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In the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, Mark Manson writes “Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another.”

The irony of this wisdom is that it’s the easiest to forget when life is going great, and the hardest to remember when the chips are all the way down.

Then there’s the kind of problem that has no solution – like losing someone you love. At times like these, it feels like all you can do is bite down on that shit sandwich, gargle some mouthwash and try to summon the energy to make it out of bed.

As the end of a decade closes in, I realise my own experience of the last 10 years has been terrifying and heartbreaking; thrilling and poignant; adventurous and challenging,

My personal cocktail of problems/solutions/shit sammies include:

  • Moving to New Zealand
  • Surviving home renovations
  • Welcoming a fifth child
  • Graduating from studies
  • Saving a home from a fire
  • Grieving the loss off of a (step) father
  • Starting a business
  • Separating from a Beardo
  • Commencing therapy
  • Selling up
  • Starting over in Australia
  • Terminating a pregnancy
  • Reuniting with a Beardo
  • Adopting a rescue puppy
  • Growing a child into adulthood
  • Speaking at public events
  • Dodging melanoma
  • Treating cervical cancer
  • Celebrating a teenager
  • Losing an Uncle

Through the happiness, uncertainty, fear and loss, the one constant I had was my plant-based lifestyle.

At times, the food that I ate was all I could control and it gave me the energy to power through events that felt completely foreign and out of depth.

Plant-based eating is my fuel to weather the storms.

The fuel to grow a family.

The fuel to ask for help.

The fuel to survive a broken heart.

The fuel to summons courage.

The fuel to start over.

The fuel to learn and grow.

The fuel to find things to feel grateful.

If 2020 is your year to eat more plants, here are 10 quick tips to get you going: 

ONE – Drink plants.

Add fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables to your smoothies. Stock your freezer with frozen bananas, berries, mango, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini and any other fruits and vegetables you want to blend up. Make up smoothie bags and freeze them so it’s as simple as emptying into your blender, adding water / milk / juice and whizzing away.

TWO – Bake with plants.

You can easily replace eggs in baking recipes with plant-based alternatives. Mashed banana, apple sauce and flaxseed act as a binder, and without all the bad cholesterol.

THREE – Make plants taste better.

Dry veg is sad veg. Make them sing by adding a spoonful of tahini dressing, a natural peanut butter or rub the leaves with avocado or hummus.

FOUR – Wilt plants.

The beauty of leafy greens is that they wilt down considerably. Add handfuls of greens like baby spinach, silver beet, and kale to soups, stir-fries, sauces, and spaghetti sauce at any given chance.

FIVE – Use plants to create new favourite meals.

Add healthy fats to vegetables to make them tasty. Wilt greens into EVERYTHING! I can almost guarantee you that the internet has already published a plant-based recipe for your most favourite non-vegan meal. Just let your fingers do the googling. e.g. ‘Plant-based pasta alfredo’ or ‘vegan beef stroganoff’.

SIX – Turn plants into noodles.

Veggie noodles are a fun addition to salads, stir-fries and pasta. You can make them with a spiraliser. Veggies that works best are carrot, zucchini, cucumber, capsicum, onion, beetroot and parsnip.

SEVEN – Choose organic plants

The great news with buying organic produce means never having to peel it! Perfect for quick snacks and cuts down time during meal prep. Just be sure to wash it thoroughly first.

EIGHT – Prepare plants in advance.

If you have a fridge full of prepared fruit and veg, you’re more likely to eat it. Every few days, get to work washing them, chopping them, and storing them.

NINE – Travel with plants.

When hunger strikes, don’t be caught without snacks! Fruits like bananas and oranges are perfect for grab-and-go snacks, along with a handful of nuts or trail mix.

TEN – Eat plants as an entree before main meals.

Make this one a habit and you’ll not only massively increase the amount of plants you eat, but you’ll also eat less of your main meal too (great if you have weight-loss goals). Where possible, always start with a salad.

Life is glorious, devastating and precious –sometimes all at the same time. Nothing can blanket us from future problems but a diet rich in plant fuel can provide the energy needed to stay afloat on the unpredictable river of life.

What was your stand-out memory from the past decade? I would love to hear it in the comments below.

Carrot Cake Bites

Carrot Cake Bites

Author: Gabrielle Olga

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pepita seeds or sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup desiccated cocounut plus extra to coat
  • 1 cup wholegrain oats
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  • Combine pepitas or sunflower seeds, coconut and oats in a food processor and grind on high speed until mixture becomes a powder/meal texture.
  • Turn the processor to a low speed, and add the dates one at a time. Then add sultanas, diced carrot, rice malt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Taste the mixture once combined, and adjust as needed to suit your taste. If mixture is dry or crumbly add a few tiny drops of water or if the mixture is too moist then add extra desiccated coconut until desired texture is achieved. Mixture should be easy to roll like play dough. I usually add 1/4-1/2 cup desiccated coconut if the dates used are really fresh and juicy.
  • Roll mixture into balls and coat in coconut. Place in fridge and set where they will last 5 days or freeze in glad bags for up to 4-6 weeks.

Notes

You may need extra if mixture is a touch moist depending on texture of the dates.
Makes approximately 36 bites, depending on size.

Wishing you love as you enter a brand new year filled with possibilities. May it involve a decision to fuel with plants.

In Gratitude,

Gabrielle xo

Do you want to meet some like-minded friends in the new year? Bounce on over to our private, preach-free Facebook group. We’d love to have you.