FREEZING!!!

People on the Northern hemisphere, I ENVY you at the moment. You are enjoying the warmths of summer while we are freezing off our behinds on the southern hemisphere. images (17)

Brisbane, which is an hour north of us, hit the coldest temperatures in 103 years!

The houses in Queensland are very poorly insulated and some homes don’t even have heating! At least in our house, we can turn on the heat in the morning, but because of the high energy costs, staying warm and cozy at home comes at a very high price.

I am therefore sitting here at my computer wearing Ugg boots, a down jacket and my winter running gloves, which have special coated finger tipps that enable me to use touch screens without having to take off the gloves! Yesterday, my parents sent me an article from an Austrian newspaper titled “Australia- battle against the cold with barbecue”. It states that quite a few Queenslanders tried to warm themselves up at their barbies at their homes which in turn lead to numerous fire brigade calls after some houses caught on fire.

We do what we can to beat the cold, even if it means putting layers and layers underneath the kids’ school uniforms- our son can still only wear shorts…

I found that a good way to heat up the kitchen/ living area of our house is to continuously cook and bake! The heat of the oven and the stove is so beautiful. Doing laundry doesn’t have the same effect, vacuuming helps to some extend because it makes me move around a lot and produce at least some body heat. Maybe an extra layer of insulating fat is not that bad after all :). The nicest part of the day is when we all cuddle up in our beds on top of our LIFE SAVING ELECTRIC BLANKETS!!

Well, maybe I am slightly exaggerating- the temperatures are still above zero degrees. In fact, they tend to be around 8-10 degrees Celsius in the morning. Some of you might smile about it but believe me without adequate heating it can be quite chilly.

So we are all about comfort foods at the moment. Hot soups, stews, moussaka, red beans and rice etc. And, of course, then there is THE sweet comfort food number one, loved by everyone, BANANA BREAD.

I use chopped walnuts for extra flavor and sneak in some ground flax seeds. They serve two purposes: Firstly, they are a substitute for eggs and hold the batter together. Secondly, they are a good source of an Omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acids (ALA).

Fish and krill contain two other omega-3 fatty acids not found in the other plant-based foods: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are famous for their health benefits.

The vast majority of fish oil supplements are derived from the endangered menhaden, a type of herring. As the Chesapeake Bay Ecological Foundation, Inc., states “The Atlantic menhaden decline along the East Coast of the United States has profound ecological significance, engendering concern and controversy regarding management of our coastal fisheries. Menhaden are a vital component of the coastal food web, important in the diet of many predators and crucial to the diet of large striped bass.”

Luckily, there are alternatives to fish oil and krill oil.

Here is an example (just for the record, I am in now affiliated with this company) of a vegan alternative: Ovega-3 is the first fish-free vegetarian omega-3 fatty acid supplement with both DHA and EPA available at major retailers. It’s a heart-healthy vegetarian/vegan and eco-friendly alternative to fish oil, derived from a trusted, natural plant source.

Unlike fish oil, Ovega-3 is:

  • 100% free of ocean-borne pollutants and toxins potentially found in certain fish
  • Free of allergens associated with fish oil
  • Sustainable and will not deplete the ocean’s supply of fish

Is it worth the omega-3’s to justify the depletion of fish? As I have shown, it clearly isn’t. Use flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, tofu etc. And if you are concerned about not getting anough of EPA and DHA, go with the eco friendly sustainable supplements.

But back to the banana bread

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Delicious, moist and super nutritious…. hard to believe that there is no butter or oil in the batter- just unsweetened apple sauce. And not a trace of refined sugar, just date paste (cover dried& pitted dates with hot water, let soak for 10 minutes, then process in blender until smooth).

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Oh, and another big advantage is that it is ideal to store in the freezer. By the way, this time I added chopped walnuts to the batter which complemented the banana taste perfectly. I served the banana bread slices warm and topped them with a scoop of ice cream. Our kids’ had huge smiles on their faces when they came home from school and saw this afternoon snack.

See recipe on http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=3309

Cheers,

Ursula

 

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