Favorites List: Spring 2019

Yes, spring has sprung and I have so many new foodie things to share with you, humans! It’s been a busy few months with mostly good things, and a few health and life challenges. Overall I’m grateful that I can support myself with good foods when times get busy or challenging, and that I can move though these things (mostly) with grace.

One of the biggest things that happened in the past months was my Ayurvedic Panchakarma cleanse. Maybe it doesn’t sound like a huge thing, but it kinda was! I gave myself more than a week dedicated to self-care, truly nourishing foods, and gentle detox, and it changed A LOT. Read more about my experience and the important things that shifted in my life after doing the cleanse here.

But as with other lists I’ve shared here, sometimes it’s just yummy things that find their way into (or back into) my life. So below I’ve shared a few ideas, products, and ingredients that I’ve been loving.

My New Website: Vegan in Hawaii

I’m SO STOKED about this new project, which I launched on my birthday in March. I saw a need for a comprehensive website focused on all the vegan things our islands have to offer: restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, activities, and activism.

I’m a member of a huge Facebook group called Vegans on Oahu, and it seems like everyday someone (usually a tourist) is asking, ‘where can I find XYZ.’ So I thought it would be helpful to create a new site focused on all things vegetarian and vegan in Hawaii. It’s an ongoing side project, and I’m looking for contributors so that we can build it into something great for locals and visitors alike! Follow us on Instagram!

Roasted Dandelion Tea

Yes, those Springy little yellow flowers – and their roots – are incredibly medicinal, helping primarily with liver detox. Roasted Dandelion tea was one of the detox drinks used during the Ayurvedic cleanse, and it has become my new favorite habit. One of the big things that changed during the cleanse was that I no longer make caffeinated tea first thing in the morning – a long- and tightly-held tradition that I didn’t want to give up. And yet, the richness and depth of dandelion tea first thing in the morning (following my warm water) has been my new favorite habit.

As it’s caffeine-free, it’s also a great afternoon and evening tea. The natural bitterness might be off-putting if you’re not accustomed to it, I find it really delightful. It’s also lovely with a splash of sweetener or plant-based creamer or milk. Try a small amount with Traditional Medicinals, as all their things are amazing, or if you love it, stock up on roasted dandelion root in bulk from Starwest Botanicals, another excellent herbal brand.

Coriander Seeds: Punchy Flavor for all the Things

Coriander seed images by GOKALP ISCAN from Pixabay

Coriander, the seeds of the cilantro plant (unless you’re in the UK, and both greens and seeds are called coriander), is a lovely herb. It is fragrant, warming, and cleansing. I’ve become really obsessed with adding these tiny seeds into cooking rice, into sautéed greens, and even as a tea.

One of the detox drinks on the cleanse is called CCF (cumin, coriander, and fennel), and it is to be sipped all day. To use coriander seeds, you can toast in a dry skillet and add as a topping to whatever you’re eating, add into cooking onions, cook into rice or quinoa (just add it all together), or stir into soups or curries.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

For this new food obsession, I have my housemate to thank. He went on a steamed sweet potato bender, and I soon followed, though I prefer roasting. We have a wide variety of potatoes available here in Hawaii year round: my favorites are the red skinned, white flesh sweet potatoes, yet all of them are awesome.

Here is the most yummy way to make them: scrub your potato, the add a few score marks along the top, about halfway through. Roast at 400º for about 45 minutes on a baking sheet. They are finished when a fork goes through them easily. Let them cool, then store in the fridge for up to a week. I like to sauté some onions, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder in coconut oil, then add the pre-roasted potatoes and toss with some spinach for a super quick meal. You can also add the roasted sweet potatoes to curries, soups, or lentils, and I made an awesome vegan mac & cheese by using these pre-roasted sweet potatoes in this recipe (#1 on the list) from Oh She Glows, which I’ve adapted over the years.

Low-Caffeine Matcha

I’ve been a fan of matcha for awhile now (here’s my favorite matcha latte recipe), and yet, the caffeine can sometimes be too much. I reached out to DōMatcha to see if they would send me some of the low-caffeine matcha to sample. Great company that they are, I received one of their tins of lovely, bright green low-caffeine matcha. It’s a vibrant flavor, one that I can drink later into the afternoon. Matcha is an awesome food to add to your lifestyle: super high in antioxidants, and the highest source of L-Theanine, great for when you need intense focus. Like decaf coffee, it’s not fully caffeine-free, so be careful if you’re very sensitive to caffeine, and I don’t recommend drinking before bedtime.

The Best All-Natural, Reef-Safe Sunscreen

Living here in the islands, I get a lot of sun exposure – and being a fair-skinned haole girl (white girl) I need to be extra careful. We recently traveled to Big Island, and I realized I had forgotten my sunscreen. I found this great local brand called Little Hands Hawaii. This sunscreen is affordable, packed in a tin (#plasticfree), and tinted, which means you don’t have to look like a ghost when you’re at the beach or surfing. What I love most is the incredible texture: it’s super creamy and smooth, and feels like a luxe lotion rather than sunscreen. And it works! We were in the sun everyday in on the Big Island and there were no sunburns to be found. And of course, it’s all natural and reef safe – ICYMI, regular sunscreen is killing our reefs (and last year the state of Hawaii banned it!); stop buying that shit already!


2019 is my 10-year blog anniversary – I’ve been sharing my words of wellness and recipes for a full decade! Here’s a trip down memory lane.

One year ago on Vibrant Wellness Journal: 
Foraging for Berries and Mushrooms: A Guide for Beginners on Insteading

Two years ago on Vibrant Wellness Journal: 
Spring 2017 Favorites List, of course, and a Berry Balsamic Sauce to put on all the things.  

Three years ago on Vibrant Wellness Journal: 
High Protein Superfood Granola (with leftover almond pulp)

Four years ago on Vibrant Wellness Journal: 
Mother’s Day Brunch IdeasHomemade Vegan Granola, and my guide to Vegan Backpacking – one of the most popular posts on my site! 

Five years ago on Vibrant Wellness Journal: 
Building a Better Poo, a presentation for Nerd Nite, and balancing yin-yang energy in food, by my sweet friend who’s since passed, Jin Hirata. 


This post may contain some affiliate links. Currently I am affiliated with Avocado and Mountain Rose Herbs, and Amazon Affilaites to support my favorite supplements and superfoods. If you purchase something from these links I make a small commission that supports my work and keeps the site running. Thanks for supporting Vibrant Wellness Journal! 


About Andrea Bertoli 591 Articles
A vegan chef, cookbook author, wellness educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in Honolulu. Follow my delicious adventures on Instagram

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.