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Classic Vanillekipferl: Crescent shaped biscuits

Classic Vanillekipferl: Crescent shaped biscuits

Vanillekipferl, crescent shaped biscuits are very popular in Austria, Germany and other parts of Europe. Traditionally they are made in every household during the Christmas time. Today I am sharing with you the classic vanillekipferl recipe. These melt-in-mouth cookies are typically made with walnuts, sometimes […]

Eggless Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone Mousse

Eggless Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone Mousse

I made eggless pistachio cake for my dad’s birthday and was truly surprised by the results, given the fact that it was an eggless cake. The addition of pistachios made this cake really a big hit. Although at the time of baking I was worried […]

3 Healthy Breakfast Toast Recipes

3 Healthy Breakfast Toast Recipes

One of the most often consumed breakfast is toast. Simply because they are convenient and pretty easy to make in the morning and head out the door. Yet on some days, we feel like having something special to start our morning. And not forget the fact that having a good breakfast can help lift up our mood. All we need is just a few extra minutes to turn a plain toast into something more fun, tasty and nutritional.

All being said let’s dig right into the fun part. When it comes to toasts, there is no end to the creativity. Here are a few tips on how to make any piece of bread turn into something delicious and healthy.
1. Base: Take a good loaf of bread, better one with loads of fiber. I like using the Austrian bread called brot.
2. Spread: Select your favourite spread such as cream cheese, guacamole, baba ganoush, hummus, nut butter, chocolate/ hazelnut spread.
3. Topping: Choose toppings that you like for example lettuce, spinach, avocado, egg in any form be it poached, boiled, scrambled or sunny side up, your favourite fruit.
4. The final touch: To add some more flavour or crunch, you add herbs, spices, olive oil, lemon juice, cinnamon, chia seeds or flaxseeds, coconut flakes, roasted nuts.

Today I am sharing my favourite 3 different ways for healthy breakfast toasts which you can make in less than 15 minutes. So it is perfect for those busy mornings giving you a healthy kickstart. These protein and fiber packed toasts are pretty filling and will help you hold up till lunchtime without starving.

Print Recipe
Avocado Egg Toast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toast the bread.
  2. To poach the egg, boil water in a pan or a bowl. As soon as the water comes to a boil, add a tbsp vinegar to it. This helps the egg stay together. Crack the egg in a small bowl. Give the boiling water a stir and as you stir, pour the egg. After around two minutes, when the egg looks firm enough take it out.
  3. To prepare a quick avocado spread, slice avocado and put it on the toasted bread. With the help of a fork mash it into a spread, add salt and lemon juice.
  4. Assemble the poached egg onto the avocado toast. Drizzle some olive oil and season the egg with salt and pepper.

Print Recipe
Mushroom Avocado Toast
mushroom toast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
mushroom toast
Instructions
  1. Start with sauteing the mushrooms in olive oil, if you like you can also add garlic to it. Cook mushrooms until soft and slightly brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toast the bread and layer it with sliced avocado. With the help of a fork gently mash the avocado on the toast so that it form to a spread. Drizzle half tbsp olive oil.
  3. Add sauted mushrooms on the top of the toast and season with lemon juice. Enjoy

Print Recipe
Banana Peanut Butter Toast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toast the slice of bread. Spread peanut butter and layer it with raspberries.
  2. Drizzle honey.

Vegan Burrito

Vegan Burrito

Oh these Mexican wraps, I am simply in love with them. And super easy to customize according to your preferences.  Burritos are healthy and loaded with tons of vitamins, good fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. You can easily modify them as a vegetarian or vegan burrito. Simply by adding […]

6 Days in Montenegro as a Vegetarian

6 Days in Montenegro as a Vegetarian

Hi guys, I was in Montenegro for a week, exploring the beautiful country, its natural beauty, and cultural heritage. Being a vegetarian, I know how hard it can be in a foreign country to find quality plus tasty food. Therefore, I wrote this guide to share my experience- 6 days in Montenegro as a vegetarian. I hope you can get some useful insights. Please do let me know your thoughts on being a vegetarian when in a foreign country.

Day 1

My first stay was in Kamenari, which lies in the east of Herceg Novi. From Tivat airport, I took the taxi ride for about 20 minutes which brought us to Lepetane. From there the car was transported on a ferry to Kamenari. The hotel I was staying at is called Casa del Mare Capitano, which is right in front of the ferry port. The hotel is situated in the old captain’s place, protected by UNESCO. The property is a small boutique style hotel and the staff is very helpful and polite. The hotel has a wine cellar, a small restaurant.

