Frozen Mango, Banana & Passionfruit Protein Smoothie

E1AC46C3-BBEF-4EBA-952B-FBEDCC1F62C7It’s January, it’s freezing cold and blowing a gale that is shaking the rafters and here I am writing out a recipe for a frozen smoothie! Well, the reason is, we did an inventory of our freezer because we just couldn’t squeeze any more into it, and I was astonished at how much frozen fruit there was in there. No wonder there was no room! I have a habit of saving some of the summer fruits and freezing them for the winter when they’re not available or very expensive, but inevitably they get covered with other foods and I forget about them.

I found lots of frozen mango and frozen banana, I had a passionfruit in the bottom of the fridge that was too small to use on its own and in danger of going off before long, so in the blender they went.

The colours are uplifting in these grey January days of endless rain and winds and this smoothie is full of antioxidants to help ward off winter viruses. I love the smell of passionfruit, so delicately subtle but cheering. It has plenty of protein too for a post-workout drink, it’s quite thick though, so you may want to add more coconut water.

Ingredients

(Vegan, Gluten-free, can be Nut-free if you substitute with seeds)

Half a Frozen Mango

Small Frozen Banana

Passionfruit

2 Tbsps Buckwheat Flakes

Approx. 200mls Coconut Water

1 Tbsp Pulsin and Beond Pea Protein Powder*

Small handful Cashew Nut Pieces

Heaped Tbsp Live Soya Yogurt

Blend all ingredients except for half the passionfruit which is served on top of the smoothie along with any reserved juice.

Enjoy, then go and sit by the fire to thaw out! (With apologies to my readers in the southern hemisphere).

*I have recently begun using pea protein as an alternative to hemp protein powder, I ring the changes also with moringa powder and Vivolife Thrive for Her in Wild Berry flavour. Here is a £5 discount code for Vivolife products:  

http://vivolife.refr.cc/chrismcgowan

Apparently, your body can get used to the same brand and the same type of protein powder, so it’s best to alternate for optimum absorption.

(The candle burner was inspired by a mushroom and made by my 14 year old grandson).

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*Aduna Moringa Powder

Pulsin Protein Powders

The Raw Chocolate Company Hemp Protein Powder

Vivolife Perform Protein Powder & Thrive Raw Green Superfood

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Vegan Gluten-free Chilli-Spiced Bean and Buckwheat Burgers

0C719D06-88BB-4E34-A3DB-93CA9871BB8EThese were made some time ago, so the raison d’être is a bit hazy! I’m not sure what inspired me to try another version of vegan, gluten-free burger, I think it might have had something to do with buckwheat flakes, tiger nut flour and half a tin of beans that needed to be used up. I had also eaten up all the Nutty Bean & Beetroot Veggie Burgers I had put in the freezer (they were my favourites, I even like them cold). I was really pleased with how this new burger came together, how they handled. They were so easy cook and stayed whole. They are quite soft but the sunflower seeds give a bit of texture. Add as much or as little seasoning as you like. I was quite conservative. It’s all done in the food processor, the actual shaping takes longer than the making. I had one during Christmas week for lunch when our son cooked, he did glazed purple sprouts & carrots*, roast potatoes, mushrooms, while they all had cheese and herb sausages made by my husband (originally a Delia Smith recipe from the 80s!) Unfortunately I forgot to take a photograph! Sorry.

Ingredients

(Vegan, Gluten- free, Nutfree, Organic where possible)

1/2 Cup Dry Buckwheat, cook in stock using a third of a vegetable stock cube

A heaped 1/2 Cup Mixed Beans (tinned), rinsed and drained well

1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds

1 Celery Stick with leaves, chopped

2 Large Chestnut Mushrooms, chopped

1 Onion, chopped

1 Medium Carrot, scrubbed and chopped

1/2 Cup Buckwheat Flakes

1 Tsp Cumin

1/2 Tsp Chilli Powder

Black Pepper & Pink Himalayan Salt to taste

Tomato Purée

Tamari

1 Chia Egg (1 Tsp Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps Water)

Gluten-free flour for dusting hands and board – I used fine Tiger Nut Flour*

Coconut Oil for frying

0C90A5A0-12F1-4D08-91C0-4B4B6447F64DMethod

Cook and cool the buckwheat.

