Veggie Bowl

img_9302Some people find it hard to get a salad together. What vegetables do you use? What tastes nice combined with what? I actually think that all veggies can go together. This is why I like to make colourful salads. Eat the rainbow! It’s also important to make a salad filling. So what I always do is: I cut up lots of yummy, colourful (mostly) raw veggies, add beans, avocado and mix it up. Most of the time I like to eat salads like this for lunch. In fact, this is basically my lunch every day. I love it and I can really enjoy digging into a huge bowl of crunchy yummy tasting veggies, mixed up with a simple dressing. I just love vegetables. I know, I’m a lucky vegan! To just give you an idea of what my salads look like and to help you make your own, I’m giving you an example today. I hope you like it just as much as I do!

img_9310VEGGIE BOWL

Serves: 1

veggies
-1/2 cup black beans
-1 (big) handful lettuce (any)
-1 (big handful spinach
-1/4 cucumber (sliced)
-1/4 bell pepper (sliced)
-1 cup red cabbage (chopped)
-1 (large) tomato (chopped)
-1/2 avocado (chopped)
-1 spring onion (chopped)
dressing
-1 tbs sesame seeds oil
-1 tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp balsamic vinegar
-1/2 tsp chilli flakes
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Mix all veggies in a bowl.
-Put the ingredients for the dressing in a shaker and shake well.
-Pour over the dressing and mix up well, until everything is nicely covered.

Are you just as lucky as me and do you love vegetables a lot? What do you normally have for lunch? Or are you going to try this recipe now? Please let me know when you’ve tried it. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Yay for King’s Day!

As I’m Dutch myself, I’d like to give King’s Day some credit from over here. Everything in the Netherlands will be orange today! Today the Dutch people are celebrating the birthday of king Willem-Alexander. As we used to have a queen for very long (King Willem-Alexander is the 1st male monarch in 123 year!), it used to be Queen’s Day. The first Queen’s day was held on 31 of August 1885, in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. What means it’s a long going tradition. Later on, the date changed to 30th of April, the queens birthday. The next queen, Queen Beatrix, kept that date in honour of her mother and I’m sure part of the reason is also that her own birthday is on the 31 of January. Way too cold! Basically everybody in the Netherlands is celebrating this day. What means it’s probably the biggest birthday party in the world. People dress up, mainly in orange, but also in the colours of the flag: red, white and blue. As the lion represents the Netherlands, this is also a symbol you most probably will spot this day. But the most important rule seems to be: the crazier, the better! There are flea markets and activities everywhere, spread over the country, but especially Amsterdam is going totally crazy! Around 250.000-300.000 are traveling to Amsterdam, from all over the Netherlands and the rest of the world, to be part of it. Because for a long time the date used to be April the 30th, there are still a lot of tourists who come to Amsterdam, all dressed up, 3 days late! Poor them! Anyway,, I’ll not be in the Netherlands this time to celebrate, but especially for King’s Day I created 2 healthy (orange) recipes.. lunch and dinner if you like. Oh and if you are going: Enjoy!

RAWR

Can be eaten all raw (leave the bread out and use raw sesame oil). It might seems strange in combination with the strawberries, but I promise you it’s tasty.

Serves: 2

1 courgette
1 cucumber
2 carrots
6 strawberries
1 avocado (smashed)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs sesame oil
salt/pepper (to taste)
fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp mixed seeds
2 pita breads

-Use a spiralizer for the courgette, cucumber and the carrots.
-Mix the avocado with the garlic, the lemon juice and sesame oil.
-Mix everything together and add salt/pepper.
-Shape the strawberries and the basil leaves into tulips and use them as decoration.
-Sprinkle the seeds over the salad and serve with warm pita bread.


KING’S MEAL

Super healthy and loaded with protein. Apart from eating this on King’s Day (to restore energy), this is a perfect meal for after a good work out.

Serves: 2

200 gr red lentil pasta (uncooked)
1 cup butter beans (cooked)
3 hands spinach
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/3 chili pepper (chopped)
3 tbs houmous
1 tbs olive oil
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the pasta as described on the pack.
-Put the olive oil, the onion, the garlic and the chilli pepper in a frying pan and fry them until the onion gets brown edges.
-Add the beans and the spinach. Switch off the heat, just before the spinach all slunk.
-Mix in the houmous and then carefully mix in the pasta.
-Add salt and pepper.

Are you in the Netherlands today to celebrate King’s Day? Are you going to make these recipes? I’d love to see some pictures (of the food and of today..)! You can show them to me by tagging me in the picture or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. I look forward to it! Thank you! X

Banana Island

So as some of you know, I’ve been on Banana Island for a week, from 20-26 of March. For the people who don’t know what Banana Island is, it’s not a real island. Being on Banana Islands means that you only eat bananas for a certain amount of days. I chose to do 7 days. This way your body can make real changes and it’s still very doable. You can eat bananas unlimited. Though, you have to try to at least eat about 20-25 bananas a day. To have some variety and extra vitamins and minerals, you can also eat a little bit of greens (spinach, celery, cucumber). I will first tell you about bananas and about the Banana Island, before I tell you how I experienced being on Banana Island. I will also tell you what I experienced and if anything changed. So here it goes.. 7 days, 140 bananas!