What and where to eat in Herceg-Novi:

For the breakfast, there is a menu card and a small buffet which includes appetizers, müsli, milk, yogurt, cakes, nuts etc. On my first day I arrived around 16:00 at the hotel, rested and went hunting for my dinner in the town. Since I am a very picky eater and fussy about the restaurants, my search took a bit long. But finally, I managed to settle for a Margherita Pizza with mushrooms in a restaurant which was located on the beach, Konoba Tron. The place looked decent and inviting. It was similar to the Italian pizza but lacked the flavor of tomatoes. Therefore, I would rate it 7 out of 10. To quench my thirst, I ordered a lemonade which was honestly not up to the mark. Just water with lemon juice.

Day 2

Next day, I ordered the breakfast from the menu card and went for a veggie omelet and chocolate pancakes upon the recommendation of the chef. For the appetizer, the chef brought a palette of cheese along with a basket of bread. I am very picky when it comes to cheese since I cannot stand the smell of the most them neither I am big on the pungent tastes. Nevertheless, I tasted a bit of all the cheese on the platter except the blue cheese, which makes wanna puke. My vote went to only mozzarella cheese from the platter, other sorts of cheese were either too sour or too pungent in taste.

After 15 minutes of wait, my omelet arrived filled with eggplant, peppers, mushroom and tomato stuffing. I really liked the addition of roasted eggplant and peppers to the omelet. After finishing the omelet, the chef served me hot pancakes, called Palačinke in their language. It is similar to the French crepe and German Palatschinken. The pancakes were filled with a thick chocolate sauce and simply tasted good enough. I had them along with my black tea, which I always carry with me when traveling.

What and where to eat in Kamenari:

After breakfast, I took a taxi ride to the old town of Kotor, which was just 30 minutes away from my hotel. The town is a protected UNESCO heritage. It was a very hot day and the heat was very exhausting, therefore after 3 hours, I decided to head back to the hotel. After relaxing, I made my way to one of the popular restaurants in the vicinity, the Adriatic Restaurant, which is famous for their seafood. Don’t worry I didn’t order any seafood. On the menu, I only found one main vegetarian dish, so I wasn’t left with many options. I ordered spinach ravioli with cream sauce and for the appetizer, guacamole with nacho chips.

Day 3

I started my day with a very fortified breakfast of warm porridge, bread, cakes, puddings, and ajvar. Ajvar is a traditional spread popular all throughout the Balkan countries, prepared from roasted bell peppers and eggplant. It has a creamy texture and tastes smoky, tangy and rich in flavors. After this big breakfast, I decided to explore Budva, which lies on the Adriatic Sea. The ride from my hotel to Budva took almost 40 minutes. The old town of Budva, Stari Grad, features stone built walls built by Venetians, a beautiful seaside Citadel, and historic church.

What and where to eat in Budva:

There are many pretty cafes and restaurant when you walk through the town. To go to Citadel you need to get a ticket which has a museum, an ancient library, restaurant and a skyline view over the Budva town and the sea. Since the restaurant didn’t have any vegetarian main meal, the staff offered to make a vegetable risotto for me. For the dessert, I had a decadent chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which was a melt in the mouth experience.

Day 4

After having breakfast, I checked out of the hotel and made my way to Perast, which is another UNESCO World heritage protected island in Montenegro. The place is simply magical, surrounded by the hills and the sea. There are boats on the port that take you to the church and you can stay there for an hour and click some awesome pictures 🙂

Where and what to eat in Podgorica:

The hotel recommended me a few places where I could get good vegetarian options including the Good Food restaurant which was just 5 minutes away from the hotel. Nevertheless, I decided to stay at the hotel and ordered food from their restaurant. I got a truffle pasta which was extremely delicious and creamy and for the dessert, a cheesecake. The quality of the food was up to the mark and the prices reasonable. Therefore, I definitely recommend Hilton’s restaurant.

Day 5

One of the reasons I booked Hilton for my stay in Podgorica was due to the breakfast buffet. The reviews I read while booking, everyone who stayed at the hotel was praising the wide variety of the breakfast available, plus it also had my chia pudding 😄 So yes the breakfast indeed had loads of variety and I stuffed myself with all of that goodness. As soon as I was done with the breakfast, it started pouring heavily.