Process everything in bursts until it comes together but still some texture.

With flour-dusted hands, scoop out some mixture and shape it into patties on a dusted board. Makes about 10, depending on size and thickness.

Cook in hot (but not smoking) coconut oil.

Drain and serve.

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*Sprouts: quartered and sautéed with lid on. Add juice of one lemon plus the rind, and paprika and salt about halfway through. Carrots: roasted with ginger. Normally uses honey too, but maple syrup would be nice.

Vegan Gluten-Free Burger (and Sausage) Recipes for National Burger Day!

Vegan Leek, Carrot & Ginger Sausages

Vegan ‘Cheesy’ Almond, Leek & Herb Sausages

Copyright: Chris McGowan

 

 

 

 

A Colourful Supersalad, A Supergreen Smoothie & A Discount Link

After all the cooked food and overindulgence of the Christmas/New Year period, it was time to get back on track. Despite continuing to have a daily juice, I felt bloated, heavy, overweight and lacking in energy. I am not used to having a big cooked meal midway through the day and I had been seduced by all the savoury snacks which had invaded our cupboards and are my one downfall.

By the time all our visitors had left, my body craved raw, healthy, crisp and colourful foods again, it was time for a supersalad!

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I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this! It was so good to have fresh, nutritious plant foods and to eat at a time of my body’s choosing rather than fitting into a family timetable. I tend to work up to my main meal of the day, I’m more of a grazer, and this one was amazing and covered all the nutritional bases.

The salad was made of: purple chicory, little gem lettuce, spinach, rocket, watercress; cucumber, celery, baby plum tomatoes, avocado, homegrown mung beans, cress, homemade coleslaw with cashew mayo and some Heck Foods Bollywood veggie bites I’d bought for New Year’s Eve snacks and forgotten to use.* They have Indian spices and are delicious, I like them cold the day after. Now, don’t make me say where I get my protein from;-)

By now you know that practically every plant food contains some protein and no protein is superior to others, not dairy, not meat, protein is protein. Eat a wide variety of wholefoods and you will get all the protein you need (which isn’t as much as people often think).

Coincidentally, when I was about to schedule this post, Josh from Vivolife** sent an email with this easy to read graphic on the subject of protein on a vegan diet.

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***

FDC31486-BFAE-4C72-83FA-07C32F91F82CNext up is the  Supergreen Smoothie I had next morning. I needed to boost my energy levels. I’ve just started trying a raw supergreen powder from Vivolife called Thrive for Her, in Wild Berry flavour. It contains powerful supergreens, minerals, vitamins, including B12, and Vitamin D (essential for mood boosting in the long grey January days) plus probiotics for a healthy gut. You take one scoop a day in water, juice or smoothie, it’s very pleasant and I already feel more alert and more energised. I like this company a lot. Their products are ethically and sustainably sourced, vegan, gluten-free and organic, and they donate 20p from each sale to the Streetgames Charity for disadvantage children. They also produce health information videos, and provide advice when needed. I bought the product, I wasn’t asked to review it, but when I asked permission to reproduce the graphic above, Josh kindly sent an exclusive £5 discount link for my friends and followers:

Get £5.00 off my favourite health and fitness brand Vivo Life with my referral code! You’ll love their PERFORM protein! Check it out: http://vivolife.refr.cc/chrismcgowan’

Ingredients for Supergreen Smoothie

Small Banana

Pear

Homemade Almond Milk***

Romaine leaves, chopped

Medjool Date

Heaped Tbsp Coyo Live Yogurt

1 Scoop Thrive Supergreen Powder

Blend and enjoy!

*Heck Foods

**Vivolife

***How To Make Almond Milk

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Monday Meditation: Our Family Christmas, Festive Food & Veganuary Links

  We are still in the middle of family visits, but I wanted to say I hope you all had the Christmas break you wanted and to share some photos of our family Christmas, which is still going on a week later as my daughter’s family descended en masse to celebrate New Year with us.

