All posts by petersan

Picture of two glass trays with vegan lupin spread

Lupin seeds spread

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

The forgotten brother of the soya bean

Choosing to eat plant-based food simultaneously offers opportunities to break free from the unhealthy traditions of our traditional animal-based eating habits.

Lupin seeds, like soybeans and other beans, are part of the immense family of legumes.
Here is an interesting recipe for a preparation to garnish bread or toast that is both spreadable and sliceable thanks to the presence of coconut oil. In terms of flavour and texture, you can think of the result as a tasty alternative to cheese.
Personally, I believe the plant-based movement would benefit from stopping trying to imitate animal products. Because by doing so, it classifies itself as second-rate, as Ersatz, as if everything plant-based can only be an approximate copy of animal originals. While it is actually the other way around. When the first animals appeared on earth, it had long been covered by a lush, green carpet of plants. Plant-based cuisine has its own intrinsic value and immensely varied palette of flavours. It is time to rediscover and appreciate it.

What ingredients do you need?

  • 200 g dry or about 550 g ready-to-use cooked lupin seeds
  • 100 g extra virgin coconut oil
  • 6 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
  • 4 tablespoons of water or beans’ cooking liquid
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • also 1 tablespoon of white miso
  • and then 1 or half a teaspoon extra sea salt (optional)
  • extra black pepper (optional)

The pressure to imitate cheese at all costs has the side effect that often too much salt is used in recipes for so-called “cheese substitutes”. Lupin seeds from a jar are usually already pickled. Tamari and, to a lesser extent, miso also give extra salty flavour. That’s why the last extra whole or half teaspoon of sea salt is only included as an option, which I found in the original recipe for this spread. Moreover, I myself always use reduced-salt tamari.
It is in the interest of your health to keep your salt intake on the low side.

Preparation method

First method, with ready-to-use cooked lupin seeds

  • Drain the brine from the lupin seeds and rinse them under running water.
  • Melt the coconut oil au bain marie over hot water.
  • Add all the ingredients into a food processor with an S-shaped blade and grind to a smooth yet firm texture.
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper levels if necessary.
  • Transfer to a container that you can close with a lid and store in the fridge.

Second method, starting from dry lupin seeds

This is my favourite. The white-coloured, dry lupin seeds are preferable to pickled, ready-to-use seeds in terms of price and packaging situation.

  • Soak the 200 g lupin seeds for 24 h in very ample water. Their volume at least doubles.
  • Cook the soaked lupin seeds (without salt!) with some seaweed and savory for about 40 minutes in a pressure cooker. This yields about 550 g of cooked lupin seeds.
  • Scoop the cooked lupin seeds from the cooking liquid and let them cool.
  • Have some cooking liquid aside as an alternative to the tablespoons of water.
  • Melt the coconut oil au bain marie over hot water.
  • Add all the ingredients into a food processor with an S-shaped blade
  • Grind until smooth yet firm.
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper levels if necessary.
  • Tranfer into a container that you can close with a lid and store in the fridge.

Of course, you can also cook the lupin seeds in a classic saucepan with a lid until tender, but that takes much longer (up to an hour and a half!). A pressure cooker is much more economical to use. It is well worth the investment if you often eat beans. The lupin seeds change colour during the cooking process, turning a deep warm yellow.
This vegetable spread keeps for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

Taste test and health verdict

This will appeal to true cheese addicts. The result has a salty, slightly oily taste and is very filling. So this could be of interest to those having a hard time kicking off fatty, animal-based cheese.
The spread is high in protein and fat, making you feel satiated very quickly. Yet a caveat: it is the coconut oil that provides the rich fat content. Coconut oil is, quite wrongly, often praised to the skies in terms of nutritional value. But coconut oil, is made of almost exclusively saturated fats, of which it is best not to consume too much. Yes, coconut oil has a slightly better fatty acid profile than animal saturated fat. But beware, it is still better to use in moderation.
Thus, I would be more inclined to incorporate the lupine seeds into a spread with no or less added fats, along the lines of this tomato hummus.
Indeed, opting for plant-based eating offers opportunities to simultaneously break free from the unhealthy habits of our traditional animal-based eating traditions.
Picture of lupin seeds in brine and lupin flowers

Lupin and lupin seeds

Lupin flowers are sometimes known because of the brightly coloured red to purple over yellow to white torch-shaped flowers planted in gardens as ornamental flowers. In agriculture, lupin is grown as a so-called green manure crop. Because the plant absorbs nitrogen from the air and stores it in its roots. Thus, it enriches the soil. Lupin flour is made from the seeds, which is then often wasted as animal feed. For human consumption, you usually find pre-cooked lupin seeds in brine in jars in the trade. The dry seeds are harder to find. Nevertheless, there is a hopeful renewed interest in growing this valuable plant species.
As already mentioned at the bottom of this recipe for tomato hummus, legumes are good meat substitutes. With the caveat that their amino acid profile is not the same as that of animal products. Their lower levels of the amino acid methionine you can compensate for by simply eating cereal products. Legumes and cereals complement each other perfectly. And you don’t have to eat them together in the same meal.
Lupin seeds and soybeans, however, are an exception to the above rule. They are very well balanced in terms of amino acid profile on their own.
Lupin seeds are very rich in protein: some 35 g per 100 g of dry seeds. But of course you don’t eat these seeds dry. Cooked lupin still contains 15 g of protein per 100 g of ready-to-use product.

