Category: Food & Drink

Zizzi Vegan Pizza

I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now, and I don’t regret anything, other than not doing it sooner. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is how veganism is being embraced by mainstream restaurants. Zizzi have led the way with not only have a vegan offering, but by developing their own vegan cheese, they have put themselves on the map as a vegan friendly place. Others have followed in their footpath, but I wanted to try Zizzi’s cheese. The reason being is because I struggle with vegan cheese. I’ve not really found a vegan pizza cheese that is anything remotely like regular cheese. As a result, I’ve quite happily gone without cheese on all my pizza. That being said, I wanted to see if Zizzi had nailed it.

Zizzi Vegan PizzaThe pizza itself was really tasty. I added red onion, mushrooms and green chilli and it was great combination. I wasn’t overly impressed with the cheese, as it was very wet, so that it melt like mozzarella. I was never a huge fan of mozzarella, and maybe that’s why I wasn’t that keen on this cheese. It had a decent flavour and there was plenty of it, but I wasn’t keen on the texture. I realise that nothing is ever going to be the same as regular cheese, and I’m really pleased that Zizzi have made such a huge effort for their vegan customers. Not only do they have vegan cheese, they also have vegan desserts that aren’t sorbet. I know, right?! How cool is that? Naturally, I wanted to give the vegan calzone a try, despite being pretty stuffed.

Zizzi vegan puddingMy first impression was that it was way smaller than I was expecting! This is because I’m a huge greedy guts and wanted one as big as my pizza! It had pecans, banana and blueberries inside and had chocolate and coconut ice cream on top. It was delicious! The first vegan pudding I’ve had in a mainstream restaurant! I really enjoyed it. It was warm and doughy and filling. Well worth leaving room for.

I hope that other restaurants who aren’t being as forthcoming with vegan options take note. My friends and I, one of which is gluten-free, purposely went to Zizzi because we knew we would be catered for. The vegan revolution is beginning!

Healthy Vegan Diet

When I first became vegan, over a year ago, I thought it was a matter of time before I lost a load of weight, had bags of energy and was eating kale by the bucket load. This hasn’t happened. Why, I hear you ask? Well, very simply, it’s easy to follow an unhealthy vegan diet or a vegan diet that includes a lot of processed or unhealthy foods. Lots of people find this quite surprising and some people take a look at me and are surprised to find that I’m vegan as I am carry a few extra pounds. And this is before I eat my own body weight in vegan mince pies and tofurkey over the Christmas period.

tofu stir fry

I’ve made no secret over the fact that I don’t enjoy cooking. Add to this the fact that I’m a comfort eater and I work a lot and want convenience foods, means that I have spent the first year of my vegan life seeking out all the sfv (suitable for vegans) snack foods, take aways and unhealthy short cuts. While this is not what I wanted, it’s not surprising, considering my unhealthy relationship with food. (As a teenager, I had to go to Weight Watchers!) While I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to be eating, I wasn’t really sure how to correct my diet. Then I watched Food Choices and this confirmed what I already knew – that I should be eating a whole foods plant based diet. On the documentary, they mention a vegan who existed on fizzy drinks and crisps. While what they are consuming might be vegan, it isn’t healthy and I know I want to be eating well. Because I work a lot, I know I need to nourish my body so that I sleep well, manage my stress and have plenty of energy. Eating processed junk foods isn’t going to do that, even if they are sfv. Any dairy products will have been replaced with other equally unhealthy ingredients. Watching Forks over Knives reaffirmed what I already knew – that I had to find a way of making sure my diet consisted of whole food plant based foods, not just vegan foods, as that’s the best thing for my health. While I’m generally pretty healthy, I could stand to lose a few pounds and I want to make sure that I’m eating the best for my body.

spaghetti

In order to eat a more plant based diet, without spending hours in the kitchen, we knew we needed some new recipes that are quick, healthy and easy. Phil bought Keep it Vegan by Aine Carlin and it has a number of simple weekday meals that are easy to put together. We’ve already tried the stir fry and were really pleased that we had a healthy plant based dinner made in under twenty minutes. This is the kind of thing we need. I’ve also bought the Minimalist Baker cookbook, as I love the meals on her blog but want to have everything in one place.

vegan cookbooks

This is not a diet or a ‘new year, new you’ fad. This is a change I feel like l have to make. And yes, there will be times when I get a take away or over eat on some junk food, but this should be much, much less than I’m doing right now. Hopefully, I’ll feel the benefit of a whole foods plant based diet really soon.

My one year Veganiversary

On 1st September 2015, I became vegan. Having been a vegetarian for twelve years or so, it was the logical next step. If I’m honest, I wish I’d done it sooner. I don’t know why I waited so long, especially as my reason for being vegetarian was animal cruelty and there’s no real difference between how the dairy and meat industry treats their animals.

