Saturday 6 April 2024

30 Tips for Fuelling Your Body on a Vegan Diet

Veganism has seen a marked increase in popularity as a lifestyle choice over recent years, with a growing number of individuals opting for a plant-based diet for reasons spanning health, ethics, and environmental concerns. Nonetheless, there's curiosity around how one can effectively fuel their body for exercise while following a vegan diet. 

Is it feasible for a vegan diet to provide all the essential nutrients required for peak fitness performance? 

In this piece, we will delve into the synergy between a vegan diet, appropriate training, and nutrition to energise the body for physical activity and enhance athletic prowess. Insights will be offered on the crucial nutrients necessary for optimum fitness outcomes and the capability of a plant-based diet to meet these requirements.

30 Tips and Tactics:

  1. Ensure you're consuming enough calories to satisfy your daily energy requirements.
  2. Adopt a diverse and balanced diet, rich in nutrient-packed foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
  3. Include plant-based protein sources like tofu, lentils, nuts, and beans in your diet.
  4. Plan your meals ahead and always have healthy snacks on hand for workout sessions.
  5. Drink ample water to maintain hydration throughout the day.
  6. Make sure that your intake of vitamins and minerals is adequate, particularly vitamin B12, calcium, and iron.
  7. Opt for whole grains to benefit from a steady release of energy.
  8. Consume small, frequent meals to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  9. Focus on gut health by including probiotics, fibre, and prebiotics in your diet.
  10. Time your meals to coincide with your workout regime for optimal nutritional benefits.
  11. Post-workout, have a plant-based protein shake or smoothie to support muscle recuperation.
  12. Select healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and seeds, to bolster heart health.
  13. Add essential fatty acids from flaxseed or chia seeds to your diet to minimise inflammation.
  14. Contemplate plant-based supplements to bolster an active lifestyle.
  15. If necessary, utilise high-quality vegan protein powders to meet your protein needs through your diet.
  16. Emphasise nutrient-rich, vibrant produce for overall wellness.
  17. Pay attention to portion sizes to prevent overindulgence.
  18. Limit processed foods and snacks.
  19. Incorporate strength training to increase lean muscle.
  20. Never overlook the significance of rest and recuperation.
  21. Maintain a food diary to track your nutritional intake.
  22. Explore various plant-based protein sources to keep your diet interesting.
  23. Consult a registered dietitian to guarantee your nutritional intake is sufficient.
  24. Prioritise sleep to enhance your exercise capability.
  25. Engage in restorative practices such as yoga and stretching.
  26. Monitor your carbohydrate intake to ensure it meets your energy needs.
  27. Avoid heavy meals before exercise to sidestep gastrointestinal discomfort.
  28. Consider a plant-based protein bar as a handy snack alternative.
  29. Include antioxidant-rich foods like berries and leafy greens to aid recovery.
  30. Remain patient, consistent, and dedicated to your health objectives.

In summary, a vegan diet can indeed supply all the essential nutrients needed to energise your body for exercise and support athletic performance. With meticulous planning and a keen focus on nutrient intake, a vegan diet can cater to the nutritional demands of those leading an active lifestyle. Key considerations encompass adequate consumption of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, meal planning to optimise nutrition, hydration, and the importance of rest and recovery. With these guidelines and strategies, vegans can effectively fuel their bodies for physical activity and excel in their athletic endeavours. Additionally, enlisting the support of a registered dietitian can ensure comprehensive nutritional needs are met.

Monday 18 March 2024

Cooking Techniques in Nigerian Cuisine | The Art of Fermentation, Drying and Grilling

Nigerian cuisine, rich in flavours and traditions, offers a vast array of techniques that enhance the natural taste of plant-based ingredients. Among these, fermentation, grilling, and drying stand out for their ability to transform simple vegan components into extraordinary dishes.

We’ll explore how each technique is used to create distinct flavours and textures in Nigerian dishes, providing insight into traditional cooking methods and how they can be adapted to modern kitchens. 

Whether you’re looking to experiment with new ingredients or learn more about the rich history of Nigerian cuisine, this article will offer a fascinating insight into the techniques that have helped shape this delicious and diverse cuisine.


Fermentation is a revered practice in Nigerian cuisine, breathing life into dishes with its unique flavours and health benefits. This age-old technique involves the metabolic process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms, under anaerobic conditions. In the vegan Nigerian kitchen, fermentation is celebrated through dishes such as Ogi (fermented corn porridge), and ingredients/condiments such as Ugba (fermented African oil bean seeds), iru (fermented locust beans) and ogiri (fermented sesame or egusi seeds).

