Start the day right: Light, Fluffy Protein Pancakes | GF, DF, low FODMAP

Here’s a delicious, nutritious recipe which involves rich, chocolate-ty pancakes…

I jumped on the protein pancake trend pretty quickly, but I will admit at first I was suspicious. I didn’t understand how pancakes could be super satiating, and I was convinced that pancakes had to be a cheat meal – as they aren’t packed with overly nutritious ingredients.

I was shocked to find that each pancake had as low as 100 calories, and the meal itself kept me full until lunch (even with a morning gym session). I loved all the recipes I found on the internet, but I really wanted to craft a recipe that was light, fluffy, and flavourful, as well as densely nutritious. Note: if you don’t have the same connection I did with these fluffy creations – be sure to check out my slightly naughtier, and just as yummy, regular pancakes here.

Protein for Breakfast?? Why is that important?

Protein is an especially important macronutrient for muscle growth, as well as tissue repair and recovery. You want to make sure you are smashing protein in the morning so that your body can use the day to develop and maintain its lean muscle. Protein also helps to keep you full, so eating a healthy amount of it at breakfast time, stops you from getting ravenously hungry at 3-4pm and binging on unhealthy foods in the pantry (trust me, I’ve done this too many times).

The protein powder in the recipe: The protein powder you choose really makes the pancake – so make sure you choose a protein powder you actually enjoy the taste of. Prana Plant Protein and Vida Glow are two of my to-die-for brands, as I really crave a sweeter protein mix, and I prefer plant-based formulas. I love the chocolate variations of both these brands and I am yet to try the other flavours.

I’ve made this recipe GF, DF, low FODMAP to assist anyone with allergies or dietary restrictions – and trust me, it tastes just as good!

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The Recipe 

You will need:

  1. 25g Chocolate Protein Powder
  2. 1/3 Cup rolled oats (Use coconut flour for the gluten free option)
  3. 100ml almond milk
  4. Pinch of Salt
  5. Pinch of Cinnamon
  6. 1 egg or 1 tbsp chia seeds
  7. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  8. Vegan butter alternative or coconut oil for cooking
  9. Peanut butter, blueberries, chopped banana for topping.
  10. Sometimes I also add Vida Glows Cacao Maple Beauty Skin Formula for collagen production, a pro-biotic boost and some great Omega 3’s.

My very Simple Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender to form a thick batter
  2. Heat a fry-pan to a medium-high heat and grease pan with vegan butter or coconut oil.
  3. Pour the batter into circle shapes the size of your palm and cook each for about 3 minutes. Flip when you first see bubbles forming on the top of the batter.
  4. EAT & ENJOY

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xx

New Brunch Spots and Health Shots

Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work. For some reason (I’m not complaining) the most convenient thing has been brunch.

I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good (and not so good) places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.

Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has a dainty and graceful vibe serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.

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Flowerchild Brookvale – The vegan bowl: falafel, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, almonds, spiced chickpeas, sesame seeds, tahini dressing. Across from me – 12 hour slow braised lamb shoulder.

I’ve also been having the weirdest scone cravings lately – so I hit up The Tea Cosy in the (iconic) Rocks, where we indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea (a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of  Xmas Markets).

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I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly (pictured below) who started the Poké trend in Sydney. I have also had incredible brunches (i.e. A LOT of smashed avo on toast) at Laneway, The North Spoon, Wild Sage and The Bellagio Cafe.

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Momo Bar Manly – Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce.

Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. What’s the purpose you ask? They are meant to prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little skeptical.

However, after looking into them it actually makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.

I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea (note: they are incredibly bitter/sour/off-putting and you will need a palette cleansing chaser). I throw kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds into the blender and down that with a banana (the chaser).

If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to get all your daily nutrients in one go, it’s something I would definitely try!

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Today is my day off and I’m going to do the last of my Christmas shopping. I’ve already dropped $500 on presents this December, and I still have some bits and pieces I want to pick up. Looks like another expensive day, but it’ll all be worth it when Dec 25th rocks round.

