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How I became a raw vegan

How I became a raw vegan


Almost two years ago, I decided to become a vegetarian (lacto-ovo to be exact.) This decision was a long time coming for me… I had wanted to officially call myself a vegetarian for many years preceeding this diet change in the beginning of 2013. Since I was still growing and my parents did not know much about the vegetarian lifestyle, they thought it was best for me to wait until I was truly “done” growing so I could have what they considered to be “proper nutrition” (consisting of various animal products such as chicken breast, fish, seafood, and rarely red meat.)

After lots of research and watching various documentaries, I was done growing and ready to become a vegetarian—for health, ethical, and personal reasons. If you want to change anything in your life, you need to have support along the way. Once I decided to make this lifestyle change, my family and friends were extremely encouraging and that made the transition even more exciting for me. I was looking forward to beginning a new journey of achieving my optimum health and becoming my best ‘self.’


Now fast forward to about 6 months ago when I came upon the raw foods lifestyle.  I have always been extremely interested in nutrition, so I would naturally research the newest “fad diets” and I always wanted to be up to date with the health and wellness world. Given the endless resources on the internet, there is almost too much information for an individual to process if they are looking for a easy solution to get healthy. I do not believe in restriction, counting calories, or living to eat…

Food should be a source of nutrition, happiness, and it should create a healthy relationship within yourself and the people around you.

So there I was, searching the internet, when I found FullyRaw Kristina—an incredibly inspiring young woman who adopted the raw foods lifestyle 8 years ago. I have never felt more connected to my body and what I put in it than I do now…This raw vegan lifestyle has affected me in all aspects of my life. Not only has my perspective changed on how to nourish myself, but it has influenced the people around me and the relationships I share with them in ways I could have never imagined. That's how I became a raw vegan.

The power of food and the power of raw veganism is truly incredible.


Why am I here?…Well, I am here because I cannot keep this lifestyle to myself. It has affected me so positively that it would be a crime not to put it out there and continue to share it with the world. I know that I am not going to convert everyone into a raw vegan, but I want to share my experiences and my lifestyle with you—even if it means you just have one extra banana every day—it makes a difference.

Ashley Hampton (PumpUp: @rawincollege) is a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog

This post was updated on July 10, 2015. 

12 mind-blowing almond recipes for your inspiration

12 mind-blowing almond recipes for your inspiration


Though almonds are a perfectly palatable fuss-free snack, there are several paths to be charted in the realm of almond preparation. If you're looking to incorporate more almonds into your diet, we've compiled a round-up of some of the most innovate almond recipes for your inspiration. Almond Recipe Round-Up : 12 almond recipes for your inspiration, compiled by the PumpUp Blog

Paleo Almond Bread

Recipe round-up: 12 mind-blowing ways to use almonds in recipes | Paleo almond bread from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Photo and recipe via Fat Girl Trapped In a Skinny Body

'Low-carb' and 'bread' are two terms that don't sound like they should be paired together in the same sentence. But, as Whitney Houston once wisely crooned, there can be miracles if you believe.  By using bananas and almond meal as the foundation for this bread recipe, this unlikely partnership comes to fruition. It's a dense bread that feels sweet, but it doesn't make you feel lethargic after you eat it.

Almond Burgers

Recipe Round-Up : 12 amazing ways to use almonds in recipes | Crispy quinoa almond tomato burgers from Cooking on the Weekends

Recipe and photo courtesy of Cooking On The Weekends

The idea of a 'burger' may or may not irk you if you're on a plant-based diet. If gluten makes your tummy rumble (in a bad way), and meat isn't your thing, and soy certainly isn't your thing, consider making these crispy quinoa almond tomato burgers for a change. You'll be able to munch on a patty that is delicious, nutritious, and free of whatever doesn't serve you. The perfect patties for summer patios.

