Female Solo Vegan Nomad Minimalist living in Cambodia

Female Solo Vegan Nomad Minimalist living in Cambodia

What’s life like once you have left everything behind? Watch the video series Welcome to New Earth where a woman shares her feelings and insights about living as a vegan nomad minimalist in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

This is the first video of  a long series: subscribe for more!

My life as a vegan nomad!

 

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How to Make Your Own Soy Milk

How to Make Your Own Soy Milk

Making soy milk is easy, cheap and a lot of fun. The reasons why i decided to make it myself are:

  1.  I want to be sure about the ingredients
  2.  Soy milk must be consumed within 3 days after you have made it so I don’t trust commercial soy drinks with a long expiration date.
  3. I can make it as creamy as I wish!

 

ITEMS YOU WILL NEED

1 Blender

1 Sterile Cotton Cloth or a Tea Straine (you can cut a piece of a white cotton t-shirt and boil it in water to make sure it’s clean . Alternatively, you can use a tea strainer with a very fine mesh to make sure that the soy paste doesn’t go through it).

1 Clean glass bottle (1 liter) or glass jars which can contain up to a liter of liquid.

1 Funnel (this is optional but it makes the job much easier)

200 gr Soy beans (if you can find them organic great otherwise just make sure they are not GMO)

1 Big pot (which can contain up to 5 liters of water)

2 Clean bowls (these are just to simplify the workflow because it gets pretty messy without them.

3 Ladle

need

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1.  Put 200 grams of soy beans in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, rinse the beans and strain them.
  3. Gradually, put the beans in the blender and add a little water so that the blender doesn’t get stuck. I use a very cheap blender so I have to split the beans in two parts. Let the blender go for a while so that you can obtain a very smooth paste but not too liquid; the consistency has to be very creamy.
  4. Put 2 liters of water in a big pot and bring it to a boil.
  5. When the water is boiling, pour the creamy soy paste inside the pot, the heat must be very low.
  6. Stir it a few times and let it cook for about ten minutes. Make sure it doesn’t boil.
  7. Turn off the stove and place the funnel inside the bottle, then put the tea strainer on top of it or, if you are using a cloth, the cloth.
  8. Give it one more stir than deep the ladle in the liquid soy and strain it. If you are using a cloth, you have to close the cloth and squeeze it until you get all the juice out. If you are using a strainer, only put a little bit at a time because it gets blocked rather quickly.
  9. Place the dry soy paste in a bowl and if you are using a strainer, rinse the strainer in another bowl filled with water which you have to keep near you. If you are using a cloth, just dispose of the dry soy paste but you don’t need to rinse the cloth every time.
  10. Repeat this process until the pot is completely empty.
  11. Let the soy milk cool off before placing a cap or lid on  the bottle/jars.
  12. Once cooled, place the cap/lid on the top of your container and place them in the fridge. the milk will last for 3 days.

What’s the difference between using a cloth and a strainer?

With a cloth, your milk will be completely clear with no bottom residues but unfortunately with a tea strainer you are bound to get residues.

What am I going to do with the dry soy?

You can make fresh cottage cheese by adding herbs and spices or you can use it together with other ingredients to make patties or polpette.

Have a question or a suggestion to make? Please write in the comment section below.

Stay Healthy and stay Happy: life is short, don’t waste it!

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Easy Vegan Potato Croquettes

Easy Vegan Potato Croquettes

This is a very popular dish in Europe. As I was born and raised in Italy, my mother used to make potato croquettes on Sundays as a treat and I remember sneaking into the kitchen every now and then to shove a few croquettes into my mouth without being caught by her who believed that eating something before a proper meal would have spoiled your appetite as well as your meal. Today, I must confess that my mother is right so it’s really challenging for me not to eat the croquettes right after I have cooked them.

INGREDIENTS (for 2 people):

4 Medium size potatoes (young potatoes are the best)

1 Cup of organic whole wheat flour (or use the best wheat flour you can get)

1/2 Cup of water

1/2 Tablespoon of sea salt

1-2 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast (this is optional so if you don’t have that’s fine)

1/3 Cup of vegetable cooking oil (I used soy but you can use whatever as long as it doesn’t have any particular taste or smell because it will spoil the potatoes)

Fresh coriander or parsley .

