NBARS – Vegan Energy Bars (borderline obsessed!!)

Being A Healthy Vegan | July 16, 2017 | By

Hey guys, happy Sunday Funday! Hope everyone has had a fab weekend & an awesome month. I have been struggling to find time to write blog posts recently – started a new job, doing a lot of video editing & I have been managing to attend 4 work out classes a week with Guava Pass – BOOM!

So understandably I couldn’t have been happier when I discovered NBARS here in the UAE – Vegan Energy Bars – yasss! They come in 6 delicious flavours with mixes of different seeds, fruits and nuts. Oh & they all contain chocolate – ahhmazing, 

This fab brand was started in 2016 by a lovely lady called Nisha. She fancied a break from corporate life (don’t we all lol) & took a sabbatical which in turn lead to a series of events that created NBARS. My curious nature just had to get the lowdown (curious/nosey same thing right?)

When did you realise that ‘holy moly I make good energy bars and I can sell these!!’? Tell me your story!

“In 2014, I took a sabbatical from corporate life and with more time on my hands, I was hitting it at the gym and I became hungrier during the day. I looked for a sustainable bar at retail across all grocery formats (organic, supermarkets, etc) with nothing that ticked all the boxes. The existing bars are either too sugary or taste like there are chemicals in them or just not tasty enough. So I took over the kitchen at home and experimented with existing recipes but was still not satisfied….

So I created my own formula different from all the recipes out there by adding and subtracting ingredients, via trial and error over 6-9 months. I handed samples out to friends and family and when they came back for more I KNEW I had to pursue this journey.

That was 2015 and I ended up getting a new job in 2015, because starting a business was too scary. As luck would have it, I did not enjoy the new job enough to keep doing it. So after 8 months in the new gig, I quit this very safe job in July 2016 to start NBARS. I took 3 months to create the brand and launch strategy and come November I launched with full on events during open season.”

the lovely Nish doing her thing

Whats your fav flavour?

“Without a doubt NARANG is the star of the family 😻 though every flavor has their ‘fan club’
Any new flavours expected?”

Any new flavours on the horizon?

“The classic collection of 6 flavors will continue. Limited editions such as the Xmas bar… the NATIONAL bar is a tribute to UAE flavors and customs: Qahwah, chopped dates, pine nuts, watermelon seeds and a hint of saffron. It was launched on National Day (Dec) last year, brought back for Art Month (March) and most recently during Ramadan this year. The NATIONAL will be available at select outlets year round on popular demand.”

I am so in love with these NBARS! It is amazing to find 1. energy bars that are vegan (lol) & 2. energy bars that are vegan, healthy & still taste good! In a world full of ‘fake health’ products (like natural bars full of chemicals GROSS) – NBARS are a godsend (via Nish!)

She explains 2 awesome concept behind her brand;

1.
TIME: NBARS were created to give people back their time. That’s what I truly believe we are doing. (1) Breakfast on the go (2) snacks between meals (3) pre/post sport because life is busy and most people are not so good at prepping their own snacks so you grab a bar and get on with life, always prepared with something tasty yet good for you.

2.
BALANCE: NBARS was born out of a search for balance. Between health & pleasure. Most people would like to be healthy but at the same time we don’t want to sacrifice on taste and enjoyment. By throwing in a bit of 70% dark choc in each bar, the brain gets a signal of pleasure and satiety. So while the bar exists to feed your body (fiber, good fats, natural sweetness, vegan etc), the dark choc feeds your soul. Again we see balance of body & soul

So, you might be asking yourself, where can I purchase these bad boys?

NBARS are available in 30 locations in Dubai, a mix of specialty cafes, fitness studios & yoga studios. For those who order directly from us, they drop us an email nquire@nbars.ae or Whatsapp us +971501499515 and there’s a preferential (better than at retail) rate based on order size.