Caramelized Cinnamon Almonds (No Refined Sugar)


Recipe Round-up: 12 mind-blowing almond recipes | Caramelized cinnamon almonds

Recipe and photo courtesy of Happiness is Homemade

As devilishly delicious as M&Ms may be, they aren't the healthiest treats for you. Munch on caramelized cinnamon almonds for your next movie marathon. With just 4 ingredients and 10 minutes of preparation time, these almonds become coated in a candy-like cinnamon glaze.  Simmered in coconut sugar, water and cinnamon, these almonds are the best blockbuster snack.

Some of our other favourite roasted almond recipes: 

Homemade Almond Butter

Recipe Roundup: 12 mind-blowing ways to incorporate almonds in your recipes  | Homemade Almond Butter

Recipe and photo courtesy of Allsortsofpretty

Let's face it: nut butter is expensive. The kind of expensive that will make you and your wallet sob rather violently upon purchasing a small mason jar full of the stuff. Why not just opt for the cheap hydrogenated peanut butter in the next aisle? (Hint: it's not that good for you). The solution is simple: make almond butter instead. All you need is an awesome food processor, almonds, and a spatula. Spread it on ALL the things, or incorporate it in a smoothie (no, we're not crazy).

Fig and almond butter smoothie

Recipe Round-up: 12 mind-blowing ways to incorporate almonds in recipes | Fig and almond butter smoothie

Recipe and photo courtesy of Kitchenconfidante

Told you, we're not crazy. Use some of that homemade almond butter and churn it into an amazingly creamy smoothie. With figs, almond milk, almond butter, and a ripe banana, you really can't go wrong with this sweet and velvety post-workout treat.

Apple almond energy bites

Recipe Round-Up : 12 mind-blowing ways to incorporate almonds in recipes | Apple Almond Energy Bites

Recipe and photo courtesy of My Whole Food Life

Another excuse to put that homemade almond butter to use! These energy bites taste just like apple crumble, without the extra fluff. Adjust the sweetness to your liking, pulse all ingredients in a food processor, and you have a deal.

Other amazing almond recipes (energy bites):

Almond Coconut Cocoa Overnight Steel Cut Oats

 Recipe Round Up: 12 mind-blowing ways to incorporate almonds in recipes | Almond coconut cocoa overnight steel cut oats

Recipe and photo courtesy of Pineapple and Coconut

When your mornings get rough, rely on overnight oats to save the day. This breakfast is portable and filling. It'll cheer you up on your worst of days and it'll make the best of days even better. A trifecta of slivered almonds, almond butter, and coconut milk (can easily replace with almond milk) makes these overnight oats worth repeating.

Almond Pistachio Frozen Yogurt (No Ice Cream Machine Necessary)

Recipe and photo courtesy of Nutritionist in the Kitch

Many dessert enthusiasts have dreamed the dream of making their own ice cream at home, only to have their hopes shattered because they didn't own an ice cream maker. Fret no more. Here's one pistachio almond frozen yogurt recipe that requires no ice cream maker. No regrets, just fro-yo.

Almond flax pizza crust

Recipe Roundup : 12 mind-blowing ways to prepare almonds | Almond flax pizza crust

Recipe and photo courtesy of Addicted To Veggies

In pizza, we crust (literally). This crust comes together with just 5 ingredients: almond meal, flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.  You'll have a pizza base that is easy to make and easy on the stomach.

Almond Cheese

Recipe Round-Up: 12 mind-blowing ways to incorporate almonds in recipes | Almond Cheese

Recipe and photo courtesy of lands and flavours. 

Wait, what? Almond cheese. Vegans will delight in this creamy and crumbly cheese made with almond meal. Make it as fancy as fancy can be: the recipe urges you to adorn this mozzarella-like marvel with minced herbs or chopped nuts. Do it, and even top your almond flax pizza crust with it.

Almond crusted salmon sticks

Recipe Round-up : 12 mind-blowing ways to incorporate almonds in recipes | Almond-crusted salmon sticks

Recipe and photo courtesy of Wishful Chef

Remember fish sticks? Remember the fond childhood memories that fish sticks evoke? Do without the bread crumbs and start crusting omega-3 rich salmon with almond crumbs! It's dairy-free, gluten-free, and ready in 20 minutes.