A salad to suit the season?

Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. It starts to sound funny if you say it too many times, but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.

***

We’re getting to the end of Spring over here in Australia, and although I’m excited about the beachy, holidaying climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days go.

Because Spring is the season before Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere, its the time every gym membership goes on sale, Halloween stashes quickly get thrown out, and green smoothies and salads are glorified.

The idea of munching on a bowl of bitter green leaves drizzled with vinaigrette sounds highly unappetizing to me, but I am reminding myself not to be too cynical about salads – with the right ingredients they can taste great, and they do have numerous health benefits.

So this Spring I worked with some of my favourite ingredients to create the perfect Spring salad.

You will need:

  • 1 medium common tomato
  • 135g tinned salmon
  • Mixed green lettuce leaves
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds
  • 100g chopped canned beetroot
  • 50g avocado

Cost: approximately AUD $10   Calories: 380

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Perfect! xx

I tried being Vegan for a week

Yes I decided to go vegan for a week, and no I didn’t die of malnourishment.

I’ve always been interested in trying out different diets I hear about (Banting, Paleo, Vegetarian, Mediterranean you name it). Except I’ve always had a hard time with veganism.

For some reason the stereotype of the vegan diet being bland, boring and difficult to cater for has always put me off. This past week, I decided I was only allowed to judge it once I’d given it a go, and try being the all-scary, waiter-frustrating, plant-based eating, VEGAN.

Sunday DAY ONE

I’ll start here by admitting that the vegan diet was meant to start yesterday (Saturday). However come Saturday lunch time, with the all-good intentions of being vegan, I bought Dal and Naan from an Indian shop I wasn’t familiar with. When my food arrived I found the Dal was made with creamy ghee butter and the Naan was smothered in cheese. With my steaming Dal and gooey, cheesy naan staring up at me, I decided veganism would have to wait until Sunday.

Hint 1: When ordering out at new places, always ask what ingredients are in dishes.

Sunday, my first day of being vegan. My boyfriend and I went out for brunch at a local cafe that does the generic big brekkies, bircher muesli’s, porridges, pastries etc. for breakfast. Perusing the menu (naively expecting to find multiple vegan-friendly options) I was shocked to find that not one of the twenty-or-so dishes were vegan.  I had to Build My Own Brekkie and ordered half an avo, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a slice of toasted sourdough (no butter please) for AU$12.50.

For dinner, I went out with a friend to Coco Cubano, a restaurant that serves flavour-packed Cuban food, including Fajitas, Nachos, Pressed Sandwiches, Burgers, Burritos, Churros and exotic cocktails (reminds me of an up-market Guzman Y Gomez). I went with their quinoa salad – and opted not to have a topping of chicken/steak/haloumi – with a side of guacamole and plain corn chips. My problem: The meal was delicious, but I was still peckish afterwards. I had to have a handful of roasted cashews and almond milk tea to save me rolling about with hunger pains all night…

Monday DAY TWO

I didn’t have any big plans today (eating-wise) but I did have my weekly Game of Thrones night with my friend, where she always cooks dinner for me. I have to admit, I did feel a little uncomfortable mentioning that I was Day Two of my vegan streak, and when I sheepishly mentioned my diet restrictions I realised I had to bring a dish along so as to not inconvenience her.

Hint 2: Perhaps offer to cook/bring your own dishes to others houses, if you’d like to be invited back.

Tuesday DAY THREE 

I had work all morning and decided to treat myself by going out for a late lunch afterward (a habit that’s become a little too regular lately). Usually I would head for Guzman Y Gomez, Sushi Train, or Grill’d, but I spotted a restaurant that’s recently opened up, called Nudefish Poké. I chose to go with the Down to Earth poké bowl which hosted tofu, mushrooms, beetroot, pickled carrot, ginger, snowpeas, radishes and tamari almonds, brown rice and avo in a salty-sweet soy sauce. I definitely wouldn’t have usually chosen this option, but it turned out to be a delicious choice I’ll definitely go for again.

