I’m a knowledge junkie. In the form of books, podcasts, Youtube videos, or articles – you name it, I probably love it! Podcasts have grown especially important in the past nine months as I find myself with less and less free time (hello #startup life). It’s so convenient to listen while I make breakfast, clean, do a yoga flow, travel, or bike anywhere.
The two categories I seem to like best: self-help and holistic living. Mental and physical care really make all the difference, and podcasts can be incredibly inspiring and educational!
I simply use the “Podcast” app on my iPhone and find that’s the easiest way to download to my phone for offline listening.
Check out below for my favorite Podcasts + Episodes!
I love this series on a favorite blog of mine, so I thought I might try and recreate it on Coco’s Wellness! Here’s ten thoughts from this week.
one. I’m voting today – in Dutch elections! This is incredibly exciting for me and something I’ve never done before. I learned since moving here that since I am an EU citizen and Dutch permanent resident, I’m eligible to vote in certain, smaller elections (plus a larger EU one in May). Even with the language barrier, I did my best with studying the different parties and having my partner explain the process to me and how to understand the ballot. I have no idea if it will be in English or not…I’m off to do it early today as I have an afternoon packed full of work meetings.
two. Yoga. And Yoga Teacher Training. I missed out on a YTT I was due to start this month after realizing my shoulder was definitely not as strong as I hoped. It was a humbling realization, and I was sad to say no to something I had so looked forward to. I’m doing less home practice and more studio practice now to make sure I’m pushing and challenging myself in the right ways. Even with just a few weeks of this, I’m starting to feel progress on my pesky shoulder. If all goes well, I’ll instead be doing a summer intensive course!
three. Deodorant has always been a struggle for me. I struggled to get off the conventional brands, and when I finally did two years ago (praise!), I’ve since dealt with extreme sensitivity to natural deodorants. I still can’t quite figure out if it’s a baking soda or essential oil sensitivity. I’m much hindered by the fact that my natural deodorant options are quite slim here in the Netherlands. I’m planning to stock up on this Primal Pit Paste option when home in America in two weeks as I had some luck with it last time!
four. Speaking of America, I will be home for a super quick weekend (Thursday-Monday) for a doctor’s appointment relating to my whiplash injury. Particularly my right shoulder and chronic pain spots on my back. Though flying across an ocean for a doctors appointment might seem crazy, this has become my life the past 1.5 years! My best health insurance is still in America + the doctors I went to see right after the accident. For this particular visit, my hope is to get an MRI for better clarity on what’s going on underneath the surface. As frustrating as it can be sometimes, I take each small step forward as a blessing, and I try to never lose hope that I someday won’t feel this pain – and can do my chaturanga in peace, for example! (I’m planning to do a more thorough blog post on the injuries I have and what I’ve done over the past 1.5 years)
five. Three words. Koffie end Koek. I’ve been addicted ever since I discovered their vegan croissants two weeks ago! Since then, I’ve been back multiple times for croissants, scones, sandwiches, and coffee. All INCREDIBLE. Just this past weekend, we went for a mini afternoon tea! If you’re in the Amsterdam area, I highly recommend.
six. At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised by how environmentally conscious the Dutch are (their whole biking + small house + lack of consumerism mentality is shocking to my American self!), but I did get so happy to see the above boat cleaning out the canals earlier this week! Unfortunately, in my opinion, it’s the tourists who can have a lack of respect and that’s how the majority of the trash ends up in the water.
seven. I’ve been wanting to try collagen for so long after hearing every blog + Instagram rave about it! However, I was always under the impression it wasn’t vegan friendly (it’s derived from bovine). When I was perusing Thrive Market for things to stock up on when in America, I came across this plant-based version! Still contemplating given the price-tag, but I’m just so curious to see what all the hype is about.
I guess you could say I’ve been on a “make from scratch” roll. This blog and my Instagram (@cocoswellness) are certainly good motivators for content! The vegan croissants were a one-off treat, but the almond milk is something that I plan to start doing consistently now that I have all the right tools (why was it so hard to find a cheese cloth in Amsterdam?).
I’ve been loving Koffie ende Koeck‘s vegan croissants lately, but I’m all for not breaking the bank and trying to replicate recipes at home. I used this vegan croissant recipe from The Rose & Bean and was thoroughly impressed! I certainly didn’t have high expectations, given that the last time I made croissants was seven-ish years ago, let alone not even vegan croissants, but I was pleasantly surprised! Since I still have the ingredients on hand for at least 1-2 more batches, I’ll probably be doing so again soon.
Ah, homemade almond milk! I think it’s a love affair. I swear to people – once you taste it, you can never go back to conventional. Although, if I had access to the amazing and clean brands in the US, I might be a convert to that…
After learning about how disruptive gums and emulsifiers can be to our gut (thank you @hollyskeepingitreal!) I knew it would be a much better option to make from scratch. Plus easier on the budget.
