How I spent Valentine’s Day [Video Blog]

It was such a fruitful day! Among the things we did, Cart accompanied me to view the exhibition at Chiostro Del Bramante which showcases artworks on the theme of love.

And then much later at night we had dinner at a very beautiful restaurant called Le Bistrot where I had probably the most decadent vegan meal in my life.

Yeah, it’s kind of a long video at 17 minutes, but I guess you could watch it while you have a nice cup of tea, while having lunch or just leave it as a background sound while doing the dishes ūüėõ

Eating Vegan for a year!

Hello everyone! Guess what? I’ve been eating vegan for a year now. A year and a month to be more precise. Wow. Time flies by quickly doesn’t it?

To be honest, I don’t feel much different compared to a year ago. I look the same and I feel the same. I still get tired and dive straight to bed after a long day, and I still get aches after doing a tough circuit training session.

rinaz.net Toons

Considering that I’ve consciously cut all animal and animal products, I still have a very good appetite … Maybe even too much? What can I say, I like to eat. Which is probably a reason why I haven’t been losing that much weight.

Eating plant based the past year makes me see that there are a lot of food for me to eat. I don’t really feel like I’m losing out by eating plant based. At home, I like to make quick and easy meals like pasta, and grilled vegetables that doesn’t take much time and effort to cook.

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

(Arrabbiata!)

And even when I’m outside, there are more and more restaurants that provide vegan options. It’s even easier now with sites like Happy Cow and Vegan Quo Vadis¬†and I’ve discovered a number of wonderful places that I’d love to visit again.

rinaz.net

(Ma Va’ is probably one of my favourite vegan joints in Rome)

As you can see, everything is as it was before…

Oh wait, now that I think about it, I think there are changes. For the past year, I’ve been going to the farmer’s market more. 2 – 3 times a week. Our organic waste basket gets filled up a lot faster than usual and needs to be emptied frequently.

rinaz.net Fresh produce at Nuovo Mercato Testaccio

And then, I do my business¬†very regularly. Even sometimes twice a day thanks to my always snacking on tangerines during this Winter. I can’t imagine how there are some people who can’t do it for a week. That doesn’t sound very comfortable.

I wish I could say that my face is glowing, that I have a six pack, and that my hair is super swishy now but the important thing is that get my daily nutrient requirements. According to the blood test I did a couple of months ago, everything looks still in the normal range.

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

I still believe that eating vegan is better and healthier for us -it reduces the risk of certain cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and others. And I really¬†am against in a world full of technology, there are still people who don’t have enough to eat – even in advanced countries. Going vegan uses less resources which can potentially feed them.

Truth be told, there are days when I still think of fried fish, ayam masak merah and other comfort food that I ate back in Singapore. And I wonder how it’ll be like when I get back to Singapore and how my family is going to take it. That’s probably my biggest challenge yet.

 

What on earth do I cook for Christmas?

It’s just a few days till Christmas. You really can’t miss it. It’s evident everywhere. When you leave your house, all your neighbours would have a wreath on their door. There are fairy lights on buildings, trees decorated with baubles and decorations and wherever you go to, people would almost always greet you with an “Auguri!” or a “Buon Natale!”.

rinaz.net

While the sight is¬†beautiful to see, but on the other hand, traffic is horrible these days. The streets are full of cars – be it the highway, or the regular roads. What would take me half an hour to commute, would take at least an additional 15 minutes more. I don’t understand why, especially for the path with no shops or commercial centres in it’s radius.

Cart and I don’t usually spend Christmas in Rome. Around this time, we’d normally spend time with my family and friends back in Singapore. I’ve never grown up celebrating Christmas, but no matter, I enjoy spending time with my extended family¬†… mostly to eat good food.

What to say if someone wishes you Merry Christmas and you are not Christian

Although this time round, I’m a little confused at what to make for Christmas.¬†Usually for Christmas in Italy, it is a tradition here to serve a lot of seafood¬†like smoked salmon and tuna. And since this will be my first time spending Christmas on a plant based diet, it’s perplexing me. What on earth do I cook? Soy fish?

I want to help my in laws so that they are not encumbered in cooking diverse meals.¬†But on the other hand, I don’t really know much festive vegan dishes.

rinaz.net christmas

Argh. Such a¬†headache. In the end I think I’ll just cook stuff that /I/ like to eat. Problem solved.

Happy Christmas everyone! Have a lovely weekend with your loved ones and eat lots of food!

11 months on a vegan diet

It’s been about 11 months since I’ve¬†consciously eliminated animal products in my diet – no eggs, no milk, no meat and whatnots. So far so good. It’s been an easy transition since Cart’s vegetarian so we don’t clash too much¬†when it comes to mealtimes at home.

rinaz.net Toon! Vegan Diet

These past months, I don’t really feel as if I’ve missed out on anything. There are such a variety of things to eat here – you can see the different types of product being sold as the seasons change. There are days though, when I do think about¬†fried fish with rice and soy sauce, a comfort food that I used to eat back when I was living in Singapore.

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

(One of the nice thing about living in Rome is that fresh produce is easily accessible)

Nevertheless,¬†it’s starting to be second nature to me, I feel like I’ve been eating normally, like what you can see from my instagram stories. Sometimes, I think I even eat even too much. I used to be clueless at what to prepare, so to make things easier, I make a weekly food timetable which gives me an idea of what to cook. I don’t always follow it, but planning meals has made it less of a headache so far.

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

(Arrabbiata is something that we make often because it’s good to eat, and fast to cook)

I’ve given away or consumed (last January) all the non vegan items that I have, save for the fish keropok¬†which was the last thing that Mak Oteh gave me.¬†I feel a little conflicted as I don’t want to discard it so I’ll keep it for now, I guess for sentimental reasons.

