What I Eat In A Day: Full Time Job Edition [vegan]

I have always found it easy to eat healthily when I am at home all day. I have time to cook, I prepare fresh meals and I can skip out to the grocery store whenever I want. Now I have a full time job which makes it a lot harder, especially because I just started a few weeks ago so I’m often tired and exhausted.

Here’s how I still manage to stay somewhat healthy.

20161120_184110For breakfast I always prepare my food the night before. At the moment, overnight oats are my way to go. Throw in some oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, nuts and fruit, add cashew milk, done. In the morning all I have to do is get the mason jar out of the fridge, make some coffee and I have a great start for my day. I posted a recipe for an Overnight Oats Porridge a few weeks ago which is also  super easy and super quick.

I thought that lunch was going to be the biggest challenge but then I started to make a big bowl of salad on Sunday’s that I can just take to work every day of the week. Of course, sometimes I’ll still get a falafel sandwich or a wrap with my colleagues, but in general I take my food with me. Last week I made this vegan pasta salad, this week it’s a bulgur lentil salad. I get creative every Sunday and already look forward to eating the salad the next day.

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Now, surprisingly, dinner is my problem at the moment. It takes me almost an hour to get home from work, sometimes pretty late, so I am usually starving by the time I get home. I mostly throw some veggies into a pan, fry them and eat them with pasta or rice. That’s fine for now, but I love to cook and it’s a bit sad that I don’t really cook much anymore except for these quick and easy things or during the weekend. I am still in the process of figuring out how I can make this easier for me, maybe I’ll cut up stuff before and plan my meals so that I have all the ingredients there and I just need to cook. I’ll keep you updated.

Since I often get hungry during the day, I always bring some snacks with me to work. Usually a banana and a bag of nuts which I keep on my desk at my office. My colleagues often have cookies and stuff like that, but since they usually aren’t vegan I am not even tempted. Plus, I have my own snacks so I’m good.

If anyone has experience with maintaining a healthy diet while having a full time job – I’d love suggestions!

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Vegan Traveling: Portugal

When I’m traveling by myself, being vegan is not a huge problem. I can always find stuff anywhere, Happy Cow is my best friend when I’m researching for vegan restaurants and I don’t mind traveling through the whole city just to find that one awesome vegan curry.

This time, I spent ten days in Portugal though with a group of teens, we had a few meals with locals and others where everyone just grabbed something quickly, and so that was a whole different challenge. Portugal is on the verge of changing when it comes to diet. A few years ago most restaurants didn’t even have a vegetarian option, tons of fish and meat, and even now there are some where you literally can’t find anything without fish in it. However, I was up to the challenge. I traveled to Porto, Lisbon and a few tiny towns and villages in between.

What you can eat in Portugal

First of all: I had prepared snacks at home that I brought, and to be honest – that’s a good advice to take for any vegan who is traveling. Bring nuts, protein bars and maybe crackers, just to have something to eat when you can’t find something quickly. Being hungry is the worst feeling in the world. Portugal is famous for its pastelarias where they sell all kinds of baked goods – they aren’t vegan 99% of the time.

Bread. Portugal has the best bread. You can always ask for olive oil with it, and I could live on that alone.

Tapas. Almost all restaurants have some great tapas! I just mentioned bread, but they also have delicious olives, tremoços (lupin beans), peanuts and chips.

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Salad. You can almost always order a mixed salad. In Portugal it is common to just make the dressing yourself with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, which is perfect for vegans.

Soup. Often there’s a vegetable soup on the menu and if it’s not, chances are, they’ll still have some. It’s one of the most delicious Portuguese foods and a lot of people eat it as a starter. Just ask if it has dairy in it – I asked every time and it was always okay for me to eat.

Fruit. Fruit is cheap, fresh and there are tons of different kinds at the markets! Most restaurants also have a dessert option that is basically only fruit or a fruit salad. In the vineyards I also had the best fruit that I just picked up, so amazing.

Ask the server! Their hospitality is one of the things I love the most about Portuguese people and so when I asked in restaurants if they could prepare something for me, they were all so helpful and understanding. They asked what I could eat and what I couldn’t eat, and then they made the most delicious veggie, rice and potato combos that I’ve ever eaten.

Lastly and most importantly: wine! One of the best things about Portugal is their amazing wine and port wine, I could basically live on that alone.

 

Special thanks to thebrightmornings for answering my questions about being vegan in Portugal before I went!

Why It’s Not Okay To Lecture Me About My Diet Just Because I’m Vegan

“I don’t like vegans because they always try to lecture me.”

Yeah, right.

I won’t lie – there are vegans who are pretty ‘fanatic’ and have to bring up the discussion of meat vs no meat vs being vegan at every opportunity. Most aren’t like that. On the other hand, try being vegan and sitting down with a bunch of omnis at a restaurant.

