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Happy Earth Kitchen ©

12 affirmations for growth, magic & purpose

blog, Happy Earth Kitchen


Our thoughts impact our energy, and our energy creates our reality. What we think we become… For me, my birthday feels like the perfect moment for reflection and goal setting. Each year I set new intentions for my new birth year, so I can start manifesting my wishes. If you are not into New Year’s resolutions (like me) you could consider birthday affirmations.  To provide a little inspiration, I’m happy to share mine here with you.

1. I practice SELFLOVE for I am whole and complete. Regardless of what I have or don’t have; regardless of how I look or don’t look and regardless of my successes or failures.

2. I radiate and attract love, trust and AUTHENTICITY.

3. I am ACCEPTING of what is and trust in the greater plan.

4. I open up my business Happy Earth by Spring 2017.

5. I always make ethical choices and run my business with INTEGRITY.

6.  I generate more income than before, simply by following my PURPOSE.

7. I help others where I can and GIVE selflessly.

8.  I connect to my tribe and have more meaningful, uplifting and EMPOWERING relationships than ever before.

9. I am FOCUSED and I complete my tasks effortlessly.

10.  I am clear and STRAIGHTFORWARD in my communication. I pay attention to my gut feeling and set boundaries when needed.

11. My main purpose is always NOURISHMENT when feeding my body and my soul. Whether it’s the food I eat, the books I read, or the people I surround myself with.

13.  Yoga (including meditation and deep breathing) is my daily PRACTICE.

14.  I OVERCOME my pcos, just as I overcame many other health issues in the past and become healthier, stronger and sparklier than ever before!

May your upcoming birthday bring you a year of magic, miracles and purpose.

Love, Yonca ~ manifested into this world on Jan 24, 1981


Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Happy Earth Wedding

blog, Happy Earth Kitchen


Surrounded by green, the color of life, energy, growth, and harmony. With the breath of life touching our skins and an abundant shower of sunshine. Right under the firmly rooted trees bearing sweet fruits. With our hearts vibrating to the buzzing of the earth. Amidst our dearest family and friends and accompanied by butterflies reminding us of those who are with us in spirit. With blessings, gratitude and with joy we promised to support each other, love each other and to grow together towards great things.

  Sjoerd Booij FotografieSjoerd Booij Fotografie


Blessed with the Tryambakam and Gayatri mantra by our friend, our wedding officiant, to enlighten our minds and to restore health and happiness, making us realize that we are never separated from our immortal nature.

Om tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyormukṣīya mā’mṛtāt

Om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodayāt

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie


Bouquet, boutonnieres, hairpiece and decorations: self made with love, devotion, good energy and prana. Using sustainable materials, filling the babybreath bouquet with olive branches from mum’s garden. Using lavender and biodegradable paper as confetti, making our own dreamcathers to guide good dreams through the feathers towards us. Pure energy is a spiritual power. It is never lost nor wasted.

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie



I held many things in my hands. With my hands I’ve created, caressed, nourished, prayed, held and let go. I’ve manifested strength through my hands and expressed softness… On my feet I’ve walked many paths. I wandered, I got lost, I stood tall, I ran, I danced… With traditional patterns and natural colors applied with love, care & craftmanship I celebrate all my body has done for me and the way it took care of me.

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie



Food is celebration, food is nutrition, food is nature, food is nurture. Food gives comfort, it connects and brings joy. Food tells a story. Heritage, culture, ethics and love are to be found in the food we eat and in the way we eat it. Finding new ways, creating new traditions, reinventing old ones and inspiring others with plantbased, seasonal, local colorful foods is bliss.

Sjoerd Booij FotografieSjoerd Booij FotografieSjoerd Booij FotografieSjoerd Booij FotografieSjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie



Kindness in giving creates love. Instead of traditional favors we have made a donation to drill a water well in one of the poorest areas of Bangladesh, to provides clean water for an entire village. Our dream is a world where no one is dependent on charity.

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie

Sjoerd Booij Fotografie


Location: In de Kas
Photography: Sjoerd Booij
Henna: Toko Mehndi
Food: Spice Manu Factory
Raw vegan wedding cake: Sharp Sharp
Wedding favors: Max Foundation
Dress: Rara Avis
Hair & Make up: Yuliya Almetova

Full article in Dutch and for more eco wedding inspo: The Perfect Wedding


With love…

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

24 Hour VEGAN guide Istanbul

blog, Happy Earth Kitchen

The mega city Istanbul is not one to be discovered in 24 hours, but if that’s all you have, or you just want to get a glimpse of how to go vegan for one day in Istanbul, then it might be fun to take this little tour I’ve put together. Since the city is huge and traffic can be horrendous, I’ve limited this 24-hour vegan journey to the Beyoglu district.