Lupin seed spread, per 100 g of product

Values are approximate and without the extra teaspoon of salt, which is optional.

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
949 kJ/227 kcal 9,8 g 1,1 g 15,5 g 11,2 g 13,7 g 3,0 g 0,13 g

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Picture of a cup of hummus with tomato

Tomato Hummus

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Pulses with some extra punch

Chickpeas are perhaps the most popular type of pulses. They are widely eaten around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. They form the basis of hummus, a creamy puree eaten as a dip or as a sandwich spread.
For classic hummus, cooked chickpeas are ground into a smooth mixture with sesame paste (tahini), olive oil, some spices, salt and lemon juice. But you don’t have to stick to that one classic recipe. The variations are endless.
Below is a simple recipe for tomato hummus. The dried tomato gives a deeper colour and also a bit more punch to the hummus. However, you could just as easily use other vegetables instead of tomato.

The ingredients for about 600g of tomato hummus

  • 460 g jarred or canned chickpeas or 200 g dry chickpeas
  • 45 g dried tomato or about 80 g dried tomato marinated in oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • a teaspoon of curcuma
  • a generous amount of black pepper
  • optionally fresh green herbs such as coriander, parsley or chives
  • maybe a few tablespoons of water to make the end result creamier

This is how to prepare the hummus

First method: starting from dry tomato and dry chickpeas

I personally prefer to work with dry chickpeas and dry tomatoes in bulk. This is much more economic in terms of price and avoids unnecessary packaging to be wasted.
Taste the dried tomato to estimate the salt content. Loose, dried tomatoes often already contain a good deal of salt. In that case, you can add the soaking water of the tomatoes to the hummus for which no extra salt is needed.

  • Chop the dried tomatoes into pieces.
  • Soak them overnight in about 150 ml of water. They will double in volume and weight.
  • Keep the tomato pieces and their soaking water.
  • Soak the chickpeas for 24 h in plenty of water. They also double in volume and weight.
  • Drain and briefly rinse the chickpeas.
  • Bring them to the boil in 3 to 4 times their volume of water, without salt.
  • Scoop off the foam floating on top with a skimmer until the boiling water remains more or less clear.
  • Then close the lid of the steamer pan.
  • Cook them under pressure for about 35 minutes.
  • Let the chickpeas cool.
  • Put the chickpeas, the tomatoes with their soaking water and the other ingredients into a food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Blend them into a creamy, orange puree. Add a little extra water if necessary.
  • Divide the hummus over glass jars and store in the fridge.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can also cook the chickpeas until tender in a conventional pan with a lid. Then count on a cooking time of one hour.

Second method: dried tomatoes in oil and pre-cooked canned chickpeas

You can also use dried, or rather semi-dried tomatoes from glass jars. These are dried tomatoes that are usually preserved in sometimes spicy oil and are therefore a bit more moist. Taste again for to estimate their salt content. You don’t need to pre-soak these marinated tomatoes first. Just drain them briefly.
Canned or jarred chickpeas, in liquid, are already pre-cooked. You don’t need the liquid from the packaging. You can cook them for an extra five to 10 minutes if necessary.

  • Chop the tomatoes.
  • Drain the liquid from the chickpeas.
  • Cook the chickpeas in water for another 10 minutes if necessary.
  • If so, leave the chickpeas to cool.
  • Put the chickpeas, the tomatoes with their soaking water and the other ingredients into a food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Blend them into a creamy, orange puree. Add a little extra water if necessary.
  • Divide the hummus over glass jars and store in the fridge.

The hummus thus obtained will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge.

Are chickpeas full-fledged meat substitutes?

Chickpeas alone? The answer is no.
Cutting meat and other animal products from your menu and replacing them with legumes alone? Read below to find out what to consider.
Good legumes include:

  • Beans of all shapes and colours
  • Lentils in all possible shapes and colours
  • Lupin seeds
  • Soybeans and products derived from them such as tofu and tempeh

Soybeans and lupin seeds contain a pretty complete amino acid profile that is quite close to the amino acid profile of animal proteins.
In contrast, other beans and lentils are richer in the essential amino acid lysine, but contain little methionine. If you were to eat really only beans and lentils, it could potentially lead to imbalances.
Some examples of good grains, provided they are as complete (whole grain) as possible are :

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Unicorn
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Millet

Good pseudo-grains are:

  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth

Within this group of grains and pseudo-grains, it is quinoa that has the most balanced and complete amino acid profile.
The cereals and pseudo-grains, with the exception of quinoa, actually have a good amount of methionine. However, their lysine content is low compared to animal protein. Right opposite to legumes!
So legumes and cereals complement each other perfectly. So does this recipe’s hummus make a good pair with wholemeal bread, for example.

