Ten Documentary Films you Need to Watch this Year

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Who doesn’t love a good documentary? They can really make you think and often raise important questions. Here are ten of the best I’ve watched to date. Consider this Volume 1.

Ten Documentary Films Worth Watching:

1. Earthlings

Earthlings is one of those documentaries that will change the way you look at the world. Made back in 2005, it was and remains truly groundbreaking. It is not the easiest to watch as it exposes some major cruelty that goes on right under our noses. Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix (yes, I had to Google that for spelling!), Earthlings will inspire you to make changes that can benefit your health and the planet. You will find it on Youtube for free.

2. A Plastic Ocean

I recently watched A Plastic Ocean on Netflix. It exposes the shocking truth about the waste being pumped into our oceans on a daily basis and the impact it is having on our sea life. This documentary will certainly make you think twice about every piece of plastic you use and throw away. It doesn’t just disappear.

3. What the Health

Probably one of the most controversial documentaries of 2017, What the Health exposes some serious inconsistencies and misinformation pontificated to us from our health industry. Cancer, diabetes and heart disease organisations are challenged about the advice they give versus the research available. Some shocking conflicts of interest are uncovered. A serious eye-opener. This one is available on Netflix.

4. Cowspiracy

A sister documentary to What the Health, Cowpiracy, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, deals with the conflicting advice from our Environmental Agencies and the true changes we need to make in order to stop Climate Change and protect the planet. Find it on Netflix.

5. No Impact Man

I love No Impact Man. In this documentary we see Colin Beavan and his wife and daughter spend one year of their lives living with zero impact on the environment.  Watch this Manhattan family gradually give up their T.V., transport, cosmetics, fridge, take-away and packaged foods and much more. See the impact this has on their lives in this inspiring documentary. Colin also wrote a book of the same title about the experience. While an extreme decision, this documentary will show you how easy it is to take smaller steps towards sustainability and how those steps might actually benefit you more than you think. Find it for free on Dailymotion.com.

6. Vegucated

Vegucated is a fun documentary that follows three New Yorkers as they take on a challenge to go vegan for six weeks. We see them go through ups and downs as they thoroughly change their diets and learn to navigate the world as a vegan. Will they make a lasting change? Find it on Netflix.

7. Black Fish 

Black Fish is a documentary that will truly have you on the edge of your seat. Before I watched it I had heard so many people rave about it but I really didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. Turns out I was wrong. This one will bring you on a rollercoaster of emotions and change your perspective on the captivity of our sea life. Available on Netflix.

8. Food Inc.

Food Inc is a great documentary that will open your eyes to the reality of the food industry. Learn about where are food really comes from and what impact it is having in this educational documentary. Available on Netflix.

9. Minimalism

I first watched this documentary almost a year ago. It is truly inspiring. Taking a look at the important things, Minimalism delves beyond our material possessions to a life with less stuff and more meaning. Available on Netflix.

10. The Zeitgeist Trilogy

The documentaries that made me love documentaries! Its quite a while since I watched the Zeitgeist movies. I first saw them back in 2012 when they were available for free on Youtube (the still are). Now you will also find them on Netflix. Undoubtably the first of the three is lower budget and less sleek but still worth a watch. The second and third movies are fantastic so don’t give up if you don’t enjoy the first! These three movies will seriously shake up your view point.

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Yes, that does bring it to approximately 12 movies. You might say that’s one for every month of the year! Grab your popcorn and get started! Let me know what you think of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts on which ones you like most.

Happy Viewing!

The Clean Coconut x

Ten Top Tips for Veganuary and the Vegan Transition

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Taking on a vegan challenge is probably the very best way to dip your toes into plant based eating and find out what effect it might have on you. I started out by taking The Vegan Society’s 30 Day Vegan Challenge back in July 2017 and I haven’t looked back. If you’ve decided to get stuck into Veganuary this month, here is my best advice to see you through it. Go to veganuary.com to sign up or learn more!

Ten Tips for Veganuary

 

1. Watch Some Vegan Documentaries

Staying in touch with the reasons you are doing Veganuary can help prevent your motivation from wavering. Whether it be for the animals, the environment or your own health, there are plenty of documentaries out there to whet your appetite. Three of my favourites are Earthlings, What the Health and Cowspiracy. There are countless others.

