3 Delicious Vegan Recipes

I believe in plant power. That our diet needs to include more plants, the less processed the better. The truth is the current western diet has been linked to cancer and due to globalization South Africans are eating more sausages, bacon, white bread flour, cheese etc. Animal products such as meat and dairy as well have been linked to various diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Therefore, we could all benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables, it is better for the environment as well. Paying attention to your diet is an essential component of self-love. This will help lead you to your best life, where you feel light and healthy.  

There is a misconception that meat tastes better than vegetables. This isn’t true, some of the tastiest meals I have made are vegan. Vegan means a plant-based a meal that is free of animal products, meat (including seafood), eggs and dairy. I love vegan meals, actually I used to be a full on vegan for 1 whole year. I was so dedicated, but my life went in a direction in which I felt I could not control. This made me unhappy as the plans I had for my life were abruptly halted. I was a girl, interrupted. Therefore, I had to move back home and I stopped caring for myself the way I used to. I stopped cooking for myself and ate what my mother or sister prepared. Now, I am well. I am in a place where I feel joyful, grateful and inspired every day. I did feel guilty about abandoning my plant power ideals, but now I have a more integrated approach where I eat vegan meals, not a strict vegan diet.

Photo by Shawn Fields

I love vegan meals. There is something homely about vegan food, it’s real food which is unpretentious and comforting. Vegan recipes are tasty, hearty, nourishing and keep you feeling light. I have come across some absolutely delicious vegan recipes that I can share with you. I have a few plant-based culinary creations of my own as I do enjoy cooking and preparing food. Hopefully, I can muster up the courage to transcribe and record a vlog for any who are interested. Until then I have some vegan recipes that I can vouch for. 

1Easy Szechuan Vegetable Stir-Fry by the Kale Sandwich Show

This recipe is the GOAT. Seriously it’s so good. It’s a vegetable stir fry with a peanut Szechuan sauce. This sauce the magic sauce. Szechuan or Sichuan is a Chinese province that is known for cooking food with a lot of chilli pepper and garlic. There is also the beloved Sichuan peppercorn that is used in Chinese cooking. This recipe is for stir fried vegetables and noodles. I just use spaghetti as a substitute for Chinese noodles as they are similar. You can use rice as your starch and yes I have tried this recipe with pap (maize meal) and it was good. But, I prefer the drama of rolling and or slurping the noodles/spaghetti as part of the eating experience. When following recipes don’t get discouraged by not having all the ingredients, just freestyle and look what you have in your kitchen that is similar. Also, google is your friend, search what are the substitutes for certain ingredients. 

To stir fry means to cook food with a little oil on a high temperature, a temperature so high that if you were to leave the pan (or wok) unattended the food would start to burn. Therefore, you have to continuously stir the food to prevent it from burning. What this does is add a delicious smoky flavor to the meal. It also keeps the texture of the vegetables firm to the bite and their colour remains vibrant in comparison to other forms of stove top cooking. Stir Frying also cooks the food quickly.

The Kale Sandwich Show is run by a vegan Canadian couple, they are second generation immigrants from Asia. At a certain stage they ran a restaurant and this recipe was one of the most popular at their restaurant. Di and Raj are lovable, quirky and have great taste in music. 

Ingredients for the Peanut Szechuan sauce 

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter 
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha (hot sauce)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup (In SA we call this Tomato Sauce)
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper flakes 
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely minced 
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic finely minced 

It is recommended that you use 1 tbsp of the peanut Szechuan sauce per 1 cup (128 grams or 240ml) of vegetables. You can use any vegetables you have in the fridge that you can sauté and will cook through in a short time period. In the video the Di and Raj used “a simple mix of cabbage, bell pepper, carrot, broccoli and onion but feel free to create your own medley and use any vegetables you like.”

Watch the YouTube video to see how it is prepared and follow the steps

The Kale Sandwich Show

2Ratatouille by Laura in the Kitchen

Ratatouille was one on my favourite meals to make as a university student, particularly in 2015. I actually created it without knowing that it was already a well-known French meal. My friend who was vegetarian at the time came over for a visit and I offered her the vegan meal I had prepared for myself as I didn’t know she was coming over. And, she was like yes! I love ratatouille and I was like what? This is my own creation…Here I am thinking this is my own recipe. It was uncanny because it’s known that rosemary and thyme go well together but the rest of the ingredients? How did I replicate the exact recipe? I guess the answer, is my intuition is on fleek and that I know a thing or two about flavour combinations. If I don’t compliment myself, who will? 