Ogi stands as a testament to the versatility of fermentation. Made from ground corn, millet, or sorghum, this porridge is left to ferment for a few days, developing a sour taste and a slightly tangy aroma. It's typically served as a breakfast dish, sweetened with natural sweeteners and accompanied by fresh fruits, making it a nutritious start to the day.

The condiments iru and ogiri add depth and richness to stews and soups, imparting a wonderful umami taste. With their signature pungent flavours, a little goes a very long way. 

In the production of garri, cassava undergoes fermentation before it is dried and fried. As well as enhancing its flavour, this technique also reduces harmful compounds, making it safe for consumption. 

Fermented yoghurt drinks - such as nono - enjoyed in the northern parts of Nigeria can be made vegan by using soy milk. Other fermented drinks include palm wine, sorghum beer and burukutu (Guinea corn and millet beverage).


Grilling or roasting is another cornerstone of Nigerian cooking, revered for its ability to infuse dishes with a distinct smoky flavour. While traditionally applied to meats, this technique is easily adapted to a vegan diet, highlighting the natural flavours of vegetables, fruits, and plant-based proteins.

Grilled plantains (Boli) are a popular vegan-friendly treat and street food. Ripe plantains are grilled over an open flame until the skin is charred and the inside is tender and sweet. This dish is often served with roasted peanuts, offering a delightful combination of sweet, smoky, and nutty flavours.

Vegan suya can be made using mushrooms or plant proteins such as tofu and seitan. Grilling provides the signature charred flavour that makes this popular street food so iconic. 

Grilled corn (Agbado) is another popular street food that is made by grilling fresh corn cobs over an open flame until they're tender and slightly charred. Served alongside roasted coconut or ube, this makes for a very filling snack. 

Other foods that taste delicious grilled include: yam, sweet potatoes, and tofu (wara).


Drying is a preservation method widely used in Nigerian cuisine, aimed at extending the shelf life of ingredients while concentrating their flavours. This technique is especially valuable in vegan cooking, where dried fruits, vegetables, and grains become staples in the pantry. These dried ingredients also ensure that seasonal produce can be enjoyed year-round.

Dried mushrooms and vegetables are common in Nigerian vegan dishes, rehydrated to bring soups and stews to life. Drying intensifies their umami and savouriness, providing a depth of flavour that is unparalleled. 

Black-eyed peas, cowpeas, and brown beans are often dried, serving as a staple protein source in vegan diets. They're used in dishes akara, moin moin and bean stews.

Certain grains and tubers are also dried and milled into flour. Millet and sorghum flour can be used to make traditional porridges and fermented drinks, while yam is dried and processed into a flour known as ‘elubo’ for making the popular Yoruba dish, amala. 

Herbs such as scent leaf and spices such as ginger and garlic are also dried and used for flavouring an array of traditional dishes.

In the north, greens such as moringa and baobab leaves are dried and powdered, then used to fortify stews and soups. 

_ _ _

The techniques of fermentation, grilling, and drying are pillars of Nigerian cooking, offering pathways to explore a rich culinary heritage within a vegan diet. By adapting these methods to plant-based ingredients, we can create dishes that are not only deeply rooted in tradition but also cater to a modern, health-conscious lifestyle.

In embracing these techniques, we open the door to a world of culinary creativity, where the essence of Nigerian cooking is preserved, and the delights of vegan cuisine are explored to their fullest. Whether it's through a bowl of tangy Ogi, smoky grilled plantains, or a hearty stew with dried mushrooms, the journey through vegan Nigerian cuisine is one of discovery, tradition, and, above all, taste.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

The Environmental Impact of Veganism

As concerns about climate change and environmental degradation continue to grow, there is an increasing awareness among people about the impact of their dietary habits on the planet. Veganism has gained popularity as a way to reduce carbon emissions, conserve water, and tackle deforestation, among other environmental issues. This article explores the environmental impact of veganism and how adopting a vegan lifestyle can contribute to a healthier planet. From reducing greenhouse gas emissions to preserving biodiversity, we’ll explore the ways in which choosing vegan can help mitigate some of the biggest environmental challenges facing our world today.