2. Check out Some Vegan Youtubers

If you don’t have the time to sit down and watch a one or two hour long documentary then simply turn to Youtube where you will find plenty of shorter informative videos to keep you on track. Some of my favourite channels for vegan inspiration are Earthling Ed, James Aspey, Bite Size Vegan and NutritionFacts.org. If you’re eager for some longer Youtube documentaries check out The Land of Hope and Glory and Gary Yourofsky’s The Best Speech you will Ever Hear.

3. Read Books

Take a look at The China Study and Dr. Greger’s How Not to Die to learn more about the health benefits of a vegan diet. Other books on veganism that I have on my own reading list include Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Dead Zone by Philip Lymbery.

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4. Get The Happy Cow App

No matter where you are in the world, The Happy Cow app can help you locate the nearest restaurants, cafés and shops serving vegan food. It even includes user reviews to help you whittle down the recommendations to the ones that will suit you best. If you aren’t going to a place listed on the app I suggest checking out menus online and calling ahead to let the chef know you will need a vegan option.

5. Supplement B12

I like the Better You B12 Spray. Whilst B12 deficiency is not confined to plant based eaters, it is a recommended supplement for those on a vegan diet. B12 comes from bacteria and is supplemented to the animals we eat. In our sanitised world it can be hard to get b12 from plant-based sources so I suggest you do like the cows do and supplement it!


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6. Click into Barnivore.com

Did you know that not all alcohol is vegan? Searching the Barnivore website will help you figure out whether your favourite tipple fits the bill. Thankfully, more often than not it will be vegan.

7. Use the Vegan Calculator

The Vegan Calculator is a great way to see the difference you are making with each day you spend eating a plant based diet. The cumulative effect is incredible.

8. Try New Recipes

Borrow some vegan cookbooks from your local library. I love The Happy Pear cookbooks as well as the (hilarious) Thug Kitchen books. The Vegan Before Six book also has some great plant based recipes although it also includes animal-based recipes too. Borrowing a few from the library will help you discover what ones you like before investing in the best ones. Check out Bosh on Facebook too for easy to follow video recipes. I have a few vegan recipes on the blog which I often make including chocolate chia pudding, chocolate chip cookiesbutternut squash soup, vegan tacos and Indian dahl.

9. Join Vegan Communities on Facebook

The best way to stay on track is to become part of a support network. Maybe you are lucky enough to already have some vegan family or friends. Fortunately there are countless vegan groups on Facebook and I’m sure you’d even find online communities taking part in Veganuary specifically. Simply search vegan groups on Facebook and the most relevant ones will appear. Your own city or town may even have a dedicated group.

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10. Don’t Give Up

Drastically changing your diet over night may not be easy and it may take time for your body to adjust. Check out Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app to make sure you are getting all the daily nutrition you need and be sure to drink plenty of water to help your body with the change. When you reach the end of Veganuary you will be in a much better position to determine what specific benefits it has had for you! Whilst I obviously prefer a whole-food plant based vegan diet in the long run, there are plenty of vegan “junk foods” to try out during Veganuary. Eating what is familiar may make it easier for you to stick to the challenge. So, if you want a Hob Nob, an Oreo or a packet of King crisps don’t worry! They’re all vegan! Most importantly, remember it will only get easier.

I’m happy to support you on your Veganuary journey so feel free to send on any questions you may have!

Good Luck!

The Clean Coconut x

veganuary



Five Books You Should Read in 2018

Books

Welcome to the New Year!

If you’ve resolved to do some more reading in 2018 I have a helping hand to lend.  I read most of these books over the course of 2017 and found them insightful, inspiring and very educational. Here are my top picks for the books you should read in 2018!

1. How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger

This book has probably taught me more about nutrition than any other book I’ve read. In the first half of his book, Dr. Greger takes us, chapter by chapter, through the 15 leading causes of death and discusses the top evidence based research on preventing them. With chapters on heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, liver disease and hypertension, this book is a must read. The second half of the book discusses the ideal diet for preventing a myriad of diseases. And said diet is a lot simpler than you might expect. I first borrowed this book from my local library but soon purchased a hard copy to keep for reference! All of the proceeds from Dr. Greger’s books go straight to charity. A great read and a great gift for those you care about.

2.  Everything that Remains by The Minimalists 

If you’re looking to simplify your life this year, this story might just be the inspiration you need. Going from the self-described “suit and tie corporate guys” to a life of minimalism inspired The Minimalists‘ memoir “Everything that Remains”. It is an easy read that you will swallow up in two or three days, this was one of my favourite books of the year.

3. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II

The China Study details what has been called the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted. The findings of this twenty year study across China are eye opening. It will undoubtably change the way you eat forever.

4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo 

I was probably a little late to the game in embracing this best-seller, having only gotten round to reading it in 2017. The ultimate spring-cleaning book, this will motivate you beyond belief to get rid of your junk and simplify your space. I think I’ll re-read it myself!

5. The Good Gut by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg

If you’re interested in learning more about whats been dubbed our “second brain” then this is the book for you. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg’s cutting edge research into our microbiome is incredible. While such research is only in its infancy, the discoveries outlined in their book are well worth knowing about. Not only do they take the reader through the leading research conducted at Stanford University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, they also discuss the implications of their discoveries for our own gut microbiota. They share their advice on how to eat to feed your microbiota and even include some gut-friendly recipes at the back.

Books

I highly suggest you join your local library this January and make the most of it this year. I’d love to hear your suggestions for books to read in 2018 or your thoughts on any of the above if you have read them!

Happy New Year,

The Clean Coconut x

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Vegan Pledge: Week Three Food Diary

Welcome to week three of my thirty day vegan pledge with The Vegan Society. You can find out why I decided to take the thirty day pledge here. Catch up on week one here and week two here. You can also click this link to check out my vegan grocery shop!

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MY 30 DAY VEGAN PLEDGE OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON 6/7/17

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As I mentioned previously, during week two of the vegan pledge I had begun to experience some symptoms such as headaches and the breakout of a rash across my face and neck. I put these down to a detox reaction due to the huge change in diet. Thankfully moving into week three these symptoms had completely cleared up and I was keen to continue on with the pledge!

Vegan Food Diary: Week Three

Vegan Meals: Breakfast:

My breakfasts this week mostly continued in a similar vein, being comprised of fresh fruit, oats and smoothies. However I did also try my first homemade vegan fry up!

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I used Heinz baked beans, a left over baked potato, sautéed spinach and mushroom, grilled tomato and Dee’s Wholefoods traditional vegan sausages. These are so good! I picked them up at Tesco. Compared to most other vegan sausages on the market they are free of artificial additives and are also gluten, soy and GMO free. They’re also a bit pricier but they have a good use-by date and can also be frozen. I tried these for the first time long before I started the pledge and I’ve tended to keep a box in the freezer for when I need a quick meal in a pinch. Highly recommended! I grilled the ones pictured above but I do think they taste a bit nicer fried!

Vegan Meals: Lunch

I tried a new recipe and used polenta for the first time to make this polenta and veggie bake along with a cashew and black bean burger. I topped this with some amazing siracha Vegenaise (not pictured). If you haven’t tried Vegenaise you’re missing out! Its even better than the real thing! I’ve found it in a few health food shops and some specialist vegan shops too.

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I was out and about a lot this week and I mostly ate out for lunches so I will be sharing them in my post on eating out as a Vegan! ??

Vegan Meals: Dinner

I made a delicious sweet potato and peanut butter curry this week. Definitely one of my new favourite recipes! I served it with red and black quinoa and some coriander. Again I’ve been noticing how truly filling these whole food vegan meals are! So very full of flavour too!

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I made another pizza dinner with a wholemeal wrap from M&S and topped with spinach, kale, cherry tomato, basil and vegan cheese. My favourite is definitely the Violife vegan mozzarella style cheese as it melts so well on pizza. This is such a quick and easy meal to make and total comfort food!

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I also made an Indian Jalfrezi with tofu, peas, spinach and bok choi. Served with brown rice.
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At the end of week three I am starting to feel like I’m really getting the hang of this whole vegan thing! Its definitely getting easier as time goes by.

My next post will detail my final week on the pledge leading me to a full 30 days on a vegan diet. If you’d like to take the thirty day vegan pledge click here. You’ll get daily emails to keep you motivated and help you along the way.

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Catch up on why I took the 30 day vegan pledge here and how I got on with week one of the pledge here and find my week two update here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

vegan meals

Vegan Pledge: Week Two Food Diary

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My 30 Day Vegan Pledge officially began on 6/7/17

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Welcome to week two of 30 day vegan pledge! Catch up on why I took the vegan pledge here and how I got on with week one of the vegan pledge here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

Moving into week two of the pledge marked the longest consecutive time I’ve ever spent eating a vegan diet. I began eating vegan about a week before I signed up for the pledge. Up until now I’ve only only ever lasted about a week or so on a vegan diet before slipping up somehow or going out to eat and making a non-vegan choice. Each of those “failures” or slip ups have helped me get to where I am now however. Transitioning is a process.