What vegetable protein do I eat best?

Apply the following two golden rules:

  • Eat soy and lupine products and/or quinoa liberally and regularly.
  • Eat grains and pseudo-grains combined with legumes.

There’s no need to combine grains and pulses in one and the same meal.

Tomato hummus, approximately per 100g product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
781 kJ/187 kcal 21,3 g 4,5 g 8,9 g 0,9 g 7,2 g 5,5 g ?

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Picture of a chocolate spread with azuki beans

Azuki beans chocospread

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Beans are super versatile

How do you get kids to eat beans? Preferably as early and as regularly as possible. In the recipe below, azuki beans are processed in an unusual way to make a delicious chocolate-flavoured spread. This is much better than the commercial, usually excessively sweet chocolate spreads that are high in sugar, fat and also often contain cow’s milk.
Azuki beans can be found in the organic section of regular supermarkets or at organic shops and organic supermarkets. They are small, red-brown beans with a white spot in the middle. They are native to China or Japan.
Azuki beans are very healthy and have a slightly sweet flavour when cooked.

This is what you need

To fill two glass jars of about 225ml capacity, take:

  • 100g dry azuki beans
  • 7 soft dates (mazafati or medjoul)
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • savory
  • some dried seaweed, such as sea lettuce for example
  • a tiny pinch of sea salt

This is how to prepare them

  • Soak the azuki beans in plenty of water for 24 hours.
  • Then pour off the soaking water and rinse them well.
  • Cook the azuki beans until tender in unsalted water with some seaweed and savory.
  • Let cool.
  • Scoop the cooked beans, cocoa, pinch of salt and pitted dates into a food processor with an S-shaped blade.
  • Mash to a smooth paste. If necessary, scrape the sides of the cup occasionally.
  • Spoon the chocolate paste into jars and store in the fridge.

All done!

How to cook azuki beans?

We’ve started off with 100 grams of dry azuki beans in this recipe. Dry beans that you can buy in bulk store easily and are low in packaging. After soaking, the weight of the beans has doubled to almost 200 grams. After cooking, the wet bean mass weighs about 350 grams, including the seaweed and bean sprouts. So you could also work with pre-cooked canned azuki beans for this recipe. In that case, take about 350 grams of canned azuki beans.
Important: always cook dry beans without adding salt. Otherwise, the skin will harden and it will be very difficult to cook the beans until tender.
Take as the volume for the water about 3 to 4 times the volume of the (dry) beans.
Cook the azuki beans for about 1 hour on a gentle heat until tender in a classic pan with a lid. Scoop away any foam that floats to the top with a skimmer until the water remains almost clear. Then add some savory and some seaweed such as sea lettuce. This provides extra minerals and you hardly taste it in the end result.
I always cook the beans in a high pressure cooker for the sake of saving time and energy. Bring the beans to the boil and leave the lid loose on the pan for the first few minutes to then easily scoop away the foam here too. When the water remains reasonably clear, close the cooker and bring under pressure.
30-35 minutes of pressure cooking is enough to cook the azukis.

The taste test and health verdict

This naturally sweetened chocolate spread is rich in fibre yet contains a lot of valuable protein thanks to the azuki beans and cocoa. Low in fat, this spread is an ideal way to get children to eat legumes. And as an adult, you can continue to enjoy that heavenly experience on a slice of toasted wholemeal bread, completely plant-based and without the harmful side effects of the overly sugary and nutritionally inferior chocolate spreads on the market.
Moreover, you can also use this chocolate spread as a top or interlayer for pastries.

Choose ethical cocoa

Cocoa, like chocolate and also coffee, can be considered a luxury product or even an occasional pleasure food originating from tropical regions. Therefore, choose cocoa of ethical origin preferably. Look for brands, labels and certification that offer real guarantees that no child labour was involved. Because some of those labels look promising, but in practice mean little or nothing.
The much-used UTZ label is a telling example.

Choco paste made from azuki beans and dates, per 100 grams of product:

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
752 kJ/180 kcal 42,8 g 20,7 g 1,0 g 0,4 g 6,1 g 6,2 0,06 g

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Picture of a square bowl with nut balls

New Moon balls with nuts

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Nuts and seeds as part of a healthy diet

These little balls are reminiscent of the New Moon. That is the time, when the moon, at the beginning of a new cycle, is completely dark and unshone by the sun. You can easily render the surface of the balls resulting from this recipe all round and smooth.
In fact, this recipe relies on a classic combination from healthy plant-based cooking. Nuts are combined with dried fruits and one or more flavourings or spices. You could build on this recipe by using, instead of the almonds and dates featured in this recipe, other nuts and dried fruits that you have available at the time. This way, you learn to be free and creative with your food, regardless of the rigidity of sticking to recipes.
In any case, this combination is very successful.