Family is very important to me and I love this time of year when I get to see everyone in the one place, not all together nowadays as Mum needs the downstairs room that the children use, but in stages. Mum had lunch with our daughter on the 23rd (see Monday Meditation: Mothers and Daughters at Christmas), and with our son’s family before she went home on the 27th, which meant so much to her. Because she lives ‘up North’ and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren too far south to visit her, the only time she can see them is when everyone meets in the middle at our house, which is usually at Christmas. I have a lot to be grateful for, not least that everyone can and does travel quite a distance to spend time together when health and other commitments allow.

Here are a few shots from this week – my husband is holding some homegrown potatoes he’d just dug up for lunch, and a potato bag I had bought him in which to store them. I am holding a beautifully soft wrap from him, and Mum is approving the perfume of the gorgeous handwash given to her by her grand-daughter.

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My son won £20 on his lottery ticket! His son was very pleased to be given a small share of the winnings, he was very ill and it cheered him up. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum and I received some beautiful flowers.

Christmas food:

We made a nut roast from a Vegetarian Society recipe for Christmas lunch, which was excellent. We couldn’t find any vegan gluten-free ‘sausage’ rolls – apparently they don’t exist – so we made our own from Jusrol vegan gluten-free pastry and Dees Wholefoods vegan, gluten-free sausages. The Waitrose own vegan, gluten-free Christmas pudding was excellent and my husband and mum couldn’t tell the difference. In fact, my husband said it was the best Christmas pud he’d tasted!

 

 

The soup is carrot and sweet potato before it was blended, ready for the family visit. I made some Christmas granola for gifts (it had goji berries, apple-infused cranberries and pumpkin seeds in it for the Christmas colours, and was finished off with a red ribbon) plus some mango chutney; my grandson made us some German cinnamon biscuits and my son made us raw chocolate truffles (mine have gone already, I forgot to photograph them! They were delicious peanut butter chocolate fudge with a little rum). The bottom left picture is of the truffles I was making for the teenagers about to invade this weekend. They had marzipan centres, one batch was covered in chopped almonds and Pitch Dark raw chocolate, melted with cacao butter, the other in Mint – from The Raw Chocolate Company. The stir-fry yesterday was a welcome change from so much rich food!

On New Year’s Eve, we played a killer game of Monopoly (no prisoners taken, I was the first into bankruptcy!), and watched Star Wars: Rogue One, the teenage boys hoovering up copious amounts of (non-vegan) pizza and snacks! Here are the beautiful presents they made at school, the pouch and the sunset scene were made from hand felted wool, the candle holders are ceramic:

 

 

I always look forward to their handmade gifts. The dog was the only one oblivious to the wind and rain!

This is currently the vegan fridge:

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…and this is the non-vegan fridge:

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…because The Boys are Back in Town!

Don’t forget Veganuary begins on Monday 1st January.

Over 100,000 people have signed up this year at Veganuary.com to commit to trying to be vegan for a month. There are many health and environmental benefits to changing to a more sustainable plantbased diet. See my posts below which explain the scheme and help you find the information you need to be a healthy vegan.

Have a lovely weekend and I wish you and your families a happy and healthy 2018.

Veganuary

Veganuary – results

Environmental Benefits of Adopting a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet

Where Do I Get My Protein on a Vegan Diet?

Where Do I Get My Calcium On A Vegan Diet?

Where Do I Get Iron on a Vegan Diet?

Where to Get Nutritional Advice for Young Vegans and Newbies

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Veganuary – results

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For anyone who read my post, Veganuary , or who participated by trying to go vegan for a month, I thought you might be interested in seeing this results graphic. This was their most successful sign-up yet since its inception in 2014 when a mere 3,300 signed up.

