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Best vegetarian and vegan bistros in Prague

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Best vegetarian and vegan bistros in Prague

Prague is a great place for yummy vegan restaurants ( which I didn’t know prior to going there). I had a wee list of all the places I wanted to visit but sadly managed only a handful (as there are so many!). Some places offer only vegan or vegetarian options but some aren't as strict and if you ask for meaty options they will accommodate your request. Here are some of my favourites that I personally tried and recommend. Let’s stat with my absolute favourite:

Bistro 8

Located in a new hipster neighbourhood next to a really cool park Letna. Our hotel was just around a corner so I went there a few times and loved the place, my 3 course lunch (light and delicious) and fruit ice tea (all home made and yummy). 

Homekitchen

They have 4 locations all over the city, some of them are bigger bistros and some are just cafes so make sure you double check before you go. It was one of my favourite places! They use great spacious design, good food and super friendly waiters. Definitely a must on your visit! It’s funny as they have a wee display of all the dishes available and the waiters just walk around (everything is very open and there is no actual ‘bar’ where you can order your food). The menu is small but its perfect as everything you need is there: good selection of fats, protein, long lasting carbs and a multitude of flavours. Definitely your taste buds will love it. 

Lehka Hlava 

Means: ‘Clear Head’. This place is located in old town area in a building that is over 500 years old. They serve great drinks, cakes and vegan dishes. The decor is really interesting and deftly not what I have expected. The remarkable interior design is the work of three friends and acclaimed artists: Žanda Gebauer made the tables with lights, the fireplace and the starry sky; Viktor Koreis designed the upholstered sofas, bar and the ceiling and grafics of the small salon; Ivan Vosecký designed the stencils that we used to decorate the walls throughout the restaurant. The magic mushroom lamps as well as the painting of the Aztec lizard is the work of Tomas Kuthan.

They say that Lehka Hlava is a place whose "genius loci" (spirit of the place) will clear your head, entice your appetite and delight your soul. All you need to do is: sit back, relax and allow your senses to be immersed in the delightful display of colours, tastes, smells and sounds. 

The sister restaurant Maitrea is located near the main square and also has wonderful dishes and more space.

Plevel at Krymska is lovely too as well as Radost FX by I.P. Pavlova.

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'I'm strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach'

As all Popeye fans know, whenever the sailor needs some extra strength, he simply downs a tin of spinach and instantly grows bulging biceps. That cartoon made even me eat this greasy, slimy veg that my mum used to put on my plate! Interestingly, at the end of 19th century, a German chemist Erich von Wolf correctly ascertained the amount of iron in spinach, but then, the poor man accidentally misplaced a decimal point: instead of recording that spinach had 3.5 milligrams of iron per 100-gram serving, he wrote that it had 35 milligrams. An here we have a fantastic but misleading cartoon boosting spinach-growing industry.

Today, many people around the world are iron deficient. Funny enough, back in Palaeolithic time, iron deficiency was probably uncommon as people used to eat animal muscle tissue, plants and lots of vit C (alas you probably would have been eaten by some wild animal at the age of 30 anyway). Too little iron can impair body functions, but most physical signs and symptoms do not show up unless iron deficiency (anaemia) occurs. Iron deficiency will make you feeling tired and weak, your performance will decrease and you will feel absolutely knackered at the end of the day. Maintaining body temperature will be an issue and your immune system will slow down so you will be catching every possible infection. But you can improve your iron status by changing your diet. 

What you need to know about iron is that the foods with high iron content aren’t necessarily the best sources of iron. By weight, soybeans have roughly twice the iron as beef. But only about 7% of the iron in soybeans is absorbed. Spinach, as we already know, is also high in iron, but less than 2% of the iron in cooked spinach is absorbed.

We have got two types of iron:

  • Heme iron is the most absorbed form of iron, and it’s found in shellfish, red meat, poultry, and fish. This one is absorbed two to three times more efficiently than iron from plants. 
  • Nonheme iron is found in plant foods, as well as in eggs, milk, and some meat. This one can be literally carried through the digestive tract unabsorbed (I know it sounds ugly, but this is one of the reasons why mom elephant would stick poop into it’s son’s mouth…I still love elephants, I really do:)

You can enhance iron absorption by adding vitamin C when eaten at the same meal. 

If you are taking supplements or trying to increase your iron intake you should definitely avoid:

  • drinking tea, wine or fizzy drinks within 30 - 45min of taking iron supplements or eating your iron based foods. So no diet-coke ladies!
  • leave 30 - 45min between the consumption of iron and milk (e.g. in cereal) and other diary products. Phytates in cereal can also inhibit iron absorption. 