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Ratatouille is known as a ‘peasant’ meal, because it is meatless rendering it cost effective. However humble its origins, it is tasty and satisfying. Laura Vitale is one of my trusted youtube cooks and she has taught me a few things about cooking. She is originally from Naples Italy where she helped run her families authentic Italian restaurant, however due to the global financial crash of 2008/9, the restaurant closed down. Then Laura and her husband Joe moved to America in search of opportunities. I enjoy her recipes because they are easy to follow and she explains the reason why she takes certain steps, she educates you about cooking. I grew up watching cooking shows and the celebrity chefs and cooks often don’t tell you why you should do a certain step or why it’s important to do things in a particular order. Whereas Laura explains the basics of boosting flavor and that empowers you to experiment in the kitchen.

Ingredients for Ratatouille

  • 1 Large Onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Bell Peppers, seeded and cut into chunks 
  • 1 Medium or 2 Small Eggplants, cut into chunks
  • 4 baby marrows, cut into rounds
  • 1 Head of Garlic, peeled and left whole
  • About 6 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp of Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • 1 Tsp of Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 4 Tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup (64g) of Fresh Chopped Basil

Click here for Laura Vitale’s Ratatouille Recipe and meal preparation steps

Watch her prepare this delicious vegan creation in the YouTube video below

Laura in the Kitchen

3Simple Russian Zucchini Spread- The Kale Sandwich Show

Part of the hassle of going vegan or trying to eat healthier in general is that we have become so accustomed to eating sandwiches on the go or meals that are quick to prepare. We don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what we are going to eat. Particularly when you are hungry, you just eat what you grew up eating and what’s in the kitchen/fridge. Therefore, what we eat is habitual, breaking this habit is the difficult part of eating healthy because now when you buy groceries you have to read the labels and plan different meals that are healthier, more alkaline and plant-based. 

The vegan sandwich/toast spread options are avocado, peanut butter with or without sliced banana, hummus (Middle Eastern chickpea spread), sun-dried tomato pesto and Melitzanosalta (Greek eggplant spread), the last three are usually found in the same section in the grocery stores of Spar or Pick and Pay. You can also use these as dips to snack on your veggies or crackers if you are alone or entertaining friends. I offer you an additional plant-based spread to add to your arsenal of healthy spreads and it is flavourful indeed. When eating sandwiches I suggest making them more nutritious by adding sliced cucumber, fresh tomato and green leaves like lettuce, rocket or baby spinach. Avoid iceberg lettuce because its not nutrient dense. This also provides a crunch to the sandwich making the eating experience more pleasurable. You can also fry up some mushrooms in a little oil and seasoning and you have yourself an epic sandwich. 

Ingredients for Zucchini Spread

Zucchini is a squash and is also known as Marrow or Courgette. In my experience in South Africa it’s easier to find Baby Marrow.

  • 1 med zucchini 
  • 1 med carrot 
  • 1 med onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 med tomatoes
  • dillweed or any herbs you like (bay leaf, rosemary, thyme) 
  • salt and pepper to taste (In the video they used about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper) 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

“Slice zucchini and carrot into 1/2 cm rounds. Thinly slice onion. Roughly mince garlic. Cut tomatoes in half. Mix zucchini, carrot, onion and garlic with oil, herbs and salt & pepper in an oven safe dish. Top with tomatoes cut side down and bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit (200 degrees celsius) for about 1 hour or until veggies are soft when pierced with a fork. Cool for 20 minutes before blending (it is very hot so be careful). Blend to desired consistency and store in an airtight container or jar for up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!”

The Kale Sandwich Show

Watch the Vlog below to see how it is made

The Kale Sandwich Show

For more Girl Boss Health and Wellness content click on the links below

 

Beauty Secrets

Beauty isn’t everything and some people are just blessed with clear skin, others beautiful bodies or thick luscious hair, hence the saying ‘I got it from my Mama’, looks are just in their genes. We can talk about why it’s important be healthy because it’s good for the blood, or the functioning of the brain and body. Let’s also get real, taking the time to be healthy makes you beautiful. You can use various beauty and hair products or make-up, wigs and getting a manicure done, but the old school beauty regimen is adopting a healthy lifestyle.

There are various reasons as to why one should consider adopting a healthy lifestyle. There are numerous biological reasons, like aiding your body [the organs, brain and central nervous system, blood flow, skeletal structure, muscles, the lymphatic system, etc.] in maintaining optimal functioning and therefore achieving health. When this is attained you feel rested and a sense of well-being. Taking the time to cultivate the sense of well-being is a core principle of living your best life and practicing self-love.

The Oxford dictionary definition of well-being is: the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.