What ingredients do you need?

This is incredibly simple. Just three things, in the following proportions:

  • 75 g peeled (white) almonds
  • 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 200 g pitted medjoul or mazafati dates (about 18 pieces)

This is how to make these healthy and energy-rich snacks:

  • Cut the pitted dates into small pieces
  • Add the almonds and cocoa in a food processor with an S-shaped blade and grind them finely
  • Add the date pieces and grind further until a chocolate-coloured dough forms
  • First put the mixture in the fridge for a few hours
  • Then remove it from the fridge, cut the dough with a sharp knife first into four large, equal pieces
  • Cut each piece into 4 to 5 smaller, equal pieces
  • Roll these pieces between your clean fingertips into perfectly smooth, round black balls


How “healthy” are these almond balls?

There is no refined or added sugar in these balls. Definitely a plus. It is the sugar naturally found in the dates and the cocoa that make these balls so tantalisingly delicious.
Both almonds and dates are rich in fibre, which aids healthy digestion. Almonds contain fats and vegetable proteins. The fats from the ingredients of this recipe contain very little saturated fats. However, the fats and especially the (natural) sugars in these snacks combined do make them very high in energy, so it is best to consume them in moderation.
It all depends on your physical activity. If you are a regular (endurance) athlete, these little balls will be a great fuel for your higher energy consumption.

What nuts are also healthy alternatives to this recipe?

It is a good idea to also add a regular portion to your daily meals from the following nuts and seeds:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

And to that list you can also add peanuts, although botanically speaking, these are not nuts, but legumes. These pistachios are sometimes wrongly considered as less healthy, but there is no scientific evidence for this, quite the contrary.
Eat your nuts preferably unsalted. Many salted nuts like salted peanuts and almonds, contain far too much table salt, just like potato crisps.

How big is a healthy portion of nuts?

Thirty grams of nuts, or two tablespoons of nut butter per day is a good indication of what constitutes a balanced nut consumption for an adult. By the way, nut spreads are a good base to use in sauces and soups and make them creamy.

Does eating nuts make me gain weight?

Without going into detail here, scientific research shows that it does not. Unlike animal fats such as butter and lard or vegetable edible oil, nuts do not seem to lead to significant weight gain. You can consult the scientific sources for this in the chapter “Nuts and Seeds” in the book: “How not to Die” by American physician Dr Michael Greger. That book is an eye-opener regarding the benefits of plant-based eating.

New Moon balls, per 100g product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
1445 kJ/345 kcal 59,4 g 43,5 g 14,4 g 2,0 g 8,7 g 11,3 0,05 g

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Picture of a kaki cocoa pudding

Kaki cocoa pudding

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

One plus one equals two for once

I have yet to come across a dessert that is easier to make than this chocolate-flavoured pudding. It is 100 % plant-based, consists of just two ingredients and also fits into a completely raw diet.
Kaki fruit or persimmons appear in our shops around the end-of-year festivities. They look like large, bulbous orange tomatoes and also feel completely like tomatoes, both on the inside and outside. You can also find them in organic shops.

What ingredients do you need?

Could it be any simpler?

  • 7 ripe persimmons
  • 7 tablespoons of cocoa powder, unsweetened

For each kaki fruit, use one leveled tablespoon of cocoa.
I personally prefer raw cocoa powder.
Seven persimmons will yield a total volume of one litre of pudding. So depending on how much you want to prepare, you can adjust the number of kakis and spoonfuls of cocoa.
Picture of three kakis and cocoa

This is how to prepare them

  • Peel the kaki fruits
  • Cut them into chunks
  • Place them in the bowl of a food processor with an S-shaped blade and grind them into a syrupy liquid
  • Add the cocoa and blend some more

Then pour the mixture into the mould or moulds of your choice. Wet the mould before filling, that way you can easily release the pudding from the mould after it has set.
Let the pudding set in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving. It’s almost unbelievable: you don’t need any binding agent to give this pudding its firmness. Magical!
All done!

You can decorate the pudding with a variety of toppings. Here are a few ideas:

  • grated coconut
  • almond paste or peanut butter
  • fresh or thawed berries
  • raw cocoa nibs

Here’s another idea for a sauce based on cashews and chopped hazelnuts.
Additional tip: You can also use this pudding as a filling for a no-bake cake base made with ground nuts and dry fruits. This way you get a very original and light chocolate cake.

The taste test and health verdict

This chocolate pudding is very much to everyone’s liking and is super easy to digest.
You have the enjoyment of chocolate flavour without the drawbacks of classic chocolate preparations that often require additional sugar or sweeteners, and you also don’t get the fats so typical of chocolate.
Tell me: is our society now collectively caught in a trip of chocolate addiction or not? I think so. Chocolate has evolved from a luxury product to something that is considered normal to be available daily. While cocoa undoubtedly contains interesting minerals, chocolate, especially black chocolate, enjoys an exaggerated status in terms of health it doesn’t really deserve at all. Best only to consume it with caution and in limited quantities.

