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Showing posts with label Reveries & Lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reveries & Lifestyle. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

5 simple steps to a better day

Do you sometimes feel like your days slip by, one rolling into the next without you really living or enjoying them? I do. Sometimes it’s because I am too busy running from one thing to the next, my mind already on the following item on my to-do-list while I’m still in the middle of doing the previous one, that’s if I even get to my to-do-list in the first place. Other times it’s because I am bored, and end up searching for ways of killing time by switching off and watching TV instead of truly living in the moment. Either way, whether it’s boredom or busyness, I’m often not fully in the present, therefore not truly living my life to its full potential. I truly think that when it comes to this, I am the norm, not the exception, and that so many of us suffer from not inhabiting our lives, too preoccupied as we are with the next work project, week end plan, programme on TV, meal to cook, place to go, thing to do.. the list is endless.

Enough I say! I have decided to get back to being in the moment, and stop letting life slip away from me out of stress or boredom. Want to join me? Here are 5 very simple steps to help you on your way. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, why not give it a try!

1. Rise and Shine.. early!
We all know the saying ‘The early bird gets the worm’ well let’s imagine that the worm in this case is symbolic of you starting your day by truly focusing on yourself, rather than just rolling out the wrong side of bed, switching on that auto-pilot mode and mindlessly going through the motions of getting ready, not appreciating breakfast as you gobble it down, not noticing the sunrise on the way to work, not enjoying the music on the radio or having fun while walking the dog. So this week, try it out, set your alarm a little earlier and follow the 4 simple steps below, adding whatever else you want, this time is completely yours to fill with whatever you enjoy, whether that’s exercising, reading the newspaper, cooking or going for a walk. But remember, the rule here is that this is your time, so stay well away from your personal admin or work to-do-list and emails!

2. Set your intentions
You’re up, well done! Now start off by sitting down with pen and paper for 5 minutes, think about how you intend to live your day and write this down – this can of course include things you want to get accomplished, but it’s more than just another to-do-list, it’s about focusing on how you intend to approach your day, relate to your self, and to others. If you set your intentions you are much more likely to have the day the way you want to have. If you like you can come back to what you wrote throughout the day, checking in to make sure you are on the right track.

3. Say your thank you’s!
Take a couple of minutes to thank someone and write this down along with your intentions. Think of someone in your life, a friend, a colleague, the guy who sells you the newspaper, anyone, that you would like to thank for the most meaningful or smallest of gestures. The purpose of this exercise is to become more aware and appreciative of those around us, for who they are as well as for what they add to our lives. At first you’ll find it easier to thank the people you love or appreciate, but after a while you can try and do the same for the people you don’t get on with so well. This is when this exercise gets really powerful, because suddenly we have to make a conscious effort to see these people as individuals, to think about the difficulties they might be facing and recognise their qualities. Challenges are always the best opportunities for learning and self-growth so if nothing else, we can thank the people we find difficult for offering us such opportunities, if we were only surrounded by people we got on well with 100% of the time, we wouldn’t have the same space to grow and improve!
4. The minute meditation
I’m not suggesting you light incense, sit in lotus position for a full hour and chant buddhist hymns, unless you want to! Just spend 5-10 minutes in a peaceful and quiet corner of your house, where you will be undisturbed. Close your eyes and just focus on your breath, when your mind wanders simply observe this without judgment and bring it back to your breath, accepting that your mind will wonder, again and again, and that’s ok. This simple exercise will help clear your mind and alleviate stress, and is also a good way for you to check in with yourself and observe how you are feeling, physically and emotionally, without trying to fix or change anything, as a lesson in observation and self-acceptance. After a while, you’ll start recognising your breath as an anchor that is always within reach, so throughout the day if you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed you can simply focus on your breath for a few minutes, as a way of giving yourself a time out and space to find balance and awareness.

5. Do one thing fully
 Chose one simple thing, it can be the same thing or a different thing each day, like brushing your teeth, eating your breakfast, drinking your coffee, or walking to work, and give it your full attention. This exercise is meant to get us out of our auto-pilot mode, which stops us from truly experiencing the moment, and after all what is a life but an accumulation of moments?! So as an example, let’s say you’ve chosen to focus on drinking your coffee: sit down to drink it without doing anything else, no phones, computers, newspapers, radio, just you and your coffee. Now focus, observe your coffee – the colour and texture of it, notice how the mug feels between your hands, inhale and appreciate its aroma, then with each mouthful focus on each and every flavour and sensation. You may find this incredibly boring at first, perhaps a million other things are crowding your mind and you are thinking about what a waste of time this is, but persevere a little and the chances are you will soon appreciate this coffee a hundred times more than you usually do!  And if you find yourself surprised at how much more this technique enabled you to enjoy something as simple as a cup of coffee this morning, think about what would happen if you applied this to other things in life?