I buy my almonds in bulk from Ekoplaza and us around 3/4-1 cups for every 450ml of blended water (depends on how strong you like the taste). Recipe is easy peasy:
Soak almonds overnight in water. I’ve done as little at seven hours with fine results.
Rinse. Blend on high for at least 60 seconds with approximately 450ml of water.
Get creative! I add a dash of maple syrup and sea salt. You could also blend with a date.
Strain through cheese cloth or thin dish towel.
I got the awesome (pictured) glass carafe at Ikea Netherlands. Only 2 euros!
I love getting a peak into other people’s grocery hauls, so I thought – why not share mine? I typically do a large shop on Saturday or Sunday that gets us through until (maybe) Thursday, when we need to do a small shop to get us through a few more days.
I would LOVE to be able to go to the grocery store only once I week (I think that’s the American in me), but I can never seem to buy enough (or rather, carry enough…) to last us through. And I’m always the girl at the checkout counter with 3x more than anyone else!
It’s very European to grocery shop every few days, which is something I realized living in London last year and now living in Amsterdam. I think it’s the combination of smaller refrigerator/freezers and also less-treated produce. It goes bad much faster than produce in America, and I consider that a good thing! Less chemicals going into my body.
One last disclaimer – this is for two people. I live with my partner and we make all meals together.
I feel so lucky to live so close to, what I consider to be, the best farmer’s market in all of Amsterdam! Noodermarkt. Big claim there, considering this city has so many, but hear me out.
Everything is 100% organic.
It’s small enough to not be overwhelming, but big enough to have everything you need.
The variety is fantastic. Produce, dry goods, breads, pottery, fish & meats (if you’re into that), and more. If my budget was big enough for 100% artisanal and organic foods, I could do all my shopping here. Maybe one day!
I typically stick to getting as much produce as I can here, and if my budget allows it, a large loaf of sourdough bread (it’s a few euros more expensive than the grocery store).
This week, I purchased: carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and a cucumber. All for 15 euros! If you look at the amounts of spinach and kale, I don’t consider that price half bad.
The produce part of the market runs every Saturday from 9am-4pm, and do I sound older than I am when I say I look forward to it every week?
Oh, how I love Jumbo too! I used to shop solely at its more upscale competitor, Albert Heijn, before finally trying and converting on the spot.
Surprisingly, Jumbo has a much better selection of vegan items than Albert Heijn, and nearly the exact same items when it comes to dry goods, at a significantly cheaper price. I save a lot of money by shopping here.
This week, I bought…
Dry goods: two loaves of bread, oatmeal, maple syrup, black beans, peanut butter, nuts, quinoa, hemp seeds, and yeast.
Produce: two frozen raspberries, two frozen blueberries, lemons, limes, passion fruit, three avocados, four apples, tempeh, hummus, and five bananas.
Un-pictured: Toilet paper, dishwasher pods, and dish soap.
I spent 55 euros.
Specialty Item Stores
Depending on what I’m making and what I need for that week, I’ll frequent either Vegabond, Marqt, or Ekoplaza for a better selection of bulk or specialty items.
This week I stopped by Vegabond for it’s awesome selection of chocolate, and Ekoplaza to get almonds and hazelnuts in bulk to make homemade milk! Chocolate picture above, and no pictures of the nuts unfortunately.
I spent 3.25 euros at Vegabond, and 8 euros at Ekoplaza.
What I’m Making This Week
If any of the recipes call for items I haven’t bought this week, it’s because I already have them on hand.
Breakfast: Banana + Cacao oatmeal with frozen fruit + peanut butter + hemp seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
All in all, I spent 81.25 euros this week. So approximately 40 euros for each person. I don’t consider this too bad, although I typically come closer to 30 or 35 euros for this shop! I think the bulk nuts I had to stock up on again for milk pushed this week higher.
On our Thursday shop, we’ll probably spend 10 euros (5 euros per person), which will get us in at around 50 euros per person this week. 50 euros is my max, so at least we’ll have stayed under that.
I would love for everything I put into my mouth to be organic. I believe in it’s benefits over conventional farming practices so much. However, my budget doesn’t always allow for it.
I know, I know…consistently buying and eating organic now could save on hundreds or thousands of dollars on health care costs in the future. I believe in this so much! Alas yet, I really can’t stretch my budget to eat 100% organic.
Right now, I aim for 90% organic with my produce (the farmers market really helps this!), and always buying the dirty dozen organic.
For dry goods, I try to make one product switch at a time. For example, I started with grains. The quinoa I bought this week is organic, and I’ll continue to buy that organic. In a few weeks, I’ll start buying, say, my peanut butter or oatmeal organic. I think making these small steps is the best way to long term consistency and sustainability. I started with the produce, and now I’m working through my dry goods!
Hope you all enjoyed! I plan to do this as a weekly series, and I think it will be a really interesting experience to document what I buy, what I’m making, and what I spend to see if there are any patterns or habits I can deduce.