I totally recommend these NBARS, they are an amazing pre work out snack & also a fab mid morning bite. Because they taste so friggin delicious you can enjoy them guilt free. Be sure to check out the Insta page here.

Let me know if you try them! J xxx

Voss Water: The Ethical & Sustainable Water Brand

Being A Healthy Vegan | February 13, 2017 | By

‘I’II have a Voss.’
‘Excuse me?
‘It’s water. From Norway.’ – Cinderella Story

I will be the first to admit it, I totally don’t drink as much water as I should. I mean I have water at my desk at work & I drink it when i’m buy the pool or after the gym – but do I drink 2 litres day? Nope.

I am on the go a lot, and do I want to be carrying around loads of plastic bottles? Again, no. Plastic isn’t great for the environment & I really have been trying to reduce my plastic waste, so that is where Voss comes in.

I have fallen in love with Voss Water for a few reasons;
1. The glass bottles are reusable
2. They put in some serious effort to reduce their environmental impact
3. The Voss Foundation (Since 2008, Voss Foundation has built 118 clean water access points and 462 sanitation facilities in 7 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – read more here.)
4. The plastic bottles that Voss manufacture are BPA-free (BPA has been controversial as it exerts hormone-like properties which are considered toxic to humans)
5. Everything is recyclable
6. The bottle sizes are amazing for making fruit infused waters!

If your like me & find plain water a little boring, fruit infused waters are the best way to trick yourself into staying hydrated.

I’ve been playing around with a few recipes & here are my fav tips & ingredients!

How long?
• 3 – 5 hours at room temperature
• Or if you are leaving them overnight, be sure to put them in the fridge!

Best Fruits:
• Lemons
• Limes
• Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
• Oranges
• Kiwis
• Pineapples
• Apples

Herbs:
• Mint
• Cilantro
• Rosemary

Tips:
• Slice! By cutting your fruits you allow more of the flavor to infuse your water
• To get rid of the really bitter taste, trim some of the rind of your citrusy ingredients
• If your fruits are fresh, they can last up to a week, just keep filling your bottle up!

Do you love fruit infused waters? Tell me your favorites! For more inspo & tips be sure to check out & follow Voss Arabia on Insta!

Inspired by the incredible places around the globe where VOSS is enjoyed and celebrated, VOSS World is the confluence of VOSS’ wonderful associations that give it its unique and universal appeal. VOSS has enjoyed a presence in the Middle East & Indian Ocean since 2003 and is available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon and the Maldives.

Vegan Weight Loss Guide, Meal Plans & Recipes

Being A Healthy Vegan | January 29, 2017 | By

*Diets for 1 day*
‘Did I get skinny yet?’

Hi hi! & Happy New Year!

First blog post of 2017 – I know it’s a little late but I have had the busiest start to the year! I have really spent some time figuring out my goals & what I want to achieve in 2017, as well as planning my latest project ‘Ration The Fashion’ (first vlog coming soon!) & a couple of trips!

Anyway, one of my immediate goals is to try & shift some of the usual ‘I’ve-eaten-way-too-much-in-December’ weight. & so far I have lost around 3kg’s (yay!) & the best part is, there has been absolutely no starving myself of stupid diets/detoxes.

It’s safe to say I have tried a lot of these fads over the years like clean eating, starvation, limiting my calories, shakes/meal replacement, fat burning capsules & I am sick of them. As soon as you start eating normally again you just pile the weight back on, they just don’t work long-term. You have to enjoy life & one of the best things in life is FOOD. The only nonsense I haven’t tried is this magic tea, you know the one where you lose a shed load of pounds when you have a few cups a day? Yeah – they are full of natural laxatives & I am way too busy to spend stupid amounts of my precious time in the bathroom – gross. (Oh & the skinny celebs don’t use them either, they are paid to promote them FYI.)

