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Mimi’s Story: How a plant-based diet has improved my health and lifestyle

This is my story of how a plant-based diet has improved my health and lifestyle, as a cancer fighter and survivor of 2 years. Before my cancer diagnosis, I led a healthy, active lifestyle and enjoyed cycling, yet I ate animal products occasionally. I wondered what changes I should make towards a plant-based diet and how I could implement this in my life but I never actually went through with it.

A sore throat, flu and cough led me to visit my doctor at age 26 in 2014. I couldn’t walk, breathe properly or chew and swallow fish, chicken or meat that I regularly ate.

My physician found that my lungs were compounded with litres of water stored and a lymphoma cancerous tumour was growing on my lungs, slowly crushing them.

There was also water found on my heart, and immediate heart failure was a risk I was facing. I only had hours to live, with a very weak body, which needed nutrition.

During the ICU surgery and chemotherapy in the hospital, soft, nutritious foods were recommended. These were the only foods my body could swallow and digest. I switched to only eating vegetables, which felt softer on my throat.

It’s amazing how much extra energy it takes to swallow and digest animal food, in comparison to a spoonful of butternut.

I managed to eat healthily, be patient for the tumour on my lungs reduce in size with chemotherapy and I learned to breathe alone without a ventilator. I maintained the plant based-diet during chemotherapy and fought my cancer tumour.

I have now been cancer-free for two years! I’ve followed Fry’s online recipe books and I’ve now managed to maintain a plant-based diet with the help of Fry’s and many Vegelicious articles. I am healthy and I swam a mile in 50 minutes this year!

I love sharing all the links of Fry’s online recipes and I’m so grateful to Vegilicious for recommending places to eat out. My work colleagues, friends and family understand and witnessed living proof of the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Fry’s recipe books, online recipes and colourful boxes make it healthy and user-friendly at the same time!

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Treading with green toes

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I’ve been on a journey for the last month, learning how to live a zero-waste lifestyle. No disposables, no packaging and no waste for a month. It’s been quite a trip – marginally conflicting and sometimes quite difficult to navigate when the rest of the world isn’t on the same path as the one I’ve been following. I suppose it’s been an experiment of sorts. But more than that it’s also been a massive lesson in how much waste I produce daily and where the easy levers are to get around these habits.

Right now a really hot topic globally around climate change is the factory farming and livestock industry. The issues surrounding the destruction of indigenous forests to provide space and food for cattle are fast becoming common knowledge, and the beef and dairy industry is one of the leading producers of methane gas. So Meat Free Monday, and meat minimizing generally, is becoming commonplace in the majority of the more conscious communities and kickstarting all sorts of food sub-cultures. There is Flexitarianism – relaxed once-in-a-while meat eaters who only eat free-range and avoid anything that comes in polystyrene. There are meat-minimizers who strive to have as little meat as possible in their diets and will generally only eat meat on special occasions. Veggans – that’s right, with a double ‘g’ – are broad vegans who are happy to eat free-range eggs. Then there are wegans – those are the vegans out there that try not to take the whole thing too seriously. So if your auntie Sue makes us a butternut soup and she pops some cream in there because that’s what the recipe asked for, we’re going to smile, slurp the hell out of it and not start feeling guilty or giving her a hard time. I suppose everyone has their own journey on this. I started as a flexi, and have slowly made my way to being vegan/wegan. Healthy, alive and filled with beans, literally.

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Speaking of beans, and getting back to the point, according to the Centre for Sustainability the second highest source of human-related methane emissions is actually landfill waste. On average we’re burying 2kg of waste per person every day. How does this relate you may ask? Well, as part of my journey to reduce my use of packaged products I decided to start making my own dips!

Everyone loves a good hummus and I’ve been dabbling in recipes containing the garbanzo family for some years now. With this month-long no packaging challenge on the go I thought ‘What better time than now to investigate what would happen if I blended the heck out of a couple of other pulses – instead of getting the regular highly packaged goodies from the store?’

Of the several I made in the last few weeks, my favourite would have to be the Lentil curry dip:

Lentil Curry Dip

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  • Cup of brown lentils boiled
  • Half an onion fried or grilled
  • Small clove of garlic
  • Quarter cup olive oil
  • Healthy dose of Cape Malay Curry spice
  • Salt to taste
  • Blend and serve!

It’s jam-packed with protein, spreads easily on toast or a cracker and it’s great with nachos!

If you are looking for more on going packaging-free and expanding your consciousness around your waste accumulation, have a look at my previous blog on this subject.