So, what’s changed? Well, I can now speed read a list of ingredients as if my life depends on it. You’d be surprised how many products have milk, egg or some other animal derived product in. Just this week I found that the satsumas I bought from Waitrose had shellac on them. Why would you do that?! It’s kind of scary when you look into it. I have to plan my meals and cook a lot more (though Phil does most of the cooking, so that’s not really an issue!) I can’t rely on picking something up at school for lunch or just stop in a supermarket to buy some sandwiches. While supermarkets are making great leaps in providing vegan food and options every day, there is still a long way to go. Eating a plant based diet is the way forward, and it’s not just about animal rights. It’s best for our bodies and our planet. Don’t just take my word for it, take a look at the Food Choices trailer (full documentary available on Netflix right now.)

I honestly thought when I became vegan, and would be eating so many vegetables, that I’d lose a ton of weight and look the picture of health. Well, I’m still waiting for that to happen! I’m eating loads of veg, kind of have to, but there is so much junk food available that I’m still about the same kind of weight. There are lots of products on the market that are ‘accidentally vegan’ and have no animal products in them, but there are also a lot of vegan chocolate and cakes and crisps to be had. And I’ve had a lot! My favourites are the Jokerz and Twilight Go Max Go bars, which I usually get from Vegan Town. Round Ups are another favourite and they’re bloomin’ epic. The first vegan chocolate I had was the mighty Vego bar. There are also lots of wine, cider and gin that’s sfv, not that I’m a big drinker, but it’s worth knowing about it. We shop at Ocado and their vegan shop is really useful. They often have offers on their vegan products, including the wine, which is when I usually stock up. I do eat more veg, both in regularity and variety and despite the junk, my diet is healthier than it’s every been. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how much junk food I eat and the impact that will have on the environment and animals, as a consequence. I recently read an interesting article in Vegan Life about palm oil and it is a hugely controversial ingredient in lots of items, not just food. There’s no doubt that it is very difficult to avoid it, if you buy processed foods. So I’m going to try and limit how much I consume and try to reduce my reliance on processed stuff as much as possible.

I’m often asked what’s the hardest thing about being vegan. Once you get past the horror of the fact that everyone else is still continuing to use and abuse animals, it’s not really difficult at all, though you do have to be prepared that people will become nutritional experts around you and demand you explain just exactly where you get your protein from every. damn. time. You’re simply just changing your consuming habits. The thing I’m most sad about is wool because I love jumpers and all things knitted, but the way most of the fashion industry treats its animals is horrific so it’s a no brainer to give that up.

I try not to shove my beliefs in peoples faces, so I decided to set up a Pinterest veganism board, which is where I put all the comments about veganism I agree with! I also changed my vegetarian food board to a vegan food board and while I don’t do much cooking, it’s always nice to see what healthy and delicious food I *could* be eating! If you’re interested in having a go, then there’s more information over on the Vegan Society website. Why not take the 30 day pledge?

Penryn to Flushing dogwalk

Our little break in Cornwall feels like it was months ago, such is the pace of life at the moment. While we were there, we decided on having brunch at the Muddy Beach restaurant in Penryn and Phil found a nice little walk for us to do beforehand, that we can do more of another time. We didn’t do the whole Penryn to Flushing walk, but we did a good chunk of it. The bit we did was okay, though I’m thinking we didn’t get to the best bit. Plus I’ve heard that Flushing is quite dog friendly so am keen to explore it next time.

Penryn to Flushing dogwalkPenryn dogwalkPenryn cemetryPenryn cemetry door

To get to the walk, you have to walk along the main road. You take a sneaky little path just before the church to head down to the coast path. You then walk along, under the cover of trees, catching glimpses of the estuary. It’s a little bit like a secret world! After a while you head out from the trees to walk along at the bottom of a field, which had an electric fence. I always worry about walking Poppy next to these, not that she’s ever hurt herself on them, but I’m not a fan. This bit doesn’t last for long, until you can head down onto the river bed and get to walk among the reeds if the tide is out. That’s where we turned round and headed back, as we’d planned to have brunch at Muddy Beach. And we weren’t disappointed!

Muddy Beach vegan breakfast

We had visited Muddy Beach years ago in it’s previous incarnation as Miss Peapod’s. Phil did a bit of a google to check out their vegan offerings and dog friendly potential. They have plenty of outside seating, which is perfect for dogs, but they also have a section inside which is the perfect area for dogs. Not only do they offer a veggie breakfast, but they also did a vegan breakfast, which was delicious. It was hearty, healthy and satisfying. While I was ordering, I also noticed that they had a vegan cake on offer, along with the regular fair and one or two non-dairy milks. We will definitely be going back there next time we’re in Penryn.

The Walk: The part of the walk we did was okay, some bits were much better than others. As the tide was out, we were able to walk down on the coast and Poppy loved walking among the reeds. Next time we go there, I’d like to walk the whole way to Flushing, as it’s not far. The walk through the cemetery was quite creepy! Make sure you wear good walking boots!
Cost: Completely free, unless you’re paying for parking.
Car Park: We parked at Exchequer Quay car park and paid £3.20 for three hours, which was plenty of time.
Refreshments: Muddy Beach restaurant is well worth a visit. It has plenty of seating, both inside and out, and has a special dog friendly area.
Toilets: There are some public loos in the car park.