Health Room Catch-Up: 10 Projects in the Works

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

health room projects

After running for just over a year, we’re edging close to 100 published posts here at Health Room. It’s crazy when I stop and think about it.

It’s been fun, and I’m enjoying the journey, but every once in a while I think it’s good to take a step back, look at where we’ve come from, and plan where we’re going next. That’s we’re I’m at right now today, so I thought I’d do a little catch-up post. Just to check in on things, get our bearings, and set the stage for things to come.

Hopefully it’s nice for you because you can get an idea of what I’ve been up to, and what I’ve got planned for the future. And it’s definitely nice for me, because I don’t have to think that all that much, and it kinda helps me figure out where I’m at, and what direction I’m heading in. Win win.

Just a quick aside. As I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear, as I sit here and write this post my head is full of snot. Completely full. And it has been for the best part of the last two weeks, along with my chest. Quite ironic that I run a website that’s all about being healthy and fit, but I’m sat here with bleary eyes, coughing my lungs up, struggling to stay vertical. Lovely image for you all. No worries.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to lately, and what’s coming up over the next month or so here at Health Room (and beyond)…

Continue reading

How to Let go of Perfection and Form Healthy Habits

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

Image from

Image from Neely

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

Trying to build new healthy habits can be pretty daunting.

We could be talking about eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, starting out meditation, whatever really… Often, people get the idea in their head that whatever they’re gonna be doing, they have to get it right first time. They have to be perfect, right away.

The goal is to eat healthily, so it has to be completely whole-food plant based, or not at all. They want to get fitter, so they have to run 5 times a week for the rest of their lives. They want to meditate regularly, so they have to do an hour every morning, from now until eternity.

When I started changing my habits, that’s the approach I tried to take at first. Overhaul everything at once, and strive for perfection. Go hard, or go home. But it’s not hard to see that this type of thinking is not all that productive, and usually isn’t gonna end well.

Nine times out of ten, if you try make big radical changes straight off the bat, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

What typically happens?

Continue reading

African Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup Recipe (vgn) (gf)

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

Sweet potato and chickpea soup

  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cooking time: 40 mins

Sat here writing this post, I’m feeling pretty damn exhausted. (Feel free to skip the sob story and get right to the recipe if you like. I won’t be offended.)

You may know that I’ve been putting in a fair few hours of triathlon training lately, still just learning the ropes and getting my body used to it. Last week was a busy one, and rather than taking the weekend to chill out like we probably should have, we decided to enter a quick 5k race. It was meant to just be just a leisurely recovery run in the park with some like minded people, but in that race environment, the ego quickly took over. Go hard or go home Luke made an appearance. The ‘no pain no gain’ guy from my past. He’s such an idiot…

Five kilometers is not a crazy distance, despite being a complete amateur, I’m aware of that. But sometimes I think those shorter, high intensity races at a quick pace can take more out of you than if you were cruising in zone 2 for 26.2 miles. But maybe that’s just my ego again trying to justify the burning sensation in my calves, and the fog filling my brain.

So I’m feeling the pain a little. But that’s ok, I’ll learn from my mistakes, one day…

Something that always helps make this zombie like feeling a little better though is a good bit of soup. I was playing around with a carb heavy lunch idea the other day, and ended up with this Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup Recipe.

It’s along the same lines as the Sweet Potato and Red Onion Mash we made last week, in terms of ingredients, but with a few extra twists. It’s pretty simple to make, full of goodness, and won’t break the bank either. Pearl barley goes awesome in this, but you can easily substitute for brown rice if you’re going gluten free. Serve up with a few slices of wholemeal/gluten free bread, a little mango chutney, and you’re good to go.

I made a big batch last week, and froze some in case of an emergency. So it looks like I’ll probably be having it again today.

Here’s how I made it:

Continue reading

Interview with Sarah Argo of Southern Blonde Vegan

Sarah Argo of Southern Blonde Vegan

I started this site up partly because I wanted to document my own journey in plant based living and self discovery. But I also did it because I wanted to help as many people as possible unlock their potential and live authentically – by exploring and sharing ideas.

