What I Ate Wednesday: Vegan (#14)

It’s Wednesday, and seeing as I haven’t posted a What I Ate Wednesday in over two months, I though it was time for another one. I’m currently in my final few weeks of University lectures, meaning that I have lots of deadlines in a very short amount of time. In other words, I’m spending most of my time at home or in the library, and I need a lot of brain food. It’s so important to eat well when you’re studying intensely; you might not be physically active but your brain is doing a lot of work, and it needs the fuel to do so properly.  So here is what I eat when I’m super busy with University work!

Breakfast

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I have oatmeal for breakfast, it’s always my go-to first meal of the day. The weather has been so nice lately and it’s inspired me to have more summer-y oats. This time I had coconut oats (I added some coconut cream to the oats while cooking; SO GOOD) and topped it with mango, raspberries, almonds, chia seeds and vegan honey. So filling and delicious; I always feel ready to take on the day after my bowl of oats.

Snack

I always have the tendency to get ill when I am stressed with work. I think it’s mainly because I end up spending a lot of time indoors and not moving my body enough. It’s definitely something I try to be aware of but some days are better then others. I try to have a green smoothie to combat any illness though; this time I went for banana, mango, greens powder (I like this one from Amazing Grass) and water. Super simple but essential for keeping my body healthy.

Lunch

Is there anything better than avocado toast, really? You need to get those healthy fats in and my favourite source of it is avocados. I always add a little bit of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic powder to my avo and it makes the best lunch.

Snack

Okay, this might sound like a super weird combo but trust me: brussel sprouts with peanut sauce is AMAZING. I used to have this combo all the time when I was little (I think it’s actually pretty common in The Netherlands) and I recently re-discovered it. It’s the perfect afternoon snack because it’s sweet and savoury, and also super nutritious. I make my peanut sauce by mixing some powdered peanut butter with soy sauce.

Dinner

I’ve been loving simple dinners lately; partly because I’m lazy and also because it’s satisfying. This time I went for brown rice with cucumber, spinach and baked tofu. Topped with some chia seeds and soy sauce, this was actually really yummy.

What are some of your favourite brain foods?

To see more of what I eat, remember to follow me on Instagram.

Hoije ❤

Advertisements

Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee.

Happy Thursday guys! Today I want to talk about coffee, more specifically caffeine. Let me start off by saying that I’ve always loved coffee, and still do. I really enjoy it as a drink and I still drink coffee daily; however, I now only drink decaf coffee. There’s several reasons for this, all which will be discussed in this blog post. I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic; do you drink caffeinated coffee? Do you notice any side effects from it?

Every body is different, so whilst I might react to coffee in a certain way, it might not apply to you at all. I still thought it would be interesting to share my experience though, so without babbling on any longer, here are some of the reasons I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee.

Continue reading

My Travel Diary: Vigan, The Philippines.

I want to start a new series on this blog called “My Travel Diary”, where I share some of my favourite pictures and memories from my travels. I’ve shared about my travels in the past, but I thought it was time to introduce it as a series and give it a name!

I will be starting off with The Philippines, which I visited last December. The trip was amazing; I saw some amazing nature landmarks (the Banaue rice terraces are breathtaking) and the Filipino people were so kind.  This post is specifically about Vigan, which is a small city in the north of the Philippines. We spent Christmas in this charming place and I fell in love with it.

Vigan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historic city centre has a lot of Spanish influences; the blend of Spanish and Oriental architecture creates a really charming atmosphere. I was particularly a sucker for all the exposed brick, it just looks so pretty!

dscn7975

Another great part about Vigan is that the city centre is largely car-free; you can walk around in peace. It was quite busy when we were there because of Christmas, but it still wasn’t overwhelming. I would definitely suggest going at a non-holiday period though, or venturing the streets early in the morning (when everyone else is still asleep).

dscn7987

I really liked that there is a lot of greenery around Vigan, you could tell that the local government had put effort into having plants around the town.

dscn7979

There’s also some really cute antique shops to browse; I’m trying to cut down on my possessions so I didn’t get anything, but if you’re looking for some home decor you’re bound to find some good stuff here.

dscn7985

There’s something I like about jumbled telephone and electric wires, I know, weird! I think it’s because it reminds me of Hanoi; it’s such a chaotic sight but there’s something nice about it for me. If you like this (slightly odd) look too then Vigan is perfect for you, there’s jumbled wires everywhere.

dscn7990

If you’re ever in the Philippines I highly suggest making a stop in Vigan. It’s a great place to relax (there’s quite a few cute coffee shops to chill at) and also to soak up some of the local culture. I had one disappointment though; there was no vegan place! I mean a place called Vigan would be perfect for a vegan restaurant, just saying…

I hope you enjoyed this post; let me know if you’d like to see similar content in the future!

