How to make your own vitamin water

Vitamins and water, they are both extremely good for you. But if you are like me, you don’t get enough of neither of them.

I like water, it doesn’t bother me that it has no real taste, but I usually just forget to drink it. Same with vitamins, which are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. I like fruit, all kinds of fruit, but I usually just forget to eat them (and OK, to be honest, I’m also a bit lazy when it comes to peeling fruits. Yeah, I know, it’s absurd, but it’s true. Give me some non-peelable fruits, like berries, and I’m fine. But well yeah, berries aren’t in season every day of the year…).

So when I saw bottled vitamin water in the grocery store, I was in awe. Such a clever idea; combining the two things everyone knows that they’re good for you and make them into something easy to consume and easy to take with you. But I’m not a big fan of plastic bottles… Neither am I of all the additional stuff, like flavors and colors. So I passed them by and the idea kind of went in to the back of my mind.

As I mentioned before, peelable fruits, like oranges and lemons, usually go to waste around here, and passing by the fruit bowl, glancing at it out of the corner of my eye, always made me feel a bit guilty. Such a waste of such perfect fruits… So I began thinking about other ways to use up all that fruit, besides just eating it. I already made a lot of smoothies out of bananas and kiwis, and some of the oranges made it to become juice. But there was still plenty of fruit left. And that was when the memory of the vitamin water came to mind!

Homemade, no additional stuff, no preservatives, no plastic bottles and super easy to make.

Here’s how:

  • Take the fruits of your choice (I picked lemons and oranges)
  • Slice the fruits into rounds and cut those rounds into half
  • Place the whole shebang into a pitcher
  • Fill the pitcher with water (you can also add ice if you like to)
  • Bruce the fruits a little with the back of a wooden spoon
  • Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours
  • Enjoy!

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Homemade vitamin water

You can also add herbs if you like. For instance, cucumber, lemon and mint might be a great combination for a refreshing drink during summer times. Or if you like your drink to be a bit more on the sweet side, try mixing up some variation of berries (if you would like your drink to have a bit of a pinch to it, squeeze in the juice of 2 limes and then just toss the limes in to the pitcher).

So, what kind of homemade vitamin water mixture would you make?

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Getting rid of my sugar addiction

Sugar, I’m truly sorry, but we have to say goodbye. I love you Sugar, perhaps a little bit too much. Our relationship is no longer adding anything to my life. In fact, it’s doing more harm than good. I wish you the best, but I have to go now.

My sugar addiction was getting out of hand. I could easily eat a big bag of M&M’s, a whole bag of cookies and some other stuff in one day. Yes, just one day, every day … I was craving sugar for most of the day and was getting restless if I didn’t had access to it.

Eating too much sugar has been a problem ever since I was a teenager. I would eat bags and bags of sweets in just a few hours. No one would ever suspect me of a sugar addiction, unless they have seen me eaten, because I’m really skinny and I never gain a single pound, despite the amounts of food I’m consuming.

Eating less sugar has never been something I was looking forward to. I love sweets and chocolate and when I feel bad I rather eat a candy bar than an apple or something. I like fruit as well, but somehow candy always was my first choice.

So why quit eating so much sugar when you like it? Because man, I was feeling horrible! I was tired most of the time and only got a temporary sugar rush after eating some candy. Also I’m pretty sure that my mood swings have something to do with the overkill of sugar I take.

Yesterday I mostly ate healthy stuff. I had a nice breakfast, ate some fruit, drank only one soda and a lot of tea and even made myself a salad and some freshly squeezed juice. I did managed to trick myself into thinking it was OK to eat some candy … The addict in me still want sugar.

Today, I’m feeling horrible. I’m so tired and I feel like I’m getting the flu or something. I looked up what the withdrawal symptoms of quitting sugar are, and getting really tired is one of them. So I guess it’s just something I have to get through.

Some other withdrawal symptoms are cravings, anxiety and depression, and a general sense of loss when the addictive substance is not used. I’m looking forward to it … not.

So why stop? Because it’s killing you, slowly, from the inside out. You can get diabetes, heart diseases, you can get fat, get emotional troubles etcetera. Yes, I like sugar. Pff, I LOVE sugar, but the amount of sugar I’m taking will not do me anything good.

