Becoming Vegan

So I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years and have decided it’s time to become vegan. My reasoning for it was and still is animal welfare. As far as I’m concerned, no living creature should have to die or suffer for me to eat. For a long time I’ve bought, what I considered to be, ethical dairy products, but I’ve been questioning for a while if there is such a thing and I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t. While I can choose to buy organic, free range dairy, it’s unlikely that the dairy used in the convenience foods and treats I buy is anything remotely linked to the ethical standards that I’d like them to be.

Free range chickens

Becoming vegan is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and there are three main reasons why I’m going to switch from being vegetarian to vegan. Firstly, there’s the animals. Eating a vegan diet ensures that no animals are harmed for me to eat. Everything from egg production to milking has serious ethical issues for me and I’m just not comfortable supporting such cruelty to animals. Plus, we don’t need animal products in our diet. While it might’ve been something that we did need, during our evolution when food was scarce, this simply isn’t the case today. In fact, by consuming animal products, we’re actually doing a great deal of harm to our planet, which is the second reason why I’ve decided to go vegan. The fact that the meat and dairy industry does more damage to the environment than the travel industry is pretty shocking. Considering that we don’t need meat or dairy to live, it makes no sense that we continue to consume them on a scale that could devastate our planet. Eating a vegan diet is much more environmentally friendly, especially if you follow a healthy one. This brings me on to my final reason for becoming vegan. Health. There are lots and lots of unhealthy veggie foods out there and while I realize that there’s also a fair share of unhealthy vegan foods (I’m looking at you Oreo’s!), I’m determined to follow a healthy, balanced vegan diet. This way, I’ll get plenty of vitamins and protein and I won’t have to worry about any deficiencies. Plus, I won’t be able to walk into a shop and just buy a massive bag of Monster Munch or a load of Krispy Kreme donuts. (Both have dairy, I’ve checked!) This means that I’ll have to eat the meals I plan and shop for, helping me to reduce my food waste, keep my food costs down and help keep my waistline in check. While I will be indulging in some delicious vegan treats, both homemade and shop bought, the fact that they won’t be readily available is good news for my waistline!

Poppy on the beach

Plus there’s this little lady. I don’t see a difference between her and the animals people eat. How can I say I love animals and continue to eat them and contribute to a destructive industry? I just can’t.

I’ve already started cutting out dairy from my diet and look for the vegan options when we’re out and about. I’m planning on using the next few months to let friends and family know and work out how I’m going to do things but from 2016, I’m going to be 100% vegan. While I realize it’s not going to be easy all the time, especially eating out, once I’m used to it, it’ll get easier. When I first became vegetarian, it was really difficult to find restaurants with suitable food. Fortunately, vegetarian food has come a long way in the last ten years and eating out isn’t a huge problem anymore so I’m hoping that eating out as a vegan becomes more mainstream too. I think the hardest thing for me is going to be is convenience. I’m all about easy food and quick meals, but being vegan means I’m going to have to read every label, phone ahead at restaurants and, occasionally, go without, which is fine as I think it’s worth it, but it’ll take some getting used to. I don’t think I’m going to miss anything, as I haven’t missed anything since going vegetarian, not even bacon.  If you’ve got any good vegan recipes, or tips, please let me know! I’m going to need all the help I can get.

If you want to find out more about veganism, then take a look at Vegucated, The Vegan Sidekick or Peta.

Tuesday Treat – Roast Vegetable Tart

I’m always struggling to find yummy and healthy food for lunch so when I saw this delicious looking vegetable pie on Pinterest, I knew that I had to give it a go. I like the fact that it uses ready made pastry, which makes things a whole lot easier. All you have to do is roast some vegetables, pop them in the pastry and cook it. It couldn’t be easier!

Vegan Vegetable pie

The recipe calls for aubergine as well, but neither Phil nor myself are huge fans of aubergine so I left it out. I didn’t substitute it for anything, which was a shame as it could’ve definitely have used more vegetables. Next time I make it, I’m thinking of doubling up the veg and adding small cubes of sweet potato. I didn’t put any milk on the pastry to help it brown, which was a mistake, as it looks like it could do with a bit longer in the oven, but I was worried about the veg burning so I need to make sure I add that next time too. Plus I might roast the veg with some rosemary from the garden, as that’ll make it even nicer!  It’s great when something you find on Pinterest actually works first time! You can follow my Veggie Food Pinterest board here.

Dog Walks in Buckinghamshire – Whitecross Green Wood

Phil and I are planning to visit every BBOWT nature reserve. After a quick look through their website, we decided on Whitecross Green Wood. It boasts an abundance of butterflies in the summer months and we weren’t disappointed. They were dancing around all over, enjoying the warm summer sun.

Getting to the reserve is pretty straight forward. There’s a small cottage opposite the turning for the reserve and there are two gates that need opening. Once inside, there’s a map and a visitors book, which is well worth having a look at, as people record the different things they’ve seen so it’s a helpful guide for things to look out for. Because there are so many varieties of butterflies, the site is at risk of trampling, as people try to get close to see and take pictures of them. (I totally understand this, as my photos of the butterflies from a distance were so awful, I had to delete them!) However, this is a real problem, as it’s putting the habitat at risk so it’s important to stick to the mown path, which we did.

Poppy at Whitecross GreenWhitecross Green BBOWT reserve Whitecross Green Nature Reserve Whitecross Green ReserveBritish summer

There’s a nice circular walk around the reserve, taking in woodland, views out over the countryside and lots of great little habitats. The walk is just over 2 miles and is easy to follow as it’s signposted with little badger plaques. Poppy loved the walk as there were lots of smells for her to track. We’ll definitely be returning to Whitecross Green as I’d like to see how it changes with the seasons.

The Walk: The walk is fairly easy and straightforward, with only a slight incline in the woods.
Cost: Free
Car Park: There’s a decent sized car park at the start of the reserve, which has quite a few spaces.
Refreshments: No.
Toilets: No.

 

Tuesday Treat – Peace and Parsnips

One of the things I wanted to do this summer is to explore a vegan diet. (I’ll be outlining my reasons why later this week). I’ve been pinning vegan meals to my Veggie Food Pinterest board for a while, but I also wanted something on paper that I could refer back to. I then saw someone retweet something by Lee Watson, author of Peace and Parsnips: Vegan Cooking for Everyone, a vegan cookbook.

Peace and Parsnips

It has great reviews on Amazon, which really swayed it for me, as I don’t buy cookbooks very often. You see, I’m not a massive fan of cooking. I’m more of a heater – if I can just bung it in the oven, then I’m happy. But I know that if I want to follow a vegan diet, then I’m going to need to be able to cook proper food. The reviews about Peace & Parsnips said that the food was easy to cook and both vegans and non-vegans alike enjoyed the recipes. Plus, look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous?! So far, I’ve only tried one recipe – the Chocolate & Brazil Nut Spelt cookies. I wanted to bake something to enjoy while watching the Great British Bake Off, though they nearly didn’t last long! They were amazing and easy to make, plus they didn’t need a load of weird ingredients, which is always a huge bonus. I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes too.

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