Tag Archives: Vegan

Yvonne’s 12 Days of Giveaways!!!

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Check out these Donut Friend Vegan Donuts !!!☃️🎉

Ok, now that I have your ATTENTION, do I have a TREAT for you!!! So, I celebrate Christmas, and in the spirit of giving, I want to thank you all for all the love and support you’ve given me and the Yvonne’s Vegan Kitchen brand brand by giving away some of my FAVORITE things!

There are 12 days till Christmas and from today until Christmas, I’ll be having #Yvonnes12DaysofGiveaways! Each day, I will post what I’m giving away. In order to enter, all you will need to do is like my giveaway post on Instagram, follow me (@YvonnesVeganKitchen), follow the brand I am hosting the giveaway with, tag 3-4 friends, and tell me why you want the item that’s being given away! It’s as simple as that!! Every following morning, I will select and announce the winner!! .

Who’s ready to get started!?!  

Alright now, stay tuned for the first giveaway starting in just a few minutes!

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VeganCheese & Wine Tasting Event!

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Please join me for a VEGAN WINE & CHEESE TASTING event

on Wednesday, September 7 at 7:30pm

V Wine Room, V Cheese Shoppe, and I have teamed up to bring you an incredibly scrumptious tasting event. Featuring #VeganCheese and Decadent Desserts paired with Vegan Wines and Live Jazz.

Come sample, sip, and sway until your heart’s content.  Space is limited, so be sure to purchase your tickets today via this link.

Food by yours truly, Yvonne Ardestani, Vegan Chef
Wine Pairings by Adam Monte’, Sommelier
Music by Ryan Roberts and Brad Rabuchin

 

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Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

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Zoodles are noodles made out of zucchini, nothing more.  Using a julienne peeler or spiralizer, the zucchini is cut into noodles.  Whenever I make zoodles, I usually dress them in a pesto or top them with marinara. This pesto has a lovely mix of basil, kale, and spinach, and because this recipe was is Fall- and Halloween-inspired, pumpkin seeds were thrown into the mix.   The end result is really delicious.

After tossing the zoodles with pumpkin kale pesto, throw in some sliced grape tomatoes for more texture and sweetness. When served with my Pink Peppercorn vegan “Goat Cheese,” it is even more satiating and scrumptious.

For a quick, raw, and satisfying meal, try this dish. You will be happy you did!

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Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

Servings:  4

Time:  20 minutes

Diet:  V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF, NF, CFNF, R

 

Ingredients

Zoodles:

4 medium zucchini

 

Pumpkin Kale Pesto:

1 cup basil leaves

¼ cup kale, stems removed

2 Tbsp spinach

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

4 Tbsp filtered water

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 shake or pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Other Ingredients:

16 grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 orange bell peppers, optional for Halloween

 

Directions

Zoodles:

1. Make zoodles using a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. When using a julienne peeler, carefully peel the zucchini as you would a carrot, making long “noodles”. When using a spiralizer to make zoodles, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

 

Pistachio Kale Pesto:

1. Place all of the Pumpkin Kale Pesto ingredients into a food processor or blender, and pulse until fully pureed and sauce-like in consistency.

 

Bell Pepper Jack-o’-lanterns: (optional)

1. Carve faces in your peppers. To do this, cut a round section on the top of the pepper. Discard the seeds and scrape away the insides. Being very careful, begin to carve the jack-o’-lantern face. When complete, set aside.

 

Assemble:

1. Toss the zoodles with enough pesto to coat, and

a)    place onto a plate. Add about 8 grape tomato halves to the zoodles, and if you have it, a slice of Pink Peppercorn Vegan “Goat Cheese”. Serve immediately.

b)    Toss in the sliced tomatoes and stuff each bell pepper with zoodles and tomatoes, replacing the top of the pepper once filled.

 

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Strawberries and Cream with Figs Cheesecake

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This recipe is dedicated to my lovable and ferociously charming nephew, Logan.  I made this for his 5th birthday. He’s a big fan of all things sweet, zebra, and the color red.  With this in mind, I designed this cake accordingly.