Date-sweetened horchata

Recipe Round-Up: 12 mind-blowing almond recipes for your inspiration | Date-sweetened horchata

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Minimalist Baker

Most horchata recipes call for almond milk, rice milk, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and simple syrup. Make it a notch healthier by sweetening your horchata with dates instead!  It's a better way to make a saccharine horchata, without the guilt.

Why almonds, anyway?

Why almonds- Nutrition facts infographic

  • Almonds are nutrient-dense: Just one serving of almonds is filled with calcium, protein, iron, vitamin E, and fibre
  • Almonds help with weight control: High in monounsaturated fats and protein, almonds have proven to mitigate the risk of weight gain in adults.
  • Almonds help control blood sugar: Pairing almonds with your meals can regulate spikes in blood sugar, according to a 2007 study published in the journal Metabolism.

Find more information about almonds here and share your favourite almond recipes with the PumpUp community!

Overcome your 'fear' of being healthy and never deprive yourself


Over the past six months, I have come to learn that there is a kind of “fear” of living a healthy lifestyle in the sense that people may feel deprived or that they will only be eating small green salads all day. I believe that this misconception scares people away from living a healthy lifestyle because they think that being healthy—whether it’s a ‘clean’ diet, vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleo, gluten free…etc— is extremely restrictive. The image of a healthy lifestyle is portrayed as an unsatisfying one in which people are always in the gym and barely eating to maintain a slim, toned, or muscular figure. This misconception deters people from ‘committing’ to a relationship with nourishing food. The key to succeeding on a plant-based diet is to eat enough food! Calorie restricting is proven to slow down your metabolism as a protective mechanism. Investing in your health now prevents you from dealing with illnesses and aches that supposedly “come with age,” when in fact, they come from a poor diet in the early stages of your life.

Here is some perspective on what a plant-based diet can do for you and your health:

PREVENTS/CURES/REVERSES: Heart disease, cancer, emphysema, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure, influenza, blood infection, liver disease, hypertension, parkinson’s, pneumonitis, injuries

COUNTLESS studies have proven that through a plant-based diet, these diseases can be cured, prevented, and even reversed through a healthier lifestyle. So, with all of this knowledge, how could you neglect what your body truly wants and needs to thrive for a long, healthy life? My number one tip is to eat enough calories from high carb, whole food, plant based sources so you:

  • have high energy and feel satisfied
  • avoid cravings for unhealthy junk/processed foods
  • avoid binge eating
  • are able to focus clearly
  • improve hormonal and bodily functions
  • and be the best version of you!!!

Deprivation is not adopting a healthy lifestyle filled with vibrant, nutritious foods—deprivation is being on a standard ‘diet’ that makes you feel guilty for indulging in what you are craving!

Wouldn’t you rather have an abundance of food that makes you feel great over a spoonful of ice cream that just leaves you wanting more? Through this lifestyle, you can feel truly confident in what is going into your body! This is the first lifestyle that I have come across that is simply about long-term health and not short-term solutions. You can heal your mind and your body by nourishing yourself properly by adopting a plant-based lifestyle!

This is a post by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

5 Light and Lovely Lunch Ideas That Will Make Your Life Easier - Cooking with Cassandra

This is part of a series of posts by PumpUp’s losingitwithcassandra. Follow her Tumblr and PumpUp @losingitwithcassandra
Since i stated college again last week, i realized food prepping was essential especially since i commute to campus everyday. I like bringing my own lunch because the food at my school is full of fast food joints. Bringing my lunch enables me to make better eating choices and i get to save so much money. Here are a couple things i like to make on a school day in the mornings and what i like to pack in my lunch.
  • Whole Wheat Egg White English Muffin
  • Acai Smoothie
  • Turkey Wraps
  • Salad in a Jar
  • One-Ingredient Quest Bar Cookies

Whole Wheat Egg White English Muffin


I like to make this when i have a little extra time in the morning. This is a better option then heading to the drive through at a fast food location in the morning.