BANANAS:
Bananas have esseital vitamins and minerals. Let me explain why they are so important:
vitamin B6 – About 4 bananas give you the recommended amount of B6. So you’re good!
manganese – This helps with healing wounds (read: clear skin), healthy bones, activates enzymes (read: great metabolism).
vitamin C – It’s known to boosts your immunity to colds, but it also reduces inflammation and slows the aging of skin (read: clear glowing skin).
copper – It pairs with iron to help stimulate more red blood cells. Red bloods cells carry oxygen through the body (read: lots of energy).
fiber – It prevents heart disease and it’s especially great for a healthy bowel movement.
potassium – A very important one! It helps your muscles and nerves to work properly, it’s great for your metabolism and a healthy balance of fluids in your body. 

REASONS TO GO ON BANANA ISLAND: 
Healing – You’re giving your digestive system a break. As it only has to digest bananas, your system has an easy job to do. This way it uses less energy for digesting. The extra energy can go to other parts of your body.
Energy – For the same reason as described above, you will also experience more overall energy during the day.
Skin – You’re only eating raw and your body gets loaded with lots of important vitamins and minerals. Your skin will benefit a lot. You might notice your skin calms down (in case you have a troubled skin) and/or has an extra nice glow.
Hunger – You will learn the difference between emotional eating and hunger. If you just want to eat because of eating something and the only thing you can eat is bananas, you will less likely eat something. But if you’re really hungry, a banana will do.
Mind – Is quite similar to what I just described. You will be more mindful, because you will feel lighter (thanks to digesting faster), but also very important is that you will fight cravings. You will learns how to handle cravings: You admit you have a craving, you acknowledge it and then hopefully you can move on. This might be a struggle at first.
Weight – It’s very likely that you will loose weight. This will be mostly water weight. If you struggle with water retention, Banana Island will help you. Just note that if you will start eating lots of bad food again after you finished, you will easily gain weight again. To stay on the same weight or even lose more, keep eating healthy and exercise.
Senses – Your taste and smell senses can increase. You can experience better smell and taste. Especially your tastebuds will likely heal/improve.
Sleep – It improves sleep, because your body is able to make the right amount of sleep-hormones: melatonin and serotonin. These hormones are needed for our sleep/wake cycles. They often get disturbed by the things we eat or we do not eat.

SIDE EFFECTS*
Changing your diet and lifestyle can create a situation of temporary withdrawal. As Banana Island is a detox, you might experience side effects, like:
Headaches – A headache is one of the most common side effects of detoxing. It’s mostly a dull and prolonged feeling, but it is because your body is busy removing the buildup of toxins.
Fatigue – As your body is very busy cleansing, a lot of energy is used for only that. The more toxins in your body, the longer this takes. Though, if you eat enough bananas, you shouldn’t feel tired after day 3.
Feeling cold – Also very common, as your body is focusing on getting rid of toxins.
Shaky – Your body wants the bad things you consumed before. By not getting this your blood sugar drops and that is what making you shaky. Just make sure you eat a few extra bananas.
Trouble sleeping – Your body is disturbed by all the changes going on in your body. This might wake you up in the night more often.
Gas/Bloated –You body is getting rid of symptoms in all ways possible. Passing gas is a good sign, it means your intestines are busy clearing everything up. Don’t think it’s not effective if you don’t have this, as long as you have 1 (or more) good bowel movement a day it’s going well.
Cravings – Especially when you were a huge consumer of specific things like: sugar (!), coffee, alcohol and bad fats. You body will ask for there, because it was used to getting this. This side effect is probably the most difficult one. Stay strong!

*You are likely to experience this in the first 1-3 days. Some of the side effects are conflict with improvements. Don’t get discouraged, keep going! Of course if it’s getting really bad (fainting for example), you might want to consider eating a proper meal and maybe even stop all together. It’s very important that you make sure that you eat enough bananas. 

PPREPARATONS
To prepare  myself for Banana Island I did a few things. First, I (obviously) bought a lot of bananas. As I started on a Monday, I got my first batch of bananas on Friday. I got myself 50 bananas, to be sure I had enough for at least 2 days. On Sunday I got my second batch. I did it this way, so they have time to ripe, but not be too ripe.
Something else I did, is having a fruit day the day before (Sunday). This is not necessary, but I did it for 2 reasons. First, I had a lot of fruit I was not able to eat in the 7 coming and I didn’t want it to go bad. Second, I wanted to clear the way, so the effect of the bananas would work faster.

