Mango and Date Energy Bites

green cutting board with selection of mange and date energy bites, shredded coconut and dried mango

When I first got involved in triathlon training, I was introduced to the world of energy gels and bars. These are items made up of mostly simple sugar and they serve to replenish depleted carbohydrate stores during extended exercise. At that time I was more interested in performance so, as they did their intended job, I did not give a second thought to what was actually in them.

As I am now trying to follow a more whole foods-based diet, when I began training for a 100km cycle ride I started to experiment with different foods for fuel. My staple had become a couple of Medjool dates which sustained me for shorter rides of under 50km. However, as my distances increased, I found I needed a little more of a boost.

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Dessert with Benefits: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

two dishes of chocolate avocado mouse topped with chocolate chips almonds
Chocolate (Cacao) Avocado Mousse with slivered almonds and mini chocolate chips [Photo Credit: Joanne/Blair @ thedragonspicnic.com]

A dessert with nutritional benefits may seem too good to be true! However, there is no catch and just by including fruits and vegetables in desserts and selecting choice sweetening agents, this can be a reality. Chocolate (Cacao) Avocado Mousse is a creamy, rich mousse made with avocado and is dairy, gluten and refined-sugar free.  Super simple to make, it tastes decadent and is packed with nutritional value and health benefits!

When I was quite young, one of my first memories of the concept of vegetables in dessert happened shortly after I arrived in Canada when someone in a coffee shop ordered a carrot cake.  Of course, carrot cake is commonplace now but up until that moment, I had never heard of such a thing. I recall staring at the customer in wide-eyed amazement as my my mind reeled with an array of very unappetizing images of what a “carrot cake” might be.

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Ideas to Start your Whole Foods Plant-Based Recipe Collection!

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

With an abundance of whole food plant-based recipes (WFPB) available, I have selected some of my favourites to share:

Deliciously Ella

Founded in the UK by Ella Mills, Deliciously Ella contains a selection of recipes with more to be found on the App. The App contains over 400 WFPB recipes, some instructional videos and step-by-step images. It is available by subscription and also has a meal planner, shopping list, as well as yoga and meditation instruction. Deliciously Ella has a number of cookbooks.

Oh She Glows

Founded in the USA by Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows is a recipe blog in which Angela “celebrates her love for plant-based food”. In addition to being meat and dairy-free, most of the recipes are free of gluten, soy, and processed foods. Oh She Glows also has a recipe App, at a nominal cost, as well as a number of cookbooks.

The Happy Pair

Founded by twins from Ireland, Dave and Steve Flynn, created this site which contains an array of hearty WFPB recipes. The site is much more than just recipes and one of the goals of the twins is to build a community “around health and happiness”. I am not aware of an App but The Happy Pear does offer courses, shop products, cafes and cookbooks.

Green Kitchen Stories

Founded by David and Luise, who live in Sweden with their family, this site offers a range of vegetarian recipes, including a vegan section. Green Kitchen Stories is about “healthy vegetarian recipes using whole food and organic products” with an aim for the recipes “to be as simple and pure as possible”. There are two recipe Apps available, at a nominal cost, as well as a number of cookbooks.

To access these sites and more, please see

“Does the Mummy mind?”

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

“Does the Mummy mind?”

My four-year old nephew understood that meat came from animals and posed this question in response to being told that the family were having beef for dinner. It is a poignant question and not one with an easy answer.  

My nephew has been a vegetarian by choice his entire life. As an adult, I only ate meat occasionally, however, was raised on the notion that meat and dairy were part of a healthy balanced diet.  It has only been in recent years, that I have started to question this premise and take a greater interest in the food I eat.

In addition, I have often struggled to maintain a balance with food in relation to what might be considered healthy and the pleasure of a treat. Having explored many different diets over the years, deprivation always seemed to be the underlying premise of them all.

My first insight into the whole foods plant-based concept was through Deliciously Ella. From there, I came across Kris Carr who followed a similar diet after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer.  If the diet was considered healthy for someone with cancer, then I felt it should do well for me!

Little did I know that within a few months I would receive my own cancer diagnosis: Renal Cell Carcinoma.  Fortunately it was discovered at an early stage and after a partial nephrectomy I was given the all clear.  Wake up calls can come in many forms and for me, the adage “we are what we eat” began to ring true.

Since then, I have explored the world of whole foods, plant-based eating from many mediums including blogs, books, documentaries and articles. I find it a fascinating topic and the more information I gather, the more I am convinced this choice benefits not only my own health but also the health of the environment and planet.

For the first time in my life, I feel I have struck a balance and can honestly say I have never eaten so well. My goal with the Dragon’s Picnic is to share what I learn along the way and, even if it helps only one other person to break the diet cycle and discover an enjoyable and healthy alternative to traditional eating, it will serve its purpose.

In closing, we will probably never really know if the Mummy minds, but perhaps the question today is for each of us to ask ourselves, “how much do we mind”?

(This post can also be found in About)