There you have it, 5 simple steps to help you be more mindful and in the moment, I find if I do these every morning very quickly I can feel their benefits throughout the whole day, I feel calmer and more grounded and I appreciate my self, others and my days much more. Try these steps out for just a few days and you will probably notice that you will start applying their principles almost unconsciously to other situations in your life, by being more mindful, more in the moment, and increasingly aware of how you am thinking, feeling and relating to others. Let me know how it goes :)

And, last but not least, remember to congratulate yourself, if you did the above steps that means you took time for yourself, to be in your present and be more mindful of your self, your surroundings, your life!

If you’re interested in reading more about mindfulness try out these two books –
‘Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
‘The monk who sold his ferrari’ by Robin Sharma


Friday, 18 April 2014

Keeping fit with a bun in the oven!

Being physically active throughout pregnancy is highly recommended and has great health benefits for both mum and baby, promotes better pregnancy outcomes and shorter labors. I've been aiming (not always successfully) to work out at least 3 times a week, combining a variety of different types of exercise. If you're pregnant, seek advice from your doctor or midwife about what exercises are adapted and appropriate for you. 

Below are some of my favorite prenatal workouts with links to free online classes. I get bored if I do the same thing over and over again, so I try and change it up between yoga, pilates, toning classes and walking. 


I love the website doyogawithme, it has a wide selection of free yoga videos, of all types and levels and they have a few prenatal yoga videos too. I particularly enjoy Fiji McAlpine's classes, which I did regularly before I was pregnant. She has a great prenatal power flow video for women in their first and second trimesters of pregnancy, I sometimes find prenatal yoga videos a little too easy and slow, Fiji's class is more dynamic and leaves me feeling both relaxed and like I've done a proper workout.

Click here for Fiji's free online prenatal yoga class. 

Another free online prenatal yoga video I love, which is more adapted for third trimester of pregnancy of for women who haven't practised yoga before, is Sarah Kamrath's prenatal kundalini yoga.


Living in Myanmar in 40°C heat, with polluted busy roads and potholed or non-existant sidewalks doesn't make for very pleasurable walks, but now that I'm back in Europe on holiday I'm loving going for walks by the lake, into town or up in the mountains. 

Walking is a great form of prenatal exercise as it can be safely maintained throughout the whole 9 months of pregnancy, you can adapt the length and intensity of your walks to suit your level of fitness, walking can get your heart rate up, you don't need any expensive equipment and you can go for a walk wherever and whenever suits you. Make sure you wear comfortable supportive shoes to protect your back and knees. 


Similar to yoga, prenatal pilates is great to increase strength, for relaxation and stretching. Try the 10 minute solution prenatal pilates classes free on youtube. You can do all of them together for a 50 minute workout or separate them out, depending on how much time and energy you have. 

Part 1 - standing pilates

Part 2 - core pilates

Part 3 - pilates for buns and thighs

Part 4 - total body pilates

Part 5 - pilates for flexibility


Find out what classes are available in your area and make sure that your instructor knows you are pregnant and has received proper training to do classes with pregnant women. I do toning classes twice a week, they're great for muscle strengthening and stamina building and can easily be adapted for pregnancy. 

Tips for exercising safely during pregnancy

From what I've read and seen online these are the main recommendations for safe exercise during pregnancy:

- Ask your doctor or midwife for advice
- Don't take up new and intense forms of exercise during pregnancy, such as running, if you were not already doing these prior to being pregnant
- Avoid exercises where you have to lie flat on your back as the weight from your growing uterus will put pressure on the vein that brings blood and oxygen to your baby and can lead to dizziness
- Listen to your body and don't measure your performance against what you were able to do before you were pregnant, pregnancy is a time to stay healthy and fit, but not a time to push yourself too far. 
- And most of all... Enjoy it :)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Food for Thought: A Taste of Myanmar

When I started this blog I imagined it to be a space where I would not only share recipes, but also rêveries/musings about whatever inspired me. So far I have filled these virtual pages with food, food and more food. Time to add some food for thought into the mix, starting by my first impressions of this beautiful country I now find myself inhabiting - Myanmar (previously known as Burma).