Where and what to eat in Podgorica:

My initial plan was to visit lake Skadar and the Dajbabe monastery, which is located on Dajbabe hill and was founded in 1897. However, due to the bad weather, I had to cancel my plans and stay indoors. Since the hotel had many in-house facilities and services to offer, I decided to stay at the hotel and enjoy the spa followed by a full body massage. In the evening I went up to the hotel’s rooftop bar and had a virgin mojito with a cheese quesadilla. Again, simply tasty. For dinner, I ordered again from the hotel’s restaurant and this time went for a creamy mushroom pasta and to satisfy my sweet tooth went for a tiramisu.

Day 6

After all, on this very day, there was no rain, and no sunshine either. Therefore, after finishing my breakfast I quickly made my way out of the hotel to lake Skadar, Sveti Stefan and visit the old town of Budva again. Lake Skadar runs around mountains, but I couldn’t get to that particular point to witness it, therefore stopped by in the nearby old town. After spending about half an hour there, I visited Sveti Stefan which was around 40 minutes away from Lake Skadar.

Where and what to eat in Sveti Stefan:

Sveti Stefan features a resort right in the middle of the sea, called Amman resorts. To enjoy the view, I went for lunch to restaurant Adrovic, which is located right above the Sveti Stefan coast. Since there wasn’t that appealing variety of vegetarian food, I got asparagus soup, which for my taste was quite thick and heavy as a soup.

On a final note, there aren’t that many options for vegetarians if you are thinking of a culinary visit to Montenegro. My philosophy is to keep your expectation levels low, this way you won’t be disappointed. People of Montenegro are very welcoming and helpful. So they can prepare a vegetarian dish on request.

Best Eggless Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best Eggless Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been trying to make chocolate chip cookies for a long time but never achieved that perfect bite. You know that crispy edge and soft center. I worked with many recipes, trying to make the dough with hand, adding one egg, two eggs etc. […]

Glowing Green Smoothie

Glowing Green Smoothie

 With a “New Year New Me” resolution, many of us might have getting fit on their list. I can totally relate, although I do not personally like making new year resolutions. I believe that you make resolutions every day and try stick to it. This […]

Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly popular due to their health benefits (1), anti-carnism (2), ethical issues on killing and cruel treatment of animals for human consumption (3), and environmental impacts. High meat consumption has often fallen under scrutiny and has been declared as a threat to both human health and the environment.

Researchers have stressed on the fact that the increasing pressures on human health, animals, and planets, are expected to have negative consequences for global food security (Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition 2016). Hence, a transition to a reduced meat diet is necessary.

Vegetarianism is rising, for example in Germany 7.8 million people are vegetarian and worldwide the number of vegetarians and vegans are expected to be around one Billion (4). A rising trend is also evident in gastronomy, in 2015 there were 317 vegetarian restaurants in Germany which grew by 80.6%, with 616 restaurants (4).

What is a vegetarian diet?

The term vegetarian is constantly evolving hence becoming difficult to define since there are some vegetarians who abstain from all animal products and some occasionally consume red meat, poultry, and fish and still identify themselves vegetarians (5).

There are different types of vegetarians (Table 1) such as lacto-ovo-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, ovo-vegetarian, and plant-based diet (6).

Type of dietIncludesExcludesA vegetarian diet?
Non-red meat eat-er/
Semi-vegetarian
all other foods from animals and plant sourcesBeef, pork, and lambNo
Plant basedall foods, but bases diet on foods from plant sources and limits foods from animal sourcesNone, but limits food from animal sources to some degreeNo, used as a gen-eral term which in-cludes diets that ei-ther limit animal based foods or ex-clude one or more foods from animal sources
Pesco-vegetarianFish, dairy products, eggs, and all foods from plant sourcesNone, but limits food from animal sources to some degree
All meats but fish and shellfish
No
Pollo-vegetarianPoultry, dairy prod-ucts, all foods from plant sourcesall meats but poultry such as turkey, goose, quail, duck, and chickenNo
Lacto-ovo-vegetariandairy products, eggs, and all foods from plant sourcesall meats e.g. beef, pork, poultry, lamb, venison, fish, shell-fish, and wild gameYes
Lacto-vegetariandairy products and all foods from plant sourcesall meats and eggsYes
Ovo-vegetarianEggs and all foods from plant sourcesAll meats and dairy productsYes
VeganAll foods from plant sourcesAll meats, eggs, and dairy productsYes
Types of diets (Source: Lanou and Svenson 2010)