Photo by Nappy Photography

These Are The Core Tenants of Health and Beauty

  1. Hydration
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Sleep 

Hydration

Khanyisile Msebenzi wrote an informative article on the importance of staying hydrated as well as the beauty benefits of getting adequate H20. In the name of not repeating what has already been stated, I gently suggest that you read the article, Keep Hydrated To Look Good & Improve Overall Productivity.

Girl Boss articles aim to get you feeling beautiful, confident and informed. Drinking water makes you confident as it keeps your breath fresh, so you can confidently flirt with your squeeze or laugh at your crushes jokes.

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Diet

Photo by Jannis Brandt

Often times we get trapped by the short-term gratification of food. We want that high calorie, rich tasting food that will be gratifying when we are consuming it but after we have swallowed, it sits in the stomach uncomfortably because it’s difficult to digest. As your stomach can ache and or bloat from eating too much dairy, or foods that are too rich. These foods create acid in the body, this results in acid reflux, inflammation and discomfort in the body. Therefore, don’t be short sighted, besides the plentiful biological reasons to eat healthy there are also beauty benefits, like: 

  • getting strong and healthy hair 
  • reversing the signs of aging and or stress
  • healthy, strong and white teeth 
  • sparkling and clear eyes
  • soft and plump lips
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • reduce bloating, making the stomach flatter
  • radiant skin
  • healthy nails
Photo by Timo Volz

Eating healthier is eating more plants, the less processed the better. If you are struggling with a big belly, watch your portion size. Also, eat with presence, pay attention to when you feel satisfied. That is the bodies marker of when you should stop eating. On the other end of the spectrum, starving yourself is not going to make you more beautiful, eating disorders leave you nutrient deficient which means you will look sickly, have dull hair and skin complexion.

For more information on incorporating plants in your diet consider reading the following articles

Photo by Dane Wetton

Exercise

Exercise is good for the heart, blood, and detoxifying your body but it also gives you that powerful presence which is part bodily confidence but also increased present moment awareness. Take athletes for example when they are in their element they’re not thinking they’re just doing their thing, with their full present moment awareness. Present movement awareness is where your power is. That is when you are the most powerful. This is why many consider exercise as a meditation and a central self-love practice. This powerful presence makes your energy attractive.

Exercise also makes you physically attractive. When you see someone, who has been working out, their body is impressive and sexy. Your skin also gains that healthy glow because you sweat out toxins through the skin when exercising. Your brain rewards you for taking the time to exercise your physical power by releasing endorphins, that is why you get that post work out feel-good high. Hence the saying, follow your bliss, keep doing what makes you happy and exercise literally makes you sexy, beautiful, radiant and happy.

Photo by Nappy Photography

Here are some Girl Boss articles on exercise

Sleep

It’s so important to be well rested. Cultivating sleep hygiene is so good for your body and brain. But it also makes you beautiful. That’s why it’s called getting your ‘beauty rest’ or ‘beauty sleep’. When you’re tired your skin is dull and thin. Your eyes are strained and you get dark skin around the eyes. Your eyes themselves are not bright and present, they’re strained and blood-shot. Your skin may break out. Your body repairs itself during sleep, therefore while your consciousness roams the astral plans, your physical body the unconscious mind, is doing intricate processing like repairing skin cells and pumping nutrients to where they need to be for optimal functioning, this results in a healthy glow and a peaceful presence. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try exercising as it improves the quality of your sleep, everything is connected.

Maintaining a sense of well-being is serious business and one should look at it as a personal investment. It’s all about getting Girl Bosses to live the life in which you are the most blissful, joyful and performing at your peak. This isn’t something you do once, it is a lifelong commitment, to choose and prioritize your well-being. 

Human beings are beautiful, we are truly a beautiful creation. The secret to boosting your beauty is adopting a healthy lifestyle. Always remember, vanity is not the answer to whatever woes you are going through. Being obsessed with the perfect body and or losing weight in itself is not good for a healthy mind. Therefore, be aim to impeccable with your mental hygiene as well. Exercise, eating and drinking healthily also improve your self-esteem. It’s all about self-love. Which is getting to the place where you love and appreciate who you are.

Photo by Shalom Mwenesi

Spirulina Is Still The Rage!

Written by Khanyisile Msebenzi

Every year or so there seems to emerge a new healthy trend or superfood. Spirulina was all the rage some 10 years ago and in my opinion should always be the rage and the one superfood supplement we should take as women in this age of busyness. By now we all know that our bodies don’t get enough nutrition, most of us overload our bodies with carbohydrates and take little other nutrients that our bodies need for optimal functioning. 
Spirulina is from the green and blue algae family and is a single-celled Cyanobacteria that grows both in salt and fresh water. It produces its energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. It is high in:

  • B Vitamins
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, heart disease and anaemia. Spirulina also helps improve muscle endurance and faster muscle recovery.