  1. Reduces greenhouse gas emissions: Livestock production contributes to 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than transportation. By choosing vegan, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

  2. Saves water: Animal agriculture is responsible for more than one-third of all freshwater consumption in the world. Going vegan saves precious water resources.

  3. Reduces land use: Livestock production is responsible for up to 80% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, and habitat loss for many other species. By choosing vegan, you help preserve natural habitats.

  4. Reduces pollution: Animal waste is a major source of water and air pollution. Veganism reduces the amount of waste and pollution generated.

  5. Reduces energy use: Vegan diets require less energy to produce compared to animal-based diets, which require energy for growth, transportation, storage, and processing.

  6. Reduces deforestation: The clearing of forests for grazing and feed crop production has devastating effects on ecosystems, biodiversity and the climate. Veganism helps to reduce the demand for feed crops and grazing land.

  7. Reduces ocean dead zones: Livestock manure and fertilizers from crops often end up in nearby rivers and oceans, causing algal blooms and dead zones. Choosing vegan helps prevent this.

  8. Helps preserve ecosystems: The Earth’s ecosystems are being destroyed at an alarming rate, and animal agriculture is a leading cause. Veganism can help preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.

  9. Lowers risk of waterborne diseases: Livestock production is a major contributor to water pollution, which can lead to waterborne diseases. Choosing vegan can help reduce this risk.

  10. Reduces food waste: About one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted. By choosing vegan, you can help reduce food waste and save resources.

  11. Reduces use of antibiotics: Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, and animal agriculture is a major contributor to this problem. Choosing vegan helps reduce the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

  12. Reduces air pollution: Animal agriculture is a significant source of air pollution, which can cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Veganism helps reduce air pollution.

  13. Reduces global hunger: Land that could be used to grow crops for human consumption is instead used to grow feed for livestock. Veganism can help reduce global hunger by freeing up land for food crops.

  14.  Improves soil health: Livestock production is a major contributor to soil degradation and erosion. Choosing vegan helps improve soil health.

  15. Saves energy: Producing animal-based foods generally requires more energy than producing plant-based foods. Veganism helps save energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  16. Reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases: Animal agriculture is a major contributor to zoonotic diseases (diseases that can pass from animals to humans). Veganism helps reduce the risk of these diseases.

  17. Reduces the need for pesticides: Intensive animal agriculture often relies on a heavy use of pesticides and herbicides, which can have negative impacts on human health and the environment. Choosing vegan helps reduce the need for these harmful chemicals.

  18. Lowers risk of climate-related disasters: The impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events, can have devastating effects on communities and ecosystems. Veganism can help reduce the risk of such disasters.

  19. Lowers risk of forest fires: Deforestation often leads to forest fires, which can have catastrophic effects on ecosystems and human communities. Choosing vegan helps reduce the demand for grazing land and feed crops, which contribute to deforestation.

  20.  Reduces water scarcity: Animal agriculture is a major contributor to water scarcity, which puts many communities at risk of water shortages. Going vegan helps reduce water consumption and support water conservation efforts.

  21. Lowers pesticide contamination: Pesticides used in agricultural production can contaminate soil, water, and air, posing risks to human health. Choosing vegan helps reduce the use of these harmful chemicals.

  22. Helps mitigate climate change: Animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, but going vegan can help mitigate its effects and reduce global warming.

  23. Reduces plastic pollution: The growth of animal agriculture has led to a significant increase in plastic waste. Choosing vegan can help reduce plastic pollution.

  24. Preserves biodiversity: Animal agriculture is a leading cause of species extinction and habitat destruction. Veganism helps preserve biodiversity and protect natural ecosystems.

  25. Promotes sustainable practices: By going vegan, you are supporting sustainable agricultural practices that help protect the environment and promote food security.

  26. Supports local communities: Choosing vegan also means supporting local plant-based food producers, who often use sustainable and ethical practices.

  27. Reduces the risk of natural disasters: Climate change and deforestation increase the risk of natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and droughts. Veganism can help reduce these risks.

  28. Helps protect wildlife: Animal agriculture often leads to the destruction of wildlife habitats and the killing of wild animals that are seen as threats to livestock. Veganism helps protect these animals.

In summary, choosing a vegan lifestyle can have a significant positive impact on the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, lowering the risk of natural disasters, preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, and promoting sustainable practices. By making conscious food choices that prioritize a plant-based diet, we can contribute towards a healthier planet and a more sustainable future.

