Friday, 4 June 2021

Vegan Nigerian Meal Plan | Healthy, Alkaline

Figuring what to cook or eat on a daily basis can be a challenge, especially if you're new to veganism or if you're looking to make healthier food choices.

In this 4-week alkaline meal plan, all the hard work has been done for you. You'll gain access to a printable shopping list and at-a-glance weekly menus that can be pinned to your fridge for easy reference. That's a whole month of varied meals that are good for your health and will leave you feeling energised. Join 1000s of others who have benefitted from this meal plan.

Still got questions? See below for some frequently asked questions and responses!

What do you mean by alkaline?

A predominantly alkaline diet places an emphasis on fresh and unrefined fruits and vegetables, while restricting heavily processed and junk foods. The aim of eating this way is to promote optimal health and reduce your chances of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain cancers. All this just by basing majority of your meals on whole, plant-based foods.

Why should I get this meal plan?

The meal plan is designed to take the stress out of thinking of what to eat on a weekly basis and makes choosing healthy food options a breeze. It includes a printable ingredient list and 'at a glance' weekly menus that can be pinned to your fridge for easy reference.

Will the recipes be Nigerian?

There are several alkaline meal plans available online but many are written through a euro-centric lens. In writing this guide, I drew inspiration from my West African heritage, including ingredients and meals that are typical to that part of the world. If you're new to Nigerian food, you'll gain a lot of insight into our style of eating. If you're a veteran West African foodie, you'll appreciate the healthy take on some of your favourites. All the ingredients are easily accessible wherever you live and can be found at your local supermarkets, African/Caribbean shops or online. 

How can I access the meal plan?

You can download the meal plan from HERE for as little as £9.99 (approx. N5,800). You will immediately receive a copy of the meal plan via email, which you can download onto your laptop, desktop, or print out if necessary.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

How to Make a Vegan Diet Nourishing for Kids

 Guest post by Louise Palmer-Masterton on navigating a vegan diet for babies and infants. 

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Many people question if a vegan diet is ‘safe’ for children and voice their concerns that they will lack the right nutrition if they follow a vegan diet.


The world is actually full of healthy vegan children, we just don’t hear about them. All we hear is one extreme horror story of an Australian family depriving their baby by feeding them only vegan food. In fact, it turned out that they are depriving their child of food, period, and of course that will lead to ill health. 


The first thing you need to do if you are considering raising vegan children is educate yourself. A diet of vegan burgers might have been ok for you pre baby, but your children will need more. So, if you don’t already love to cook, it is time to get cooking.  And it’s time to fall in love with lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and a wild array of vegetables. 



You need to become an expert in plant-based nutrition and understand what constitutes a balanced diet. With children as well as balanced protein and healthy fats, you will need to pay particular attention to vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and iron.


The best possible start in life for your baby is breastfeeding, and for you to eat a healthy and balanced diet whilst feeding. It’s wise for this reason that you continue to take a pregnancy safe vitamin supplement. There are no vegan baby formula milk products currently in the UK market, although they will no doubt emerge in the future. Don’t be tempted to give your infant plant-based milk substitutes, as they will not have the nutrition your child needs (same goes for feeding an infant plain cow’s milk).


Every child is different when it comes to weaning, my eldest breastfed until more than two years old, and the Vegan Society advice is to continue breastfeeding until your child is two years old if possible. My youngest however stopped the minute they discovered proper food at 10 months! If you do stop breastfeeding before two years, you’ll need to pay special attention to a good balance of nutrition, minerals and vitamins. 


Both my children were weaned first on blended banana and avocado, which is a legend in our house (try it!), and graduated to blended lentils and vegetables, thick soups and baby versions of what we were eating. It’s sensible to pay attention to a vegetable protein component at each meal, for example lentils, beans or quinoa along with vegetables and healthy fats. Babies can eat nuts and seeds, but only if ground or completely blended.


