Choices

It isn’t easy to be a student and a vegan at the same time. NOT (as people assume) because its more expensive – it isn’t – or because of any craving for meat or cheese. Its simply because of the incredulity faced on a daily basis:
“You’re a vegan?!”
“…What, so no meat? And no cheese either? …What about milk?!”
“What do you even eat?!”

This gets old very quickly.

YES, I’m a vegan. NO I don’t eat meat, cheese, or drink milk – I don’t consume anything taken from animals because that is my choice. And there’s plenty to eat, thank you very much. People managed very well before they started tugging at the udders of other species for their food sources.

The question ‘why’ is the worst. I find it hard to explain in a way that won’t seem argumentative, so I’ve settled for “Because I prefer it.”

Simple.

I feel good on a vegan diet – better by far than I ever did before, and I’m a lot healthier. Fair enough, I have a cold as I type this, but we’re all going to get colds. We aren’t machines. The point is that this is my first cold in over a year. This in turn benefits my singing immensely as I’m not performing on sore throats and stuffed up sinuses on a regular basis.

So, world, yes I’m vegan. Why? Because I prefer it.

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Vegan Abroad

I promised pictures would follow, and so they shall!
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That was taken in the Alcazar Gardens – by FAR my favourite part of the trip! Oh it was so beautiful I could have stayed there forever! My friend and I just breathed in the air there and felt so, so wonderful. Stayed for hours just meandering.

My favourite meal, ironically in a Steakhouse, was one that I went on to recreate when we went on to Seville and had our own apartment. I just fell in love with the sweetness of the couscous, with the tangy chilli and gorgeous veg!
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Here’s the recipe:

1. In a saucepan, heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, a dash of chilli powder, a dash of almond milk, and a handful of sesame seeds.
2. In another prepare the cous-cous, cooking till fluffy and at the same time frying up whichever vegetables you choose in some olive oil.
3. Once the veg is crisping up (I used onion, aubergine, courgette, mushrooms and peppers) toss it and the cous-cous in with the sauce and mix it all together. Serve hot and enjoy with a glass of Sangria, preferably!

Fruit, in Spain. Is beautiful. Honestly, the colours are breathtaking – like precious gems! Breakfast for me every day was a gorgeous fruit platter that erased any evil from the night before!
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Nothing gears me up for the day like fruit. Since being home I’ve been making breakfast salads with an approximation of the honey sauce from above, but cold, and chopped up apple in with the lettuce instead of veg.

Soon I’ll be starting music college – within the next week – and last night was the first of what will be many house parties this year, so I’m a little worse for wear! Not as bad as my housemates though as they’re still in bed! The perfect healthy hangover food for me was a minestrone soup that I made and froze a couple of days ago:

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil,
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp basil,
1/2 tsp oregano
5 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 courgettes, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (of choice – I actually used chickpeas)
3 cups chopped spinach
2 tbsps. parsley, minced

Methhod:
1. In a big pot heat the oil and then add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cover and cook until softened.
2. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add courgette and beans then cook until courgette is softened.
4. Stir in spinach and simmer till wilted, then add parsley just before serving.

TRY IT! So good 🙂

I leave you with a picture of beautiful Seville. Have a wonderful day! x

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Spanish Ladies

So, I have not posted for a while. I shall now divulge the reason. Pretend you didn’t already guess from the title of this post.
I’VE BEEN IN SPAIN!

Let me tell you now, Spain is amazing. Truly, utterly amazing! I loved it. I soaked up the sun like a sponge along with the culture, which my friend and I embraced wholeheartedly. We had siesta’s and everything! And ate dinner past ten pm! It was fabulous.

The most difficult thing to be honest was maintaining my vegan diet. Spanish food is decidedly un-vegan. If it doesn’t have meat, there’s fish, and if not fish, there is undoubtedly cheese. And sometimes they don’t seem happy about taking the cheese out on request. I was met with many blank looks when I asked! Oh well though, I got by, and I didn’t digress from my veganism once, about which I am very proud!

A question I get asked a lot is how I get enough energy from my food. (I have a somewhat manic lifestyle). It’s a question I don’t really understand however, as to my way of thinking I get natural energy from everything I eat! And of COURSE I’m going to ultimately feel better after a bowl of quinoa, hoummous and avocado, than after a cheeseburger and chips.

For example, the day I travelled to Spain, I had a cup of nettle tea and a bowl of granola with almond milk, and it saw me through without a hitch! I just took some raw cashews to snack on, and I was raring to go!

So good for you!

So good for you!

Cashews have an insane amount of health benefits; such a superfood. From fighting cancer to maintaining a healthy heart, I have a lot of love for them. They’re also lower in fat than most nuts, which is a plus, and what they do have is considered good fat.
I have to say, I am a fan of Tapas in general! Lots of vegetables 🙂 In particular I loved the Spinach and Chickpea stew option, and the roasted vegetables in olive oil. They were a staple to my trip, and I’m planning on recreating the stew! I also had fried aubergine cakes which were DELICIOUS!

It’s difficult to maintain health sometimes on holiday, but this trip wasn’t a problem for me (apart from a little too much tinto de verano!) as I went running every other morning and kept to my mostly plant based diet.

Mostly for breakfast it was delicious fresh fruit and fresh passion fruit juice, which was a treat. Then tapas at around 4 pm, followed by dinner whenever we felt like it.