Friday 23 February 2024

Red Palm Oil Bread

I recently made some wholewheat bread and instead of my usual addition of sunflower oil, I decided to try using palm oil. 

Red palm oil is a key staple ingredient in Nigerian cuisine, made by local farmers in west Africa and used for generations by home cooks  in dishes like stews and soups. Used in moderation, it gives many of our dishes their iconic look and taste. You can’t really venture into traditional Nigerian cooking without coming into contact with it. It’s high in vitamin A and rich in antioxidants. Don’t mistake it for the unsustainable and ultra processed palm oil from other parts of the world. 

The result of this baking experiment was a vibrant golden loaf  with the subtle earthy flavour of red oil that I love so much. It was perfect with a plate of beans and imagine how good it would be with some stew. 

If you give it a try, share your creation with me over on Instagram.


250ml warm water

2 tbsp red palm oil 

2 tbsp light brown sugar

7g instant yeast 

1 tsp salt

200g strong bread flour 

200g wholewheat flour


1. Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer (dough hook) and knead for 5 minutes on low, then another 5 minutes on medium. 

2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour 30 minutes. 

3. Knock out the air bubbles, shape the dough into a log and place into a lightly greased loaf tin. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes or until the dough rises above the tin. 

4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely before slicing. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Ose Oji - Igbo Spiced Peanut Butter (Okwa Ose)

One of the great things about being married to someone from a different part of Nigeria is learning about new food combos and meals that I didn’t grow up eating. My latest discovery is this spiced peanut butter and garden egg situation, an Igbo delicacy that is often served to guests at parties. 

This hearty Igbo dish of spiced peanut butter paired with crunchy garden eggs is a staple at big family gatherings, weddings, and any occasion where good vibes are a must. In this post, we'll delve into the origins, significance, preparation, and serving traditions of Ose Oji, inviting you to appreciate why it's more than just food for the Igbo people of Nigeria. 

Origins and Cultural Significance

Peanuts (groundnuts), introduced to West Africa by Portuguese explorers during the 16th century, quickly became a staple crop. The Igbo, located in the eastern region of Nigeria, crafted this dish, blending the rich, creamy texture of peanuts with the spicy zest of local spices and the unique taste of garden eggs (African eggplants).

Ose oji is traditionally served to guests at significant events such as weddings, funerals, and title-taking ceremonies, a cultural symbol of hospitality and goodwill.

Ingredients and Preparation

The preparation of Ose Oji is an art form, requiring precision and patience. The primary ingredient is peanuts, roasted to perfection, which forms the base of this savoury spread. The peanuts are then blended with a mix of traditional spices, including ehuru (African nutmeg).

The spiciness comes from the addition of fresh or dried pepper, which can be adjusted to your desired heat level. The blend is ground into a smooth paste, sometimes with the addition of a little oil to achieve the perfect consistency. Although the paste is traditionally made by pounding the peanuts in a large mortar and pestle, modern chefs can make use of food processors to achieve the smooth peanut butter.


450g roasted peanuts
1 tbsp ground chilli pepper
2 tsp ground ehuru (African calabash nutmeg)
1 vegetable stock cube


1. Combine the roasted peanuts, chilli pepper, ground ehuru and vegetable stock cube in a food processor and blend until the mixture becomes smooth and the peanut has released its oil.

2. Serve with a handful of fresh garden eggs (or Thai eggplant).

The peanut butter can be stored in an airtight jar or container and keep refrigerated. 

Serving Traditions

Ose Oji is traditionally served with garden eggs, which offer a fresh, crisp, slightly bitter counterpoint to the creamy richness of the peanut butter. The garden eggs are either raw or slightly blanched, sliced or left whole.

Beyond garden eggs, Ose Oji can also be served alongside kola nut, boiled yams, or even bread, making it a versatile dip.

Nutritional Value

Aside from its cultural significance, Ose Oji is nutritionally rich. Peanuts are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin E. Garden eggs are low in calories but high in fiber, making them an excellent addition to a balanced diet. This dish is a healthful blend of nutrients, offering a delicious way to enjoy traditional Nigerian flavors while maintaining a nutritious diet.

Ose Oji is more than just a dish; it's a celebration of Igbo culture, tradition, and hospitality. Whether served at a grand occasion or enjoyed as a simple snack, it offers a window into the rich culinary heritage of the Igbo people.