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Wash the potatoes, cut them in big and similar size chunks.
  • Put the potatoes into a big pot, covered them with water and let them cook until you can easily pierce them with a fork. A little mushy it’s ok but not too mushy to preserve some chunkiness.
  • Strain the potatoes and let them cool down in a big bowl.
  • Put the wheat flour in a bowl and mix it with the water and half tablespoon of salt. Use a fork for a better result. The consistency should be rather creamy but not watery. If necessary add more wheat flour.
  • Chop the coriander/parsley
  • When the potatoes are cool enough, start mashing them down with a fork until you get a rather homogeneous paste. Leave some bits and pieces of whole potatoes here and there to make the consistency more interesting.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast and the rest of the salt. Mix it with the fork.
  • Give the creamy wheat flour another quick stir and then pour it into the big bowl where the potatoes are. Finally, add the chopped coriander/parsley.
  • At this stage, start mixing with the fork first then continue with your hands.
  • My mother used to make perfectly shaped croquettes but I prefer irregularly shaped croquettes.
  • Put a large non stick frying pan on low heat and put the oil in it.
  • Start making small croquettes shaped like in the photo above and place them in a clean and dry plate.
  • When the oil is hot enough, gently put the croquettes in the pan one by one.
  • After a few minutes, check if the color of the bottom of the croquettes has turned orange; if it has, flip them over and cook the other side. They are ready when the color has become rather orange. Don’t overcook them, keep your eyes on the croquettes and turn off your smart phone.
  • If you prefer, once cooked, you can place the croquettes on some kitchen paper to absorb the oil though they are not very oily.

frying

Let the croquettes cool down before eating them to fully enjoy their rich and yummy flavor.

Bon appetit!

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Redefining Veganism!

Redefining Veganism!

If you think that if it doesn’t contain any animal products it must be vegan, think twice!

Everything is connected!

Why is it so hard for people to understand that in this existence everything is connected? As a vegan, I’m obviously worried about those who think that this new trend is a good way to make bucks with people who think that the only problem related to animal rights is not to cage them,experiment on them or eat them. What about the environment we live in?

Products so called vegan, also labelled as such, often contain CHEMICALS (yes, I said chemicals) in the form of preservatives, food coloring and so called taste enhancer (why would you need those if the food tastes good?!).

Now, let’s make the connection, vegan doesn’t mean that your food was grown somewhere free of pesticides, fertilizers and other nasty stuff. Manure, blood and other animal parts  are also used to grow food even if the food is labelled “organic” (see the article Veganic vs Organic ).

If you want animals (including ourselves) to be respected and free, they need a home: a healthy one. If you buy canned or industrially produced food you are contributing to pollute the environment thus turning the planet into a huge waste dump.

The Asian food fraud

When I was in Thailand and Malaysia, I discovered that plenty of vegans (Buddhist vegetarians) were convinced that products such as Milo, Maggi Seasoning Sauce and Golden Mountain soy sauce are vegan because they do not contain animal products and they are labelled as such. Milo (made by Nestle’), isn’t vegan at all, not only because it contains milk powder but read the article Why Milo isn’t a health food to know more about it.

Nestle’ has a very bad reputation which started in the 70’s when it advertised all over Africa that milk powder was the best for having healthy and intelligent  babies. As a consequence, many women stopped  breast feeding their babies to give them milk powder instead (Source: How the Other Half Dies, Susan George, Penguin Books, 1986). Maggi in Asia is also another gift from Nestle’ – which for me is enough to stay away from it. However, as it is labelled vegan for the Buddhist vegetarian community in Thailand, you would expect a completely natural product but in actual fact it’s packed with chemicals and funny acids. I couldn’t get more information about the list of ingredients from the official website because they don’t provide any and the rest is in the Thai language. Interestingly, Nestle’ is also a major owner of bottled drinking water distributed all over Thailand (!).