I don’t want to scan every label to see if there’s sugar in something, so I’m just going with not buying candy and no sugar in my tea anymore. It seems like not much, but the candy is my main problem. I’m pretty sure it will be a struggle to kick the addiction and replace the candy with some more healthy snacks, but I need to do it.

If you want to get rid of your sugar addiction as well, start now, not tomorrow. If it’s too much for you to go cold turkey, start with small steps, like no more sugar in your coffee, no more soda or, if candy is not that big of a deal for you, no more candy. Eating less sugar will make you healthier and will make you feel better eventually. Eating less is better than not doing anything at all.

Once-a-Month Grocery Shopping

Usually I go to the supermarket a few times a week. I always buy things I don’t need and, shame on me, most of the food gets thrown away because I didn’t used it. I’m not a big fan of spending lots of money on groceries, and I always try to set a budget for myself, but I usually fail. So I went online to search for some tips on how to spend less on grocery shopping and I found something I at first thought wasn’t possible: Only go once a month to the supermarket to do your groceries. Once a month?! I mean, once a week, OK. Once every two weeks, maybe. But ONCE A MONTH?! How?!

Well now, before I was about to have a panic attack, I did some more research. The trick is to eat all the fresh products in the first two weeks of the month. Because I also want to eat veggies and fruits in the second part of the month, I decided to go with veggies and fruits that have a bit of a longer lifespan when stored correctly.

Well, wonderful, only go grocery shopping once a month, but what about the budget? Please, I ask you to sit down (if you have severe heart problems, you might want to stop reading).

The budget for one month of groceries for two people:

€50,00 (that’s something like 63,00 USD and 40,00 GBP)

So, here’s my menu for the entire month and the grocery list I’ve made. Stuff I already have lying around in my cabinets are not on the grocery list of course. Also you can see (or can’t see actually) that there’s no cat food or litter on the list. I already have those at home and order them in bulk when I run out. My shopping list is divided into three categories: Albert Heijn (it’s a big Dutch supermarket), C1000 (another big Dutch supermarket) and at the bottom you see some products about which I wasn’t sure where to buy them, so I’ll just check in the stores to see if they have a good deal.

Of course, there are more than two kinds of supermarkets in the Netherlands, but these two are the closest to my house and after some research (yes, I even did some online research for every supermarket in the area to see if they had any sweet deals to offer) I came to the conclusion that going to another supermarket for only one or two products would cost me more on benzine, which harms the environment and my wallet.

Monthly menu:

Week 1

  • Monday: Rice with cucumber, peanut sauce and vega meatballs
  • Tuesday: Baked potatoes and green beans
  • Wednesday: Lasagna
  • Thursday: Endive stew with vega meatballs
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Wraps with avocado, lettuce, vega meat, pine nuts, tomato
  • Sunday: Rice with vega meat and scraps

Week 2

  • Monday: Potatoes with green beans and applesauce
  • Tuesday: Wraps with pineapple, paprika, beans and vega cheese
  • Wednesday: Rice with pineapple, green beans and vega meat
  • Thursday: Broccoli stew with pine nuts
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Kebab sandwich with lettuce, vega kebab and sauce
  • Sunday: Pasta with vega meat and tomato sauce

Week 3

  • Monday: Baked potatoes with lettuce, tomato and pine nuts
  • Tuesday: Wraps with tomato, cheese and vega kebab
  • Wednesday: Fried rice with peanut sauce
  • Thursday: Sauerkraut stew with mandarins
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Pancakes
  • Sunday: Pasta with scraps

Week 4

  • Monday: Potatoes with baked beans and applesauce
  • Tuesday: Bread
  • Wednesday: Wraps with paprika, vega meat, rice, apple
  • Thursday: French bean stew with cashew nuts
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Pancakes
  • Sunday: Leftovers

Grocery list:

