Vanilla Lovin’

I love ice cream…who doesn’t? Before I became vegan, my favourite ice cream was Häagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake. The yummy taste of strawberries and the crunch from the bits of cheesecake was amazing. In the past I would joke with my friends that I could never become vegan because of my love for ice cream, but who says you have to give that up? Enter my vanilla lovin’ soft serve nana cream. This is the first of many attempts in me finding my perfect recipe for vegan ice cream, something that could very well rival Häagen-Dazs. I fell in love with this recipe and I know you will too. It’s smooth, packed with banana flavour with a subtle hint of vanilla and coconut and the best part… IT’S GUILT FREE!!!

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You’ll need:

3 bananas that have been sliced and frozen for 8 hours.

1 teaspoon of vanilla seeds

2 teaspoons of organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil

A scant amount of rice milk (coconut milk is a great alternative)

Place all your bananas in a blender and add a little bit of milk to get the blender going. Don’t add too much milk unless you want a smoothie. Add the rest of the ingredients, blend then grab a spoon and enjoy! IT’S THAT SIMPLE!

Coco about you!

I’ve waxed lyrical about the benefits of bananas here, so this time I’ll be giving some love to coconut oil. I am obsessed with the smell of coconuts, the real smell not the artificial kind.  I think it’s one of the reasons why I love coconut oil so much, the smell transports me to a beautiful island where James Franco is rubbing oil on my back and we’re drinking green smoothies together. Fantasies aside, I started using coconut oil on my nails and noticed that they got stronger, grew quicker and maintained their length. I did some research and found out that  coconut oil is a great all-rounder. It’s great for your hair, skin and your body, all of which I can vouch for. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is then converted to monolaurin which has been touted to fight viral and bacterial infections caused by organisms such as Listeria monocytogenesStaphylococcus aureus and Heliobacter pylori (microbiologist that I am, I sense a study on the effects of coconut oil on these organisms hmm…) which cause food poisoning, stomach and duodenal ulcers. The composition of fatty acids in coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides) assimilate well in the body and also help body systems such as the liver in cases of detoxification. Lauric acid makes up 50% of the fats (good fats) found in coconut oil and is beneficial to the heart, it does not increase your LDL’s due to it being a healthier alternative to other cooking oils. It also reduces the risk of  atherosclerosis and damage to the arteries. On the skin I found coconut oil to be best applied as a mask (apply a generous amount to your face, take 5 minutes to massage your face and then use a warm face cloth to wipe it off. The excess can be left to leave you with a gorgeous tropical glow.) It’s also great for treating eczema and preventing premature aging!

 

Breakfast Smoothie

I love smoothies! I am not a huge fan of having solid food in the morning. It’s all about finding what works for you and for me,solid food in the morning usually has me feeling sluggish, maybe a tad grumpy and ready to go back to bed! This smoothie is a great way to refuel after a workout. I typically have it after my morning workout and sometimes during the day if I don’t feel like eating anything too heavy. It’s super yummy, dairy free and vegan. I am having such fun transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1l apple juice

1 banana

1 avocado

2 tablespoons moringa leaf powder

a handful of oats (adjust according to desired consistency, not too much though, we’re not making porridge!)

Here’s why I love this smoothie:

Bananas have a high content of potassium, potassium is an important electrolyte that maintains good cardiovascular health. It lends to maintenance of blood pressure and heart function via the electrical impulses that travel through your body. The conduction of these impulses are what keep cardiac muscle contracting [i.e. your heart beat] at a normal rate and without potassium (lack of potassium is called hypokalaemia, I’m a qualified biomedical scientist, geeky side coming out…) your heart rate will display irregularity and let’s be honest the only time one’s heart should display irregularities is when watching James Franco :-p Bananas are also a great source of fibre, that’s why they’re a favourite of so many runners.

When I was a child I hated avocados, now I can’t get enough of them, I’m obsessed with avocado oil as well. I love avos in guacamole, face masks, on their own, on top of black beans but especially in smoothies.  Like bananas, they are also an excellent source of potassium but I love them for their meaty texture chockfull of monounsaturated fat which boosts your heart health and lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease. I also love that it’s packed with vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin E, a great one for beautiful skin that screams ‘I have a breakfast smoothie everyday!’

Moringa leaf powder is a new addition to my smoothies. My mum has been buying it for almost a year and I never paid attention to it until now.  If you’re anaemic, morning powder can provide you with that boost you need to get your body producing oxygen rich, iron loaded power red cells. It can help in boosting your energy and your stamina. Word of caution; I’ve read that it can also prevent pregnancy so if you’re like me and you’re not trying to fall pregnant or you’re single and not ready to mingle then by all means add this to your smoothie, otherwise steer clear!

Oats are added to add more fibre and bulk to the smoothie. This is a breakfast smoothie therefore it is important to make it as nutrient rich as you can. Oats are high in iron and lower your LDL (low density lipoproteins which are your bad fats that clog your arteries.) They also contain beta-glucans which strengthen your immune system against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. I typically have a big glass of this smoothie and find it very filling. Let me know if you try it, I’d love to know what you think!

*I have a soft spot for James Franco, if you look like him, I might have a soft spot for you too 😉