Those of you who are currently really struggling with iron or are pregnant I would encourage to make bone broth (use good quality meat and slow cooker, cook for at least 5h), alternatively if meat is not part of your diet, then smoothies are a great idea too: just mix spinach, nuts (esp. sesame, pumpkin, almonds), avocado, orange maybe strawberry and kiwi.  I also recommend using this superfood powder: Green Superfood All Natural Drink Powder. Just add a spoon of this powder to your smoothie and in a few weeks you will notice that your hair and nails look so much better. 

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Things you didn't know you can make yourself - Pesto

Pesto is one of my favourite, most aromatic, fresh and vibrant foods in the culinary world. In the internet you can find hundreds of great pesto recipes, that will taste a million times better than any of the stuff you can buy in the store. The most classic pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil. But to me pesto is all about you and what you want it to do with it. No ingredient is set in stone so you can just put it into a blender and mix it!

This recipe below was introduced to me by my sister, who got it from her Italian/Polish/Canadian stepfather who happens to not only be the most influential business coach I have ever met but also a fantastic cook! Now, lets put it online!

You need:

  • approx. 30g of blue cheese. The only trick is to find one suitable for vegetarians (means it does no contain animal rennet which basically is the stomach of an unweaned animal). 

  • I like to add another type of a fermented cheese, brie can be a good idea (10g will do)

  • 1 1/2 pack of basil (basically a big handful)

  • 1/2 pack of watercress. I also like to add some ricotta 

  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, roasted or fried

  • a few spoons of a good quality olive oil

What do to?

  • put some coconut oil on your pan and roast some sunflower seeds. Be careful - they can burn fast!

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, greens, sunflower seeds, cheese, add some water. Begin blending.

  • while blending, add in the olive oil to reach the desired consistency. You can make your pesto as thick or thin as you like.

There are just as many ways to use pesto. Some of my favourites are:

  • quinoa, avocado, greens salad and just a wee bit of pesto

  • on my guilty pleasure day: as a sauce on pasta (thin the pesto slightly with a little bit of pasta water – this will also help the pesto cling to the noodles).

  • Spread on a slice of fresh, crusty bread. It doesn’t get much better than that, unless you want to go ahead and put some tomato and mozzarella on there too.

  • oh, almost forgot…put it on a grilled cheese…heaven!

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Protein pancakes

There’s something comforting about pancakes. We love the taste, the making process and the smell they leave in the entire house. There is nothing better than lazy Sunday breakfast. Plus you don’t have to go to a fancy brunch or sacrifice your diet to make your fluffy dreams a reality.
What you need is:

  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 cup of organic oats
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 rhubarb stick, apple, blueberries, strawberries, or any other fruit you love.

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth (including banana). You can add a spoon of organic coconut oil so you don’t need to use it later on
  • Chop the rhubarb and add it to the mixture (don't blend anymore)
  • Use coconut oil to grease your frying pan. Add the mixture. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown

EAT AND LOVE EVERY BITE!

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10 things I loved about Hong Kong

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10 things I loved about Hong Kong

1) Travel as little as 1-2 miles away from HK to discover how beautiful and peaceful world can be

2) The diversity: poor but content vs. exclusive but hectic 

HK HOT POT DINNER

3) Honesty, you probably have no idea what you are eating anyway - so don't even ask

4) Traditional Sunday hot pot dinner

5) You can safely just wonder around HK, get lost, then find your way again and explore the less flashy HK

6) The longest underground trains I have ever seen! Seriously, they are as long as 2-3 blocks! Don't quote me on that but the other two cities that I know of with such a large number of cars are: Singapore and the rail link between Mecca and Medina. Every traveller who’s ever set a toe inside this immaculately clean, well-signposted, cheap, regular, convenient underground will agree that it’s probably one of the least frustrating subway systems in the world

HK

7) Pink dolphins - I don’t think I have actually believed in them until one just jumped in front of me. The pink colour is not a result of a pigment, but comes from very prominent blood vessels, which were overdeveloped for thermoregulation

8) Size of the incenses (a little tip, never leave your chopsticks stuck in the bowl of rice as it resembles incense and is considered disrespectful) 

9) Have you ever seen the size on an Asian butterfly?

10) When someone pours tea for you, lightly knock your two fingers on the table and say "thank you"

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