Archive for Plant-based health

Discover how to renew your health with plant-based food

Changing the way you eat could seem harder than it actually is in practice.

That’s why I’ve created Vegan Cuisine. A gathering place for the curious, the converted and those of you ready to dive into a plant-powered lifestyle.


I’m Kate Broughton, lifestyle coach + plant-based educator.IMG_0635 (Small)

If you’re ready to make changes to your life, big or small I’m here to guide you.

So you can be confident taking on new habits, new ways of eating and living.

I help you put your desires into action.

Click here to find out more …

When the shizz hits the fan

Let’s call last week The Week of the Back.

A lower back strain of gargantuan proportions rendered me bedridden and in pain. It was not pretty. But for the sweet ministrations of my family and friends, it was a miserable week (ok, the woosy effect of the pain killers wasn’t all bad).

When the sh-t hits the fan in your physical self, it makes you bless every moment that you are well. It’s a wake up call. A call to act in a new way.

When Lee was diagnosed with high cholesterol, he and his wife Heather got right on it and moved to a low-fat plant-based diet.


Eating a plant-based diet gave them peace of mind.

When our bodies start to manifest changes, be it high blood pressure, weight gain or rising cholesterol, it’s the perfect time to act. Don’t be lulled into thinking this is a normal part of aging – it’s not! But where do you start?table set up (Small)

  • Be clear about your goal. If you truly want results you’ll be motivated to make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle.
  • Remember there is a tonne of plant-based food that you already love. Think of your favourite vegetable curry, steamed new potatoes and salad or a berry smoothie. Concentrate on what you can eat rather than on what you can’t.
  • You’re human and you’ve been graced with the ability to shift your perception. Build that mental muscle and see this change in diet as a life-giving adventure.
  • Be armed. Come and cook with me! Now is a good time to seek out high value information and support. Read The China Study and The Starch Solution for starters. These books blew me away and gave me the confidence that we were getting all the nutrients we need.
  • It’s about practice not perfection.

If changing your diet feels overwhelming make one change, then another, then another …

Do you have a story of making positive changes to your diet? Be it tiny steps or a massive overhaul I’d love to hear it!

Related Posts:

How to eat without meat

How to replace dairy

Cooking without oil

Would you like more recipes and tips for your kitchen? Click here

How to replace dairy?

You can be forgiven if giving up dairy is hard for you. IT IS HARD!

Yoghurt, ice cream and milkshakes are the summery fun memories of childhood; with brie and a bit of stinky blue keeping adults in reach of the cheese board.

Dairy foods are everywhere.

In most households and schools, this food group is considered completely normal and necessary.

But is it?

We are after all the only species to drink another’s mother milk. Hop over to Why I Don’t Drink Milk for my take on the subject.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the sharp savouriness of cheese and the creaminess of cream. Here’s how I create that using only plants.

Berry tofu yoghurt (Small)

  • “No not the parmesan!” It did once seem the essential companion to all things Italian. Now I grind equal part savoury yeast with walnuts or almonds and a little rock salt. (Note: that’s savoury yeast NOT Brewer’s – you’ll find it at the health food store.)
  • You’ll be wondering what you ever saw in that old cheese sauce. Check out this Creamy Leek Sauce alternative.
  • I do confess yoghurt was the last dairy to leave the nest for me. Now I’m more than happy with blended fruit on cereal. Try orange & banana; mango & pineapple; frozen banana & berries.
  • For a more yogurty yog try tofu blended with maple syrup, lemon juice, frozen bananas, berries or fav fruit combo & vanilla essence.
  • oh yeah and the low-fat milk I needed for a decent cup of tea? Gone-vege-burger. Buy yourself a beautiful cup and go herbal – it’s all in the moment.

Click here for more recipes and tips in the kitchen

Related post: From Vegetarian to Vegan





The Juice on Juice

Katie Gets Juicy

It’s cucumber season folks! Get them down your juicer in all their watery alkalising wonder-full-ness. High water content vegetables are filling but make sure you get organic or at least spray free.

Add in celery stalks, a couple of apples, green leaves (any or all of the following: kale, parsley, chard, lettuce, dandelions), a slice of lime and a knob of ginger.

Now sip your way to health!

Juicing makes nutrients readily available for the body and are an amazing addition to your health regime.

Drink your juice within 20 minutes to receive the maximum benefit. I do jar up extra and put it in the fridge for a smoothie later depending on time. And I always rinse off my juicer before I drink my juice (me and my juicer get on better that way).

Another tip is to wash and bag your greens straight from the market. That way you’re ready to go for a fresh pick-me-up morning & afternoon.

To juice or blend?

I like to do both and again it depends on my day. I start with a juice for a lighter start to the day often pre and post exercise – then I eat! If I’m on the run then a smoothie (often with juice as the base) keeps me fuller for longer and I can eat later in the morning.