Albert Heijn

  • Canned pineapple (AH Pineapple slices in heavy syrup for € 0.61)
  • Kebab rolls (Euro Shopper Shoarma Rolls 8 pcs € 0.58)
  • Canned mandarin (Euro Shopper Mandarins in light syrup for € 0.75)
  • Bread (AH 2 whole loaves for € 2.00)
  • 1 kg pack bread mix (Euro Shopper Breadmix multigrain 1 kilo to € 1,77)
  • Lemonade (AH Dubbelfris 1.5 liter 3 pieces for € 1,79)
  • Spreads (AH Peanut butter 600 grams for € 1.74)
  • Satay (peanut sauce microwave Remia AH 265 ml € 0.97)
  • Tomato sauce (pasta sauce Sugo AH herbs € 0.96)
  • Soup 4 meals (AH soup for € 0.66 and Unox soup for € 0.78)
  • Lasagna (AH Italian lasagna (2-3 persons) € 1.80)
  • Yogurt (AH yoghurt 1 liter € 0.68)
  • Custard (AH chocolate/vanilla 1 liter € 0.81)
  • Vega meatballs 2 meals (AH Vega balls for € 2.59)
  • Vega chopped 6 meals (AH pure & honest organic tofu meat for € 1.99)
  • Soy milk (Alpro AH Original for € 1.25)
  • Paprika (AH paprika red/green/yellow for € 1.49)
  • Brocoli (AH Broccoli for € 0.65)
  • Lettuce (AH Lettuce for € 0.59)
  • Avocado (Avocado AH for 1 piece € 0.99)
  • Sauerkraut (AH Sauerkraut natural for € 0.59)
  • Pancake mix 2x (AH pancake mix for € 0.54)
  • Carrots (AH Carrots for € 0.99)
  • Wraps (Tortilla Wraps AH 12 pieces for € 2.18)
  • Canned white beans in tomato sauce (AH beans, can € 0.59)
  • Green beans (AH Green beans for € 2.49)

Total: € 34.81

C1000

  • Endive (Endive C1000 400 grams € 1.00)
  • Tomato (250 gram C1000 for € 0.69)
  • Apples (C100 Braeburn apples, Granny Smith or Royal Gala, 1 kg for € 1.00)

Total: € 2.69

Remaining products:

  • Bag of potatoes
  • Jar of applesauce 2x
  • Vega kebab
  • String beans
  • Cashew nuts
  • Fruit on sale
  • Lemon
  • 4x a treat

Total: Max. € 12.50

 

Vegan chocolate banana pie

Vegan boring and tasteless? Well, think again! There are many nice things you can make vegan-style if you just do some research. I’m new to the whole vegan thing. As you can read in a previous post I only have experience with vegetarian dishes.

Some beginner mistakes when I first made the vegan chocolate banana pie:

  • I didn’t let the tofu leak until all the water was out. Result: moist pie that was falling apart.
  • I didn’t blend the tofu enough. Result: big pieces of tofu in the pie.

Recipe for 6/8 people

Cooking time: 30–60 minuts

Ingredients:

Stuffing:

  • 400 tofu
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons (soja)margarine
  • 1 bar of pure chocolate or 125 grams of cacao powder
  • 1 cup of sugar

Crusty bottom:

  • 1 package of cookies (you can go with what ever you like)
  • 0,5 cup of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (soja)margarine

Preparation:

Stuffing:

  • Melt the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of margarine OR mix the cacao powder with 2 table spoons of margarine
  • Mix the banana (you can blend it first with a blender or just use a fork), tofu (make sure you pressed all the water out and blend it in a blender until it’s smooth), sugar and the chocolate mixture until it’s smooth

Crusty bottom:

  • Crumble up the cookies and mix them with 6 tablespoons of margarine until the cookie crumbles stick together
  • Put the cookiemixture into a baking tin
  • Poor the stuffing into the baking tin and bake the pie for about 15/20 minutes at 150/175 Celsius degree

And that’s just how the cookie crumbles! Bon appétit!

Live simply, so that others can simply live

While being away on my little camping trip, I somehow managed to have a lot of time to read some books and think about stuff. I think it might had something to do with not bringing the laptop and not having any access to the internet what so ever …

Anyway, I brought a book along about veganism as a lifestyle. It got me thinking about my days as a vegetarian.

I used to eat meat, but when I was 19 I decided to become a vegetarian. I don’t really know what happened anymore, but after a while I found myself eating meat again. Ever since I’ve been living on my own, I rarely bought meat, but I did ate it at other people’s place.

The question I got the most when I mentioned I didn’t ate meat was:

Why?

When I first stopped eating meat I hated that question. I felt like I was being judged, and sometimes even attacked, for not eating meat. After a while I had my answers ready and those kind of questions didn’t bother me anymore. I guess I just stopped caring about what others thought of what I ate and didn’t ate.