  • 1 Whole Wheat English Muffin
  • 2 Egg whites
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A handful of spinach
  • Cheese Slice (This is optional)


 Add non-stick spray to a pan and turn on your stove to medium heat.While the stove is heating up place your english muffin in a toaster. In a separate bowl separate your egg whites from the yolks, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and whisk with a fork until frothy. Once the pan is heated up add your egg whites and once they brown flip them over. Then you get your English muffins and place the eggs on top. I usually flip the eggs over a few times so that they fit inside the English muffin. Finally add your spinach and cheese on top and you’re set to go. 

Acai Smoothie


On the days where i am rushing i usually opt for a smoothie. Not only is this recipe super easy and fast to make, you also get some vitamin C to start off your day.


  • 1 pack of Sambazon Acai Superfruit packs (Can be found at Costco)
  • 1 banana
  • A handful of strawberries
  • A splash of orange juice

Directions: In a blender add in the acai, strawberries, banana, and orange juice. Mix and enjoy.

Turkey Wraps




  • 1-2 Slices of Turkey
  • 1 whole wheat Tortilla
  • A few Grape Tomatoes
  • A handful of spinach
  • Low fat ranch dressing (or a mashed up avocado)


Heat up your tortilla. Once it is heated up, place it on a cutting board. Spread your ranch dressing all over the tortilla so that everything sticks together when you cut the wrap in half. If you want a healthier option you can use a mashed avocado which is just as delicious as well. Next place your turkey slices, tomatoes and spinach and wrap up your tortilla. Then you cut it in half or you can cut it into smaller pieces. I like adding carrots and cucumbers on the side to enjoy them with the wraps. Quick and easy lunch to pack and take on the go. Enjoy! 

Salad in a Jar



  • Iceberg Lettuce Mix
  • A handful of grape tomatoes
  • Dressing of choice (I used sesame dressing)
  • Protein of choice (I used Tuna) You can also use quinoa or chicken. There are so many options!
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A mason Jar


Place your dressing on the bottom of the mason jar. I like doing this first because it gets less messy. Then add your lettuce and tomatoes filling the mason jar half way. The possibilities are endless so add in all your favorite salad toppings. Then fill the other half with your tuna (or protein of choice) and top with a dash of salt and pepper. Then you seal your mason jar and when it’s time for lunch you just shake it up and enjoy! 

One-Ingredient Quest Bar Cookies and Cream Cookies


Literally just one ingredient! When i come home from school and the gym these are the best! and literally no effort at all to make. High in fiber, 21 grams of protein, gluten free, and only 1 gram of sugar.


  • 1 Quest Bar ( i LOVE the cookies and cream flavor)


Open a quest bar and place in the microwave for 10 seconds. This is just going to make the bar easier to mess with. Pre-heat your oven at 350 degrees. Split the bar into 4 equal pieces and roll them into a cookie shape. Once that is done all you need to do is pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes.  Yes it was that easy! Your kitchen ends up smelling amazing once you’re done too.  Enjoy! 

 This is part of a series of posts by PumpUp’s losingitwithcassandra. Follow her Tumblr and PumpUp losingitwithcassandra.

4 Fast and Healthy Recipes for People On the Go


This is a recipe post from PumpUp member Patrice (@phatzsays). 

  • Breakfast: French toasts with blueberries and banana bits
  • Lunch: Garlic Corn Rice with Tuna (with Apple bites on the side)
  • Dinner: Tuna Salad Burrito
  • Dessert: Banana Peanut Butter sandwiches in honey and cinnamon

Eating healthy food when you have a tight schedule might challenging. Trust me, I find it sometimes difficult to prepare my lunch for school knowing that I could buy a slice of meat-lovers pizza or indulging myself over that ice cream cake from the convenience store. And since I’m that type of person who truly loves to eat, I would sometimes give in to temptations, meaning food trips all day! (#YOLO #CheatDayEveryday).

Kidding aside, after consuming bad food, I would personally feel  uncomfortable thinking that I’d have to lose the weight I’ve probably gained, and by extension, spending extra time on  workouts and detoxifying my body system.

