Until a couple of years ago, driving from Heliopolis to Maadi randomly to satisfy my French toast cravings was not unusual. I remember trying countless times to make them at home but they would always come out soggy and never as perfect as I wanted them to be.
And then I stopped eating eggs, milk and butter.
And my cravings were occurring more regularly.
And then I discovered that if you can veganize anything and that google is a life-savior (or should I say stomach-savior?).
Now, I don’t even crave this as often as I used to, I rarely consume processed flour and I don’t always have some stale bread on hand but every once in a while I just feel like it so I just go for it. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that I’m not trying to promote this as a “healthy” recipe but more of “healthier” form of an old comfort food.
The most important thing about this recipe, or any French toast recipe, is to either use stale bread or to put your bread slices in the oven for a few minutes to get rid of some of the moisture. Fresh and soft bread soaks a lot of the liquid making it impossible to cook properly on the inside. Tip: do not ever use sourdough bread to make french toast. It just doesn’t work out!
Other than that, the recipe is based on using flax meal as an egg-replacement and a classic cinnamon and nutmeg mixture. I tried many recipes calling for ground almonds, chia seeds or sugar but I find that this basic flax one is so quick to make since I always have ground flax on hand. It’s also so delicious and my non-vegan friends and family highly praise and approve of! For us, this is the perfect winter weekend breakfast.
If you make this, I’d love to know how it came out. You can always comment down below and tag it #urbanearthlings on social media!
I was walking in the dark alleys of a random Persian supermarket in Germany… I picked up a bag of black beans and some masala and headed home to make dal. The next morning, I realized that I’d fly back to Cairo before I finish up the beans so I decided to make tacos…
Fast forward, four months later, I still didn’t make those tacos but I made this, over and over again!
This bowl is hearty, easy to make and cheap. Because the ingredients are usually canned, it can be put together in any season and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser so go ahead and try serving it next time you have people over and let me know what they think!
I could be anyone…
The girl sitting in front of you in class,
The shy boy who lives across the street,
The woman working at the finance department who sips on orange juice all day,
The man you see walking to the bus stop with the headphones on weekdays.
I could be anyone…
In fact UrbanEarthlings has many faces but lets start with one.
My name is Amira. I’m a twenty-something earthling. If we’re friends on Facebook then you’ve probably seen pictures of me stuffing my face with Australian burgers, McDonalds fries or a big pepperoni pizza…
If we went to school together then you probably know that I didn’t stand out… I was pretty standard! Good grades, average looks, an average sense of humor… lots of friends but well… nothing out of the ordinary…
I always loved life though. I love the sea… I love animals without exception… I love food and new places and every thing that life has to offer…
So, as a young girl, my grandpa took me to the zoo, my parents took me to the sea world… we ate frog legs on lake Michigan and then my grandpa took me to Singapore and Thailand… more zoos and aquariums!
And then I was suddenly 20 and I traveled more often… I was still eating everything and anything… I tried lots of new things… I went to every zoo and every aquarium I came across… I had oysters at the Nord See, clams on the Balearic sea, tried camel burger in morocco and kangaroo meat in Germany.
I don’t regret much in life… but I wish someone had told me…
I didn’t know that my lifestyle contributed to so much suffering in the world…
During the past few years I changed a lot… from the books I read to the people I met. I was developing intolerance to animal abuse like no other, I’d cry over the dead giraffe at the zoo, argue with the man hurting the bleeding donkey and scream and yell and kick for the dead dog on the side of the road.
One of the first things that sparked my interest in veganism came in the form of… “The monk who sold his Ferrari.” Since reading that book, the raw diet was somewhere in the back of my mind and I’ve always known that I’d make it happen someday! After all, I will need to clean up all the junk that has been piling up inside my body… but I always though, someday… as if that someday can not be today..
On a cold February, two years ago, my mom and I were driving late and I saw a cat that had just been hit by a car, it was seizing and dying slowly… I screamed “stop the car, stop now,” She wouldn’t stop, she knew I’d go mad if I go anywhere near the dying cat. I was traumatized. I cried alone all night and I couldn’t speak properly for a couple of days!
On the 7th of March of the same year, my life changed. I spent the weekend alone with everyone I know out of town. I got up early, practiced some yoga and then made myself some pancakes with milk and eggs and of course I topped it with nutella. I put on a YouTube video and fortunately, I started binge watching “what I ate today” videos… I came across a link that said “101 reasons to go vegan” and I thought “hmm, why not?”
I started watching, not knowing that this is an hour-long lecture that would change how I viewed everything… within 30 minutes I was crying hysterically and by the time I finished I quickly started writing to Annie, the girl who led me to the video.
I have been on a plant-based diet since then…
Do I ever look back? No.
Do I miss meat, dairy or eggs? No.
Is there anything that I don’t like about the vegan diet? YES…
Why didn’t I know about how easy this is before? Why don’t we think about the source of our food? Why haven’t I been on a vegan diet since… umm forever? Why is this misunderstood? Why is it regarded as an extreme?