Blending provides maximum nutrients plus the fibre of whole blended fruit and vegetables.

Hard or frozen fruits go well through the juicer – pineapple is a favourite icy addition to a fresh green juice. Softer fruits are better blended.

Group colours together, eg, beetroot, blueberry, red kale; carrot, mango, orange; celery, cucumber …. but if you mix them up and they come out brown – it’s still going to be good for you!

For smoothies check out this page

From Vegetarian to Vegan

For all my years as a vegetarian I reckon I was as far away from taking the leap to veganism as my meat-loving friends. Sure I wasn’t eating meat but dairy was definitely on the menu. How else do you eat pasta and beans? Weren’t vegans just a little bit extreme – ok a lot!

There were key distinctions missing.

Like Johanna’s story I too had a love affair with cheese but also with low-fat milk and natural yoghurt – and I felt pretty righteous about my choices. Unlike Johanna I hadn’t really connected the dots regarding the farming practices that allowed me my milk in my tea.

So let’s connect some dots. 

First up, health.

When I came across the notion that plants and plants alone could; a) give me all that I needed nutritionally and b) prevent, and in some cases, reverse major diseases, I thought “why haven’t I heard of this? Why are we getting sicker and sicker as a species and not running with this impressive body of evidence?”

What is good for baby calves is not good for us.

Also those righteous low-fat dairy products have higher amounts of unwanted animal proteins. The low-fat moniker is not synonymous with health (other low fat products are usually highly processed and laced with salt and sugar).

It’s not so pretty down on the dairy farm. Mother cows have it rough. There’s nothing clean and green about it and it’s time to really take a look at the impact our food choices have on the environment.

The dairy industry is HUGE and they have all manner of slick ways to convince you to consume. Do we really believe drinking milk will help us lose weight? They’d like us to think so. Do not confuse science with advertising.

So how is life without the cheese? It’s dandy thanks – I truly don’t miss it. My crackers are happy with hummus; my sandwiches love seared tofu or avocado stuffed with salad veges, pickles, olives … ; muesli and blended fruits are great friends; ice cream alternatives are easy to make; and pizza without cheese? Delicious!

Take the leap! You won’t regret it.


Taking the meat off your plate

Making a meal that’s not centered around meat is a bit like Joey from ‘Friends’ not knowing where to put his furniture without a TV to point it at. What do I nuzzle up next to my potato and carrots?

Many of us were raised on meals such as these. If there was not meat on the plate there was most certainly an egg-based dish or a cheese sandwich. It’s the bit that gives us the protein right?

Heck yes and some!

It’s worth noting that we don’t need as much protein as is commonly believed and there is such as thing as too much. A varied plant-based diet gives us all the protein we need (including those essential amino acids) without the fat and cholesterol.

So what do we point our potato at?

Taking years of this style of food preparation and transforming it into a health-giving plant-based diet can be challenging. For many folk starting out, cooking up soy sausages and the like bring great comfort and familiarity. I’m not going to bag them entirely but recommend you treat them as occassional foods – they are highly processed and have ingredients lists as long as your arm.

Start with the starch.

Hunger is not an option on a plant-based diet and starch is what is going to fill you up and keep you dancing. Build your meals around potatoes, rice, quinoa, millet, couscous, bulger wheat, legumes and beans. Millions of folk around the world eat this way and have superior health.

So whilst you may become a dab hand at tofu cutlets or lentil burgers to fill the gap on your plate, it’s probably time to light that creative fire in the kitchen and try something new. Start with an Indian dhal and rice, or chilli beans over quinoa with guacamole on top; baked potato and mushroom gravy with your favourite side dishes. Have more of the vegetable dishes that you love, know that you are fully nourished, and if it comes back to your potatoes and carrots – mash em up, top with toasted sunflower seeds and serve with a big green salad.

Taking the oil out of your food

I know the whole ‘no processed oils thing’ is enough to push an aspiring plant-based cook to the edge of what they can cope with.

“No meat, no eggs, no cheese and now you’re telling me no oil!!”

If you’re on the path of eating only plants you’re already reaping the benefits of reducing the amount of saturated fats in your diet. Your heart, brain, blood vessels right down down to your cells will thank you.

And here’s the ‘but’.

It’s not so great if you’re lavishing your new relationship to salad with loads of oil, sautéing and roasting your vegetables away to oily paradise, munching on high fat muesli bars and welcoming large amounts of nuts into your new found fabulous diet on a regular basis.

With our love of processed oils -and yes that does include olive oil – we’ve swung our balance of omega 6 to omega 3s way out leaving us still feeling sluggish and slow.

Now I’m not bagging all fats. Our wholefood varieties come in a package of fibre, essential fatty acids, trace elements, protein and other vital nutrients. Foods such as avocado, olives, nuts, seeds and coconut can be on your list but are to be used mindfully.

