Cinnamon, Honey and Peanut Butter Porridge

Simple, hearty and tasty food is the best kind of food.

cinnamon, honey and peanut butter porridge

I have loved this breakfast for a long time. So much so, Johnny’s Mum used to have all the ingredients in stock for whenever I came over. She is the sweetest.

I have been thinking lately about the kind of recipes I want to continue to share on the Bright Full Life. I want to share dishes that are easy to make and with ingredients that we can all find in our local supermarkets and grocers. For a while, I was getting well into the latest superfood this, superfood that and allllll the rest of it. I found it exciting to try new foods and experiment with them. During my studies however, I have felt the urge to help people know how to cook simple, healthy and delicious recipes using normal and easy to find ingredients.

cinnamon, honey and peanut butter porridge

So with that all said, I want to share simple and delicious recipes that can be made with ingredients from your local supermarket or grocer. Ingredients that are accessible, and ingredients that are not intimidating.

I have been taking the time to really see what different supermarkets and grocers offer in this city. What ingredients people can access. What price ranges these ingredients are. Although this little space of mine isn’t primarily a food blog, I want people to come here and see a recipe and be inspired to make it, and then it be easy enough for them to do so.

cinnamon, honey and peanut butter porridge

I want people to want to make a healthy recipe because it will taste good and because it is easy to make.

I know I have hardly been making gourmet food recipes over the last few years… far from it. Smoothie bowls anyone!? I just want to share some more simple, easy to make and delicious healthy food ideas that lots of people have the ability to make.

cinnamon, honey and peanut butter porridge

You get me!?

So to start these simple and delicious recipes off, I am sharing a classic, and a classic that is seriously delicious, warming and will nourish you body and your soul all in one.

CHPBP

Cinnamon, Honey and Peanut Butter Porridge – serves 1-2 depending on how hungry you are…

Ingredients:

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk of choice (I used rice milk)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp honey (use maple syrup if vegan)

Toppings of choice – I used 1/2 banana

Directions:

  1. Mix the oats, cinnamon and milk in a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the honey and the peanut butter.
  4. Pour into a bowl and top with a banana or whatever you fancy.

Do you prefer easy to make recipes? What is your favourite porridge/oatmeal combination?

Why Plant Based and Not Vegan?

Vanilla and peanut butter smoothie bowl

It has been two months since I have fully embraced a plant based lifestyle again. Long time readers will know and will have read about my journey and ethical dilemmas with it all. I just want to explain today, why I won’t be labelling myself as a vegan and will remain “plant based”.

First of all, let’s recap those of you who don’t know the journey up to this point. When I began this blog two and a half years ago, I ate everything. Every food group – everything. A few close family members were vegetarian and then four of them went fully vegan. I watched the documentary Earthlings which my step sister sent to me (who had gone vegan), and I cried my eyes out the whole way through it and could not watch it in parts. I decided that day to become vegetarian. Even though the film is aimed at being vegan, I wasn’t ready to make such a big change.

Just short of a year down the line of being vegetarian, I watched a documentary called Cowspiracy, which highlighted to me the huge environmental impact of animal agriculture. Being the big Earth loving, modern day hippie that I am, I thought fuck, that is it, I am going vegan. I can’t be responsible for even more of the demise of our beautiful planet. If we don’t look after and heal our Earth, we won’t have anywhere to live, right?

Six months down the line, I felt horrendous. My IBS was terrible, I was exhausted and I felt awful. In correlation to this though, my stress levels were at an all time high with my anxiety issues and having a crazy busy schedule. My blood test results showed low iron and B12, so in a desperate attempt to heal my gut and fatigue, I decided to eat everything again and even embarked on a whole 30 to try and heal it all. Even though my ethics hadn’t changed and I still loved the Earth, animals and wanted to help the environment, I was really suffering and was a little desperate to try anything to make me feel better.