Since my good friends at Melissa’s Produce sent me dried figs and the sweetest Harry’s Berries strawberries, I wanted to put them to good use in this recipe. I threw some figs into the crust mixture and I’m so glad I did because the combination of cheesecake and this crust was more enjoyable than my typical vegan cheesecake date-nut crust.  I grew up loving Fig Newtons, so the texture of the figs in this crust is quite nostalgic for me.  I also added strawberries to the cheesecake, which not only produced a gorgeous color and design when sliced into, it also compliments the dried fig.  Dried figs and strawberries together make a lovely flavor combination.

To give Logan some zebra stripes on his cake, I drizzled on some chocolate magic shell, and then decorated it with freeze-dried berries and a dried fig slice.  Not only is this cake pretty, it’s incredibly delicious!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

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Strawberries and Cream with Figs Cheesecake

Serves: 8

Time: 1 day

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, R

Ingredients

 

Crust:

1/4 cup raw almonds

¼ cup raw pecans

1/4 cup soft Medjool dates

¼ cup dried figs

¼ tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours, overnight is best

2 lemons, juiced

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup raw coconut nectar (or maple syrup)

 

Other Ingredients:

1 cup strawberries

 

Chocolate Magic Shell, optional:

6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

6 Tbsp cacao powder

1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 drops stevia

 

Optional Toppings:

Freeze-dried berries

Fresh or dried figs

Cacao nibs

 

Directions

1.  Place nuts, dates, and figs in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop to your desired fineness.  I prefer a finer crust over a chunky one.  Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands.  If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect.  If not, try to mix it with your hands until the mixture comes together.  Scoop out crust mixture into a 6”x6” square pan, lined with parchment paper. Or you can use a 6″ spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a 6-inch cake round lined with plastic wrap) or line a cupcake tin with plastic wrap to make 6 tartlets.  Press firmly, making sure that the edges are well-packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.

2.  If the coconut oil is solid, place the oil in a small saucepan on low heat until it becomes liquid.

3.  In the blender, place all of the filling ingredients except for the berries, and blend on high until very smooth.  This may take a couple minutes.

4.  Pour about 2/3 of the mixture into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Add the berries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth.  Pour onto the first layer of filling and smooth with a spatula.  Place in the freezer until solid, about 3 hours.

5.  To serve:

a)  The cake- Remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating.  Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.

b) The tartlets- Remove the tartlets from the freezer 30 minutes before serving and remove plastic.  Place them on a plate and serve when defrosted topped with fruit.

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6. Prepare the magic shell in a small bowl. Combine all of the ingredients, whisking them together with a fork. Sweeten to taste. Either use a spoon or a piping bag, or a plastic sandwich bag to add the magic shell to. If using a piping or sandwich bag, with scissors cut a small piece off the tip of the bag and then drizzle over the cake as you wish. Since the cake is cold, the chocolate will solidy quickly. Decorate thereafter with whatever toppings you chose to use. and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Store in the freezer if you don’t plan to eat it all in one night.

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Enjoy!

(Note: Crust will appear thinner when you make it.  I took these photos after I decided to make a thinner crust.  It’s better with a thinner crust!)

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New Video and Giveaway with Emily Turner of Gluten-free With Emily

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Emily Turner of Gluten-free With Emily and I made my Chocolate Truffle Cake recipe together in a new episode on her YouTube channel, Gluten-free with Emily. Mind you, it is my VERY FIRST live-ish video. There are some awkward moments where I struggle to find the right words, but I’m workin’ on it!  ;)

We want you to experience just how delicious the Chocolate Truffle Cake is, so we are going to give away not 1 but 2 prize packs. Each prize pack includes all of the ingredients to make the decadent yet simple Chocolate Truffle Cake! We’re even including a few cooking tools for your cooking pleasure.

