Bowl-ing in Berlin again – the intuitive way

It’s time to talk about food again! But before we get to The pictures I feel like I should open up more again. As long-time readers will know I’m in recovery from an eating disorder and have been for far too long already. While I’ve made noticable progress since starting my blog these past months have shown me how much I still need to work on reestablishing a healthy relationship with food. It’s only become that much more apparent in my current situation. Traveling has proven to help once before and it did again this time. That realisation alone is huge for me because it was leaving my routine that scared [and still scares] me the most. Yet it’s true that growth occurs outside our comfort zones. And it can be delicious growth as today’s What I ate Wednesday will [at least partially because we know I never manage to take pictures of every meal and snack I eat] show. Thanks to Jenn as well the Vegan Wednesday team for coming up with awesome parties catering every blogger’s food curiosity.

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Breakfast went unpictured and not as planned. The reason? My train was leaving at shortly past 8 AM with a 45 minute drive to the station. Safe to say that being the polar opposite of a morning person I wasn’t keen on getting up even earlier than I already had to rush down breakfast. The solution? Trusty old Tupperware. While not really meal-prepping I’ve been pre-cooking brown rice to have on hand for quick meals lately. So short-grain brown rice with shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and fresh parsley it was. Only it wasn’t a timely breakfast. Thanks [or not] to a major soccer game taking place in Berlin that day – and me obviously being completely unaware … – the train was more than crowded. Long story short: I spent 1 1/2 hours standing and NOT eating.

Tupper lunch_wheatberries_stir-fry[No picture of my actual breakfast but it was similar to this recent lunch]

Luckily, everything was forgotten when I arrived at my aunt’s appartment. And here’s where relaxation set in out of the blue again. Unexpectedly, my aunt and her boyfriend hadn’t had breakfast yet, either, so invited me to join them. Previously: anxiety!  This time, I ate my prepped meal plus some of their spread, too. Because that’s what intuitive [read: normal] eating includes. For somebody like me used to control just about every morsel the change was incredibly freeing. I’ll admit I still roughly track my calories in my head – it’s not as easy to give up as macros – throughout the day. However, by far not as strictly as in previous years.

Whenever I take a trip and leave my daily grind, though, I’ve noticed myself naturally becoming more intuitive in the way I eat [hence the title]. Whatever is the reason for this, I’m embracing it because regaining an intuitive way of living is my ultimate recovery goal.

Blueberries

After strolling around on a flea market, sharing a pint of blueberries [served up in a bowl] and chatting we set out to have lunch. Inspired by somebody on Instagram I’d taken notice of a new restaurant that had opened up just a few weeks ago. The Bowl – as the name suggests – serves clean [I don’t like to associate this term with food but it’s their self-description] vegan food exclusively in bowls. No sugar, gluten or any other nasties. Just delicious real food.

Needless to say I was in from the very first moment. I wish they provided their full menu online because the descriptions of every item sound too good to be true. Picking a bowl*proved to be way more difficult than expected because trust me you’d have wanted to order everything, too! How could you not with items like cashew cheese – covered Brussels sprouts, beet carpaccio or pink kimchi?

Clearly, going to Berlin means breaking out the bowls for me.

The Bowl Berlin_Mexican bowl

Ultimately, I reminded myself I could come back again and chose the Mexican Bowl Just a funny recovery note: I dismissed one bowl right away because it sounded like it was lacking carbs.Not too long ago that exactly would have made me pick it. These days? No way. Even not working out I know I need my grains for energy and – despite not counting macros – they are packed with wonderfully satisfying carbs.  My bowl containing a brown/wild rice blend, Mexican beans, grilled corn on the cob, guacamole, homemade tomato cilantro salsa, some kind of unknown dip [delicious!].  As well as a side of [refined sugar-free] ketchup and mixed greens with a creamy avocado dressing.

The Bowl Berlin_Mexican Bowl_close-up

No dinner picture because we just kept having random bits and bites – including an impromtu tomato soup [another meal from eaten from  a bowl], crackers, chocolate and fruit – throughout the evening due to our fairly late lunch. Instead, I’m offering you my aunt’s choice at the restaurant: the Falafel Bowl. Beet falafel, cashew cheese sauce, raw tabbouleh, turmeric chickpeas with miso hummus, fried eggplant and carrots as well as the complementary mixed greens.

