Monday, 10 October 2016

Namo's Peanut Butter Banana Jelly

Snacking is probably a commonly shared favourite ritual of many of us. Now where healthy eating seems to be such a chore, most snacking choices are bound to be picked by unhealthy desires. 

My friend Namo, however, transferred her sweet tooth fetish on a nutritious banana by adding to it a generous spread of peanut butter, a pinch of cinnamon and a zigzag drip of brown rice syrup. 


Whole Earth's Crunchy Peanut Butter - made of only peanuts and contains no added sugar!
Biona Organic Brown Rice Syrup - a healthy, yet sweet, alternative to maple syrup 
Cinnamon powder

I just tried it out myself (pictures below), and it tastes as beautiful as it looks. 
Happy snacking!

#LaughingAnanas #VeganVarieties

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Zizzi goes Vegan!

Pizza. Everyone knows pizza, everyone eats pizza. Kids grow up eating pizza, in fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, kids between 3 to 11 years of age prefer pizza over all other foods. Americans alone eat about 100 acres of pizza each day, translating into 350 slices of pizza eaten each second. Crazy? Not at all. It's only normal. Pizza is like the world's staple food.

In fact, in going vegan, I'm sure one of the biggest concerns one can have is how they will ever eat their pizza again. It surprises me how some of the mainstream restaurants don't take the dietary requirements of their vegan customers into consideration. They're not naive or unaware, just ignorant by choice. I make this claim based on experience. Last year, I wrote to PizzaExpress about the growing customer concern for restaurants to get their dietary needs right, in the hope they would take my recommendation of pizza infused with vegan cheese into consideration. And now, a year has passed by and I'm still in the hope of a surprise announcement from PizzaExpress introducing vegan cheese, or at least a reply to that email. 

Anyhow, the patience of the vegan community hasn't gone unanswered. Zizzi has done it! Can't believe I'm just finding out about this! In their March 2016 update, Zizzi announced a whole new vegan pizza with actual vegan cheese for their vegan customers. This is way beyond exciting! Zizzi is also the first restaurant chain in the UK to offer a vegan pizza with a mozzerella substitute. I highly recommend other restaurants to follow their lead, and I absolutely cannot wait to try this one out! #HappyTimes

Meanwhile, check out some Instagram pictures of people who tried it and reviewed it to be 'amazing':


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Perspective; To Each Their Own

In a conversation...

Akira conveys, "You know what the problem with my life is? I never have anything I want. I've been dreaming to become the richest villager so I can finally afford to buy cattle and maybe a bullock cart and–"

"Dear Akira, look at this tiny snail gliding away on his path. Do you know the purpose of his life? He travels all day in the search of juicy leaves, and reverts back into his shell at the sight of predators. That is all he needs to survive. So Akira, do you have everything you need to survive?", the sage questions leaving Akira speechless. 

_ _ _ _

Perspective. When I think about this word, I remember a beautiful scene from the movie Ratatouille. If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, well, see below. 

Perspective is the most individualistic and personal something. Everyone we know is half a glass of water, and the remaining glass is their perspective. It's your perspective that determines whether you see yourself as half a glass full of water, or half a glass short of water, whether you focus on what you have or what you're missing. Either way, it plays a very important role in our lives. 

More often than not, we outlook the role of this important aspect. We forget that it exists and we forget that it varies for every different person. For instance, an hour long workout may be a blessing to someone, and yet dreadful to someone else. Let's think of the caring husband who always remembers to bring red roses every Valentine's. If ever, he misses out on conducting the ritual, the wife is sure to conclude that with the forgone roses, the husband's love too is forgone. However, does this wife stop to think about the husband's day and probable stresses that may have been a factor behind his slip of mind? Maybe, maybe not. If she does, she's engaging herself in widening her own perspective to reach out to and see through that of her husband's, in which case she weaves a happy home. Contrariwise, if she doesn't, she's allowed dominance for her own perspective in disregarding his, leading to nothing but negativity and resentment, gradually weaving a discontent home. But, what's the point?

Is there really much point in feeling the need to change everyone's perspective to match your own? Where one can never have control or dominance over other people's thoughts and perspective, such feelings will only cause pain and suffering in the long run. In that case, isn't it much better to rather work on widening our own horizons, and so, our own perspective? 

Ask yourself, do you go about your life like Akira, counting only your misfortunes and losses? Or do you step away from that every now and again, and grasp the snail's attitude of counting your blessings and achieving a sense of fulfilment in your bare necessities? 


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Sunflower's Ego

"Akira, my beloved, why do you look so frustrated?", asked the wise, old sage. 

