Elder Sun

C545C8BA-006F-44B4-A6C4-B1AB7EE63FE8I’m all about wild picking these days. I saw some people making all sorts of things things from Elderflowers and I loved it! Most recipes I found had lots of sugar in it and I don’t really like using sugar myself, so I created this refreshing recipe myself. It’s definitely my favourite summer drink now. It’s super easy to make, with only a few ingredients and best of all.. you can get one of the ingredients for free: the Elderflower! The big umbrellas, filled with tiny white flowers, on the Elder tree smell beautiful. The Elder tree blooms from the end of May until mid June. So, be quick to make this! Also make sure you are picking the right elderflower (Sambucus Nigra) and not the poisonous one (quite essential!!).

9B5767F2-9E81-4FCB-A3BF-8309898984E7ELDER SUN

Makes: 1,5L

4-6 big elderflower umbrellas 
1,5 L water
10 strawberries
2 big lemons
2 limes
Maple syrup/Sugar (optional)
Ice (optional)

-Make sure that there are no insects on the elderflower umbrellas (shake it!).
-Soak the umbrellas in 1,5 water for at least 2 hours (longer is better!).
-Use a nut bag, cheese cloth or tea towel to filter out sand, insects (hopefully not) and little flowers.
-Put the strawberries, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime and a bit of the elderflower water in a blender and blend until smooth.
-Again use the nut bag, cheese cloth or tea towel to drain the juice, so you do not have bits in your lemonade (if you don’t mind, like me, you can skip this).
-Put the elderflower water and the strawberry juice in a big jug.
-Slice the other lemon and the lime and add this to the jug.
-Add maple syrup/sugar water to sweeten your lemonade if you want it sweet.
-Add ice if you like your lemonade cold.

582042B6-9BD3-4B79-AEF4-E95126D952FESome tips for wild picking:
-Be absolutely sure that you have the right plant. You do not want to ingest something that makes you end up in the hospital or worse..
-Don’t pick along roads or places where dogs are walked. A pinch of pollution or wee are not the ingredients you want to go for.
-Pick from an area where there are a lot of the specific plant you want to pick and only pick what you need. We need to share and be mindful.
-Try not to disturb wildlife.

Are you going to make this recipe? Please let me know or show me on instagram via @freedomevermore. I’d love to see it and hear what you think. Thank you! X

Dandees

62C968E4-C6BC-4929-B9F3-04361C231B2EA while ago I found a nice dandelion biscuit recipe, but I just started my 75 Day Habit Challenge. One of the habits is to only eat whole foods and the biscuits had sugar in them. So I thought of a way I can make something similar, so I was still be able to enjoy some dandelion goods, before they all turned into wishing parachutes. So I got myself some soft dates and did some experimenting. I didn’t want to use any oil, but I still needed a bit of fat, so that’s where the peanut butter came in. I knew by using these ingredients it would turn out soft, because there was nothing that would make it crispy. That is ok though, because I really like the result. They’re like sweet little breads and they are a great snack. I’m sure they will taste great with fresh strawberries, some whipped coconut or creamy yogurt (coconut yogurt by the Coconut Collaborative). I will be making these every year now, to celebrate the amazing dandelion flowers!

07AA4ACF-E4B3-4CA4-831B-3B43B3365389DANDEES

Makes: 6-8

1 cup flour
25 dandelion heads 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
8 medjool dates
2 tbs peanut butter
3/4 cup oat milk 

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Pick yourself 25 dandelion heads and make sure there are no insect hiding in them (I assume you want this recipe to stay vegan).
-Pull all the yellow petals off the heads and put it in a bowl (don’t wash them).
-Mix the dry ingredients: flour, dandelion petals, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.
-Put all the wet ingredients in a food processor: dates, penut butter, oat milk and blend until smooth (try not to eat everything).
-Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until it forms a slightly sticky dough.
-Prepare a baking tray.
-Roll the dough into 6-8 little balls (use some extra flour on your hands if the dough is too sticky).
-Flatten the little balls, until you have the preferred size.
-Put them in the oven for 15-18 min. or until golden brown.

527B6B0B-D8FF-404A-9C87-DE1207490C5FSome tips for wild picking:
-Be absolutely sure that you have the right plant. You do not want to ingest something that makes you end up in the hospital or worse..
-Don’t pick along roads or places where dogs are walked. A pinch of pollution or wee are not the ingredients you want to go for.
-Pick from an area where there are a lot of the specific plant you want to pick and only pick what you need. We need to share and be mindful.
-Try not to disturb wildlife.

Are you going to make this recipe? Please let me know or show me on instagram via @freedomevermore. I’d love to see it and hear what you think. Thank you! X

Wild Pesto

9AF29F9B-9070-4247-B2FD-047272EC306AAre you ready to make and eat some very wild pesto? Great! This recipe, is such a wild recipe, becuase the main ingredient is very likely to grow around the corner from your house.. in the wild! Did you know there are a lot of plants and ‘weeds’ (hate that word) you can actually eat? And you can’t just eat them, they are nutritious, delicious and often have lots of amazing benefits. The ‘weed’ we are going to use today the Garlic Mustard plant. Garlic Mustard is an amazing plant with lots of benefits. It contains vitamin A, C, E and some B vitamins as well and it doesn’t only contain lots of vitamins, but also potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. Who is excited yet? I bet that the next time you go for a walk, you keep an eye out for this amazing plant!

FEC875A6-5895-4B1C-BAE6-D9157F5ADD67WILD PESTO

Makes: ± 250 gram

100 gr Garlic Mustard
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/4 cup nutritioninal yeast
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs water
1/2 tsp salt

-Pick 100 gram of Garlic Mustard leaves and tops (incl flowers).
-Make sure there are no insects hiding in there (I assume you want it to stay a vegan recipe) and rinse the leaves.
-Put everything in the food processor and blend until smooth.
-Add a bit more oil or water, if you want it a bit more runny.

