The MaE Deli…a Vegans Dream…

If you’re a whole food lover then you might want to stick around for this one. Or even if you just love food. And we’re talking all food that’s vegan, gluten free, nutritious and god damn tasty.

Situated in the heart of London, in Seymour Place lies the one of three MaE Deli’s by deliciously Ella. With a beautiful interior you’ll feel right at home with their contrast of a modern vintage design, with worn wooden chairs and tables, a cute selection of cacti and some old-school books lying on the shelves. Not to mention the colourful food that will fill your stomach with a hug of content and leave you feeling energised and ready for absolutely anything.

Open from 8am to 9pm weekdays and 9am-9pm on weekends, the deli has you covered for anything. Pop in before 11am and discover the dreamiest of breakfasts. I picked up the acai bowel, with their homemade granola, coconut yoghurt and homemade almond butter along with peanut butter on toasted rye bread. Simply delicious. Grab yourself a coffee made with either coconut or brown rice milk. That’s right! No animals were harmed in the making of your breakfast or your coffee.

If you’re looking for something hearty, head in for some lunch or dinner and grab some beautifully cooked butterbean and cauliflower falafels, roasted sweet potato with coriander tahini, Tuscan bean stew served with brown rice and courgette and sweet potato stew. Just beautiful. For the full menu head to their website here.

If you’re looking for something to sweeten your taste buds you absolutely must try the fudge brownies or the blueberry muffin! Vegan and gluten free and to die for! 

So if you ever find yourself strolling through London, be sure to check in to the deli and you won’t be disappointed.

Lush Lovin…

Recently I’ve taken the decision to be kinder to myself. Give myself more time to relax, focus on me, and we all know what means. Bath time. I’m a big lover for Lush. I love their ethics, their products, and most importantly, the smell of the shop as you walk in. Lush.

img_3222_fotor

img_3223_fotor

So I’ve found myself buying more of their products recently, and really taking the time to appreciate what they’re doing for my body. I was able to get my hands on The Comforter, with thanks to my kind Sister who treated me. This guy is just so nice. It comes as a big bar that you can break off into pieces, which you can then run under the tap for your bath and you’re pretty much in a bubble blanket of heaven. With heavenly calm aromas, it leaves the water a nice pink colour which you can soak in and cleanse your body and mind. Definitely the ultimate bath product.

I then picked up some bath oils, which just smelt delicious. The Melting Marshmallow Moment (left picture) is sweet and smooth. With ingredients like almonds, to hydrate the hair and skin, from virgin coconut oil to really sooth and moisturise the body, this oil will melt away your troubles as you melt into the goodness. I also picked up the You’ve Been Mangoed. This guy is just full of rich fruity mango and avocado butter, lemon grass and lime oils, which really help to liberate your senses and give you that extra dose of energy you’ve been missing. I loved this product!

Since going Vegan, I’ve been slowly turning my make up and beauty products into Vegan ones. I then thought about shampoo and conditioner and I’ve been on the hunt for something that’s going to wash my hair, and leave it feeling clean and full of life. I came across the 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner bar, Godiva. This fella takes me back to Vietnam, with the beautiful scent of Jasmine and the different oils and butters which help to condition the hair. It leaves my hair feeling so fresh, soft and clean, and smelling so so good.

Next up is the Dream Cream Hand and Body Lotion. This stuff is just lovely. It’s so soothing and rich, that I feel I’m having a big hug when I apply it. It’s great for dry skin, which I have on my hands due to the cold weather. The ingredients are so dreamy, with oat milk to help moisturise the skin, calming chamomile and organic cocoa butter that soothes and calms the skin. Just perfect. And it also smells heavenly. But we knew that was always going to be the case with Lush.

img_3232_fotor

Raw Vegan Non Bake Brownies…

So you know when you get those people who go ‘you’re vegan? What do you even eat?’ Well…

IMG_2895_Fotor

I may or may have not made some brownies, which are 100% Vegan, and 100% raw and healthy. O h m e o h m y…I stumbled upon the Minimalist Baker [who i’ve officially fallen in love with because she’s an absolute babe] who I found through Pinterest on how to make vegan non bake brownies. After loosely following her recipe which you can find here. I tried to recreate her beautiful little wonders.

IMG_2896_Fotor

IMG_2908_Fotor

The recipe is really easy to follow and so so quick, and as long as you have some sort of food processor or blender, you are on your way. The ingredients are also really easy to get hold of. I braved a busy Saturday tesco shop and was able to get all the ingredients and make the brownies within an hour! I also added some chai seeds into the mix, just because…well chai seeds are essential no? But apart from that everything was pretty bang on.

