Vegan Bangkok

So, after spending a month in Kuala Lumpur where we could eat so much amazing food, and it not costing us the earth, we were slightly worried about returning to Thailand. We have not spent much time in Bangkok before so where excited to see what we could eat…

When we arrived in Arun Amarin, this area is situated about 3 miles from the famous Khao San road. In the immediate area where we were staying there was literally a super busy main road and a 7/11 (First thought of a vegan, at least we can buy bananas, second thought OMG we are going to starve!!!) However after doing a quick search on the internet a vegetarian/vegan place came up. Ask and you shall receive, maybe, or maybe there is actually a lot of vegans here!! This is becoming interesting!!

We dumped our stuff and off we went to Mango Vegetarian/ vegan restaurant (*just a note a lot of places in Thailand use the word ‘restaurant’ but take it very loosely, I would call many of them more a cafe maybe eatery and some just a roadside stall). First impressions as we walked in, it didn’t look the cleanest of places however it was really busy. So we sat down, had a look through the very extensive menu where everything sounded amazing and finally ordered our food. WOW the food was fantastic, healthy, huge “SARA-sized” portions and really tasty. We were in this area for 5 days and ate here every day and ordered a takeaway from here one evening too!!! (Many food places in Bangkok do this through Lineman and Layla) Try the Quinoa porridge (pic 1) it is so so good!

 

There was another Vegan ‘restaurant’ minutes from Mango but it was under renovation whilst we were here so we never got to try it  – it is called ETHOS if you want to try it out.

We then moved to more central Bangkok-near to the trendy Sukhumvit area. We had heard there were plenty of places we could eat around here. Now at this point I would like to point out, I am a vegan but that does not mean I accept less with regards to food quality, service and cost, so when I review places I always take this into consideration. Anyway I had heard a lot about BROCCOLI REVOLUTION and after searching on social media, it did look amazing- vegan food, metal reusable straws, recycled and up-cycled this, that and the other – exactly my type of place so we went. When we walked in it was lovely, very trendy and upmarket with nice chilled vibes. Nobody came to greet us so we sat ourselves upstairs and looked through a menu. There seemed so much to choose from. We ordered a “Charcoal Quinoa Burger” – IMG_2716 it looked a lot better than it actually tasted, unfortunately. We had to send it back (to the uninterested staff) as they came out really cold, but enough of the negativity I will always review honestly and although this place is visually beautiful the food just doesn’t cut it and it is very expensive. Great Matcha latte though!

Overall, although we only visited 2 “restaurants”, we found being vegan in Bangkok really easy, food is very accessible, lots of shops where we could buy reasonable priced food and lots of street stalls selling Jackfruit, sweet potatoes and rice, we even spotted vegan cooking schools, alongside many other vegan ‘restaurants’ we spotted whilst stuck in Bangkok traffic

So if you are visiting Bangkok as a vegan not to worry BKK has you covered! Enjoy your trip 🙂

#veganthailand #veganbangkok #bangkok #travellingvegan

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10 Tips on going vegan…

Firstly, well done on moving in this direction- you are not only making the best decision for you and your health but also doing a fantastic job for animals and the planet. OK so my top 10 tips for going vegan.

1UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE GOING VEGAN. Whether it’s for your health, animals or the planet, understand your reasons and be passionate about them it will encourage and motivate you in your transition.

2. BE PREPARED. Being prepared with your food is so important when you are vegan. It can be difficult to buy convenience foods, so don’t leave it to chance. When you are going to work or have a long day, bring food and snacks to keep you going. It is difficult at first, checking labels etc, but stick with it- anything worth having or doing takes time and a little bit of effort. It is getting easier day by day with many high street stores such as Starbucks, Marks and Spenser’s, Sainsburys, and more, starting to stock vegan meals-to-go. Also, so many restaurants adding vegan options to their menu but even still, it’s best to be prepared – it’s a great habit to get into anyway much more healthy and cost effective.

