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My Vegan Superfood Staples

Ever since turning 100% plant-based, I have become fascinated with all of natures sources of beautiful and beneficial nutrients. What many of us are unaware of is how every nutrient we need comes from the sun (vitamin D), or the earth (everything else). Therefore, in terms of optimal absorption and utilisation, it makes sense to consume them from the primary source. Here is a list of my vegan staples, all of which are brimming with nutrition and make me feel energised and satisfied, not to mention I feel they have helped my skin, hair and nails become smoother, stronger and healthier overall. I actually manage to incorporate most of these in one single meal – my superfood lunch salads. It might seem like a lot, but they each add so much flavour and texture that you begin to crave them! I hope you find them intriguing, try them out and feel the difference in your own body 🙂

Nutritional yeast – brimming with key vitamins and minerals it is also a complete protein (with 18 amino acids), containing 71% protein by weight! Stress and poor diet deplete B vitamins so we could all do with a little dietary boost. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B’s, which offer us assistance with energy levels, brain health, fat metabolism, sleep quality, and hair growth. Note, unless fortified with B12, nutritional yeast is not a reliable source. As a guide, 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast = 9g protein! I often sprinkle this amount on a big green salad, soup, or in a veggie mash.

Sea vegetables – dulse and nori are my go-to’s, but I occasionally also enjoy other varieties such as wakame or kelp (particularly high in iodine). Sea vegetables are full of trace minerals that we don’t usually have access to, specifically iodine. Iodine ensures healthy thyroid function, which is important for metabolism, energy levels and hormonal balance. Sea veggies are a great way to replace salt in a meal, as they are naturally salty and arguably, more nutritious. Another hair-loving nutritious source, they also contain vitamins A, E, B6 and B12, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and magnesium! Powerful stuff!

Saurkraut/kim-chi – fermented veggies are living foods! This means they contain active enzymes which help digest our food, as well as good bacteria called probiotics that ensure healthy gut function, and B vitamins. All this assists immunity and digestive health for optimal wellbeing. I try have about 2-3 tbsp at least once a day.

Chia/flax – just 1 tbsp a day can ensure you meet your omega-3 quota! Omega-3 is important for many things including hormonal balance, brain health and nerve function. These two seeds also provide you with healthy doses of insoluble AND soluble fibre which helps with blood sugar/appetite control, steady energy levels, and healthy colon function. Flax also provides us with lignans, cancer-protective and important for heart health. Try 1 tbsp of either in bircher/porridge, flax on top of a stir-fry, or sip on a few tsp chia in your water throughout the day (you won’t even taste it!).

Hemp seeds – 3 tbsp = 11g easily assimilated protein for long, lean muscles! This is one of natures most concentrated sources of essential fatty acids, particularly GLA. I don’t have this every day, but try to have it on a particularly active day. When I do I sprinkle it on my oats or enjoy it in/on top of a smoothie.

Quinoa/brown rice/oats/millet – I try to rotate the grains I use as much as possible to ensure a broad spectrum of different nutrients, as each grain has a different nutrient profile. One of the best thing that has come out of me going vegan is my new-found appreciation for quality carbohydrates, ridding myself of any trace of “Carbophobia” I definitely once had. The truth is, we are designed to eat carbohydrates as a mainstay in our diet (we produce the digestive enzyme amylase, which break down carbs, whilst some other animals don’t), and thus carbs are required for optimal muscle and brain function. These grains are gluten-free (oats contain trace amounts of gluten in Australia due to crop rotation, but they seem to be fine with most people, and if not, you can source gluten-free oats usually from abroad). Fantastic for amino acids (protein), B vitamins and fibre, these either go in my breakfast (oat or quinoa porridge), in my lunch-time salads, or with a stir-fry/curry for dinner. Complex carbohydrates like these keep me full, energised, non-irritable, and focused.

Parsley – a great vegan source of antioxidants and loads of vitamins and minerals like iron, try my tabbouleh for a healthy hit! You can also throw a bit of parsley into a green smoothie, juice or salad regularly to up your dose. As a powerful natural detoxifier and diuretic that prevents bloating, water retention and cellulite, it’s a goodie.

Miso – think of it it as vegan bone broth! This is a great gut-loving, plant-based alternative, that is soothing and provides enzymes and probiotics to promote healthy digestive function. Note, you must choose unpasturised miso, in order to reap these benefits. Alkalising, anti-viral, immune-boosting, cancer-preventative, antioxidant-rich and great for digestion… perfect as a snack with some sea veg (bonus points!) or used in salad dressings, try to incorporate it regularly.

Sprouts / Microgreens – the most powerful foods for cellular regeneration and health, sprouts are up to 50 x more nutritious than their mature counterparts!! They provide antioxidants, protein, enzymes and minerals that are easy to absorb and utilise.