I have been living in Myanmar for two months now. It's incredible how time has the ability to simultaneously speed up and slow down, giving me the impression that I have been here for ages, and at other times that my plane landed just yesterday. These photos will hopefully give you a taste of the colors and spirit of Yangon.

I knew nothing about this country before my bearded canadian significant other was sent here to work, after a few months we decided I would move out there to join him. I was intrigued by this unknown place, this country that most people - including myself - know so very little about. So I packed up my belongings and the cat, and off we set on this new adventure in the heart of South East Asia. 

Tropical fruit heaven
Looking out of the window as the plane started its descent into Yangon airport I saw stretches of green luscious countryside, soaked with water from the monsoon season so much so that it looked like the earth beneath me was a giant sponge. I could make out the tips of golden pagodas shimmering here and there in the distance, lakes curled up in the midst of the sprawled out city. And green.. green everywhere, a good sign, I thought, a city intertwined with nature is my kind of city. No towering skyscrapers like her big sister Bangkok, even from above Yangon looked like a city small enough to make a home in and big enough to endlessly explore over the next year of my life. The plane landed, I was smiling. 

The wave of muggy heat hit me in the face the second I stepped out of the plane. One of my first impressions, was the genuine friendliness of the people I encountered and the seemingly peaceful atmostphere of the place. Over the next few days I was agreeably surprised by how welcome and safe I felt wondering around the city. As a woman whenever I arrive in a new country I put my sensors out to get a feel of how people react to me as a foreigner, and as a woman - in many places I have felt uneasy but here in Yangon I have not once felt in the least bit intimidated, more than I can say about pretty much anywhere else I've been to, including home. 

A market scene from Yangon
Another fact that struck me about Yangon was that it is so vegan-friendly. Being in a country where I am not regarded as a mad person because I am vegan is refreshing! Local restaurants are usually outside terrasses sheltered by tin roofs, rudimentary plastic chairs and tables thrown around, waiters running to and fro balancing small dishes of pickled tea leaf salad, potato and tomato salads, mustard leaves, curries, trays of black tea, freshly-squeezed lime juices, coconut puddings etc. Less appetizing is the betel nut that the men chew on constantly here, spitting out its blood-red colored juice onto the floor, their teeth and gums stained (like I'd imagine Vampires' would be!) - you will see the red stains on the pavements everywhere you go - this habit is as accepted and as pervasive as smoking is in France! Yuck.

My Yangon life so far can be summarized as a collection of small simple pleasures, strolling around the markets, cooking, getting back to blogging, meditating, meeting new interesting people, and soaking up the colors, movement and novelties of life in this wonderfully unknown place.  It's been a process learning to live without the usual structure of full-time work, not easy at times - we are so conditioned to be doing doing doing all the time. I am thankful to have the opportunity to slow down, appreciate my time and learn to be rather than to do.

Banana Tree - took me a while to figure out what these were!
There is a strong sense of spirituality here, tangible wherever you go - offerings can be found on every street corner, week end family outings are trips to the pagodas, which are lively bustling places of worship, very different from the solemnity of churches back home. As well as through spirituality, Myanmar's unique and diverse culture is apparent in how people dress - even in modern Yangon very few people have adopted western style clothing, men and women alike wear colorful Longyis (long wrap around skirts) and each State has its own fabric patterns. The women wear thanaka on their faces, a yellow paste taken from tree bark, used traditionally as a sun protector but now worn widely for esthetic reasons. Women wear their traditional dress, long silky hair decorated with jasmine flowers, and yellow makeup with pride, no matter their age or background - finally a place where people haven't all adopted the craze of mainstream high street brands. Will this change now that Myanmar has opened its long-closed doors to international trade and businesses? Time will tell. 