Misha Teasdale is a co-founder and the Tree-E-O of Greenpop – a multi-award-winning environmental social enterprise based in Cape Town. In 2010, Misha gathered like-minded individuals to plant 1000 trees in 1 month as a personal project to do something about his environmental footprint and it just didn’t stop! 5 years later, his organisation, Greenpop, has now planted 60 000 trees in South Africa and Zambia and continues to grow. When he is not planting trees, you can find him doing wheelies on his bicycle or sprinting up Table Mountain.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more on all things green.

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Sneaking in the goodness every day

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by Cath Jenkin, Freelance Writer and Journalist 

Overcoming fussy eaters in your family

I’m one of those annoyingly lucky parents – my daughter loves eating her vegetables but simultaneously enjoys chocolate too. This didn’t just happen though – it was an actively aware approach to healthy eating that started from the day I first spooned cereal towards her mouth.

Choice makes it a personal investment
From the moment she was toddling around and scaring me with her vocabulary, dinner became a matter of choice. By actively enabling her to choose between two or three meals I’d be happy to put on the dinner table, she felt like her dinner was the result of her decisions. Kids love making decisions and being given a sense of responsibility for their lives, and yes, this is a little thing – but it’s not that difficult to implement. While I’ve never had to hide vegetables in her dinner, I have done that more recently since our family expanded (this is why my fiancé loves my lasagne so much, but don’t tell him!).

Colourful food is your friend
Ask a kid what their favourite food is and why, and they may just tell you it’s all about the colour of it. Strips of yellow and red peppers make for great finger food, while cubes of Fry’s Slicing Sausage on a kebab stick with chunks of fruit or vegetables make for a great dinnertime treat (that’s not actually a treat!) Offering a varied plate that’s big on colour and on crunch as often as you can, does help to eliminate the “Oh, no, I don’t eat that” phrase.

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Lekker Lunches
There’s a lot to be said about lunchboxes. Many parents will tell you that it seems like they plop an apple into their children’s lunchbox, just to give it a trip out of the house for the day, only for the process to be repeated throughout the week. My go-to lunchbox meal again is made up by variety and colour. My daughter often ditches the sandwich and enjoys more snacks, so a healthy lunch is made up of raisins, celery or carrot sticks, rice cakes and – of course – a treat.

Treats are part of the plan
You can berate me for saying this and that’s okay – I believe that treats should be a part of your family’s eating plan. If you demonize treats or make them a forbidden item, the attraction of them becomes all that more real, and could lead to binging when your children have more power over what they choose to eat. Instead, we treat treats (haha!) as part of the plan when it comes to family eating. Maybe we’ll have ice cream today, but tomorrow, we’ll double up on the salad and that’s totally okay.

What’s the secret to avoiding fussy eaters? A solid plan and an awareness that, if you fail today, there’s always tomorrow to try again. Good luck parents!

Cath Jenkin is a Durban-proud freelance writer and journalist who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, but it only works out sometimes. Don’t ever ask her to cook rice. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter or check out her blog.

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Top 10 healthy lunch box ideas

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“Don’t forget to take your lunch!”

Mornings are generally chaotic.  Dad trying to do his tie while drinking coffee and brushing his teeth, kids eating cereal and playing candy crush on your tablet, you trying to fight for a spot in the bathroom queue to get ready for work and pack lunch for the kids somehow simultaneously.  We are sure this scene is quite familiar!

To keep the lunch boxes brimming with delicious healthy snacks and treats, we at Fry’s have put together 10 easy and healthy recipes which will keep your children tucking in for more instead of the junk at the tuck shop!

1. Vegan Twister Wrap

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Meat-free and taste full!  This easy wrap recipe goes well in any lunchbox.

– Get the Recipe!

2. Rainbow Sandwiches

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This simple vegan recipe is perfect for school lunch boxes or for those who are on the go.

– Get the Recipe!

3. Chicken Strips Pizza

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Pizza isn’t the question… it’s the answer. Especially when you use dairy-free cheese!

– Get the Recipe!

4. Hot Dog Sandwich

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This is a twist on the conventional hot dog on a bun… a must-try!

– Get the Recipe!

5. Mango Chicken Wrap

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Your kids will get their fruit ‘n veggies in one go with this healthy wrap.

– Get the Recipe!

6. Nugget Quesadillas

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This Mexican recipe is given a vegetarian flair with our nuggets.

– Get the Recipe!

7. Grilled Polony and Hummus Sandwich

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So quick and easy that your kids could do it!

– Get the Recipe!