Be aware when visiting vegan (Buddhist vegetarian) restaurants in Asia because most of them use the above mentioned products. They don’t do it deliberately they simply trust the misleading labeling.

What about the West?

The West is even worse because many people who believe themselves to be die hard vegans because they don’t eat obvious animal products, ingest so many chemicals and rubbish that they still haven’t got the meaning of veganism.

Veganism is respect for all lifeforms, including microorganism contained in the land which so generously provides us with food.

If your food contains chemicals, colorants, preservatives, unnamed additives and so on IT IS NOT VEGAN!

If you think you are not contributing to animal slavery because the junk you ingest is not directly connected with a slaughterhouse try to open up your mind and start making connections. If you poison the land, you are destroying an entire ecosystem which is vital for the sustenance of life.

You can make a difference, don’t just be proud of eating slaughterhouse unrelated items, dive into the Truth and check the ingredients of everything that ends up in your stomach! Our Mother Land is as sacred as the Creatures who inhabited it.

In this life, it feels good to do your best!

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Veganic vs Organic

Veganic vs Organic

Is organic food really as natural as you think? Try veganic!

I have to pay a lot of attention to my health so when I buy food, I want to make sure I always buy the best. But can the best be produced on a massive scale? Nope; here is why.

Organic food still uses manure and animal parts (bones, blood, feathers) as fertilizers which often contains antibiotics and other substances which are deleterious for our health.

Organic farmers use organic pesticides which kill insects and still use tillage leaving the land bare and likely to die in a few years. They also use herbicides to get rid of weeds.

Monocrops have also shown to be a disaster for the ecosystem as there is no such thing in nature; in fact they require lots of tillage to manage water, nutrients and weeds.

For this reason, VEGANIC Farming and Gardening was born. The impact of veganic agriculture is minimal on the environment and respects all sort of organisms including microorganisms.  The only fertilizer used is plant based, the land is constantly covered and never bare and predator insects and pollinators are not killed in case of farming. Predator insects are those insects which feed on worms normally found in fruit and vegetables. Pollinators such as bees are fundamental to ensure biodiversity. This kind of cooperative agriculture between farmers and nature is vital to maintain the soil healthy and naturally rich of nutrients which are indispensable for life (including our life).

Why is veganic important?

Because if the same agricultural companies (e.g.: Monsanto) which are managing our frankenfood  put their hands on so called organic farming then I don’t need to tell you what’s going to happen, or better, what’s already happening. They have no respect for life or the environment whatsoever; the only thing they care about is money.

If you are vegan don’t fall into the trap of organic labeling!

Organic farms still kill the land and pollute the environment so we must make sure that agriculture goes towards veganic as soon as possible.

The scientific facts mentioned in this article were taken from Hellen Atthowe’s (organic horticulture researcher  and farmer ) presentation and if you are interested in a in depth explanation, you can watch her presentation here: Veganic Farming & Gardening. If you prefer to see her experiments with the land together with Carl Rosato since the 1970’s, watch this talk: Edible Education.

I thank Mother Earth for being so patience with us and I wish you all a gorgeous and sunny journey!

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My experience as a solo female vegan nomad minimalist

My experience as a solo female vegan nomad minimalist

Get rid of anxiety and depression at once: live your dream life!

There are many reasons why people want to give up a “common” lifestyle. The most popular is probably economical because more and more people are finding living a “Western” style lifestyle incredibly unbearable: too many expenses, lots of anxiety, depression and frustration. The solution? Change your lifestyle for good!

I remember before I kicked out my old lifestyle I had desperately been searching for an alternative but all the alternatives I found in Europe somehow didn’t fit me; there are eco-villages, communities of people living alternative lifestyles and so on. The problem is that I don’t want to live segregated somewhere or belong to a particular group of people: I just want to be me and I don’t like living with other people, I prefer living on my own!  What’s the point of abandoning an organized society to embrace another one?

What I really wanted was becoming self reliant, healthy and stress and anxiety free so I decided to do what I love the most: travelling around the world!

