Sunshine Blogger Award 2018 Nomination

I’m happy to say (well, write) that my blog, Nikecream, has been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award 2018, a blogger-to-blogger award searching for inspiring blogs. This is a great opportunity to discover interesting blogs and new content. In order to accept the nomination I have a few tasks to complete, so let’s get into it!

Sunshine Blogger Award 2018

The tasks

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Faraway Horizons

I was nominated by the lovely Andrea who runs the blog called Faraway Horizons. She’s from Ohio, and she inspires people to travel and go on adventures with her own amazing stories. She accompanies her posts with beautiful pictures.

My Answers to Faraway Horizons’ questions

If the police caught you doing something that landed you in jail, what would you have been doing?

Saving animals from a slaughterhouse, probably.

If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to the child version of yourself?

Calm down. You can’t influence what happens to the people around you, it’s not in your power.

You’re travelling to a remote area (without phone or internet) of your choosing. What is the first thing you plan on bringing (living or inanimate)?

Is my boyfriend a legit answer?

Beach or mountains? Explain.

Beach. I grew up by the sea, and I’ll never like a mountain more than a beach.

What is one inspirational song that everyone should have on their playlist?

The Show Must Go On by Queen.

What is your favourite lucky number? Why?

3. Because it’s my mum’s favourite, because I was born in 1993, and because I live on the 3. floor.

What profession did you dream of doing as a child?

I wanted to be a singer, then an actress, then a writer. I still want to be a writer.

Are you doing what you had dreamed of doing? If not, why not?

Yes and no. I’m still finishing uni, so I’m technically not working yet. I’m translating occasionally, and that’s also something I had wanted to do. And I’m writing this blog, as well as working on my first book, so you could say I’m a writer too, an amateur one. I wouldn’t call any of this a dream come true, though. Not yet.

What’s your philosophy towards life/living?

You never have it as bad as you think you do. You have people and things someone out there can only dream of. Suck it up, open your eyes to things in your life that are beautiful, and enjoy them to the fullest. Life’s too short not to.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who had started a blog, but is now thinking of giving up on it?

If you think it’s not for you, then by all means give up, and start doing something you enjoy more. If you just feel like you don’t have time, try to make time for it at least every couple of weeks. In the end, it’s a matter of priorities. If you’re lacking inspiration, get out there and do something. Then write about it.

It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon at home. What are you doing?

Ideally, I’m making a vegan dessert and writing a blog post, then reading a good book or watching something with my mum.  Or skyping with the boyfriend. It’s more likely that I’m either studying or working, though. Sad times.

Questions for my Sunshine Blogger Award nominees to answer

  1. What do you love about writing?
  2. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
  3. If the world ended tomorrow, what would be the last meal you’d have?
  4. What’s the next place you plan on visiting?
  5. What was the best destination you’ve been to so far and why?
  6. If you had to spend a week without internet, which three books would you read?
  7. Summer or winter? Explain.
  8. What do you love about your country (and which one is it)?
  9. What do you dislike about it?
  10. Would you ever move to another country?
  11. What was the last thing you cooked?

My nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award 2018

Wild Peonie

A blog about healthy cooking and travelling, run by a lovely Slovenian girl who’s in love with adventures and has un undeniable sweet tooth. Accompanied by exciting videos from her travels and pictures of her recipes. The blog is in Slovenian and in English.

Pretty Sweet

A Slovenian baker who’s regularly posting recipes of all the possible desserts. Some of them are quite exotic, and she adds beautiful pictures to all of them. The blog is in Slovenian and in English.

Nurielle Ari

An artist, an aspiring chef and a wanderer who’s sharing tips on vegan nutrition and fitness. All from her camper. Her posts are available in English and in Spanish.

Wherever Vegan

A blog about veganism and travel! The owner, Cameron Ralg, offers tips on how to travel as a vegan.

Literally Everywhere

A blog run by Yasmin, a full-time traveller, blogger and minimalist. She offers travel recommendations and gorgeous photography.

The Tangerine Blog

Priya is sharing her love for travel, fashion and vegan food. She also posts yummy vegan recipes!

The Blog of Bildo

Billi is writing about everyday life on her blog. About family, relationships, stories and thoughts. The best thing about her blog is that it’s honest and hilarious.