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

The Karaköy Neighbourhood in the Beyoglu district

10.00 am / Breakfast
Bi Nevi Deli: A plant based, gluten free start of your day.

Turks have a strong and extensive breakfast culture. Traditionally you will find anything from olives, tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs, different kinds of cheese, eggs (different ways), local salamis and hams, honey and homemade jams and even different kinds of böreks (pastries), especially if it’s the weekend. So this offers a lot of vegan AND non-vegan options for people with a big appetite in the morning. Simit, the Turkish sesame bagel (go ahead they’re vegan) and a small but strong glass of black tea are the indispensable basics of the breakfast table. If you want to dive in this Turkish breakfast culture, almost every café or restaurant in Istanbul offers a breakfast or brunch buffet. But if you prefer to keep it 100% plant based, gluten free and/or raw you should definitely pay a visit to Bi Nevi Deli’s plant based kitchen in revitalized ‘hipsterville’ Karaköy, one of the neighborhoods of the Beyoglu districts. On Sundays Bi Nevi Deli offers an unlimited brunch buffet with both raw and warm dishes like chia parfait, raw vegan nut cheeses, tofu scramble, guacamole, veggies, gluten free bread and more. On the a la carte menu you will find dishes like spring rolls, gluten free sandwiches, soups, salads, burgers and raw vegan Pad Thai and courgettini.


Bi Nevi Deli’s Glutenfree sandwich


Bi Nevi deli’s Brunch Buffet


1 pm / Lunch
Dandin Bakery: Turkish cuisine inspired lunch in a vintage-design inspired setting.

 Karaköy, one of the oldest waterfront neighborhoods of Istanbul was for years a rough, not so pleasant area with shabby hardware shops. After the opening of Istanbul Modern (Museum of Modern Art) in 2004, things took a turn and the neighborhood underwent a serious revitalization with unique coffee shops, boutiques concept stores and the establishment of the cultural institution SALT Galata. SALT Galata hosts exhibitions and events and has a library and archive for public use. It is located in the historic Ottoman Bank, which alone makes it worth a visit. With all these attractive places in the area, you have plenty of time to kill between lunch and breakfast. Pay a visit to Istanbul Modern or SALT Galata, or shop your heart out at charming boutiques (don’t skip the French passage). Stroll around and sip on a hipster latte or a traditional Turkish coffee. Then around lunchtime take your seat at the cute, vintage inspired Dandin Bakery, which is (obviously) owned by a designer duo, and treat yourself to a delicious healthy lunch. The menu, which is strongly inspired on the Turkish cuisine, changes weekly and has vegan options, (or vegetarian dishes, that can be ‘veganized’ upon request). Pair it with a homemade lemonade or a green smoothies to refuel after shopping. Ugh, life is hard don’t you think…?

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Smoothies & Lemonades at Dandin Bakery


4 pm / Snack
Streetfood: Fresh Juice & Roasted Chestnuts.

After Karaköy make your way up hill to the artsy neighborhood Galata. Although Galata is Karaköy’s neighbor area, you’ll experience a clear shift from hipster to alternative, with ateliers and shops of Turkish fashion designers, vintage shops, record and music shops, cafes, bars, of course the Galata Tower and… oldschool juice bars! ‘Oldschool’ because they’ve been here before the juice craze hit North America and Europe. So don’t expect the California style hip juice bars, with the advanced slowjuicers, hipster baristas, fancy bottles, funky ingredients and superfood supplements. Nope, none of that. Instead expect a fruit and veggie kiosk with a conventional juicer, plastic cups and fair prices, a perfect afternoon pick me up if you ask me. Also, depending on the season you’re visiting Istanbul, you will find roasted chestnut or cooked and roasted corn as a typical streetfood on almost every corner of the street. I recommend you make your way to the famous carfree Istiklal Street in the Taksim area and enjoy some roasted chestnuts as you walk by the nostalgic tram and do some shopping and exploring while walking all the way to the Taksim Square and Taksim Gezi Park.

Afternoon pick me up: Roasted Chestnuts & Fresh Juice.

Afternoon pick me up: Roasted Chestnuts & Fresh Juice.


7 pm / Dinner
Journey Istanbul: Sit back, relax and indulge in Journey’s health foods.

The neighborhood Cihangir in the Beyoglu district is a 5 minute walk from Taksim square. Cihangir is a bohemian neighborhood where artists and intellectuals live, a place that still has that authentic Istanbul feel (you might associate it with Paris). Restaurant Journey in this neighborhood is one of those places that is laidback, yet well designed. Hip, yet never hipster. There is wifi but also a bookcase with works of different international authors. Journey has a professional staff and an extensive, fresh, seasonal and not overpriced menu. The menu is not exclusively vegetarian/vegan, but there are many wonderful options that are both original and healthy, with plenty of vegan side dishes and even (raw) vegan desserts, not to mention you can have cocktails, as well as green smoothies. The best part is that Journey is open for breakfast lunch and dinner, but since I suggested it as a dinner destination, below I share only the vegan options on their dinner menu.