22A870E3-D71B-4246-B365-1C41B6F4FE23Some tips for wild picking:
-Be absolutely sure that you have the right plant. You do not want to ingest something that makes you end up in the hospital or worse..
-Don’t pick along roads or places where dogs are walked. A pinch of pollution or wee are not the ingredients you want to go for.
-Pick from an area where there are a lot of the specific plant you want to pick and only pick what you need. We need to share and be mindful.
-Try not to disturb wildlife.

Are you going to make this recipe? Please let me know or show me on instagram via @freedomevermore. I’d love to see it and hear what you think. Thank you! X

Hulk Pasta

713D87C8-CB1D-4B40-AA9B-9AD92EE8A979I often make this pasta dish for the kids from work. In the beginning they said they didn’t like it, because it was too green. But I called it Hulk pasta, told them not te eat it, because I didn’t want them turn into Hulk and all of a sudden they loved it. One day, when they watched me making it, they did ask me: ‘Lisa, why are you putting a smoothie in the pasta?’. Haha! A few times I posted it on my Instagram Story and many asked for the recipe. I procrastinated it for a while, but I thought Earth Day is a good reason to post such a green and tasty recipe. Whenever I make it for the kids I always make a bit more, because I also like to eat this myself. It’s so creamy and delicious. What makes it a great family recipe!

145C2614-6CB5-4834-A120-9D9C04A0D7B8HULK PASTA

Serves: 4

400 gr pasta
1 big onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 small head of broccoli (chopped)
1 small head of cauliflower (chopped)
2 hands of spinach
1/2 avocado (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 cube stock
1/2 cup plant based milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the pasta as described on the pack (add some salt for extra taste).
-Cook the broccoli and the cauliflower for 5 min.
-In the meantime fry the onion and the garlic for 5 min. You can do this in water or oil, whatever you prefer.
-Put the cooked broccoli and cauliflower, the fried onion and garlic with the spinach, avocado, basil, stock, milk and nutritional yeast in a blender and blend until smooth. Add some salt/pepper to taste.
-Mix the sauce with the pasta and enjoy any toppings you like: extra basil, nutritional yeast, black pepper, vegan cheese, tomatoes etc.

Are you going to make this pasta? Please let me know if you like it. You can let me know down below or you can tag me on Instagram with @freedomevermore. Thank you! X

Easter 2020 – recipes

This Easter might be a little different from other Easter celebrations. Big family brunches are a no go and chocolate egg hunts in the park for the kids, also can’t happen. This year we do small brunches and egg hunts inside, with people from the same household. Also fun! Small celebrations can actually be lovely and intimate. And even if you have to spend Easter by yourself, you can maybe get creative and do a Face Time family/friend brunch. Use technology! It doesn’t matter how you are celebrating, but it does matter what you eat. Very important. Haha! This is why I created 2 super easy recipes, that I think are delicious and perfect for a brunch. I hope you will enjoy them.

7E2C4E0C-5FBC-464E-B42A-7B6206C87B6DParty Bread

Makes: 2

2 sourdough bread slices
1 cup yogurt (I used Coconut Collaborative)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 small apple (grated)
20 blueberries
2 tbs raisins
1/2 tbs pumpkin seeds
2 tbs almond butter
extra toppings: coconut, puffed quinoa (optional)

-Divide all the ingredients over the 2 slices of  bread.
-Decorate them with some extra toppings if you like.


IMG_1531_polarrPastel Dream

Makes: 1

chia pudding
1/2 tbs chia seed
1 tbs pineapple (chopped)
2 tbs oat milk
1/2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

smoothie bowl
1 cup mango (frozen)
1/2 cup strawberries (frozen)
1/2 cup banana (frozen)
1/2-3/4 cup oat milk
1/2 cup oats
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 lemon (juice)
1 tbs maple syrup (optional)
1 fresh fig (cut in half)
extra toppings: (toasted) coconut, blueberries.

-Mix in the chia seeds, the 2 tbs of oat milk and the pineapple (and add maple syrup if you like).
-Put the frozen fruit, oat milk, oats, protein powder and the maple syrup in a blender and blend until smooth.
-Pour the smoothie in a nice bowl.
-Give the chia seed a last stir and add it on top of the smoothie bowl.
-Add the fig and the rest of the toppings.

If you decide to make one of these recipes for Easter (or any other day), please show me your creations via Instagram. You can tag me with @freedomevermore. Thank you! X

 

Protein Powders (Whey vs Perform)

IMG_1845_polarrCan you imagine living without a protein powder? Can you even make smoothies and pancakes without it? So many people are using protein powders nowadays, that I thought it was time to write something about  it. I will explain to you what protein powders are, if they are necessary, what different protein powders there are available, what you need to know and consider when you are choosing a protein powder and what protein powder I personally recommend. 

WHAT IS PROTEIN POWDER?
The first thing I want to say about protein powder is that it’s actually nothing more than a clever marketing trick. When you tell people that they need more and more protein, before they become protein deficient or that it’s the only way to build proper muscle, people will start to believe you eventually. This is exactly the case when it comes to protein powder. A lot of people are into fitness these days and this made the protein powder market explode! People now believe that you cannot build muscle without consuming a protein shake straight after your work out or that you need to consume all 9 essential amino acids (protein) at once for our body to actually use it. This isn’t true. As long as you consume enough  protein and a variety of protein sources during the day, your body will be just fine.

But in short: Protein powder is a dietary supplement, mostly used by athletes, to meet their need for (extra) protein.