EXPECTATIONS
The reason I wanted to do Banana Island, is because this detox (as many other) is like a reset for your body. A lot of detox programs make you feel hungry, what is ok, but I liked this one because you will not be hungry at all. I especially like this detox because of the mental aspect. The difference you will experience between hunger and emotional eating. I’ve been eating a lot of junk food lately and it didn’t do my body any good. I was looking for ways to get out of that junk food circle, but every time I found myself back in that circle. So this is one of the reasons what made me go to Banana Island. I expect to learn a lot about myself and my body. I also really hope it will clear up my skin a bit. I’ve always had a bad skin since puberty and though it was way worse (before I went vegan), it can improve a lot! Though, my main reason for doing this, is because I’m more and more interested in raw food. This might be a step towards more raw food. I don’t think I will ever go fully raw and I always ate a decent amount of raws anyway, but I think I can do a lot better. I want to be a more healthy vegan. I expect to eat more than 20 bananas and I’m even slightly anxious I will eat an abnormal amount and double that or something.


BANANA JOURNAL

DAY 1 / Bananas: 20
I woke up feeling tired. I had about 7 hours of sleep, but I always have a lot of trouble waking up and getting out of bed. I had my first banana at 7:00 and I ate 7 bananas in total over the morning. At 12:30 I had another 2 bananas, but then I didn’t have any for a while. I had to go out around 15:00 for just a bit and when I came back at 15:30 I was all shaky. Just my arms and hands. I should have eaten a bit more by now I think and it also might be part of the detox effect. I had some more bananas and after an hour I was all back to normal. Still I didn’t seem to eat enough bananas and my stomach started to rumble at 18:00. I did eat 14 bananas by then. In the evening I had a whole organic cucumber, what was so refreshing and tasty. Love how something so simple was so delicious and it’s only day one. I also had 3 bananas with some spinach and water, blended into a smoothie. Was very yummy and a nice change after eating only bananas on its own. I didn’t have any real cravings today, I guess the fist day was quite easy.
Over the whole day I drunk 4 cups of tea and I drunk 2 litres of water.

DAY 2 / Bananas: 20
The second day and I woke up before my alarm (6:15), feeling very well rested. That doesn’t happen a lot. Walking to work I felt very energetic and light, what was a lovely feeling. When I got to work my employer gave me a compliment, that I looked well and energised.. ‘The bananas are doing you good’! It’s only the second day and even people around me see a difference already. Again I ate 7 bananas over the morning. In the afternoon I had a little nap. I didn’t feel tired, but to help my body detoxing and because I had a mild headache. It helped me to have less headache. Being shaky for an hour yesterday and the mild headaches are the only bad side effects I’m having now. Weird enough, having the side effects is kind of exciting, because it means my body is getting rid of toxins. Though, in the end of the afternoon, starting from about 16:00ish, I had a very dry mouth. When I got home around 19:00 I ate an organic cucumber and then the dry mouth was gone. To have the last 5 bananas, I made 2 smoothies with spinach and 1 with celery (I really liked this one). Also had a celery stalk on its own. Very yummy and refreshing. Normally I won’t eat them that often on its own. I like celery, but mostly I put them in my salad. I enjoyed eating it by itself a lot. I really like that about this detox, the appreciation for food. I also drunk almost 2L of water and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 3 / Bananas: 20
I felt less energy than yesterday morning, event hough I did sleep for 7 hours. It might be a side effect, but it could also be because I have to eat a few more bananas a day. I ate 7 bananas over the morning again and around lunchtime my stomach started to rumble. So this is also a sign I should actually eat more. The thing is that I’m not hungry. I eat bananas, but most of the time it’s because I have to at least eat 20 bananas in order to do this detox. What is very positive I think, because normally I’m always ‘hungry’. My body is learning about when I’m really hungry or when I just want to eat for the sake of eating. One of the main reasons I started this detox is because of this mental aspect. I felt very cold today too, overall, but especially my hands.. As this is day 3, the side effect must come to an end by tomorrow. What means I’m very excited about what is going to come next. When I left work (18:00) I only had 13 bananas, what meant I had to at least eat another 7. I decided to blend them, to make it easier. I blend them with some celery and made 1 big glass with a little bit of raw cacao powder too. It was very tasty and felt like such a treat. I divided it over the evening, but I was still very full in the end. I didn’t want to screw up though and make sure my digestive system kept working properly. I also made my boyfriend a burger for dinner, what is my favourite food. Surprisingly, though it was a little hard, I managed doing it and it actually went really well. I didn’t even have huge cravings. I also did really well drinking 3 litres of water, next to my 3 cups of tea. Hydration is very important in a detox!