Non-negotiable Green Drink – this one isn’t so much a food as a meal/snack, but it definitely is part of my everyday routine and something I source an abundant amount of nutrition from. Brimming with greens, I make sure I have one of these each day to slot in a huge amount of dietary fibre (it is usually a smoothie with over 3 servings of greens, but if I am out and about, it might be a juice), antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. A power-packed green drink is really the best energiser, I feel cleansed and incredibly vibrant after mine!

How to cater a clean camping trip

Need a break? Fresh air? Moments of solitude and stillness? You truly don’t need to go miles away to feel very far away from “it all”. Over the weekend, my lovely friend Sam (yes, we are both Sam’s!) and I packed up our things, loaded her car and headed just 1.5 hours away to Cattai National Park. It was spectacular! As soon as you enter, your phone reception dwindles, you hear the sounds of lyrebirds and rustling trees, you breathe in the fresh air and take in the gorgeous views of the Hawkesbury. Not to mention coming face to face with Kangaroo’s! There is something about being surrounded by tree’s and the autumn leaves without a building in sight, you just feel calmer.

To compliment a relaxing weekend away resting mind and body, it only seems fit that you would support your detox with delicious, healthy food. Without a fridge and all the utensils, it can seem a little daunting. Must we resort to drive through food on the way? Sausages on the BBQ? Soggy sandwiches? No, no, NO! That would never do for two nutritionists in the making! We hustled the night before and came up with a beautiful menu that served us very well for the weekend. We ate like queens!

So to take the pressure off you, and to encourage you to plan a camping getaway yourselves, I thought I would share some good ideas to take with you on a trip. These can be applied to any getaway you have in mind, really. Overall, it is important to take into consideration how long your stay is to work out how much you need to bring, and structure when you are going to eat what by working out what keeps the best. For a 1-3 night stay, these options will all work perfectly!

Helpful supplies:

  • A gas stove with a large pot (helpful for heating up food, teas etc)
  • Esky/cooler with ice packs (Definitely need)
  • A chopping board
  • Bread Knife
  • Paper/plastic bowls, plates, cutlery (or some from home, if you only need a few)
  • lemon squeezer/juicer
  • Glass Tupperware, for storage of the below meals, and/or double as serving bowls
  • Napkins
  • Tea towels
  • Sponge
  • Detergent
  • Hand sanitizer

Menu ideas:

BREAKFAST

  • Green smoothie – e.g. 1 cup water, ½ lemon juice, 3 cups leafy greens of choice, 1 large stalk celery, ½ cup frozen mango, ½ banana, 5 drops vanilla stevia
  • Bircher muesli, soak the oats in coconut water
  • Chia pudding
  • Pre-made muffins
  • Sliced bread with smashed avocado, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Warm breakfast? Bring oats or quinoa, banana, stevia and cinnamon and make a porridge with water on your stove top

LUNCH/DINNER

  • Kale and brussels sprout salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, herbs, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast (this will last well for 2 days as the dressing breaks down the tough raw kale/brussels) with roast sweet potato
  • A whole raw sweet potato, to roast on the fire’s embers, in tin foil (if permitted)
  • Pre-made veggies burgers/patties with salad or roast veggies
  • Bruschetta – bring a loaf of quality bread, avocado, chopped tomatoes, basil, pomegranate, hummus, pesto, antipasto veg etc.
  • Zucchini Lasagne
  • Cooked quinoa with stir-fried veggies, heated up on the stove or eaten cold
  • Vegetable stock soup with lentils, chopped kale and wild rice or millet, heated on the stove
  • Pumpkin soup, heated on stove
  • Tempeh stir-fry, heated on stove

SNACKS

  • Carrots, celery, capsicum, other veggies of choice
  • Hummus, pesto, or dairy-free dip of choice
  • Corn chips/Crackers
  • Seaweed (nori) sheets
  • Olives
  • Fresh fruit that doesn’t require chopping e.g. berries, grapes, apples etc.
  • Bliss balls
  • Vegan chocolate
  • Homemade muffins
  • Raw nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • OR make a platter with all these things for a lunch-time picnic,  like us…

 

BEVERAGES

(This is where the stove is handy!)…

  • Filtered water
  • Lemon, for your morning warm lemon water
  • Green smoothie
  • Kombucha
  • Herbal tea
  • Chai tea with almond milk

Make healthy choices prior to your trip so you have plenty of options whilst you are there. This really is an example of food prep setting you up right. Indulge a little! Chances are, you are going to want something sweet around the fire 🙂 so have your dairy-free, refined-sugar-free chocolate, bliss balls or chai tea handy, and enjoy them. Most importantly, embrace your time away and don’t stress about the finer details.

 

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