Recently, I drove my grandparents to their friends’ house and we all decided to go for lunch. The only option for me was a salad, which was fine because I wasn’t there for myself but just to accompany my grandparents. I didn’t say a single word about food that day. Out of the blue, the woman turned to me and said “Being vegan is SO unhealthy, I really think you should stop that.” Like – what the fuck? Why did she feel that it was okay to criticize my diet? She kept talking about how unhealthy it is (all while eating her pork swimming in sauce with fries on the side – okay) and even tried to talk about a doctor who had apparently told her son how unhealthy being vegan was. All while I was still sitting there quietly, contemplating what to say while my grandma was embarrassed. I just told her that the doctor was wrong and that I am sure that I get all the nutrients I need, and that I didn’t want to discuss my choices. I would’ve said more, but my grandma was already embarrassed.

I don’t understand. Why do I have to defend my diet while eating meat is totally acceptable? Even being super unhealthy is more accepted than eating vegan.

People feel like they have the right to comment on alternative diets but I can’t criticise a conventional diet including meat and dairy because then I’m just a fanatic vegan stereotype. Regarding food, I really keep to myself, I don’t comment on anyone’s diet – healthy or unhealthy, meat or no meat, because frankly, it is a personal choice. While I love to educate those who are interested, I never bring it up unprompted.

So now, pray tell, why can’t omnivores give me the same common courtesy?

Have a picture of my super unhealthy food choice this morning:

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After-Vacation Breakfast (or: Overnight Oats Porridge)

Ever got home after being on vacation and didn’t feel like going shopping right away? Well, depending on how long you’ve been gone, most things in your flat won’t be edible anymore. I have just the thing for you – vegan, healthy, easily prepared and the best thing is, all the things you need are things that you should always have at your flat anyway! (i promise they won’t spoil. unless you’ll be gone for a few years, that might be a problem)

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I got the recipe from a woman in New Zealand, I lived with her for a few weeks and she made this. You can always add fruit, of course.

Ingredients:

Oats
chia seeds
flaxseed
millet
cashews
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds

(but really, which ever nuts and seeds you prefer is fine!)

Preparation:

Quite simple. You layer the ingredients in a glass (for example a mason jar with a lid) and add about the same amount of water as dry ingredients. Put the lid on, put it in the fridge overnight and take it out in the morning. Pour the mixture in a pot and add a bit of water (you can also add almond or rice milk if you have the non-perishable version. or if you haven’t actually been on holiday, just add whichever you have at home). Heat it up for a few minutes (on my stove, two are literally enough) and stir it. Done!

I enjoyed mine today with some fresh coffee – best way to start the day!

Pumpkin Cake [Vegan Baking #1]

While it is still 30 °C here in Germany, fall is just around the corner. Windy, rainy days spent inside by the fireplace with a cup of tea,  I love that. What I also love about fall is pumpkin – pumpkin everything. I don’t like a lot of cakes and sweet stuff, so I’ve always been trying to make cakes with alternative methods. Now I created a vegan pumpkin cake and let me tell you, it’s delicious! Even my omnivore family (including grandparents!) loved it so much, they chose it over all the other non-vegan, super sweet cakes that were there. It takes some time and preparation but is super easy, can’t really go wrong.

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Ingredients: 

200g whole-grain flour
200g wheat flour
150g brown sugar
a pinch of salt
5 tea spoons cinnamon
1 tea spoon nutmeg
500g pumpkin purree (or a medium sized pumpkin, preferably butternut or hokkaido)
150ml almond milk (unsweetened)
200g apple sauce (unsweetened)
150g chopped hazelnuts
a hand full pumpkin seeds

Preparation:

#1 If you bought pumpkin purree from a store, just skip this step. If you have a pumpkin, cut it up into about four pieces and put it in the oven for an hour (200 °C). Afterwards, get rid of the seeds and the skin. You can now mash it up in a mixing bowl and take 500g for the cake (if you have more, it’s a delicious side for just about any meal you’re cooking! just put it in the fridge).

#2 Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Mix the flours, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.

#3 Add the almond milk and the apple sauce to the pumpkin purree and mix it until it has a smooth texture.

#4 Mix the dry and wet ingredients. It is a pretty sticky dough, so an electric mixer is not the best option. It works well with a wooden spoon but whatever you prefer, really. Add the chopped hazelnuts (if you can’t buy them chopped, just stick them into a plastic bag and use a hammer to chop them).

#5 Line a baking pan with baking paper and fill it with the dough. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top and bake it at 180 °C for about 70 – 80 minutes.

Enjoy! Let me know if you tried it.

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