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Green therapy

Life, Lifestyle

Hi there, it’s been awhile since I’ve written – a lot’s been happening! I’ve just moved flats to a beautiful new part of London with its own garden space. I’m not sure about you, but I didn’t realise how much of an impact green space has to wellbeing until I moved!

The outside entry ways to our old flat looked like this:

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The outside entry ways to our new flat looks like this:

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Big difference, huh?

Previous to moving, I’d say the happiness level leaving the house was probably a 6 out of 10 on a good day, especially as I stepped out on to the street. After moving, my general happiness is about a 9 out of 10 on most days! Seeing greenery, hearing birds, has made a significant difference.

Action of the week:

Try adding some greenery to your space and see how it works for you! If you don’t have garden space, find ways to incorporate some greenery, with plants in your house. An increased number of plants will also help oxygenate your home, so your air quality will improve.

If you think you will “kill” all of your plants, try making a terrarium. They require very little water, and are very low maintenance. I made some this weekend, while planting some into various pots. Took a little less than an hour to put together once having the materials. Enjoy your week!

xx Min

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Spice up your weekend with Korean Dukbokki

Dinner, Korean, Lunch, Recipes

Welcome to a Korean cooking tutorial – Dukbokki, the snack food or in this case, a full meal.

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“Duk” is a Korean food where rice is cooked, then pounded into a glutinous mound and cut into different shapes. In Duk Bok Ki, thin and long rice cakes are used, where in our new year’s soup Duk guk we use sliced rice cakes.

There are brown and white duk varieties available in Vancouver – but found in London only one type in the white rice was available. Choose one you’d like to use and go for it.

Cook time
~20 minutes

Ingredients
1 bag of duk
3-4 tablespoons of gochujang (Korean pepper paste)
250g mushrooms
1 large onion
1 zucchini
2 cups of water
250g cuttlefish (or other type of seafood, optional)
Package of fish cakes (optional)

Method

1. Saute the onion with a bit of coconut oil or oil base on medium heat. At the same time, soak the duk (rice cakes) in cold water and set aside.

2. Mix in the cut up cuttlefish and sauté with the onion.

3. Take 3-4 tablespoons of gochujang, and mix in to the sauté. Saute vigorously, and add in about 2 cups of water. Put the heat on high.

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4. After the water comes to a boil, add in all chopped veggies (mushrooms, zucchini). Add in fish cakes.

5. After all ingredients are mixed together, drain and rinse the duk, and mix in with the other ingredients, stirring gently to ensure mixing amongst the other ingredients.(The reason we do the rice cakes last is because they cook quickly and otherwise they congeal and get too soft for good texture).

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6. You’re done! Enjoy your spicy dukbokki.

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Msfitz’s “Mungcake” – a vegan and gluten free savoury pancake

Dairy free, Korean, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian

The Mung Bean

Mung beans are very nutritious. They are an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber, and also contain vitamins A, C and E, folacin, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and calcium.  They are also easier to digest and quicker to cook than most other legumes so great if you have difficulty digesting beans to eat these instead.

Other health benefits of mung beans include:

  • Cleansing and detoxifying – mung beans are known as a cleansing legume especially when soaked and / or sprouted
  • Improving digestion – the fiber improves bowel function and cleanses your intestines
  • Reduced cholesterol, risk of coronary disease, high blood pressure – eating legumes have a strong correlation with healthy cholesterol levels

Would you like to try a recipe incorporating this delicious legume?

Making yourself a Mungcake 

1. Mix 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups mung beans, and soak in water overnight. (To save time, if you have other items you’re soaking, do them all at once!) Soaking makes the ingredients easier to digest since we will not really “cook” them.

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2. Drain and rinse the brown rice and mung beans a few times, then blend in a food processor. I use my Vitamix blender, which works fantastically. Add a little bit of water (~0.5 cup to 1 cup) depending on how well the blend is being created.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan at medium. Put a spoonful of the rice / bean batter and spread it out to be flat.