Here’s what will be included in each prize pack:

Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder, Cacao Nibs, Raw Almonds

Melissa’s Produce Dates, Vanilla, Pecans and Fresh Toppings

Big Tree Farms Coconut Nectar

Kelapo Coconut Coconut Oil

Fat Daddios 6-inch round Spring Form Pan

 

To enter our contest in Instagram, simply:

1) Like this giveaway post

2) Follow @GlutenfreeWithEmily and @yvonne_deliciously_vegan

3) Tell us something about yourself

4) Tag 3 friends

 

You may enter ONCE A DAY!

You may even enter on YouTube to double your chances to win!

To enter on YouTube, simply:

1) Leave a comment on the YouTube Video. Tell us what you are doing to keep healthy this summer!

 

Contest is open worldwide and ends on Tuesday, July 21 at 11:30pm PST. Good luck!

 

Find Emily of Gluten-free With Emily Everywhere:

Gluten Free With Emily on social media

Instagram @glutenfreewithemily

Twitter @emilyglutenfree

Facebook Gluten Free With Emily 

 

Find Yvonne of My Eclectic Kitchen Everywhere:

Instagram @yvonne_deliciously_vegan

Facebook My Eclectic Kitchen App

My Eclectic Kitchen

Twitter My Eclectic Kitchen

Pinterest MyEclecticKtchn

Snap Chat: YvonneArdestani

Periscope: MyEclecticKitchen

 

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Living a Happy and Healthy Life eBook by Stephanie Yu

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About a year ago, I came across an incredibly inspiring account on Instagram.  The account is Stephanie Yu’s @happyhealthy96.  As I am already committed to eating “Raw Till Four” and following Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution principles, I completely relate to her high raw lifestyle.  She not only inspires me to eat more fruit and consume less fat, but also reminds me of why I am living a healthy lifestyle.  Stephanie is well-informed and communicates effectively in an warm, passionate, and honest way through her YouTube videos, Instagram and blog posts, and eBook.  Her eBook entitled, Living a Happy and Healthy Life, is beautifully written and is the ultimate guide for those who are transitioning to or already eating a high carb, low fat (hclf) vegan diet.  It is also for those who want to incorporate more raw foods into their existing diet, or for those who eat “Raw Till Four.”

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With Living a Happy and Healthy Life, Stephanie covers the basics of why a vegan diet is optimal for our health and why a low-fat, high-raw vegan diet is optimal for good health in a scientific way.  Not only is our consumption of certain whole foods essential to living a happy and healthy life, we learn that health is an all-encompassing concept for the wellness of our being, including our physical and mental health.  I appreciate the fact that Stephanie draws from her own experiences and through scientific explanations she explains how one can achieve overall wellness.  In addition, her photos are beautiful and help us see how we can still and should eat in abundance and deliciously in this lifestyle.

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I recommend reading Living a Happy and Healthy Life.  It contains essential information needed to embrace and thrive on a high carb, low fat lifestyle.  Stephanie is very encouraging for new and existing vegans and for those who want to prepare and cook simple delicious meals.  Her recipes are detailed, oil-free, low-fat, delicious, easy to make, and, of course, full of nutrition!

Stephanie is super informative, fun, and friendly in her writing.  You will love how genuine and passionate she is about what she shares and be inspired by her experiences to live a more healthful life.

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With this said, I’ll close with an excerpt fromLiving a Happy and Healthy Life,

“I came from a past of being underweight so this high carb vegan diet helped bring me to a healthy weight. So whether you’re under or overweight, the beauty of this diet and lifestyle is that it’s healing and optimal for everyone, and it will help restore you to your healthy weight. The reason I refer to this diet also as a lifestyle is because health is not determined simply by what you eat. There are a multitude of other factors that weigh in on someone’s overall health. This truly is a way of life, not a temporary detox diet; please try to keep that in mind. Your decision to eat healthy and live healthy should be a life long decision, and alife long journey.” – Stephanie Yu

 

Photo Credits: Stephanie Yu

 

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Chocolate-dipped Strawberries (and other fruit)

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When you want to do something thoughtful and delightful for your sweetheart or for yourself any time of the year, try this super easy treat.  You can use this recipe to dip any fruit that you wish, from strawberries, mandarin oranges, to kiwi, and pineapple!