Kaki Cocoa Pudding, per 100 g product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
344,6 kJ/82,3 kcal 21,7 g 12,6 g 0,9 g 0,5 g 1,6 g 5,6 g 0,002 g

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Picture of square raw carrot cakes

No Bake Carrot Cake

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Raw spicy carrot cake with nuts and coconut

Admittedly, this carrot cake does take some labour to pull off. However, the result more than pays off. This full raw and vegan carrot cake is full of healthy ingredients and tastes downright heavenly and very refined. With its warming spices and energy from the nuts, dates and root vegetables, this cake suits the autumn and winter season very well.

What ingredients do you need?

For the cake

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, approx 190 g in total, grated
  • 120 g almonds
  • 80 g oatmeal
  • 8 to 10 large medjoul or mazafati dates (about 130 g, pitted)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
  • 1 quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 quarter teaspoon ginger powder
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 70 g grated coconut
  • a generous splash of plant milk (up to about 100 ml)
  • optional: a teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 2 to 3 medjoul or mazafati dates
  • 120 g cashew nuts
  • one tablespoon of sesame paste (tahini)
  • 80 to 120 ml of vegetable milk
  • 15 g walnuts or pecans
  • optional: a teaspoon of vanilla extract

This is how to make this delicious carrot cake

A few small preparations:

  • Soak the walnuts in cold water for a few hours or overnight
  • Drain them and rinse away the bitterness
  • Soak the cashews for 15 minutes or so in warm water, or an hour or two in cold water
  • Drain them and rinse briefly
  • Open the dates to pit them, then cut them into pieces and soak them in warm water for about 5-10 minutes
  • Drain the soaking water
  • Roast the almonds for about 15 minutes on a sheet of baking paper in a preheated oven at 160°C, stirring once halfway through
  • Grate the carrots finely
  • Prepare a sheet of baking paper at the bottom of a tray with raised edges of approx 20 cm x 20 cm

This is how to make the cake come true:

  • Place the carrots, almonds, spices and salt in a food processor fitted with an S-shaped blade and grind to a coarse mixture
  • Add the dates and grind further
  • Then add the grated coconut and continue to blend
  • Pause occasionally and scrape down what sticks to the sides of the food processor to get a homogeneous mixture
  • Add the vegan milk little by little to get a slightly moister and finer mixture
  • Pat the raw dough thus obtained onto the baking sheet in the tray, press it flat all around and smoothen
  • Then add the cashews, the three remaining dates, the sesame paste and the vegan milk into the cleaned bowl of the food processor and grind until you get a creamy consistency
  • Spoon the cream thus obtained onto the carrot cake in the tray and spread uniformly and smooth
  • Pulse the walnuts coarsely in the food processor and finally sprinkle them over the cream layer as a garnish

Your delicious carrot cake is ready. Put it away in the fridge for a few hours to become firmer.
Picture of a cutout from a carrot cake

Some tips and experiences

Grinding the carrot cake dough is the trickiest job. But once that job is done, your cake is also pretty much done.
Toasting the almonds is not really necessary, but it results in a boost in flavour.
When toasting the almonds, keep a close eye on your oven. The almonds may turn a little light brown, but be careful not to burn them. After all, every oven is unique.
By placing a sheet of baking paper in the tray, you can easily lift the cake out of the mould afterwards to cut it up. You might as well make the cake in a round tray.
Due to the high nut and date content, this cake is very high in energy. A small piece per person is enough to make you feel satiated quickly.
This cake will easily keep for up to 4-5 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
Enjoy to the fullest!

Did you like this cake topper? Here is another recipe using carrots in a sweet-tasting dessert, without nuts.

What is the importance of nuts for health?

A small portion of nuts daily supports your health. Nuts generally contain healthy oils and also some plant proteins. The oil they contain does make them very high in energy. So consume nuts regularly, preferably daily, but in moderation.
Eating a portion of nuts daily is one of the recommendations from the “Daily Dozen”. This is a set of twelve plant foods that have been objectively scientifically proven benefits to support a healthy and long life. The “Daily Dozen” were developed by US physician Dr Michael Greger. He has made spreading scientific information about healthy plant-based eating to his life’s goal. Read about it in detail on his website This website is full of scientifically substantiated tips and information on how to eat 100% plant-based food in a healthy way. I highly recommend!