3. STAPLE FOODS. Everyone has ‘staple foods’ usually they are things that go with everything and are used in many meals. My staples are oats, peanut butter, cinnamon, chickpeas, avocado and quinoa. These items generally make up the bulk of my diet. For example; overnight oats, peanut butter on toast, homemade energy balls, hummus, quinoa salads etc. Also, these items last a few days in the fridge as long as they are stored correctly.

4. COST. People are under the impression that being vegan is expensive but oats, rice, grains and lentils are all so cheap and full of goodness. When you do your first big shop to stock up on all your new vegan items, you may spend more than usual but you will have your staple pieces that you will use over and over.

5. HAVE A THICK SKIN. Everyone you know or maybe even don’t know will become a nutritionist when you go vegan. The will tell you that you will be lacking “this, that and the other” and maybe even fire questions at you such as, ‘where do you get your protein?’ And many others you will become accustomed with very soon. But don’t let this deter you, the longer you are vegan the more confident you will be answering such questions and you will probably find yourself enjoying educating people.

6. RESEARCH AND LEARNING. If you haven’t already, watch Earthlings, What the Health and Cowspiracy and maybe buy yourself some vegan cookbooks or have a look online for meal ideas and inspiration. Remember- “knowledge is power”. Since being vegan I feel like I learn something new about nutrition every single day.

7. EATING OUT. Do yourself a favor, if you are not going to a full vegan restaurant, save yourself some time and unnecessary stress and check the menu before booking. Lots of restaurants are really helpful if you contact them prior to booking. They may potentially prepare you a separate meal, also remember not all wine is vegan so again do your research beforehand.

8. IT’S NOT BORING. Becoming vegan was the best life decision I ever made and I have never ‘missed out’ on anything. I still go on nights out, have food binges and enjoy life, but when I do it, it causes harm to nothing and no one. So be open-minded, try new foods or maybe even join vegan groups to meet like minded people.

9. THE AWAKENING. Be prepared to see life differently. You will start to see situations and people differently – embrace it. Your taste buds will also change, so you will start to taste food exactly how it should taste.

10.BE PROUD OF YOURSELF. Be proud of you and your amazing decision. For your health, animals and our amazing planet. It may take time to all click into place, but don’t be disheartened- remember why you made this decision in the first place!

#vegan #vegantips #theawakening #plantbased #foodprep

The Right people around you…

Sorry it’s been a while since our last post, I have been super busy training – I took two fights in a week! But aside from that I changed gyms and it got me thinking about how important it is to have the right people around you.

A lot of people, businesses, and gyms go through the motions of life and making money without a lot of thought or compassion to other people’s thoughts, feelings and needs. But in a sport such as Thai boxing where you can actually get seriously hurt I realised how important it was/is that when I trained, my trainer cared about it and about me. When I step in that ring I want and more importantly NEED to know, he has my back, it might just be me in there fighting, but knowing someone cares feels like you have an army behind you and means the absolute world.

Mindset in a fight sport is everything, you can be fitter, stronger more powerful than your opponent but if your head is not there well good luck! I have learned that having the right people around you that genuinely care changes everything.

So the reason for writing this? Surely we can apply this to every aspect of our lives.

People that have genuine interest in you, people that care about you, people that care about what you are talking about, people that ask questions and actually care about what the answer is…Surely these are the people we want and maybe need to be around for our own health, happiness and mental health?

My plan is to only surround myself with those on the same mission as me…..Maybe we all should do the same?

(I won both fights too!!!)

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Why being ‘Well’ is better than being fit. Tips on how to create wholebody wellness

When we think of being well, we generally associate it with our fitness or physical state. However, wellness and being healthy is so much more than just our physical body. I believe optimum wellness comes from complete balance in the physical, mental, environmental, spiritual and social aspects of your life. There are many external factors that can affect whole body wellness however there is also so much we can control to create a better you. I have put together some tips on what I believe are so important to whole body wellness.