I’ve travelled as a backpacker for almost two years visiting and doing activities which I was always too busy to do in my “previous” life. I finally discovered things which I like and I don’t like doing. That’s easy – you may think but believe me it’s not! How many of you have attended ceremonies, business dinners or family reunions only because it’s part of the culture? I no longer want to waste my life doing boring stuff only because society expects me to, I just want to be me.

I’m 50 years old so I think that if you really want to change there are no excuses nor limitations, you just need the courage to do it. When I was travelling as a backpacker, I had all my belongings in a backpack (I don’t own anything else) so you really have to pay attention to what you are carrying with you because if  the backpack becomes too heavy, it may be a problem for your back.

I also got rid of a lot of things which we are socialized to believe indispensable; I keep my hair very short so it’s easy to keep it clean, I don’t use shampoo anymore nor any other beauty products: just a piece of soap. I don’t use a toothbrush either because it was causing my gum to bleed a lot so I now just brush with my index finger and only occasionally use natural herbal  toothpaste or powder (Asian). I don’t use toilet paper; here in Asia people always wash after their toilet business so I learned to do the same. When I was travelling, I carried a little towel with me so that I could dry myself afterwards. I’ve never used make up in my entire life; I tried it once when I was a teenager and it gave me such a bad irritation I promised myself never to use it again! I was still shaving my armpits and legs at the beginning of my journey but I’ve stopped. My legs are quite hairy now but it feels liberating not having to depend on other’s people judgement. Nobody judges men for being hairy so why should anyone feel the right to judge women? The list goes on until you are left with what you really need and what I really need to live is not much: good, fresh, nutritious food and a roof over my head, anything else is optional. Of course, I’m describing the life as a vegan nomad in Asia where there is no winter!

Though I have very little money,  paradoxically I don’t feel as anxious as I used to be when I was living in Europe; always fearing the worse. When you are not stressed, you see possibilities everywhere and you have enough energy to embark in new projects even at my age (there is no age limit, I’ve discovered). I was addicted to a few substances when I was younger: nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and for a specific period marihuana. When you live a life free of any type of addictions you feel unbelievably powerful and become more self confident as a result. Once you are completely clean and free you start understanding how bad we treat our bodies solely on the basis that is culturally acceptable (have a look at movies and TV series where people can’t seem to be able to relax without holding an alcoholic drink in their hand. In the past, the other hand used to hold a cigarette but today that’s no longer possible).

The first incredible personal discovery was that I had been neglecting myself for so long that I no longer recognized what my body needed. Resting was out of the question because we are raised to believe that if you rest you are wasting time and time is money. I had to stop working for a long time to take care of my health and at first I was feeling so guilty because the first thing people asked me was – what do you do for a living? – I don’t know why we feel so uncomfortable when in this life we are just spending without having an income. Of course, it’s scary but sometimes you just don’t have any alternatives. People tend to think that you are a billionaire if  you live like I do but the truth is: you need very little money to live this way and the therapy for all your ailments comes from the food you eat and that’s also affordable when you don’t have any addictions.

Nowadays, I live in Cambodia in one room apartment with a cooking corner and a bathroom and I’ve never been happier.  I have to stop travelling to regain my strength for a while. There is a nice garden outside and a place to hang the laundry.

The laundry is also another big issue for me. As a minimalist, I don’t have a lot of stuff but it bothers me using a washing machine knowing the amount of water and detergent that goes to waste and pollutes such a beautiful land. So I decided to buy a bucket, sodium bicarbonate (which is also good for your teeth) and that’s how I’m doing my laundry now.

Then came the second issue: the dishes. No matter which detergent you buy, most of them are sold in plastic containers and they heavily pollute the environment. When the label claims the product is eco-friendly, it normally costs an arm and a leg so I decided to make my own dish detergent with lemon juice, sodium bicarbonate and vinegar. As a vegan my dishes are pretty clean anyway but I live with two carnivores: a dog and a cat. They enjoy eating meat and fish and, as I totally don’t trust whatever is in pet food, I cook for them on a daily basis. It was very hard for me at first but now I’m ok with it, I use a different  pan and cutlery for them. I know some vegans may not agree with me but I will stop feeding them what they need once humanity has returned their share of the planet to them so they can go hunting again and drink the river water.