[Snacks escaped the camera again, too, but be assured there were plenty. ]

The Bowl Berlin_Falafel bowl

All in all, this short trip enhanced my happiness level to the max and got me excited for recovery. Which sounds a little ridiculous typed out but oh well. I’ve already written half a novel of a WIAW post here so if you’re curious to hear more recovery rambles be back tomorrow.

Happy [What I ate] Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Spotting an article by a friend of mine currently interning at a huge national news agency in our local newspaper. Even if it wasn’t me I’m super excited about seeing his name in print.
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Family fun, food fails and favourites

Another weekend on the train – four hours on Friday, three on Sunday – and lots in between.  Don’t worry, though, I won’t center another What I ate Wednesday around train food. Instead, I’ll show you the good and not that good food I ate at my destination(s). Hence the favourite and fails in the title but you guessed that by now, right? Spending time with my family and eating fall-ish foods was definitely a way of falling into good habits for this week’s What I ate Wednesday.

wiaw fall into good habits button

Obviously,  I had to make the best use of my short, no, very short,  stay at my parents’. Think: eat all the food. The first home-grown kabocha in way too long. I arrived with an empty suitcase for a reason – a miracle happened because I can’t remember I’ve ever packed this light before – kabocha dedication.

Kabocha_cut

Can we agree that home-grown raspberries > storebought. And yellow raspberries > any other kind. So when I walked to the vegetable patch to pick up more kabocha and came across bushes upon bushes of these I couldn’t help myself from helping myself [ha!]. Actually,  I was overstuffed at this point already but knowing I wouldn’t be able to get another chance this year anymore so it was worth the stomach ache. Don’t tell me you couldn’t relate. I know you’ve been there before ;).

Raspberries

We had a packed weekend ahead. After arriving Friday night Saturday included a gorgeous autumn-y bike ride through the countryside.  I miss it [and my family] so much. I was barely there when we already  because we had plans to meet my sister, her husband,  a cousins and friends on Saturday night. It had been way too long since my last visit to the theatre and my sister had suggested going a while ago already.

Friedrich Fett_interior

Right after the theatre we had  reservations for dinner. And by dinner I mean at 9.45 PM which means we didn’t get to eat until 10.30 PM. Hello, eating late at night.

Friedrich Fett is a newly opened restaurant in Hamburg-Altona my sister insisted on trying instead of going for one of our usual favourites. Unfortunately not as much of a vegan-friendly as my sister had promised. Or maybe going on Saturday – their proclaimed ‘meat day’ – was bad luck for me. Fortunately, the kitchen offered to cater spontaneously and even brought out an additional vegan platter for a first course: a piece of grilled corn; avocado atop marinated hokkaido squash (!!), spears of fried Parsnip and eggplant. The squash was incredible, the corn too bland for my taste.

Friedrich Fett_Vorspeise
We sadly missed out on the guacamole with plantain chips I’d been eyeing on the menu but you can’t have everything. (:

For my main I tried to customize a tofu bolognese that was originally meant to go with pasta asking them to sub plain quinoa. The waiter – very sweet and genuinely making an effort but probably still new to the job [given they’d opened just four weeks ago] – mixed things up. When our plates arrived I got a small dish of zucchini quinoa mixed with red pesto;  a tofu and vegetable stir-fry and peanut sauce on the side. Both sides went unpictured because my family protested when I took pictures of the food before already and family harmony > blogging duties. Right?! I still gave the stank eye to my sister because that way I can neither show you the quinoa [picture a dish of red-ish hued quinoa with fried zucchini here] and peanut sauce. And the latter was of the I want to drink it with a straw kind. Ridiculous. The best part of my dish.

Friedrich Fett_1

I won’t lie: it was somewhat disappointing. Not bad per se but not a sensation for my tastebuds, either. If you saw one of my recent WIAWs you’ll probably notice the resemblance here.  Petzi from the Vegan Wednesday team said it right in her note on the Pinterest board: the stand-by vegan dish at non-vegan restaurants. There’s still room for improvement. I’ll admit I thought differently the night of but in hindsight most other family members pleased with their choices are worth one sub-par meal on my part. And you know it: next time I’ll pick the restaurant. For any German readers: I can’t recommend Friedrich Fett as of now.