2E01AA15-9721-4F70-8C4B-7BE1C11DFB62DO YOU NEED A PROTEIN POWDER?
In my opinion protein powders are just a crazy hype and the average person does not need it. Am I against protein powders? No! I am even using some myself now and again.

How much protein do you need:
Most people who eat a healthy and varied diet, with enough calories, do not have to worry about their protein intake. When you eat a balanced diet like that, you will most of the time even consume more protein than necessary. This is when you live a normal life with an average amount of exercise. When you exercise quite a lot you will need to increase your food/calorie intake. This actually automatically makes sure that your protein intake increases as well. So if you are going to the gym a few times a week just to stay fit and you make sure you watch your food intake, you are fine.
It changes a little bit when you are an athlete. When you train on a daily basis, you want your body to recover quickly. Extra protein can help. This doesn’t mean that you need to go crazy on your protein intake, but especially when you want to stay lean, an extra protein shake a day can be helpful. This way you are helping your muscles to recover quickly (without consuming too much fat and carbs), so you’re ready for the next training.

IMG_5808_polarrIn numbers:
It’s recommended to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. This is for the average person, which means that you need about 46-56 grams of protein a day. For athletes it’s recommended to consumes 1.6 – 1.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. Note, that your body weight is the body weight that is your healthy body weight. When you are over or underweight, you don’t calculate the kg’s you lack or your excess weight.

When do you use a protein powder:
Before I will answer this questions, I want to make sure that, as a nutritionist, I first of all would always recommend you to consume protein by eating proper food. By proper food I mean whole food plant based food. This is always better than a protein powder. I don’t want to go into this subject too much for now, but very short: One of the main reasons why this is important, is because, 1 type of food isn’t only protein or only carbs, but it contains a lot more nutrients that are all very valuable. The reason why a varied diet is so important, is because all these nutrients work together. One can’t be absorbed without the other etc. So always make sure that you eat a varied diet, because that is the base of a healthy diet.

I love smoothie bowls! I especially love to eat these for lunch (which is technically my breakfast as I do intermittent fasting on most days). Just a smoothie bowl and whatever I will have for dinner, wouldn’t give me enough protein for that day. So, this is actually the only occasion where I use a protein powder. To just add some extra protein to a bowl full of other nutrients. I mainly do this on days that I work out or when I have a busy day. On days that I don’t work out, but I do eat a smoothie bowl, I don’t always add the extra protein.

5F4D3A57-0B75-46EB-AF2F-BA3E12709944On days where you’re asking a lot from your body, you might also want to consume a little extra protein, to support your muscles a little extra. So maybe during a day of hiking or before/after a huge work out. Add some protein powder to your pancakes, flapjacks or drink it as a smoothie/shake.

When you are an athlete and you are training on a daily basis, consuming enough protein is a must. You want your muscles to recover quickly, so they are ready for the next training. A lot of athletes are way too obsessed about protein though. You just need enough, not a crazy amount. A daily scoop of protein powder on top of a varied diet is a good idea and  gives you a nice top up. That varied diet should also contain extra protein coming from food, like: beans, lentils and tempeh etc. Because, again, the focus on getting most of your protein from the whole foods you eat is super important.

CHOOSING A PROTEIN POWDER:
When you want to use a protein powder, the most important thing is to choose well, which means: choose quality! There are so many different protein powders available, all claiming that they are the best. This makes it quite hard to choose. Because how do you know you are picking something nutritious and not something that does more harm than good? Most protein powders are made with whey powder (this comes from dairy), but nowadays there is also a whole range of plant based protein powders available.

Whey vs Plant Based:
Whey is one of the 2 main types of protein in dairy milk. The other one is casein. To make cheese, these 2 proteins are separated. The whey (the watery part) is the by-product. Whey powder is highly processed.

Plant Based protein can come from a lot of different sources, but the leading types are: soy beans, hemp seeds and peas. By removing most of the fat and the carbs and by isolating the protein you get plant based protein. There are also raw powders, which is a lot less processed.

IMG_3072_polarrWHAT TO LOOK FOR IN PROTEIN POWDER:
For anyone who is looking for a protein powder, I’m sure the first thing you look at is the protein content. Understandable! And this isn’t wrong, but make sure that this is not your only criteria. It is important that your protein powder is coming from a good source, that it’s high quality and that there aren’t any nasty fillers, sugars, sweeteners or other additives. Always check things like this before you decide to put it in your body.
Personally I find it very important that I know that the carbon footprint is as low as possible and that the company that makes the protein powder is an honest company that wants to do good in the world. I also always appreciate it when there is a bit of fibre in the powder and anything that makes the protein powder better as in: added vitamins and mineral for example.

WHEY vs PERFORM:
To show you the difference, I compared the average whey powder with the plant based protein powder Perform. I wrote down some of the biggest differences and similarities. 

Whey:
-Comes from animals and therefore alone it’s harming your body, as it’s unnatural to consume milk coming from another species + after your body doesn’t need it anymore.
-Is harsh on the environment as the animal agriculture industry is responsible for at least 18% of the world’s carbon footprint.
-Makes animals suffer and being killed.
-Is mostly a little higher in protein.
-Contains all 9 essential amino acids.
-The BCAA often comes from duck feathers, kitten fur, horse hair and there are even reports saying it comes from human hair.
-Is very low in (added) fibre or doesn’t contain fibre at all.
-Can contain a lot of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners.
-Can contain a lot of fillers and other additives.
-Can contain heavy metals.
-Sourced from the highest quality ingredients and batch test to ensure it’s 100% safe.
-Contains hormones and can contain antibiotics.
-Often makes you feel bloated and it can give you other digestive issues (cramps, loose stools etc.).
-Very common to trigger acne or any other skin issues.
-Has a negative impact on your gut health.
-Is very highly processed.
-Plastic (sometimes recyclable) packaging.