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4. When the mixture is getting formed, flip over.

 

Here’s your finished product. What is really tasty is adding things that you love, like chopped veggies, etc to this mixture. I added toasted sesame seeds I made before. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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Rice medley stuffed field mushrooms

Uncategorized

Happy April, misfits!

I totally ADORE mushrooms of all sorts – from your everyday white button and chestnut to enoki and shittake. Mushrooms have been considered a special delicacy by early civilizations as an amazing source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins (especially vitamin D) and polysaccharides which are linked to have cancer fighting properties.

Try out a new mushroom recipe – I’ve invented a new one for you to try out this weekend.

Rice medley stuffed field mushrooms with steamed veggies

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1. Take your field mushrooms, clean and de-stem them. Chop up the stems and save them.

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2. Cook your rice – preferably, soak for 4-8 hours prior. I used a medley of rice here, from brown rice, wild rice, black rice, millet, quinoa and barley.

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3. Chop up a shallot, 2-3 cloves of garlic and mix with 4-5 tablespoons of rice. Lightly sautee in a frying pan. After taking off the pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (it’s healthier this way instead of frying), and a pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper.

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4. Stuff your mushrooms! Sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top for a nutty / cheesy flavour or for those that are non-lactose intolerant add your cheese.

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5. Bake in the oven at 190C for about 30 minutes. Enjoy your finished product!

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Meatless March Recap

Lifestyle, Nutrition & Well-being

So it’s the end of Meatless March… how did you fare?

Actually I really tried my best to be good – but found that old habits really die hard. My husband was cooking dinner, and immediately added the usual fish stock broth to our soup. I tasted it and knew immediately but what could be done that point? I ended up eating that delicious and well-made dinner – and didn’t give myself a hard time about it.

Let’s face it. We can’t be “perfect, always following ridiculously high standards for ourselves and getting down on ourselves when it doesn’t work out exactly to plan. Isn’t life bigger than that? Sometimes there are unexpected changes, and you have to adjust to them. Remember, that is OK, you’ve done your best with what you have, in that given moment. Think about the overall progress you make and don’t discount all you’ve done!

So overall, my Meatless March ended up being 28 out of 31 days being meat (including fish) free! I’d say overall it is pretty good. Plus, I also cut out dairy and other general animal products such as honey during this time too. I’ve also learned another important intuition about myself from this process. I’m a very active person, and for my body, a bit of fish here and there feels very nourishing and good for me – and felt at times really depleted when I didn’t have heavier meals.

If you were able to join this challenge with me – think about the takeaways. What kind of a lifestyle do you lead? Are you very active? Or do you spend most days cycling in to work, or light walking, etc? Try to listen to your body more, and “hear” what it’s asking you for. Some days, you might feel a bit off eating meat and other days you feel like you really need it. Honour your body and what it’s asking for, likely you’ll feel better for it.

Easy blueberry raspberry bran muffins

Recipes, Snacks

These super easy, hearty wheat bran muffins are a special treat at my father in law’s! I’ve modified them to be lactose-free.

They freeze really well, so could be made in batches and taken in to work throughout your busy week.

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Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
2 cups bran
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 cups brown sugar
1.5 tsp salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 flax eggs
1 cup soy milk
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cranberries
1 cup blueberries

Instructions
1. Mix all dry ingredients

2. Blend in all the wet ingredients

3. Add the berries

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4.Place into muffin tins and bake at 375 F for about 20-25 minutes. Voila!

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Celebrate St.Paddy’s Day with a Vegan Stout Cupcake

Recipes, Snacks

It is one thing to have an excessive amount of anything, especially alcohol – but special occasions every once in awhile are always welcome for celebration.

I think this is justifying some things… but did you know stout beer actually contains antioxidants and iron? Plus it has fewer calories than other types of beer, like lagers.

Try out this Chocolate Stout Cupcake to commemorate your St.Paddy’s Day!