There’s only so much of that I can do on my own. I would never claim to be an expert at any of this stuff. And despite my efforts to remain neutral, I’m always gonna be looking at things through my own lens, made up from my personal experiences and biases.

So I thought, rather than boring you and stifling your growth with my same old approach, why not switch things up a little? Why not bring in other people to share their story too? To give you a new perspective on things, to freshen things up, and to help you see this crazy world from another viewpoint. After all, I really believe blogging is all about community, and we can achieve a lot more together than we can as individuals.

So that’s what I did. I went on a search for people I believe have an inspiring story and message to share, and I’m delighted to bring you our first guest today!

Sarah Argo.

Sarah wears many hats, so to speak. She’s a 24 year old plant based food and lifestyle blogger at Southern Blonde Vegan. She’s also an Instagram extraordinaire, sharing amazing, health promoting, home-made vegan recipes that look and taste delicious. And perhaps most importantly, Sarah is a wife, a stay at home mom, and a role-model for her three year old daughter.

Last week I reached out to Sarah, and she kindly obliged to let us find out a little more about her story. Obviously I really like her approach to nutrition, but there’s something about the way she comes across and her non-judgemental approach that I thought was cool too.

I really hope you get something out of this conversation. Something that resonates with you, that you can apply to your life, to help get you closer to reaching your potential. Because that’s the end goal!

So with out further ado, here’s Sarah Argo!

Enjoy!

Continue reading

Simple Vegan Garlic Bread Recipe (vgn) (gfo)

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

simple vegan garlic bread recipe

Here’s another little side dish I thought you might enjoy.

I don’t usually go for this sort of thing. As you know, I’m not a big fan of using processed foods, and try my best to stay away from them whenever possible. They’re not something I really want to promote, as they’re largely full of empty calories, contain little nutritional value, and don’t really contribute to the overall goal of creating healthy, fully functioning body.

But I wanna be completely honest – like most people, every once in a while I indulge. I’m only human after all…

Like I’ve said before, everyone is at different stages of their health journey, and if having a bit of vegan spread every now and again (which isn’t the worst thing in the world) makes eating a predominately whole food, plant based diet more sustainable for you, by all means go for it. I don’t want this blog just to be for the ‘elite’ – I want to meet you where you’re at. So sometimes that will mean looking at a few in-between, transitional recipe options, like this one today: vegan garlic bread.

The vegan garlic bread recipe is probably one of the easiest and quickest on the blog at the moment. It goes great as a side with just about anything, but we enjoyed it with a big pan full of dahl the other evening.

And here’s how we did it.

Continue reading

Red Onion & Sweet Potato Mash Recipe (vgn) (gf)

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

Sweet potato and onion mash

  • Serves: 2
  • Cooking time: 10-15 mins

We’ve been on a bit of a recipe hype lately here at Health Room. And I’ll be honest, it’s probably because I managed to figure out how to make this new swanky looking recipe page, which I’m pretty excited about. It’s a collection of all the creations we’ve thrown together over the past year or so. All plant based, vegan, healthy, easy to make, affordable, and pretty tasty.

And you wanna know the best part?

The page is completely self sufficient, and updates itself! So every time I add a new recipe to the blog, it will automatically get added to the recipe index, picture and all. How sweet is that?!

Very sweet is the answer. It will save me a shed load of time and hassle, which will allow me to focus on the more important stuff – putting out the best content that I can. But I can already tell that you’re probably not quite as pleased as I am at this concept, so lets just get on with the next recipe already…

This sweet potato mash recipe is pretty versatile, and makes a great addition to a load of different meals. We had it a few days ago with a super quick dahl, but it goes equally as well with spicy beans, or on its own as a soup if you water it down a little.

Quick, simple, easy to make, and full of plant powered goodness. Go get yourself some mash!

Continue reading

Sweet Chilli & Sausage Stir Fry Recipe (vgn) (gfo)

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

sausage stir fry, by luke jones, health room

  • Serves: 2
  • Cooking time: 25 mins

We’ve really been getting into cooking stir fry dishes again lately. Probably because we’ve been really busy, and stir fries are quick as Usain on the 100.