I get a few questions from you guys about vegan weight loss or things like ‘omg I gained so much weight since I went vegan’. Here’s the thing, if you eat too much processed vegan foods like fake meats or vegan treats & cakes of course you’re going to get fat! Now I am all for these kinda foods, but like meat-eating diets & vegetarian diets – if you eat too much of the bad stuff while living a vegan lifestyle, your gunna put on weight.

So, here are some of my tips/fav vegan foods & meal ideas that are low in fat, healthy & delicious. The stuff below is what you’ll find me eating during the week, especially when I am trying to shift a few pounds or maintain my weight.

Breakfast:
• 1 handful of mixed nuts, 1 handful of mixed berries & 1 soya yoghurt
• Vegan oatmeal
Scrambled tofu
• 1 wholemeal bagel OR 1 large slice of wholemeal toast with ½ can of baked beans
• Avocado Toast
Overnight Oats
Sweet Potato Toast
Smoothie
Acai Bowl
Chia Breakfast Pudding
• 1 slice of whole-wheat toast with 1 banana

healthy vegan breakfast – soya yogurt, berries & nuts

Lunch:
• Couscous with seasoning & sautéed veg
Cauliflower rice with seasoning & again sautéed veg
• Warm salads – Roast/Saute any veggies you like (cauliflower, peppers, carrots, mushrooms) then serve with sautéed spinach & a drizzle of coconut oil with seasoning for dressing – try this warm cauliflower & spinach salad
• Soup – EVERY TIME. In a large pan, sauté some garlic & onions then your veggies of choice (leeks, carrots, potatoes – anything goes) – add some stock/seasoning then chuck in some lentils/yellow split peas& simmer for around ½ an hour. My fav for weight loss is this skinny lentil soup!
Vegan Stir Fry – Some low-fat noodles, your fav veggies to sauté & a vegan sauce (or just a drizzle of vegan friendly soy sauce)
• Wraps – I usually add some lettuce/spinach/kale (some kind of raw leaf) with some beans/chick peas of roasted veggies. Try mashed avocado or humus for a spread & check out this recipe for a lemon, chickpea & avocado wrap
Lentil spaghetti – if you are really seriously about losing the weight ditch the pasta for zoodles
Vegan chili – enjoy it on its own, with couscous or with cauliflower rice
Lentil Shepherd’s pie – Make a huge pie & take some into work for lunch (you can freeze this too!)

Quick& easy skinny vegan lunch – couscous with veggies

Dinner:
• ½ portion of any of the lunch options above
• 2 slices of wholemeal toast (if I haven’t had toast/bagel for breakfast)
• Cup of homemade soup with veggie sticks

Sweet Treats (Before bed cravings):
• 1 cup of warm dairy free milk (pistachio, walnut, almond milk with cinnamon, chocolate rice milk)
• 2 squares of vegan dark chocolate
1 scoop of nice cream

Snacks:
• Banana
• ½ avocado
• Soya yoghurt
• Handful of nuts
Vegan protein shake
• Veggie sticks & nut butter
Kale Chips
Healthy, homemade popcorn

My fav snacks between meals – 1/2 an avocado or a banana

Here are some healthy food switches that I do when trying to lose weight or just eat healthier in general. Cutting out processed foods can make a huge difference – although I definitely don’t agree with depriving yourself.

Healthy Vegan Food Swap For Weight Loss 
Swap This For This
Pasta Spaghettis Zoodles
Vegan Ice Cream Banana Nice Cream
Vegan Hot Chocolate Warm almond/pistachio milk
Fake Meats Roasted Veggies
White Bread Wholemeal Bread (same applies for wraps & bagels)
Soya Milk Almond Milk
Vegan Mayo Hummus/mashed avocado
Potatoes Sweet Potatoes
Rice Cauliflower rice/couscous/quinoa
Crisps Kale Chips
Vegan Butter Coconut oil (yes even on toast!)
Vegetable Oil                            Coconut/avocado oil          @foxesandfood

Don’t forget – we are all different; some people can drop pounds overnight, some people need to work a little harder. By sticking to these foods, I have managed to shift a few KG’s with no hunger & I still have the energy to work out. At the moment I am hitting the gym 5 days a week, even if it is just for 20 minutes on the bike or treadmill. As someone who was naturally slim for years then all of a sudden had to work like a b*tch to stay in shape now (I blame it on the expat lifestyle lol), I have learned that striving for progress not perfection makes a huge difference both on the inside & out. & I also don’t believe in ‘cheat days’. I hate the term, it feels very negative to me – like your cheating or breaking the rules to enjoy a take out!?