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Journey Cihangir’s Green Menu

Journey Istanbul’s Vegan dishes on the dinner menu:

Salads & Mains
baby lettuce salad
crispy baby lettuce, radish, jerusalem artichoke, celery stick, chive and dressing of your choice.
warm potato salad
Sprouted lentils, parsley, coriander, arugula, potatoes, dressing to your choice.
root vegetable salad
Grated, carrot, radish, cabbage, jerusalem artichoke, parsley, dressing to your choice.
mediterranean platter
Humus, beetroot sesame paste, tomato pesto, quince , crispy flat bread.
veg pasta
Durum wheat or whole wheat penne with fresh basil and arugula pesto.
fresh green vegetables with pine nut and quinoa
Green bean, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach and quinoa in coconut oil.

• Oven baked baby potatoes
• Homemade French fries
• Green leaf salad
• Spinach, green beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
• Quinoa cooked with coconut oil
• Potato puree with mustard seeds

• Vegan dark chocolate beetroot cake
• Raw vegan gluten free chocolate muss
• Raw vegan gluten free chocolate cake
• Raw vegan cheesecake

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Journey Cihangir’s Vegan Chocolate Beet Cake

1 am / Late night snack
Cigköfte and Kumpir: Starchbased, low fat, vegan fast food!

After dinner you might want to experience a bit of Istanbul’s nightlife. In the Beyoglu district alone there is plenty to discover, whether you like jazz or pop, electronic or some traditional Turkish entertainment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday or Tuesday night, Istanbul doesn’t sleep and neither should you. And I bet after all the dancing, laughing and enjoying you will be hungry. Again. What about Kumpir, a traditional fast food snack of baked potato with yummy toppings like olives, pickles, tabouleh etc. (make sure you ask them not to mash the potato with cheese and butter and be aware that they also offer non-vegan toppings). Another wonderful option is Cigköfte (pronounced chi-kofta), originally (fully raw) meatballs with raw bulgur and raw meat, but because of health regulations the meat is replaced by mashed potato. You can have them straight up or wrapped in a tortilla. Both the Kumpir and Cigköfte are satisfying, starch-based and vegan. Yummy!

Istanbul by Night

Istanbul by Night


With Love From the Happy Earth Kitchen


Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Carbon Footprint Max (CFM)


Redefining Equality : Annual Carbon Footprint Allowance for all

Here’s a (somewhat provocative) thought. Establish an annual Carbon Footprint Maximum (CFM) per citizen. Consider it a maximum allowance, one you can spend as desired, but can never exceed. With this kind of measure every single person would be given the opportunity to really think about the real value, the true ‘cost’ of products and services and therefore make well-informed, conscious decisions. Besides it could be a tool that provides pure equality among people. No matter how much money you own, wealth and comfort is only gained if value is spent to resource productivity and sustainability.

What if besides a price tag, every single product had an emission tag as well. And what if every purchase at the checkout would credit your carbon footprint points? We all know how to deal with financial budgets, most of us anyway. We know bills have precedence over luxuries. We all understand that we have to back off a little when money runs tight and when we can spoil ourselves. We all know these things because we are aware of the cost of things and of our financial abilities and constraints. If products and lifestyles were free, we all would spend like Kim & Kanye right? If products aren’t free of cash value, then why are they free of an emission value?

We would have to make choices

The meat and dairy industries are the biggest polluters and beef in specific is the leading one. According to a study published in New Scientist magazine, producing 1kg of beef results in more CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home. [1]
You choose to eat meat and dairy, fine, but since you can’t exceed your CFM, you will have to make adjustments on other aspects of your life. Think of energy neutral housing, transportation, leisure etc. You like exotic fruits and veggies that have to travel half the world? (Honestly I do). Well, maybe not so much after all, once you come to realize you can’t really ‘afford’ it. Maybe you’ll have to choose: Do I buy two new pairs of leather boots this year, eat tropical fruits year-round, or go buy a plane ticket to a place I also can travel to by train? And it wouldn’t matter (from a climate point of view at least, the ethical discussion is another one) which one you choose, because when the figures are added up, these all would cancel each other out and we all (rich or poor) would have the same maximum impact on our planet. Fair and square. And if we’d think productively and ingeniously we could even use less while doing and having more, creating some kind of savings. Since consumers hold the power, corporate social responsibility would follow inevitably. Could something like this even challenge the money system as we know it? Could it be a catalyst for a self-sustaining, non-capitalist system with free access to anything with zero environmental impact, which naturally allows for abundance?