  1. MINDSET – whatever we do in life, mindset is paramount to our success. There is much evidence to support this particularly in a sporting context – “When you have a vision and you see that vision come true, it really only shows you that anything can happen, you can do it all.” Conor McGregor UFC World Champion. Basically our thoughts create our reality- so if you want something badly enough, believe you already have it, live like you have it , talk to people like you already have it. Negativity never created anything good, so let’s try some positive thoughts and apply them to every aspect of our lives. Tips for mindset – Meditation – if you have never done it before, my advice would be to set a 5 minute alarm on your phone. Sit comfortably in a quiet, dark place, close your eyes and breathe. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, it is just time to clear our mind, It won’t be easy at first your mind will go crazy thinking of things you ‘could’ be doing and also the thought of ‘I must not think of anything’ will keep popping up. Noises will become so much more prominent, just accept the noise and concentrate on your breathing- I breathe in for 3 out for 3, but you will find a breathing pattern that works for you. Stick with it and try to do 5 minutes everyday.
  2. MOVE – Exercise is so important for our body AND mind. If you’re not an avid ‘gym goer’ then my tips would be to start small and don’t be so hard on yourself. Walking to work instead of taking the bus or get off 1 stop earlier, taking the stairs instead of the lift – these all add up and when you feel more confident you can start increasing your activity. The body was made to move, and it really does work wonders on our mood. Its good to remember, the hardest part about exercise is getting out your front door, don’t overthink it as Nike quotes, ‘JUST DO IT’ You will only ever regret the workout you didn’t do!
  3. Eat Right – What we put into our body is our fuel and alongside our weight it will affect how we function, our mood and also potential illness cause and prevention. When we exercise we release a hormone called Serotonin (commonly referred to as the happy hormone) ‘Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you to digest food, but also guide your emotions’ https://www.health.harvard.edu.
  4. LOVE YOU – Don’t be a hater to yourself, you will risk consuming yourself in your own negativity and self pity- you are worth more than that! Every morning when you wake up tell yourself, ‘I love me and I’m going to have an amazing day’ it will feel strange at first but keep going! Negativity never achieved anything good.
  5. GET OUT – Get out, be outside and get some fresh air. Mix with people and do the things that light you up and make you smile!

REMEMBER, IF YOU ALSO DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DID, YOU WILL ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU ALWAYS GOT.

#mindset #fitness #selflove

Vegan Athlete

I have written this to debunk the ‘protein myth’ but mainly talk about how I fuel myself with plants.

It annoys me so much hearing how much of “this and that” the vegan ‘diet’ lacks. That will also be the first and last time I will mention the word ‘diet’. Being vegan is not a diet. Vegan is a lifestyle, a way of living, a way we choose to eat and live cruelty-free.

I train Muay Thai Boxing in Thailand. I train 6 days per week, two 2-hour Muay Thai sessions per day, along with 2 runs – that is 5 hours of training PER DAY. Whilst training I have never felt weak, never felt under-nourished or felt like I was lacking anything, simply because… I am not.

A typical training day for me includes,

  • 5.30 am 5k Run
  • 7.30 am 2 hour Muay Thai class
  • 3 pm 2km run or sprints
  • 4 pm 2 hour Muay thai class

A typical food day for me includes,

  • Breakfast normally consists of oats, I have a huge bowl of overnight oats, including dates, peanut butter and banana topped with soy yogurt.

overnight oats for blog_edited

  • Snacks in between training are usually energy balls/ or ‘protein’ bars ( all homemade)cinnamon and date power balls
  • After training I have a huge evening meal, normally something like jackfruit wraps with hummus and vegetables

jackfruit

I eat big portions because I don’t count calories- I count nutrients.

I work my body hard physically so I like to give it the fuel it deserves after training sessions – this also helps with recovery.