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Chocolate Stout Cupcake

Cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flax to 3 tablespoons of water)
2/3 cup soy yogurt
1 cup stout beer (such as Guinness)

Chocolate Stout Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 tbsp stout beer (or soy milk*)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Put in your cupcake liners in your cupcake tray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt vegetable butter. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil and flax eggs. Add cocoa-butter mixture and whisk until well-incorporated.
5. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the yogurt and stout beer (beer may foam; keep stirring it in!). Stir in remaining flour mixture, stirring only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
6. Pour into your cupcake liners and spread into an even layer.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
8. Allow cake to cool completely then top with your stout frosting.

9. For the frosting – beat all ingredients together until well combined, adding more confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken frosting to a smooth, spreadable consistency. After spreading the frosting on, put a dash of cocoa on top too if you’d like. You’re ready to celebrate!

Happy St.Paddy’s Day!

Brewskidaddle

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Delicious hearty miso stew

Korean, Recipes

There’s still a nip in the air… try out an easy to make, hearty miso stew this spring! This “Miso Stew” is a Korean recipe, a heartier version of the lighter miso soup you may have tried in Japanese restaurants.

Hearty Miso Stew

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1. Cut up vegetables you like (I threw in chopped peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.)

2. Put all of the cut up vegetables, along with a couple of seaweed kelp pieces to thicken the broth – all in a pot. Fill up the pot with water up to the top level of the vegetables.

3. Bring the water to a boil, and add in about two tablespoons of miso paste. You could buy miso paste in asian grocery stores –  it looks brown and squishy (things you don’t normally consider as something good, but it is!).

4. Mix in the paste with the boiling water with a spoon, and add in chopped tofu. Let it simmer off high heat for 10-15 minutes. Have with a bowl of wild rice on the side. Enjoy!

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Staple for a veggie diet: whole grains

Lifestyle, Nutrition & Well-being

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Shouldn’t I be eating more protein? How do I make sure I get enough on a vegetarian diet?

There is a big misconception of carbs being the “bad food”. In fact, whole grains are packed full of iron, B-complex vitamins, fiber, essential enzymes AND protein. Try out some new types of whole grains, either in baking or cooked foods!

  • Wheat germ (1 gram protein to 2.5 grams carbs)
  • Oat bran (1 gram protein to 3 grams carbs)
  • Quinoa (1 gram protein to 4.5 grams carbs)
  • Amaranth (1 gram protein to 4.5 grams carbs)
  • Wild rice (1 gram protein to 5 grams carbs)
  • Teff (1 gram protein to 5 grams carbs)
  • Barley (1 gram protein to 6 grams carbs)
  • Brown rice (1 gram protein to 9 grams carbs) – remember not to just watch protein. Did you know this grain has the highest vitamin B content of all rice?

Look forward to some recipes involving whole grains ahead!

Another tip: Before cooking rice, soaking your grains overnight to eliminate the phytic acid in them. Phytic acid is on most whole grains and it prevents you from absorbing zinc!

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March Challenge: Meatless March

Lifestyle, Nutrition & Well-being

 

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As many of you know, I’m a pescetarian (eat no meat / land animal, but all seafood is OK) that also avoids dairy (amongst other foods I know I have intolerances to). Changing how you eat comes slowly, as you get to know your body’s responses to foods, exercise, and how it changes in different environments. I stopped eating red meat in particular, because I noticed difficulty in digesting it, but still eat fish as I didn’t have much trouble with it.

As part of the journey to being a holistic health coach and my holistic nutrition program though, I am making myself open to experimenting more with what works for my body also in terms of things like energy levels. This *may* mean I venture back into eating certain types of meat I crave, but firstly, I would like to try a full vegan diet for one month and see how I fare.

I’ll be posting my transition to eating a meatless (and actually vegan) diet, from recipes to applying knowledge from my nutrition program. 

I would like to open the challenge to all of you this month to make it a “Meatless March”. Try out even one week of cutting out meat in your diet, and in the process also listen to your body’s cravings, energy levels, feelings and responses to eating food. Are you with me? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and how you do throughout this month too!