How ever you reduce your use of these highly processed, full fat foods, you will be rewarded.

Check out my previous post on steam sautéing and enjoy the clean feeling of your food.

Plant-based sources of iron for kids

Raising a vegan child is not without its challenges in a world that largely believes he needs to eat red meat to get adequate iron. It would seem he’s neither lethargic nor prone to recurrent infections; he’s keeping up at school, is of the bouncy boy variety, sleeps well and more importantly had normal iron levels when tested.

Like any 10-year-old he can be fussy and his tastes are developing. I’ll freely admit I’ve had my moments through his toddler years (don’t we all!). There were times when I’m sure he was surviving on apples and bananas. Two years of mother’s milk and he was straight onto water with no need for milk substitutes. Now he starts his day with a cup of hot molasses.

So what other iron rich foods are on the menu?

  • Blackstrap molasses – in cookies and morning drink.
  • Blended greens in morning smoothie
  • Chia seeds in smoothie and lunchbox cookies and muffins
  • Buckwheat – Chocolate cranberry granola
  • Weetbix (this is NZ after all)
  • Fruit juice sweetened corn flakes
  • Pumpkin seeds, prunes, apricots, dates, and other nuts and seeds – iron-rich chocolate truffles
  • Tofu – seared in tamari for sushi or as a side
  • Nori
  • Potatoes (ok he hates them but we live and hope)
  • Frozen peas – pea pesto, leafy greens, broccoli, green capsicums
  • Baked beans
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Lentil soup
  • Black bean dip, brownie or fudge
  • Chickpeas – hummus, falafels and these chocolate-chickpea truffles
  • Dark chocolate Samba sandwich (non dairy version of Nutella)
  • Dark chocolate – sparingly!

There are of course vegan convenience foods that tend to be fortified with iron (especially the plant-based milks as opposed to cow milk which is very low in iron an may cause anemia) and he’s partial to a plant-based “hot dog” or two.

To read more about cow milk induced anemia click here.



Vegan Food for Health

Can’t think of a healthy hearty meal for dinner that won’t pack on the pounds? Tired of eating tiny portions of food that’s not even food? How about a pot of aromatic creamy curry, a Moroccon cassorole smothered in gravy or a raw berry pie with ice cream but not as we know it?

A plant-based diet includes real food with real benefits. What you do eat are the very best of foods: fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes – whole, unprocessed and just as nature intended. All meats, dairy, eggs and refined processed foods are avoided. Modern life is flush with convenience foods that are salt laden, high in sugar and fat, low in fibre and nutrients, and we need to eat a lot of them because they just don’t satisfy us.

We live in an age of fast foods, fast lives, slower activities and increasing levels of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and other modern diseases.With all that we know you’d think we’d be brimming with good health. Sadly we’re not. And getting back on track can be a war zone of conflicting information, diets and fads. Eating a plant-based diet is for many a powerful step towards preventing many of these common diseases and for others it’s no less than a miracle in reversing them.

Here at VeganCuisine we want to indulge our senses and love what we’re eating. Healthy cooking does not mean deprivation. Our menus are designed to delight, inspire and help you adopt eating practices that will see you into your old age in good health and yes you’ll lose weight too.

Why I don’t drink milk

I have my own hormones to deal with

Cow’s milk is designed for baby calves. I know that sounds glib, but it is full of hormones and fats designed to grow a small calf into a big cow in it’s first year of life.

Increased levels of hormones such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) cause high levels of oestrogen in women and testosterone in men. Abnormal levels of these hormones are linked with most breast and prostate cancers. It’s no surprise that high dairy consuming countries have the highest levels of these cancers, and osteoporosis for that matter.

I’ll have greens with that

High protein foods such as dairy are acid forming. Why we don’t want that is twofold.

First, such foods deplete our calcium stores and thus weaken our bones in the effort to restore balance. The loss of too much bone calcium can lead to fragile bones or oesteoporosis.

Second, an alkalising diet is a preventative measure against cancer. Better to keep up the exercise and get your calcium from alkalising dark leafy greens and sesame seeds. 

Lets leave out the cholesterol, contaminants and allergens

It’s a high fat food. And if it’s low-fat, then it has even higher levels of animal proteins.

Milk is not what it used to be. It’s highly processed and is frequently contaminated with antibiotics, not to mention some questionable farming practices and massive use of environmental resources.

You’re kinda in my space

Huge dairy corporations have big muscular marketing departments that have bred generations of “milk is good for your bones” thinkers. It’s really worth questioning this!

What other corporations get to ‘give’ an allergenic food to schools?

Of the school milk programme here in NZ, Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says. “We want to do what we can to make sure Kiwi kids grow up drinking it every day.”

I’m not buying it and I don’t think our schools should be either.

For a fascinating read into the science behind sound nutrition, weight loss and long-term health, check out The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health