What I’ve learned from other people who have successfully lost weight and are  maintaining their ideal bodies is that determination and perseverance are the keys in order to achieve your weight goal and becoming healthy. This means having a good balance between your exercise routine and your  diet. When you talk about diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to restrict yourself from eating what you want. Instead, show  your creativity by using healthy alternatives to satisfy your food cravings.

Here are some of my favorite recipes I like to make whenever I go to school or I’m on-the-go (or if I just want to save my lunch money but still want to eat healthy)


BREAKFAST: French Toasts with Blueberries and Banana Bits

Ingredients: (1 serving)

  • 2 slices of multigrain bread
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Low-fat skimmed milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Honey
  • Blueberries and Sliced bananas


  1. Beat the egg with a fork and drop a little amount of low-fat milk (or any preferred milk), then set aside.
  2. Slice the breads diagonally to have 4 equal sizes of bread.
  3. Put a bit amount of cooking oil into the pan and scattered a good amount of cinnamon powder on to the pan.
  4. Dip the slices of bread into the egg mix and fried them in the pan.
  5. Flip them over once the bottom is golden brown.
  6. Put additional amount of cinnamon until the toasts are covered both front and back (or for as long as you’re satisfied)
  7. Once done, place the toasts into the plate and sprinkle some sesame seeds all over (to give them a slight texture of crunchiness)
  8. Add fruits or nuts as toppings (or in my case, put them aside in a vertical position and take a picture. Promise it would look totally cute. :D)
  9. And then you’re done! 


LUNCH: Garlic Corn Rice with Tuna (with Apple bites on the side)


(For rice)

  • ½ cup of corn kernels
  • Garlic powder
  • ¾ to 1 cup of rice (basmati or any preferred rice)
  • Parsley leaves for toppings
  • Cherry tomatoes

(For tuna)

  • 95 grams of tuna (in can)
  • Onion (chopped)

(For Apple Bites)

  • An apple
  • Peanut Butter 


(For rice)

  1. Make sure to cook the rice and set it aside.
  2. Sauté the corn kernels into the pan
  3. Add the cooked rice and sprinkle garlic powder over. Make sure to mix them all together.
  4. Add some parsley leaves and mix it as well.
  5. Place the rice into the plate and add some tomatoes.
  6. Add more parsley for final touches.

(For tuna)

  1. Sauté the tuna and onions and place it on top of the rice.
  2. And then you’re done! 

[Additionally, you can make whatever dessert you want but I put some apple slices with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on the side.]


DINNER: Tuna Salad Burrito


  • 95 grams of tuna (in can)
  • Onions (chopped)
  • Salad leaves
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pita bread
  • Hummus dip (or any other condiment you want)


  1. Sauté tuna and chopped onions until they’re cooked.
  2. Spread hummus into the pita bread and place salad leaves all over.
  3. Put the tuna, tomatoes, and olives on top.
  4. Put shredded cheese all over.
  5. Roll your pita and you’re good to go! 


DESSERT: Banana Peanut Butter sandwiches in honey and cinnamon

(Actually, I’ve just seen this recipe on twitter one night and tried to make it. And yes, it became one of my favorite desserts to make, most especially when I crave for chocolates or anything sweet.)


  • Banana
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Slice the banana and make sure to have 2 slices together to create little “sandwiches”.
  2. Spread peanut butter on to the banana slices.
  3. Drizzle honey over the banana sandwiches.
  4. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and you’re done! 

So, I hope these recipes would help you somehow on what to prepare for school or work, or if you are busy and want make something quick and easy to eat.

And always remember this quote which goes, “Never give up! Great things take time.”

I hope you achieve all your fitness goals and always choose to be happy! 

Take care and Good luck!  

Much love,

Patrice C.

PumpUp/ Twitter/ Instagram: @phatzsays

This Banana Coconut Date and Cranberry Loaf is Gluten-Free and Delicious


This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe Roundup

This banana coconut date and cranberry loaf is packed with fibre! Better yet, it’s gluten-free. Too good to be true? Nope! Make it for yourself, and maybe only for yourself. Right. Now.

