Snacking 2.0: The Best Healthy Snacks for Summer 2017

Last month my very nice postman delivered 6 wellness subscription boxes for me to review and write about in the Evening Standard. As my mother has always said, I “eat like a bird” (i.e. little and very often) and as such snacks are pretty much my favourite thing ever.

The goodness project subscription box

Vegan Wellness Subscription Box from The Goodness Project

Through this assignment, I discovered some super cool healthy products that wouldn’t usually make it onto my radar and of course I want to share the love. Here they are – the perfect bites to keep your energy levels up in this summer heat.

Snack on! Pep ❤

  1. Dried Jujube fruit from Abakus Foods
    Vegan, Gluten Free | @abakusfoods

    Dried Jujube Fruit from Abacus Foods

    Dried Jujube Fruit – aka Red Dates – are popular in Asia

If you’ve never had a Jujube, think sort-of-a date but not as sticky. The Abakus website states that “This superfood is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, and are known to help uplift the mood, calm the mind, improve sleep, and boost the immune system. They are beneficial for overall health and vitality. The fresh fruit has 20x more vitamin C than citrus fruits!”

Jujube fruit (Red dates)

Toast with avocado, halved jujube fruits, blueberries and crunchy jujube sprinkles

When I was in Taiwan last winter, my Mother in law waxed lyrical about the health properties of Jujube fruit (aka Red Dates) and would serve them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To be honest I was sick of them by the end of our 15 week trip, but after a 5 month hiatus, I’m ready to get back on the Jujube horse.

Energy balls with dried jujube

Energy balls made with jujube fruit, cacao powder, nuts and chia seeds

In the dried form these make for the most satisfying mid-morning munch. Follow AbaKus on Instagram to see all the creative ways you can add them to your diet:

porridge with fruit toppings and jujube crunchy sprinkles

Porridge with fruit toppings and jujube sprinkles

2. Choco Rocket Raw CookiesiRaw Healthy Habits
Vegan, Gluten Free | @iRawUK

Choco raw cookies

These feel like they should be super naughty but I really don’t think they are… Cacao and carob mixed with a lil bit of maple syrup makes for a really chocolatey and satisfying nibble. Particularly appeasing if, like me, you suffer from regular chocolate brownie cravings. Amazingly they hit the spot – utter yum.

3. Beetroot cashew bounce ball
Vegan, Gluten Free | @bounce_uk

Bounce vegan protein energy ball beetroot

Beetroot Cashew Vegan Ball – a blend of beetroot and cashew nuts

This was probably my favourite surprise of all the snacks I tried (this was a tough research project, I tell you!). Being a 100% committed chocoholic I always gravitate towards the cocoa-flavoured energy balls and I wouldn’t usually choose this flavour. Much to my pleasant surprise, sweet beetroot and cashew nuts make for a shockingly good combo and 9g of veggie protein will fill you up and stop you from reaching for another one… perhaps.

4. Squirrel Sisters Cacao Brownie
Vegan, Gluten Free | @squirrelsisters

Another chocolate hit. Brownies are sooooo good, and yet so bad for you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself to the real deal once in a while, but if you’re looking for something to indulge in more regularly, these gluten-free, dairy-free and all natural bars will curb your craving.

Squirrel Sisters Raw Energy Bar

Raw Cacao Energy Bar

The sugar comes from raw dates making them much more “healthie”-friendly that those made with refined sugar.

5. Salt & Pepper Popped Lotus Seeds — Nuto
Vegan, Gluten Free | @nutosnacks

Meet Popcorn’s cooler sister… lotus seed.

Salt & Pepper popped lotus seed snack

Salt & Pepper popped lotus seed snack

Popcorn is soooo 2015, friends! This popped lotus seed tastes sort of like popcorn but I’m sure it’s better for you – it’s a good source of protein, anyhoot. It was also a big hit with my husband – I barely got a look in!

6. Quinoa, Cashew & Beetroot Porridge
Vegan, Gluten Free | @louolas

The brand name is a little tough to get your mouth around but the product certainly isn’t – this is delicious!

louolas quinoa porridge

Coconut, Cashew & Beetroot Quinoa Porridge

quinoa porridge

As seen on my Insta! I topped it with blueberries, coconut flakes & a splish of almond milk.

7. Curry Crunch Seeds — The Toasted Seed Company

Finally, these weirdly good curry seeds. Seeds are a MUST-have addition to your diet if you want to up your health-game; they are high in protein, minerals, and healthy fats that can increase your energy levels, reduce fatigue and contribute to healthy hair, skin, teeth and bones. Give me some of that!

toasted seed company curry crunch

Curry flavoured toasted seeds

The Omega 3s and 6s in these teeny powerhouses also contribute hugely to your positive mental wellbeing, too, and are easy to snack on throughout the day.  I have also tossed these bad boys onto salads, couscous, and used them to top off a home-made hummus. An absolute winner.

And there you have it, the coolest vegan & gluten free snacks to get your hands on this summer!

If you’re interested in getting sent cool products like these on a monthly basis, check out the UK wellness subscription boxes I wrote about here.


An Awkward Trip to the Shops

How do you eat an elephant- (4)I had picked up way more than one should at the small-ish corner shop; in all honesty I was too lazy to go to the supermarket. When I approached the till there was a long queue forming. It was a Friday afternoon, and a sunny one at that, two factors that bring shoppers flocking.

Teenagers buying ice cream on their way home from school, workers picking up beers and snacks for the park, other mums trying to shop for the weekend with kids in tow. And just as I got to the till, the second shop assistant announced it was 4pm and she was done for the weekend; hurrah!

As the line behind me continued to grow, I threw my heavy, overflowing basket onto the counter and saw the look of terror on the poor boy’s face. He was likely not yet 18, no doubt working his first job, in a uniform that he was positively drowning in. Despite his heart visibly sinking when he saw how much I was purchasing he smiled and, in a very well spoken accent that seemed out of place, welcomed me to the store.

Continue reading

10 Sanskrit Words You Hear in Yoga Class (& What they mean!)

10 Sanskrit Words You Hear at Yoga (& What they Mean!)

Ever been to a yoga class and had zero idea what language the teacher is speaking?

You certainly wouldn’t be alone! Many students let the Sanskrit, an ancient Hindi dialect used to describe poses or yogic concepts, wash right over them. And whilst it isn’t necessary to know any of this language at all to enjoy a spot of yoga, it can be a useful way to advance your yoga practice and get closer to its history and philosophy.

Here are 10 of the most commonly used Sanskrit words in yoga along with a short definition of each.

❤ Pep XO

Continue reading

15 Ways Yoga Transforms Your Body

You probably feel much better after a yoga class, but have you ever stopped to think about why? Here are the physical and mental benefits of stepping on your yoga mat.

You probably feel better both physically and mentally after a yoga class, but have you ever stopped to think about what’s going on in that bod of yours after you’ve stepped off the mat? I’ve found learning about the benefits of yoga during my yoga teacher training course absolutely fascinating! Here are just some of the benefits that a regular practice can provide you with – better than any pill I ever heard of!

Pep XO

Continue reading