No.

I do, however, believe in moderation. If I have been healthy through out the week I will 100% order a take out at the weekend & enjoy every last grain of vegetable fried rice or slice of vegan pizza. Pretty much all of the ingredients in the recipes I have shared are high in nutrition, so not only is this a delicious way to try & aid weight loss, it’s a healthy way to do it too. What’s your fav low fat, vegan recipe? Tell me! Happy skinny Sunday – Jess xx

P.S – I made vegan rice krispie treats yesterday & will share the recipe soon! Just in time for your ‘moderation’ day 😉

Whats the deal with Acai Bowls?

Being A Healthy Vegan, Breakfast | November 12, 2016 | By

Smoothie bowls, messy buns, sweatpants – ya know?

Seriously, what is the deal. These smoothie bowls are everywhere. You will find them plastered all over Instagram, a gorgeous bowl of acai smoothie goodness decorated beautifully, or in the beautiful hands of your favourite clean eating/boho instagram girl.

Well guess what, they are very easy to make & you don’t have to live in a beach hut to enjoy them. You can enjoy them whilst lazing around in bed watching your favorite wildlife documentary – like me.

I visted the AcaiXpress branch in Yas Mall & met with the marketing manager who explained all about the health benefits of this little acai berry. Did you know they are the highest anti-oxidant fruit out there? Nope, me neither. No wonder these insta girls are eating them 24/7.

acia-1

Açai Arabesca – Açai with orange blossom water, mix fruits, pomegranate & almonds

acia-2

Nutrition boosters

acia-3

Yummy toppings

acia-4

Acai testing – I am now somewhere of an acia connoisseur

AcaiXpress was founded in 2015 (popular for a baby right?) by a health conscious brazlian lady living over here. She notice they lack of healthy options in the malls & identified a gap in the market. AçaiXpress is an Emirati Company and the first ever to offer a dedicated acai based product.

“ I have a sweet tooth and every time I visited the Malls, I always wanted an option to feed my sweet craving but still be
healthy. That was the moment AçaiXpress was born.”
– Owner, AçaiXpress

The menu is packed with healthy acai bowl/smoothie options. There are loads of different toppings/fruits available & they also sell green/detox juices with the option to add those little health shots.

& if you live in the UAE, I have excellent news for you. AcaiXpress sell these bags of frozen acai berry blend & even more excellent news – right now you can buy 2 bags get 1 free, now that’s a bargain. Check them out on Insta for more recipe ideas!

YUM

YUM

Toppings are endless – I went nuts, literally. I like the crunchiness so I added coconut chips &  my fav berries. I’ve included the recipe below, it can be tricky if you don’t know the consistency & you can end up with a watery smoothie bowl. It needs to be thick enough so you can enjoy it with a spoon.

My acai creation

My acai creation

Are you already an #acaibabe? What toppings are you obsessed with? Tag me in your creations – I need some inspo! Have a fab weekend, I have been invited to visit Gossip Cafe & Desserts to check out the vegan options today, keep an eye on my snap for all the deets! Jess xxx

The Easiest & Best Vegan Acai Bowl Recipe In The World
Serves 1
Write a review
Print
Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  2. 1 cup of frozen berries
  3. 3/4 cup of acai puree
  4. 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  5. Fruit/nuts of your choice for decor
Instructions
  1. Add the banana, frozen berries, acai & coconut oil to a blender & blitz
  2. Pour into your bowl and top with all your fav fruits
  3. Take photos for Instagram & eat lol
Notes
  1. If it's a little on the runny side, just add more berries to the blitz. Too thick? Add some almond milk.
Foxes and Food http://foxesandfood.com/
This post is in collaboration with AcaiXpress

What’s the deal with Turmeric??