My friend is definitely NOT vegan, but actually the best vegan meal I ate there was at a steakhouse she made me go into! I had a cous-cous dish with roasted veg and a beautiful honey sauce that was to die for! Steaming hot and so wonderful! Another dish I must recreate.

In my next post a recipe will follow, actually, as well as some others I picked up, and lots of pictures!

Over x

Recent Culinary Exploits

Oh dear. My contribution to this blog has been rather lack-lustre lately! I started it at a rather fragile time, I suppose, and there’s been a lot going on.

HOWEVER

I am feeling good, getting all geared up to go to Bikram Yoga in a couple of hours, and about to share with you my new favourite thing:

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This raw ‘mayo’ blend is SO delicious and super healthy! I nabbed the recipe from an amazing blog called ‘This Rawsome Vegan Life’ – http://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/2013/04/potato-salad-with-cilantro-dill.html – and just adore it. On salad, with crudite’s, on crackers, this tastes good with everything, and it’s so easy to make. I’m in love! And good thing to because I’m done falling in love with people for a while after Army Boy fiasco.

Yeesh.

But anyway, to make this jar of yummy good stuff simply blend 1/2 cup cashews, 2 tbsps mustard, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 2 garlic cloves, juice from 2 lemons and as much water as you need or want. I used hardly any and I also added in a little grated ginger because I love it with chilli.

Do your thing, right? 🙂

In other news:

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Yum.

Can’t remember how I made these, but they had dark  chocolate and almonds in and they. were. awesome.

I am in the process of creating a gluten-free cookbook type thing for one of the older women at work who is singularly lovely and struggling to keep to the diet that’s best for her health – pictures to come…I got all creative! Nearly done.

For now, I must go, but more to come soon concerning a three-day-a-week raw food plan and why being nutritionally minded can be a virtue and a vice and everything in between.

Over. Bikram awaits.

xx

In The Beginning

I don’t suppose, in this world of media, of updating constantly, discovery and re-appraisal, that I can have anything new to say! It seems very arrogant of me to assume, furthermore, that people will want to read my musings, but I feel so inspired to share them that I’m going to disregard that and soldier on.

So, after that negative start…hello!

I’ll try to give you an idea of who I am because I think it would be odd, reading the words of a stranger. I recently turned 19 and am living at home after two years away at music school. I suppose I’m on a Gap Year technically, though I’m not doing much travelling. (I decided to work instead, you see, to help my parents pay for the next stage of my education.) So in a rather bizarre turn of events I’m currently a receptionist, which isn’t weird in itself, but seems very random to those who know me. I’m extremely disorganized and rather haphazard, and put that together with ‘I’m training to be an Opera Singer’…well, you get the picture. It surprised a lot of my friends.

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But such is life.

So yes, life. In September I will be attending the Royal Academy of Music in London as a Mezzo-Soprano which I’m incredibly excited about! Music is a passion I feel very lucky to have and I’m very grateful for whatever it is that made me start singing. I can be so focused on it, and in the best moments feel wrapped up in the music. Of course I can’t acheive that all the time. A lot of the time I tend to feel frustrated with my voice for not meeting my own (unrealistic) standards, but that is the same for anybody with any skill. I am glad of that mindset as it means I am always striving to improve, express and communicate.

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I am religious but not in the ordinary sense. For most of my life I was a Christian, but as I grew older I grew unsure. A lot of things in the bible didn’t make sense to me and I found myself unable to relate with God…he was an idea. For me, I realize now, worship and faith has to be centered in what I know and can feel. So two years ago, whilst drinking herbal tea with friends, I voiced this. One of those friends asked me if I could explain what I did believe in, which I attempted to do. At the end of my rambling speech about beliving in what is real but mystical she summarized that it sounded a lot like Paganism.

Bingo.

It felt immediately like something had clicked into place for me. Nature has always been a huge part of my life. Loving it has always been a huge part of me. I was known for going into raptures about flowers, the environment and (to a lesser extent) earth. I have always felt a strange but strong pull towards nature, like I can’t get closer enough to it.

My friend was right. I did some research…a lot of research, and discovered Pantheism.

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It wasn’t a ‘revelation’, it didn’t ‘change me’…I already was a Pantheist, I just didn’t know what to call it. Since finding out what it was called however, I have felt much more comfortable, and able to express myself in terms of it, which is always nice 🙂

I think I’ve gotten distracted actually, so back to food, though if you have questions or comments about any of that stuff go right ahead and ask.

I have an odd relationship with food.

For a couple of years I suffered with an eating disorder which sort of became a religion unto itself. Of course it didn’t disappear, and I feel it lurking still, but it is dormant. This blog is part of my attempt to keep it that way. Since discovering the true, real benefits of eating, but eating healthily, I’ve got so much better, and I want to share what I’ve learned and am learning.

Moving to Music College will be an upheaval for me, and living on a budget will make it difficult to eat well, so my worry is that I will revert back to bad-me and stop eating again. I don’t want that…I like good-me! I’ve missed her xD

I have finally understood that the body has a need for reverence, and it gives everything back that you put in.

So whilst I’m still at home, comfortable and very loved, I’m going to experiment and learn how to eat well and treat myself well, without paying stupid amounts. In short, I’m going to assert myself.

I hope you’ll stick around for recipe’s, tips, thoughts, pictures and probably at least one epiphany.

Katie x