Smart Eating and Smoothie Sipping

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As previously mentioned (see my post on the last events I went to), I am making full use of the fact that there is so much going on in London – whatever your interests, there are events to suit them. Last week was super exciting because I got to meet two inspiring people who I’ve been following from afar: Niomi Smart and Ella Mills, both of whom have just released new recipe books.

On Wednesday I trekked over to the Kensington Whole Foods for the Q&A with Niomi Smart and the signing of Eat Smart – her fully plant-based recipe book. It was great seeing the area designated for the event buzzing with lots of chatty excited people (and by people I mean exclusively young women), and feeling the excitement bouncing off everyone. I’d take this over a rock concert any day (- is that sad?) I was given a copy of the book, a goody bag (I could so get used to those!) and offered a drink. After rushing to get over there on time from uni I needed something more hydrating than alcohol though, so I sipped on some flavored water by Plenish that I conveniently found in my little bag of goodies.

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The Q&A itself was interesting and touched not just on food and eating, but also on (truly) organic beauty products, i.e. products approved by the Soil Association. It was thus only fitting that we had samples from some of these brands in our goody bags ;). (I’ll do a review of some of the – edible and non-edible – products I got from this and other events in a separate post). A highlight was getting my book signed by Niomi and exchanging a few words with her. She seems like a genuinely delightful person and you can tell how excited she is about her book and her recipes. As for me, it’s great having another fully plant-based recipe book to be inspired by. Oh and I almost forgot: We got to sample some of the food from her book and the falafels were amazing – especially with the peanut sauce that accompanied the vegetable skewers. (I was quite hungry at that point and was luckily sitting right next to a large platter of them, so, while chatting to the lovely Laura from Toronto, I could easily reach out and grab more 😉 )

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The next day I made my way to Whole Foods again, this time the one in Fulham Broadway. Eager not to be in a rush as I had been the day before, I made sure I had enough time and ended up being the first to arrive. As I didn’t feel like queueing outside the building for half an hour I engaged in a much loved pastime – aimlessly browsing through Whole Foods – and eventually came out with my first packet of maca. While waiting in the queue I started reading Deliciously Ella’s Smoothies and Juices while sipping a sample of Ella’s Green Dream Smoothie – nice and thick and full of flavor! There wasn’t any Q&A session at this event, but it was so wonderfully surreal to actually meet Ella, even for only a few moments, have her sign my book and pose for a picture. It was lovely and it made her feel like more of a real person to me – if that makes sense 😀

On my way back to the bus stop I happily munched on one of her hazelnut and raisin energy balls that I’d been excited to discover in the little brown bag containing her book (along with a bottle of the smoothie we’d sampled). It made me smile to think that probably a lot of students new to London were in pubs, drinking beer and eating chips (judging from my course’s Whatsapp group at least!) and might have a different idea of what a cool way to spend the evening is. But that’s what I love about London – it’s easier to fully be yourself and embrace who you are because there’s something for everyone. I’m still in the process of learning who I want to be and what I want to get out of life, but I feel like this is a good place for me to be while I’m asking myself these questions.

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Simple Tomato-Tahini Pasta

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This is one of my go-to speedy recipes for a healthy refueling meal after a workout. It’s so simple in fact, that it’s slightly embarrassing to call it a recipe, but let me bask in my (imagined) creative genius all the same.

What I like about this besides that fact that it’s so quick and easy to make is that it’s incredibly satisfying – the tahini gives the whole thing a creamy and indulgent element, while the veg adds some freshness to it. It’s more carb-based than my usual meals, as I created it for my post-workout needs. l If you want you can also reduce the amount of pasta and top up on more veg and add some beans instead.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 100g whole wheat, spelt or brown rice pasta
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini
  • bit of olive oil
  • frozen peas
  • any other fresh or leftover veg, for example zucchini or broccoli
  • optional: sesame seeds (in the top picture I just used mix seeds as I’m out of sesame)

Update: add some hot, smoked paprika to take this to the next level!

Cook the pasta in salt water according to the packet instructions, adding the peas and some chopped veg (the peas only take a few minutes and if you finely dice the zucchini it’ll also cook very quickly. I tend to throw them in 3-4 minutes before the pasta is done), drain, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it before adding and stirring through the tomato purée and tahini (and seasoning with the smoked paprika). Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top (use black ones if you’ve got them – not only do they have more antioxidants but they make the dish look cooler than it probably is). Eat directly or let cool and pack into a tupperware for after the gym 😉 Enjoy!