You could wonder, why restrict our selves in such ways? Is it too harsh, too rigid? Well jobs, money, salaries and loans are restrictive, but we often don’t receive them to be, because we’re used to the system. I don’t know anything about economics or governance, so excuse me if this is downright ridiculous or if it’s not in a million year implemental in practice, but I firmly believe that we should feel free to address issues, thoughts and ideas that, although maybe stupid, childish or utopian, could contribute to awareness at some level or could inspire someone else to come up with ideas that are in fact workable. You and me bringing in good energy, modest ideas and tiny pieces into the greater, terribly complicated puzzle are vital. We have to rethink the established paradigm and some provocation and contrariness can sometimes be the right trigger, creating little sparks of inspiration.

So are measures like a Carbon Footprint Max even really extreme?

  • Extreme weather conditions due to climate change destroy our infrastructures and societies, our homes and families;
  • Extreme drought and food shortages unchain wars;
  • 805 million (that’s 1 in 9) people are undernourished, yet we keep using grain to feed livestock and for biofuels;
  • Dubai has no water, yet expends immense amounts of energy to desalinate seawater and build the world’s highest skyscrapers in the world. Dubai has endless sun but just until recently no solar panels. [2]
  • 5000 people a day die because of dirty drinking water, while we waste 15.000 liters of water to the production of 1 kilogram of beef;

So the challenges are real. Even when measures seem extreme at first glance, we deserve and owe it to ourselves to keep the cycle of life that was given to us going. Because in the end it comes down to simple things we take for granted: clean air to breath in, a thriving planet for all living beings and a fair chance for our children to live in a just, healthy and war-free world. So let’s keep questioning the established order and let’s not be afraid of making fools of ourselves by getting involved in the debate. One can only learn from asking, sharing, questioning, listening and engaging.

With love from the Happy Earth Kitchen.

2. HOME (documentary, 2009) – Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Iron Rich Raw Breakfast Smoothie

blog, Fully Raw, Juices & Smoothies, Recipes

If you’re on a plant based diet trying to get your iron levels right, eating iron rich sources may not be enough. The amount of iron absorbed from plant foods depend on the other types of foods eaten at the same meal. Some foods aid in the absorption of iron, while others (like coffee, tea, legumes, milk and dairy products for example) can actually decrease the amount of plant based iron absorbed at a meal.

When it comes to plant based iron, proper food combining is key. Watch the explanation & get the Iron Rich Breakfast Smoothie recipe from this video.

(Spoken part, first 1:50 min is in Dutch)


blender + lemon squeezer

Vitamin C sources:
2 Oranges
1 Grapefruit
1 Lime
2 Kiwis
Iron Source:
2 hands full of spinach

Happy Earth Kitchen © / Giorgio Oehlers

Adopting a plant based diet


Why going plant-based?

This week, something remarkable happened in the Netherlands. Urgenda (the Dutch organization for sustainability and innovation) won the lawsuit for better climate policies they filed against the Dutch government. In an interview after the victory, director Marjan Minnesma expressed the urgency for a better climate in plain language. She said that it’s just a matter of time that climate change due to CO2 emissions will result in drought and food shortages in various parts of the world, which will lead to a massive influx of people into wealthier parts of the world, which will unleash wars.

Well it’s that simple. If we don’t take better care of our planet, it will get out of balance and people will starve. We in the West will experience war up close and our children will grow up in it. Therefore, the court found that the Dutch State has to take its responsibility. Great news, but responsibility is also our task, the inhabitants of the Earth. 

What has diet got to do with it?

The production of meat and other animal products has a heavy impact on the environment. One of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products. Given the growing world population and food insecurity, raising livestock is also inefficient. It’s a waste of resources we desperately need to conserve, because livestock consume much more protein, water and calories than they produce. 

But veganism is also part of compassionate living. The days of hunting and gathering are over which means animals don’t have a fair chance against humans anymore. We’re exploiting them, hurting them, testing our cosmetics on them and leading some of them to extinction. Yet we love our pets and would do anything for them. We have to understand that, in terms of the ability to feel pain and suffering, there is no difference between a cow and a dog. Veganism is taking a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere.

Last but not least, studies show that many of the Western diseases can be prevented and sometimes even reversed by a plant-based diet. This means that the solution for exploding health care costs and expensive, painful and unnecessary surgeries is quite simple… And on a more popular note, a plant-based diet can help you lose weight and gain energy.

“Every kilogram of beef requires 100,000 liters of water to produce. By comparison, a kilogram of wheat requires just 900 liters, and a kilogram of potatoes just 500 liters.”

