• Speaking My Mind

    How to Order at Starbucks and Still Be Sugar/Dairy-Free

    Up until a few weeks ago, I was frequenting my local Starbucks daily to get out of the house while I job-hunt and study for the GREs. I didn’t stop visiting Starbucks because of the cost necessarily, although that probably should’ve played a more significant role…

    I stopped going to Starbucks primarily because of my sugar-free diet. Mid-PSL season, I realized that nondairy options are not sugar-free too. This is because all nondairy milk at Starbucks is unfortunately sweetened.

    Due to this realization, I thought that meant I could only consume black coffee, tea, or matcha lattes with hot water instead of almond milk. To my dismay, I now understand why people were disappointed with Starbucks’ matcha powder: the matcha is impure because it’s also sweetened!

    It’s appalling to realize that Starbucks doesn’t go beyond American consumers’ desires, which are unfortunately wedded to sugar and dairy galore. Why they don’t offer organic coffee, serve coffee in ceramic mugs to patrons that are staying in the establishment, and provide unsweetened nondairy milk already is beyond me.

    Until they do so, if you want to be sugar and dairy free and enjoy Starbucks, you can only enjoy black coffee or their variety of teas. Or you can bring your own unsweetened nondairy milk with you. Or better yet, you can stop going to Starbucks altogether and make your organic coffee with unsweetened nondairy milk in a ceramic mug at home. Then you can take your beverage to a local library and be productive there.

    Are you sugar/dairy free? What is your go-to beverage at Starbucks?

    xx Vic

     

    If you enjoy topics about diet and health, please check out my other posts!

    Plant-Based and Sugar-Free Living

    Why I’ve Broken Up with My Birth Control

  • Yummy Recipes

    Pumpkin-Apple Pie Oatmeal

    I’ve been greatly enjoying this little breakfast concoction a ton lately. It’s the perfect tasty recipe to satisfy you until you enjoy the large Thanksgiving feast later in the day. This meal evokes the scents and flavors of autumn, but it can be enjoyed year-round.

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    Serving Size: 1

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
    • 1 cup of water
    • 2+ generous spoonfuls of pumpkin puree
    • Turmeric
    • Ground cloves
    • Ground cinnamon
    • Ground nutmeg
    • One apple diced (save one half of diced apple for later)
    • Raw pumpkin seeds

    In a small pot, add old fashioned oats, water, and half of the diced apple**. Set to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally.

    Once oatmeal is simmering, add the desired amount of pumpkin puree. Stir. Then sprinkle in a generous amount (to taste) of the spices and stir them in.

    When the oatmeal has thickened, turn off the stove and serve with the other half of the diced apple and pumpkin seeds. You can also sprinkle more cinnamon on top.

    **Adding the apples with the oatmeal will soften them but still leave them a teeny bit crunchy. If you want softer apples, cook them with some water before adding the oatmeal.

    If you try this recipe, let me know how you enjoy it! Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Trying New Breakfast Recipes: Golden Milk Smoothie

    My typical breakfast consists of a delicious bowl of Cheerios swimming in milk. I’ve since upgraded to various Cheerio flavors such as the Limited Edition Banana Nut Cheerios (RIP, I hope they revive it!!) and Peach Cheerios. I’ve also upgraded from skim milk to non-dairy options like rice or almond milk because I’ve learned that dairy contributes to many of my acne issues, among other things.

    Anyway…since I’ve moved back to my parents’ house, I haven’t had to cook or prepare meals for myself as much as I was doing in school. The only meal I have to prepare nowadays is breakfast, if I even wake up early enough for it. Well, I’ve finished the cereal at home and I haven’t bought more yet so on Monday I decided to check out my latest favorite recipe website, The Minimalist Baker! I made their golden milk smoothie and I wanted to share how I modified it and the results!

    First though, I just want to say that this is inspired from Golden Milk Tea, also known as “Haldi Doodh” in Hindi which translates to “turmeric milk.” I’ve made turmeric milk before because it is supposed to help with menstrual pain, which I’ve been having quite a bit of since quitting the pill in April. It is quite effective in my experience so if you want to try it yourself, the recipe is very similar, minus a few ingredients that the smoothie calls for.