Week two also saw the beginning of symptoms I felt were associated with some sort of detox response to this new way of eating. More on that later!

Vegan Food Diary Week Two

Breakfast:

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This week I tried to get in a bit more fresh fruit in the mornings. I usually wouldn’t eat much fruit other than berries and banana, so it was nice to add in some more variety with melon, cherries, kiwi, grapes, peach, plum and pear. All the colours of the rainbow! Most mornings started with some sort of fruit salad this week. The weather was so good, making it really easy to start the day with lots of fresh fruit.

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Oats also remained a staple this week. The oats shown below are from the Merry Mill and I’ve added chia, flax, raspberries, banana and peanut butter. This is such a filling breakfast. Being vegan I haven’t worried much about portion size but rather I’m making sure to eat plenty to keep me satiated. Staying full on this vegan diet has been incredibly easy. I’ve often completely overestimated my portion sizes and then struggled to finish them!

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Lunch

I ate lots of salads this week for lunch. The good weather seems to make one more inclined towards salads! Below I had some homemade omega superbread with a fresh salad, Veganaise and some Indian lentil dahl – find my Indian dahl recipe here. 

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Below you can see the big pot of Indian dahl that I made this week – its very versatile and easy to make. I had it for dinner with brown rice and then saved leftovers for lunch. I’ve posted the recipe on the blog already. Its one I’ve made time and time again over the last few years.

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Vegan avocado bruschetta was another lunch time staple this week. Lots of garlic, shallot, balsamic, olive oil and black pepper on chopped avocado and tomato. This was so tasty and easy to throw together that I made it a few times this week.

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Dinner:

Dining al fresco was inevitable this week with the gorgeous weather. This vegan “paella” dish was so good with a glass of vegan white wine. A really tasty dinner. Check out barnivore.com to see if your alcohol is vegan. (Spoiler – most spirits are vegan but wine is more complicated as they often use fish bladder, egg or milk protein in the filtration process).

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Finally, I had a go at making a vegan pizza this week using some whole grain wraps I picked up in Marks and Spencer. I topped the wrap with tomato puree, dairy free pesto, oregano, basil, Vio Life vegan mozzarella, sweetcorn, mushroom, onion, spinach and fresh basil. This was made in minutes and just as good as the real thing!

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Week Two: A Vegan Adjustment

By the beginning of my second week on the pledge I had broken out in a rash of little white bumps all over my face and neck. This happened to me once before about two years ago when I first started introducing lots of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha into my diet. I’m pretty sure this rash signifies some sort of detox reaction. Thankfully it has completely cleared up and my skin is actually better than ever now.

I also experienced quite a few headaches this week. Again the exact same thing happened two years ago with the fermented foods. These headaches can likely be attributed to my significant change in diet having now been on a fully vegan diet about three weeks overall. I started eating vegan about a week before I took the 30 day pledge. Of course it is to be expected that my body will take a little while to adjust.

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I’m going to do a separate post on how I got on with eating out as a vegan having tried a few new places this week. Stay tuned for that.

Despite skin flare ups and headaches in week two I have really been enjoying the food I’m eating as I move forward towards the second half of my vegan pledge. Week three of my thirty day vegan pledge is coming soon!

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Find week three of my 30 day vegan pledge here. Catch up on why I took the 30 day vegan pledge here and check out how I got on with week one of the pledge here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

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Vegan Pledge: Week One Vegan Food Diary

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Welcome to week one of my vegan food diary! Having made the pledge to go vegan for 30 days and stocked up my newly vegan pantry I was all set to get started on my first week following a 100% vegan diet.

To be honest, I’ve been eating a largely plant based diet for the past few months but I hadn’t committed to it 100%. I had already been eating vegan for the week prior to taking the vegan pledge. I decided against backdating the start of my pledge and didn’t include the previous week as part of the 30 days. That means that when I finish the 30 day pledge I will actually have completed 37 days vegan ???? This is far more than the seven or eight consecutive days I would’ve ever managed before!

Day one of my vegan pledge officially started on 6/7/17 ????

Week One: Vegan Food Diary

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Vegan Food Diary: Breakfast

Porridge was an easy go to breakfast. I soaked my Merry Mill oats the night before in dairy free milk. I topped my oats with fruit – banana and frozen berry as well as adding flax and goji berry mix (from Aldi) and chia seeds. This is a great filling breakfast.