Nat’s Vegan Fitness

A blog run by Natalie, a vegan foodie who posts simple recipes for delicious vegan treats. She’s also very active on Instagram!

Vegan Han

Hannah’s blog about vegan food, restaurants and running. She also has an Instagram account where she posts daily vegan food inspiration.

Rebeka Asceric

Rebeka runs a blog about makeup and travel. She posts makeup tutorials, product reviews and useful travel tips! Her blog is in English and in Slovenian.

Anna Winstone

Anna writes about vegan food, health, and she posts some cool vegan recipes. She also has an Instagram account where she shares pictures of her food.

 

Final thoughts

The Sunshine Blogger Award 2018 is an amazing way for bloggers to connect, for people to discover new blogs, and for amazing content to be shared. I really enjoyed writing this post and checking my nominees’ blogs, whether it was for the first or the fifteenth time. I realise that almost all my nominees write either about travel, veganism or both. What can I say, you like what you like. Thank you for reading! I hope it was as interesting for you as it was for me.

My Vegan Story

I’ve wanted to write a post called “My Vegan Story” for quite some time now. I’ve been putting it off because it’s not that easy to write. There’s too much to say for one post, plus I know lots of people hate the topic. Please, don’t understand this as me telling you to go vegan because I’m not (despite of the picture). I’m just trying to be informative here, hoping that stories like this could be an interesting read, and could open your eyes to things you’ve never thought of before.

Somewhere in Valencia, September 2018

My reasons

There are more reasons for me going vegan, but the first and the most powerful one was my love for animals – all animals. I’ve seen videos of the conditions in factory farms years ago, but I refused to think about it, despite of how much they got to me. I’ve always had reasons not to go vegan: it’s not healthy, vegans are annoying, Greek yogurt is life. The truth is that a vegan diet can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on how much of what you put in your body. Vegans can, of course, be annoying, especially if they try to force their beliefs on people in a violent way. And Greek yogurt … is probably still delicious. But I don’t miss it anymore, and I’m sure there’s a vegan alternative somewhere out there.

The second reason is the environment. If you haven’t heard, eating less meat benefits the environment. By not consuming animal products, you cut your greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water and preserve species and their habitats. I’m not going to link studies here because I intend to do another post with actual data, but feel free to google it – there’s a lot of info out there.

The third reason is health. I’m obviously not a nutritionist, but I know I feel better eating plant-based. I feel lighter after meals and good in general.  I’ve always liked fruit and vegetables, but going vegan made me start consuming even more of them, discover new pulses and grains, and learn how to cook diverse and simple meals.

Before

I’ve never been a meat person; I’ve always been known as the one who complicates when it comes to food (I still have the reputation). But I ate meat, or at least fish, most of my life. There were periods when I ate more of it, and periods when I ate less. At times I liked certain types of meat and at times I didn’t. I even had a »pescatarian« period at some point. I developed a taste for eggs in the year before turning vegan (I was living in London and my flatmates ate a lot of eggs, so I followed suit). I’ve always liked dairy too; I wasn’t as crazy about cheese as some people are (hi), but I loved Greek yogurt and all kinds of sweet treats that contained milk.

I had been thinking about veganism on and off for years, but I always dismissed the thought because of the reasons I mentioned above. Then I tried it once in London for about three days, but I felt hungry constantly, and was craving tuna, cheese and Greek yogurt, so I gave in. Little did I know that I simply wasn’t eating enough.

The transition

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but last year in the first week of October, just when uni started, I decided to give it a go again. I said: one week. And this time it was successful: I didn’t feel hungry and I didn’t miss non-vegan food because I read a lot about veganism before, during and after that week. I knew that I had to eat more because plant-based food is generally lower in calories, and I had the necessary motivation because I read about all the benefits.

The week passed, and I kept going, but it wasn’t perfect, and I have no intention of lying about that. I can proudly say that I haven’t eaten fish or meat in more than a year, but I can’t say the same for eggs and dairy. There were occasions when I had something vegetarian in the following months. The reasons were different: not wanting to complicate in a restaurant, eating at my boyfriend’s parents’ house and wanting to be polite, travelling and not finding anything suitable or wanting to try local food, or just giving in to something my mum bought or made, or to something someone else was having.