"Because I am! I'm extremely frustrated and angry!" exclaims the furious Akira. 

"Oh dear" says the wise, old sage as he comforts Akira. "What is it that makes you feel like that?"

"It's my friend, Habiki!", exclaims Akira. "He tires me, makes my head hurt. Whenever I tell him something, he resorts to an argument and we always end up fighting rather than resolving my problem. I do so much for him and I'm always being the bigger person. And Habiki? He only thinks about himself. He's selfish!" 

"Akira dear, come sit next to me," said the sage welcoming Akira into his space, "I would like to tell you the story of a sunflower.

"Once upon a time, there lived a sunflower who was the King of his kind back in the day. He was as bright as the Sun above us, and his charm had every flower in the field blush at his mere sight. He attracted the bees like no other, and flaunted his beautiful yellow petals all day long. His tall, sturdy stalk supported his large flower head, just as it also supported the cucumber vines that grew alongside. 

"The sunflower's pride was larger than his head, and he despised the cucumber vines growing on his stem. He would always complain that the cucumber is good for nothing, and all it can do is using his sturdy stalk to provide himself with a natural trellis. 'I am the mightiest of all,' he would say, 'without my shade and support, this cucumber would never be able to grow. I am done being used by him for his own selfish reasons, I want my freedom!' 

"With this thought, the sunflower decided to kill the cucumber plant by moving his petals to an angle and withdrawing his shade on the plant. The cucumber slowly starts to shrivel and burn in heat, while the sunflower is overjoyed with his victory. 

"As the weeks passed after cucumber's demise, the sunflower lost his charm and colour. Bees lost their attraction towards it and weeds took over all its soil, along with the nutrients in it. More so, the farmer's continuous over-watering loosened the soil in which its roots were engrained. The sunflower fell feeble. One day, his stalk wasn't able to sustain his weight anymore, and as it let loose, the sunflower clobbered down forgoing his life and his pride."

As the sage finished reciting his story, he looked at Akira fondly and said:

"Being a bigger person is not about validating our position, but rather forgoing the need to be right in every instance."


The sage's story depicts a powerful sunflower who saw nothing beyond himself. He felt mightier than the cucumber, and this feeling translated into his perception of being bigger and better than everyone else. The doom of the sunflower is a metaphorical representation of people who are deluded into believing they're always right and virtuous, failing to see the value of the person they're in conflict with. In the story above, the sunflower failed to realise that it was the cucumber plant that reduced the growth of weeds and assured the soil doesn't remain over-watered. All he could see was the support it provided the cucumber, and not the value of cucumber vines on its existence. 

The story portrays that strength, power and believing one is always right does not make them a bigger person. All this can achieve is the validation of one's own position, in victimising others with their own bitterness and insecurities. 

Thereafter, a person who aims to resolve a conflict and comes out of the battle feeling empowered as he confirmed to himself and to others that he was a bigger person by taking the charge of solving a conflict even though he was victimised, is still not a bigger person. 

On the contrary, a bigger person is someone who doesn't see himself as bigger or mightier than others, whether it's in their power or their action. For instance, if someone forgives the other and comes out as feeling like a bigger person because they let go of the issue, in reality hasn't let go of the issue. All they're doing is identifying with their ego of, in this case, being a bigger person and empowering it by conducting the action of forgiveness and directly or indirectly letting the other person feel indebted to them. Hence, a bigger person is someone like the cucumber plant, who goes on performing his duty without seeking any attention or having the need to feel superior than others.  

A bigger person is someone who forgoes the opportunity to be right and lets go of his attachment to the conflict situation. It's the one who understands that being right will not translate into peace of mind or any sort of fulfilment, and knows that in setting off to prove ourselves right, all we can ever end up doing is prolonging our own suffering. 

To end this type of suffering, one needs to train themselves into disidentifying from their ego and practice ceasing the need to always be right. 


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Bella's Battered Tofu #VeganVarieties

Vegans are frequently misunderstood as abnormal herbivores who choose to eat grass and miss out on protein, despite having the choice to do otherwise. Alongside this popular belief, they're also termed as boring individuals who'd rather live on supplements than eating a living, breathing animal. 

There is a severe lack of awareness about vegans and veganism. The goal of this post is not to impart more knowledge on animal cruelty than we already have out there, as let's face it, most of us are content playing the role of informed ignorants. So let's sidetrack from the primary motivation of veganism and have a go at raising awareness beyond animal exploitation, and against the so-called 'boredom' of a vegan diet. In all honesty, vegan food can be as varied as you would like it to be. All you have to do is start creating!

