’s attention. Seeing vibrant plates of fruits and vegetables is appealing to people, and I know it will help spread the message. Even if people start off by going vegan for health reasons, it will hopefully eventually lead them to finding the original purpose, as it did for me.

Being vegan isn’t about what you can or “can’t” eat – it’s about what you choose to support and represents everything that you believe in.

I am proud to call myself vegan because, to me, it is a synonym for compassion. It means that I care about the lives of others, and I am willing to make a protest every single day by not harming, exploiting them, or paying others to do so. By being vegan, I am raising awareness, and educating others about the subject. Vegan is a beautiful word, and I embrace it every single day. I’ve never been more proud to call myself anything else.

Vegan

Food Recipes

Healthy Vegan Burritos

If you’re anything like me, than you love burritos. But I haven’t always loved them – in fact, I used to be afraid of them. When I’d hear the word burrito, I’d cringe and associate gross meanings with it. I’m not sure why, perhaps because they had beans and I used to think beans were gross? Probably.

Anyways, now I am obsessed. My friend and I go to our local burrito shop and get vegan burritos with all our fav things; rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, GUAC, salsa, black olives, corn, etc. I love getting this; the only problem is, it’s a bit expensive. So… I thought, why not just make homemade burritos? It’s much cheaper, AND I can have more than one without having to worry about an expensive price. And I do eat a lot so it works out perfectly. ALSO, leftovers.

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Healthy Vegan Burritos
Serves 3
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
31 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
31 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of rice
  2. 1 can of black beans
  3. 1 cup corn
  4. 1 jar of salsa
  5. 3+ avocados
  6. 1/2 cup black olives
  7. lettuce
  8. tomatoes
  9. optional; daiya cheese
Instructions
  1. Begin with cooking your rice. Everybody cooks rice differently so you could do it on the stove top or in a rice cooker.
  2. While the rice is cooking, open your can of beans and heat them up in a pot.
  3. I used frozen corn, so I poured some into a sauce pan and heated this up as well.
  4. While those things are cooking, cut up your avocados and mash them into a bowl. Add lemon and pepper until everything is mashed well into a guacamole.
  5. Pour some salsa into a little cup, or make your own (sun dried tomatoes, spices, water, etc)
  6. Wash your lettuce and tomatoes, and cut them up to place them on your burrito.
  7. You can either buy olives already diced, or like me, buy whole ones and just cut them up. (I like them fresh)
  8. Once everything is cooked and ready, spread out your wraps on a plate and begin burrito making.
  9. First add the guac, then the beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, olives, corn, and salsa.
  10. Fold them up into a burrito (the best that you can) and either eat like that, or you can heat it up or grill it somehow to more realistically resemble a burrito.
Notes
  1. Save the leftovers for dinner tomorrow night! Make another burrito, or use the ingredients to make a great burrito bowl (minus the wrap), or add to salads, etc.
Mindfully Bliss http://mindfullybliss.com/
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Food Recipes

Tropical Sunshine Smoothies

Wanting something to brighten up your day? Well do I ever have something for you. This Tropical Sunshine Smoothie has been brightening up my mornings for a week straight now. Seriously.. It’s been my breakfast Monday-Saturday, and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s so light and refreshing to have after a morning workout, but also filled with so many nutrients to give you long lasting energy throughout the day, and enough flavour to give you ultimate taste bud satisfaction. But here’s the thing; you probably need to like bananas and mango, because… that’s all it really is. 

TSSIf you don’t like mango, I think you need to give it another chance. Before last year, I never even ate mangos. I thought they were kind of gross or weird… I have no idea. Now that I think of it, I didn’t like a lot of things – avocados, peaches, mangos, mushrooms, red peppers, tomatoes, etc. But now I love all of those things. So I think, perhaps, you need to give mango another chance.

And if you love mangos like me, then this smoothie is perfect for you!!

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Tropical Sunshine Smoothies
Serves 1
I made this smoothie for myself in a large quantity because I eat A LOT of carbohydrates. So if you can't handle four bananas in one smoothie, feel free to split the recipe in half or just make as much as you desire.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 super ripe bananas (frozen ahead of time)
  2. 2 ripe mangos (fresh, or frozen)
  3. 1 cup almond milk
  4. 1/2 fresh orange juice
  5. 2 1/2 cups of water
  6. optional: maca and baobab powder for extra energy
Instructions
  1. You're going to want to freeze your ripe spotty nanas ahead of time, probably the night before.
  2. Either use two fresh mangos, or 2 cups of frozen mango cubes.
  3. Add in your liquids. I do orange juice, then almond milk, then water. You can always add more or less depending on how thick or liquidy you prefer it.
  4. I also add in maco and baobab super powders, but if you don't have these, don't even sweat it.
  5. Once your liquids are in, blend this baby up super well until everything is mixed together.
  6. Pour and serve asap and enjoy this sunshine.
Mindfully Bliss http://mindfullybliss.com/
 You can also watch the video recipe here on my youtube channel: https://youtu.be/maF5-P0q3L8IMG_4135

Food Recipes

Chocolate Cheesecake (raw+vegan)

Chocolate Cheesecake; does this need any further explanation? If you’re a fan of regular cheesecake, than I can guarantee you will love this recipe. Oh, and did I mention it’s raw and vegan?

RAW VEGAN CHEESECAKE TWO

 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Serves 4
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 4 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 4 min
Crust Ingredients
  1. Crust: 1/2 cup almonds
  2. 1/2 cup walnuts
  3. 1/2 cup cashews
  4. 1/2 cup dates
  5. 3 tbsp. cacao powder
Chocolate Filling Ingredients
  1. 3 cups soaked cashews
  2. 1/2 cup lemon juice
  3. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  4. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  6. 1/2 cup carob/cocoa powder
Crust Directions
  1. In a food processor, add in 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup almonds, and 1/2 cup (dry) cashews. Blend these together into a thin powder.
  2. Add in 1/2 cup of pitted dates and blend everything together well for 5 minutes. Then add in 3 tbsp. of cacao powder and blend until you have a thick, sticky paste texture. You now have your crust.
  3. Take a round baking pan and line it with wax paper. Transfer your crust into the pan and squish it down with a spoon or your fingers until it’s flat and fills the bottom of the pan. Now place it in the freezer while you work on the rest.
Chocolate Filling Directions
  1. For your middle cheesecake filling, you need to drain your 3 cups of soaked cashews and pour them into the food processor. Blend this together really well, then add 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 1 squeezed lemon, or use lemon juice from a bottle).
  2. Add in 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 2 tsp. of vanilla extract, and 3/4 cup of pure maple syrup. Blend all the ingredients together well into you have a creamy “cheesecake” mixture. Then add in 1/2 cup of carob or cocoa powder and blend one last time.
  3. Remove your pan from the freezer and scoop this filling on top of your crust. Spread it out nice and evenly until it covers your cake nicely, then place it back in the freezer for 2 hours.
Notes
  1. You can remove the cheesecake from the freezer and eat right away. Store it in the fridge for best results. I topped mine with a little bit of shredded coconut.
  2. Before you begin making your cake, you need to measure out 3 cups of cashews and leave them soaking in a bowl of water overnight. This makes them a nice soft texture which will later become the filling of your cake.
Mindfully Bliss http://mindfullybliss.com/
cheesecake