Perform:
-Comes from plants and therefore your body can handle it well.
-Has a small carbon footprint.
-Does not harm animals.
-Is a little lower in protein than most whey versions.
-Made with real food ingredients.
-Contains all 9 amino acids.
-The BCAA is coming from plants only.
-Contains fibre, which can help by digestion.
-Is enhanced with an enzyme complex for better absorption.
-Uses stevia as a sweetener.
-Doesn’t contain any fillers/additives.
-It’s third party tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
-Is easy on your digestive system thanks to the fermentation process.
-Doesn’t have a negative impact on your gut.
-Contains added turmeric extract to optimise recovery (so cool!).
-Is 100% raw and minimally processed.
-100% biodegradable (home compostable) packaging.*
-Scoopless!!! You can order a scoop separately (less plastic!).
-Free UK shipping for orders over £60.
-30 day money back guarantee.
-Made in the UK.

*Some of their packaging is still plastic, but the transition is happening as ‘we speak’.

IMG_1453_polarrWHAT I RECOMMEND:
I used to have the vanilla flavoured, raw protein powder from ‘Garden of Life’. I really like the taste and I think it is one of the better protein powders available. Until now.. because I discovered Perform from Vivo Life. It was recommended to me by Seb Alex (an animal rights activist who I respect very much) and after doing a bit of research I decided to give it a go. Good timing as well, because my container from Garden of Life was nearly finished. Perform has so much benefits, that every time I discovered another awesome thing, I thought it couldn’t get any better, but every time it did get better. This inspired me to write about protein powders and to share this awesome brand with you. I get asked about protein powders and protein in general quite often and I really hope that this will help you.

6DB33DA9-27DF-4675-8E6A-4495C55F90A6I ordered the madagascar vanilla flavour (as Seb said it was the best best best best), but they do offer more flavours: raw cacao, salted maca caramel, acai & blueberry and banana & cinnamon. But apart from that the taste of the madagascar vanilla was very nice indeed, I love everything about this protein powder. The taste is important of course and I love how natural it tastes. This makes it perfect for anything and gives you the freedom to add other flavours as well. All of the suppliers meet strict EU compliance and quality control standards, and grow according to the VGANIC brand promise. Another thing that I really like is that their packaging is 100% compostable (transitioning) and that for ever bag they sell via their website, they plant a tree (80.000+ trees are planted already). They do this for the purpose of reforestation, agroforestry and reducing extreme poverty for local villagers. And if this isn’t incredible enough, they offset all their carbon emissions to renewable energy projects around the world to support a cleaner and greener future AND they also donate 20p per sale to Street Games Charity. Amazing!

Perform Nutritional Facts:
Perform is all raw and all plant based. In every scoop (2 heaped tbs = 36gr) there is 25 gr of protein and 6gr of BCAA (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valin). They also use a turmeric (95% curcuminoids) extract to optimise recovery. The pea protein is fermented for better digestion and the hemp protein is cold processed, these are enhanced with an enzyme complex (ginger extract, papain, peppermint leaf and black pepper extract) for better absorption.

Vivo Life:
They don’t only do Perform protein powders, they also do vitamins, supplements and other amazing health products. Go check it out HERE.

DISCOUNT: Whatever you order from their website, please use the code: ‘SEB10’ . This way you get a 10% discount and you also help fighting for animals rights, as Seb Alex gets a percentage as well. This is a typical situation of a win win win!

NOTE: This is not an add, I did not get payed to write this. I am just an enthousiast!

Are you already using Perform or anything else from VivoLife? Are you going to try it? Do you have any questions? Ask me anything and please let me know all about your experience, I would love to hear it! You can do this by commenting down below or via my Instagram account @FreedomEvermore. Thank you! X

Menstrual Cup Enthusiasm

In 2017 I wrote some articles about the menstrual cup, but as it’s becoming more popular, the market is expanding and a lot more people have heard of the menstrual cup by now, I decided to write a new post. I think it’s much handier to have everything in one post instead of in separate posts. So here we go, more period talk! 

2017_02_28_Organic_Cups2664

Photo by: Organicup

Question! Are you using a menstrual cup yet or do you have no idea what I am talking about? In both cases, I think this article will help you. I will explain what a menstrual cup is, what the benefits are, I’ll answer some faq and I’ve reviewed some brands for you (Lunette, Organicup and Nixit). Hopefully, this information will give you the confidence to give it a try or if you are already using one, then you might want to learn about the different brands that I’ve tested. Either way, I hope you will enjoy this article and you will share it with anyone who might benefit from it. Let’s make a difference when it comes to periods.
I’m using menstrual cups for over 2 years already and I love them. I do have to say that I never had any anxieties around them and I found it quite easy from the start. This is why I recommend you to get comfortable with your body and in this case, especially with your vagina. Know what is what and know what it feels like. Get to know your body! Menstrual cups make my period much more bearable. During the day I often forget that I’m on my period, as I don’t have to think about changing tampons or pads. Let’s say that I’m a real menstrual cup enthusiast!

WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP EXACTLY?
Simple and short: A menstrual cup is a little cup, usually made out of silicone, that you bring into your vagina when menstruating. It doesn’t absorb any fluids, but rather holds it.