Everyone seems so caught up in a vegans protein intake whilst forgetting plants, oats and grains are all stacked with first-hand protein alongside other goodness. My morning meal, usually overnight oats, for instance, packs a whopping 30 grams of protein, and aside from the protein, oats have a well-balanced nutrient composition- they are a great source of carbs and fiber and are loaded with vitamins and minerals ( such as iron, magnesium and vitamin B6 which are all essential for a healthy, functioning body). My listed evening meal- jackfruit and hummus wraps, jackfruit is known as the ‘jack of all fruits’ as a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbs, electrolytes, fiber, fat and protein, basically everything I need after a training session. Paired with hummus, which is made with chickpeas I have a well-balanced, ‘high protein’ meal. Chickpeas are also great for inflammation and digestion. My evening meal is around 28g of protein. The general guidelines for protein ‘requirements’ for an average adult is said to be 1g per KG of body weight, so as a 50KG female, and without listing my snacks etc per day I  am hitting my recommendations and then some!

Admittedly, as a vegan we do tend to eat larger portions, or perhaps eat more frequently,  but as our food is plant-based, it digests a lot quicker and leaves us without the after-dinner bloated feeling.

I have been vegan for nearly 2 years now and I have honestly never felt better or been in better physical shape.

My training is extreme and I am not recommending you follow what I do at all. I am simply making the point that you can train as much as I do and still fuel yourself through plant-based living. So not only are you doing many other wonders for animals, the planet and your health, you can rest assured you can exercise and still provide your body with what it needs and more being vegan.

‘Not only can you survive eating plant-based, you can thrive!’ source: www.whatthehealth.com

According to Harvard Medical School, “studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.”  source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

Patrick Baboumian – Powerlifter 

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“This is a message to all those out there who think that you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day. Don’t listen to those self proclaimed nutrition gurus and the supplement industry trying to tell you that you need meat, eggs and dairy to get enough protein. There are plenty of plant-based protein sources and your body is going to thank you for stopping feeding it with dead-food. Go vegan and feel the power! http://www.wholefoodplantbasedrd.com

Pure Vegan Heaven – Chalong

pure vegan front

So I wish I would have taken a picture of our faces when we first found this place! Pure Vegan Heaven is situated on the well known Soi Ta-iad Road in Chalong, it is basically a fitness strip with lots of well known Muay Thai gyms – Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket Top team, to name a few and lots of Cross fit gyms.

Pure Vegan is only small, but first impressions were clean, trendy and VEGAN FOOD! Since finding this place we have been many times and tried various dishes on the menu – which is full vegan with lots of options

My favorite is the Mexican bowl but all of the dishes we have tried have been spot on and well presented

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Mexican Bowl
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Falafal Bowl
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Summer Rolls
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Breakfast wrap
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Rawsome plate

As you can see from the pictures, the portion sizes are very generous (Happy Sara)

The food is definitely a 10/10 from us, however I will mention the smoothies and coffees are unfortunately not great 😦 but we are still regular food customers!!

Service is good, the girls will come to the table to take your order. Sometimes the food is a bit slow – but certainly worth the wait. Prices are very reasonable, you can get 3 meals for around 500 Thai Baht (Around 10 English pounds) oh and yes we do order 3 meals!

I believe there are also Pure Vegan Heaven restaurants in Koh Phangan and Chiang Mai – Amazing to see full vegan restaurants opening around Thailand. Pure Vegan Heaven is part of PURE VEGAN HEAVEN GROUP LTD -which seem to be smashing-it in Thailand. They also own Acai Cafe, we haven’t been as of yet but it’s next on our list as we have heard good things about it.

acai cafe group pic

So if you are in Phuket, Koh Phangan or Chiang Mai, Pure Vegan Heaven is certainty worth a visit – you won’t be disappointed!

Just a note they are closed on Sundays 😦

Thanks guys

Kuala Lumpur Visa Run

So, you have loved Thailand but it’s that time where you need to extend your visa. Well here is everything you need to know ( no BS INC).

We chose Kuala Lumpur simply because it was the cheapest option after pricing various flights. The first point that I will make about the ‘Visa run’ is that absolutely everyone you speak to will over-complicate the whole process, BUT, don’t panic it’s actually really straight-forward and I will give you all the info you need.