8. Roti Wrap

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Looking for a traditional Indian lunchbox recipe?  Here you go!

9. Schnitzel, Cucumber and Lettuce Roll

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Vegan and quick with all the taste to fill the lunchbox.

10. Sweet Chilli Tortilla Wrap

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Packed full of the good stuff to keep your kids focused in school.

That’s our top 10 list!  What are your lunchbox favourites?  Please share them with us on Facebook or Twitter now!

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Three new year’s resolutions you can stick to

New-Years-Resolutions

Each year people make a commitment to be a better person with an array of New Year’s Resolutions. That commitment usually lasts until the 10th of January when the couch is a better place to be than running on the beach. This is also about the time when junk food is “easier” to eat than veggies and charity really does start at home. In 2016, why not make your goals attainable and start small then grow them! Instead of saying “I am going to lose 15kg’s” rather say “I am going to eat healthier”.

Drastic change is not always sustainable so this year why not keep it simple and try these New Year’s Resolutions?

1. Eat Healthier

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Choose plant proteins over protein that comes from animals. Eat more fruit and vegetables each day while drinking plenty of water. These are simple tips that our parents told us from day one… so why don’t we listen? Don’t be hard on yourself when you have a cheat meal but don’t make them the norm. By making a conscious decision to eat mostly whole foods and swapping meat out for Fry’s, you are doing good on yourself. There is a body of research that suggests following a plant-based diet is the best way to manage your weight, improve your health and well-being.

2. Be More Active

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Simply saying “I am going to get fit this year” is not going to get you off the couch but saying “I am going to win Comrades” may not be helpful either. Small steps (like take the steps and not the elevator) are ways to get yourself in the mindset you need to become more active. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive Lycra and join a running club, just start with doing Parkrun each week! Then make the most of your mornings with a quick few sit-ups and squats to start the day (check out these morning routines) and join that yoga class you were meaning to go to. Need more tips? Check out these 15 from former couch potatoes.

3. Give Some of Your Time

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“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up doing nothing for nobody.” ~ Malcom Bane 

We all want to do good. We want to change the world and “be the change” we want to see around us. Often, this global view may be to your detriment because you can feel powerless in the face of the great challenges that are facing animals, people, and our planet. Instead think small and help out in your immediate community. Help out at the local animal shelter once a week, donate blood or do a beach clean-up with some friends. These may seem small but it has been said that a butterfly can start a storm! So why not go from a lazy caterpillar to someone who is out there making a small but meaningful difference?

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you agree with our list?  Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

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Top four foods for your heart

 Love Your Veggies, Love Your Heart!
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The latest South African health statistics show that about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily in our country. The latest findings show that 6.3 million South Africans are living with high blood pressure, while we have one of the highest rates of hypertension worldwide. Heart failure is in the top 10 causes of death in South Africa but it is not all doom and gloom – a plant-based diet, free from cholesterol and saturated animals fats, has been shown to help prevent and even reverses heart disease.
We have carefully selected four delicious plant-based foods that are not only tasty but are good for your heart!
Top Four Foods for your Heart:
 1. Kale
201502-TT-1-IG-200x200What can kale not do?
In addition to boosting your immune system, counteracting the negative effects of smoking and preventing the common cold; kale reduces your chances of developing heart disease. Health-promoting phytonutrients in kale are extremely beneficial for heart health and the compound, glucoraphanin, found in the leafy green helps to prevent plaque from building in your arteries.
2. Soy
201502-TT-2-IG-200x200According to the American Heart Association; “There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits“. While several studies suggest that “soy may help reduce menopausal symptoms, and lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.”
3. Nuts
201502-TT-3-IG-200x200Studies have found that a single handful of nuts every day may cut your risk of having a heart attack by half. Evidence also suggests that nuts boost longevity. So nuts are the ultimate snack food; choose them over chips and a spoonful of peanut butter over sweets. Also while you are at it… try a brisk walk each day. Just 60 minutes of moderate exercise will help your immune system, help you sleep and give you more energy.
4. Whole Grains

201502-TT-4-IG-200x200Grain products range from pasta, bread, oatmeal and cereals (even Fry’s is made from a blend of grains!). Eating whole grains have a number of important health benefits. The dietary fibre from the whole grains, when formed part of a balanced diet, reduce blood cholesterol levels which promote a healthy heart.

Why not turn these top healthy foods for your heart into a delicious, protein-packed, salad? Our recipes are brimming with taste and make eating better easier! Head over to our salad recipe section now or let us know what your tops tips are for good heart health on Twitter!