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To add a little more excitement, sprinkle on some hemp seeds, chopped pistachios, walnuts, goji berries, or a combination of them all.  You probably already have all of these ingredients in your kitchen, so get  up and whip these up in no time!

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Have fun with it!!  Dip other fruits in chocolate!  My chocolate-dipped mandarin oranges were so delicious.  By the way, I decided to dip oranges, too, because I found both the strawberries and these delicious mandarin oranges at my local Farmers Market.  If I saw a pineapple or kiwi, I would have dipped them in chocolate, too!  If you try it, please let me know how they turned out!  Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day!

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This recipe was inspired by ingredients that Nutiva brand and Vitacost kindly sent to me.  At Vitacost, you can find a variety of Nutiva products, from hemp seeds, chia seeds, to hemp proteins and coconut oil.  Click here for a full list of Nutiva brand products at Vitacost.  Also, click on the ingredients links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make my Chocolate-dipped fruit.  

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Chocolate-dipped Strawberries (and other fruit)

Ingredients

2 cups strawberries, rinsed and dried (mandarin orange segments, pineapple, kiwi)

Optional Toppings:

Nutiva hemp seeds

pumpkin seeds, chopped

walnuts, chopped

pistachios, chopped

goji berries, chopped

Chocolate:

4 Tbsp Nutiva Coconut oil, melted

4 Tbsp cacao powder

1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 drops stevia liquid

Directions

1.  Rinse strawberries in water then wipe dry.  Alternatively, peel a mandarin orange and peel it so you get segments.  Chill in the refrigerator.

2.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

3.  If you choose to coat your chocolate-covered fruit with toppings, prepare your desired toppings, about ¾ cups worth.  Mix the toppings and place them onto a plate.  Set aside.

4.  Prepare the chocolate in a small bowl.  Combine all of the ingredients, whisking them together with a fork.  Sweeten to taste.  Put a large spoon in the bowl and place the plate with the toppings next to the bowl.

5.  Retrieve the fruit from the refrigerator.  You will need to move swiftly as you coat the fruit and dip or sprinkle them with toppings.  Please read the following instructions before coating and dipping the fruit.  With one hand, hold the fruit over the bowl of chocolate.  Using the spoon, pour the chocolate very quickly over the fruit, turning it to coat completely with chocolate.  Before the chocolate freezes, dip the fruit in the topping, rolling it to cover the chocolate with as much topping as you can.    As you roll it, use your empty hand to sprinkle more crunchy topping onto the chocolate.  Alternatively, just sprinkle the toppings on.

6.  Place the finished dipped fruit onto the half sheet pan and place them in the refrigerator immediately until set and ready to eat.

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Giveaway with Tastes Happy :)

 

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It’s giveaway time!  One of my family friends, Amanda Kim, recently opened an organic and gluten-free bakery in Washington state, called Tastes Happy! They sell food you can feel good about, using local, organic, non-gmo ingredients.  All of their goods are free of refined ingredients and they have allergy-friendly options, too.  An added bonus, they use eco-friendly packaging and labels!

I teamed up with Tastes Happy to give away the following to one lucky participant:

1) Toasted Coconut Granola

2) Chocolate Chia Granola

3) Cinnamon Raisin Granola

4) Pear Cranberry Spread

5) Pear Spread

6) Apple Cranberry Spread

7) My Eclectic Kitchen iPhone App or eBook

8) My Eclectic Kitchen organic cotton tote bag

(Yes, they are vegan!)

The granola is really yummy and perfect to top your nana ice cream, smoothie bowls, banana crunch pops, #cocoyo with! The spreads are perfect for toasts, crackers, to enjoy with vegan cheese, or to add to cocoyo, or #parfaits.

Super easy to enter. Simply:

(In Instagram)

1) Like this post, http://instagram.com/p/ynSTKXAjhV/?modal=true

2) Follow @tastes_happy and me,  @yvonne_deliciously_vegan

3) Tell us something about yourself

4) Tag 3 friends

Contest is open worldwide and ends on February 9, at 11pm.