I am going to cover –

  • What paperwork you need
  • What to expect
  • Clothing
  • Where to go if you forget something
  • Other general tips nobody seems to tell you ….

So I am going to go straight in with an up-to-date list of what you ACTUALLY need for your visa application…

  • Visa Application Form – You can download this off the site http://www.thaiembassy.org. They don’t have any on the premises so make sure you do this. You only need one of these- we were told we needed 3 each by a stress-head, nope just 1 guys
  • Accommodation Information – Where you are living in Thailand. We brought a copy of our housing contract.
  • 1 photocopy of your passport photo page
  • Your Passport
  • 1 up-to-date passport photo
  • Flight out – This is to show you actually have intentions of leaving after your extension – now if you were to book a cheap flight somewhere for 2 months later and don’t use it welllll that’s none of my business!
  • A photocopy of your return ticket – your flight in and out of Thailand ( to KL and back)

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Make sure you have paper copies of all of the above- they wont accept electronic versions.

So when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, we were quite under prepared, we had everything we needed, but nothing printed out. So we went exploring and Kuala Lumpur is full of beautiful shopping centers and the first one we went to ( Suria KLCC) had a DHL Internet cafe, so we were able to print all relevant documents with no hassle- BOOM!IMG_0965

We were all set for tomorrow morning, the embassy opens at 9:30 am (only until 11:30 am) and everyone you speak to will tell you to get there super early as the queue is huge- well, we got there for 7:45 am and there was 1 person in front of us and by the time we actually started going in, there was only a total of 15 people in the line. You will first walk through to a desk where your paperwork will be checked and at this point we were told we had no photos!!! So we were sent away to go and get some. If you find yourself in the same position, no stress, the hotel over the road does them BUT not until 10 am, so as we were so early, we jumped into a taxi and asked him to take us to a photo shop. 10 mins later we where done and on our way back to the embassy, phew!

When we arrived back there was only 3 people in front of us, no big nasty queue, thank the lord! So we are back to the desk, paperwork gets checked and we are given a checklist and a number.

Once in the Embassy , it’s like waiting in the dentist- you just sit there and wait for your number to be called. ***Just a note, there are no toilets, no printing facility’s, no photo booth and no smiles inside the embassy)***

Once called, you give your passport and paperwork and sit back down. You will be called back up within 5 minutes to pay – the tourist visa is 150 ringet ( around £30) and basically that’s it until the next day (you leave your passport with them!)

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Clothes – Again everyone makes a big deal over what you need to wear. Liam dressed business smart – shirt and trousers, most men were the same, I had long genie style trousers on with a T shirt with short sleeves. I have heard of people being turned away because of incorrect clothing so I think just to be on the safe side, wear long trousers and a top that covers your shoulders- no particular colors needed, my top was bright yellow!

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This is the picture that is outside – so it’s no wonder people are confused!!

We picked our visas up the next day with no drama, this time you go between 2:30 – 4:30 pm. We waited about 45 minutes for our number to be called then we left with our extensions 🙂

If you are going straight to the airport after picking your visa up, we recommend you use a grab taxi, as you will get the price before you even get in. The airport is quite far from the embassy, about 50 minutes, we paid 65 ringet for our taxi but there are taxis waiting outside the embassy that will try and charge you anything up to 100 ringet .

We stayed at the Lodge Paradize Hotel- it was cheap and cheerful ( we paid around 550 Thai baht a night) and it certainly served it’s purpose, basic but very clean and tidy. It was about a 25 minute walk to the embassy, but everything is really easy to find and we just Google-mapped it.

A final note, Kuala Lumpur is beautiful, so give yourself enough time to enjoy it. The sites are stunning and the people are so friendly. We went Monday – Wednesday and wished we could have stayed longer.

Last Tip – Don’t pay a company to do a ‘Visa Run’ it’s so simple to do yourself!

Anyway, enjoy your stay, hope this helps and any questions give me a shout

#visarun #Thailand #Kualalumpur #visa #Malaysia