The statistics make interesting reading: the vast majority of participants were in the 18-44 age group which is encouraging, but probably not surprising. Veganism is the fastest growing social movement among young people at this time. They are also tech-savvy and more likely to have seen the campaign on social media.  However, I was most struck by the percentage of women who took part: 88%! I was expecting them to be in the majority, but not by quite such a margin.

Women have the greatest influence on the family diet and consequently their health, and in the education of their children, especially in their early, formative years, so this is also an encouraging statistic.

Another surprising but encouraging statistic is the large number of omnivores willing to try out a vegan lifestyle, I expected that the vast majority of participants would be vegetarians.

If you took part, well done! How did you get on? 

Don’t forget, all the recipes on this site are vegan (and gluten-free). If you need more information on Becoming Vegan, look under that category in the Menu. Here are some links:

Where Do I Get My Calcium On A Vegan Diet?

Where Do I Get My Protein on a Vegan Diet?

Where Do I Get Iron on a Vegan Diet?

Environmental Benefits of Adopting a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet

Where to Get Nutritional Advice for Young Vegans and Newbies

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Veganuary

January has been designated Veganuary and even has its own website! 

It was such a success last year that I think it is probably here to stay.

40,000 people have signed up to try being vegan for a month and the website is there to provide support, advice, product websites and tasty recipes for people wanting to increase the plant-based element of their diet and reduce meat and dairy. 

Cartoon by www.vegansidekick.comEveryone has their own food journey, we are all at differing stages and are there for different reasons, whether it be health, ethics or environmental impact.

I am not about to go through all the whys and wherefores, others have done a much better job than I can, but I have decided to provide a Vegan category to house the information about being vegan if people wish to look it up.

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(Photo from The Vegan Community)

Recently, I published Hanna’s post Plant Powered New Year which was her response to a specific question about whether a diet containing meat would have an effect on psoriasis. Hanna suffered with appalling psoriasis and is now mostly vegan after ridding herself of the misery of itchy, inflamed skin through juicing and a plant-based diet. Hanna was quite forthright in her language, which may not appeal to some, but she has had a rough journey to where she stands now as a beautifully healthy, energetic young woman and has just had her first book published called ‘Radiant’. It includes her story along with beautiful photography and tasty recipes to help achieve the same results.

Today, I have decided to provide links not only to her post but also 3 others which take a more softly-softly approach and give a guiding hand to those just beginning to look into the subject of ‘going vegan’.

The first is Rachel at Healthy and Psyched5 Tips For Transitioning To Veganism where she is at pains to reduce the guilt element so often present in such articles. Rachel says basically that you are not a bad person because you unwittingly – or even wittingly – eat something that has dairy in it at a family party for instance, and my favourite is not to throw away all your make-up, which is expensive to replace and such a waste, and which is exactly what I did!

The second post is from Feminine Boutique BlogHow To Go Vegan in 4 Steps This post gives links to sites, YouTubers and books where you can find the information you crave and the support. It is short and there is nothing to scare the horses (pun intended!) It too is written in an easy-going style and isn’t at all ‘preachy’.

Another interesting post is from Our Green Nation2016’s Top 10 Vegan Moments which lists interesting topics such as the American government, scientists and doctors giving vegetarian and vegan diets the thumbs up as being healthy and suitable for any stage in life, while the latest American Nutritional Guidelines are the most vegetarian-friendly ever; they feature the Sainsbury’s ‘Gary’ vegan cheese furore and the members of the USA Olympic team who have plantbased diets including a weightlifter.

Finally, there is even a website for teenage vegetarians and vegans: http://www.teenvgn.com It is a great site, describing iteslf as a social network for teen vegetarians and vegans, providing a safe place for 12-19 year olds to obtain information, recipes and exchange ideas. They even run a summer camp every year full of activities for 11 a 17 year olds. They encourage volunteering and put together care boxes for homeless people in local areas. They are sponsored by several reputable companies and supported by The Raw Chocolate Company.

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Going vegan doesn’t mean going boring! There are many websites and Instagram accounts with colourful, balanced vegan recipes. You can also check out the vegan recipes in my menu.

The Vegan Society will provide answers to most of your questions.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan