Why date night is so important, during and after Covid

By Angeliz Venter
Editor: Marcelle Jordaan

I think it is safe to say that everyone has felt the effects of COVID in some way since the first case reached South Africa in 2020- whether it is mentally, physically, or emotionally. A lot of us, especially the introverts, have retracted into a little safe cocoon with minimal social contact. Working from home probably also has most of us ‘Netflix and chilling’ more than anything else. That is why it is so important to make date night “a thing” again, while obviously also adhering to the necessary safety protocols!

I am one of those people who did not find lockdown and isolation difficult, because I love being at home and I enjoy being alone even more. But as all things in life, there is limits. I realized this year, that me and my partner have not done a proper date night in months. We couldn’t actually remember when was the last time that we made an effort to get dressed up, get excited to go out and spend quality time together. I think most people in relationships can agree to this. It is so much easier to just stay home, order take-aways and not deal with the constant sanitizing and mask wearing.
So, let us take a step back and remind ourselves why date night is important, COVID or not!

Firstly, what is date night? This is usually when a couple decides to spend quality time together as part of a pre-planned event. Date night can be in the form of going to a restaurant, the movies, opting for an activity and many more. But let’s focus on date night in a restaurant setting.
One of the benefits of date night is the improvement in communication that comes along with it. Like a long drive, you have no choice but to talk to each other, but in a restaurant setting, you can’t turn up the music when you do not want to make an effort to speak. You must communicate and quite often it just takes a little push of sitting opposite each other with no distractions, to spark up the spontaneous conversations. Spending quality time together and taking a break from your busy schedules for each other just does wonders for the intimacy of a relationship. In turn, all this also decreases the chances of taking each other for granted. By communicating openly and creating a setting to talk calmy about issues or just about life in general, will automatically decrease stress levels for both you and your partner. Lastly, it builds attachment between you and your partner.

According to Elite Daily, the frequency of date nights is determined by the amount of time you and your partner have known each other, which makes sense, but honestly, you should just do what feels right and fits you and your partners schedule. When a couple is still in their ‘getting to know each other’ phase, it is a good idea to have date night or quality time together at least once a week. If you have been together for a year or more, try to get out of the house for date night at least once a month, to rekindle the spark!

For our date night, we decided to have a relaxing mid-week dinner at Adega in Sunninghill, because we are still a bit cautious of big crowds due to COVID. It has been so long since we got dressed up in something fancier than loungewear and opted for something other than a takeaway, so this whole experience was very refreshing. The setting at Adega was perfect- a fire kept us warm and made the vibe very cozy, while the fact that we went in the middle of the week also meant that it was not too crowded for our liking.

For starters we had 2 different types of sushi- salmon Roses, as well as the Adega house special that can be requested. This was followed by a glass of wine and an Elderflower gin cocktail, which is my favorite drink on their menu. After the sushi, we shared a creamy seafood pasta that was incredibly delicious! Both of us agree that this was our favorite meal on the menu! We also tried the 1kg prawns, served with rice and chips. By this time, we were already stuffed with their delicious food, so we saved some as a take-away for a midnight snack (old habits die very hard). We got treated to their signature oxtail and rice, which was very tender and rich with flavor and fell off the bone. Then came the dessert… I’ve been seeing the craze on social media about their deep-fried nougat and ice cream so, of course, I just had to try it. I can 100% confirm that it is worth the craze and even though our food intake limit had been reached 2 plates ago by this stage, we could not stop eating!

All in all, our date night was a huge success! Good company, GREAT food and the cozy setting was all we needed to put the romance back in our relationship and get out of our sweatpants! For all our Gauteng readers, I would highly suggest making Adega Sunninghill your next date night location.

To book a table visit their Instagram or Facebook pages or call 011 234 7036

Here is the low down on being Vegan

By Hello Hungry Vegans
Editor: Marcelle Jordaan

Those who follow a vegan diet, also called a plant-based diet, do not consume animal products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and gelatine. But veganism expands further than diet. Per the Vegan Society, the definition is as follows: “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” For instance, vegans don’t wear clothing made with animal materials (like leather and wool) or support entertainment that relies on the exploitation of animals, like bullfighting or SeaWorld. The extent to which an all-around Vegan approach is taken depends on the individual itself.

Making the decision to go vegan/live a plant-based lifestyle is easier than you think. Yet, the commitment needs to be sincere. Whether your decision was supported by moral values, health benefits or a more sustainable lifestyle, your life will be changed for the better forever. We can certainly vouch for that! With our society becoming more accepting of the vegan lifestyle, naturally more and more supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels etc. are starting to cater for our needs. And we are delighted. We live in a world where a restaurant without vegan options is not only rare, but also might sabotage their own business’ future and success. South Africa is well known for its love for meat, cheeses and animal-based products. No doubt it has been imprinted into our DNA over the generations, shaping our lifestyle habits and eating preferences. We get that. We were a part of that. Yet the human body does not need that excess amount of meat daily & quite frankly we have become so used to high cholesterol counts that we consider it normal. Just because it’s our culture/tradition, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy & will support the survival of the planet for generations to come… ultimately the future and our very own lives lie in our hands. And we do have the power to change it.

“If we had a mostly plant-based diet we could increase the yield of the land,” as the iconic, David Atterborough states, who has seen the deterioration of our planet over decades. Beatles frontman McCartney famously said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” Now the 77-year-old rockstar is vegan and still a vocal advocate for the lifestyle. In a short film called “One Day a Week,” which encourages people to eat less meat, McCartney said, “[If] we all join together in this effort, we can help improve the environment, reduce the negative impacts of climate change, and even improve people’s health.”
Veganism has made its mark in the sporting world, too. Formula One champion Hamilton says his plant-based diet has helped him feel “the best I’ve ever felt in my life.” Wesley Woodyard, line-backer for the Tennessee Titans, experienced increased energy levels after going vegan, because he began putting “good fuel” into his body. Quarterback for the Carolina Panthers Cam Newton credits his vegan diet for his quickened recovery. “I’m loving how I’m feeling,” he said.
Other high-profile vegan names include: A$AP Rocky, will.i.am, Alan Cumming, Ne-Yo, Ruby Rose, Ted Deutch, James Cameron, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jenna Marbles, Kyrie Irving, Nathalie Emmanuel, Natalie Portman, Craig Robinson, Eric Adams, Sia, Mayim Bialik, Tia Blanco, and Kevin Smith.

Overall, having a plant-based diet is known to increase energy levels, increase brain function, boosts metabolism and gut health, supports a healthy immune system by removing all inflammation in the body by eliminating meat/animal products. Here are a few scientifically tested benefits of living a plant-based diet.
Scientifically tested benefits of a Vegan lifestyle:
1. A Vegan Diet Is Richer in Certain Nutrients
2. It Can Help You Lose Excess Weight
3. It Appears to Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Improve Kidney Function. Indeed, vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and up to a 50–78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
4. A Vegan Diet May Protect Against Certain Cancers
5. According to the World Health Organization, about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet.
6. It’s Linked to a Lower Risk of Heart Disease with up to 75%
7. A Vegan Diet Can Reduce Pain from Arthritis.
8. Following a Plant-Based Diet Long Term May Help You Live Longer. The Journal of the American Heart Association study found that a plant-based diet lowers the risk of all causes of mortality by 25%.
9. Ramping Up Your Plant Intake May Keep Your Brain Strong and ultimately slow down the progression of Alzheimers.

No one expects you to convert to a vegan lifestyle overnight. Sometimes baby steps are a more sustainable way of making a difference in the world and in your health. Skipping meat one day a week has benefits for our planet, health, and wallets. For starters, the blog Counting Animals found that following Meatless Monday for one year would spare an average of 3.5 animals a year per person. Multiply that by the entire South African population and it comes out to around 206 Million animals spared annually, per the Humane Society’s estimates. Saving animals would, in turn, lower the emission of greenhouse gases by the equivalent of ten billion charged smartphones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

SO WHAT ABOUT MY LOVE FOR CHEESE? And the famous words Vegans all over hear far too often: “HOW DO YOU LIVE WITHOUT BACON??”
Let’s take you through some of our favourite alternatives available all over SA.

– Fry’s Plant based products
We love this brand, because it’s affordable and widely available, nearly every PicknPay, Checkers and Spar stocks their range of meat alternatives and other plant based products. Our personal favourites: their spicy sausage and breakfast bangers, crumbed schnitzels and definitely the rice protein and chia nuggets.
– Herbivore
One of our favourite online shops and now stocked at selected PicknPay stores! Their plant-based burger patties are one of our top picks as well as their vegan mince. Check out their website for the full range. https://www.herbivore.co.za/
– Urban Vegan
A proudly South African artisanal vegan food brand with a beautiful story. This brand was born in the kitchen of husband and wife, Winston and Angela. After Angela was diagnosed with cancer, Winston began a period of intense study. As a practising surgeon, Winston learnt more real medicine than in all his years of practising the profession. He came to realise that a plant-based diet, free of refined foods & animal products, could not only prevent, but even reverse the course of illness. Our pick is for sure their country style boerewors and Smokey bacon! https://www.urbanvegan.co.za/
– Spice Journey
Their main goal was to create a variety of mock-meat alternatives which satisfy cravings and ensure you don’t feel left out at social or cultural gatherings. All of their meat alternatives are Seitan based. Seitan is a high protein, mock-meat which is approximately 71% pure protein, 2% carbs and almost 0% fat. It is completely soy free and much healthier than soya meat alternatives! A weekly favourite for us is definitely their sticky ribs and be sure to try the vegan Braai Packs at your next dinner party. https://www.spicejourney.co.za/
– On The Green Side
By far the closest to chicken you’ll get as a vegan! They special in protein rich, plant-based meat alternatives that look the part and taste like the real thing. https://onthegreenside.com/