Eight months down the line, although feeling better from working with a fabulous Naturopath who prescribed me different herbs and supplements, I still had all the issues I had when I was vegan, just less severe. I was sent this documentary, Food Choices, by a friend to watch who wasn’t vegan and we didn’t know what it was about either. The J man and I watched it and it highlighted all the reasons to go plant based that I believed in; environment, health, animal welfare etc. That was it, I decided to give plant based another go, it felt right. I knew in my heart that my physical issues were mostly a result from stress and anxiety and past self sabotaging behaviours, and if eating a plant based diet fulfilled me ethically, emotionally, philosophically and politically, and gave me a happy heart, then it made sense to eat that way. Feeling happy and enjoying the way you eat is actually very beneficial to your health.

So why wouldn’t I call myself a Vegan again? I love what Veganism is about and I love many vegans myself. It all comes down, for me personally, to mental health reasons and not wanting to be fully labelled…

Recently, I recognised that I had become a little black and white about my food choices. This was not a healthy mindset, and balance was needed. Although I absolutely love eating “healthy wholefoods” for the taste, the way it makes me feel and how vibrant it makes me feel, I recognised that sometimes there was a little fear behind the choices instead of fully love. I recognised that I would avoid certain foods e.g. gluten containing foods, not purely out of love for myself, but because I was worried about them not “being healthy enough” and the affect they would have on my body, in terms of health (not weight, just want to make that clear!). I know gluten isn’t an animal product, this just highlighted that there was a “good and bad” food mindset apparent at times. I also recognise you can be highly balanced as a Vegan too. For me, I just don’t want to put myself in a box, as it makes me feel mentally restricted and can cause “good v bad” food labels.

I also highly believe that we are all bio individual and we all need different foods and lifestyles to help us thrive in life, and I believe this can change over times as well. Even though someone could be thriving on a fully plant based diet for several years, one day they might really crave and need some fish for example. I also don’t believe being fully plant based or a vegan is right for every person. I believe some people need to eat animal products to feel their best and be able to thrive in life and live their purposes. This is just my view.

I also believe, that we need to eat intuitively and eat what our body calls for and feels best on. I believe our bodies have an innate wisdom to know what we need to eat to feel our best, and we have to listen to whatever that is, plant or animal.

Given these points, labelling myself as a vegan doesn’t feel right at the moment. I would feel constricted into a box that doesn’t allow food freedom, for me personally. I don’t want to have a label that creates anxiety for me when I go out to eat. I want to be able to gratefully enjoy something someone has gone to the effort to make for me, even if it contains eggs or dairy, for example. I also don’t want to worry if something contains honey and not maple syrup. For me personally, the vegan label just doesn’t feel right at this point in my life.

Eating the majority plant based (like 95-98%) and then having an egg every so often or a little feta, feels like my healthy balance at the moment and I think this is OK. I feel like I can still stand by my ethics, beliefs and love of animals by doing this. Some may disagree, and that is OK too. I think we can still help the planet and environment by eating a majority plant based diet.

Maybe one day I will be fully vegan again, maybe not. I am not going to worry about it or let it take up a dominance of thoughts in my mind. I fully believe that mental and emotional freedom is just as important to your health, as what you do physically. Therefore, it is best for me emotionally and mentally to be “plant based”, as opposed to vegan, at this point in my life.

I hope that makes sense and I hope all y’alllll vegans understand where I am coming from. I think if you can go vegan and you are fully mentally, emotionally and psychically thriving, then that is really awesome.

Ultimately, we all have to do what is best for our own emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health and this feels right for me at this point in time.

L xx

No questions, just thoughts. 

Wild Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

WIld Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

Some might say I am a little obsessed with smoothie bowls. The truth is that I just love them. Who doesn’t want a super thick, sweet and delicious start to their day that also packs in a nutritional punch?