With regard to vitamin B12 which all vegans should be mindful of, there are a number of fortified foods to consider as your child starts to eat more and breastfeed less.


The best possible thing you can do with regard to young children and B12 is get them to fall in love with Marmite or yeast extract. A go-to snack of toast and marmite will contain plenty of B12. We also use marmite in many savoury dishes - soups, stews and gravy. My children are Marmite lovers to this day. We also use Engevita flakes as a cheese substitute, sprinkled on pasta and in many sauces. Engevita is super charged with B12.


I’d also recommend getting your children to love hummus as young as possible. Hummus is one of those super-nutritious, super-available superfoods, and served with pitta and carrot and cucumber sticks is a winner with most children. Served together in this way, hummus and pitta is what's called a complete protein - between them, pitta and hummus contain the full spectrum of amino acids that you need.


There’s a lot of talk about getting the full spectrum of these essential amino acids that is generally misunderstood. Animal-based proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, which makes them complete proteins, but it is not actually necessary to eat one food that contains everything. Combining plant foods results in complete protein and gives exactly the same result nutritionally.


There are a few plant-based foods that are ‘complete’ proteins on their own, including tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and chia seeds. Some of these are a bit of an acquired taste for an infant, quinoa for example needs a bit of hiding in a tasty-flavoured sauce. But mine always did well with edamame beans, scrambled tofu and fresh fruit chia pudding.


It’s worth noting that 100g of wholemeal bread contains 13g of protein, which is more than in 100g of egg, and all vegetables do have a protein component. A diet rich in vegetables can make a significant contribution to your daily nutritional needs, including protein.



Some food combining ideas:


Rice and lentils or beans. Both brown and white rice when combined with beans or lentils give a complete protein. And there are literally millions of recipes out there containing beans or lentils, rice (or other grains) and vegetables. Just about every continent on the planet has a version of this cuisine. 


Classic beans on toast is a complete protein. Very helpful in those moments when time is of the essence and you have hungry children.


Peanut butter sandwich. This will come as a welcome surprise maybe! And yes, a peanut butter sandwich is a very high complete protein.



Once your child is weaned and able to feed themselves (more or less) it’s all about making their favourite dishes as balanced and tasty as possible. Continue with attention to a protein and vegetable component with every meal, where they are getting their B12 from, and get their other nutrients from as wide variety of vegetables of all colours and types as possible. 


So, it really is safe to wean your baby and bring up your children on a wholefood plant-based diet. You will often read about concerns of deficiency in the vegan diet, especially with regard to protein. But the truth is that protein deficiency is rarely seen in affluent populations, and generally only seen in populations where ALL food is scarce. Following the steps as outlined above, will ensure your child will thrive on a wholefood plant-based diet.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Glory; hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurants, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients. Stem & Glory also offers click-and-collect and local delivery in London and Cambridge.  In addition, Stem & Glory offers a range of ready meals, finish at home pizzas, and recipe kits available for delivery across the UK. Visit their website for more details. 


Social Media:

Twitter: @stemandglory
Instagram: @stemandglory

4 Ingredient Sweet Plantain Waffles | Easy Vegan Recipe

Save this for weekend brunch! These plantain waffles are simply incredible and easy to make. There are so many ways you can eat them too. Take advantage of the seasonal fruits in your part of the world and use them to top these beauties. Or make it into a filling, savoury meal.

Use any good quality waffle maker to cook these. If you're on the hunt for a waffle maker, click HERE to check out the exact brand I have.

If you're not ready to invest in a waffle iron, you could turn these into pancakes. I haven't tried with this exact batter mixture, but if you do give it a try be sure to share your  feedback with me on Instagram.

Feel free to top your waffles with anything you want. They are naturally a bit sweet because of the ripe plantain but I haven't included any sugar in the batter so that you can customise it as you want. Make it sweet with chocolate, fruits or syrup. Or make it savoury with scrambled tofu or vegan "chicken".