Eggplant Lasagna_soy yogurt

Ending this post on the note of favourites: in an effort to re-shoot the eggplant lasagna – obviously just out of blogger dedication and not because I’m obsessed with it – I snagged the eggplant my mum had sitting around. Apparently well-traveled vegetables makes the best dishes because it was even better than the times before. I’ll edit the post soon – not just for the pictures but to add an even simpler variation on the white sauce. Because why go with simple if you can go even simpler??

On the note of simple I’ll go the easy route of ending this post by wishing you a happy Wednesday! See you tomorrow for thinking out loud,

Happiness-inducing today: The sky turning pink when I walked home after running errands after work – and you better believe I took a picture with my phone. Even if I looked ridiculous while doing so [think: barely able to move my arm clinging a four-pack of water bottles and carrying a bag].

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Vegans/ vegetarians: what were your best and worst experiences when eating out at non-vegetarian restaurants?

Kabocha fiends: how long can you go without major cravings? I didn’t even realize how intense mine were until I sank my teeth into that first piece of buttery amazingness on Friday night. It’s the simple things.

Loving a laid-back Birthday [week]

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As the title is giving away already my birthday was spent in the very best laid-back attitude yesterday. It being a weekday meant I wasn’t able to visit my parents and celebrate with my whole family. I’ll visit them on the weekend, though, so inspired by several lovely bloggers I decided to celebrate Birthday week instead. Let’s get partying WIAW style today! Thanks for hosting, Jenn!

Cookies as a mid-morning snack while lounging around – bliss!

Cookies as a mid-morning snack while lounging around – bliss!

My mum was able to come to the city I’m living in after work. It meant a lot to me she took the almost two-hour journey (one way) just to take me out for lunch and do a little shopping – yet another reason why I love her so much.

Not having a huge choice when it came to picking a vegan lunch spot I decided on a cute all-organic vegetarian restaurant. I’d never been there before but the great service, am sure to go back now.

Their daily changing menu – we certainly went on a particularly good day!

Their daily changing menu – we certainly went on a particularly good day!

We met two friends of mine and ordered beverages to toast on my birthday. This might be slightly seriously embarrassing but while everybody else got the obligatory bubbly I ordered my favourite Yogi tea: Sweet Chili. The servant may or may not have been slightly irritated but I simply don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol.  Keeping it classy with afternoon tea, right ;)?

Additional bonus: Being the only one to get a small piece of Ayurvedic spice cake on the side.

Additional bonus: Being the only one to get a small piece of Ayurvedic spice cake on the side.

Okay, I know all you’ve been waiting for is the food so there you go.

Beautifully arranged salads to start with.

Beautifully arranged salads to start with.

My mum got a vegan “Flammkuchen”/Tarte flambée topped with soy cream, vegan bacon bits, fresh tomatoes and vegan cheese. One of my friends got the vegetarian Tarte Flambée which I didn’t snap a picture of but it looked similar.

Flammkuchen

The other friend of my ordered the Mushroom Tortellini with creamy Portobello sauce. While I didn’t try this one she surely enjoyed it a lot.

Tortellini

Not that I was biased or anything but my entrée obviously was the showstopper ;): Root vegetables with glazed carrots, finely mashed potatoes (“Kartoffelschnee”) and lentil ragout. Seriously amazing!

Root vegetables

Eating out is something I didn’t do all too often during the past years thanks to my ED. Seeing as I enjoy it such a lot I’m making it a goal to challenge myself to do it more often and not pick the lowest calorie dish on the menu.

You might wondering where the obligatory birthday cake picture is but I have to disappoint you for now. Not throwing a huge party and my mum being around for a few hours only would have meant eating a whole cake by myself ;). But it’s still going to happen when I’m at my parents’ for the weekend so be back for more birthday week awesomeness!

What do you like to do on your birthdays? Do you prefer them laid-back or go all out?

Most importantly: Do you celebrate birthday week?