IMG_2985_polarrTHE BENEFITS OF A MENSTRUAL CUP:
– A cup doesn’t absorb all the fluids, like tampons and pads, but the cup holds all the fluids in your vagina. This way you stay naturally lubricated and healthy from the inside.
– One of the main reasons I like menstrual cups so much, is that it’s so much better for the environment than tampons or pads. How many tampons do you use per cycle? It’s probably in between 15-20. That is a lot of unnecessary waste. This is apart from all the packaging (so much plastic!). All together it’s just a lot if you compare it with the fact that you only need 1 menstrual cup in your life (about 3-4 in a lifetime).
-Reading that, you will understand that this is also why it’s a lot more cost-effective. A menstrual cup costs, on average, £20-£30. If you look after your cup well, then the cup can last you for about 20 years. A quick calculation tells us that this is super cheap in comparison of £2000-£2500 you will spend on tampons/pads in those 20 years.
-There are 0 chemicals involved. A very different story from tampons and pads, as there are pesticide residue, parabens and phthalates linked to hormone disruption, antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, and various carcinogens including styrene and chloroform found in tampons and pads.
-Now this is debatable, but there are people who experiencing less cramps or no cramps at all anymore after switching to the cup.
-You can wear the cup to prevent surprises. It doesn’t mean you have to wear it all the time, but if there is a day/night where you can’t afford a bloody surprise, just insert it, just in case.
-No nasty smells. As the cup is inside your vagina, there is 0 smell.
-You can use a menstrual cup in all ages.

HOW TO USE A MENSTRUAL CUP:
-When using a cup for the first time, make sure you sterilise it first, by putting the cup into boiling water for 5 minutes. Do this every time your period is finished as well, so it’s ready for the next use.
-Wash your hands.
-Sit on the toilet or squat.
-Fold the cup (either in a C shape or when using a disc type, *by squeezing it with your thumb and forefinger).
-Insert it and let it unfold into your vagina (you can make sure it has properly unfolded by gently moving your finger around the cup). *When using a disc, make sure that you tuck it up behind your pubic bone and that you can feel our cervix underneath the cup.
-Empty the cup 2-4 times a day (depending on how heavy your period is that day).
-Take it out by gently pulling the stem. When it’s almost out, make sure you also hold the bottom of the cup (wriggle it a little if necessary). *When using a disc, untuck the rim from your pubic bone and gently pull it out, keeping it level (to avoid spillage).
-After using it, rinse the cup with cold water first and then with warm water. After this you can also use a cup cleanser or a natural soap.

TIP: when you’re new to menstrual cups, try practicing in the shower, it makes things easier.

FAQ:
-Can everyone use a menstrual cup? Yes! It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are male or female, if you are a virgin or have given birth.. if you have a vagina and you menstruate, the menstrual cup is for you. 
-Can a menstrual cup get lost in your vagina?
 No! This can never ever happen. The only way out is the same way it went in. Your uterus can not swallow a cup as the opening on your cervix is way too small.
-Can I wear it at night? Definitely. Simply empty it before you go to sleep and when you wake up the next morning. On heavier days, you might want to use a pad for extra protection.
-Can I use the toilet without taking the cup out? Yes. Your vagina has nothing to do with where your urine comes from.
-How many times do I have to empty the cup? Depending on how heavy your period is, you have to empty it, on average, 2-4 times a day. When emptying it, simply rinse it and insert it again.

whatis_lunette_1024x1024

Photo by: Lunette

-How do I empty the cup on public toilets? When the public toilet lacks a sink, but you really need to empty your cup, just empty it and use a bit of toilet paper to take off most fluid and insert again. As soon as you get home, make sure you rinse it well, before inserting it again. You can also use specially designed menstrual cup wipes. Emptying your cup in a sink-less public toilet might be a bit messier, but it’s totally doable.
-Does it ever leak? It shouldn’t, but on heavier days I find that they sometimes leak a little bit when not emptying it in time. You can just use some extra protection on these days or empty the cup a bit more often. When it leaks a lot, there is something not quite right. Maybe you didn’t insert it properly or you have to try another brand, shape or size.
-Does one cup fit all? Are all vaginas the same? Nope. So, it can happen that not all menstrual cups are for you. This is why it’s nice that there are different brands, sizes and shapes. If you tried one brand and it didn’t work for you, you might have to try another brand, shape or size.
-In what sizes do menstrual cups come? The sizes really depend on the brand. Most brands offer 2 sizes though. One for people who have not given birth vaginally and one for people who did give birth vaginally. Some brands also offer a mini size, especially for teens. Sometimes you have to experiment a little bit with what size is best for you.
-Can I feel the cup inside me? You are not meant to feel the cup at all. If you do, you maybe have to (insert it again and) push it up a bit higher. What can also help is to cut off (a part of) the stem.
-Can I wear a menstrual cup with an IUD? Yes. It’s safe to use a cup in combination with an IUD.
-Can I have sex with a menstrual cup? Yes and no, depending on what cup you are using. With the traditional shape you need to remove the cup before penetration. When using a disc type (like Nixit), penetration is possible. You might want to use a bit of extra lube though.
-Does a menstrual cup protect me from getting pregnant? No! A menstrual cup should never be used as a contraceptive.

THE DIFFERENT BRANDS (review):
Since I started using menstrual cups, I’ve tried 3 brands. All 3 cups are very different from each other, which gives me good knowledge about some of the differences. The cups were all given to me by the companies themselves, for me to review.

Lunette Cup
This is the first cup I’ve ever tried. The cup feels firm, but with a soft touch. Their cups come in different colours (pick your favourite!) and they offer 2 sizes. I think it’s the perfect size for me (I have size/model 1) and it hardly ever leaks. I also think that this is becuase of it being quite firm. It’s flexible enough to move with your body, but firm enough to push against the walls of your vagina. This is the cup I’m using on most of my periods. Spoiler alert: the Lunette is my favourite cup!