Understanding the motivation behind following a vegetarian diet

An individual might choose a vegetarian lifestyle due to:

  • ethical reasons and health benefits (7),
  • environmental concerns,
  • weight control,
  • religious factors (8; 5),
  • feelings of disgust at the sensory properties of meat (5),
  • and not liking the taste of meat (9).
  • In addition, some individuals adhere to a vegetarian diet due to economic reasons, being born in a vegetarian family and disgusted by meat (8).

Many people switch to vegetarian diets for a certain period of time but are not able to sustain it for a longer period. A study conducted in Western New York on vegetarians (10) underlined three major factors that influence the maintenance of a vegetarian diet.

  1. There are personal factors that include conviction about animal welfare, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight on a vegetarian diet, and acquiring skills and knowledge of vegetarian cooking.
  2. Social circle plays a role which includes family and friends who are vegetarian, involved in animal rights and environmental protection groups and who receive support from family members.
  3. The availability and accessibility of vegetarian foods is also a decisive factor when it comes to sticking to a vegetarian diet (10).

The study concluded that social network is crucial in the maintenance of a vegetarian diet (10; 11), supported a recent study which indicated that family pressure to eat meat is a barrier when it comes to abstaining from meat, hence social support is crucial (5).

Factors leading to abandoning vegetarian diets are related to improper nutrition, missing the taste of meat, and switching to an environment where consumption of meat is a norm (5). There are different forms of vegetarianism and motivation behind such a lifestyle also varies.

Here is why a vegetarian diet is healthy for you

1. Nutrient dense

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants proving beneficial for your digestive system, providing immunity against various illnesses, has an anti-aging effect and guards against cancer and heart diseases.

2. Prevents cancer

Vegetarian diets are inherently high in fiber, low in saturated fats, and loaded with cancer-protective phytochemicals that help in preventing cancer. Studies have shown that vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer as compared to meat eaters (19).

Moreover, the WHO has recognized excessive consumption of red meat as carcinogenic to human health (20). A carcinogen is a chemical formed during the preparation of meat such as cooking and processing. Consumption of meat has known health benefits, yet many health organizations advise limiting the intake of red and processed meat due to various health risks associated with excessive meat eating.

A recent report by World Health Organization revealed the carcinogenic and cancer-causing elements in processed meat and increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance in meat. Antimicrobial resistance implies the ability of bacteria/viruses to resist the effects of drugs which means that the growth of germs is not stopped, and they are not killed.

Infections caused by such resistant organisms require expensive and toxic alternatives and in some cases, are difficult to treat. In case, of animal food, when animals get antibiotics the drug-resistant bacteria survive and multiplies in their guts (21). When the meat is not cooked properly the bacteria can spread to the human body (21).

3. Boosts heart health

A recent study showed a correlation between high intake of healthy plant-based diet and substantially lower risk of coronary heart disease. Whereas a plant-based diet that includes less-healthy plant foods is associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease (22). Doctor Axe provides very detailed information on coronary heart disease and natural remedies to overcome it.

Animal products are inherently high in saturated fat and a leading cause of cholesterol in the diet. Studies suggest that a vegetarian diet high in fiber and low in fat combined with stress-reducing tools, exercise, and prescribed drug intervention can prevent the hardening of arteries.

4. Helps with weight loss

Vegetarian diets omit the intake of meat, hence losing weight is easier as compared to the meat-based diets (23). If you include healthy options in your vegetarian diet such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and quality protein you are on your way to a healthy weight and shedding extra weight becomes very easy.

By avoiding foods that are high in unhealthy fat and low fiber instead opting for foods with high-quality fat (in limited quantity) and high in fiber you can easily lose weight. Among weight loss, you will encounter major improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and you can even cure type 2 diabetes.

There are a couple of things to consider if you wish to follow a strict plant-based diet such as deficiency in Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, zinc, amino acids,  and iron.  However, as I always say it is about maintaining a healthy balance according to your body type and lifestyle. If you are not willing to give up meat entirely you can always include some animal-based products in your diet but in adequate amounts. According to researchers having animal-based product three times a week can be beneficial for health.