For those who cannot wait to get their hands on Tastes Happy goodies, visit their website, www.tasteshappy.com to check out their product line, and use coupon code, ECLECTIC for 10% off your order!

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Green Smoothies and a Holiday Giveaway with JUNIEblake

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I love the holidays and I am loving my new Laura dress by JUNIEblake, a clothing line designed and manufactured in Arizona!

This dress is perfect for holiday parties, where I plan to sip on green smoothies or vegan no-egg nog.  I also plan on devouring lots of vegan sweets and savories, of course.  I can’t wait!

This is my favorite time of year because it’s the one time of year that my huge family of 5 older sisters, our husbands, their 16 kids, my mom, and our extended family get together.  I love my family and how we carry on our holiday traditions, so it’s something I look forward to every year.  Can you imagine how busy I am this time of year?  With recipe development, buying holiday gifts, and attending party after party, I barely have time to brush my hair!  Luckily, green smoothies are a cinch to make–you’ll see when I share my recipe, below.

When JUNIEblake sent me the Laura dress, I was so ecstatic because I haven’t had time to shop for myself.  It was such a wonderful gift–just what I needed!

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I partnered up with my friends at JUNIEblake to give a special gift to one of you.  If you’d also like to own this dress or any of their other modest holiday dresses or clothes, enter our giveaway to win a $30 gift card in time for the holidays!  You can even give the $30 gift card to someone special as a holiday present!  Here are all of the details.

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This is mainly an Instagram contest, but you can also enter on Facebook and Twitter.  The contest is open worldwide and ends on December 20 at 11pm PST.  The winner will be chosen randomly via the #MEKGiveaway hashtag!  Get posting and good luck!

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More on the Laura dress.  What I love about it is the fabric.  The gold shimmers and shines, making it very festive.  I also like the pleats in the front and back of the dress.  If you happen to overeat at a party, like I will sometimes do, the pleats can hide any sign of belly bulge.  Speaking of bulge, when I’m away from home, I will sometimes accidentally  consume gluten, which makes me severely bloated (I can look 5 months pregnant), so the pleats can help hide a bloated belly, too!  As you can see, this dress is a win all around–it’s a comfy, warm fabric, it’s stylish, and it just screams holiday party!  If you prefer more color, search JUNIEblake‘s website for more styles!

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Now, here is my green smoothie recipe.  My husband and I have 16 ounces of it every morning for breakfast, at least 30 minutes after we enjoy our warm lemon water.

There are so many health benefits that we can reap from these green smoothies.  Just to name a few– beautiful skin, less puffiness around the eyes, calcium, iron from the dark leafy greens; parsley and cilantro pulls heavy metals out of fat cells; fiber and electrolytes from the celery; and lemon is packed with vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron in the greens and  helps support the liver, our main fat-burning organ

My green smoothies will keep you full in the morning or afternoon and will give you all the nutrients you need.  Just a note, I also have another 16 ounces as an afternoon snack on some days.  It is like fuel, so energizing!

This recipe is my adaptation of Kimberly Snyder’s glowing green smoothie that Peyman likes best.  I hope you try it and love it as much as we do!

Cheers!

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Green Smoothie

Servings: 4

Time: 7 minutes

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, SRF, NF, CF, R

 

Ingredients (all organic). 

2 cups of filtered water

1 handful of cilantro

1 head of romaine lettuce, base cut off

2-3 big handfuls of spinach or kale

4 stalks of celery

1 gala apple

1 ripe pear

1 ripe banana (spotted)

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp of turmeric, optional

1 tsp spirulina, optional

Directions

In a blender, add 2 cups of water, cilantro, romaine and spinach.  Cover and blend from medium to high just until it is completely blended.  Add more spinach and water if it looks too thick.  Blend from medium to high speed.  Add the celery, apple (seeds removed), pear (seeds removed), banana, turmeric, spirulina and lemon juice.  Blend from medium to high speed until smooth.  Enjoy!

I hope you’ll try this recipe and get inspired to start your days with my green smoothies!