As a young woman these are the reasons you should consider taking Spirulina daily:

  1. Improved concentration and brain function. By taking Spirulina every day blood flow to the brain is increased due to anti-inflammatory properties of spirulina and it’s high iron content.
  2. Spirulina improves memory function because it protects your cognitive systems and stimulates your brain and nervous system.
  3. Spirulina’s main ingredient is tryptophan, which is an amino acid the human body needs to produce serotonin and melatonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan on their own. Serotonin is the ‘happiness’ hormone, regulates our moods and stress. Melatonin regulates our sleeping patterns so we get good sleep. Tryptophan is important in preventing conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression. 
  4. Spirulina gives energy, especially if you work out, but even if you don’t, Spirulina gives you energy to go through the day at high energy absorbing more with your brain. The energy comes from the high chlorophyll and protein content in Spirulina. 
  5. Spirulina keeps you full for longer. Eating heavy meals especially between classes can be draining. We all know the itis that hits in the afternoon that takes forever to get through, those hours lost can never be recovered. Spirulina keeps you fuller for longer because of its high protein content.

Spirulina comes in mainly two forms, in tablet form and powder form. In my experience taking the tablet form is easier, the taste of the powder is different to anything I am used to and makes it difficult for me to swallow, but it is not horrible at all, just different. If you choose the powder option, try to include it in your daily smoothie to mask the taste.
Dischem and Clicks usually have good specials on Spirulina and it is affordable on a student budget, in my view, you can’t afford not to take this superfood if you want to live life at high energy. 

 

5 Easy (But Healthy) Things To Do With Your Overripe Bananas

By Khanyisile Msebenzi

Every few weeks I walk into the grocery store and load up on fruits and veggies because I really do want to eat more healthy.  I want to be the girl that reaches for nuts and raisins instead of chocolate.  Or the girl that reaches for a banana instead of wine gums. 

Now I really do love bananas but I always seem to run out of time to eat them! Every few weeks I get that familiar smell of sweet banana that is overripe, and I don’t particularly enjoy eating overripe bananas yet I prefer my bananas to be ripe.  Now you can see the slippery slope there, as I wait for my bananas to ripen the next day they are overripe, especially if it’s a bunch of bananas.

It irks me each time I throw out my overripe bananas because it really is a waste, but the same time I don’t feel good giving them away to the security guards at my complex gate simply because I don’t like giving away food that I wouldn’t eat.

So I looked into what I can do with my overripe bananas, and here are 5 things to do with overripe bananas that you may want to try too:

  1. Using overripe bananas in my smoothie has been the best thing to my smoothie life.  Since I started trying to eat one raw meal a day, I prefer a smoothie to a salad, adding an overripe banana makes the flavour of the smoothie sweeter and more rounder.  I actually previously stayed away from smoothies with banana from fastfood outlets because I didn’t like tasting the not-so-ripe banana. An overripe banana makes for an amazing and filling smoothie.
Photo by Element5 Digital

2. Banana facial mask, there are many different recipes on how to make facial masks with banana, you can choose according to your needs.  The one thing they all have in common is that the banana must be ripe.  I tried the mask for dry skin because the banana fruit has so many health benefits for skin, including moisturising effect, anti-ageing effects, and anti inflammatory properties due to them being rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Potassium, B-Vitamins, Lectin, Amino Acids and Zinc!  My skin felt smooth and moisturized after my skin exfoliating banana DIY mask. Here is a simple yet effective recipe: 1 banana + 1 spoon of honey + 1 spoon of lemon juice + 1 teaspoon brown sugar

3. I used the cool peels of the banana to reduce puffy eyes after I went to bed crying after watching Queen Sugar, I woke up with puffy eyes.  I didn’t have cucumber in the fridge so I tried a banana peel.  It worked like a charm, although I felt I had to really press the peels to my eyes, which had me worried I would aggravate my already puffy eyes, but it worked.  I would still choose cucumber though, smells and feels better.

Photo by Julia Kouzenkov

4. To ensure that my caloric intake is not compromised, I made banana muffins for my treat instead of indulging in cakes from Woolies.  I didn’t use any fats or butters in making the muffins and I replaced sugar with xylitol and I have my perfect guilt-free sweet treat.  I Googled the recipe, there are plenty of recipes to make low calorie banana muffins or cake.  I don’t like baking, nor do I like cooking but I will definitely be making this treat over and over.  I am thinking in future I could add other sweet fruits like berries to the banana, and make banana and berry muffins, yum!