A woman praying at the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Needless to say that Myanmar is a complex place, as anyone who knows about the country is no doubt aware. I am very conscious that my day to day experience of this country stands in stark contrast with its simmering social and political tensions, its divisive and dark history. With 135 ethnic groups, over 30 anti-Government armed forces, natural disasters and internal conflicts, this place is in reality far from peaceful. But I am no political analyst, and I will simply share what I see and experience in this fascinating place, and hope that as it reaches a turning point in its history, opening up to the outside world at last, and with democratic elections around the corner, this country is setting out on a path that will eventually lead to positive and lasting change for its people.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Roasted Maple Lotus Roots & Life in Burma - part 1

Preparation time - 25 minutes
Serves 2

The stunning Shwedagon Pagoda

So it’s been aaaaaages since I last posted! To be fair life has been full of change recently – a month ago the boyfriend, the cat and I have moved all the way from London to Myanmar (previously known as Burma) and are now living in beautiful, hot,  colourful Yangon, the country’s capital city. For the past few weeks I’ve been settling in, exploring busy markets, admiring golden pagodas, meeting new people, getting accustomed to the heat and the monsoon rains and .. of course.. trying a number of Yangon’s many local vegan-friendly dishes: from the strange sounding but delicious pickled tea leaf salad to sticky coconut sweets sold by smiling women on every street corner.  

This place already feels like home, I love it, and it helps that Yangon is a wonderful place to be a vegan. There is even a Myanma word for it ‘Tatalo’! It’s a welcome change from most of the East and West African countries I have travelled to previously where conversations in restaurants often went something like this: me: ‘But.. this is chicken, I asked for vegetables?’ waiter, hand on hip and looking at me like with barely-concealed exasperation: ‘Chicken IS vegetarian, chicken is VE-GE-TA-BLE!!’ .. Oh.Ok then, back to plain rice for lunch and dinner I guess.

By marked contrast, here the market stalls offer row upon row of exotic fruits and vegetables, bursting with color, many that I had never seen before – bright pink dragon fruits that taste like kiwis, greens of all shapes and sizes, pomelos, which are like football sized grapefruits, lotus roots and so on. 

Enjoying a late afternoon wander around the Swedagon Pagoda. 

So now that I am settled, it's back to business! I intend to get busy cooking and blogging again. It’s only fitting that my first recipe post from Burma should be inspired by this beautiful country so I've made Roasted Maple Lotus Root with, served with a steaming bowl of soba veggie noodles. I actually found this recipe in Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet  book, which I highly recommend you buy if you're interested in yummy plant-based recipes and in learning more about the links between diet, health and the environment. 

Roasted maple lotus root is super easy to make and is so more-ish I ended up eating the whole lot in one go.. so much for thinking I was making enough for the week!

Raw lotus root

1 whole lotus root, sliced into thin rounds
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 medium-sized leek, chopped into thin half-moons
1 tsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of maple, you can use honey instead
1 T olive oil

Ready for the oven!
Easy Peasy! Preheat the oven to 160°C. Combine all the ingredients together, spread out on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes or until the lotus root is golden and tender. Serve hot.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Of Treasure Hunts, Garden Herbs and Castles- a day out

Yesterday Kevin and I visited my Gran in Coventry. She lives in what would have been a state of the art house in the 70s, with geometric shapes everywhere. I went straight to my favorite part of the house, the attic. I would spend hours there as a child, pretending I lived there, in an adult-free world. This attic is full of treasures, real and imagined ones, there used to be a skeleton up there, joined together by strings, it belonged to my grandfather who was a doctor, purchased at a time when this was a standard requirement for medical students as learning material. Antique rocking horses, beautiful wooden boxes containing glass jars still filled with multicolored ointments, a looming grandfather clock, a Victorian pram and baby's cristening dress, black and white photos of people from another age, distantly related to me - gentlemen sporting top hats and giant mustaches, toddlers posing with straight faces and miniature walking sticks, mothers and grandmothers sitting with their hair tightly curled, wearing corseted starched black dresses with white collars. We rummage, delighted at these findings, the attic is like a window to other worlds, each object transports us and offers us a glimpse of the daily lives of people long gone. Eventually, covered in dust, cobwebs and unlived memories, we return to the current day, clambering down the attic ladder as my Gran calls us for lunch. Just like being a child again. 

My Gran's garden is wild and beautiful, she is very proud of it and for good reason. At the age of 81 she is outstandingly fit and caring for her garden no matter the weather has not played a small part in this. We feast on homemade bread, still hot from the oven, lettuce and pea soup, hummus, potato salad, beetroot salad, all brought to life by fresh herbs straight from the garden

Full and content we decide to take an afternoon trip to Stratford, Shakespeare's birth town. We  wander through ancient cobbled streets, admiring the black and white tudor houses, so old they look crumpled and bent, as though about to tip over. We stop by a 13th Century stone church, the bees busy among the wild flowers and ancient tombstones peaking out of the overgrown grass. Nature bringing life and death together. We admire the ruins of Kenilworth castle, imagining where the mote would have been, and trying to reconstruct in our minds what this place would have looked like hundreds of years ago.

