We interviewed Yasmine Nazmy, founder of Earthly Delights, to find out how she became a vegan and how she balances a vegan lifestyle all while running her own business.
Yasmine grew up on a typical diet of cereal and milk for breakfast followed with unregulated amounts of meat, fried food and some vegetables, and she always suffered from digestive issues (to the point where I actually thought stomach aches were a normal part of digestion). It was only when she turned 16 that she completely cut junk food out and started a dairy and gluten free diet, mainly influenced by her mother who had started nutrition studies at that time. She started eating more “clean” and her diet included more plant based foods. However, Yasmine only truly started eating healthily during her last year of university, when she cut down on red meat and started eating more raw foods. There are several reasons for that switch;
- Living in London she only ate organic produce so organic meat was quite expensive and she opted for fish instead which was half price.
- Secondly, during exam periods she had absolutely no time to cook so instead just munched on fruit and nuts all day; which she later found helped her focus and maintain energy levels!
Yasmine told us that she wishes that she hadn’t cheated on a clean diet throughout her university years but the truth is, she did. She would occasionally have some gluten and dairy, and this always made her feel worse and helped her realize why she chose such a lifestyle in the first place. So, when Yasmine moved back to Egypt she decided that it was time to take things more seriously. Since September 2013, Yasmine has been vegan and eats only raw foods (and she feels fantastic)!
What She Eats in a Day:
When I wake up I immediately drink some filtered water and then have 0.5-1L of freshly squeezed orange juice. After that l will probably have a juicy fruit snack, like 5-10 kiwis or 2 melons. Lunch would be a big salad with a creamy dressing (I’m all about creamy dressings now, made from cashews). For dinner, I opt for something a little heavier like a large guacamole or a cheesecake (yup raw vegan cake for dinner is awesome), because it is full of healthy fats and protein!
Talk us through your workout routine; when, what kind of exercises do you do etc.
I have tried over 15 sports since I was a little kid but the only one that has stuck the most is boxing, and a little bit of yoga stretching. In summer I can spend hours in the sea and swim as far as I can; I kinda believe in mermaids! When traveling abroad, I love hiking and surfing.
Do you have any specific morning or bedtime routines that you follow to de-stress?
I like to do some leg stretches at night before going to bed, but if I’ve had a stressful day I’ll put on a hypnosis recording through YouTube, and fall asleep to that! It works every time and always gives me nice dreams.
What is a normal working day like for you?
I usually work from 10-6, give or take two hours. I’ll devote an hour in between to making myself a quick salad and eating on the balcony in the sun if the weather’s nice!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who is completely new to health, nutrition and fitness, and wants to start eating better?
It’s important to be patient and be very aware of what YOUR body prefers and what it can’t handle. Do not follow trendy diets which have strict rules that may not apply to you. It’s really all about how you feel, so keep trying new foods and you will find your very own balance.
What is your favorite plant based recipe for someone who is just getting started with this lifestyle change?
I’m torn between veganised Cesar Salad, Thai Summer Rolls and Cheesecake!
- 1.5 cups almond flour (or leftover almond pulp from making almond milk)
- 15 dates, seeded and soaked in 1 cup of filtered water for at least 30 min
- Pinch of salt
- 1.5 cups cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 1 cup physalis (harankash)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons liquid sweetener (I use agave syrup, you will find it at Gourmet)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
- Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, making it a bit cheesy and adding natural vitamin B12
- Soak your cashews and dates, and prepare the remaining ingredients. You can always let them soak for longer, but no more than 12 hours.
- I also recommend using a cake pan coated with wax paper, so make sure you have that ready. A round pan will look good but I find that a rectangular one is just easier to use, up to you.
- Prepare the crust by blending all the ingredients, either putting them all in a food processor. If you prefer to use a regular blender, begin by blending the dates with the water and then mix in the paste by hand with the remaining ingredients.
- Once all ingredients are blended well and homogeneous, you can spread the crust in the cake pan, extending the sides up by 1 cm, and let it dry while you prepare the rest.
- The filling is the easiest part, all you have to do is blend it all. Be patient with it to ensure the cashews are perfectly blended –no chunks allowed here. It can take up to 10 minutes if you’re using a weak blender, but that’s fine, just don’tadd more water. It will make the cake too soft. If it is too thick add a little oil.
- Once your filling is nice and creamy, pour it into the cake pan.
- I created the swirl by using molasses.
- Your cake is now ready to be frozen for at least 4-5 hours. Take it out and let it sit for about an hour before serving.
What are your main personal challenges to being on a vegan diet (especially in Egypt)?
Having to calmly answer people who attack it without any scientific background is challenging, to say the least. But I am happy to see more awareness on the rise and people starting to understand just how healthy a vegan diet can be.
What is one nutrition myth you disagree with?
That dairy is good for you. It is so toxic and people are finally starting to realize it more and more.
Being conscious about what you eat is important, but it is important to think about what we are putting onto our bodies too. What natural beauty products do you recommend as an alternative to generic cosmetics?
I have been cosmetic free since June 2013. No shampoo, no deodorant, no perfume, no nothing. Just water and some coconut oil to detangle hair or moisturize when needed (not daily). I also use baking soda or lemon as deodorant and toothpaste. I sometimes use natural olive oil soap for my hands, that’s really the only ‘cosmetic’ product I buy, but it can really be made at home; I just have no time! Living this way makes packing for trips so easy!
Who or what is your greatest source of inspiration?
Mimi Kirk or FullyRaw Kristina. They’re both pioneers in the raw food movement.
What is one motto you live by?
Spread love and light!