Available at most Food Lovers stores, selected checkers and PicknPay stores.
Their 200g Mozzarella block is perfect for melting on your pizza or lasagne and is also one of the most affordable options due to the size.
– Nature&Moi
Available from most Checkers branches and also one of the most affordable vegan cheese alternatives. Our favourite is definitely their Gouda style cheese block.
– Irene’s Gourmet
Another local favourite. Irene’s gourmet has a range of plant-based products from cheese to vegan basil pesto! Check their website to find a stockist near you. Their smoky provolone cheese is a favourite on our cheese platter and we don’t eat pasta without a sprinkle of their vegan Parmesan. https://irenesgourmet.co.za/product-category/cheeses/
– Evergreen Vegan Deli
This is one of our recently discovered favourites. The ingredients that form the basis of their products are sourced from local small farmers. Their variety of cheese spreads is a must try, and your salad will miss their creamy feta! https://egvegandeli.co.za/


– Woolies has a great variety of vegan sweets.
– Yumm Bakery offers a variety of vegan baked goods.
– Nova sugar free chocolate bars (Available at clicks, their peanut butter chocolate slab is a must try.)
– Herbivore Earthfoods has a whole range of sweet treats, including peanut butter cups and the best mylk chocolate bars.

– LEXIS HEALTHY EATERY Sandton, Rosebank, Modderfontein and Hazelwood
– Kaylees Eatery Bedfordview
– The Fussy Vegan Greenside, Blairgowrie and City Rock

We hope that this quick information packed post can help you in any way possible. Maybe getting some insight on living a vegan lifestyle or just some tips on some of our favourite vegan products. Our goal, as the Two Hungry Vegans, are to have fun & to explore all the amazing plant-based foods the earth has to offer. Going plant based is only as inconvenient as you make it to be, ultimately it becomes second nature. You’ll be surprised how well your body, mind and soul will respond to a fresher more sustainable lifestyle.

Cheers from us,
The two hungry Vegans

Follow their journey on Instagram @hellohungryvegans

Sustainable oral care with Simply Bamboo

By Angeliz Venter
Editor: Marcelle Jordaan

I’ve been looking for affordable ways to be more sustainable and when I stumbled across the proudly South African brand, Simply Bamboo, I knew I had to add their products to my oral care routine.

So… what exactly is Bamboo, and why is it more sustainable? Bamboo is a part of the diverse group of evergreen perennial flowering plants, belonging to the subfamily Bambusoideae, in the grass family Poaceae. Bamboo plays a big role in keeping the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide and can produce up to 35% more oxygen than standing trees. When we start replacing our everyday plastic products with Bamboo, we actively reduce our wastage. Bamboo is naturally biodegradable, antibacterial and water resistant, while being strong and durable. Bamboo also grows back very rapidly and requires little water.

Simply Bamboo oral care consists of a range of products, starting with toothbrushes. You can choose between two adult options- a soft brush and medium brush, as well as a single kiddies option. You can also add a bamboo travel case for your toothbrush, which is so beneficial for me, because I hate it when my toothbrushes touch any surface or even the other products in my toiletry bag (the fact that it just looks so stylish and natural is a big bonus). Switching from a regular plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one might not seem like an important change, but globally, 3.5 billion toothbrushes are discarded every year, which amounts to 35000 tons of waste. This waste cannot be recycled, and it is not biodegradable, so it ends up in our oceans, destroying the coral reefs, polluting our landfills, and damaging our wildlife that consume it. I opted for the soft toothbrush option, as my teeth are very sensitive, and it is honestly one of the softest toothbrushes that I have tried. Although it is so soft, it is still firm enough to achieve the actual cleaning that is needed. A part of me thought the bristles would be hard and the brush would be wet and soggy, but LUCKILY that is not at all the case.

Another great aspect of Simply Bamboo is that they have a kids toothbrush as well, which I couldn’t easily find with other sustainable brands. I believe it’s so important to make children aware of sustainability from a young age, as we often tend to mostly focus on adult products in our sustainability journey. As we all know children love to match with mommy and daddy, and this is the perfect opportunity for matching products! Whether they still like to match mom and dad or not- check out Simply Bamboo’s Instagram page for cute tips on how to decorate toothbrushes in a sustainable way. This can also develop into a fun crafting experience for the whole family.

Lastly, I also received their silk floss, in the cutest glass container that can be refilled when empty. As someone who hates to floss my teeth (yes I know, sorry, not sorry) this floss is so convenient and quick to use without getting stuck between my teeth. There is also no excess plastic from the container being produced and discarded, as you just buy the refill silk floss.

Overall, I would gladly recommend Simply Bamboo- they provide great quality and excellent customer service and on top of that, their mission to reduce waste just makes buying and using their products even more beneficial.

Order online or visit their website for a stockist near you.