Recipe and more links below

  • 2 cups of oat flour (blend about 3 cups of regular oats/gluten free oats in a blender/magic bullet/food processor, until you get a flour texture)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (YES, you can use olive oil for this recipe, or any other of the aforementioned oils)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar + 1 tbsp. for dusting
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of whatever mix of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, etc. you want
  • 3 tbsp. of oats for dusting

Now, once you have all your ingredients out in front of you, preheat your oven to 350F.

Once your oven is preheating (and you made sure that there was nothing inside the oven), line a bread loaf tin/pan with parchment paper.  I use parchment paper since you don’t need to grease the tins (easier cleaning).

In a big mixing bowl, mash your bananas (for an extra workout, mash them by hand… if you’ve already had your arm workout for the day, go ahead, use an electric beater). Add your sugar, vanilla and oil and beat until creamy (I swear it’s not a good idea to do this right after a hard core biceps/triceps workout).

In a smaller bowl, combine your oat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix to combine.

Add in your oat flour mix gradually, and keep stirring so you can avoid lumps and air pockets. I find it easier adding dry ingredient to the wet ones, than the other way around.

Once everything is combined, fold in your 2/3 cup of whatever (in my case, I mixed unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped dates and chopped cranberries)

Once everything is combined, pour it into the loaf tin. Sprinkle the extra oats and brown sugar over it.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. As I said, it is quite dense so don’t be too worried.

Let me know what you think!

Cheap and Tasty Vegan Pho Soup


This post is part of Zoë’s September Recipe Round-Up. Check out her PumpUp recipes here, follow her blog, and follow her on PumpUp @zoedesborough. 

For this recipe, you will need

  • Thumb of ginger, grated or minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, preferably minced
  • 3 green onions (spring onions), finely chopped
  • Mushrooms (the more the merrier!), roughly chopped (Mix it up! Cremini, Portobello, Enoki, King, Oyster, etc.)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 cups of low sodium gluten-free veggie/chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • Vermicelli rice noodles, follow instructions on packaging
  • Bok Choy (I use spinach because my grocery store rarely carries Bok Choy) leafy parts, shredded

To garnish

  • Bean sprouts (known to carry E.coli and other gross things, wash them carefully, and since I’m super paranoid, I steam mine in the microwave for 2 minutes before serving them)
  • Coriander
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha
  • Gluten Free Soya Sauce

Chop/grate and prep all your ingredients first, it will make your life much easier. Add a glug of vegetable oil to a large pot on medium heat and add your ginger, garlic, onions, and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.

Chop/grate and prep all your ingredients first, it will make your life much easier. Add a glug of vegetable oil to a large pot on medium heat and add your ginger, garlic, onions, and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.

Once things have sautéed, water evaporated and mushrooms browned, add your broth and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add vermicelli noodles…depending on the brand, they take between 2 to 5 minutes to cook. Add your green stuff (Bok Choy or spinach) about 1 minute after you added your noodles

To serve

If you have pho bowls, great! If not, you’ll want a deep bowl and serve with the garnishes on the side so everyone can customise their own soup to their own taste!

This is a vegan (unless you use chicken broth) soup, you can totally add pre-cooked chicken, pork, beef, and tofu.

My mom likes adding carrots and other things in hers, but I stick to this recipe… It’s a great substitute to Chicken Noodle Soup.

Freezer-Friendly Vindaloo


This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe RoundUp. Follow her on PumpUp (@zoedesborough), check out her blog, and the rest of her recipes

I love making this recipe (and a few other Indian recipes) since it makes such a big batch, super flavorful, and easy and quick options for those days you just don’t have time to cook. It is one of the hottest dishes you can order in a traditional Indian restaurant, so beware! This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook. I highly recommend investing in his cookbooks! And if you don’t want to purchase them, go check out his website!

It’s definitely not a recipe you can whip up in 30 minutes, but it is an absolute crowd pleaser!