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Raw cocoa bullets with dates and brazil nuts

Raw cocoa bullets with dates and Brazil nuts

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Long live honest food

This country has a tradition of chocolate bonbons, or popularly known as the Belgian pralines. These things can be bought in all decent shopping streets, often in specialised shops. They come in endless colours and shapes. The duty-free zones in our airports are almost paved with them, as it were. These chocolates have a kind of luxury image. Many tourists take them as souvenirs. And even at parties, birthdays or other special occasions, they are among the standard gifts offered.
And what if they were a well-organised scam? Those things are full of added sugar, fats and dairy products. In any case, what you pay for with your good money does not benefit your health. In reality, it is pretty inferior food that is sometimes sold pretty expensive. At best, it is one stage on the highway to sugar addiction and diabetes.
So should you completely miss out on the typical taste of these chocolate treats?
Well no! On the contrary. Following my personal opinion on Belgian chocolates, here comes the good news:
With dairy-free, pure natural ingredients and no added sugars, you conjure up chocolate balls in a jiffy that are so delicious that pralines soon become a vague and uncomfortable memory.

What ingredients do you need?

  • 75 g brazil nuts
  • 140 g juicy medjoul or mazafati dates
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 15 g (about three tablespoons) ground coconut
  • 5 g (one and a half tablespoons) (raw) cocoa powder
  • about 20 g of cocoa nibs or raw cocoa beans

This is how to prepare them

  • Grind the raw cocoa beans or cocoa nibs finely enough in a food processor with S-shaped blade and keep them aside
  • Add all the other ingredients together in the food processor and grind into a coarse, cohesive dough
  • Roll 12 to 16 balls of the dough
  • Then roll the balls through the ground cocoa flakes until they are coated all around

There you are, all done!
If you roll more than 12 balls, you may need some extra ground cocoa bean, as the total surface area of the balls will be larger than for 12 pieces.
This recipe yields about 258 g.

The taste test

These cocoa balls taste downright heavenly and have a well-balanced, rich sweet flavour. The outer layer of cocoa flakes gives them a pleasant, gently bitter crunch. In my opinion, they stand head and shoulders above classic pralines or chocolate bonbons in terms of taste and sophistication.

The health verdict

Brazil nuts contain healthy fats, a good amount of protein (14 g per 100 g of nuts) and are unique in the nutritional world for their high content of the mineral selenium. We need selenium as an essential micronutrient. One brazil nut a day and you basically meet your selenium requirement. There is no added or refined sugar in these raw bullets, nor milk, butter or added oil. The dates provide the sweet taste and, on top of that, they add a nice content of fibre and a whole range of minerals like copper and potassium as an extra. This is healthy snacking as it really should be.

Cocoa bullets with brazil nuts and dates, per 100 g product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
437 kJ/849 kcal 51,6 g 38,0 g 27,4 g 10,0 g 7,83 g 6,0 g 0,2 g

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Picture of a wholegrain bread with soy

Wholemeal bread with soy

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Bread with extra plant power

Bread. It’s so ingrained in the food cultures of Europe, Africa, the Near East and India. According to some currents in the food world, it’s not such a healthy food after all. You would be better off soaking and then cooking cereal grains rather than eating them in a rather dry, baked form like bread.
However, bread has unbeatable advantages in terms of taste and practical considerations.
There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread filling an entire room, is there! In our childhood, when we came home from the bakery, the irresistible outer slices would disappear into our mouths before the bread had even reached its final destination.
Besides, bread is easy and practical. Once the bread is baked, you always have something on hand that, with a few appropriate toppings, makes for a satisfying meal in no time.

Wrapless and circular

I’ve baked bread throughout my adult and independent life. Most often with yeast, more rarely with sourdough, and occasionally varieties without yeast or sourdough. There have been ups and downs. Depending on my determination to make healthy bread myself, for less money and with better ingredients.

In recent years, I’ve also started making my own soy milk, from soy beans. This initiative was partly motivated by my dissatisfaction with soy milk cartons. Because I wanted to drink soy milk without packaging. I got the hang of it, but I had to find uses for the large quantities of soy pulp resulting from the soy milk manufacturing process. I just couldn’t throw them away! This meant I had to set up a circular process: the waste or residue from one process becomes the raw material for another process.

One of the results is soy bread: an almost wholemeal bread that contains soy pulp as an additive. The bread recipe below, meanwhile, has been perfected and is worth sharing.
What’s more, I’ve learnt to appreciate the manual kneading of dough as a very soothing, almost meditative process, which has made me (re)discover the importance and pleasure of working with my hands. And all this in an increasingly digital world! I used to dread it and think it was a waste of time.
Finally, bringing extra protein to bread is a good thing if you’re making your way through life as a vegan.
Two hands holding a loaf of bread

What ingredients are needed for a loaf weighing around 680g?

  • up to 100 g soya pulp
  • 350 g organic 75% wheat flour (T80)
  • 50 g organic wholemeal rye flour
  • one teaspoon sea salt
  • one teaspoon whole cane sugar
  • and one tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 200 to 210 ml water
  • half a packet of fresh baker’s yeast (about 12g)

If you don’t have or don’t want to use rye flour, take a total of 400g of 75% wheat flour.
Instead of fresh baker’s yeast, you can also use dried baker’s yeast. In that case, take the quantity for 500g of flour.