Every now and then, I'll post featured recipes of food you wouldn't imagine to be vegan, along with their health benefits that'll assure you keep away from supplements and attain a well balanced diet. So if you have a great recipe, a signature meal or anything that's fancy and vegan, you can share it with me for a feature on Laughing Ananas. Find my contact details at the end of this post. 

TODAY'S FEATURE: Battered Tofu, by TheVeganSurvivalGuide 


Battered tofu:
1 brick firm tofu
3 cups vegetable oil (this quantity may vary for every individual)
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp of salt
Pinch of pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup sparkling water (cold)

4 heads baby bok choy, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces 
1/2 cup button mushrooms, chopped 
1/4 cup trimmed and chopped spring onions
1 red bell pepper, chopped  
Sesame seeds to top 

Sweet and sour sauce (store bought or make your own) 


Drain the brick of tofu and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Place on a paper towel to absorb excess water while preparing the batter. 
Prepare the batter by combining the flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and pepper all together in a mixing bowl. 
Now, prepare the vegetables in a separate saucepan with heated oil. Add all of the vegetables and cook for 5-8 minutes, adding the sweet and sour sauce towards the end. 
During that time, add the sparkling water to the batter mixture and combine well.
In a medium pot, heat the vegetable oil. This is to prepare the tofu, the quantity of the oil is dependent on how well you want to fry the tofu. The healthier option is obviously lesser oil and less frying. 
Using your hands, coat 3-4 cubes of tofu in the batter and drop each one (carefully) into the frying oil.
Fry for 2-3 minutes or until crispy. 
Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and let them sit on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Continue this process with the remaining tofu cubes. 
Add the tofu cubes to the sauce and vegetables and mix together before serving with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. 
You can have this with brown rice, or on it's own.

Health Benefits

Tofu is made from soybeans curds which are gluten-free and low calorie, contain no cholesterol and are an excellent source of protein, iron and calcium for vegans. 
It is also an excellent source of micronutrients such as essential amino acids, and contains the minerals zinc and vitamin B1. It is well acknowledged to provide the protection against cancer and heart disease in the same way soya beans do. Soya protein also helps lower the levels of bad cholesterol! 

Bok Choy is a rich source of vitiamins C, A and K. It also contains important proteins and dietary fibre. It is very nutrient dense which helps promote strong bones, a healthy heart and protects from cancer. 


Hope you enjoyed that recipe. For a feature, contact me on: or you can also follow me and DM me on Instagram
And don't forget to follow Bella on TheVeganSurvivalGuide, she's great!


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The snake and the peacock

"O knower of all things born, I come to you with great despair in search of answers. I feel... I feel like I might die soon!", says the panting Akira.

"Akira dear, I haven't seen you in a while", says the wise, old sage as he greets Akira while peeling his apple. "Would you like an apple?"

"Apple?!", exclaims Akira. "I'm telling you I feel like I'm going to die and you're offering me an apple? How does that help?"

"Akira, my beloved, come sit next to me and have some of this apple. It's juicy, you know?", the sage emanates a comforting smile. 

Akira manages to calm down a little, grabs a piece of the apple and questions the sage, "How are people able to live so long? I feel like I might die soon. With each new emotional trauma, I feel that the poison of my negative emotions continues to spread through my body, slowly squeezing the soul out of it. I feel so weak, and I am certain I will not be able to take another blow of poison disguised in my negative emotions. And there's nothing I can do because one's emotions are obviously out of one's control, just like the weather, and obviously even if I try I-"

"Dear Akira, look at that beautiful peacock flaunting his feathers", the sage interrupts Akira. 

Akira looks at the peacock and remarks, "I'm surprised to see him so calm despite the deadly, venomous snake slithering his way towards him."

As the two indulge themselves in seeing the exchange between the snake and the peacock, they notice that the snake rises up to infiltrate his venom into the peacock's body and steal his life methodically. But just before the snake can fulfil his destiny, the peacock promptly grabs the reptile by his beak and gobbles him down like he never existed. In devouring the snake's venom, the peacock shudders and quivers, but then miraculously exudes colours all the more vibrant and plumage all the more beautiful.

"Whoa!", exclaims Akira. "I've never seen something like that!"

"Yes, quite fascinating indeed.", the sage agrees. "Poisonous snakes are the truth of life. But to die with poisonous bites is certainly not our destiny. The choice is ultimately ours, to be bitten by poison or to bite the poison."