My main reason for not to eating meat was because I thought the way most meat is provided is inextricably connected with animal cruelty. I just didn’t want animals to suffer for me.

After reading the book about becoming vegan, I realised that being, or becoming, a vegan seems a whole lot more difficult than being a vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is about not eating meat. Being a vegan is about not using any kind of products from animals. So it’s not only about the meat, but also about not using milk, eggs, honey, leather etcetera.

But despite the difficulty-level going up, veganism did enlight a spark of interest inside me. However, if it was just about me cooking for myself and the boyfriend and not having a social life at all, it would have been a lot easier. But I do have some kind of social life, and that’s where the trouble starts. How can I eat at someone elses place when I have to tell them I don’t eat anything that comes from animals … ? Maybe it’s just me, but I do see that as somewhat of an obstacle. But it’s not a big enough obstacle when I think about all the reasons to become a vegan (or at least a vegetarian).

Some information that might change your mind about eating meat:

  • The meat that lies on your plate comes from animals, living beings, who die alone, in terror, sadness and pain, so you can eat their meat.
  • How would you like to spend your last hours locked up in a truck, packed into a cage with hundreds of other terrified animal and then cruelly pushed into a blood soaked death chamber? Anyone who eats meat condones and supports the way animals are treated
  • Meat contains a lot of fat. So if you want to cut down on your fat consumption, not eating meat is a good way to start.
  • Every single day, thousands of animals are suffering and being killed for the meat that’s on your plate.
  • There’s nothing in meat you can’t get from vegan food (like proteins, vitamins and minerals)
  • If we eat the plants we grow instead of feeding them to slaughter animals, it would have an enormous impact on the world’s food shortage. Why? Because 100 acres of land will produce enough beef for 20 people, while that same 100 acres of land will produce enough wheat to feed 240 people
  • There’s more in meat than just meat. How about the tail, head, feet, rectum and spinal cord of the animal? Not so yummy isn’t it?
  • Every day millions of male chicks are killed because they ar not able to provide eggs. They get massed slaughtered by gassing them, throwing them into a crusher (sometimes even alive) or they get suffocated to death.
  • Rainforests get destroyed to clear ground for cattle (who will become a beefburger) to graze. Another side-effect of the destruction of the rainforests is that roughly 1000 species a year become extinct.
  • Some farmers use tranquilizers to keep animals calm or routinely use antibiotics to starve off infection. When you eat meat you are eating those drugs.

So, how to become a vegan (or at least a vegetarian)?

  • Stop eating meat. Just stop. Don’t buy it anymore, don’t eat it, just don’t. Yes, you might miss eating burgers at McCruelty, yes, you might get some wise-ass remarks, but at least you’re not contributing to the death of animals.
  • Think about why you’re becoming a vegan/vegetarian. This is a huge change in your lifestyle, so don’t take it lightly. Having your reasons lined out will not only ensure that you don’t waste your time and efforts doing something you’re not really passionate about, but it’ll also help you stick with it.
  • Please, don’t think “Oh well, that animal is dead already, why shouldn’t I eat it?” Because that’s how you keep things the way they are.
  • Get some more knowledge about food. Know where to get your vitamins and minerals from, how to make sure you get the amount of calcium you need etcetera. You can find a lot of information online, but also at the library or local bookstore.
  • Do some research on ways to become a vegan. I could give you all the tips in the world on how to become a vegan, but I’m pretty sure that what works for me, doesn’t neceseraliy has to work for you as well. Maybe you want to ease into the whole process or just go cold turkey (how suitable …) right away.
  • Try some new, vegan, recipes. You can find a lot of nice recipes online. If you would like to show your friends or family that eating vegan isn’t bad, invite them for dinner.
  • Keep having fun. Becoming a vegan shouldn’t feel like a burden on your shoulders. Eating shouldn’t become a heavy subject. There are so many delicious foods out there, experiment with them. See what works for you. Try some new stuff, maybe you find out there’s a whole new world opening up for you when quitting meat.

People will criticize you no matter what. Just let them be. I think that the main reason why people will criticize your lifestyle is because they somehow feel like your criticizing on their lifestyle.

Visit http://www.peta.org/ for more information