Here’s how to make this delicious bread yourself

  • Mix the yeast in the (lukewarm) water and leave to stand for a while.
  • In a large mixing bowl, bring together all the dry ingredients and the soy pulp, and mix, with a fork or whisk.
  • Pour the water with the yeast into the dry mixture.
  • Mix the resulting dough with a fork and then knead by hand for about five minutes.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, place it at the bottom of the bowl and leave it to rest and rise for an hour to an hour and a half, covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Then remove the leavened ball of dough from the bowl, and now knead more intensely for about 10 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into the shape of your choice, or place it on the bottom of a baking tin lined with greaseproof paper.
  • Let rise again for an hour and a half to two hours, covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Preheat the oven to 210°C (200°C in a hot air oven).
  • Insert the bread into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  • After baking, remove the bread from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

This will give you a firm, semi-complete loaf that is both tasty on its own and delicious toasted.
Kneading techniques have been the subject of a wealth of literature. I’m not an expert on the subject. During the second kneading phase, I press the dough flat each time with forward arm movements. I then fold it into a square and press it flat again, for a total of about 10 minutes.
The dough should not stick to your fingers. If it does, it’s too wet and it’s better to add more flour. Sprinkle it over your kneading surface and the ball of dough.

Is bread good for your health?

Rather than rejecting bread by definition, it’s worth looking at the circumstances:

  • Who eats the bread?
  • What type of bread are we exactly talking about?

For physically active people or children and young people in an active growth phase, healthy bread can be consumed without reservation. Classic wholemeal or semi-whole wheat bread contains mainly carbohydrates. These provide fuel for our bodies. It also contains a good proportion of plant proteins, including gluten. It also contains a good deal of fibre and minerals.
Wholemeal (or semi-complete) bread is therefore suitable for people who consume a lot of energy. People who take little exercise, or those who are older and have a metabolism that consumes less energy, would do well to eat bread in moderation to avoid obesity in the long term.

Besides, bread and bread are two things. In principle, you only need four ingredients to make bread: wholemeal (or semi-wholemeal) flour from one or more cereals, water, a leavening agent such as yeast and a little good quality salt. That’s all there is to it. Most industrially-produced breads in supermarkets contain up to 20 different ingredients, including sugar. You can often see this on the labels. These ingredients don’t make the bread healthier, but they do make it sweeter and keep it longer on the shelves. What a classic fresh warm bakery uses in its bread is, frankly, often hard to guess. So buy your bread from a health food store or make it yourself, as in the recipe above. Use only good quality essential ingredients, preferably of organic origin.

Almost wholemeal soya bread, per 680g loaf

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
1671 kJ/2191 kcal 314 g 1,3 g 22,5 g 3,1 g 74,3 g 51,80 g 5,00 g

Almost wholemeal soya bread, per 100g of product

Energy Carboh. Sugars Fat Sat. Fat Protein Fibre Salt
246 kJ/322 kcal 46 g 0,2 g 3,3 g 0,45 g 11,0 g 7,6 g 0,7 g

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Picture of a fvegan ruit crumble

Warm fruit crumble

Yoga Kitchen – Simple, healthy, and plant-based

Autumn sonata with seasonal fruit, oatmeal and walnuts

A very quick and easy dessert, ideal for autumn or winter.
This is when freshly harvested fruit and nuts are available in abundance.
Warmed fruit delivers a subtle palette of flavours and aromas. The spices not only add a touch of flavour but also aid digestion. The recipe is 100% plant-based with no added refined sugar.

What ingredients do you need?

For the fruit marinade:

  • 4 pieces of seasonal fruit
  • one tablespoon lemon juice
  • a teaspoon of cinnamon (or more, depending on taste)
  • another half tablespoon of maple syrup
  • Optional: half a teaspoon of ground cardamom

For the crumble pastry

  • 120 g walnuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts or a mixture
  • 100 g rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons heatable oil (for example sunflower oil or coconut oil (melted))
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Sea salt to taste

Here’s how you can do it:

In a nutshell, it’s very simple:

  • You mix the fruit with the marinade ingredients and spread it out on the bottom of a baking tray.
  • Then you mix the crumble ingredients and place this mixture as a second layer on top of the fuit layer.
  • Then bake in the oven.

Proceed step by step as follows:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 170°C with hot air circulation)
  • Cut the fruit into pieces
  • Mix the fruit with the marinade: lemon juice, cinnamon, maple syrup and optionally cardamom
  • Spread the fruit mixture in the bottom of a mould or on a baking tray and set aside
  • Coarsely chop the oats and walnuts in a food processor fitted with an S-shaped blade
  • Add the oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt and blend
  • Add the crumble batter in a second layer over the fruit in the baking tray
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes in the preheated oven

And there you have it! The crumble can be eaten chilled but is best warm. You can serve it with a generous spoonful of vegan cream if you like.

Is it better to eat fruit raw?

Raw or not raw: it’s one of those debates in the world of food that can often be the subject of a veritable religion :

  • For raw food fans, it’s good to eat lots of fruit and heating above 40°C is taboo.
  • For followers of Ayurveda and macrobiotics, steaming or cooking fruit is preferable. According to these prescriptions, you are better off eating fruit in moderation, and separately from other foods.