Ingredients
(Serves 2)
1 ripe plantain (mashed)
1 cup oat flour (blend oats in a food processor until you get a fine flour)
1/2 cup plant-based milk 
1-2 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seeds

Method
Mash the plantain in a large mixing bowl and set it aside.

Blend a cup of oats in a food processor until it resembles a fine flour. Add that to the mashed plantain, along with the plant-based milk and seeds. Give it a good mix and leave to stand for about 5 minutes while you heat up your waffle maker.

Spoon the batter into the waffle maker and cook on the highest setting for about 10 minutes until the waffles are golden brown and crispy in some parts.

Serve warm with toppings of your choice. I went for melted vegan chocolate and strawberries. You could also use syrup, bananas, fresh mango, chopped nuts, coconut cream, etc.

If you're hungry for more creative plantain recipes, click HERE.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

5 Delicious Nigerian Swallows To Eat With Your Soup

If you're not Nigerian, you may be asking: what the heck is Nigerian swallow? Surely, you're not talking about the bird! Hold on to your hats. No. The popular term "swallow" refers to the starchy, dough-like accompaniment to many traditional soups and stews. It is made from a variety of ingredients, ranging from yam to cassava to plantain to corn to rice. As you can imagine, it is called "swallow" because you are meant to pinch a morsel of it, dip it in your stew or soup and well...swallow it. 

The traditional way of eating swallow is with a clean hand, but we modern folks tend to use forks. Eating it with your hand all take some getting used to if you're not familiar with this style. It's an art to be honest - the rolling of the swallow between your fingers, making a well to scoop the soup into, bringing it from plate to mouth without it dripping down your arm. You get the idea.

In this post, I will share 5 delicious swallows that you can make today. This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are still so many to try, but I hope this provides a good starting point for you! How many of these have you tried?

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1. Amala

We will be talking specifically about Amala Iyan which is made using yam flour. It is most commonly eaten amongst the Yoruba is western Nigeria. It is made by combining yam flour and water, and cooking until you have a thick, smooth, dough-like consistency. When cooked, amala turns a dark brown colour. The taste is very earthy. Although I didn't enjoy it as a kid, I have since grown to love it. 
Serve with: efo riro, ewedu or gbegiri. 


2. Eba

Also referred to as garri, this swallow is made from the aforementioned garri - dried, grated and fermented cassava. It has a coarse texture and is made simply by combining the garri with hot water until you have a soft dough-like consistency. 
Serve with: egusi, okra, efo riro and other traditional soups.


3. Plantain Fufu

As you can gather from the name, this swallow is made using plantain. You can indeed use plantain flour, but you can also make it fresh by blending green unripe plantain with water then cooking on low heat until you have a soft dough. This is usually considered a low-carb option for those who want to enjoy swallow but are unable to consume high amounts of carbohydrates.
Serve with: egusi, efo riro, garden egg stew and other traditional soups.


4. Pounded Yam

This one is my favourite! Fresh yam pounded to a sticky, soft dough. The stuff of dreams. The mild taste makes it the perfect canvas for a variety of stews and soups. If there's only one swallow you try on this list, it should be this one. The traditional way of pounding yam is in a giant mortar and pestle. These days, we use food processors to get the job done.
Eat with: egusiefo riro, ofe nsala and other traditional soups.


5. Cassava Fufu / Akpu

Made from the fermented paste of blended cassava. After blending, the paste is left to ferment for 5-7 days in order to eliminate the toxic compounds that are naturally found in uncooked cassava. It has a strong smell and a stretchy texture.
Serve with: egusiefo riro, ogbono and other traditional soups.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Vegan Flake Chocolate Bar | Easy Recipe

Flake and Twirl chocolate bars used to be my jam back in the day and I've always prayed for a vegan version. 