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Pancakes were another breakfast option this week! These ones were made with quinoa and flax and smothered in coconut yoghurt, maple syrup and berries!

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Smoothies were also on the menu. Filled with fruit, nut milk, veggies, linseed and chia with a scoop of plant based protein powder.vegan food diary

Vegan Food Diary: Midweek Dinners

The first dinner I made was a coconut chana masala. I love this meal! Served with brown basmati.

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I also made two sweet potato and puy lentil bakes. One went to the freezer!

I made a vegan cider and samphire chowder as shown below.

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Below you can see my pesto pasta with olive and sun-dried tomato and sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes. This was a quick and easy dinner to throw together and exceptionally tasty!

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Another super easy dinner was this loaded baked sweet potato filled with black bean chilli, guacamole, chillies and vegan cheese.

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Vegan Food Diary: Weekend Food

vegan food diary This pasta dish is similar to the previous one but with the addition of plenty of fresh basil. Such a yummy comfort food! I used Dove’s Farm brown rice pasta.

vegan food diary I marinated some tempeh as shown above (uncooked). Tempeh is one of my new favourite foods and this was my first time having it! I fried it and served it with some black bean burger bites, avocado salsa and home made potato wedges. One of my favourite meals this week!

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I also ate out three times this week and I’m going to add those to a separate post on eating out as a vegan!

I definitely ate abundantly this week and enjoyed a balanced diet which included various sources of carbohydrate, protein and fat. There were so many varieties of flavour to enjoy in each dish.

I definitely feel like I bought far too much food in my first vegan shop! I didn’t realise how full I would feel eating this way, that has probably been the biggest surprise. The good thing is that a lot of what I purchased are pantry staples that I thought would last me the thirty days – they’ll actually more likely last me two or three months!

Hope you enjoyed this vegan food diary! Lots more to come as I continue on the 30 day vegan pledge ????

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Check out week two of My 30 Day Vegan Pledge here. Find my vegan grocery shop here.  Read about why I took the pledge in the first place here.

vegan food diary

Vegan Grocery Shop: Week One

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Upon deciding to make the commitment to go vegan for thirty days, I knew I needed to stock up on some plant-based staples. Most of what I’ve included in this vegan grocery shop was purchased in Sainsbury’s. I’ll talk you through what I picked up and how I intend to use it!

Vegan Grocery Shop Essentials

1. Vegetables!

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Possibly the most obvious thing to get when doing a vegan grocery shop! I stocked up on lots of vegetables for the week including carrots, onions, leeks, parsnip and turnip for a vegan chowder I was planning to make. Spinach for salads and smoothies. Mushrooms for pastas, soups and my portobello pizzas. Beetroot, spring onion and broccoli for salads. Potato and sweet potato for mash and potato salad. Of course lots of the basics like carrot and onion would be used in a number of recipes over the course of the week.

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2. Fruit

I don’t tend to eat tonnes of fruit. I stocked up on frozen berries (not pictured) including blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, as well as a mixed summer berry frozen selection. I usually use these on top of porridge or chia pudding and in smoothies. Bananas are so nice in smoothies or with nut butter on toast as a quick and satisfying snack. I also got up a box of cherries to snack on. Avocado will be used in salads and to make guacamole ??. Lemons and limes with be used for gin and tonic flavouring various salsas, salad dressings and recipes. I picked up the bramley apples to make my own apple sauce as it is often used as a substitute in healthier vegan baking. I’ll freeze the sauce in one-cup portions.

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3. Herbs

I bought a selection of herbs for cooking with. Fresh herbs make such a difference to the flavour of any dish. My most used are probably basil and corriander. I also picked up samphire for the chowder I was making, parsley, thyme, tarragon and chives. I have a selection of dried herbs and spices too which are also brilliant for adding flavour.

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4. Beans and Lentils

Of course no vegan shopping list would be complete without a selection of beans and lentils. Buying them dry and in bulk from the likes of an Asian supermarket is by far the cheapest but for now I just picked up a variety of types. I got some dried chickpeas and black beans also (not pictured) that I will soak, cook and freeze in one can equivalent portions.

vegan grocery shop

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These were lentils I already had in the press and will be using over the next thirty days!