DAY 4 / Banana: 20
My sleep was very deep, even though I only had 6,5 hours. I felt good in the morning, not highly energised good, but I felt good and content. I can feel I lost some weight, but the best thing is that I feel so happy and light. From around 14:00 today was the first time I was really thinking about having something else than bananas. I wouldn’t say it was a huge craving, but it was different from the other times I thought about different foods. I ate 2 stalks of celery, drunk a cup of tea and I felt better. I think day 4 as the middle day and with the side effects gone (headache free!), your body is changing the focus. I’m surprised I still didn’t have huge cravings, especially because I will have my period next week. Normally in this week (so the week before my period) I’m craving a lot of different things 24/7. I basically alway overeat this week, but thriving on bananas this week, makes me feel a thousand times better. When I got home after work (18:45), I had to eat 5 more bananas to reach 20, so I blended them with a little spinach and 1/4 of iceberg lettuce (I’m quite a fan of blending iceberg lettuce, it gives this little zing to a smoothie). I’m thinking about food quite a lot still. Not in a very annoying, can’t pull myself together kind of way. It’s not a craving for 1 specific thing though. Just I notice that I think about salads a lot. I only think about healthy food though, I have no interest in bad food at all. Again I drunk 3 litres of water today and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 5 / Bananas: 20
As it’s Friday today, I always sleep in a bit. What also means I started to eat later. It was ok though, because for breakfast I put 7 bananas in the blender, with a handful of spinach and water. Drinking this over the morning is a lot easier than eating the bananas on its own. Though my skin still had some breakouts in the last few days, I can see that it’s getting a little better. To be honest, this week (the week before my period) is always a good week for my skin, so I’m not sure if it’s just that or that it’s also thanks to the bananas. I think I have to be more patient to find out. Around 15:00 I thought about other food quite a lot again. To solve this I grabbed half an iceberg lettuce from the fridge and ate it like an apple (what level of vegan is this?!). It really helped and it was so delicious. In the evening I went to watch the movie Beauty&TheBeast (aHmazing btw.. best movie I’ve ever watched in the cinemas!!) and I always get popcorn.. I love popcorn! Today that obviously wasn’t possible, so I prepared a chocolate milkshake what contained 3 bananas and 1 tbs of raw cacao powder and I brought a banana on its own. My boyfriend didn’t easy dinner yet, so before we went to the cinema he quickly ate a pizza. He sat in front of me, eating one of my favourite foods. He wasn’t being mean btw, I told him to just eat. Nobody should change around me just because I decided I only want to eat bananas. As there was dairy cheese on the pizza I didn’t crave it at all. Though I think, even though the pizza smelled delicious, if it was vegan, I would still be ok. I feel very satisfied eating bananas. I’m very surprised I’m so ok with all this delicious food around me. Today, after the movie was finished I ate banana number 100! Was kind of a funny thought, knowing I ate 100 bananas in 5 days. I also drunk 2,5 litres of water and only 2 cups of tea.

DAY 6 / Bananas: 20
I was sleeping in until around 9:30 and didn’t start breakfast until 11:00. What wasn’t very clever as that means I have less time to eat 20 bananas. So I blended up 5 bananas with a handful of spinach and a glass of water and drunk it straight. Me and my boyfriend went to Portobello Road Market, but before we left I ate 3 bananas so I’ll not get hungry and tempted but all the yummy food there. We normally get a falafel wrap and eat it at Starbucks, but this time I didn’t get one, but only had a green tea. I was ok with it, though it’s a lot nicer if you can eat together. Eating 20 bananas while starting so late was easier than I thought. Because I was very hungry coming back from Portobello Market, so I blended 6 bananas with some celery and really enjoyed that. In the evening I was kind of craving a meal, so I ate quite a lot of celery and cucumber. Especially the combination of them both was very enjoyable. I can feel how my tastebuds are more sensitive as I could taste how salty the celery was in comparison with the fresh cucumber. Later in the evening I had serious cravings, to something savoury and saucy, like a proper meal. This is the first time I have cravings, maybe because I know it’s only 1 more day. I acknowledge that it was just a craving and created a healthy raw recipe I’ll enjoy on Monday. I also drunk a cup of tea and went to bed a little earlier than I planned to. I had only 2 cups of tea again today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.

DAY 7 / Bananas: 20
I woke up at 9:00 today, what meant that it was already 10:00, as last night the clock moved forward one hour. I slept very long and deep, 9 hours. I only woke up once at 6:00. So I started to eat my bananas a little later again. I guess that is what happens in the weekend. I made myself a banana/spinach smoothie and I got ready for the farmers market. It was lovely to see all the yummy colourful vegetables, it always makes me happy. Though I knew I had to wait for a salad until tomorrow. Later on in the Sainsbury’s, to get the rest of my groceries, it was also a little hard. I love grocery shopping, but everything what I bought was for the following week. I didn’t have huge cravings though, I’m just looking forward to a proper meal again. I made myself another big smoothie with bananas and celery (the one I bought at the farmers market), after eating 3 bananas on its own.
Though I did have bowel movements every day, today was the first time I had big bowel movements. I’m not sure why, but it’s a good sign. Tomorrow my body will be all ready to receive lovely fresh salads. I turned the last few bananas into a raw cacao soft serve. It was delicious. And swallowing that last bite, meant I ate 140 bananas in 7 days. Yesterday and today I was a bit bloated. My intestines must be working really hard to get a lot of toxins and waste out of my body. I’m wondering how it goes when I start to eat other things from tomorrow. I only had 1 cup of tea today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.