Wednesday DAY FOUR 

I was off to uni today, which meant I needed a big, filling breakfast if I was going to last the day without breaking the budget and splurging on another bought lunch. I put together a homemade brunch, taking inspiration from Niomi Smart’s Butternut Cashew Wholemeal Pasta (she calls it vegan Mac n’ Cheese), which filled me up all the way to 4pm.

I realised here that I was half way through the diet. Had I noticed any changes in my mood/appearance/health? To be fair, I was only four days in, but I had noticed my skin had mysteriously cleared up – it was looking a lot fresher and livelier… could cutting out dairy and animal products be working?

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Brunch ~ Homemade Butternut Cashew Pasta, kale salad, roast tomato, 1/4 avocado

Thursday DAY FIVE 

Thursday was a full on day of work and uni, but I managed to squeeze in a quick dinner at Sushi Train with a couple of close friends. Straying away from my usual sashimi, soft shell crab and tuna/avocado rolls, I went for the avocado seaweed salad (with soy sauce dressing), a large bowl of miso soup packed with creamy tofu, and edamame beans. The meal combo was so good, that I’ve decided I’m going to go for it the next time I’m there, regardless of being vegan or not.

Friday DAY SIX

I’m coming to the end of my seven days, and I’m in shock that I’ve almost made it… I thought I’d definitely slip up with the temptations of baked goods, Gelato, creamy sauces and chocolates that had been staring at me from shop windows all week.

On the way home from work I stopped by at McDonalds, to check out if the menu had any vegan options – I was expecting to be told that I would only be able to have a glass of water. To my surprise, that was not the case.

Hint 3: The sodas, apple pie, bread, hash brown’s and juices are all vegan approved.

Saturday DAY SEVEN

I’ve come to the end of my vegan week, and went out with a bang with dinner at my favourite Indian restaurant, Cumin. I went with the Dal Tadka (a staple favourite of mine), knowing that it was 100% vegan and 100% delicious. A perfect end to the week.

The Verdict: I have to say, as much as I would have liked to come out of this week as a hardcore vegan promoter, I just don’t think I could keep it up. I had a wonderful week exploring new food options and meals, and I genuinely respect the lengths vegan’s go to, to protect animals, their health and the environment (read more here). However, the limitations with ordering out, and the guilt I felt inconveniencing others when I ate at their houses were major drawbacks for me. 

However, noticeable changes in my mood, skin and weight (after just one week) has motivated me to look for more animal product alternatives (nut butters, nut milks, soy milks and egg replacers) and to cut down on my meat intake. 

Do you have any diets you swear by? Let me know xx

Fairytale Breakfast Destination

Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen combines fairytale and farmers market in Alexandria’s very own Foodie Warehouse. The cafe was just a 15 minute stroll from Erskineville station.

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Photo courtesy of http://breadandcircus.com.au/

This cafe gives a new meaning to flexitarian, with great brekkie and lunch options that let you unleash your inner vegetarian (with some cheats).

For breakfast, you can choose to indulge in biodynamic eggs flavoured with parmesan, herbs and truffle oil, or treat yourself to their must-have cardamom spiced banana bread. Each meal is around $20, but if you don’t want to break the budget you can get fluffy biodynamic essene bread with avo for $10.

For lunch you can discover roasted beetroot topped with warm goats cheese or keep an eye out for their ‘sandwich boxes’ with preservative free ham or grass-fed sustainable beef. The menu changes daily, so you’ll want to go back again (and again) for more.

Get your coffee fix with their blends that use beans from Columbia and Guatemala. Tea junkies are spoilt with an array of black and herbal delights, my favourite was the Himalayan Earl Grey.

The canteen has a dreamlike feel with its light wood benches and pastel pink walls, which are bountifully decorated with fresh fruits and veggies.

I went with a close friend, and it was the perfect cafe for brunch to catch up, so definitely make a date and enjoy this hidden gem.

xx

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Pastel pink to go with the theme of this sweet spot