But how…

Changing your lifestyle is a tough game and when it comes to long-term success, going cold turkey isn’t always the smartest choice. Chances are that you will find your new lifestyle too extreme, too overwhelming or difficult to maintain. Before you know it you’re back to where you’ve started, feeling either guilty or defeated, promising yourself that you will start over next Monday, next month or well, after Holiday Season…

I believe that giving your body and mind the time to adjust to new things and to a certain way of eating has a much higher chance of long-term success. Adding better foods to your current diet and slowly but surely eliminating the bad ones is the easy way to work towards a healthy, diverse plant based diet. Remember that going plant based is not a quick fix or a fad diet. It is a natural way of (re)gaining balance and a long term investment in your health, in animal wellbeing and the future of our planet.

Whether you are a heavy meat eater trying to shed off some pounds and reach better health, or whether you are a vegan-curious vegetarian. Whatever your current phase or goal is, you can use the steps below as a guideline to achieve your personal goals and in the end maybe become vegan, saving your health, the animals and the one and only planet we call home.

Phase 1: From Meat-Eater to Flexitarian

If you are a meat eater I suggest you start with a semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet, eating meat a couple of days a week at most, incorporating at least 2 or 3 fully meatless days. Apply simple rules that work well for you. For example challenge yourself to only eat meat when you’re eating out, on specific days of the week, or on certain occasions. Make an effort to increase the amount of vegetables and reduce the amount of meat on your plate. Also you can start with incorporating 1 raw meal to your day, for example a (green) smoothie for breakfast. Maintain this phase for about 3 months. If you’re feeling comfortable and confident at the end of the 3 months, move on to the next phase. If this phase is already difficult for you and it still takes a lot of effort, just take more time. Remember that the aim is to go slow and steady not quick and sloppy.

“Stride forward with a firm, steady step knowing with a deep, certain inner knowing that you will reach every goal you set yourselves, that you will achieve every aim.” ~ Eileen Caddy

Phase 2: From Flexitarian to Pescetarian

Congratulations, you did it! You significantly reduced your meat consumption. Probably you already feel lighter, more energetic and you might have even noticed better digestion. You’re ready for the pescetarian phase. In this phase fish and shellfish is the only animal meat you’re eating. Although you can have seafood, don’t exaggerate, don’t go eating fish 7 days a week. Look at it as something special, maybe something you order when eating out or when you really crave it. And when you do, make sure you choose high quality, sustainable seafood. We all heard of mercury contamination and of the effects of overfishing. The more you focus on fruits, vegetables and starches, the better. From my own experience, this is a diet that can be easily maintained. In fact I was pescetarian for years, it is a way of eating that offers you lots of options and you’ll never feel an outcast during social situations. Maintain this phase for another 3 months. Again, when you feel confident, move to the next stage. If you’re struggling, hang in here for a little longer.

“Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll overfish the hell out of ‘em.” ~ Groucho Marx

Phase 3: From Pescetarian to Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian

The third step is to not eat any dead animals anymore (nope, not even shrimps, tuna or chicken broth), the good old vegetarian diet! However you still are allowed to eat animal products if you want, like dairy, eggs and honey. Nowadays every restaurant has a wide variety of vegetarian options and nobody will give you a weird look when you say you are vegetarian. In this phase you might wanna inform your friends and family about the new meat-free lifestyle you’ve adopted, so they can take this into account during social situations. It is a good idea to pay attention to which animal products make up a large part of your diet, so you can start looking for plant based alternatives. Are you a big milk consumer, then there are many plant based alternatives on the market, try them and see which one you like best. If you are a cheese lover (let’s be honest, who isn’t?), then you might want to start experimenting with making your own cashew ‘cheese’ and see if this is an alternative you like. You get the point, start experimenting, because my friend, in about 3 months, you will not only be meat free but also dairy and egg free!

“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” ~ Kristin Armstrong

Phase 4: Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian to Semi-Vegan

I call this phase the semi-vegan phase or the non-strict vegan phase. In this phase you eliminate eating all animal products like dairy, eggs and honey on their own. That means no more cheese on your sandwich, no more yoghurt as a workout-snack and no more scrambled eggs for breakfast. However at this point you don’t have to worry about reading all the labels too much to figure out if a certain food contains (small amounts of) animal products like eggs, powdered milk or butter. If you really want to have a bite of a carrot cake or fresh Italian pasta (which most probably contain egg) go ahead and have some. On the other hand you might wanna be aware of which foods are vegan and which are not, so you can make conscious decisions and transition more easily to the final stage. For example in this phase you might want to start choosing sorbet over ice cream, dark/raw chocolate over milk chocolate, rice noodles over egg noodles and bagels over croissants. (Not that I encourage you to eat any processed foods, but just to give you an idea of vegan alternatives for popular non-vegan foods).