DAY 8
So this morning on the scale, it turned out I lost 1,5 kg this week. Quite good isn’t it? I could already feel it during the week, but what means a lot more to me is that I feel so light and have so much energy. I started the day with a big glass of luke warm water, with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This is how I start my day every morning, also when I was on Banana Island. I did some yoga and it went really well, it made me feel so good. Then I made myself a green smoothie with, guess what.. bananas! This shows you how much I love bananas. I did make the smoothie like I normally make it though, so not only with spinach and water. Yesterday I bought myself a little ripe papaya, to eat as the first thing after all these bananas. It was delicious. I love papayas! Then I also ate a very juicy and sweet tangerine. So enjoyable. At work I had some strawberries and then waited all the way until lunchtime. The moment I’ve been waiting for. I had a huge raw salad with spinach, chard, radish greens, radishes, baby corns, sugar snaps, avocado, ground coriander, smoked paprika and a little sesame seed oil. It was soo nice! I really love salads. Very satisfying after 7 days. Then in the afternoon I snacked on some blueberries, 1 apple and 2 pears. At dinner time I was really hungry and made myself some courgetti. I used a whole big courgette and I made very yummy raw sauce from: fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms, fresh basil, celery, salt, thyme and a little ground coriander. It was very delicious! There was some sauce left, so in the evening, whilst watching my favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’, I cut up a cucumber and started dipping. Yumm! Going to make this more often. I also drunk over 2 litres of water again and 3 cups of tea. What a successful day! In the next few days I will keep eating more raw foods, but I will also introduce my body again to some cooked foods, like: beans, sweet potatoes and porridge. 

CONCLUSION
Thinking I would eat more than 20 bananas and even feeling anxious about eating double that amount, was quite an hilarious expectation, looking at the fact that I struggled to even eat 20 in the end of every day.
Now one of the questions I was asked most during this week on Banana Island was definitely: ‘Do/Will you still like bananas?’. Yes I do! I love bananas! I enjoyed eating bananas a lot and I’m still enjoying them now. I think bananas are just perfect food. They have so much goodness inside of them, they’re so tasty and you can make amazing food combinations with them. They’re really my personal Super Food!
So overall I found it a very nice experience and it helped me a lot with looking at food in a more healthy way. For all these reasons, I would definitely do it again. Maybe in the summer.. I hope more people will join me then!

DAY 14 / Back to normal
So last week I ate very healthy, apart from a little chocolate here and there (sorry, I’m allowed when on my period, hehe..). This morning I was the same weight as I was after Banana Island. I think if I wasn’t on my period, I would have lost a little weight maybe. It’s still a good sign, because it means that the weight I lost on Banana Island is still off. I can also see that my skin is better. It’s smoother and I have less break outs. Even though I was on my period, I didn’t have huge cravings. Normally I have cravings 24/7 and I can eat a lot, especially the week before and I’m hungry the whole time, but I felt so much better.
The day after Banana Island I had a raw day as you can read in DAY 8. I did this to slowly introduce my body to different food again. The day after that I introduced beans and the day after that, I had some porridge for breakfast. Though from about that day, my stomach was getting really upset. I was very bloated and my tummy (from my stomach to my lower intestines) was painful all day. I think that I ate something (maybe a vegetable) that was bad and I didn’t notice. Or maybe it was becuase introducing all these foods again, but I don’t this was the reason. I kept eating healthy and normal, but only from today I actually feel better. I don’t want you to be discouraged from trying Banana Island, because I think it was because I ate something wrong. I still have a lot of energy and overall I feel very good. I feel so much better than before I started Banana Island. It really helped me to get back on track. This week I will exercise more and get properly fit again. The lovely sun coming out more often, is really helping me with that!

Would you like to go to Banana Island too after reading this? You should! It was a very nice experience and I would (and will) do it again! If you have questions or you need some encouragement, don’t hesitate to CONTACT me! You can also do that in a comment below or via Instgram! Thank you! X

Snack balls / Indian tofu

img_7262SNACK BALLS 
I think a lot of people know Deliciously Ella. She is a famous blogger who also owns a few deli’s: Mae Deli, with her husband. Apart from her deli’s she has also introduced these snack balls. There are 3 flavours: ‘cacao&almond’, ‘hazelnut&raisin’ and ‘cashew&ginger’. I only tried the first 2 as I’m not a big fan of ginger inside cakes. Though I should maybe try that one too, because the other 2 are very yummy! I especially like the ‘cacao&almond’ flavour. I think that is also the most popular one in general. I get that, they’re very good. One thing I really like about them, is that you can get them in Starbucks. Starbucks doesn’t have a lot of vegan snacks and now they have a tasty and healthy one. What also makes it very clever of them to sell them there. You actually see them everywhere now and they’re advertising for them a lot. So no excuses.. go try them!