Being A Healthy Vegan | September 19, 2016 | By

And why is everyone putting it on everything?!

Seriously, what’s the deal? What is turmeric and why am I seeing it everywhere? It’s going on faces, into soups and hot drinks!?

I came across yet another turmeric post on Insta, this time it was being used in a hair mask. So I decided to investigate, find more out about this popular powder and give you guys the lowdown.

Firstly, I actually use turmeric sometimes. I have a small bag of it in my cupboard and I randomly add it to soups, hot drinks and stuff because I knew it was good for me. But now I know exactly just how good it is for everything.

OK official definition from good old google –

turmeric
ˈtəːmərɪk
noun
1.
a bright yellow aromatic powder obtained from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family, used for flavouring and colouring in Asian cookery and formerly as a fabric dye.

And it is bright yellow, its a fine powder which seems to have earned the ever-so-popular ‘super food’ title. Traditionally used as a herbal medicine and dye in Asia, it is now known for providing a number of amazing health benefits – here are some of them;

  • It’s a natural painkiller 
  • It lifts your mood (works as an anti-depressant) 
  • Anti-inflammatory – decreases any swelling/unwanted puffiness 
  • It’s helps with arthritis 
  • It’s a really, really strong anti-oxidant and boosts your immune system
  • Turmeric can help prevent cancerous tumors (science backed)

If that wasn’t good enough – here are the list of ways turmeric can help beautify you:

  • It can help with dandruff
  • Ditches the deal cells
  • It can help get rid of your real tan (each to their own) and helps with fake tan disasters (I don’t need that anymore yay!)
  • Since it gets rid of your tan, it can also lighten stretch marks
  • Keeps you looking young by fighting aging and treating your wrinkles 
  • The anti-bacterial properties help with acne/blemishes 

I find turmeric to be very aromatic, it’s hard to describe the taste but I think it’s kinda like a cross between ginger and orange, with a little hint of spice. I use it in soups, curries and other spice dishes like fajita mix and even in my chili dishes. It has a nice, mild chai-type taste and I have started putting it in hot chocolate and warm almond milk too, just to try and get as much of this stuff into my daily diet as possible. 

As for the beauty side of things, there are so many ideas for using turmeric in hair and face masks online, I am definitely going to check some out.

Anyway, I hope if you were a stranger to turmeric you are now well informed! Do any of you guys use it? Let me know how!

Happy Monday people – Jess xx

P.S – My press trip to London with Lush was amazing – I can’t wait to tell you all about it soon!

P.P.S – There is one day left to vote for us for the Cosmo Awards! Click here for instructions how to vote! or just go straight to the voting page by clicking here – Thanks!

Vegan Pea Protein by Reflex Nutrition

Being A Healthy Vegan | August 14, 2016 | By

No seriously… where do you get your protein?

So my mission to get back into my post-holiday shape continues. I have been hitting the gym every day and also having the odd swim to break it up. With a gym just downstairs, I literally have no excuse not to work out.

I spent some time looking online for a Vegan Protein here in the UAE and managed to find one on a local nutrition website by a brand called Reflex Nutrition.

The majority of proteins unfortunately are not vegan friendly. Milk is made of two proteins, casein and whey. Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese making process and is used as a base for most protein powders. Obviously I want to avoid any product related to cows milk for a number of reasons (such as ethical and how bad dairy is for your skin – you can read more here) so I was pleased to find a Vegan Protein which I love.

This amazing plant based protein is made from peas which are grown is an environmentally friendly way. The product is made from a completely renewable green energy and is free from soy, fertilisers, artificial sweeteners and colours.

