Possibly, probably the most delicious overnight oats ever

This recipe works as a breakfast or a dessert and is utterly delicious. A great example of only a simple switch needed to make a tasty vegan-friendly treat!

For those tracking macros, this recipe is 357kcal with % energy split: 77C/14F/8P.

 

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup of porridge oats (~40g)

• 1 cup of chocolate oat or soya milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice but chocolate gives sweetness without having to add additional sugar)

• A generous dollop of Alpro coconut yogurt (or again, other non-dairy yogurt of your choice would work just fine)

• A handful of frozen red berries (only realised as I was eating it this mix has red grapes in!!!)

 

Method:

1. Place oats in a bowl

2. Pour in milk and dollop on the yogurt, give it a mix with a spoon

3. Add berries in a pretty layout (…or just throw on top of mix like I did)

4. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight

5. My recommendation is to take out of the fridge and leave to warm up slightly before eating as the berries are likely to still be very, very cold and could hurt sensitive teeth.

 

Enjoy!

6 things I learnt from Veganuary

My flex vegan diet approach was first inspired by veganuary – “Veganuary’s vision is a world where veganism is a mainstream lifestyle choice, with positive action at all levels of society and government to promote the benefits of plant-based eating.

I felt really motivated to give it a go when I began reading up about it, and in an overfed, post-Christmas slump decided to sign up.

So here are some of the things I learnt…

1. ‘Accidentally vegan’ foods are abundant!

The main thing I learnt is that following a vegan diet day-to-day was not a challenge for me; I switched to plant-based milk (oat, soya, rice…whatever was on offer that week in Sainsbury’s!) which sure, tastes very subtly different in a cuppa (FYI – I find Oatly the least offensive milk alternative in a cup of tea), but actually enhances the taste of other foods such as porridge (recipe for the most delicious overnight oats ever here mmmmmmm). I was pleased to find that a lot of the food I eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet is ‘accidentally vegan‘ anyway, so no big changes required there.

 

2. You will get used to cheese withdrawal surprisingly quickly

What I did have to change was grating reduced fat cheddar cheese over EVERYTHING but I soon got used to this, and now enjoy cheese so much more on the occasions I do eat it. Plus Sainsbury’s have an oddly delicious vegan alternative to salad cheese which kind of works (I would not recommend the ‘cheddar style’ one though – it is devil’s spawn and I had to throw the pack away, and I HATE wasting food!!!).

 

3. The stigma is real, but…

The food itself is not the difficult part, what is challenging is every second person asking ‘So are you vegan now?‘ as if the ‘v’ word is a dirty one. Admittedly, as an individual I am conflict-averse and avoid a debate if I can help it, so tend to shrug off the question with ‘…giving it a go‘ or a similar response. What I did find is that the vegan community is full of inspiring people a lot more loud and proud about their lifestyle choice than I am; and anytime I felt challenged this is where I looked to for support. Instagram is full of inspiration at every corner!

 

4. Increased fibre intake is amazing…

Basing meals around vegetables and wholegrains means that not only does 30g of fibre a day (as recommended by the UK government) seem achievable…but I exceed it by lunchtime most days! Fibre is vital to keeping your digestive system healthy, and the majority of people in the UK eat only 18g a day.

 

5. …but I do find sufficient protein intake a struggle

As a runner, based on my height, weight and  the fact I run upwards of 20 miles a week I should be consuming around 75g of protein a day (there are lots of ways to calculate what your personal intake should be but I used this online calculator). I find I often fall short of this number so looking at my diet and working out the best balance of nutrients for me is something I am working on. I am hoping once I have this cracked I will share more and more recipe suggestions for vegan-friendly protein packed foods like this one.

 

6. You will lose nothing but giving veganism a try!

At best you’ll love it like I do. At worst you won’t. But it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll get something out of it…even if it’s simply that it is possible to have a tasty meal without need for animal derived ingredients – who knew!

What is a ‘flex vegan’?

Veganism is great.

There is a multitude of compelling reasons to go vegan – animal rights, environment, health…just to name a few.

However, for many, the concept of going full-vegan seems ‘extreme’ or unachievable. Many give up on the idea before even trying it.

I have considered myself a ‘flexitarian’ for almost 3 years now – my preference is for vegetarian foods but when cooked for by others, eating out or just when I generally have an appetite for it I will allow myself to eat meat. This, for some people, may seem outrageous…”Isn’t this a blog about veganism?! She’s talking about eating MEAT!?” but that is exactly the issue…my belief is that there is a need for a happy inbetween; a diet that reduces the negative impact that the meat and dairy industry has on the world (read more about that here) but is not so restrictive that it deters omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians from giving it a try.

*ENTER FLEX VEGAN*

I want to start by saying this is very much my own personal approach to my diet and lifestyle choices; developed by me for me only. As an associate nutritionist I have learnt throughout my 4 year degree and beyond a lot about what works for me and makes me feel my best self. My aim of sharing this approach is to inspire others to work out for themselves what works for them – this is so important as we are all built differently and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet!

So what is my personal approach?

Following on from my trial period of veganuary (which you can read about here), I felt so good that I decided to maintain my new approach to day-to-day eating indefinitely.

On weekdays I am mainly just cooking for myself so 90% of the time the meals I make are vegan. When I am visiting friends, boyfriend or family and they are cooking for me I will gladly eat the food they have to offer. I am in no way adverse to sharing my preference for meat-free alternatives, but as an individual feel comfortable eating animal and animal-derived products on some occasions.

How is this different to being an omnivore?

Well, it is and it isn’t. Yes, a happy side affect is that I feel fabulous following this approach to diet and lifestyle – I have plenty of energy, my skin  is clearer, I’m super regular (possibly TMI, sorry) – however in the past I have found the same through eating a ‘clean’ diet which did include animal products. Chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt etc are good for the body and I wouldn’t suggest that they are not – these are foods I enjoy eating and only restrict my consumption of for the negative impacts the meat industry has on the environment and wellbeing of the animals involved. It is taking responsibility for my contribution to this that is my main motivator for the flex vegan approach (and I have recently found that others take a similar approach).

Anything else is a happy coincidence.