5. Nuts and Seeds

Another plant-based staple. I will use these in baking, salads and various other recipes. Seseme seeds are high in calcium so are good to include on a vegan diet. I also have a bag of brazil nuts (not pictured) which are high in selenium – just two brazil nuts a day will help you reach your recommended daily allowance of selenium. Also not pictured are my chia seeds and linseed/flax which I use daily in either smoothies, porridge or chia pudding. I love them!

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6. Wholegrains

I stocked up on quinoa, brown basmati, buckwheat and polenta. I also got some brown rice pasta and want to get some quinoa and buckwheat pasta from the health food shop. I love the Ogran wholegrain buckwheat pasta. I will use quinoa to make tabouleh style dishes as well as using it as a side for various dishes. Rice will also serve as a side for the likes of curries and dahl.

Quinoa and buckwheat can also be used as a substitute for porridge to change things up a bit. I’ve never used polenta before! But I’ve noticed it in a few vegan recipes so I picked up a bag to give it a go. I’ve also got some porridge oats from The Merry Mill which I got at Bloom this year. I soak them the night before and they are the best oats I’ve ever had! So porridge will also be on the menu.

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7. Tofu

Tofu is fairly new to me. I’ve never really used it before. I picked up a selection when doing my vegan grocery shop. I thought I’d try out a few types over the next thirty days. Tofu is high in plant-based protein so will help me to increase my protein intake on this diet. Its very inexpensive, particularly compared to meat! But can be used in a similar way in recipes.

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8. Vegan Milk Substitutes

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I have been using unsweetened almond milk for quite some time. The Aldi and Tesco versions are great because they are so much cheaper. I decided to branch out and try a variety of different vegan milk substitutes over the next thirty days as there are so many types to choose from now. I go through plenty of these milk substitutes making smoothies, porridge and chia pudding as well as using them in tea.

9. Vegan Cheese !!!

Vegan cheese has become so much more readily available. Sainsbury’s have their own Free From range of cheese which is completely vegan. I picked up a selection as shown below. They also have a plain cream cheese, a Wensleydale and cranberry vegan cheese and a caramelised onion vegan cheddar. I haven’t tried them yet but perhaps I will next time.

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10. Pantry Essentials and Flavourful Additions

I picked up vinegars, oils, tinned tomato, tomato purée, passata, coconut cream, vegan stock and, of course, hot sauce ?. These will be used in a wide variety of recipes.

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I also got some jars of chillies, capers and roasted red peppers. I love olives so I picked up some garlic stuffed ones as well as some sun soaked tomatoes to throw into salads and pasta dishes. The Good 4U lentil sprout mix is really high in protein and I’ve used them before in salads. I also got some fresh chillies to use in various recipes. I couldn’t resist a jar of cashew butter too!

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I was delighted to come across this vegan pesto too! So handy for pasta and pizza dishes.

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I picked up some mustard for making salad dressings. Ketchup and a few herbs and spices that I had run out of. I already have a fairly well stocked spice/herb rack so cumin and kaffir lime leaves were the only two I was out of this week.

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I got some oat cakes for snacking. I love topping them with hummus or the aforementioned vegan cream cheese ?

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And of course no vegan grocery shop would be complete without tea!

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These are the basics of my shop this week. I stocked up on a lot of pantry staples so I shouldn’t need to repurchase them over the next thirty days. Hopefully I will just need to do top up shops for fresh fruit and veg over the next few weeks. I will let you know! I already have vegan protein powder which I’ve been using for quite a while now and nutritional yeast which is another vegan staple. I’ll do weekly vegan grocery shop updates to let you know what else I come across. I am planning a separate post on vegan snacks and treats. It will also be interesting to see how much this vegan diet costs in comparison to a meat/dairy/egg/honey consuming one. Stay tuned!

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Read about why I’ve taken the thirty day vegan pledge here. Also read about my first week on the pledge here.

vegan grocery shop

Veganism Revisited: A New Vegan Challenge!

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As I mentioned over on Instagram and Facebook, I’ve decided to revisit veganism. Last week I signed up for the thirty day Vegan pledge with the Vegan Society.

Over the last few months I have spent some time learning more about the values of veganism. It is something I want to explore again, having already completed a vegan challenge back in August 2015. In fact, that initial vegan series was the very first I published when I started The Clean Coconut!

Back then, despite how much I wanted to be, I wasn’t completely sold on veganism. I didn’t feel entirely sustained on the diet and whilst I certainly reduced my consumption of animal products from then on, I didn’t completely eliminate them.