 

OrganiCup
I find the Organicup is quite a small/lean cup in comparison to other cups, even though it comes in 3 sizes (I have size A). The material is very flexible too. This makes them very easy to insert and they are also super easy to take out again. This is nice, especially when you just started using a cup for the first time. I think for this reason the OrganiCup is great for teens. They even have a special cup for teens (size mini). Something else I like about Organicup is that their packaging is simple and it’s 100% recyclable.

IMG_3226_polarrNixit
When I saw this cup I had to try it. The Nixit is very different from the more common cups as it’s more like a disc shape. It also works a little bit different as you need to tuck the rim behind your pubic bone after inserting it. I’ve tried it on 3 periods now and it’s ok, but I’m not blown away by it. On my heavier days it leaked a bit quicker and removing it can be quite messy. I find it a little harder to insert, as you have to slide it in and push it quite far to the back, making sure your cervix is underneath. But as it’s quite flexible, this is a little tricky. I will keep using it, but I rather use it on my lighter days. It did go better every time I used it though. So, even when you’re maybe an experienced menstrual cup user like me, I guess you have to get used to this one a bit.
With a disc shape cup you can have mess free period sex. I haven’t tried this myself (yet), but it is something which maybe makes you choose the Nixit over a more classic shaped cup. Or maybe it’s the gorgeous colour that makes you choose Nixit!

GIVE IT A TRY!
Please give menstrual cups a try. Don’t be scared, just practice. Don’t give up after 1 or even after a few tries. Maybe you need to practice a few cycles, maybe you need to try a different brand, size or shape.. but it will all be worth it.

Are you using a menstrual cup yet? How are they working for you? Or would you like to try it? Then go and get yourself one. I’d love to hear how you’re getting along! Or if you have any questions, please let me know down below (or you can send me a DM) or you can also contact me via Instagram (@freedomevermore). Thank you! X

Netherlands – Haarlem

949321F5-BE94-494B-8711-7961B39AB69BLast Xmas, my mum, sister, niece and I went to Haarlem. It’s the city my family is from and where almost everyone from my family is born. Once a year we try to visit one city in the Netherlands together. To spend some quality time, do a bit of shopping and to try lots of yummy food. I really wanted to see what kind of vegan places Haarlem has to offer. There are not a lot of all vegan places, but I did find some nice ones that are worth going to. We went by train, so we did not have to worry about parking the car. We left Assen midmorning and around noon we arrived in Haarlem. We needed lunch!

IMG_4652People recommended some places via Instagram and one of them was Chickpea. It was recommended by a girl who works there. So nice! And because another place I really wanted to go, Freaking Vegan, was still closed and we were all really hungry, we decided to have lunch at Chickpea. Chickpea offers very delicious falafel. Served in/with pita bread or as a salad, with lots of salad options you can choose from. They are all vegan and it was very delicious. Beforehand my mum said that she didn’t like falafel as it’s always so dry. Now she knows what good falafel tastes like and she loved it! I definitely recommend this place. It’s great for lunch, but you can also have a lighter bite for a snack. And it was so nice to meet one of my followers at the same time.

C97157FB-5889-499C-B2BD-FF2606BFDEBCWe walked around Haarlem, through big shopping streets and some really nice cosy alleys and I loved it. When we were in a sports store, suddenly there was a lovely smell.. there was a lady walking around with fresh Turkish bread. I asked where she got it from, because the smell was irrisistable. She told me where to get it and that they were still warm. Oh my!! I rushed there and was lucky, because there were only 3 left. It was sooooo tasty. The shops closed early as it was Xmas evening, but luckily I managed to find some nice big golden hoops for in my ears, just in time. I was looking for these already for a while. We wanted to visit a place called Mica Coffeebar, to have a little break, but it 7E5E8920-F6CF-475B-AFE4-95AA262B0D74turned out that a lot of cafes and little restaurants closed at 16:00, because of Xmas evening. We didn’t know this and by the time we got there we only had 10 min. So we tried to look for something else, because my mum asked an old school friend to meet us for coffee. We ended up in a really chic place, that was open until late, but didn’t have any plant based milk. So I just ordered a water. I mean, what is the point of drinking tea without milk? We met my mum’s friend, had a nice chat. We then tried to look for a place to have some dinner.

IMG_4655We were able to use the train tickets we had from 18:30 again, but everything was closed at 16:00 already. I tried calling several places, including the place Freaking Vegan, that I really wanted to go to, but I got their voice mail and I assumed that they were closed too. So we tried to see if there maybe was a pizza place somewhere that was going to be open until longer. When we looked for that, we happened to walk passed Freaking Vegan and it looked like it was open! When I asked inside, the very friendly guy said they were open until 21:00! Woohoo!! It’s a IMG_4654small place and obviously no one was there on Xmas evening, so we had the whole place for ourselves. It’s all vegan junkfood and we ordered a ‘kapsalon’ (chips, a meat substitute that looks like shawarma and salad), a burger, onion rings and chicken style nuggets. We were so happy to find a place that was open. I was so happy I got to go here and best of all, the food was soooo nice! The onion rings were the best I ever tasted, the portions were big and everyone enjoyed it a lot. We got a hot chocolate to share in the end and without rushing or getting bored, we left perfectly in time for the train.

The train was on time and everything seemed to go well. But when we needed to change to our second train, all trains were cancelled, because of a defect somewhere. So we had to get a bus to Lelystad and from there we were able to continue our journey. The bus journey took long, but was hilarious as we made friend, who we had so much fun with. I really enjoyed it! All together, everything took an hour longer though and my niece really started to get tired, she is only 5. She fell asleep in the last 5 min (isn’t it always like that?), but we did all get home safely.