Photo by Naomi Villason

5. The last way I am using my overripe bananas is to make banana toast spread.  I am a vegetarian working towards being a vegan but I am struggling to cut out cheese and milk.  As a lazy cook, sandwiches are my quick fix, when I’m not in the mood for peanut butter, I go for cheese.  I tried a banana spread and I am sold, it was delicious, just the right kind of sweet and tasted good whether cool or warm.  But I only like it on toast not on fresh bread.  I just mash banana and apply, but you could add other things like a syrup of your choice or cinnamon or vanilla extract, the preference will be yours.

I am currently exploring with making banana peel compost. I will report how that goes in due course. I am trying to get a small veggie garden going, I need to at least get spinach from my own garden.

The Healing Powers of Celery

We are well into 2019 and by now most people have picked up the working out momentum that comes with the New Year. Have you ever noticed how packed the gym is at the start of a New Year and how the crowd slowly decreases as the months pass by? Of course we would all love to not feel like we have to workout, but this is the reality, especially to those of us who feel like ‘this is the year I get that bikini body’. So, as usual we are motivated, ambitious and filled with energy to reach our body goals. So what happens when you fall of physically working out, how can you still maintain a healthy lifestyle without working out as much but still working towards you body goal?

Sure we heard about the 80/20 ratio, that a healthy physical lifestyle consists of an 80% good diet and 20% physical exercise. This is the balance to a successful physically satisfying lifestyle. Basically what we eat has a lot to do with our overall body achievement. Juicing is not a new phenomenon, it’s been a thing for some time, but the health and juicing industry is becoming more and more creative as to which fruits and vegetables are beneficial for consuming. The current trend is Celery juicing. If you’ve ever eaten celery, you would know that it is almost tasteless and is quite chewy (amazing with hummus). This is the only known food that burns more calories than what was consumed of it. Your body works so hard to digest this vegetable that it burns excess calories, meaning it’s super AMAZING!

This new contender in the market comes with loads of benefits and is known to cure anything that you need it to. It literally has the juicing industry booming, trending all over social media, health food stores and even coffee shops. It is the talk of the town, and here is why we think you should know about it and even go as far as to trying it. If you haven’t got on with the juicing trend this should definitely be a motivator.

The Benefits of Celery Juice

All plants are amazing because all plants are filled with benefits, so is celery. The interesting thing about celery is that it is the unusual part of the plant. It grows underground and falls part of the root of a tree. It is the stalk. It has healing powers because it is filled with potassium, vitamin C and K, folate, it reduces chronic inflammation associated with the brain and improves cardiovascular health. Studies even go as far as proving the celery may help in fighting against cancer cells and liver diseases.

Celery can assist in weight loss because it is high in fiber, meaning that you will feel fuller for longer and therefore prolong you eating any unnecessary foods. Also it is filled with antioxidant properties and contains less than 1gm of sugar per rib.

The idea that drinking your meals instead of eating them will lead to weight loss is false. With a well-balanced diet you are meant to feel satisfied after each meal. Drinking Celery juice on an empty stomach and using it as a substitute for meals will not result to this satisfaction. However is great to have it after your meals, as it assists your liver in the process of detoxifying meals.

Although your body does just fine on its own, Celery juice can assist with a much needed cleanse and providing us with beneficial nutrients, especially at the start of a new week as we attempt to continue with a healthy diet.

Medical Medium put forward a list of the Top 21 Questions About Celery about Celery Juice. Some answers to the questions were – “the best time to drink celery juice is in the morning on an empty stomach other than water or lemon water (wait at least 15 to 30 minutes after the lemon before having your celery juice). Celery juice is a medicinal, not a caloric drink, so you’ll still need breakfast afterwards.” “It’s best to drink celery juice immediately after juicing… do not let it go past one day (24 hours).” “Celery juice works best on it’s own. Adding other ingredients to the juice will dilute its medicinal properties. This includes lemon, lime, ginger, apple, orange, leafy greens, carrot, beet, or any other ingredient.”

He also states the reason behind juicing celery versus eating it is because juicing removes the fiber, and that is one way to get the healing and powerful benefits, especially in the case of healing any chronic illnesses. Eating celery should be part of your diet, but you would not be able to get eat enough celery to get the benefits from juicing it. If you are breast feeding apart from the nutritional benefits that come along with celery, it also detoxifies the breast milk, purifying it which is good for your baby as they always consume pure clean milk.

Add it to your list of fruit juices and witness the change that happens within your system. Kylie Jenner and one of the worlds renounced tennis sensations Novak Djokovic are also going on about the amazing super-beneficial celery-juicing trend. Celery juice is definitely a life changing drink that is packed with everything your body many need right now.