I feel like I’ve thoroughly made the transition only a couple of months ago, even though I’ve been eating almost completely plant-based for the past year. Not long ago I decided that it was easier for me to stand behind this way of life if I’m 100% in it.

The reactions

They were different and everything from typical, surprisingly nice and very stupid. Some people feel somewhat offended when someone’s vegan, as if it were criticism pointed directly at them. I’ve never told anyone to go vegan, and I have no intention to.

I’ve had all the possible reactions from my friends, family and complete strangers. People asked me where would all the cows go and where would we plant all the salad if the world went vegan. Some were worried about my protein intake, some wondered whether I could eat beans. But then some also cooked a completely vegan dinner just because of me, or baked something vegan because I was coming. And then I also heard (and am still hearing) all the possible jokes, which isn’t that bad. I like to laugh, even if it’s about me.

Living among non-vegans

I, sadly, don’t have any vegan friends, and have met few vegan people in my life. Everyone I love, care for and spend time with is omnivore, and that doesn’t make me love them any less. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like it if they ate less animal products. Of course I would. But I’m not forcing them; I just explain things when they ask me, I cook and bring vegan food, and I post things. I’m sharing my belief and my interests, as other people share their own.

I think it’s important to understand that eating fewer animal products DOES have an impact. A positive one: on animals’ lives, the environment and quite possibly also on your health. It’s crucial to realize that every individual has an impact every day, with every little thing we choose to eat, and consequently buy. All of this is sending a message to the market.

So…

I’ll stop now because this is beginning to sound like vegan propaganda, and I promised not to do that. Let me just say this one last thing: vegans (or at least vegans with a mentality similar to mine) aren’t trying to make anyone go vegan because they think they are superior as people and everyone should be like them. All we have in mind is that more people eating less meat equals less animals suffering and less harm to the environment. Our goal is to stop pain and death, and we know we can’t do it alone. Consequently, some plant-based people might get aggressive, mean or plain rude. I hope I’m never like that, my goal certainly isn’t to be. I don’t think it brings any good to anyone.

It’s important that people realise we’re not criticising them – how could we? Most of us used to think and act just like you, at least I know I did. All that mattered was the taste, the price and the convenience. I ate animal products, I thought vegans were rude hippies, and I laughed at jokes about them. I still do, to be fair. Overcoming that and understanding that I, as an individual, influence the way things are, taught me to look at food differently. I’d never go back; going vegan was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

In case you’re interested in vegan recipes, I have some here.

5 Vegan Lunches

5 simple and quick vegan recipes for lunch or dinner; I wrote lunches because I usually have an even simpler dinner, but of course they can be prepared for dinner as well. They are quite cheap; the only expensive ingredients are tahini and nutritional yeast, and you don’t necessarily have to use them. They do make food tastier, though, and once you buy them you can use them for a couple of months.

Note: apparently chickpeas for lunch are what bananas are to me for breakfast – a necessity (and that’s why 4 out of 5 of these recipes contain them).

Some sort of pad thai

It’s not real pad thai; I, as usually, didn’t follow any recipe and didn’t use any oil (you can, of course, use oil if you’re a normal person and you’re not experimenting like me).

Ingredients

  • rice noodles for one person (if it’s for more than one, just use more of the rest of the ingredients)
  • veggies, for example: one onion, one pepper, some broccoli
  • half a can of mushrooms
  • half a block of tofu
  • soy sauce to taste
  • a splash of soy milk (I didn’t have any other sauce)
  • spices of choice (I used paprika, turmeric and black pepper)
  • crushed peanuts or other nuts (I used pistachios)

Instructions

Fry the onion for about a minute, then add pieces of broccoli, red pepper and mushrooms and fry some more, adding soy sauce and spices of choice. Fry until the veggies are not completely raw anymore but not soft either; they should still be crunchy. Cook the noodles according to the instructions. Cut the tofu into small cubes and »fry« them in soy sauce. Throw the veggies and the noodles on it and mix well. I added a splash of soy milk here because it was too dry; real cooks and people who care more mix up a special sauce at this point. I didn’t mind the dish being a bit drier because the noodles were super soft and good (overcooked according to my boyfriend, but I seem to like overdone food for some reason). Sprinkle some roasted nuts on top and eat!