img_2161INDIAN TOFU
You’re vegan, so you must eat only tofu. Well.. not only tofu, but I do eat tofu. I love tofu! One day when I was in Portobello Wholefoods (that can be a lot of days.. haha!) I was looking for a nice tofu. I always get the same one (smoked tofu), but when I saw the tofu from Clearspot, I thought let’s go for something else. The pack looks nice, doesn’t it? So I made a salad and wanted to fry the tofu for a bit, but it was quite wet and it became more like a scrambled tofu instead. I would have liked it a lot better if it was more firm. I also expected a lot more flavour actually. Maybe that is because of the picture in front of the img_2167pack. You expect some sort of rich curry sauce on it. I made a simple salad with it. I cut up some cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onions and a big hand full of lettuce. I also added some mayonnaise for the sauce I was missing. Normally I’m not even that much of a sauce-person. All together, the salad, the scrambled tofu and the bit of mayonnaise was really nice though. So I guess it’s tofu you really have to prepare in a dish (like in a curry) and it’s not that suitable to fry it with a salad. I do like that it’s organic and the overall basic flavour was good. So I like it, but I’m just not crazy about it.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Planet Manel’s 1 year Anniversary + GIVEAWAY!

Yay!! Today Planet Manel is 1 year old! Already for a whole year I’ve been writing about my passions. If you follow me for a while already, you know that this is mainly veganism. I love having my blog and I dare to say that I grew a lot in the past year. There were a lot of things that needed to improve and still there are things I work on and I try to improve every time I write something. I want to thank you all for following me, commenting and liking my posts. I really appreciate every one of you and I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for my readers. Thank you so much!

As you can see, the website changed a little bit. A fresh start for a new year. I hope you like it and that this made it easier to find things. But to really celebrate the 1st anniversary, I created a little Giveaway with some of my personal favourites.

The giveaway:
-Avocado socks
-Peanut butter Nakd bar.
-Banana bread Nakd bar.
-Tony’s Chocolonely (almond/sea salt).
-Lenny & Larry’s cookie (snickerdoodle).
-Heath & Heather tea (green tea and coconut).
-‘Baa Bar’ bubble bar from Lush.

-I mean.. who doesn’t need avocado socks? Definitely great for the avocado-addicts over here! Like me.. I’ve got these sock myself! 
-Nakd bars for the win! These 2 are my favourite flavours, they even taste great together.. haha!
-Tony’s Chocolonely is hard to find here in the UK, but I brought this one especially from Holland. This is definitely the best flavour for sure! Just believe me..
-Just because after that huge work out, you need a treat!
-This green tea in combination with ‘Oatly Foamable’ is heaven! It’s like drinking green tea with coconut milk. Call it a ‘tea colada’!
-This is actually my second favourite bubble bar (Rose Jam is nmbr 1!!), but this one is lovely before you go to sleep. Soak yourself with this soy lavender goodness! Also.. it looks like a pig snout.. so it’s lovely! 

How do you win?!
-Follow my blog (you can enter your email address at the bottom of the website).
-Follow me on Instagram.
-Leave a comment below.

*** On the 1st of April the winner will be announced! (no joke.. haha!)

Thank you again and please enter the giveaway! If you have questions or if you want to send me a message about anything else, please do that via CONTACT. Thank you! X

Rawligion

img_5733I can’t remember how I discovered Rawligion, but they have been on my to-go list for a lot longer than I wanted them to be. I was very curious about this restaurant, because there are not a lot of restaurants like this. Rawligion is raw.. not a big surprise, or was it? Hehe.. One of the reasons I was so excited to go here, is because it has a very good story. Rawligion actually exists ‘thanks’ to an illness of Rawligion’s creator. What modern medicines and knowledge couldn’t cure, juicing and raw foods did. How amazing is that?! It’s so inspiring and makes you think and realise that what you put in you body is so important. You are what you eat!

img_5735I was so excited about the food. All this goodness! There are 2 big fridges where you can pick your food yourself. You can order a yummy smoothie and then pay at the counter all together. Almost everything is vegan. I asked the girl when I came in if everything was vegan and I thought I was asking for the sake of asking, but then she told me that they weren’t. They almost are though, there is only one dessert which contains something derived from dairy (but isn’t dairy in the end? huh?) and they used honey in some things. I picked a noodle meal and it img_5736turned out that, of course, the dessert I picked was the only non vegan one. So I swapped it for another one. I ordered a smoothie and again, of course that was the only one they didn’t have anymore. Haha.. it went well! So I went for the Bluerella instead. It was a delicious smoothie and I really liked the chocolate dessert too. I did like my main meal too, it was just a bit too saucy for me or something. The sauce wasn’t particularly my thing. It was tasty though, just next time I’ll pick another one. I did really like the structure, that was very yum! Next time I think I will go for the ‘kale salad’.