Nutrition;
74% protein content
1g carbohydrate and 1.4g fat per serving
95% amino acid content

‘Recommended Usage

Consume 2-3 servings daily.

Mix 25g, which is approximately two level 25ml measures of the scoop in the tub, with 300ml water in a shaker or blender. These are guidelines and more or less water can be added to taste.’ – From the website

This Pea Protein is available in 3 flavors; Rich Chocolate, Smooth Fruit and Strawberry. I bought a 2.2kg tub of Rich Chocolate (obviously) for 200 AED (42 GBP) which is good value for money in comparison with some of the other popular protein brands.

It tastes so good! It reminds me of rich chocolate brownie. At the moment I am having 2 shakes a day ( I have found them to quite good meal replacements) and they are definitely having a positive impact on my gym performance – and hopefully weight loss!

Studies have shown that vegan protein has been found to contain less harmful and toxic ingredients than whey protein as plants and vegetables are further down the food chain and go through less processing before being sold. Due to the high dairy content, whey protein is harder to digest and can also leave you bloated – not ideal if you are trying to get in shape. It is also full of hormones which can mess up your skin. Pea protein, on the other hand, provides a number of benefits such as aiding weight loss, supporting a healthy heart, increased muscle thickness and regulating blood sugar. It is also suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

So if you are looking for a healthier, 100% clean protein why not try a Vegan Protein? It is a delicious protein that not only you will gain from, but the planet and other species will benefit from it too. 🙂 So vegans – where do you get your protein? 😉 Jess x

 

 reflex_vegan_protein_LRG

Jamie Oliver’s 14 ‘Hero’ Foods

Being A Healthy Vegan | November 17, 2015 | By

Which Are Mostly Vegan & Vegetarian Ingredients – Obviously…

I keep reading about the advantages of vegetarian and vegan diets – everywhere. I recently saw something I thought was really interesting and wanted to share with you – meat eaters and vegans alike.

So, Jamie Oliver recently traveled the world to locations which people are known to live longer and healthier lives. He was on a mission to find out what exactly it is these people eat and what their diets are like. The locations included Costa Rica, Japan and Greece to name a few, anyone else jealous? Anyway, you can now watch this television series, Jamie’s Superfoods – I am going to try and stream it tonight.

What really interested me, was the results. Jamie compiled a list of 14 ‘hero’ ingredients that hold the key to healthier, longer and more productive lives.

Jamie’s 14 Hero Foods;

1. Eggs
2. Goats milk (e.g. feta cheese)
3. Fish
4. Sweet potato
5. Wild greens & herbs
6. Tofu
7. Walnuts
8. Black beans
9. Fresh fruit
10. Seaweed
11. Wild rice
12. Garlic
13. Prawns
14. Chilies

10 out 14 were vegan ingredients – 2 out of the remaining 4 were vegetarian ingredients. Oh – and the only ‘meat’ listed was fish and prawns. Sweet potatoes! I haven’t made these in ages, I can feel a sweet potato recipe coming… yum! I am definitely going to try and incorporate more of these ingredients into my diet.

I have only cooked tofu myself once, I think I will also try and experiment with it more too as I do love it. I always order it when I am eating out or having a take away chinese/thai meal, it is so good. If anyone has any ideas/suggestions/tips let me know!

I am not trying to convert anyone – just food for thought 🙂 Do you eat any of these foods regularly?

Happy Tuesday – Jess x

Amazing Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea

Being A Healthy Vegan | November 15, 2015 | By

Why I Swapped Coffee For Green Tea (And Have No Regrets)

Ok so if you follow my blog you know that I broke up with coffee (read here why) and I have swapped my millions of coffees a day to 1 or 2 green teas. Originated in China, green tea is now the healthiest drink for you on the planet and because of this is popular worldwide.