We are swarmed by, what we perceive as negative emotions, in our daily lives. And to be honest, these feelings of anger, anxiety and pain will never cease to exist as they're a part of our existence. They only get stronger with each blow as we allow them to feed on us. So, do we have a choice?

The peacock in this story sets a great example. Instead of being bitten by venom, he chooses to accept the venom. He recognizes the venom, ingests it, digests it and transforms it into beautiful colours. Just like the peacock, our challenge is to recognize our negative emotions, gulp them down and accept them, and use them to empower our minds rather than being empowered by them. 

Read a book, feed a dog, go for a walk. There are countless means of harmonizing selves with universe again, despite the blow of negative emotions. Take the initiative and transform, just like the peacock.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

DIY Herbal Shampoo For Hair Growth

If you've missed it, you must catch it! 

Check out my latest video on how to make your own herbal shampoo. It's completely effortless, herbal, natural and hey, it's amazing for hair growth. If  you're one of those people who're just completely done with shampoos full of SLS and parabens, and would love an alternative method of washing your hair, read on. The recipe in this video is simple, and is recognised as an ancient Indian ayurvedic recipe that has worked on beautifying hair for years and years. 

You only need 3 ingredients for this master recipe:

1. Amla (you can use its powder form) because its protein and vitamin content is absolutely necessary to help the hair grow and prevent hair loss. It does this by using its antioxidant properties to strengthen the roots of your hair and that's what makes it a 'must have'. It also serves as a great moisturiser for your hair and remove any dryness or untreatable dandruff you might be carrying on your scalp for years. You probably have noticed amla as one of the ingredients in one of the shampoos you must've purchased in your lifetime. Sadly, the SLS and parabens that are also held by these shampoos, strips off the natural oils of your scalp and makes it prone to dryness and dandruff. So why don't you eliminate these no-no's from your shampoo and use amla in its purest, most realest form and see the difference? 

2. Shikakai (you can use its powder form) because it ensures your hair remains lustrous and healthy by retaining its natural oils. Its efficient in achieving this as it's naturally very low on its pH value, and makes sure it leaves your hair conditioned and voluminous. Just like amla, shikakai is also a pro at protecting the scalp from dandruff and, keeping it healthy and infection-free. 

3. Reetha (you can use its powder form) because its a born cleanser. And by that, I mean it cleanses anything unnatural on your scalp, be it dandruff, dirt, lice, cooties, absolutely anything! The good thing about reetha is that it's naturally good at doing this and so it causes less scalp irritation compared to the other chemical cleansers. This helps nourish the hair in keeping it strong and healthy, bringing back all the lost shine and lustre. 

As I always say, keep it natural! Seriously, if you can achieve all of the above using just three effortless ingredients, causing absolutely no side effects, hair loss or irritations, then why not?

If you like what you learned, watch the video below to see how to make this awesome shampoo and try it out for yourself!

To learn more about the benefits of these ingredients, have a read of Make Your Own Natural Shampoo that further explains their benefits and how to use them in their non-powder form. 


Friday, 5 February 2016

Ben and Jerry's go Vegan!

Since the day I saw Preity Zinta eating Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie in Salaam Namaste, there isn't anything I've craved more!

Just look at that!

Sadly though, I never satisfied the craving as the ice cream contained egg. Every time I would pass the ice cream section in Tesco I would look at Ben & Jerry's ingredients to see if the Chocolate Fudge Brownie still contains egg. I even wrote to them, and wished that somehow, just somehow they create an eggless version of this ice cream.


They've done it! Ben & Jerry's decided to go eggless! And not just eggless, they've gone full on dairyless aka VEGAN! Excuse the exclamation marks, I'm just so excited! The dream has come to the bowl! They've used Almond milk and vegan brownies from Greyston Bakery to make this goodness. And beyond chocolate fudge brownie, they've also launched three other vegan flavours; Chunky Monkey, Coffee Caramel Fudge and P.B. & Cookies.

Unfortunately, there's still gonna be some wait for the rest of the world as these have just been launched in the US for now. But patience! They've launched them in US, they'll launch them soon in UK and everywhere else too. Can't wait. While we're waiting, check out their dairyless video:

Unbelievable. Thank you Ben and thank you Jerry!


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Mind your own business Akira!

One afternoon, a wealthy rancher decided to hold a competition amongst the the village's young cowherds to find the most hardworking and able cowherd for his ranch. "The winner of this competition has to be the one to graze the largest group of cattle within the shortest amount of time", said the rancher. The young boys of the village were extremely excited to enter this competition and work as the rancher's cowboys for a living. Akira was also extremely excited to partake in the competition. 