When you go to the Cadbury website, here is what they say about how they achieve the unique crumbly flaky chocolate bar:

"The process for making Cadbury Flake is a closely guarded secret and no other chocolate manufacturer has ever managed to recreate it. That's why no other chocolate bar can rival the delicate, crumbly texture of a Cadbury Flake."

Enough to make you lose hope.

However, the other night I watched Ann Reardon's latest debunk video on her How To Cook That channel and she seemed to crack the secret for homemade flake! I knew I had to give it a try based on some of the insights she shared in her video. 

If like me you've always wondered how to make a homemade flake chocolate bar, I hope you enjoy this first attempt at the recipe. Let me know what you think, what you would do differently and if you'd like to see another updated attempt with more tweaks to get it just right!

With this attempt, here's what works:

1. Crumbly, flaky texture that melts in the mouth

2. Holds together relatively well, though room for improvement

Here's what I want to improve on:

1. Choice of chocolate. If you love dark chocolate, then this recipe is a-okay but I'd like to get the taste as close to the original as I remember it. For that, I plan to use a vegan 'milk' chocolate with a creamier taste, higher fat content and lighter colour

2. Adjust the amount of liquid (coconut milk) added so that the chocolate is a bit drier and flakier

3. Roll the chocolate out a bit thinner to create more flaky layers

If you try this recipe, be sure to share your success or failure with me on Instagram :)


Ingredients
(Makes 3-4 bars)

- 80g dark chocolate (I used Doisy & Dam Dark Chocolate Buttons)
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk

Method

1. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave, stirring at 20-30 second intervals.

2. Add the coconut milk and keep mixing until the chocolate seizes i.e. gets thick and stiff.

3. Place the chocolate in between two pieces of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll out the chocolate as thinly as possible. Remove the top parchment paper and leave the chocolate to stand and dry out for 15 minutes. 

4. Use a stainless steel spatula or bench scraper to scrape the chocolate from one end to the other (do this is sections). Use two spatulas to gently shape and press the flakes pieces into a bar shape. Leave the bars to stand and dry out a bit more.


Thursday, 20 May 2021

Oven Baked Nigerian Moi Moi with Vegetables | Vegan and Gluten Free


I've already got a comprehensive post on this amazing protein-packed bean pudding that has found its way across different West African countries. In my original post (click here to view), I give you the step by step process of how to prepare moin moin from scratch, including peeling the beans, blending it and the various methods you can use to steam it (using ramekins or the more traditional Uma leaves). If you have time on a lazy weekend, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. For those with less time on their hands or those who cannot stand the long cooking process, it is actually possible to use shop-bought moin moin mix, such as this one

Whichever process you choose, this baked version is a fun take on this classic dish. It's perfect for sharing, saves you time and actually cooks a lot quicker than steaming.

If you're very familiar with moin moin, you'll know that it is sometimes filled with extra ingredients. For a delicious vegan take, I recommend mixed vegetables, or even seasoned tofu or jackfruit. You can be as experimental as you wish. If you want to break convention, you can even try your hands at green moin moin that has been infused with nutrient-rich leafy greens (click here for the recipe).

Enjoy this week's recipe video and if you do give it a try, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram!



Thursday, 13 May 2021

Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease

Enjoy this guest post by Sherra Aguirre, author of Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease.

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We can all learn how to enjoy good health naturally at any age, and it starts in our kitchens by changing what and how we eat. With a delicious plant-based diet we feed our health and not disease. This is the most effective way to prevent or reverse heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US.  Heart disease especially impacts African American women, who are on the front line of the fight against this killer and other chronic diet related illnesses.  

In Joyful, Delicious Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease I share my own story of reversing hypertension, based on current nutritional knowledge, and despite my family history. I was guided by the recommendations of two world-renowned cardiologists, who have demonstrated results with patients for many years. I show readers how to build a simple food plan around their particular needs with delicious anti-inflammatory foods, and how to develop the habit of mindful eating. There are powerful tips for success, encouragement, and staying power.   