Well, the truth will lie, as it often does, somewhere in the middle.
My advice is to find out how you digest fruit best. In any case, heating fruit comes at the expense of some of its nutritional value. This has been scientifically measured. In fact, some vitamins (such as vitamin C, which is naturally abundant in fruit) are degraded when heated.
The shorter the food is heated and the gentler the cooking technique, the greater the remaining nutritional value. Mild cooking techniques are therefore better.

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Yoga class at the workplace

Mastering overstimulation thanks to yoga

Distraction versus relaxation

The yoga class at noon was exceptionally popular that day. All the yoga mats had been handed out, and even the welfare officer in charge who initiated the class had passed his mat on to another colleague.
And just then, another staff member appeared at the doorway, stepping into the class for the first time. When she gathered from the situation that the room was egg-full and no more mat available, she made preparations to turn right around and walk out.
This is sometimes how it goes when you take a step towards something new. As soon as something resembling an obstacle crosses your path, the creature of habit in us is quick to give up immediately.

A pathway to more serenity

The yoga teacher greeted her and the colleague confided to him: “I have been thinking of joining this class for some time, and today I felt like I really need it …”. The deal was quickly struck when the teacher also exceptionally made his yoga mat available.
About an hour later, after a yoga series of concentration, physical and breathing efforts, ending with a final relaxation in flat rest, the staff member in question spontaneously came back and shared her experience.
“We had exceptionally unexpected and demanding situations in our department this morning, and I really thought the building was going to come crashing down on me figuratively. I had to do something to regain my composure. However, I had my doubts because I had no idea exactly what kind of yoga this was going to be. And lo and behold: during that final relaxation, as I lay there on that mat on the floor, it was as if in the depths of me, in all serenity, an agenda was being drawn up automatically. And so I saw step by step how I could resolve this chaotic and unexpected situation. Everything fell into place. Thank you for this hour!”
Realxation after a yoga class

Putting overstimulation on hold

This personal testimony shows very clearly one of the facets of an afternoon yoga class at work. Much has to do with the impact of the nature of professional activities. Many employees find themselves in positions where outside requests and workloads are particularly erratic. This is accompanied by moments of acute overstimulation, which puts and keeps their mental levels in a state of fight, flight or freeze. Such a state is unsuitable for calm, strategic and creative planning or solution seeking.
So it comes down to getting into a different state mentally. And an hour of yoga is just perfect for that.

Returning to yourself

Living in this world inevitably presupposes interaction with the outside world. Energetically speaking, that interaction is healthy if it is balanced. That means you don’t give away more of your energy than you take back or receive. Let that be exactly one of the pitfalls in the modern office environment. Your energy goes where you focus your attention. And if you sit for eight hours permanently focused on permanently changing outside situations or screens with files that also exist outside yourself, then you are bleeding energy. One solution may be to take regular micro-breaks, aiming to bring your attention away from the outside back inside yourself. Take a slow and deep inhale, and then, exhale completely. Listen to how your body is feeling. Mindfully drink a glass of water or eat a healthy snack. Or you could do some mindful moving by stretching your limbs. And then your are ready to bring your attention and energy out again. In a never ending, swinging back-and-forth motion, like a pendulum. Those micro-breaks keeps your battery running smoother and longer, so to speak. Even in these situations, an hour of mindful yoga at noon has the function of a reset button.
Yoga at the workplace

Is distraction a solution for those seeking relaxation?

It is a common misconception that if you are in need of relaxation, you can just seek some distraction. The whole social media and smartphones with their endless supply of apps and games online are floating on that false assumption as well as addiction mechanisms. All you achieve with aimless scrolling on your phone is that you just now addict your mind to overstimulation even more. It may not seem like it, but in fact you are fleeing from a situation, instead of facing it and just resting for a while and then resolving it purposefully and creatively. Because – again – you are giving away your attention, and thus your energy, to the voracious little screen of your phone.
No wonder you feel your energy drain and are left feeling empty.

Me-time is essential

A good strategy to rebalance and unwind your mental level is by purposefully moving to the level of your physical body with your attention and senses. By doing something purely physical, moving, taking deeper breaths. Actively and consciously engaging with the unique physical body in which we spend our lives on earth. After all, as human beings we are genetically programmed to function in a physical body. Entrepreneur Chloe Macintosh, who herself made a career jump and started doing more body-oriented work, put it very wisely in the following way in a podcast:

We humans are born in a body and we are also completely set up to function in a physical body. So if you don’t spend at least two hours every day consciously engaging with your body, why on earth did you come to this planet?”

Yoga is ideally suited for that shift towards the body . Because it combines three ingredients, three efforts: mental focus, breathing and physical activity. It blends them together into a unique and powerful mix that guides you into a totally different mental state after the practice. More calm, balanced and gentle than ever before.

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Yoga at work

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