ACAF9AF2-BBE4-45F1-AD77-0DE2E5631A22Haarlem is a beautiful city, especially around Xmas time. There are so many lights everywhere, a big Xmas tree and of course the beautiful and impressive St. Bavo Church in the central market square. I had great fun taking some nice pictures of this beautiful city. I wish we had more time and I had 2 stomachs to try more good vegan food. But I will definitely go back to add to the hotspot list. For now, these are definitely nice places to check out when you visit Haarlem:

HOTSPOT LIST:
– Chickpea: Kleine Houtstraat 2A.
– Mica Coffeebar: Kleine Houtstraat 103.
– Freaking Vegan: Botermarkt 29.

Have you been to Haarlem yet? Or would you like to visit this beautiful city? Please let me know! I would love to hear about your experience and what nice places you discover. You can do this down below or let me know on Instagram via @freedomevermore. Thank you! X

Complete Xmas Dinner 2019

IMG_6514_polarrI already start thinking about my Xmas dinner in the summer or even earlier. When I see something that inspires me, I write it down and then it might end up in my Xmas dinner that year. I always like to create several recipes, that make a full Xmas dinner all together. There is something that I always include though and that is brussels sprouts. Cuz I just LOVE them. I often prepare some extra veggies as well, like green beans and broccoli. Just to get your greens in, even at Xmas time. If you are curious what I made last year, please CLICK HERE. Or to see what I made 3 years ago, CLICK HERE. I really like this year’s desert though. It looks so festive and it’s super easy to make. I also like that you can put it in the middle of the table and everyone can share, instead of everyone having their own portion. This whole Xmas dinner is enough for about 4-6 people. You can double the recipes when you need it to be more or add more dishes. Whatever you are gong to make, I want to wish you a very Happy Xmas!! I hope you will have a lovely time, with lots of love, laughter and happy moments!


STARTER

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IMG_3876_polarrPea Spirulina Soup with Smoked Tempeh

Makes: 4-6 bowls. 

soup
2,5 L vegetable stock (4 cubes)
400 gram split peas
1 leek (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 carrots (finely chopped)
4 ribs of celery (chopped)
2 tsp spirulina

tempeh
100 gr tempeh (chopped)
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tbs sesame seed oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 lime (juice)
1/2 tbs liquid smoke
1/8 tsp smoked garlic
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt 

extra
4-6 tbs cream (cashew, alpro or oatly)

-Marinate the tempeh: put all the ingredients (including the tempeh) in a container with lid and shake!
-Put the stock and the split peas in a pan and let it come to boil.
-Turn the heat to a medium and let it simmer for about 30 min (keep stirring it once in a while).
-In the meantime: fry the onion, leek, carrot and celery (in water or oil) for about 8-10 minutes on a medium fire.
-Take 2 cups of the soup and use it to blend the just fried veggies and the spirulina. Blend until smooth, before putting it all (back) in the pan.
-Let it simmer for another 5 min.
-In the meantime: fry the tempeh (in 1/2-1 tsp of oil if necessary).
-Serve the split pea soup with some cream and the tempeh on top. 


MAIN & SIDES

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IMG_6097_polarrLeek Bacon Quiche.

Serves: 6-8

1 pastry sheet

1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 broccoli (finely chopped)
1 small courgette (chopped)
100 gr mushrooms (chopped)
1/2 leek (chopped)
100 gr bacon (Vivera)

filling
1,5 cup chickpea flour
1,5 cup oat milk
1 cup water
1 stock cube
4 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt 

topping
2 tomatoes (thinly sliced)
150 gr Sheese

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Fry the onion, garlic and broccoli all together for about 5 min.
-Add the courgette and the mushrooms and fry all together for 3-4 min.
-Add the leek and the bacon and fry all together for about 2 min. Let it cool down.
-In the meantime make the filling: put all the ingredients for the filling in the blender and blend until smooth.
-Line a baking tin with the pastry sheet and use a fork to prick some holes in the bottom.
-Put the vegetable mix in the baking tin and make sure everything is divided evenly.
-Pour the filling over the vegetables and make sure everything is covered.
-Divide the toppings over the top and put it in the oven for about 30-35 min.

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IMG_0212_polarrGarlic Hasselback Potatoes 

Makes: 6

6 medium-big potatoes
3 small cloves of garlic (minced)
6 tbs butter (melted)
1-2 tbs fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)

extra
2 wooden spoons of the same thickness

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Put 2 wooden spoons on a chopping board, with a potato in the middle.
-Very carefully slice the potato in thin slices. The spoons help you to not cut all the way thorough.
-To make the seasoning: put the melted butter, the garlic, the salt/pepper and the parsley.
-Divide half the seasoning over the potatoes, using a brush.
-Put the potatoes in the oven for about 25-30 min or whenever the slices are coming apart.
-Take them out of the oven and brush the rest of the oil over the potatoes. Make sure to spread the oil in between the slices. Gently! The potato is softer and its more delicate now.
-Put them back in the oven for another 5-8 min (or until golden/crispy).

>>>

IMG_2445_polarrCourgette, Steak and Blue Cheese Pastries

Makes: 6

1 sheets of pastry (I used jus rol)
1 small courgette
1 steaks (Vivera)
50 gr (vegan) blue cheese (I used Sainsbury’s)

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Cut the steacks into 6 sticks. 
-Cut the courgette in half. Then cut cut those chunks in half through the length and through the length again.
-Also cut the cheese into 6 sticks.
-Fry the courgette in a pan for about 5 min. In the last 2 minutes, also add the steak. Let it cool down.
-Cut the pastry sheet in 6 squares.
-Roll 1 piece of courgette, 1 piece of steack and 1 piece of cheese in 1 square. Close the sides and close properly with a fork (push the fork gently on the pastry edges).
-Put them on a baking tray with baking paper and put the tray in the oven for 15-18 min (or until golden).