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” ~ Winston Churchill

Phase 5: Fully Vegan

Finally eliminate products that contain any animal products. This of course is the hardest part and it can, despite the transition period, be very overwhelming. Reading all the labels, not only of food but also of non-food products, doing research, finding new places to eat out, replacing your beauty products and finding ways to fit in during social gatherings can be hard, time consuming and overwhelming, so I would recommend to take all the time you need in the previous semi-vegan phase to slowly educate yourself. Actually it is far better to stay in phase 4 forever then to fall back into old eating habits because you feel this is all too strict and complicated. Be realistic and remember that every step in the right direction is better then taking no step at all. Being a flexitarian is better than being a heavy meat-eater and being semi-vegan is better than being vegetarian: certainly for the animals and for the planet and in my opinion also for our health!

“Quite simply, the more you substitute plant foods for animal foods, the healthier you are likely to be. I now consider veganism to be the ideal diet. A vegan diet – particularly one that is low in fat – will substantially reduce disease risks. Plus, we’ve seen no disadvantages from veganism.” ~ Dr. Colin Campbell

With Love From the Happy Earth Kitchen

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Mono Color Island / Rainbow week  


Eat the rainbow!

Last April, with the arrival of spring weather, I decided to go on a mono-color island (is that a term yet?). You probably heard about mono-meals which means that you’re eating one type of food at each meal, or about banana or watermelon island, which means that you are eating one type of food for a certain period of time and last but not least about a rainbow cleanse, which focuses on detoxing with juices that contain a wide variety of plant colors. The idea behind all these different approaches is to ease and facilitate the digestion, to give your system a rest and to reset the body. Well I decided to do something similar with a different twist. Eat from a different food color group each day, during 5 days for optimal nutrition, detoxification and physical & mental relaxation.

Why focusing on color?

The chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their significant color are called phytochemicals or phytonutrients (Phyto meaning plant in Latin). Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of these nutrients may have disease preventive properties [2]. Most foods do contain phytochemicals, but the easiest way to get them in is by eating more fruits and vegetables of different colors.

Phytochemicals in freshly harvested plant foods are the highest and degrade during processing, including cooking. Eating fruits and vegetables in their raw, natural state is therefore important. The exception to this ‘no-heating rule’ is carotenoids such as Beta-carotene (found in carrots) and lycopene (found in tomatoes). They may remain stable or even increase by cooking, however prolonged cooking should be avoided. Slow cooked carrot soup or tomato sauce might therefore be an excellent and healthy addition to a mainly raw diet.

It seems that most people don’t get enough phytochemicals in. To maximize your health you should be aiming at eating one cup of each color everyday. If you don’t want to think about this recommendation throughout the day and want to ‘just get it over with’ first thing in the morning, a mixed rainbow juice or rainbow smoothie for breakfast can be very helpful. However, being aware of what you eat and adding as much color from fresh plant foods as possible to every meal can help you to adopt healthy and balanced eating habits.

So here’s how my five days on mono colour island looked like.

Day 1

Orange Island

Day 1 of the rainbow week was a trip to Orange Island. I’ve been loading up on beta-carotene, the pigment that gives orange foods their color and is converted in the body to vitamin A. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals. It reduces risks of cancer, hydrates your skin and protects it during sun exposure, helps maintain good vision, regulates immune system and improves heart health by decreasing blood pressure. Although cooking improves the availability of carotenoids in foods, prolonged cooking should be avoided.

Phytochemicals in orange foods: i.a. Alpha Carotene, Beta-Carotene, Beta cryptoxanthin, Hesperetin.
Sources: Carrot, orange, tangerine, turmeric, sweet potato, mango, papaya, pumpkin, apricot, persimmon and peaches etc.

My Orange Menu

Breakfast: carrot-orange-mango smoothie with curcuma & cinnamon.
Lunch: Papaya monomeal.
Dinner: Big mango-carrot-papaya salad.
Snack: Oranges.

Day 1, Orange Island

Day 1, Orange Island


Day 2

Green Island

Day 2 on rainbow week was a trip to Green Island. Green fruits and vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including lutein, zaexanthin & flavonoids. Benefits are a lower risk of some cancers, eye health, lung health, strong bones, strong teeth and rejuvenated muscles. So it might be a good idea to stock up on green foods if you’re working out a lot! Oh and the darker green, the better.

Phytochemicals in green foods: i.a. Lutein, zaexanthin, flavonoids.
Sources: cucumber, zucchini, green tea, spinach, broccoli, kale, parsley, green apple, celery, string beans, peas etc.