At the end of the day, it is all about enjoying what you eat and staying healthy!

 

Bibliography

1. Vegetarian Diets. Nutritional Considerations for Athletes. Venderley, Angela M. and Campbell, Wayne W. 2006, Sports Med 36, pp. 293-305.
2. Joy, Melanie. Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows: An introduction to carnism. San Francisco : Conari Press, Red Wheel/Weiser, 2010.
3. Attitude towards beef and vegetarians in Argentina, Brazil, France, and the USA. Ruby, Matthew B., et al. 2016, Appetite 96, pp. 546-554.
4. Christoffer, Lucas, Unger, Wiebke and Aumüller, Julia. Fakten über vegan-vegetarische Ernährung. vebu. [Online] 2016. [Cited: March 20, 2017.] https://vebu.de/veggie-fakten/entwicklung-in-zahlen/vegan-trend-fakten-zum-veggie-boom/.
5. Vegetarianism. A blossoming field of study. Ruby, Matthew B. 2012, Appetite 58, pp. 141-150.
6. Understanding the attitudes amd perceptions of vegetarian and plant-based diets to shape future health promotion programs. Corrin, Tricia and Papadopoulos, Andrew. 2017, Appetite 109, pp. 40-47.
7. Differences between health and ethical vegetarians. Strnegth of conviction, nutrition knowledge, dietary restrictions, and duration of adherence. Hoffman, Sarah R., et al. 2013, Appetite 65, pp. 139-144.
8. Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetrians. Timko, C. Alix, Hormes, Julia M. and Chubski, Janice. 2012, Appetite 58, pp. 982-990.
9. Characteristics of Vegetarian Adolescents in a Multiethnic Urban Population. Perry, Cheryl L., et al. 2001, Journal of Adolescent Health 29, pp. 406-416.
10. Model of the Process of Adopting Vegetarian Diets: Health Vegetarians and Ethical Vegetarians. Jabs, Jennifer, Sobal, Jeffery and Devine, Carol M. 1998, Journal of Nutrition Education Volume 30 Number 4, pp. 196-202.
11. Future of sustainable eating? Examining the potential for expanding bean eating in a meat-eating culture. Jallinoja, Piia, Niva, Mari and Latvala, Terhi. 2015, Futures.
12. Euromonitor International. Meat substitutes continue to gain momentum. Passport. April 11, 2012.
13. Vegane Gesellschaft. Veganboom hält an – Jede_r Fünfte bevorzugt rein pflanzliche Speisen. February 6, 2017.
14. The Vegan Society. Go Vegan. [Online] 2017. https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism.
15. Health-related attitudes as a basis for segmenting European fish consumers. Pieniak, Zuzanna, et al. 2010, Food Policy 35, pp. 448-455.
16. Investigation of lifestyle choices of individuals following a vegan diet for helath and ethical reasons. Radnitz, Cynthia, Beezhold, Bonnie and DiMatteo, Julie. 2015, Appetite 90, pp. 31-36.
17. Health effects of vegetarian and vegan diets. Key, Timothy J., Appleby, Paul N. and Rosell, Magdalena S. 2006, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 65, pp. 35-41.
18. High compliance with dietary recommendations in a cohort of meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetraians, and vegans: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Oxford study. Sobiecki, Jakub G., et al. 2016, Nutrition Research 36, pp. 464-477.
19. Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. Thorogood, M, et al. 1994, Br Med Journal, pp. 1667-1670.
20. World Health Organization. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. October 2015.
21. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Solutions Initiatives. [Online] January 5, 2017. [Cited: April 16, 2017.] https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/solutions-initiative/ar-food.html.
22. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. Satija, Ambika, et al. 2017, Journal od the American College of Cardiology, pp. 411-422.
23. Dietary adherence and acceptability of five different diets, including vegan and vegetarian diets, for weight loss: The New DIETs study. Moore, Wendy J., McGrievy, Michael E. and Turner-McGrievy, Gabrielle M. 33-38, South Carolina : Eating Behaviors, 2015, Vol. 19.

3 Ingredient Easy Healthy Vegan Brownie Bites

3 Ingredient Easy Healthy Vegan Brownie Bites

These little vegan brownie bites are a perfect snack for in between and to satisfy your sugar cravings without feeling guilty. The best part about this healthy treat is that it is quick to make and at the same time tastes extremely delicious. You don’t […]