Oh did I mention they also taste incredible? No? They taste incredible 😉

IMG_2904_Fotor

Ingredients

BROWNIES
  • 1 cup (93 g) + 1/2 cup (47 g) raw walnuts, divided + more for topping
  • 1 cup (150 g) raw almonds
  • 2 1/2 cups (~425 g / 15 ounces) dates, pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain)
  • 3/4 cup (60 g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp cacao nibs + more for topping
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
GANACHE FROSTING
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) almond milk
  • 1 cup (~175 g) dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or sub vegan butter), melted
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

You can find all the instructions and more pictures on her page which will definitely make you want to make some of your own. Thanks Dana!

The Vegan Files…6 Months In…

I can’t quite believe that it was 6 months ago I decided to cut out all animal products from my diet and become a Vegan. Where on earth has that gone?!

So how are things? For me now, being a Vegan is just who I am. At first I remember it felt like this crazy diet I had started, or weird phase where I’d be thinking ‘okay day 4 I can do this’ to then counting the weeks, and feeling sad when I couldn’t have a caramel shortbread that I used to love so much at work. But now, it’s just my lifestyle. I don’t head to the chocolate isle anymore, and if I do I go for oreos [oh me oh my thank you oreos]. Checking packets of products for their ingredients is second nature also, and it’s helped me look at what other ingredients are in food that we eat which has proven to be quite interesting. So that’s the biggest thing for me. I’ve actually gone this far not consuming anything from an animal. It’s not something really to be proud of because I believe it should be that way anyway, but I am because it has been pretty difficult.

The hardest aspect of this I would say has been finding the motivation to actually get up and research new meals and ideas and actually make them. I often find myself making a tasty meal and then when I actually sit down to eat it I’m not that hungry anymore. But I have been loving experimenting different ideas with breakfast which I live for. Especially porridge made with almond milk and infused with peanut butter, or acai bowels [DAYUM].

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 11.03.03

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 11.03.29

As for little sweet cravings that won’t go away, try pure dark chocolate, the higher percentage the coco rating the better, topped with some peanut butter. Or just fruit. Especially strawberries and blueberries, they instantly satisfy me if I’m craving something sweet. Places to eat? Five guys do a veggie burger that’s purely just vegetables in a bun. A lot of places do pizza and nine times out of ten their dough will be vegan too, and just order no cheese. Pizza Express do lovely pizza’s which can easily be made vegan. Bill’s Restaurant is a personal favourite, and they have a good range of vegan food there, or dishes which can be made vegan. Nando’s believe it or not do a great Quinoa salad which includes sweet potato, sunflower seeds, avocados etc. I get this every time I go to Nando’s and just swap the feta for some hummus. YoSushi is also great for Vegans. They have lots of great plates on their menu and they highlight dishes which are vegan. And of course, if I happen to be in a city wandering, I will almost always go to Pret. How can I not? Their range of vegan foods is great. So healthy, natural and tasty. And their soya lattes are great too.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 11.03.46

As for other things, such as make up…I’m slowly starting to introduce beauty products that are animal friendly into my stash. With having so much make up and beauty products, and few pennies, it’s difficult to instantly cut all of that out. So my next goal throughout the next 6 months is to cut out any products that are not animal friendly, and learn and research into brands which are strictly non animal testing.If you have any recommendations that would be great too!

So that’s pretty much where I’m at at the moment.

The Vegan Files: 1 Month in…

Having been Vegetarian for a good few years now, and by vegetarian I mean no meat what so ever, that also includes fish…because some people still go to me ‘you still have fish though right?’ Back when in my first year of being veggie, I would have given them that lecture about how fish is also meat and that they are animals too, but now I just sigh or laugh it off with them. But inside, I’m secretly judging them for mistaking fish for not being meat…

Did I find going veggie hard? Not one bit. Honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss some things in a sense, but nothing to get me to actually go ahead and make or eat something with meat. No way. And honestly, I can see myself living the rest of my days as a vegetarian at least. What made me start? Animals. Pure and simple. I didn’t really eat that much meat anyway, just really chicken and bacon. I wasn’t adventurous with food. In fact going vegetarian saved me in the ways of food. I remember counting calories like no tomorrow when I wasn’t vegetarian and watching more so what I ate and with that and other things I became obsessed. But since going vegetarian I’ve become healthier, and made healthier choices with food because I just had to.

But Animals were the real reason behind my lifestyle change. Personally, I just don’t believe in animals being used for our satisfaction that probably lasts for around 10 minutes depending on how quickly you eat your meaty meal. Please don’t take this as a preach for animal rights or anything like that, I hate feeling like I’m forcing my opinion onto others, and that it’s my way or the highway kinda thing it’s not like that. One thing that does make me chuckle when I’m eating around others, is how conscious some of them are towards me. I try not to make a big deal about me having a different diet through choice. I hate being that customer at the restaurant that makes picky changes to my meal, and not going to certain places because they don’t do much veggie options etc. But it’s kind of part of the deal now and I’ve learnt to cope with it, as annoying as it can be sometimes when they give me that look and walk off to the chef. Sorry! But people become very conscious of what they eat around me when they eat meat. Which is lovely because the majority of the time, it’s because they don’t want me to feel uncomfortable. But sometimes it’s like they’re saying sorry to me…Which is funny because I just think if you’re going to say sorry, it should be to the dead animal you’re currently tucking into…Too much? Which makes me wonder if people do consider going vegetarian because they’re aware that they’re eating animals that have been slaughtered, but maybe are too scared to try new things with food…?

