Dairy free and gluten free macaroni cheese

Dairy free and gluten free macaroni cheese

So, since a lot of you are participating in veganuary this month, we wanted to try and base our recipes around this and come up with some delicious vegan alternatives to some classic favourites. Mac and cheese is a well loved comfort food dish and would typically consist of a large amount of cheese and cream, however this version has neither of those things! I know what you might be thinking.. how can a macaroni cheese dish have no cheese in it, be gluten free and dairy free? Well..

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Barley Grass Bliss Green Smoothie Bowl

Barley Grass Bliss Green Smoothie Bowl

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you’ve all had a restful and enjoyable holiday period! Now that we’re into January and a fresh new year, we’re being bombarded with fad diets and extreme detoxes left right and centre and many people are out looking for that quick fix to get rid of some of the Christmas over-indulgences! Personally, I would not recommend diving straight into the nearest fad diet in an attempt to loose weight as quickly as possible, as this is less likely to be sustainable and is probably more un-healthy in the long run. How about, taking things slowly and focus on fuelling your body with nutrient dense, whole food ingredients, as well as trying to find food that you actually enjoy! After all, if you don’t enjoy what you’re eating or if it doesn’t make you feel good.. is that something that you’re going to want to continue long term?

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Gluten free gingerbread sandwich cookies

So it wouldn’t really be Christmas time without a spot of festive baking and what better place to start that with some gingerbread cookies! The smell of gingerbreads baking in the oven just fills the whole kitchen with the most amazing scent of warming spices and leaves me feeling so festive! These cookies¬†are actually gluten free, as they’re made with a combination of buckwheat flour and almonds for the flour part of the recipe. They’re also completely free of refined sugars and instead are sweetened using raw honey and cashew nut butter. Both of these also help to bind the dry ingredients together. For an extra superfood boost, I’ve also added in some maca powder, which has a really delicious caramel like flavour- so works well in sweet treats!

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My vegan experience

As well as bringing you recipes and some more informative posts, I thought it would be a nice idea to share a bit about my experience with vegan foods and lifestyle and some of my thoughts and how it made me feel. I wanted to start off by saying that although personally I am not vegan, I do love vegan foods and lots of my favourite restaurants are in fact vegan. A large portion of the recipes that I make are also vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as lots of raw vegan desserts. About 9 months ago, I decided that I wanted to try out eating a plant based diet for a few weeks, just as a little challenge and experiment for myself to see how I got on.

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Vegan store cupboard starter kit

Similarly to one of our previous posts about raw dessert cupboard essentials, I thought that it might be a nice idea to compile a little collection of some of the things that I think make up a good base for starting out on a vegan diet. Aside from fresh fruits and veggies, these things are great to make sure that you have in the kitchen cupboard and I find help me to be able to add that little something extra to a meal and insure that I’m always prepared! Some of these items are probably things that you already have at home and some might be a little more unusual. What’s great about lots of them is that they’re really versatile and can really help to transform your cooking and make food a little bit more exciting!

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Sticky honey glazed carrots with pomegranates and almonds

We’re getting into the festive spirit on the blog today with this delicious sticky honey glazed carrot recipe. I don’t know about you, but I actually love the veggie part of the Christmas roast.. it’s genuinely my favourite part of the meal and this recipe adds a little bit of an extra special touch to your typical roasted veggies. We wrote a post a little while back on the blog about the benefits of honey and it’s one of my favourite natural sweeteners to use, as it has such a unique and almost fruity flavour. It’s also got a really sticky texture, so works well when making things like cereal bars and home made granola!¬†

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Curried chickpea salad wraps

So, for last of our vegan recipes this month I thought I would share with you these curried chickpea salad wraps. For me, preparation really is key for staying healthy at work or on the go, and these wraps can be prepared the night before, ready for you to take with you before dashing out the door in the morning. Beans and pulses are a great meat substitute when leading a plant based diet and they’re also such vestal ingredients too. Chickpeas are actually one of my personal favourites and believe it or not, can actually be used in both savoury and sweet recipes. Yep, you read that right.. chickpeas work really well in sweet dishes too! Some of my favourites include chickpea cookie dough and blondies! But more on those later!

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Vegan Mexican inspired pasta salad

This is the perfect recipe for a mid-week meal or something that you can prepare on the weekend for a healthy and speedy lunch to take with you to work or school during the week. Pasta is a great dish to cook for the whole family and make in bulk batches. This particular dish is also completely vegan and also gluten free, made with brown rice pasta! This pasta from Rizopia is a fantastic gluten free option, as it’s made from natural ingredients and is 100% brown rice; so is therefore naturally gluten free. It’s also available in a variation of different shapes such as: spaghetti, penne and lasagne sheets.

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Fitness and a vegan diet

One of the most commonly asked questions or points of conversation that I’ve heard when discussing a vegan diet would definitely have to be: how would someone get enough protein on a plant based diet? This point is particularly relevant when discussing a vegan diet to support your exercise performance and fitness routine. Whether you’re an athlete or someone who just trains for personal enjoyment, eating enough of the right foods to support and fuel your body is extremely important. Depending on the kinds of training that you’re doing, your diet will of course vary, but generally there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to meet your macronutrient goals whilst on a plant based meal plan.

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Simple Vegan Food swaps

Seeing as this month is world vegan month, we’ve been focussing on this theme for our November blog posts and recipes and for this post we wanted to talk about some simple vegan food swaps that you could try out, to include more plant based meals into your diet. When first making the decision to go vegan or trying out more vegan food, it might be a little daunting if this is something that you’re not used to. Eating a vegan diet does not have to be difficult or restrictive, as there are now so many different food options to replace your typical non-vegan dishes and foods that taste just as delicious. One really important thing that I wanted to touch on here is the fact that you shouldn’t feel deprived due to your diet. Whether you want to eat a vegan diet for health, environmental or ethical reasons, the way you eat should make you feel good both physically and mentally. A good way to look at this is to focus on all of the things that you can include into your diet and foods to swap in, rather than what you will be cutting out. There is such a wide array of nutritious and delicious tasting foods to enjoy, so take full advantage of this.These are only a few examples of some of the things that you could swap into your diet to get you started:

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