 

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Photo Credit: Riva Takahashi

 

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Giveaway Contest & Interview with Jazmyn Smith

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I teamed up with Jazmyn Smith for giveaway to celebrate the launch of her new website, Raising Vegans!  This fantastic prize pack includes the following:

1 – Your choice of a My Eclectic Kitchen iTunes app or eBook

2 – Blood Tight Apparel tote bag of your choice

3 – Vegan Sidekick  1st edition comic book

4 – Best Simpsons pin that ever was!

 

Super Simple Rules:

1. Repost the giveaway photo

2.  Follow and tag @yvonne_deliciously_vegan and @raisingvegans

3. Hashtag #veggengiveaway and #vegan

The winner will be selected randomly via the #veggengiveaway hashtag!  The contest runs until Friday, December 12 at 11pm PST.  You may enter once a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well!  Get posting and good luck!

My Facebook: My Eclectic Kitchen App & My Eclectic Kitchen

My Twitter: My Eclectic Kitchen

 

I interviewed Jazmyn the other day, so you can get to know who is behind this giveaway and the new Raising Vegans blog!

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Name: Jazmyn Smith

Origin: Australian

Current city: Brisbane, Queensland
Occupation: During my pregnancy and for the past six months since giving birth to our precious baby boy, I have had time to improve and expand upon my passion for all things food! I’ve been spending time experimenting and crafting unique recipes, not only for our new website but for our ultimate goal of opening our town’s first ever Vegan restaurant. It’s an inspiring time of rapid personal growth, for sure!

Can you describe your lifestyle and food philosophy?
I am still young – I come from a childhood of meat and 3 veg, like most other Australians. It has only really been in the past two or three years that I have started paying attention to the important role food plays, and so my ideas and comfort zones are forever changing. Alas, my food philosophy is also forever shifting, but always toward a more minimalistic and nutritious one – especially stemming from the thought ‘would I feed that to my baby?’. If the answer is no, then it’s probably not such a great option for us either. For example, I used to be pretty flexible with buying generic pastas, breads and rice – whereas now, wholemeal is my go to. That’s a small example, but it sums up that gradual improvement of our family’s diet pretty well.
If it’s not nourishing your body, and if it’s not made with love, enthusiasm, and conciousness, then I don’t believe it’s worth ingesting. A high quality, nutrient dense diet is too important, for all its ripple effects, to shrug off as ‘someone else’s lifestyle’.

Have you always been living this way or what triggered the change?
Absolutely not! Though I had been a vegetarian on and off through primary and high school, I had no solid foundation to grow from. All I knew was that eating animals felt wrong – but it was 100% ‘normal’; even now I don’t know many vegetarian/vegans in my immediate social group or family. As a young kid, all I had was my instincts, and it took time to grow to trust them, as well as to educate myself enough on the farming industry so that my instincts evolved into beliefs and truths. I made the final decision to follow a vegan diet when I had moved out of home when I was almost 16. I had just moved away from my step fathers dairy farm. I have never looked back. My health improved beyond belief and my passion for veganism has only grown with each year that’s passed. I believe that many young children feel this way about consuming meat – that’s why vegetarianism is a ‘phase’ that many of them test. However, without education and support from those around them, they may never reach that final turning point, where the switch just flicks, and one realises, ‘ah, that’s what’s wrong with it all!’

Have you noticed any changes in your life when eating a more plant-based diet?
Within the first year of becoming a vegan, I lost 25kg! I had been obese for my childhood and teenage years up until that point. I also struggled with deep mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and symptoms of schizophrenia – all which I took medication for, and all which I no longer need medication for! I could attribute these improvements to a few lifestyle changes, but none more so than changing to a plant based diet. It only makes sense that if you take care of yourself, your body, mind and spirit will respond accordingly.

Besides health aspects, there are social observations which I think every vegan realises at one point or another. I could write a book about those, but let me sum it up by saying that we have so much capability as a species, but equal amounts of cognitive dissonance! Sometimes it is a very hard truth to live alongside, other times it is a source of encouragement for working that little bit harder to spread the vegan message.

