Vegan-ish Part 1 [Magazine Feature]

Vegan-ish Part 1 [Magazine Feature]

Cutting out certain foods doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing commitment

Alicia  Alicia  on 16 Apr '16

Photo credit:Raiz the Bar, HK’s local chocolate makers

If you’re looking to dip your toe into eating less processed foods and meats and adding more nourishing methods for feeding your body, we’ve collected a bevy of expert advice on clean eating to help us enter this realm. Whether its starting a weekly meat-free Monday, balancing a few days a week with healthier recipes, or easing yourself into a complete dietary and lifestyle overhaul, here are some tips, philosophies and recipes on mindful eating to guide you along the green-brick road

Nealy Fischer of The Mayya Movement recommends creating a realistic plan first:Image title

“I suggest identifying a few key areas  that you plan to tackle first. Keep it simple and doable so you set yourself up for success. Can you plan to change up what you eat for lunch and commit to eating a daily salad with protein on top? It helps to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one, for example, instead of snacking on chips while watching television, snack on vegetable sticks. Identify a few things that you think are doable and commit 100 per cent. Plan your shopping and menus ahead. Perishable items need more forward thinking. Know your sources: buy organic when possible but my sense is a non-organic apple is always better than organic potato chips!"

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For the chickpeas:

•     1 can garbanzo beans

•     A drizzle of olive oil

•     A drizzle of tamari

•     Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

•     6 cups kale or your favourite greens

•     1 head raw cauliflower

•     ¾ cup dried cherries

•     ¼ cup sliced red onion

•     1 cup roasted chickpeas (instructions below)

For the dressing:

•     ¼ cup rice wine vinegar

•     2 tbsp tamari

•     ½ cup cashews, soaked for 10 minutes

•     ½ tbsp coconut sugar

•     2 tbsp almond milk

•     1 clove garlic

•     ¼ cup olive oil

•     Black pepper


Preheat oven to 200°C.

For chickpeas: Spread on a large baking sheet, drizzle with oil and tamari, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes or until chickpeas start to turn golden. Remove from oven, set aside, and cool.

For dressing: Blend all dressing ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy. You might need to dilute ever so slightly with water after you chill the dressing.

I like to mix my salads in a large bowl - add the vegetables and just enough dressing to coat. Save the rest of the dressing for the next day.

Transfer to your serving bowl, sprinkle with chickpeas and serve immediately.

Nick Barnard of Rude Health, author of recipe book Eat Right, and winner of the World Porridge Championships dishes his advice for adopting a new eating attitude:Image title

Take control: allow more time to find out about what you eat and spend more on foods and drinks from producers you know, trust and respect, and who genuinely care about how and what they grow or make, be it their animals, their soil, their foods or their drinks. Read the list of ingredients: never eat anything containing ingredients you can’t pronounce or spell and wouldn’t find in your kitchen. They belong in a laboratory, not in our bodies.

Prepare and cook as much of your food as you can, and then sit down to eat together with friends or family, or indeed, strangers. Try to eat or drink fermented, living foods and drinks at least once a day. It’s easy to make homemade sauerkraut and kombucha, but it’s even easier to buy good sourdough bread, raw milk cheese such as Gruyere, and fermented french unsalted butter. Wine is fermented, so glug away, especially natural, living wines. Thank and have respect for local farmers, producers and shopkeepers that you know and trust.

Many of the residents of Hong Kong have grown up with the traditional Chinese knowledge, experience and wisdom that ‘wellness’ and ‘good nourishment’ are one. The more you take control and really understand about the value of the food that you are preparing and eating, the more liberated and alive you will be.

So you could say that the city is well ahead of the Western health trends. Oats are one of the world’s most nourishing grains, and have been eaten by our ancestors as a simple and convenient meal, hot (porridge) or cold (muesli), for millennia. It’s the perfect breakfast: filling and sustaining in a healthy way, and one that  can be flavoured to suit every taste - whether savoury or sweet.”

Karen Holt of The Health Seed Concept advises starting slow:Image title

I think it’s better to start by making small changes in your life, notice how it makes your body feel when you drink more water or start to incorporate more vegetables into just one of your meals for example. Really experiment with your body and go little by little. Every body is different and a plant-based diet is not suited for every person. Really tune into your body and work out what makes your body sing versus what makes you feel lethargic, foggy and anything less than your most amazing self. Once you get clearer about what works for your body, get educated! Factory farming, over farming our land, polluting our soil with chemicals and pesticides and using non-sustainable practices, as well as the amount of water consumption is very scary. There is a Native American proverb: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. So when I make choices about my food, I always keep this in the forefront of my mind.

I really try to steer clear of overly processed foods because I think that eating real food is what makes our bodies the happiest. So in terms of meat alternatives, I love tempeh, which is when the whole soybean is fermented. I also occasionally use tofu. In terms of dairy alternatives, I love to make my own nut milk because it’s so easy and you can add delicious spices like cinnamon for extra flavour and I also love to use nutritional yeast in savoury dishes for its cheesy flavour.

Fruits and vegetables contain a high water content and are nutrient dense, so initially when you bring more raw fruit and veg into your diet you might feel fuller faster and your tummy might feel bloated as your system adjusts to processing the additional fibre in your body. We condition our body with the kind of foods we eat, so if your body is not used to this kind of food it might go through a detoxification process to begin with. Once your body has cleansed itself you will start to notice a huge difference in your energy levels, your skin and overall wellbeing.

I love smoothie bowls, especially in the warmer weather it is my favourite way to start the day – I use all different fruit, veg, superfood combinations and it leaves me feeling full, energised and without the coffee craving. By using raw foods, I am filling my body with living enzymes, vitamins and minerals and so it is an incredibly nourishing start to my day."

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For the smoothie:

•    2 frozen bananas

•    1 ½  cups blackberries,

      raspberries, and blueberries

•    1 big handful spinach

•    1 cup unsweetened almond milk

•    2 heaped tbsp raw cacao

•    1 tbsp cold pressed virgin coconut oil

For the buckinis:

½ cup activated buckwheat

2 tsp maca

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cold pressed virgin coconut oil, melted

A pinch of sea salt

To serve:

1 heaped tbsp coconut yoghurt

Cacao nibs


Place the bananas, berries, spinach, almond milk, cacao, and coconut oil in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth.

Divide into 2 bowls and combine the activated buckwheat with the rest of the buckini ingredients and add to the smoothie mix and stir gently through.  Top with coconut yoghurt and cacao nibs.



Editor-in-chief of Foodie and constantly ravenous human being