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IMG_9273_polarrPotato, Cauliflower mash with Peppery Mushroom Gravy

Serves: 4-6

4 big potatoes (chopped)
1 cauliflower (chopped)
1/4 cup oat milk
1 tbs butter
3 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2-1 tsp salt 

gravy
1/4 onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
300gr mushrooms (sliced)
1 tsp bouillon powder
1 cup water
2 tbs flour
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
salt (to taste)

-Cook the potato and the cauliflower for about 10 min, or until soft.
-In the meantime: Fry the onion and the garlic in a little bit of water for about 3 min.
-Add the mushrooms and fry it all together until the mushrooms begin to get soft (about 2-3 min).
-Add the water and the bouillon powder and let it come to boil. Add the black pepper and the salt (to taste) and let it simmer for about 3 min.
-On a very low heat, add he flour and the nutritional yeast. Keep mixing it until it becomes tick (about 1-2 min). Keep stirring!
-Add 1 or a few tbs of water if you want it a bit more runny, until you have the consistency you prefer.
-When the potatoes and cauliflower are soft enough, use a colander to get rid of the water.
-Add the milk, butter, nutritional yeast and salt and mash it up.
-Serve together.

>>>

IMG_0269_polarrRoasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic 

Serves: 4-6

500 gr brussels sprouts
1/2 tbs (avocado) oil
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Mix the oil, garlic, salt and pepper together and divide this over the brussels sprouts.
-Put them in an oven dish and put them in the oven for about 10-12 min.
-Shake or mix the brussels sprouts and put them in the oven for another 10-12 min (or until they start to turn slightly brown).

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IMG_4687_polarrCamembert Cheese with Baguette
(inspired by the BOSH recipe)

Serves: 6-8

2 cups soaked cashews
2 cloves of  garlic
4 tbs tapioca flour
4 tsp salt
5 tbs nutritional yeast
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1,5 cup warm water

topping
1 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
1/2-1 tsp avocado oil
-Preheat the oven at 180C.

-Blend all the ingredients (except the toppings) in the blender until smooth.
-Put everything from the blender in a sauce pan and heat it for a few minutes, until it gets a bit thicker and stretchy. Keep stirring!
-Pour it in an oven dish (lined with baking paper) and put it in the oven for 20-22 min.
-Brush the avocado oil on top and divide the pepper. Put it back in the oven for another 5 min.


DESSERT

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IMG_8657_polarrApple Pastry Xmas Tree with Ice Cream 

Serves: 4-6

1 pastry sheet
1 small apple
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
ice cream (as much as you like!)

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Cut the apple in quarters and then slice them up in length.
-Put the apple in a bowl and mix in the sugar and cinnamon.
-Put the pastry sheet on a baking tray (lined with baking paper) and cut as showed in the picture here >>
-Fold one slice of apple per branch. You’ll have to cut the apple smaller moving upwards.
-Put the tray in the oven for about 18-20 min, or until golden brown.
-Let it cool down and decorate the tree with ice cream Christmas balls. 

Do you already know what you are going to make for Christmas? Will you make any of these Xmas recipes? If you do, please let me know. You can do this by commenting down below or even better, by showing me on Instagram by tagging me with @freedomevermore. Thank you! X 

Mango Poke

IMG_1702_polarrA few months ago I was in the Netherlands for the birthday party of my grandparents. It’s always a busy time when I’m in the Netherlands, because I visit so many people and I like to catch up with everyone. One of the things that was on my list of things to go to was my bother’s new workplace. He started working in a really nice place called Pokespot in Groningen. I went with my sister in law and we had lunch here. You can custom make your own bowl by ticking ingredients on a little menu. This is what I did. I chose all the things I love. Funny enough, when I turned over menu, there was a ready made bowl available with almost exactly all the things I just ticked. The food was so good, I definitely recommend going there when you are in Groningen! I loved it soooo much though, that I decided to recreate the bowl at home. I finally did and I want to share this with you, because I think it’s so delicious, you should try it.

5345773A-EA3E-4BF5-B8C1-5AB3395360EBMANGO POKE 

Makes: 2 bowls 

200gr sushi rice (uncooked)
1 small avocado (chopped)
1/2 mango (chopped)
8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 cup edamame beans (frozen)
1/3 cup coconut shreds
1 spring onion (chopped)
2 nori sheets (chopped/cut)
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

100 gr tempeh (sliced)
marinade

1 tbs sesame seed oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tbs maple syrup
1/2 lime (juice)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt 

sauce
4 tbs sesame seed oil
2 tbs soy sauce
1 lime (juice)
1/4 tsp garlic powder 

-Cook the sushi rice as described on the package.
-Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together and pour it over the tempeh. Make sure all the tempeh is covered. Set aside (you can also do this the day before, so the tempeh really absorbs the flavours even better).
-In the meantime: Put the coconut shreds in a frying pan (without the oil) on a medium/high fire and roast them for 1-2 minutes, until they turn slightly brown. Keep stirring it at all times, because it easily burns.
-Put the edamame beans in a bowl with boiling water. Make sure that all the beans are under the water. Set aside.
-In the meantime, make the sauce: Mix all the ingredients together.
-Fry the tempeh (with a little bit of oil) on a medium/high fire until they turn a little brown. About 1-2 minutes each side.
-Take the edamame beans out of the water.
-Divide the rice over 2 bowls and also divide everything else over the 2 bowls.
-Divide the sauce over the bowls just before serving.

Did you eat a pokebowl before or have you ever try to make one yourself? It’s so easy and super satisfying. I hope you will try to make this and that you will enjoy it of course. Please let me know when you do. You can let me know by commenting down below or you can tag me on Instagram with @freedomevermore. Thank you! X