There are a number of benefits that come with drinking green tea, here are the main ones;
•Green tea boosts brain productivity
•It helps with weight loss by boosting your metabolism
•It fights bacteria in your mouth, keeping your mouth clean and breath fresh
•Studies have shown it helps reduce cancer
•It can help lower the risk of diabetes

Green tea does contain caffeine, but a lot less than coffee. Your cup of coffee contains around 200mg of caffeine where as you will only find around 30mgs in green tea. Green tea is a great replacement to coffee if you decide to give it up – providing you with enough caffeine to help you wake up in the morning, without all the cons of drinking coffee.

Also – green tea hydrates you while coffee dehydrates you.

I have two green teas a day – one when I first open my eyes or get to my desk and the second late in the afternoon when I need a small pick me up. In summer when it’s really hot, I love iced green tea.

Some people find the taste slightly bitter (I don’t) but there are so many flavored options you can buy – or you can do this yourself by adding a slice of lemon/orange/lime or even adding some agave syrup (honey if you are not vegan). I also love adding ginger – yum.

And the most important one, for me anyway, is that green tea can boost your mood. Green can make you feel relaxing and joyful and provides similar benefits meditation. It is basically happy tea. 🙂

If you haven’t tried green tea, you should. It’s a great way to wean yourself off of coffee too. Tasty with an amazing number of health benefits, what’s not to like?

Happy Sunday – enjoy!

Jess x


tea 10








Why I Gave Up Coffee

Being A Healthy Vegan | October 7, 2015 | By

Me & Coffee Are Finished

‘Seriously? Do you not miss Starbucks? What about the Pumpkin Spice Latte!?’

Those are some of the reactions I get when I say ‘No thanks, I don’t drink coffee’. I used to drink coffee, too much coffee, and that is exactly why I gave it up. I think I probably used to drink at least 6 cups a day and it felt like unless I had my caffeine fix first thing in the morning, the day couldn’t even start. After changing my eating habits and learning about the effects certain foods and drinks have on your body, I started to think about my coffee consumption…surely this sending this much caffeine to your brain couldn’t possibly be good for you?

It’s not.

I spend a lot of time researching and reading so many contrasting articles and studies, each exploring the different pros and cons of drinking coffee. For someone who drinks one humble cup of coffee a day, I don’t envisage there being any serious harm coming your way. However, if you are a serial caffeine junkie like I was, you might want to put the coffee down and keep reading.

Here are 4 reasons why I have given up coffee;
1. It makes you moody! Energy from caffeine is only short term, so although you think your first cup of the day wakens you up and puts you in a good mood, this is only short term and once this wears off, you’re going to feel even worse. Caffeine can make you extremely irritable and even angry… not good!
2. An overdose on coffee seriously dehydrates you. If you drink between 3 – 5 cups a day, the chances are you are probably pretty dehydrated which can affect your mood and make you feel weak and lethargic
3. Coffee is highly acidic and this comes with some pretty bad issues for your digestive system. The high levels of acid within coffee is known to cause indigestion, bloating and stomach cramps
4. It makes you a stress head. Coffee triggers your nervous system and increases anxiety and your blood pressure. No thanks!

You might be addicted to coffee without even realizing it. Did you know it only takes 1 – 2 cups of coffee a day for 1 – 14 days for your brain to become addicted? I wish I did!

Learning all of this was enough for me to decided I wanted to give up coffee. I didn’t think it was possible to actually be addicted to coffee, until I quit. I bravely (and maybe naively) went cold turkey, and really, really struggled. The entire first week was the WORST, to the point that I felt like I should start exploring options for rehab. I had a number of nasty withdrawal symptoms including;

• Exhaustion
• Migraines
• Laziness
• Mood swings
• Serious lack of concentration
• Stomach cramps

Bu don’t stop reading yet, you will be pleased to know that after the first week I was almost clean, and things got surprisingly better. Here is what I noticed;

1. The first thing I noticed is that my sleeping pattern improved drastically. Instead of tossing and turning at bed time, a coffee free day had me out cold as soon as the lights went off… bliss!
2. Secondly, as I had also given up drinking milk around this time, my skin became almost flawless. Milk has a horrible reputation for causing bad skin, and if your drinking 2 – 3 lattes a day, you’re not doing yourself any favours. ( I will write about the rest of my reasons for giving up the white stuff shortly)
3. Also, I was amazed at how much money I was saving by not buying a coffee from popular coffee houses every morning
4. I NEVER suffer from indigestion or stomach cramps
5. Ironically have even more energy than I did before! I am no longer relying on a number of short term caffeine bursts to keep me feeling energetic
6. My mood has changed dramatically, especially in the morning. Instead of constant highs and low depending on my coffee intake, my mood is much more consistent and I am a lot less irritable

So, there are your answers, these are the reasons I don’t drink coffee. This is a lifestyle change I definitely don’t regret and would encourage everyone to at least try and give up coffee and see if they notice a difference. You don’t have to cut the caffeine all together, I’ve switched my 6 – 8 coffees a day to 1 – 2 cups of green tea. This provides me with a lot more nutrition with a much lower amount of caffeine.

What do you think? Are you a caffeine junkie? Do you think you could give up coffee? Let me know!

Jess x

What is Raw Cacao?

Being A Healthy Vegan | July 7, 2015 | By

An Introduction to Raw Cacao

It’s that one thing that we all love, Chocolate. Milk, dark, white, there are many ways you can enjoy this guilty pleasure. Why do some of us like it so much? Because it’s full of sugar. And why do some of us eat it so much? Because sugar is addictive.

Most chocolate bars are full of refined sugars, dairy and cocoa butter (fat extracted from the cocoa bean). Because of this, the smallest of chocolate bars can have ridiculous high fat content and a terrifying number of calories. So although it tastes great, it really doesn’t do us any favors which is disappointing.

However, all is not lost. Let me introduce you to one of my new favorite products, Raw Cacao.

My Raw Cacao

My Raw Cacao

And that is exactly what it is. Raw and pure. The most natural form of chocolate you can get. The cacao beans are pressed cold, which removes all of the fat, but saves you all the nutrition. When raw cacao is heated, it becomes cocoa. Unrefined cocoa powder isn’t bad for you, but most of the time it has been tampered with and filled with sugars before used in chocolate products.

Raw Cacao is known as one of the greatest superfoods. The nutritional value in this product is excellent, and there are plenty of reasons why you should enjoy it.

Benefits;
• Raw Cacao possess the highest amount of anti-oxidants out of every food in the whole world
• Helps lower blood pressure
• Aids digestion
• It makes you happy! Cacao contains the mood improver, anandamide.

It also includes;
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B (1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Magnesium
• Copper
• Calcium
• Manganese
• Zinc
• Sulphur
• Iron
• Chromium
• Phosphorus
• Omega 6 Fatty Acids
• Saturated Fats
• Amino Acids
• Carbohydrates
• Soluble Fiber
• Enzymes

Wow!

You can buy raw cacao in a number of forms, the most popular being powder or ‘nibs’, which are essentially natural chocolate chips. It can be used in a number of ways too. I use it in baking, hot chocolates, healthy bites and even smoothies.

As there is no added sugar, raw cacoa has a naturally slight bitter taste to it, similar to that of dark chocolate. I like to add organic honey and coconut oil to sweeten things up a bit, without adding any artificial sugars to my treat.

There are a number of reasons why you should be enjoying this product. Not only will it make you feel great, cutting the sugars and dairy will help you reach weight loss goals too, so you can look as good as you feel!

I hope you have found this post informative, I am planning on adding some more raw cacao recipes soon, however you can check my previous post for a delicious Vegan Hot Chocolate recipe in which I use this superfood! http://feedyourprettysoul.com/2015/07/06/delicious-vegan-hot-chocolate/

Jess x