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Is there anything you are completely strict about when it comes to your diet and lifestyle?
Firstly, of course, animal products. There are no “what if’s” about it. I can accept that others draw their lines at certain products – eggs or honey for example, but I think it is inevitable that as you grow with your vegan lifestyle, that it should only become more refined, and the difficulty of breaking attachments to certain foods dies away. Lifestyle wise, my strongest belief is to surround yourself with those who enhance your best attributes and who make you feel good. I won’t tolerate people or groups who have a negative affect on myself or my family. Life is too short to waste on those kinds of things – fill every day with love, give and take as much as you can from those who mean the most! Be kind and expect it in return. Etc etc!

Where do you find inspiration and motivation to keep living your healthy lifestyle?
As my healthy lifestyle is greatly linked to my love for cooking, I find that the most part of my inspiration comes from taking a trip to the health food store and finding a new ingredient that I haven’t worked with before. There are some wonderful, strange things tucked away on the highest shelves and the quite dark corners of those places, I tell you! Other times, it’ll be the weather. The weather is a fantastic point of direction for what I feel like eating – it’s Spring here in Australia at the moment, and while I’ve never followed a raw food diet, I’ve never eaten so many creative, colourful, beautiful raw recipes in my life than I have this season! Other sources include different patterns (‘what’s a recipe that would match this fabric?’) or scouting through the many incredible home cooks on Instagram. All of these things invigorate and motivate me to continue with my food journey!

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Would you say that your way of eating and living have affected you on your spiritual path? (if so, in what way?)
(Tree hugging vegan alert)
Oh, is there anything better than sitting in the sun with a belly full of fresh fruit and meditating while the breeze rolls around you and nature sings!? (Not many things, I’m sure!) I’d say that in that sense, a plant based diet has shaken up many of my preconceptions about life here on earth. I’ve not been devout to any faith in my life, excluding when I was a child being raised by Anglicans, but I do feel that the deeper my appreciation for wholesome, natural foods grows, my appreciation for the earth it came from grows, too. The earth and it’s nature is where I place my greatest respect and devotion.

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How do you handle social situations as being vegan? (Do you find it difficult? Please share your some advice how to handle social situations)

Growing up, I have always been somewhat assertive and vocal in my belief for justice – but only in recent years have I refined those things to work for me, and not against me. My passion for veganism began in high school, and we all had Facebook, which was great for sharing my thoughts on all these new things I was learning (okay, perhaps I have been a little more ‘militant vegan’ in the past), but it was not so well received by peers. I completed high school in a right wing, rural farming community, which I think links to the attitudes and intentional opposition toward my veganism that I received at every turn for a long time. I don’t want to lump everyone who comes from those backgrounds into one basket, as I have certainly seem some of those who most opposed my views transform and do 180 turns on their own views over the years, but I believe that in general it had a lot to do with it. I would post a status with some information on the farming industry and would then have to spend the evening debating with three or four individuals about literally any argument you’ve ever heard against veganism. It was a really trying learning curb for me, as I didn’t have all the answers back then, nor the emotional capacity to not take it all to heart. I find now though, especially since I have found my life partner who is also a passionate vegan, that the more comfortable and confident I am with my reasons for being a vegan, the more others accept it, some even are inspired, and some even have thanked me for being their guide into veganism. Family has been the toughest crowd to have ‘the vegan conversation’ with, though I hear this is quite common. Generally now, I try to avoid meals with my family if I know that there is a lot of non-vegan food involved, and that is not to say that I don’t wish to be spending time with them, for I love them dearly, it is just to avoid the frustration and emotional struggles I encounter when seeing others consume meat based meals. The world is increasingly becoming more comfortable with the ideals of vegans, and I think it will only be easier for each new generation to be accepted for their beliefs on this matter. My only advice to other vegans would be to continue to educate yourself, and when you do find yourself being asked questions by those around you, respond diplomatically and matter of fact-ly. It is an important topic, that’s for sure, but we needn’t start wars over it. Stay peaceful, stay switched on – the world will catch up.