When you live with very little, everything becomes precious or better, you discover that everything IS precious and nothing and nobody should ever be taken for granted in this existence. I think this is the main issue with a materialistic life: your feelings get drowned by things and you no longer understand what it is that really makes you happy. As a minimalist, almost everything makes you happy because everything is a treat; the less you have the more you treasure it!

Have a fantastic journey dear fellow travellers!

 

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Vegan Penne with Polpette

Vegan Penne with Polpette

Another traditional Italian dish turned into a health booster and an unbelievably yummy delicacy!

Polpette means meatballs but as vegans we obviously don’t want to eat any dish which contains the word “meat” in them…

As a vegan nomad minimalist, this is a very simple, delicious, nutritious, healthy and cheap dish to cook so no excuses and let’s start making it:

INGREDIENTS for 2 people (generous portions):

1 big young potato

100 gr brown rice

50 gr chickpea flour

1 onion (big is best)

1 fresh tofu

fresh coriander or parsley if you prefer

sea salt

4 ripe tomatoes

2 small cucumbers

fresh chili

1 spoon of fresh palm sugar (organically grown and gathered locally by farmers -nothing to do with deforestation or the palm oil industry!) Use brown sugar if you don’t have it or nothing at all if you don’t want sugar in your food.

Seed oil (you will only need a tiny amount so use whatever you prefer but avoid olive oil which is too strong for cooking)

160 gr penne (if you can find the whole wheat penne is best, I couldn’t)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1.  Fill a pot with water and bring it to the boil.
  2.  Peel the potato, cut it into cubes and put them in the boiling water. The potato is ready when it’s still a little firm. Drain it and let it cool down.
  3. Cook the brown rice the traditional Asian way. Place the rice in a pot and add three times the same amount of water. Cover the pot and let it cook at a very low flame. The rice is ready when all the water has been completely absorbed by the rice. Good quality rice has a wonderful smell once cooked. You can also use leftover rice for this recipe as long as it is not too dry.
  4. Put the chickpea flour in a bowl and add half a glass of water. Whip it with a fork for a few minutes until you get an egg like substance. If it’s too thick, add a little water and keep mixing.
  5. Fresh tofu is normally wet so try to squeeze it a bit with your hands to get the water out and then, break it into little chunks with your hands.
  6. Chop the onion and the coriander or parsley very finely.
  7. Wash and chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into very tiny pieces, try not to loose the juice and collect everything in a bowl.
  8. Chop up a bit of chili and mix it with the fresh palm sugar and put it in a different bowl.
  9. At this stage hopefully all the ingredients are cool enough to be handled. Take a big bowl and put the potato cubes inside. Smash them with a fork.
  10. Add the rice, the chickpea cream, the onion and parsley and the tofu and mix with a fork first and then with your hand.
  11. With your clean hand – this is a little tricky – add a few pinches of sea salt and taste the mixture to see if it’s salty enough.
  12. Start making little balls of about the same size and put them on a clean and dry plate.
  13. Place a non stick pan on a very low flame and add a few drops of oil – just for the crunchiness.
  14. Place the balls carefully in the pan one by one. They will cook quickly so make sure that you have a spoon and a fork to flip them around once one side has become slightly orange. Don’t overcook them! Don’t use your mobile, you must stay absolutely focussed on your polpette! They’ll be ready in no time.
  15. Once the polpette are cooked, place them on a clean and dry plate.
  16. Fill a big pot with water, add 1 table spoon of sea salt, cover it with a lid and bring it to the boil.
  17. When the water is boiling, add the penne and stir. Stir every now and then until the penne are completely cooked (about 10 minutes).
  18. Once cooked, drain them and put them in a big bowl.
  19. Quickly add the raw tomato and cucumber sauce and eventually the chili sauce.
  20. Serve in a plate by adding a few polpette per dish. WARNING: polpette are so delicious that you may want to eat them all at once!

Buon Appetito!

 

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