img_5734I love the interior!! Standing in front of Rawligion already makes you excited to go in. I really like their name and logo, it’s so simple and still very original. Perfect! When inside you can see this lovely counter with lots of green. It looks fresh and very appealing. You just want to order a smoothie, so very clever! I did imagined it to be a lot bigger though, more restaurant like, but in fact it’s very small. I think people go here mainly for a take away or for just a quick meal. What is a shame, because I can totally see something like this in restaurant style. There are some seats in the back. Nice ones. The little tables are attached to the bench you can sit on. It’s different and I like it. There are plants hanging from the ceiling and all this green around you makes you feel in touch with nature. Great atmosphere and great marketing at the same time. The staff was very friendly and helpful, even though I kept choosing the wrong things. All together, I like Rawligion, it’s very different form what I know. Lovely experience!

WHO? Rawligion.
WHERE? 3 Tottenham St, Fitzrovia, W1T 2AF.
CUISINE? Raw food.
VEGAN? Yes! (apart from 2 small things)
OVERALL? 8 (incredibly healthy food, great interior, very different)

What do you think of Rawligion? Are you into raw food and would you go? Please let me know in a comment below or show me on Instagram by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Tai Buffet

img_8242I lived in Shepherds Bush for 1,5 year. Great place to live. Near Westfield and great transport into central London. A lot of weekend you could find me in Westfield or in West 12, what is on the opposite of the road. I always walked past Thai Buffet, or I saw it from the bus. It said ‘Lunch £5,90’ and ‘Dinner £6,90’. They serve Thai and Chinese vegetarian food. I always thought, ‘I should go there’. I like buffets, I like Thai food and it’s SO cheap! Only, because it was cheap and it also looked cheap I never bothered to go. I never was too keen on the idea and mostly went to Wagamama instead. Until last year, when my brother came and stayed at my place for a few days. He is really into buffets too and as it’s vegetarian, I was positive they had some vegan options too. That’s why I decided to go with him.

img_8240Ok, it’s not the place I would take my lover on Valentines Day, but it’s perfect for a hungry Saturday afternoon. Like me and my brother. I asked the lady what was vegan and I couldn’t believe my ears when she said that everything is vegan! What?! Why didn’t I go here before?! The food looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to start. I was so excited. We ordered a drink and we ran to the buffet, haha! With buffets I always like to start with salads. Just because your body will digest it easier, starting with raws. After that I was very happy to dig in the img_8243seitan, tofu and spring rolls.. gosh it was nice! When I was full I really wished I had another stomach to fill. They even had crispy duck style pieces and a lot of rice, noodles and lots of veggies. I really liked all the food and there are quite a lot of options for a small restaurant like this. Everything is very tasty, but I wasn’t crazy about the dessert though. It was just fruit, nuts and some tapioca pudding. They could have done a lot better I think. Maybe it’s just the Thai and Chinese kitchen that don’t give a lot of vegan style dessert option. All together I think it’s great value for money though!

img_8241So like I said before, it’s not a place you’re going to, to have a romantic dinner. But with all the food options, you don’t really care about the interior that much. It’s alright. Something I didn’t like that much is the staff. They were friendly, but not very focused on service. I know it’s a buffet and it’s all self-service, but it’s just nice if you feel very welcome. Overall, I was very pleased that I went and I’m sure I’ll come back here. Especially when my family is over here. My brother liked it a lot too and I’m sure the rest of my family will as well.

WHO? Tai Buffet.
WHERE? 86 Uxbridge Rd, W12 8LR.
CUISINE? Thai/Chinese.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 7 (tasty food, great value for money, dessert and service could be better)

Do you know Tai Buffet already? What do you think about buffets? Are you going to try it? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Raw Bars / Shampoo and Conditioner

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RAW BARS
For this review I tested 2 of the 7 flavours of Primal Pantry bars. I was especially very curious about the ‘Coconut Macadamia’ flavour as I’m crazy about coconut and I love macadamia nuts. I can already tell you, that this one is my favourite out of these 2. I do like the ‘Brazil nut & Cherry’ too, but it’s just sweeter and I like nutty. It’s personal taste. The structure of the bars is really nice and knowing that they don’t use any junk, makes it taste even better. The bars are paleo proof and so they’re free from grains, refined sugars, soy and processed vegetable oils. I also love the simple packaging, with these lovely soft colours. Very cute! I’m curious to try more flavours. Very handy, healthy snacks for on the way.

img_1345SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
I love everything with rose smell, including roses itself, haha! I always washed my hair with Olive Branch from Lush, but my hair needed some more treatment as it became a bit dry. So I looked for a shampoo and conditioner from just one brand, because in combination it works better. I found the Urtekram Rose. I love the smell and I do like the shampoo quite a lot, but after using it for several weeks, I don’t have the idea the conditioner is making a lot of difference. In my opinion it could have been a bit more creamy too. Maybe my hair was just too dry, to notice a difference though. Something very positive I think, are the sizes of the bottles, not too small and not too unhandy big. Overall I think they’re nice hair care products. So if you have normal hair and you’re looking for a new vegan and cruelty free shampoo and conditioner, give it a go!