What ingredients are must-haves for your fridge and pantry?
Currently, 1kg buckets of hummus (yes, we have them here!), nutritional yeast, cous cous and bananas are staples that we are never without. I feel that hemp seeds and saurkraut are about to make their way on to that list shortly.

How do you keep your energy level high throughout the whole day?
I’ve found that the most effective addition to a nutritous plant based diet for keeping yourself feeling energised through the day is to drink water at every chance you have. I actually have a couple of rules for myself that help to remember to drink enough water: ‘never turn down a glass of water if someone offers it’, and to only ever purchase water as opposed to other beverages when travelling or out shopping etc. Also, find a unique water bottle that you really love – this will make keeping it around more of a priority.

When looking back, could you give three changes you have done in your life that has shifted your life to new levels? (and what it has done to you)
First, and perhaps most importantly, my move from home to independence at a young age. I believe this was the ultimate test of becoming aware of myself, which was necessary to survive back then. As I said before, if you are not surrounded by people who mean the most to you and bring out all the good in you, then you are probably wasting a good part of your life that you will not get back! Find your safe, happy space, and watch how much you flourish. Secondly, my transition to veganism, for all reasons mentioned above! And lastly, my decision to have a son with my incredible partner. Mothering is a natural extension of my compassion, empathy and patience, and it only builds these traits stronger. Plus, how cute are babies?! Especially ours, and I’m pretty sure that’s not even bias.

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What are your daily health routines?
As well as nourishing ourselves with good quality foods, my partner and I train weights together most nights. He is far more experienced in this than I am, and has been ridiculously helpful and encouraging with my journey into it. It is an incredible blessing to have someone who knows what they’re talking about there to guide me from the start and through every new level that I reach. Training weights is an incredibly important physical feat, and I am glad to see the outdated attitude that ‘weights are for men, cardio is for women’ is shifting and balancing out. Yoga however is my personal favourite. I only started six months ago after giving birth to Finn, but it has already taught me so much about the importance of physical and mental strength, balance and focus.

Your top 5 tips to stay happy, healthy and beautiful! (and a short description to each)
1. Be honest with yourself – One gift that I have been given from some time in my early years is a fantastic ability to self reflect. I believe that it can be learnt and utilised, but the most important thing in self reflection is being able to be really honest with yourself. Once you can do this, you will make better, healthier choices in all aspects of your life.
2. Be good to others – Do unto others what you would want for yourself. No random act of kindness has ever been worthless. It is amazing what you will discover in some people if you give them the chance to feel loved and appreciated! Plus, it will always make you feel good!
3. Learn more about food – there are libraries full of information about food and what eating it means for your own personal health and wellbeing. This information grows by the day. Pick up a food, google the heck outta it, and there’s your starting point. You’ll find more questions to ask about your food with each new piece of information you come across. So much to know, so much room to improve!
4. Become a food minimalist – by this I mean, reduce the pre-packed, processed stuff! Make your condiments from scratch, buy your produce fresh, and if buying packaged goods always choose the brand with the least additives.
5. Never stop trying new things – there are infinite adventures to be had. You have an unknown number of pages to be filled in your book. Never stop exploring, experimenting and getting out of your comfort zone – don’t leave a half written story!

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What kind of advice would you give anyone wanting to become a healthier and happier person but doesn´t know where to start?
Education is key, I will say it a million more times before I die, because a million more people are going to say ‘I want to get healthy, but I have no idea how to!’. The internet, though not always 100% accurate or conclusive, is a great tool for learning, no matter where you’re starting from. I believe that true happiness starts with good health. Focus on a nutrient dense, plant based diet, learn how to cook and then cook what you love, and you will be sewing the seeds for happiness.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger self any wise words, what would you say?
You will have absolutely no use for knowing how to code your myspace profile in 5 years. Please, step away from the computer!

What´s your favorite quote? (and shortly why!)
‘Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day’

Instagram: @raisingvegans

Website: raisingvegans.jimdo.com (SHORTLY TO BE) raisingvegans.com.au

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