My Green Menu

Breakfast: Green juice with cucumber, green apple, lime, spinach, mint and wheatgrass powder. (get more green juice recipes here)
Lunch: Springrolls filled with green veggies and green apple with an avocado dipping.
Dinner: Veggie broth with string beans, peas, zuchinni and spinach with dill and lime.
Snack: Green apples

Day 2, Green Island

Day 2, Green Island


Day 3

Red Island

Day 3 of the rainbow week was Red Island. The phytochemicals that give red foods their color include lycopene and anthocyanidins, proven to fight heart disease and prostate cancer and to support urinary tract and DNA health.

Phytochemicals in red foods: i.a. lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, anthocyanidins
Sources: tomatoes, watermelon, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, red bell pepper, beets, cranberries etc.

My Red Menu

Breakfast: Watermelon monomeal (eat watermelon on its own, combining it with other fruits/foods causes it to ferment in your body which causes digestive problems like bloat/gas etc).
Lunch: Monomeal of red apples.
Dinner: Big jar of red chevice (tomatoes, red bell peppers and beets with lemon juice and apple vinnegar).
Desert: Cherry-banana nicecream.

Day 3, Red Island

Day 3, Red Island


Day 4

White Islands

On day 4 of Mono Color Island I ate white fruits & veggies only. I didn’t know but apparently only 14% (!) of the people eat enough foods from the white food-group. And we’re not talking about pasta and bread here, we’re talking whole plant based white foods. Their key benefit is increased immunity, healthy bones and circulatory health. I started the day with a cabbage-ginger juice. The taste is something I don’t get used to, but doing this daily has great benefits for healing your gut if you have any symptoms of IBS (like me) or leaky gut syndrome for example.

Phytochemicals in white foods: i.a. EGCG, allicin, quercetin, indoles, glucosinolates
Sources: cauliflowers, coconuts, onions, ginger, pears, bananas, fennel, mushrooms and turnips etc.

My White Menu

 Cabbage-ginger juice.
Banana-cashew mylk.
: Monomeal of pears.
: Cauliflower rice with grilled mushrooms and grilled cauliflower.

Day 4, White Island

Day 4, White Island


Day 5

Purple/Blue Island

Blue/purple fruits and veggies are rich in flavonoids and contain the highest concentration of antioxidants (the darker the food, the more). They help prevent cancer and urinary tract infections, are anti-aging, good for heart, liver and healthy vessels.

Phytochemicals in purple/blue foods: i.a. flavonoids, resveratrol, anthocyanins, phenolics
Sources: Blackberry, blueberry, elderberry, purple grapes, plums, black beans, eggplant, red cabbage, acai berry etc.

My Purple/Blue Menu

Breakfast: Purple grapes and blueberries.
Lunch: Berry Sorbet.
Dinner: Eggplant lasagna with red cabbage / red cabbage salad.
Snack: Grapes.

Day 5, Purple Blue Island

Day 5, Purple Blue Island


I wanted to do one more day with yellow foods, but my schedule didn’t really allow me to. But since yellow and orange foods are often considered in the same group, I felt free to cheat a bit and skip this one 😉 I might do a yellow day another time.

Next time you’re in the produce section of your supermarket I challenge you to shop according to color and see if you meet the ‘1 cup of each color everyday’ advice! Good luck!

With love from the Happy Earth Kitchen



1. Hung, H.C., et al., Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst
2. UC Cooperative Extension Center for Health and Nutrition Research Department of Nutrition, University of California Davis, CA – Nutrition and Health Info-Sheet for health Professionals
3. Phytochemicals.info
4. Precisionnutrition.com

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Eat Chew Renew – Healthy Digestion


You Are What You Eat.

Did you know that our body turns food into (a new) us! How? Our body continuously replaces our cells. Cells in our digestive system for example are replaced daily. Our taste buds renew themselves every 10 days. Our skin is replaced every 30 days, our lungs every six weeks and the heart is replaced every six to nine months! The quality of the replacement of cells relies on the food that was available when the replacement took place. So we literally become what we eat. The food we eat becomes us. The food a pregnant woman eats turns into a small human being… Isn’t that mind-blowing?

Once you know that you are what you eat, you can change the way you perceive food and your diet. Don’t make weight loss a mission on its own. Don’t think losing weight or gaining muscle with powders, pills or highly processed (diet) foods. Think nourishing your body on a cellular level with high quality, whole, nutrient dense, living foods. When nourishment becomes the new focus, your weight, your appearance and your fitness will all fall into place.

The human diet: Aren’t we omnivores by nature?