Veganism

Over the last few months I have been eating a more plant based diet than ever. I have found that eating this way really suits me and fits well with my values. I have also realised that when I initially undertook the vegan challenge I probably wasn’t eating enough calories. I was following the Beyoncé diet and even though I never felt hungry during that initial vegan week, I don’t think my body was getting the energy I needed on what was an 80% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 10% fat calorie split. The plan was quite low calorie, and even though I often doubled portion sizes and added in extra snacks, I still lost weight over the course of the week. Clearly I can afford to fill up even more on a plant based diet in order to feel truly energised and sustained!


Veganism

At the time I blamed a lack of supplementation for the weakness I felt by the end of that initial vegan week, however I now realise it was also due to the low calorie diet. I have completed many more vegan weeks since then, particularly in recent months, and I have not experienced those same feelings. I have eaten abundantly, without following any particular “plan”. I have learned that veganism can make for a nourishing and satisfying diet.

Veganism

When I look back on what I dubbed the “improvable” aspects of the vegan diet I followed in 2015, I can see how many of them have in fact now been improved upon. When I first took on that week long vegan challenge I was living in Belfast. There were absolutely no vegan restaurants there at the time. Now, in 2017, I can name at least four restaurants which cater specifically (and three exclusively) for a vegan diet. I can also name countless other restaurants which have extensive vegan menus available. Thankfully there has been a huge upsurge in people seeking to follow a plant-based diet and the market has finally begun to cater for them.

Veganism

In 2015 I also felt that there weren’t many vegan alternatives to convenience foods but this is certainly not the case now. I can think of plenty of brands offering vegan alternatives! There are also tonnes of “accidentally” vegan foods ranging from the clean eating variety to the not-so-clean-eating types (hello Oreos, Skittles and Jelly Tots!) . When I first tried a vegan diet I had to go to specialised health food shops to get alternatives like vegan cheese but these are now readily available in the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s. I can even think of three local Belfast pizzerias that offer a vegan cheese alternative on their restaurant and take away menus. These vegan options are only going to continue to grow as demand increases.

Veganism

Until now, I don’t think I’ve ever spent longer than seven consecutive days on a vegan diet at any one time. Currently I’ve been eating a vegan diet for 14 days and have committed to sticking to it throughout the thirty day pledge I’ve made with the Vegan Society (and hopefully beyond that!). I took the pledge seven days ago. I hope to share my experience with you through various blogs, reviews, and food diaries over the next thirty days.

Veganism

Of course veganism is about much more than just a plant-based diet. It is about living a life that does not contribute to animal cruelty or exploitation in any way – including via the products we use, the entertainment we choose and the clothes we wear. It can seem overwhelming but even small changes can help to create a more sustainable planet and healthier environment for ourselves and for future generations. Revisiting veganism for the next thirty days certainly can’t do any harm!

The Clean Coconut x

veganism

A Little Life Update: Summer 2017

life

Hello Coconuts!

Its been a while and its safe to say that for me, the last few months have been quite a whirlwind! If you follow my social media accounts you will know that at the end of March I was involved in a car crash which essentially stopped me in my tracks and left me with injuries that I am still dealing with. While I focused on recovery, my blog and my training definitely took a back seat! Now that summer is in full swing, I am hoping to have time to write and share new blog posts with you more frequently ?

life

But it certainly hasn’t all been bad news! Many of you will also know that in June 2017 myself and my now fiancé Ciarán got engaged ?? So it has been an exciting month of catching up with friends and family and enjoying this very special time in our lives ?

life

Finally, I have spent a lot of time over the past few months taking the time to reevaluate my priorities. When life suddenly stops you in your tracks and turns your plans upside down it gives you reason to think twice about what is truly important, and that has been a blessing. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends and family, near and far, who have shared in our joyous times and been so supportive in the more difficult times over the last few months.

Here’s to a deeper layer of understanding being unveiled in this journey called life.

The Clean Coconut ??

life

 

 

 

A Dozen Convenient FODMAP Safe Options

FODMAP Safe

Low FODMAP eating takes a bit of getting used to. It can be easy to make mistakes on the diet, especially in the initial stages. Not being able to reach for a convenient snack or treat can create a feeling of deprivation and frustration. It took me a while to figure out some go-to treats or convenience foods that I could rely on while still strictly following a FODMAP safe diet.

Of course it goes without saying that some of these options are just treats and shouldn’t make up the bulk of your eating. After all, if you are living on pizza and chocolate your digestions probably isn’t likely to improve drastically!