As the competition began, Akira looked at his fellow competitor Kabira from a distance and yelled, "Hey Kabira! You are not allowed to graze the cattle that side of the hill! It's against the rules!"

Just then, he glanced at another competitor Akiko and remarked, "Yo-ho Akiko! The rancher specifically said we are not allowed to take on more animals till the one at hand is completely full. Looks like the calf you are feeding is still hungry. Maybe you should feed him properly before you move on to the next one!"

Before long, he noticed another competitor Habiki and screamed, "Hey there Habiki! You are not allowed to feed them fruits to cease their hunger. That's unfair! According to the rules, we can only feed them fresh grass. Stop cheating!"

Shortly afterwards, as the competition came to an end, the rancher set off to search for his winner. 

"Kabira, how many animals have you grazed today?", the rancher enquired.
"I have grazed 8 animals today master", said the calm Kabira.
"Interesting. Akiko, how many animals have you grazed today?", the rancher questioned.
"I have grazed 10 animals today master", said the excited Akiko.
"Well done! Habiki, how many animals have you grazed today?", the rancher queried.
"I have grazed 15 animals today master", said the overjoyed Habiki.
"That's brilliant! Akira, how many animals have you grazed today?", the rancher interrogated. 
"Master, I have still to graze the only animal I took out to graze", said the disappointed Akira. 
On hearing this, the rancher walked towards Akira and said, "Next time my boy, mind your own business".

_ _ _ _

How often do we engulf ourselves in what other people are thinking or doing? "Are people judging me?", "Does he care about me?", "Do people think I'm ugly?", "Are they lying to me?", "Does she like me?" are only a few questions of the many that we have probably asked ourselves a number of times in our lifetime. Do these thoughts make you happy? Does finding the answers to these questions give you peace? Probably not. Satisfaction is a tough thing to achieve, especially if one's mind is involved in someone else. Even if you find satisfaction in the answers of these questions, it might be a fleeting feeling. Answers to these questions will only develop more questions, and in turn, restlessness. And so, mistaking this satisfaction for permanent solace is a faulty ideology created by our unawareness.

Human mind is a constant battlefield, and always feeling the need to know everything does not cease the battle, but rather instigates war. The war of emotions, that fuels and empowers our ego in controlling our minds. Jealousy, envy, insecurity and anger are nothing but the offsprings of not minding our own business. 

So let the world turn upside down, but continue focussing your energy internally within yourself. Remain calm, and you will remain content. Bring yourself out of constantly thinking and remind yourself that you can't change anyone or anything, but yourself. So help yourself towards peace of mind, and don't forget, mind your own business!


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Turning 25...


Such a strange number, such a strange age. It's the age of certainty, the quarter of stability. The age you're either this side or that. There's no in between. By the time you're 25, you're most likely to and expected to have a perfect job, a dream relationship, deep core values and a hell load of wisdom. In other words, your status is 'settled', or 'soon-to-settle' at worst. You're living the life you dreamed of on your graduation. You're serving as an idol to many. And you're probably exercising, eating green, healthy food and flossing everyday. But does turning 25, by default, grant you with the life so conventional, life so perfect? 

The answer is no. Turning 25 you might still find yourself juggling with your values, swimming in confusion, and not always reaching the shore. Your job might not be as perfect as you imagined, and you may not have a clue of what you'd like to do to get closer to your perfect. You probably find yourself contemplating on a startup idea a day, and not settling with any for a life long business. You might not be married, possibly not even engaged. 

Well, let's come to terms with this in saying IT'S OKAY. Living in the hope of being magically hit with that breakthrough start up idea has its own charm. And to be honest, it is not having something that makes you want to have it and work towards having it. So the contemplation is probably worth it. At the end of the day, Facebook is the child of Zuckerberg's contemplation. And then there are relationships. Let's just say, knights in shining armours are seen riding on their white horses at every corner these days. The idea of one and only true love is long forgotten. And living in a world with 7 billion others, surely you'll find your knight. 

I may not have achieved the most conventional life so far, but if there's one thing that I've learnt in these 25 years, and attempt to practice everyday is to live in the present. Presence of mind is so underrated. You may have your baggage of past and your bundle of future dreams, but it'll always be the present that you are living at any given point. And yet, it's this present that we miss out living at large. So turn 25, 30 or even 100 if you like, as it's not about how many years of life you've lived, but about how much of that life you lived in the moment. So have big dreams and wishes even bigger, but stay away from indulging into stresses of not living the society-approved life at a given age; because seriously, IT'S OKAY. You'll figure it out, even if it's in the midst of the ifs and buts of life.