Smoothie bowls leave me satiated and my body happy as Larry. I crave them all the time. Sometimes my body craves porridge, sometimes it craves toast and sometimes it craves pancakes, but a lot of the time, all I want is a smooooothay bowl. It is important we listen to what our bodies want to eat.

WIld Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

My smoothie bowls have to be thick. I have ordered a smoothie bowl at a cafe before and was a little disappointed when it was quite runny and tasteless – not fun. The trick to getting a thick smoothie bowl is to add as little liquid as possible and use at least one frozen item. In an ideal world we would all have those very expensive vitamixes to pulverise our frozen goods in seconds. But for those who are on a budget like moi, a bog standard blender will do the trick.

WIld Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

If you do have a budget friendly blender, I have found another trick is to put all the unfrozen stuff in first. If I pop in the unfrozen banana, then avocado and greens, then the blades can easily whizz it up before it hits the frozen stuff. If you put in the frozen stuff first, it may have a hard time whizzing it all up without having to put loads of liquid in, and we don’t want that because that equals a runny smoothie bowl…

One of the reasons I love smoothie bowls so much, is because they remind me of angel delight. Anyone else remember this from their UK childhood? It is a powdered dessert that you added milk to and voila you had a creamy, sweet and delicious dessert. My favourite flavour was butterscotch and it was d to the dreaaaaamy. It was not uncommon for me to make a bowl and eat the entire batch as a kid and no, I am not sorry about it.

WIld Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

So there you have it. My love of smoothie bowls is partly because they are delicious, partly because you can smash a load of fruit and veggies in there and partly because of the taste of nostalgia. Because everything tastes better if it makes you feel good? Right? Not to mention they are super quick and easy.

So to the recipe. Parsley!? Parsley in a smoothie Lauren, what are you playing at. Well friends, you will have to trust me on this one. It adds a new dynamic and one that I think is delicious. You have different taste buds to me though, so I’ll let you decide if you like it. It would still be a delicious smoothie if you omitted the parsley. Parsley packs in a big wallop of nutritional goodness and its a pretty cheap addition that is easily found in your local supermarket.  Half a cup contains great levels of Vitamins K, C and A and also a little plant based iron, which is good for those vegans and plant based eaters out there.

WIld Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

I like it when we can find easy and cheap nutritional badman’s just going to the local supermarket. Not everyone has the budget or access for health food shops and farmers markets, and healthy, nutritious food should be a right for everyone to access and buy. But thats a whoooole different topic, so I shall stop talking now and let you have the recipe…

Wild Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

Wild Blueberry, Vanilla and Parsley Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

2 bananas

1/4 avocado

2 medjool dates

1 handful mixed leafy greens (I used a superfood greens mix from Coolibah Herbs)

1 handful parsley

1 heaped tablespoon vanilla protein powder (I used this one)

3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries

1/2 cup milk of choice (I used rice milk)

Directions:

  1. Add one and a half bananas to the blender first.
  2. Then layer up the blender with the avocado, dates, mixed greens, parsley and protein powder.
  3. Add the wild blueberries and then your milk of choice.
  4. Whizz up until all is blended and smooth.
  5. Pour into a bowl and slice up the remaining 1/2 banana to decorate the smoothie bowl.
  6. Add other toppings you fancy. I sprinkled on a breakfast booster but you can use anything you fancy like a few nuts or seeds or dried fruit.

(I just want to say any of the products I mentioned are just because I love them and buy them myself!)

P.S. I have finally got myself a snapchat for the blog. I had a personal one that I was also posting blog kinda stuff on and I figured maybe my personal friends would not be bothered about seeing my food, shops and health kinda related life bits… I will probably just end up using the blog one as a personal one too because who has time for two accounts… But anyways… add me with the name —-> brightfulllife so you can see the messy life behind the lovely blog and insta pictures and who knows I might have a few chats or rants before I pluck up the courage to maybe one day to VIDEOS.

What do you crave for breakfast most days? Do you have a dessert that reminds you of your childhood?