Hoije ❤

My Top Trick For Breaking Bad Habits.

img_4232

At the start of a new year, I think we set ourselves up for failure. We create a long list of things we want to change, things we want to do better, but we rarely stick to those things. We might try our best for a few weeks, but in the end, we tend to forget about them and continue with our bad habits. Now I don’t blame anyone (including myself) for doing this; how can we expect to start eating better, exercise more, volunteer on a regular basis, spend more time with family, save money for a trip and meditate twice a day all at once? That sounds pretty impossible to me. Continue reading

Vegan Coconut & Butternut Squash Soup Recipe.

dscn8063

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today, it is by far one of my favourites. Before I go on I should say that I cannot take credit for this delicious soup recipe; my mom came up with this and although I’ve made a few tweaks, she’s the one that really invented it.

I used to really not be a butternut squash fan, but this soup completely changed my mind. It’s creamy and so flavourful, plus the coconut adds a really pleasant sweetness to this dish. It’s also super filling; a big bowl of this stuff will fill you up fast. I love making big batches of this and having it throughout the week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, so without further ado, here’s the recipe:

dscn8048

Serves 4

You will need a large saucepan and a blender (hand-held or stationary both work well)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 stems celery
  • 1 medium butternut squash (or pumpkin, both work well)
  • 8 baby potatoes
  • 4 stems parsley
  • 2 veggie stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pack (250ml) coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt, pepper and chilli powder to taste
  • ~6 cups water

dscn8071

Instructions:

  • Prepare all your vegetables. Make sure to cut your carrots, potatoes and butternut squash into small cubes in order to facilitate faster cooking.
  • Fry your garlic and onion in olive oil. Keep stirring until they start to brown; add a little bit of water during this process if needed.
  • Add celery, carrots, potatoes and butternut squash to the pan and let cook for a few minutes.
  • Add in your parsley (chopped) as well as the salt, pepper and chilli.
  • Add ~6 cups of water to the pan; make sure all your vegetables are covered.
  • Add stock cubes and tomato paste to the pan. Stir in and cover.
  • Allow the vegetables to cook for around 50 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the vegetables are soft, take the pan off the heat.
  • Using a immersion blender, mix everything together until smooth. If you are using a stationary blender, transfer the mixture to the blender and mix until smooth.
  • Once smooth, add coconut cream and soy sauce to the soup.
  • Place the pan back on the heat and let cook for another 10 minutes. Add some more salt, pepper or chilli if wanted.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Let me know if you try this out and what you think!

Hoije ❤

The Reason I Have Not Weighed Myself In 4 Years.

img_9984-1

To tell you the truth, I was planning on publishing a completely different post today (a travel diary of my recent trip to the Philippines, which will be up soon!), but I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently and felt passionate to write about it. I want to talk a little bit about weight, and particularly about weighing ourselves.

I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first weighed myself, but I know I was pretty young. At first I was just curious about how much I weighed, but over the years I started weighing myself more and more frequently. I would note down my weight and calculate my BMI on a regular basis, and if it was too close to the “overweight” category, I would feel horrible about myself. I remember very vividly writing down my weight every few days on a piece of paper, and taping this to the bottom of my scale. I wanted to see the numbers decrease, and if this wasn’t the case, I would be really unhappy.

I could write a whole essay about how the media negatively influences young girls and boys about their weight and appearance, it’s a topic that really interests me, but I won’t bore you with it too much here. However, I do think it’s important to realise that generations growing up with a lot of media exposure, both on traditional and non-traditional platforms, are exposed to a lot of negativity around appearance from a young age. I would read teen magazines that gave me tips on how to lose weight and all the pretty girls on TV were (and predominately still are) of a certain ‘ideal’ body type. The overriding message was one of needing to change yourself according to societies standards, instead of embracing yourself the way you are.

Unfortunately, I think that a lot of girls go through what I went through, I would argue that it is the norm. This obsession with weight is something that is cultivated from an early age, and it’s something that I still struggle with today. However, I’m proud to say that I have not stood on a scale for nearly 4 years; I couldn’t tell you how much I weigh now.

This started simply because when I moved out of home to go to uni, I didn’t have a scale, and therefore I didn’t weigh myself. I realised that I didn’t miss weighing myself, in fact, it was giving me a sense of liberation. Over time, I started thinking less and less about my weight. Don’t get me wrong, I still had my insecurities about my body, but my specific weight was no longer a part of this. I realised that my happiness should in no way be tied to a number on a scale.