First step is to make your curry paste (SO MUCH BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT)

Ingredients for the paste


-        2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

-        Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

-        2-3 dashes of dried chili flakes (you can use Sriracha, hot sauce, or 4 dried chili peppers)

-        1 tbsp. turmeric

-        1/3 tsp. sea salt

-        3 tbsp. canola oil (peanut oil is an ok substitute)

-        2 tbsp. tomato paste

-        2 fresh chilies, roughly chopped (I omitted them…. You’ll understand why when we get to step 2)

-        Small bunch of cilantro, washed

-        1 tsp. coriander seeds

-        2 tsp. fennel seeds

-        1.tsp fenugreek seeds

-        4 whole cloves

-        1 tsp. black pepper corns

Ok, so this is actually the most complicated part of the recipe. You will need to pull out a food processor/blender and stick all the ingredients in EXCEPT the coriander, fennel and fenugreek seeds, cloves and black peppercorns… You’re going to want to toast these in a pan for a few minutes on medium heat until they start to brown and smell good…. Add them to the food processor once they have been toasted. Blend everything and set aside in a glass bowl.

Why glass bowl? Unless you want your plastic containers/utensils to be stained with turmeric (you should see the amount of yellow items I now own), you’re going to want to be quick about it! Yeah, you don’t want to reheat this in plastic containers because the color will leech into the plastic…hello orange or yellow tinted Tupperwares…



Ok! So hard part is done! You now have a delicious and spicy paste. Now for the main part…

Ingredients for the main dish

-        2 medium onions, finely chopped/sliced (1 ½ is ok)

-        4 cloves of garlic, minced

-        Thumb size piece of ginger, minced

-        1-2 fresh chilies, minced (REMOVE THE SEEDS IF YOU WANT TO TAKE SOME OF THE HEAT OUT)

-        Fresh cilantro STALKS… yes stalks…. Keep the leaves for garnishes

-        4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

-        Choice of the following

  • chicken thighs, whole or chopped
  • pork shoulder, diced
  • lamb, leg part
  • beef, any cheap cut… stewing beef would be good
  • Tofu, dice it!

-        1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

-        1 tbsp. honey

-        Vindaloo paste

-        Glug of olive oil

-        Pat of butter… think of it as the size of a marble


In a large pot (you’ll want the biggest one you have) on medium heat, add the butter and oil, then the onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro stalks, chilies and sauté for 10 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Turn the heat down if it starts sticking at the bottom… You really just want this to be super fragrant and almost watery. If you’re wondering why oil and butter, it’s because the oil will prevent the butter from burning.

Once that has been sautéed for 10 minutes, add your meat/meat alternative and cook until there is no visible pink, then add your balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add Vindaloo paste, honey and tomatoes and stir to combine. Before putting a lid on it, add 1 1/3 cup of water to the pot.

Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer for 45 to an hour. Stir it from time to time so nothing sticks and burns to the bottom, and add a bit of water if it’s starting to look dry.

In the meantime, you’re going to want to clean and wash your dishes, set the table, and put a pot of rice on to boil. You’re going to want to serve this dish with something that can easily absorb the heat, so I definitely suggest basmati rice, quinoa if you want to change things up. Since we’re doing this gluten free, I won’t suggest that you serve this with the traditional Naan bread, unless you can find some gluten free Naan bread! I tend to avoid any baked goods because of my other allergies (eggs, nuts)… If you can’t find Naan, Greek style pita or just plain old pita bread is fine.

Oh. Your dish should be done by now! Serve your Vindaloo over rice/quinoa or next to your Naan/bread. I highly recommend having a tiny bowl of plain yogurt nearby, a little dollop will help reduce the spiciness. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves!


About Zoë: 

I’m 23, Canadian and bilingual (those who want the recipes in French can always comment on my profile for me to translate the recipes). I started my fitness journey in January 2012 when I challenged myself to get back into shape by setting myself a goal, accomplishing a triathlon that August…which I completed! Since then, I have been determined to become a better me. I have completed a duathlon and four 5km races since then, and dropped around 30lbs. I’ve always had a great passion for food and fitness, and my dream is to one day have my own real cookbook. Living with life threatening allergies isn’t always easy, especially when you’re trying to get healthy and all you see in books and magazines are things that can potentially kill you.