“Animals that live on other animals eat raw meat, straight from the flesh, eating muscles, organs, blood and other body fluids as well. Humans do not enjoy devouring bones, gristle, raw fat, flesh and bits of hair”. – Dr. Douglas Graham

According to the book ‘The 80/10/10 Diet’ a few of the many differences between human anatomy and that of omnivores and carnivores:

• We lack claws, making ripping skin and flesh extremely difficult. We possess much weaker, flat fingernails instead.
• Our opposable thumbs make it easy to collect fruit. We could no more catch and rip the skin or tough flesh of a deer than a lion could pick mangoes or
• The digestive tract of a carnivore is only 3 times the length of his torso, which is necessary to avoid rotting or decomposition of flesh inside the animal body. Ours is roughly 12 times the length of our torso, which allows for the slow absorption of sugars and water-borne nutrients from fruit.
• Our ability to grind our food is unique to plant eaters. Meat eaters have no lateral movement in their jaws.
• The teeth of carnivores are pointed and sharp. Ours are primarily flat, for mashing
• The stomach acidity of carnivores is at least 10 times to even 1000 times stronger than humans.
• Our digestive enzymes differ. We produce ptyalin to initiate the digestion of fruit, meat-eaters don’t.

So what should we eat for good health, especially for good digestion?

As I experimented to manage my IBS (Irratable Bowel Syndrome) and my food allergies, as I tried many different ways and theories, as I educated myself about nutrition, digestion and health, as I got into eating for athletic results, I came to the following conclusion:

  • Eat real food. Food that is as close to its natural state as possible (potatoes instead of potato chips. Apples instead of prepackaged apple juice etc.).
  • Eat whole, plantbased foods.
  • Eat the rainbow (brightly colored, deeply pigmented fresh produce).
  • Avoid processed food. Vegan Shmegan. Processed food is bad for you, don’t care if its vegan.
  • Eat mostly local, seasonal and organic.
  • Avoid soy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine and gluten and limit salt intake.
  • Hydrate with water.
  • Include (green) smoothies and cold pressed vegetable juices in your diet.
  • Heating damages nutrients and kills enzymes in food. Aim for (at least) 50% of your diet to be raw.
  • Pay attention to proper food combining (I will write a blog on this topic soon).
  • Focus on alkaline forming foods (will also write a blog on this topic).
  • Give your body and digestive system a rest every once in a while by eating monomeals or by fasting.
  • And last but not least, pay attention to the signals your body is sending you, weather it is really understanding the sensation of hunger and fullness, or why you are low in energy, sick or in pain. Train yourself to listen to your body.

“The body knows how to heal itself. It does not want to be sick. If you eat healthfully, live healthfully and move joyfully, your body will be kind to you.” – Dr. Klaper (M.D. and leading educator in applied plant-based nutrition and integrative medicine)


There is one thing more important than eating the right foods, and that is absorbing the right foods. Dr. Klaper states: “You are not what you eat. You are what you absorb”.

All the good nutrients of plant-based foods are locked up in though cellulose walls. In order to absorb the nutrients from these foods, we must break down the cell walls. The bad news is that we lack enzymes to do this, but nature never fails, so the good news is that we were provided with perfect natural ‘juicers’: mainly flat teeth, perfectly designed to chew, grind and extract the juice of plant materials.

Using our teeth and chewing our foods properly makes the digestion easy. Not chewing our food properly will not only cause bad digestion (bloat, gas etc.) but will also prevent the absorption of the highly needed nutrients. So taking time, lots of time, to chew our food before swallowing it is very important. Once the food reaches our stomach, the acid continues the breakdown of the food. From there the digested food moves into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed for use in the body. The final stop is the colon, where water and some minerals are absorbed. In this stage, whatever your body hasn’t absorbed you excrete as waste.

Natural ‘juicers’ versus mechanical juicers.

Mother Nature put a set of great juicers in our mouth, which we should use thoroughly, but there is nothing wrong to help nature a little from time to time by mechanically breaking down plant cell walls with the use of a blender, processor, juicer or hot water (steaming / cooking). Where blending and juicing maintains living enzymes (essential to cellular health and growth) cooking does not. On the other hand blending and cooking maintains fiber, where juicing does not. Finally the benefit of cooking compared to juicing and blending is that it maintains structure, which allows you to chew your food, which in turn has a positive effect on your digestion because the process of chewing releases digestive enzymes. There is no 1 absolute way to health. Mix it up a little. Drink fresh vegetable juices on an empty stomach to spoil your cells with all the living nutrients, add greens to your smoothies and keep them chunky so you have something to chew on. And when heating your food, go for short and lightly, so you maintain as many nutrients as possible.

Juice & smoothie recipes
Smoothiebowl recipes

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen



The 80/10/10 Diet – Dr. Douglas N. Graham
The PH Miracle – Dr. Robert O. Young
Gutbliss – Dr. Robynne Chutkan
Digestion Made Easy – Dr. Michael Klaper