    The smoothie calls for a frozen banana, coconut/almond milk, ground turmeric, fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, black pepper, and ground nutmeg. It’s optional to add ground clove and cardamom and fresh carrot juice, but I didn’t have any of those. You can also top the smoothie off with hemp seeds, but I didn’t have those either.

    This is what I did have! (Not pictured is the almond milk)

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    I used one banana, although it wasn’t frozen so I added three ice cubes to the blender. Then I eye-balled the rest of the ingredients based on how much I like them. For example, I added about one dash of nutmeg because nutmeg is very strong so I don’t want it to overpower the drink. Conversely, I added three dashes of cinnamon because I love cinnamon. I was also a bit generous with the fresh ginger and black pepper because I love those ingredients!

    The recipe didn’t call for chia seeds but that’s what I had so I blended it in too!

    I made the smoothie again on Tuesday but this time I added fresh mango because I have a lot of it left to eat and I was hoping it would make the smoothie more golden. I feel like I ended up with a grey-ish, green smoothie though…

    It was delicious regardless though! I enjoy this recipe because it can be as sweet or as spicy as you want it, plus it’s a great way to start the day…probably better than Cheerios.

    Please let me know if you try the smoothie or the tea and what you think!

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Chickpea Sandwhich – Healthy Lunch On-The-Go

    This sandwich makes an excellent and satisfying vegan lunch! Plus, it takes only 20-30 min to prepare, and there is no cooking involved! I actually made it for the first time when I was on a time-crunch in the morning, and it was so easy to make. It’s essentially a vegan alternative to tuna sandwiches, which I love deeply but I don’t eat them anymore since my mom told me tuna has high mercury levels so I should refrain from eating it.

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    Aside from this being delicious and akin to a tuna sandwich, I also love it because there is no meat involved yet it is packed with protein! I haven’t been cooking meat lately because the last couple of times I did, most of it ended up in the trash. The meat was not as fresh as it was supposed to be. I have also been finding the preparation of meat severely unpleasant. I’ve since decided that I will primarily eat vegetarian when I am home and when I go out, I will consume meat if I want to. This has been a great solution thus far, but when I move back with my parents in a couple of weeks, I may consume more meat because my mom may prepare it for me. Otherwise, though, I’d like to eat more of a vegetarian diet when I’m responsible for my food.

    Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich Recipe – How I made it:

    I never follow recipes exactly, which may be why I have some mishaps sometimes. For the chickpea mixture though, I followed the recipe to a T except I used regular mayo instead of vegan mayo. This wasn’t due to anything other than being unsure where vegan mayo is in the grocery store and also pretty certain that it would be more expensive than if I just got a giant jar of regular mayo.

    Oh, I also squeezed some lemon and added garlic powder and basil to the mixture because it sounded like a good idea, and it was! So I guess I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…

    The second time I made the mixture is what is pictured above and I didn’t use lettuce because I didn’t have any at the time, but the first time I had kale so I used that in addition to tomatoes. I also didn’t add onions the second time I made it…if you like onions, add them! Otherwise, it’s not necessary. It’s delicious regardless!

    I’ve never made the garlic herb sauce they recommend to try, but I’d like to try it! There wasn’t any dill at the grocery store when I went though, hence why I added lemon and garlic to the mixture instead.

    Please let me know if you decide to try it let me know how it is!

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Becoming a Food Network Star

    This is the first self-care post!

    If you’ve read any of the three posts I’ve written since I returned from my hiatus, you would understand that I’ve been overwhelmed by heavy emotions and that I’ve been taking measures to improve my mood and well-being.  I’m currently on summer break and although I’m working two part-time jobs, they are jobs I can do from home and I have flexible hours so I have been able to ensure that I’m making self-care my priority!

    Methods that I’ve taken to improve my well-being include working out, writing, and cooking.

    I won’t be delving too much into my workout because I’m still trying to consistently go to the gym.  For two weeks I went twice a week and last week I went three times, so now I’m trying to go three times this week too.  I go for about 20-30 minutes…I want to eventually increase the sessions.  Otherwise, there’s nothing noteworthy about my workout (yet).

    I’m not going to explore the writing method because I share all my publishable writing on here; therefore, I will solely be exploring cooking in these posts!  If I start getting into another type of self-care habit, I will definitely share it with y’all but in the meantime…I’ll only be talking about food.

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