Despite the growing body of nutritional research, the mainstream medical community has been slow to integrate this knowledge in patient treatment and education. Only recently has it been introduced into modern medical training, leaving many doctors and health care providers in the dark about its effectiveness – while only offering patients costly maintenance drugs and surgical procedures, none of which offer a cure.   


I want to get this message in the hands of as many people who can benefit from it as possible. I particularly want to empower those underserved by our healthcare system with the knowledge along with simple, affordable ways to prevent it, reverse it, and practice good self-care for themselves and their families. I also want to share the sheer joy of eating great healthy food, simple to make at home, that you love, and that loves you back! Whole plant-based eating is an adventure with endless possibilities to enjoy your favorite tastes and textures in healthier versions, and easily adapts to so many cultural food traditions.   

This change in diet is the most powerful thing we can do as individuals to save our environment by reducing methane pollution from factory animal farming, while promoting compassion for animals. I can’t imagine a more powerful opportunity to make one change that contributes to our own health, the health of animals and of Earth itself.

Sherra Aguirre is a health enthusiast and food justice advocate, passionate about empowering others (especially African American women and other communities who are at high risk for diabetes and heart disease), to maintain vibrancy and good health throughout their lifetimes. She improved her own overall heart health and eliminated symptoms of hypertension despite a significant family history of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure, by adopting a whole plant-based diet. 

Thursday, 6 May 2021

10 Vegan Nigerian Recipes You Must Try

Whether you're new to Nigerian cuisine or want to try your hands at vegan versions of your favourites, these are the top ten best vegan Nigerian recipes you need to try. 

Block out a weekend, stock up on ingredients, and get cooking! 

Simply click on each image to access the full recipe. 

If you like this post, be sure to share it with your friends.

1. Egusi Soup

Made using ground melon seeds, this spinach soup is a tasty classic with a rich flavour profile. Serve it with yam, fufu, pounded yam or even rice. Click here for the recipe.

2. Yam and 'Egg' 

Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Simply replace eggs with scrambled tofu and serve alongside a few slices of boiled yam. It's nutritious, still high in protein and incredibly filling. Click here for the recipe.

3. Jollof Rice

This list would be incomplete without this West African classic. Jollof Rice is a one-pot dish consisting of rice that has been steamed in an aromatic blend of peppers and tomatoes. If you make only one dish on this list, let it be this one. Click here for the recipe.

4. Beans and Plantain

A food pairing made in heaven. This high-protein meal is ideal for when you want something that's comforting and relatively simple to make. The beans do take a while to cook but the wait is well worth it. Click here for the recipe.

5. Red Stew (Obe Ata) 

The staple of every Nigerian meal plan is the classic red stew, made by blending red peppers, tomatoes and onion. Add in your preferred meat substitute for a delicious dish best served with rice, yam, plantain, potatoes, and more! Click here for the recipe.

6. Moin Moin 

Can best be described as a steamed bean pudding. Steam in banana leaves for maximum flavour or use ramekins if you don't have access to that. Click here for the recipe.

7. Yam Pottage

A simple one-pot dish that's so unbelievably comforting. If you've never cooked with yam before, this recipe is an accessible place to start. Click here for the recipe.

8. Suya Vegetables

Suya spice is normally used to coat chunks of roasted meat; a popular street food across Nigeria. Here we'll use chunky vegetables and mushrooms instead for a kick-ass vegan version. Click here for the recipe.

9. Nigerian Buns

For a delicious snack that tastes like a doughnut but takes less than half the time to make, have a go at this egg-free and dairy-free version of fried buns. Click here for the recipe.

10. Plantain Mosa

Beyond fried plantain, there's mosa. An excellent way to use up any overripe plantain you may have lying around your kitchen. Can be made sweet or savoury, depending on your mood. Click here for the recipe.


For more plantain recipes, check out my Plantain Cookbook.

For more regular food inspiration, be sure to follow on Instagram.