Anyway, there are concerned¬†people who have been telling me that my diet isn’t safe¬†and that I’m not getting enough proteins and other nutrients. While I know that protein isn’t an issue because foods like beans and legumes are rich in them. Nevertheless, I did a blood test to make sure that I’m not lacking in any important nutrition. And here is my reading :

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

Everything¬†looks intact. My iron level looks normal. My vitamin B12 level looks normal. My folic acid level looks normal.¬†Even my protein level, is still in the normal range. In the end,¬†my¬†food consumption hasn’t been of a hindrance at all.

I¬†go about my daily life regularly, and as you know, I take cross fit and aquagym and physically I don’t feel like I’m weaker¬†compared to last year. There really hasn’t been any hangups, and so with that, I like to continue.¬†Come January, it’ll be a full year for me!

rinaz.net Goruck Urban Ops Padua

(Me and Marco after our Goruck event in Padova)

I wonder how it’ll be like when I’m back in Singapore though. We might be flying in somewhere in June or July or August. It¬†shouldn’t be an issue when eating outside, although¬†in my experience, there are a number of¬†ethnic food operators who don’t understand the concept of vegetarianism (much less veganism). ¬†And I haven’t really told my family yet.

This will be interesting.

Let’s eat at Ops!

Ops! is a restaurant that serves a variety of delectable vegan food. The way it functions is that you choose what you want to eat, and have it weighed and that’ll be how much you pay.

Cart and I have been here for at least 3 times already and this time round, we were here with our friends, Mdm Huang, Eu Chai, Sindy and Dario.

In this videoblog, I learnt that it’s kind of hard trying to take footage¬†when all you you want to do is eat and chat so much with your friends.

OPS! Cucina Mediterranea Vegetariana a Roma
Via Bergamo 56, Roma 00198

Let’s eat at Ostia Che Pizza!

Ostia Che Pizza is a¬†place I found thanks to¬†Happy Cow. The name is quite cute, because it’s a play on words. Che Pizza could either mean, “Wow, what a pizza!” or “What a bore!”

It’s not a Vegan restaurant, but so vegan friendly that I was amazed by the amount of choices that I had. I wanted to try everything! So it’s a good excuse to go there again.

The place seemed popular and got quite crowded when we reached there at 8.30pm and here is a video of my meal there.

Ostia Che Pizza
Via Danilo Stiepovich, 254,
00121 Lido di Ostia RM

Delicious food by the beach

What I thought was to be a lazy day, Cart decided out of the blue at noon to have lunch out for Ferragosto – this is a Catholic holiday and you’ll find almost everything closed and everyone on vacation.

rinaz.net beach time

Everything apart from eating establishments. As you know, I’m on a vegan diet since January so I was at a loss of where to go – normally people in Rome would go to the beach and have seafood. Luckily I had the happy cow app on my phone  and I could quickly check out a place to eat.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The restaurant that we went to is called Pinzimonio which is in Fiumicino. Most people would know the area as an airport, but there are plenty of good restaurants here.

We reached there at about 2 pm, which is actually starting to be late for lunch, but we managed to get a table anyway.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The dining area looks like a typical Italian trattoria and there were a number of families already there having their lunch.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

Pinzimonio isn’t a vegan restaurant, but they are vegan friendly and there are ample food in the menu to satisfy any vegan. Being a holiday though, we were given a fixed menu.

For starters we had Polpette di Melanzane. Hummus di fagioli, caponata e filo di scarola.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

I loved everything on the plate. Even if you’re a carnivore, you’ll find them delicious too – the eggplant fritters were soft and packed a tasty punch. The caponata, a favourite southern Italian dish made of summer vegetables was delightful – sweet, sour and hearty. And the filo pastry filled with endives … While I don’t normally like bitter vegetables, it was actually lovely.

And then we had trofie with pesto di pomondorini secchi e mandorle

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

I’m not sure how the chef made this, as pesto calls for basil and pecorino and parmigiano cheese. Instead, almonds were used. This was quite good nevertheless – the saltiness of the nuts and the fresh basil made it taste close to the real thing.

Then we had pasta integrale con zucchine, peperoni, olive e noce

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

Cart doesn’t like whole wheat pasta, saying that they taste ‘too healthy’. I don’t mind them so much, especially when they are accompanied by a good sauce. Eating them together with roasted bell peppers, zucchini, olives and walnut, it actually went well together.

I was already very stuffed at this point of time, but we were given a plate of parmigiana di melanzana.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The original version was a big favourite of mine before changing my diet – made mostly of eggplants and parmigiana and pecorino cheese, I used to get them whenever I see it in a restaurant.

This particular version tasted very close to the real one, with the meaty-ish eggplants and the sourness of the tomatoes but with the saltiness and cheesiness of the walnuts instead of cheese.

And to end our lunch, we had a bowl of sorbetto made of yellow peaches and plums.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

This was so refreshing and sweet on such a warm day. I’m looking forward to getting my own blender so I could recreate tasty treats like this one!

All in all, I enjoyed everything I ate and I had a very happy tummy.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The restaurant happened to be really near the beach and it turned out to be a beautiful day out so we decided to go for a little walk to burn off a bit of calories.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

It wasn’t too hot out and I was regretting a little that I didn’t bring my swimming costume along with me. There were quite a number of people at the beach already – sitting on the sand, swimming, playing games…

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

While Cart and I walked next to them and played … you guessed it, Pokemon Go and Ingress ūüėÄ

Ristorante Pinzimonio
Via Formoso, 95