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Oat Milk / Raw Bars

img_3075OATLY BARISTA
A good plant-based milk.. is always quite a thing isn’t it?! It has to be free from sugar and any other crap, it has to be creamy, taste great by itself, taste great in coffee and tea and if it’s possible it should foam too! There are so many different milks to choose from, but they can’t have it all. Until Oatly came with ‘foamable’. It’s creamy, what makes it great for if you want to use it in your coffee (cappuccino) or tea, it tastes A-mazing by itself and it’s super foamable (it’s in the name.. hehe..). Oatly is a very good brand in general, because they are pure, honest and they don’t use sugar or any other crap. I always liked them from the start and I think their design looks fab! I didn’t stop buying Oatly Barista since the day I discovered it. I now make sure there is always a pack in the house, in case I want to make a lovely Chai Latte, a bowl of porridge (cold or warm) or just drink it on its own. It’s delicious, my absolute favourite milk! Check out their website if you’d like to know more.

img_3331RAW BARS
I think many people know the Nakd bars, as they sell them basically everywhere. How many of you tried them? Because I really like Nakd bars. They make a great snack for if you have to wait a little longer until your next meal. They’re guilt free, as they’re fully raw, only contain a few ingredients and they don’t contain any processed crap. My favourite one is the ‘peanut butter’, but I also really like ‘cashew’, chocolate’ and ‘carrot’. I do like the soft bars, with the nutty flavours best. I’m not a big fan of the crunchy and fruity flavours. I mostly eat them after or before my work out. They’re great to provide you with a little energy boost or to fill you up after burning up your energy. I think they’re great. One of the good things is, like I said earlier, that you can buy them almost everywhere. What is very perfect when you want a good healthy snack, but you’re on the way. They have a lot of flavours, so I’m sure there is one you like. You can check out all the flavours on their website and find out which one in your favourite?!

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Farmacy

img_2445Notting Hill is great. For a lot of reasons.. but one of the reasons is definitely the restaurant ‘Farmacy’. A few times I saw Farmacy popping up on Instagram and when I checked what it was, of course I needed to go there. Now it happened to be that I got a temporary job last December, just for a week. The job was only a 2 minutes walk from Farmacy, how perfect?! So after my first work day, I went straight there and I was so impressed. What a fancy restaurant! This is definitely a good place for a more formal lunch, but also perfect for dates or to celebrate a special occasion. I’m just thinking now, I might actually go here on my birthday!

img_2452At Farmacy they, as the name implies, serve healthy food. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” They get their products from local, organic farms from the UK. This doesn’t only make it taste amazing, it also makes sure you’ll get the maximum of all the nutritional benefits the food offers. Their whole menu is vegetarian, but looking at it, you’ll actually see that most of it is vegan too. Yay! I got the (of course) the burger (Farmacy Burger) with sweet potato chips. They do have lots of other very nice things on the menu. What do you think of ‘sweet potato falafels’ and ‘Tagliatelle ai Funghi’? Or you img_2449can choose 1 of the 3 vegan pizza’s.. These are only a few options, they got salads, soups and very nice desserts. I was too full to try a dessert, but I’ll make sure I’ll have some the next time I go. It will be very hard to choose though.. they have lots of dessert options for vegans and it’s totally different from a ‘sorbet’ or a ‘fruit platter’.. these are real desserts! Mouth-watering.. So as you can read, there is lots of good food, but they also do incredible juices and shots. All sorts of very amazing drinks. They’re all made right in front of you, at the bar in the middle.

img_2448Farmacy is located at Westbourne Grove, a street full of nice, quite exclusive shops and quite a lot of restaurants. Perfect location I would say and in a beautiful building. I also really like the interior. Very light and very green with lots of plants. In the front are very nice round benches, which I think are the best seats. There are also normal tables and chairs or you can eat at the bar. If you’re planning to go at a busy time and you’re going with 2 or more people, I do recommend you to make a reservation. It’s a very busy restaurants. Waiting to get seated is very normal. A lot of people like it here, what is only very positive though. I have to make a compliment about the staff, they’re very friendly and professional, what is very pleasant. The only down side about Farmacy is that it’s quite expensive. Though, to be fair, the food is really good! So in comparison it’s probably not that bad. Check out the website for more information and their full menu.

WHO? Farmacy.
WHERE? 74 Westbourne Grove, W2 5SH.
CUISINE? Around the globe.
VEGAN? Yes! (mostly)
OVERALL? 9 (very good food, beautiful entourage and friendly staff)

What do you think of Farmacy? Would you like to go for a yummy burger or would you go for one of their pizza’s? Please let me know in a comment below or show me on Instagram by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X