The sun is going down and as we drive back through the rolling countryside, with its farmhouses and golden yellow rapeseed fields, I think how wonderful it is to escape the busy city. To remind myself of life and time outside my own small bubble of a world, of people long gone, of nature that stretches out forever,  of the simple things that make life so enjoyable - exploring, sharing good food, and making memories.

courtesy of jamesfcarr

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

To make you smile - Unlikely Animal Friendships

The Macaque and the Dove

'On an island off the coast of China, a little macaque nestles its head on a dove. Three months before, after the macaque had strayed from its mother, it was found and taken in by the staff of an animal protection centre. It soon became friends with the white dove, which had also been adopted by centre staff. For two months they ate together and slept together, before both were released back into the  wild.' from the Guardian, 3 Feb 2012. 

The picture above is the most heartwarming thing I have seen in a while, it reminded me of how amazing all creatures are. How silly it seems that we so often claim emotions, intelligence and feelings as limited to our own human experience! 

The pitbull, siamese cat and chicks
'On a farm in Texas, a pitbull named Sharky, a cat named Max and a brood of chicks hang out together on a warm afternoon. Sharky loves to protect small furred and feathered creatures.' The Guardian, 3 Feb 2012.

These photos are from a beautiful book called Unlikely Animal Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom, by Jennifer Holland. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bananatastic Oatmeal Face Mask

Makes 2 face masks
Preparation time: 4 minutes

I already told you how much I love porridge. In fact I love it so much I even put it on my face! I am a massive fan of Lush cosmetics, not only are their products made with all natural ingredients,  cruelty free and mostly vegan, but on top of that they are other wordly. Take me to a lush store and I'll be like a kid in a candy factory. Oh and their staff are always so friendly and helpful. But let's face(mask) it - yep, I had to go there - they can be pretty costly so here's the DIY equivalent of their popular Oatifix face mask. It took me 4 minutes to make and you won't  have to go in search of any enigmatic ingredients, I promise, unless you find bananas and oatmeal enigmatic.. 

This left my skin feeling soft and happy. I would recommend this for oily or acne-prone skin types.

I know, god damn sexy, right? Maybe I'll go out like this tonight.
So here goes..

1/2 banana, mashed
1/4 cup of fine oatmeal
1/4 tsp coconut oil
1/2 T ground almonds (I used almond flour so it was already super fine)
1/2 T apple cidar vinegar
2 tsp water
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla powder from a vanilla pod

Mash all the ingredients up in a small bowl. Apply to clean skin and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Beaauuutiful skin!

And Voilà! Happy Skin.. and a bonus view
 of my washing machine

Keep any leftovers in the fridge with a drop of lemon juice mixed, it should keep a couple of days.

Or you could just eat it!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Destination 3: La France! Seitan Bourguignon & Garlic Mash

Serves 4
Preparation & Cooking time: 40 minutes (+ 3 hrs or overnight for the marinade)

Growing up in France I remember my dad would make a mean beef bourguignon and the house would be filled with the delicious aroma of red wine gravy. He still makes this once in a while, but he ends up eating it solo because the rest of the household have all gone veggie, poor dad! He looked a bit wistful last christmas sitting in front of a plate of nutroast, presumably reminiscing the days when my brother, mum and I were fellow meat eaters. I reckon this seitan/wheat meat bourguignon would make him proud though. I honestly wasn't sure how it would turn out - So what's the ruling? The texture of the seitan chunks was just right and the red wine sauce was like my dad's - it was scrumptious! 

This dish is real comfort food, and a definite win if you have people over and are looking for a meat-eater-friendly dish. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes (recipe below) and a glass of red wine, or three.

For the seitan bourguignon
100gr dehydrated seitan chunks or 400gr ready seitan, torn into bite sized chunks*
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium-sized carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups of chopped mushrooms
250ml red wine
2 T umeboshi vinegar (optional)
3 large garlic cloves, whole, squashed with a fork
2 T tomato purée
1/4 cup water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 T dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 T vegan margarine
2 T flour
1 T olive oil 

* For a homemade seitan recipe try Isa Chandra's easy recipe on PostPunkKitchen, click here.