But anyway, I’m supposed to be talking about how my first month of being Vegan is going. And in a nutshell, I’d say pretty well. In some ways, I can’t believe I’ve gone this far and not cracked! I knew it would be hard, and it has in some parts. Mostly when I’m in work, and I’m staring at the cakes filled with dreamy milk chocolate, oozing with ingredients which definitely aren’t vegan-friendly. Or when I’m going out for a meal and I have to be even pickier now, especially when 9 times out of 10 the vegetarian options focus their meals around cheese. Which is fine. But then you realise you don’t even like cheese. Not that cool. So in some places it’s like you get handed a plate of leaves, which again is cool if you like that kind of stuff, but come on! Give me something here that I can work with?! Where’s the falafel? Where’s the hummus or quinoa? Let me make it! But then you find places which are so vegan friendly you want to go round hugging everyone.

There have been nights where I’ve craved some dairy milk chocolate, or some of mums left over christmas cake. But then I’ve just thought about why I’m doing this. Animals aren’t just used for meat. They’re hurt in other ways just so you can have the milk in your tea, or the egg in your lemon cake. Oooo lemon cake. Focus Charlotte. But in all seriousness, after reading different articles and books based around veganism, those thoughts instantly make not having that piece of dairy milk worth it. Plus, I love pure dark chocolate and soya milk in my tea. So who’s the real winner here?

What about the body benefits? Well, I do feel different in some ways. I’ve got more energy and I surprisingly don’t feel so overtired all the time like I have done a lot in the recent months. I feel lighter. Is that a thing? All bloating around my stomach is decreasing which is so nice, because I really struggled with bloating, so maybe cutting out dairy was very good step for me to make. I feel that I’ve maybe lost a little weight, but nothing majorly visible, just little places that I’ve noticed, and some clothes I’ve found are looser and actually fit now, which is a nice little confidence boost. My skin feels different. Smoother and hydrated. And CLEAR! Obviously, I get my breakouts when mother nature decides to make her monthly call. But for so long I’ve really struggled with my skin on my face. I’ve struggled with severe acne, and dryness and everything that could take away every inkling of your confidence away. I’ve got scars that obviously won’t leave but, since trying the vegan diet, I have noticed my skin clearing, and the spots aren’t anywhere near as bad as they were, and I can only put that down to eating so many greens and taking in so many different nutrients every day! Also with the help of drinking more water, and having a skin routine.

So on a whole, I am kind of loving it. I’m not saying I’m going to do this forever, but I’m going to give it a good go. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself because this is a big step, and it may lead to other lifestyle choices like how animals are used with make up and clothes etc. Which you know me, could be VERY difficult…Because I looooooove the make up…Here’s to month 2!

 

Quick and Easy Vegan Meal for One…

I’m going to be honest here, I’m not as healthy as I should be or have been. I used to exercise religiously 4-5 times a week, eat 3 square meals a day and eat healthy snacks in-between. Somehow, in the last year I’ve fallen off that slope and spiralled into skipping meals, snacking a lot but not substantially and not exercising as much as I should. After a lot of thought I’ve decided to give myself a kick up the backside, and make more effort into my health. I’ve always wanted to be a committed vegan, and after being a committed vegetarian for a few years now, why the hell not go the full hog? No puns intended on that one…

So, want to read about a super quick and super yummy meal that may happen to just be vegan?

This one is simple and I was surprised at how good I felt after having it. Yes, I’m now kicking myself that I hadn’t done this whole healthy eating again sooner, but the main thing is I’m doing it now right?

So all you shall need for this little beauty would be, a sweet potato, vegetables of your choice. I personally went for half a red pepper, some red onion, a clove of garlic, and some spinach and cucumber thrown in there two. Oh, and also some sexy salsa! Whilst the sweet potato cooks in the microwave…[told you it was a quickie] you might want to dice all of your veg and wack that into the frying pan. I didn’t use any oil or anything, but if you’re into that, you might want to wack that into the pan at this time too. After those vegetables start sizzlin’ I added some mild salsa into the mix to shake it up a little, whilst doing some salsa myself by the stove, but that step is optional… as well as adding some mixed herbs during each spin. Ding. My sweet potato is done, and so is my veg! Next step is to plate up, possibly add some pepper and a spinach leaf for garnish if you want to be fancy and enjoy.

It’s not much and I know that I’m no pro at cooking or anything, but it’s a start for me and I really enjoyed it. Go on you know you wanna try it, just look how pretty she looks…

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset