Since I went vegan, I experimented with a lot of different recipes, different Buddha bowls, new seasonings, new vegetables, different food combinations and so on. All and all, food is more enjoyable and has more variety now than before.
At the beginning I’ve had bloating issues, because of the food combinations. I was so excited about the limitless calories, I tossed almost everything I’ve had in the fridge and cupboard. Please don’t do that. I learned the hard way, that less is more. You don’t need 12 types of food on your plate. If you choose 3-6 types, that should be fine, but make sure they have similar digestive needs, because slower digesting foods may get in the way of faster digesting foods and can cause problems with fermentation which leads to gas and bloating.
Food combining is really useful especially if you want to get rid of bloating and improve your digestion.
Being hydrated is very important. When I wake up in the morning, I drink 1/2-1 liter of warm water (sometimes with half a lemon’s juice squeezed in). Drinking warm water on an empty stomach can help your body to improve intestinal movements, it’s good for keeping your skin’s elasticity and it also helps with detoxification.
The other useful thing is to drink 500ml water 30 minutes before and/or 1 hour after your meals.
Fasting is beneficial for a lot of reasons. Kind of similar as drinking warm water on an empty stomach. However I cannot do fasting for long, so 8 o’clock is my staple time every day. I either break the fast with a lot of watermelon, or a mono meal (which could be 12 peaches, 3-4 mangoes, 6 bananas, etc.), or a smoothie bowl, or porridge oats.
For a smoothie bowl you can choose a base which can make the bulk of the meal. It could be fruits which would make you fuller longer such as bananas, mangoes, dates, pineapples. Another filling base could be grains like porridge oats, amaranth and buckwheat.
If you choose to have porridge oats, don’t be afraid to get creative with the toppings, or if you make a smoothie bowl add half a cup of oats in that. This way, you’ll be full longer.
Today I’ve had double breakfast. Watermelon was brekkie #1, around a kilo of it.
Breakfast #2, which was my pre-workout meal as well, I made a smoothie bowl from 2 bananas, and one pineapple.
Try to make sure that the fruits are the same kind in terms of acidity or sweetness. For example, pineapples are acidic, so you don’t want to mix them with watermelon which is a sweet fruit. It would cause really bad gas, heartburn and/or bloating. Watermelon is good only on it’s own for an empty stomach. You can read more about fruit combinations here.
Recipe for the smoothie bowl:
- 1 pineapple,
- 2 bananas,
- 1 tsp maca powder,
- 1 tsp chia seeds,
- 1 cup of coconut water.
Pour the smoothie into a clear breakfast bowl then add toppings, such as:
- dried cranberries,
- dried goji berries,
- cacao nibs and
- coconut flakes.
After an hour of eating this smoothie bowl, I’ve done a 45 minute lower body training. Soreness is guaranteed.
When I exercise in the morning, a post-workout smoothie bowl is what I eat and that would be my lunch actually. I always include oats in the post-workout smoothie, for the extra vitamins and protein. If I’m training lower body, I usually add one scoop of vegan protein blend, if training upper body or doing HIIT cardio, I add half a scoop. The protein blend that I use is a mix of quinoa, brown rice and pea flour, it doesn’t contain soya, artificial colours or sweeteners.
If I’m not training, I normally eat cooked food. Which could be quinoa, sweet potatoes, rice with beans, chickpeas, mung beans, peas, tofu with steamed or raw spinach or kale and the list is endless, really.
Recipe for this post-workout/lunch smoothie bowl:
- 2 bananas,
- 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 mango
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 scoop vegan protein blend (strawberry flavour)
- 1/2 cup of oats
Toppings are coconut flakes, cacao nibs, blueberries and goji berries.
Next to a full time job, where you don’t sit much, you need to fuel your body. This is why I eat usually 4 times per day. So my snack (if I am at work) is usually 3-4 bananas, or 2-3 apples, but if I’m home I usually make a wrap with spinach, beans, bell peppers and BBQ sauce or organic hummus. Homemade hummus is the best.
Today I was fancy for tofu and sweet potatoes. I don’t eat tofu so often, because I have limited time for marinading (or limited willpower haha), but luckily, my day wasn’t so busy as usual, so the marinading happened. It does worth the extra wait, because the tofu is really tasty if marinated properly.
Recipe for the Buddha bowl:
Marinade for the tofu:
- 2 tbsp quality soya sauce
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder or use 1 fresh garlic clove
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
Mix and marinade tofu in it for at least half an hour, then grill it in a compact grill until it looks like on the picture, or place it in a non-stick pan until browned.
The rest of the bowl:
- 1 medium/big sweet potato (around 200-300g)
- 2 handfuls of kale
- 1 cup peas
- half an avocado
- 1 big tbsp organic houmous
- 1 tsp tahini
Slice the sweet potato and place it on a compact grill, or on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake it until golden and crunchy. Steam the kale and the peas, then place everything in a bowl with the grilled tofu, and pour the tablespoon of tahini on top.
What diet do I follow?
I do not follow any type of diet, I just eat how it feels good to me. Of course I’ve done a lot of research and tried a few things while I’m vegan (such as counting calories and eating completely raw). We can say that I’m doing to raw ’till 4 method, which means no cooked food until the last meal of the day. If you are not familiar with that, check out this website, where you can find other good tips as well.
The raw ’till 4 works really well for me so far, as I don’t have cramps or bad bloating issues, and also, I can eat more fruits throughout the day. However, if I want to eat cooked food for lunch, I will. It depends on my mood and how much time do I have.
I make sure to eat at least 2 hours before going to bed, this way my stomach has time to digest the food properly without interrupting other important healing functions of the body during my sleep.
I hope this post gave you some tips or inspiration to eat whole plant foods. Remember to listen to your body and always do your own research.