For the Garlic Mashed Potatoes
 (from the Candle Café cookbook)
10 small new potatoes or 5 large potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 T olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup rice milk (optional)
generous amount of salt

The Seitan Bourguignon Marinade


In a large bowl combine all the Seitan Bourguignon ingredients except for the mushrooms, half of the onion, the flour and margarine. Cover and leave the seitan marinade in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Place the potatoes in a pan of water, so they are just covered, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat down to medium, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes crumble easily when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Drain the potatoes once cooked, put back in the pot, add the seasoning mix and mash with a fork, then add the rice milk and mash until you reach the consistency you want.

While the potatoes are cooking, remove the seitan pieces from the marinade, keep the marinade on one side. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the other half of chopped onion. Cook the onion for a few minutes then add the seitan and fry until a it starts to brown slightly. Bring the heat down to medium and add the mushrooms, stir and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the rest of the red wine marinade, cover and heat on low-medium heat. Let it simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to , adding wine or a little water depending on how strong you like it, you can also add a 1/2 tsp more of brown sugar if you find it too 'vinegary'. And don't let that bottle of wine just sit there, you're cooking, you deserve a glass! In a separate small pot combine the margarine, flour and a pinch of salt and pepper, heat over low heat and stir until it forms a gravy. Add to the seitan bourguignon and stir in. 

Your kitchen now smells heavenly, serve with the garlic mashed potatoes, the rest of the bottle of wine and good company!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Looking for inspiration? The ABC's of being vegan

In my Looking for Inspiration posts I will be sharing my favorite books, articles and websites with you, basically any resources I found inspiring and helpful in becoming (and staying) vegan. In this part 1 post I have listed my favorites, the books and websites that  helped me take the first steps towards veganism 3 years ago. They answered so many questions for me -  like 'Is being vegan actually good for me?''Why is it kinder for the planet?' and most importantly 'Ok so now what the hell am I going to eat?! And what about desserts?!?' 

So here they are - my ABC resources of being a vegan - they will shortly be followed by many more, and I hope you find them as interesting, fun and inspiring as I did! 

A is for answers
And you will find them in The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University. If you are going to read just 1 book about health and diet this is the one I would recommend! It's one of those real 'change your life' reads and is based on the most comprehensive nutritional study ever carried out to explore the relationships between our diet, our health and disease. Click here to find it on amazon.

B if for Basics
The Kind Diet cook book, by Alicia Silverstone, is a great place to start if you are considering going vegan or even if you just want to add a few more healthy veggie options to your diet. It has great recipes, beautiful photos and interesting information on different foods and how our dietary choices affect our health, animals and the environment. Her website The Kind Life is also a great place to find recipes, interesting posts on fall things vegan-related, and includes an active forum where members share on all sorts of topics.

C is for Crazy in love with Candle Café 
The Candle Cafe cook book makes my top 3 list of favorites recipe books and almost all the pages are now covered in food stains (I am a messy cook)! I often daydream about where I would go right now if I could tele-transport myself anywhere (Geeky? Perhaps). Invariably the answer is the Candle Cafe, in NYC. I hear you saying, ‘Oh come on! You would chose some vegan restaurant over a white sandy beach? Or an Indian palace?’ The answer is a definite Yes, because it is THAT good. So good that both my boyfriend and I are adamant it is the best restaurant we have ever been to, including all those we went to before we became veggie. Between the 2 of us we have been to roughly 30 countries over 5 different continents.. that’s a lot of restaurants. Anyways, until someone does figure out the whole tele-transportation (please hurry up about it!) I make do with the second best thing; the candle café’s wonderful cook book. The recipes in it are divine, they will seduce anyone - from Anne Heathaway, who I saw stand in line for 30 minutes to get a table in this cute and friendly cafe in the upper east side, to my Dad, who doesn't have an oscar, swears by Sunday roast, thinks I am a nutter for going vegan and yet went back for 2nds and 3rds when I made their pecan crusted seitan dish. So there you have it – if Anne Heathaway and my dad love it, I guarantee you will too! Click here for the candle café website, and here to get a copy of their book on amazon.

D is for Don't forget the Desserts!
Becoming vegan in no way means saying goodbye to delicious and decadent desserts. And when it comes to vegan desserts, no one does it better than Chloe Coscarelli's, award winning vegan chef who won the Cupcake wars on the Food Network. She has some amazing recipes, visit her website and try her vegan cookie dough truffles or her Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches. She also has a cookbook, Chloé's Vegan Desserts, which I intend to purchase soon.

courtesey of: www.chefchloe.com
What are your favorite websites, books and blogs about vegan food, or anything else?