Being a vegan has been an eye-opening, life-changing experience for me and this is why I’m here. I have been gradually changing the way I live and I realize that there are so many people out there, especially the young ones, who are looking for this but do not know how to access it. I will share everything I know but before I do, I want you to know one thing… I have absolutely nothing to gain from this… in fact I have a lot to lose… I am only tying to win you over because I was YOU before and I only realized how glad I am that things changed, long after they changed.
But for me, this is not about food anymore. This is simply about existence.
So, here’s what to expect on the UrbanEarthlings during the next few months (or hopefully years)
- Restaurant reviews and how to eat vegan in different restaurants around Egypt
- Plant-based Recipes
- Interviews with people who are trying to improve the quality of our lives
- Veganism and Religion
- Attempting to live a greener more sustainable life in Egypt including concepts like slow food, slow fashion and zero-waste
- Eating vegan while traveling
- Ethical, mindful or conscious travel
- Animal rights and rescue donations
- and a lot more..
If you have any suggestions or comments please feel free to contact me here. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve also complied a resource page for you. You can check it out here!
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist; I am not a doctor, a certified trainer, a health coach or anything of that sort. Ever since I switched to a plant based diet, I have been reading and researching the topic from many aspects and everything I will be sharing will come from personal experience or else will be cited.
1- Stop using plastic bags to shop
Plastic bags are a relatively cheap product. We use and abuse them but the moment one flies away, we don’t even blink, not realizing that they end up in the oceans and deserts and are usually ingested by innocent animals. I could go on and on about whether they’re biodegradable or not and how our landfills are dotted with them but honestly we all know that plastic bags are a pain by all means. We all know it yet we chose our own temporary convenience over everything else that matters.
2- Buy more local produce (and have less waste)
The closer it’s farmed, the less time and energy it takes to reach you and it’s kinder to your wallet and the environment. It’s also important to note that produce is most likely picked before it ripens or else it’ll spoil on it’s way to you. Eating local is means less pollution and more nutrients.
3- Stop buying plastic bottles
I remembered a day in the desert when all of my friends went back to the city and I stayed. I went on a short hike and guess what I found? Hundreds of plastic water bottles! They’re also lightweight so they get picked up by the wind easily and settle in groups in remote areas. I remember one bottle specifically because it looked new but I knew that’s its been there for a long long time because the same company changed the design a while ago.
4- and when you do, recycle, if possible!
When I started moving towards a greener lifestyle, I realized that most products and packaging cannot be recycled in Egypt, at least for the time-being. The second best option for me was to avoid buying certain things all together. But what I’ve been learning is what ever you want will be created, just be sure to take all necessary action towards it. For me, this was avoiding certain products. For someone else, they just start a recycling company.
5- Park your car and take public transport. Or even better, cycle or walk!
I’m not asking you to ditch your car completely, although feel free to do it if you can. I personally find it hard to take any kind of transport other than that if I’m spending the day out and will need my laptop and do groceries and all that but what about the days when you’re lighter? I know public transport is a nightmare in Egypt simply because it isn’t available everywhere, but if you try hard enough you will definitely find a way to cut things short and well, using your car one or two times less every week could help us all. Many of us have a bicycle that’s gathering dust somewhere and most of us have a pair of healthy legs so we might as well use them! Besides, it’s getting colder so excess sweating isn’t a problem anymore!
6- Cut back on your use of toilet and kitchen paper.
Reusable kitchen towels are the way to go. Enough said!
7- Buy nuts and grains in bulk! Go with your own containers if you can!
I did the experiment so you don’t have to. I tried taking my own jars, I realized it’s a hassle because things get a bit two heavy. Cotton bags though.. these are a game changer for me. Just ask them to weigh the bag and then reset the scale to zero and start filling up! It takes them a couple of times to get used to this but eventually they get to know you and we all know how everything is easier in Cairo when “you know someone.”
8- Use water efficiently!
Do you really have to eat that sandwich on a plate? Is washing the mug before refilling it with tea necessary?
Top tip: keep a glass of water with a spoon or two near your tea/coffee making area and just reuse the spoon for stirring.
9- Don’t over cook!
Overcooking is a typical habit among the people of the Mediterranean. Yeah, you look all so generous but over doing anything just ruins all your efforts. Over cooking means over consumption of food and more that usually goes to waste and packaging that goes to landfills.
10- Limit your use of electricity! We all have that one thing that we abuse, be it your TV or AC. Some of us scroll up and down facebook all day and we end up charging our phones 2-3 times. Some of us always, no matter what, forget the lights on. Others will re-boil the water in the kettle again and again just because they forget that it was on. Who else leaves the TV on while doing other things just to feel the company?
We overdo so many things just because we can afford them now. What we don’t know is that our children won’t be able to afford them later. We confuse generosity with exaggeration and consumerism.
I wrote this is an introduction to how we are ruining our cities and environments ourselves everyday. I do believe that the way we live now will shape the future and our daily habits have a bigger impact than that once a year environmental crisis accident.
I will definitely be following up with more elaborate articles on each of the mentioned topics so be sure to check back in!