Remember that fructose needs to be limited on the low FODMAP diet. Sucrose (table sugar) is made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Whilst glucose helps the absorption of fructose in the small intestine, thus making sucrose FODMAP safe, excess amounts of sucrose may still be malabsorbed. Therefore, it is important not to binge on sugary FODMAP safe foods as you may inadvertently be eating too much fructose for your intestine to cope with absorbing. That said, not everyone who follows the low FODMAP diet will be a fructose malabsorber.

It is important to regularly check the ingredients of anything you intend to eat on the low FODMAP diet. Product ingredients can change and while these options were perfectly safe when I was following the diet, they may not always be in the future.

Finally, remember that more and more foods are being tested for their FODMAP load, so going forward, there may be additional options that become FODMAP safe. (Yay!)

A Dozen FODMAP Safe Options:

 

  1. Pizza Express Gluten Free Margarita

FODMAP SafeI was very excited when I realised I could still enjoy pizza on the low FODMAP diet. Pizza Express’ gluten free margarita is available to buy in the supermarket to cook at home too! I picked mine up in Sainsbury’s. I also dined at the Pizza Express restaurant on one occasion and chose this low FODMAP option. When I make the margarita at home I often add my own toppings so that I can vary the pizza’s flavour. I add the likes of olives, spinach, rocket, parma ham and other low FODMAP options.

2. Mark’s and Spencer’s Made Without Wheat Chocolate Chip Shortbread Rounds

FODMAP Safe

These biscuits made for a really nice treat with a cup of tea and were also a good option for taking along when visiting friends or family.

3. Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate

FODMAP Safe

I am a huge fan of Green & Black’s and their dark chocolate is perfect for the low FODMAP diet. Again be mindful of sugar intake. I especially like to go for the 85% cocoa bar.

4. Emily Fruit Crisps:
FODMAP Safe

Whilst dried fruit is not FODMAP safe, these banana chips are safe once portion controlled. Try sprinkling on oats or pancakes for some sweet crunch. 

5. Montezuma’s Sea Dog Dark Chocolate with Lime and Sea SaltFODMAP Safe

I wasn’t sure that this flavour combination would work but actually it was delicious and something different. You can get sick of the same flavours when on a restrictive diet so I found this a nice alternative for a new burst of flavour.

6. Booja-Booja Chocolate Truffles

FODMAP Safe

Booja-Booja chocolate truffles are hands down my favourites! Bare in mind that the various flavours will contain different FODMAP loads. These hazelnut truffles  would have to be limited in portion (due to the hazelnuts), other flavours would have a lower FODMAP load. These are delicious!

7. Mini Moos Bunnycomb Bar

FODMAP SafeThis vegan and gluten free chocolate is so nice! The crunchy “bunnycomb” flavour is so tasty.

8. Doves Farm Cookies

FODMAP Safe

These Doves Farm cookies are organic and free from gluten, milk, peanut, egg and soya. They are FODMAP safe and come in a number of flavours including stem ginger (as above), a chocolate chip variation and an extra indulgent double chocolate flavour. Warning: these are addictive!

9. Artisan Bread Organic

FODMAP Safe

I can’t say enough about how great these Artisan Bread Organic options are. Check out their website to see their range. I ordered the pizza bases, quinoa and buckwheat breads, gluten free sourdough, oaties and gluten free scones. All of these options were low FODMAP, gluten free and most of them (minus the sourdough) were also free of added yeast. They are traditionally made using leaven making them easier to digest. Check out the pizza (below) that I made using one of their bases. It was incredibly good!

FODMAP Safe

10. Mothergrain Express QuinoaFODMAP Safe

Not a typical ‘treat’ but these express quinoa packs are so handy for filling out a meal. A perfect low FODMAP convenience and a great way to add fibre to the diet.

11. Big Oz Quinoa Flakes

FODMAP Safe

I used these quinoa flakes to switch up my usual bowl of oats. Another great low FODMAP option and again a brilliant way to add more whole grains and fibre to the diet. A very wholesome option!

12. My Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

FODMAP Safe

This chocolate chip peanut butter cookie recipe that I came up with is FODMAP safe. If you are in the mood to bake something up in the kitchen then give these a go!

 

There you have it. A dozen low FODMAP options that I relied on when following the diet! I hope it is helpful. Let me know what options you like best. I would  love to know what other treats and convenience foods you tend to rely on when on the low FODMAP diet too!

The Clean Coconut x

FODMAP Safe