4 years on and I’m still happily oblivious to what my weight is. I could estimate it; I know that I’m of a healthy weight just by looking at myself, my diet, and the way I feel. I still have some days where I feel very negatively about my body, but I think those days will always be there. I do know that when I stopped weighing myself, those days became much less, and I’m so happy about that. So I urge you to stop weighing yourself, or to at least minimise the amount you do it. You are so much more that a number on a scale, I promise you, so please don’t base your happiness on it.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Hoije ❤

What I Ate Wednesday: Vegan (#13)

Happy Wednesday! I thought I would do another What I Ate Wednesday post, because I haven’t done one in a while. Honestly, the food I’ve been eating the past few weeks really has been quite boring; as soon as I get stressed with uni work, I turn to super easy meals. So for this post I wanted to share some of my favourite comfort foods that are easy to make, for when you don’t have too much time on your hands. I should add that these pictures were not all taken on the same day; however, this is what I eat on a typical day:

Breakfast

img_5916

Oatmeal is my favourite breakfast to have when I’m busy studying. It’s filling, full of good stuff and delicious. On this day I had cinnamon apple oatmeal, very similar to a recipe I’ve shared before, topped with soy yoghurt, date syrup, raisins and almonds. I’m telling you, this is the ultimate brain food.

Snack

img_6311

Fresh squeezed orange juice is honestly the best, and I love to have a glass of it whenever I can. I find that I get sick easier when I’m busy studying; I tend not to spend enough time outside and it’s not great for my body. Stocking up on vitamins through oranges helps fight of any colds that are looming.

Lunch

img_5982

I’ve recently fallen in love with tofu scramble all over again; this stuff is amazing! I usually struggle a bit with what to have for lunch when I’m at home, but tofu scramble is my new go-to. I make mine with spinach, to get my greens in, and top it with lots of ketchup.

Snack

img_6367

I recently posted on Instagram that I’ve fallen in love with smoothies again. During the wintertime I tend to go for oatmeal instead of smoothies in the morning, but I’ve recently introduced them back into my diet and it’s been delicious. It’s the perfect afternoon snack, when you want something yummy but also nutritious. My favourite combo at the moment is banana, raspberries, a splash of vanilla soy milk and water. Simple but awesome!

Dinner

img_6145

Like I said at the start of this post, I wanted to show you the simple meals I make when I’m busy with uni work, and this is one of my go-to simple meals. It’s just brown rice, chickpeas, spinach and some terrayaki sauce. That might sound really plain, but it hits the spot for me. Meals don’t always have to be complex, sometimes a simple meal with few ingredients is just as good.

What are some of your go-to simple meals for when you’re busy? Let me know in the comments, I would love to try some!

Hoije ❤

How I Battle My Flight Anxiety.

fullsizerender

I’ve written about my flight anxiety on here before, where I discuss how my anxieties around flying have gotten worse over the years. The past month I’ve taken many flights, and although a lot of them were bad anxiety-wise, I made it through, physically and mentally. And I’ve had some sketchy flights. I flew while typhoon Nina was in the Philippines (“we might experience heavy turbulence due to typhoon Nina” is NOT something you want to hear your pilot say right before take off) and I witnessed a aborted landing (also called a go-around; basically, as we were about to land in Taipei, literally seconds from touch down, we sharply took off again because there was another plane on the runway. Yes, it was terrifying).

As someone who struggles with flight anxiety, these situations really were my worst nightmare. But, for the most part, I was able to somewhat control my anxiety. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I failed and had a small panic attack on the plane, but that’s okay. I’m still learning how to deal with my flight anxiety, and today I thought I would share some of my tips.

Of course any form of anxiety is very personal, and while these tips work for me, they might not be for you. But I still thought it was worth sharing; maybe you’ll get some ideas on how to handle your flight anxiety. Remember, you’re not alone!

Wear earphones

Something that really freaks me out when flying is the sounds. Especially on a small plane, you can hear everything. Whenever the plane slows down of speeds up, I fixate on these sounds and convince myself that something is wrong with the plane, and that we are bound to crash. This can get so exhausting, and so I try my best to wear earphones to listed to music or watch a movie, in a attempt to block out these sounds. It doesn’t always work (sometimes my fixation is so bad that I refuse to listen to anything but the plane sounds), but this is definitely worth a try.

Also, if you’re listening to music, try calm music. I like Ed Sheeran, James Blunt and Passenger; this music is calm and doesn’t hype me up too much. Find artists that work for you!

No caffeine

I used to have a really bad habit of sitting in a coffee shop with a big soy latte in the departure hall. There were a few reasons I did this. Firstly, I’m usually always tired at airports because I can’t sleep properly the night before. It’s a weird mix of adrenaline from the anxiety and exhaustion from a lack of sleep; it’s horrible. Due to being tired I thought that it was rational to drink coffee, to wake myself up. Another reason was routine; I’m used to coffee shops and their chill environment, and so always gravitated towards them.