My version of pad thai.

Pasta with hummus sauce

I know it sounds odd, but I guarantee you it’s life.

Ingredients

  • any pasta (as much as you’d like to eat)
  • hummus: the more you use, the juicier it will be (I use about half of what I make out of one can of chickpeas)
  • nutritional yeast: a tablespoon or two
  • some dried tomatoes
  • some fresh cherry tomatoes

Instructions

Cook the pasta, drain it, put it back in the same pot you cooked it in, and throw all the ingredients on top. Add some salt or pepper if desired (I don’t). Mix it well and eat!

Hummus

You can cook your own chickpeas or buy a can (drain the chickpeas and then rinse well in case it’s a can; in my case it usually is). Place around 240 grams (1 can) of chickpeas in a bowl or blender, squeeze some lemon on it, add a pinch of salt, some garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic) and a teaspoon of tahini (sesame paste). Blend it in a blender or in a bowl using a stick hand blender. That’s it! Adding oil is completely unnecessary, but some people find the store-bought hummus tastier (it contains oil, more salt and preservatives).

It looks gross but it ain’t.

Chickpea »curry«

The question marks are there because that’s probably not real curry, it’s just something I made up after reading a couple of recipes and deciding they were too complicated/I didn’t have the ingredients and was too lazy to get them. It was for about two people or two lunches.

Ingredients

  • an onion
  • a clove of garlic
  • 2 medium carrots
  • some green beans
  • a courgette
  • a can of chickpeas
  • soy milk (coconut would be better, I just didn’t have it)
  • spices: salt, black pepper, paprika, curry obviously, turmeric

Instructions

Cut the onion and fry it in some kind of oil (or in water). Add the garlic after about a minute. Fry everything for another minute at medium temperature, then add all the remaining veggies and pour about a glass of water and a glass of soy milk over them. At this point I also added some soy sauce and all the spices, and then cooked it all until the veggies were almost done, then added the canned chickpeas (rinse it first, my friends), some nutritional yeast because I like it, and cooked a couple of minutes more. If it’s too dry add more liquid and if it’s too watery don’t cover it while cooking. Serve with rice.

I had it with rice (I usually have brown, but mummy made white) and more green sprouts because vegetables are important.

Chippies with hummus, eggplant and tomato sauce

If you’re not vegan it probably seems like this meal is missing something (maybe it seems like they all do), but for me it’s a completely normal lunch. I just have it with some hummus and my life’s complete.

Ingredients

  • thinly sliced potatoes (as much as you’d like to eat)
  • an eggplant, sliced
  • any tomato sauce (my mum makes her own, will ask how at some point)

Instructions

Put the potatoes and the eggplant on a baking tray lined with baking paper, add salt and desired spices and bake at around 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 to 25 minutes. Heat up the tomato sauce and, if you’re me, make some hummus! Put it all on a plate and dip the potatoes in the sauce/hummus.

Just try making oil-free potatoes; it’s life-changing.

Sweet potato with, surprise, hummus

Sweet potato is different from regular potato: it’s sweeter and the structure is different; it’s pumpkin-like. If I bake it in the oven, I always cut regular potatoes into thin slices and sweet potato into thicker slices; it’s just my preference, though.

Ingredients

  • sweet potato (I used two small ones)
  • hummus (check the recipe above)

Instructions

Cut the sweet potato into slices that are about one centimetre thick. Put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 to 25 minutes. I don’t add any spices because I love the taste as it is. I recommend having it with hummus or avocado spread (I make it with lemon, salt, black pepper and garlic powder).

Actually, I think guacamole is even better with sweet potato than hummus, I just didn’t have any avocados.

And that’s it! I hope this gives you guys some ideas about what a vegan lunch could look like. Of course, I could have added tempeh, seitan or some sort of fake meat to any of these meals, but I don’t do that often, except for the occasional tofu (like in the pad thai recipe). I also had raw veggies with all of these meals, like lettuce or something similar. I think they are filling, tasty meals that provide the necessary carbs, fats and protein (because of all the hummus).  More importantly, I think they can be enjoyed by anyone, vegan or not!

I also have a post with vegan breakfasts and dinners in case you’re interested.