I’ve had a lot going on recently with the blog. I added some FAQ pages about each of the topics I write about, which you may or may not have noticed. Probably not. I’ve also been preparing articles for a few magazines, working on a couple of other pretty exciting projects, and I’ve also take up triathlon training as a new hobby, which I realised takes a long ass time to do properly. We’ve also had stuff to finish off after moving into the new place, and Mickie has been preparing to start her teacher training too.

So yeah, add all that up and it makes for a busy past few weeks. So for food, stir fries it is.

This one in particular is one of our new favourites. It’s sweet, sticky, full of veggies, and very meaty (but not in the artery-clogging, animal-slaughtering kinda way). Who thought that adding a few veggie sausages and tahini to the mix could work so well? I’d even go as far as saying that this dish ‘woks’…

Get it? Anyone?

No?

Wow… Tough crowd…

Continue reading

Plant Powered Mexican Burrito Recipe (vgn) (gfo)

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

Can't beat a good veggie burrito.

You can’t beat a good veggie burrito.

  • Serves: 2
  • Cooking time: 35 mins

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love eating Mexican food.

Ever since that first burrito from Wholefoods back in the university days, I’ve been hooked. There’s just something about the combo of beans, rice, wraps, veggies, salad, guacamole, coriander and salsa that drives me crazy. Funnily enough, we’re actually popping out to Mission Burrito to get a couple for lunch, as soon as I finish writing the intro to this post. So I’d better hurry up and get to it…

Strangely, although I love sampling burritos at various different restaurants and cafes, we’d never actually made them properly at home. Maybe it was because I was a little scared our home-made versions might not live up to the hype. They might be crushed by the competition, and I’d be left sobbing in the corner with my below average wrap, ego in tatters.

But last week, we took the risk and cooked up a load of plant filled burritos for my family, the first big meal we’ve done since moving into our new flat together. There was a lot to juggle serving six people, but we had a good system going on. I was chief bean, rice and veggie filler, whilst my girlfriend Mickie handled the salad, guacamole, salsa and wrapping duties. Like a pro I might add.

Thankfully, our first attempt turned out pretty good. Really good in fact, even if I say so myself. Although that was probably more down to Mickie’s kitchen prowess, rather than mine…

So read on to check out our plant powered burrito recipe, and go get yourself some veggie goodness!

Continue reading

10 Traditional Meals That Can Easily be Made Vegan

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

It's surprising how easy it is to turn your favourite meals plant based, once you get the hang of it.

It’s surprising how easy it is to turn your favourite meals plant based, once you get the hang of it.

On some level, I think quite a lot of people would probably like to eat a plant based, vegan diet. Especially if they were made aware of the potential benefits, not just for their health, but for their performance, for the environment, and for the other species we share the planet with too.

But despite this awareness, there would inevitably still remain one big barrier blocking the path for so many people: they wouldn’t know what to eat.

They wouldn’t know how to replace the meals they’re currently having with substantial plant based alternatives. Cut out the meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods, and what are you left with? Am I just gonna eat salad and sawdust?! They get the notion that a vegan diet would be too difficult.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s really not difficult. Yeah I said it. You’ve just gotta get started, experiment a bit, fail a lot, and after a while you’ll find some good solid meals that you’ll forget are vegan at all. But if you want a head start on all that, I can give you a little direction.

If you’re starting to become a little plant curious, or if you’re already plant-strong and looking for new ideas, here’s ten examples of everyday dishes that with a few small adjustments, can easily be made into healthy, delicious, plant based meals. Nothing complicated. Nothing expensive. Just quick and easy nutritious food.

Continue reading

Super Cheap, Super Quick Dahl Recipe (vgn) (gf)

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

Cheap simple dahl, all ready to eat on the new table I constructed last night.

Cheap simple dahl, all ready to eat on the new table I constructed last night.

We’re fresh off moving into the new flat in the capital city, and we’ve got a bit more furniture to put together right now, so this blog post is gonna be almost as quick and simple as the dahl we made for lunch today. No nonsense, vegan, tasty, and cheap as you like.

Go get it.

Continue reading