I’ve now realise that adrenaline cause by anxiety and adrenaline caused by coffee do NOT mix. It only makes it much worse; the last thing you need when you’re feeling very anxious is more adrenaline rushing through your system. I’m planning on writing a ful post about this soon (I’ve pretty much completely cut caffeine out!), so stay tuned.

I now still go to coffee shops in departure halls, because they are calming places for me, but order a juice or a smoothie or a cup of tea. I’ve really noticed a difference doing this.

Sit by a window

There are a number of reasons for this. The biggest one for me is that sitting by a window allows me to rationalise turbulence. Turbulence is one of the factors of flying that really scares me. When I sit by a window, I can anticipate (for the most part) when the turbulence is going to come. For example, if we are in the process of landing and I can see that we have a thick cloud blanket to go through, I can prepare my mind and body for the turbulence that is bound to hit. I don’t know if that makes sense, it’s hard to explain, but this really works for me.

There are also other reasons to sit by the window. On long haul flight, I find window seats more comfortable, as you can create a small little “cave” for yourself. You can turn towards the side to sleep and experience a little bit of privacy. Comfort is key for anxious flyers.

A window seat also offers some amazing views, it will allow you to witness some of the beauty that comes with flying. Seeing the white fluffy clouds is quite magical, and seeing your destination come closer and closer when landing is pretty cool too. Try to focus on these good things, in order to take some of the edge off your anxiety.

Do your research

Here I’m not talking about looking at past plane crashes and such; please, don’t do that! I’m talking more about “knowing your fears”. For example, turbulence is a big trigger for my flight anxiety, so I decided to do a bit more research into what it really is, and why it happens. I find this video particularly useful; in it a pilot talks about flight anxiety, and how to overcome it. He compares turbulence to a car driving over a cobble road, it’s a bit bumpy but it’s not dangerous. I try to remember this when my plane hits some turbulence: I close my eyes and pretend I’m in a car, and it helps me normalise it.

This is just one example that worked for me. There’s loads of videos out there that aim to help with flight anxiety. A lot of them are presented by pilots, so you can bet they know what they’re talking about. I suggest checking a few out, but again, steer clear of any “air crash investigation” stuff!

Know the stats

Tying into the above tip; know the stats! There are around 100,000 flights a day, isn’t that a crazy amount?! If you then compare this number with the amount of accidents, it’s so minimal. Now I’m not saying that knowing this fact should eliminate your anxiety, because it definitely doesn’t for me. Unfortunately, most anxieties are not rational; we might realise that flying is one of the safest modes of travel, but we can still be petrified of it. However, sometimes when I’m feeling very anxious on a flight, I repeat this number to myself over and over. “100,000 a day, 100,000 a day”. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s good to know, and maybe it can help some of you.

Think about the destination

And lastly, whenever you’re flying or about to, think about WHY you’re flying. To alter an existing saying: “focus on the destination, not the journey”. If you’re going on holiday, think about all the amazing things you’re going to see and do. Maybe download some pictures of your destination on your phone beforehand, so that you can look at them to remind yourself of why you are on a plane. If you’re on your way back, look at pictures you took while on your trip, and remember that the anxiety you feel now was worth it, because you experienced some new amazing things. I realise that this tip doesn’t really work if you’re flying for business purposes, but I still suggest that you always think about the destination, what you’re going to do once you land etc. It can keep your mind off the present flying situation.

Sorry for the long ramble, I hope at least some of it was useful! I would love to know some of your tips on how you deal with your flight anxiety, or just anxiety in general. If there’s is anything I want you to take away from this post, it’s that you’re not alone in anxiety.

Hoije ❤

Oh, Hi There.

img_5186

I know; it’s been nearly two months since I last posted on this blog. It’s shameful. I was on such a roll with posts and then all of a sudden, my blogging brain just stopped. The main reason was that University work just hit me, hard. I knew doing a Masters degree was going to be tough, but the amount of work was a shock to the system. But I got through it, as I’m writing this I only have one assignment left for semester 1, and then I’m free (well, free for a week, till semester 2 starts up again…)

One of my resolutions for this year is to blog regularly again, I miss writing on here! I have a bunch of recipes I want to share, trips I want to talk about (I just got back from the Philippines and it was AMAZING) and mental health topics I was to vent about. I’m not going to commit to a schedule, I know myself well enough at this point to know that I won’t be able to keep at it for long. But I do want to promise myself, and you, that I’ll be creating content regularly again. It feels good to write about what I want in the midst of writing essays I’m assigned!

I hope you’ve had a good start to the new year, and that you’re achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself. Don’t be too harsh on yourself though; remember that you’re pretty awesome just as you are.

I’ll see you again very soon,

Hoije ❤