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A Sweaty & Sweet Saturday

 

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One of the – many! – things I was looking forward to with regard to moving to London was access to cool events. Back at home I’d read about book signings of people I’m following, cooking classes by people who’ve inspired me and regret living in a small country with mountains and cheese, where plant-based eating hasn’t quite so firmly planted its roots yet. Well, yesterday I made full use of my new, exciting location and spent the morning at the Sweaty Betty Live event and then indulged in Livia’s Kitchen’s delicious Cream-free Cream Tea. It was honestly the best of many great days here so far.

I arrived at the Sweaty Betty event at 7.40 am already, with my boyfriend in tow, hoping to beat the expected crowds. At that time most people were in colorful leggings, getting ready for the first Psycle class (I had been too late to get us tickets including a class – so the sweaty part of the title is a tad misleading and sadly not to be taken quite literally I’m afraid). This was perfect though, as it meant we were among the first visitors to get a free matcha mini facial by Origins, in my case, and, in my boyfriend’s, a hand and arm massage (I didn’t think he was actually going to do it, I heard the lady waiting behind him say to another – a comment I didn’t repeat to him, as I love that he’s supportive and open-minded enough to accompanying me to these, let’s face it, rather more girly events 😉 ).

Back to the important things: The facial was a wonderfully soothing experience, where one incredible smelling, refreshing product after another was applied to my face, leaving me feeling glowing and fragrant. The product the facial was centered around was the Rituali Tea Matcha Madness, of which I received lots of samples that I will happily be trying out at home. Next I got a free manicure and tried out some products at the Neom Organics stand from the Happiness and De-Stress range, while my boyfriend made himself comfortable on a couch and lost himself in his action thriller, only looking up when I came by with free pots of coconut yogurt by the Coconut Collaborative. We also tried our first Deliciously Ella energy balls – cacao & almond and hazelnut & raisin – at the mae deli pop up and were most impressed. There I also got a free sample of Ella’s new products for Neal’s Yard Remedies (Rose, Lime & Cucumber Facial Wash and Moisturizer) which I am dying to test out.

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At 10.30 am we went to a talk on mindfulness by Dr. Melanie Tokley from The Mindfulness Project. Mindfulness is something that’s been on my list of things to get better at for a while now, and the talk was perfect for reminding me to prioritize this. At the end of the session we did a guided mindfulness exercise where we focused on our breath while listening to Melanie’s calming voice. Opening my eyes a few minutes later I felt refreshed, as if I’d been on a mini holiday. This is definitely something I want to consciously incorporate into my daily life. 

We left the event at around 11, armed with goody bags containing things like Sweaty Betty socks, tank tops (I obviously got my boyfriend’s too 😉 ), water bottles as well as samples of Pip & Nut and matcha (for drinking this time). By this point I was feeling very happy and already majorly excited for the next event:

The Cream-free Cream Tea, organized by Olivia Wollenberg of Livia’s Kitchen, was an absolute dream from start to finish. Located at the Beach, Blanket, Babylon bar and restaurant in Shoreditch in a beautiful and spacious room right under the roof, it was an event that more than surpassed my expectations. First of all it was so nice and refreshing to be able to just sit down and tuck into good looking food without worrying about what was in it or downheartedly realizing I wouldn’t be able to eat most of it. It was wonderful having the kind of food that I could enjoy laid out before me in the most inviting way. But the food wasn’t just fully plant-based and gluten-free, it was also utterly divine. From the red pepper hummus with crudités and the finger sandwiches (spicy guacamole and tahini cucumber) to the incredibly indulgent chocolate cupcakes, the gorgeous oat and maca cookies and the raw millionaire bites to – drumroll – the scones that (plain or topped with almond butter and berry chia jam) tasted out of this world , every bite was a delight to the senses.

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The event was not just about food, however, but also about the people sharing it. It was wonderful chatting with people who share my interests and understand where I’m coming from (yes, I’m talking about you Jordan and Gemma), and so inspiring to meet Olivia, who obviously loves what she does and puts her heart and soul into it. So, at the end of the day, what remain with me most are not the many goodies I got (I felt so spoiled!) or even the scrumptious leftovers I took home, but the memories of feeling at peace, understood and completely and utterly happy.

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