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: laughingananas@gmail.com 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.