Vegan Festive Energy Balls

festive energy balls Photo: Zsolt Sandor / MothershipUK

We all need extra energy in the lead up to Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate it, the world seems to go MAD at this time of year. It all gets a bit fizzy and busy and, if you’re not careful, rather overwhelming.

Don’t worry though, we have a two-part solution. One, ignore it all and go for a run. Two, make these extra-special Festive Energy Balls and you’ll be zingy enough to cope with whatever holiday madness rolls your way. They’re like mince pies but tastier and a million times better for you.

They’re protein-packed, really easy to make and will keep your energy levels up for ages. It might be worth buying up all the jars of mincemeat when they’re cheap on Boxing Day. You’ll be wanting these beauts at other times of the year too :)

Note: Make sure you use vegan mincemeat – the traditional kind has suet in it (yuck!) so check the label before you buy.

Vegan Festive Energy Balls
Makes about 12

4 tablespoons vegan mincemeat
3 tablespoons vegan chocolate protein powder (I used Rawlicious)
4 tablespoons rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons almond butter (I used MyProtein)
20 brazil nuts, crushed

1 Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl together except the brazil nuts and 1 tablespoon of the protein powder. It’s easiest to use your hands for this. It’s sticky but fun.
2 Spread the crushed brazil nuts on one plate and the extra tablespoon of protein powder on another.
3 Roll the mixture into small balls between the palms of your hands then roll the balls in either the nuts or the protein powder.
4 Place the balls in the fridge for about an hour, until firm and no longer sticky.

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Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Runners

Runners must be the easiest people to buy Christmas  gifts for. We LOVE kit. If you’re shopping for a runner, our job here is to narrow the list for you and minimise the mind-boggle. Our Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Runners should do the trick.

Trainer heaven at the new Runners Need store in Leeds

Trainer heaven at the new Runners Need store in Leeds

Runners go through trainers like water through sieve. If you’re going to buy replacements or spares for the runner in your life, the best thing to do is to check the inside tongue on the trainers they already have and get a pair in exactly the same size, in exactly the same model. Deviate from this guidance at your peril.

Failing that, get a voucher for a specialist running store like Runners Need* or Achilles Heel and let them go along for a gait analysis and choose for themselves. Runners are never going to complain about hanging out in a running store. Trust us on this.

Back in the Dark Ages when I started running, I worked out my pace by glancing at the kitchen clock before I went out and then again when I came back. (No wonder I never won anything). Now you can measure every step of your run and, with a bit of imagination, make great pictures too – digital traces from GPS watches are like Etch-A-Sketch for grown ups.

As wannabe triathletes, our current favourite is the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio. It records run, bike and swim beautifully and has a built in heart rate monitor so no fiddly straps. It’s way easy to use too (one button does it all). Highly recommended and, for such a high spec watch, comes in at a bargain price. Continue reading

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Don’t die, please! Reflect yo’self before you wreck yo’self

Hey, you, runners! You are great, you are powerful, you are better than you were yesterday. You are, however, NOT INVINCIBLE. This winter, I have been seeing a lot of runners out in head-to-toe black, no reflectors, headphones in and it gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

If you drive, you’ll know how fogged up car windows get at this time of year. Add this on top of the 18 hour darkness, and misty mornings and you need to light yourself up like a christmas tree to stand a chance of being seen. It’s not only cars you need to be seen by – out with my lovely lovely run group last week, we very nearly all crashed domino-like into a runner dressed, for all intents and purposes, as a ninja. Good one, mate.

Gone are the days when you had to nick a hi-vis vest from work to be seen on a run or your bike. It’s not too hard to be seen and be reasonably chic at the same time. Please, please, please implement one or all of these ‘Be safe, be seen’ measures to keep yourself safe when you’re out running – here are my picks. Please share yours in the comments below – we love new gear.

Reflective Clothes

A little flash of reflective tape on your zipper or seam isn’t going to cut it. When it comes to shine, as every showgirl knows, more is more. Technology has come along strides in the past two or so years – the fabric isn’t stiff, and washes much better than reflective bits used to. I love that everyone is incorporating reflective gear into the actual design of gear, rather than as an afterthought. How cool are these Nike leggings?

Nike Flash Tights

Nike Flash Tights

Sweaty Betty’s upcoming SS15 collection has totally flashy running gear, which you can have a sneakypeek at on our friend Sophie’s blog, BePrettyFit

Hi-Vis Vests

No, no, not your Dad’s hi-vis vests. Proper, well-designed runner’s ones. I love me a vest – they’re relatively cheap, and can be layered on your normal running gear without getting too warm. As someone who overheats terribly when running, it’s good not to put all of my eggs in one basket with a really shiny jacket, only to be invisible again when I’ve wrapped it round my waist, sweltering despite the weather.


Mum and I swear by our Sweaty Betty Lightening Run Vests (sic)


But if we didn’t have those, this one from H&M would be not half bad either


What’s better than reflecting other people’s light? Creating your own. (I think there is an inspirational Instagram photo caption in there somewhere)

I got a Nathan running light in my christmas stocking last year, and they’re clearly designed by runners. They stay put, and really make you visible, particularly on the flashing setting. Everyone at running club asks where you got it from, and even bystanders want to know more about it. Maybe a bit too much sometimes – “Do you beep with that reversing light too, love?” At least he could see me dashing away from him.

(Sidenote: Nathan seem to totally have your back when it comes to winter running. I asked Jen from Jen Chooses Joy where she got a particularly awesome pair of reflective gloves, and of course the answer was… )

My favourite: Slap Bracelets! 

Yes, they make you feel about 8 again. Cheap as chips, I use these in conjunction with my hi-vis and my ‘reversing light’ for maximum visibility. I wear one around each ankle, as I get in a tangle when I take my jacket off if I wear them on my arms. In my mind my flashy legs make me look really fast and cool when I’m striding, like something out of Tron… (No?)

Every good running shop should have some, as should most Pound/Dollar Stores. We often try to get these for the goody bags to give you guys on our Art Runs, if running with us and listening to our hilarious stories (ahem) wasn’t incentive enough.

When your cat walks in like Flava Flav with your running snap band attached to the magnet on his collar… #baller

A photo posted by Veggie Runners (@veggie_runners) on

How do you make sure you’re seen when you’re out on dark nights? What are your tried and trusted bit of kit, and what’s going on Santa’s list? 

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Chaopraya Thai Cooking School + Tofu Pad Thai Recipe


Sometimes it’s hard to be a food blogger (sing it like Tammy Wynette). Actually, that’s not true – it’s not hard, not even slightly. Especially when a restaurant like Chaopraya, gets in touch and asks if we’d like a lesson in cooking delicious Thai food. Why, yes, we most certainly would! Thank you, universe.

We spent an afternoon at the restaurant in Leeds learning how to make Vegetable Spring Rolls, Tofu Pad Thai (a real one, not like our very delicious but totally fake Cashew Pad Thai) and coconut banana fritters. As an extra special bonus, after creating each dish, we got to eat it – loads of it – in the delightful company of the other people taking the course. Continue reading

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