Tag: food

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.

Review – Papa John’s #CampaignForBetterPizza

Pizza is one of my favourite foods. It’s so easy and convenient and takes minimum effort, especially if you get a take away one. Where I live in Oxfordshire, we’re spoilt for choice for good pizza, either from a range of local independent pizzerias to national ones that deliver, meaning you can order your pizza in your pjs!

It came as little surprise to me, therefore, that a recent study showed that Oxford consumes more pizza than anywhere else in the UK. Not only that, Oxfordians demand quality from their pizza, spending more than anywhere else, per pizza. So when Papa John’s contacted me and asked if I’d like to have some (c/o) pizza to review and enjoy a relaxing night in, I jumped at the chance. There’s nothing I like more than vegging out on the sofa, with a good DVD and delicious food!

Papa Johns Pizza

I was really impressed with the veggie options available and ordered a Garden pizza for myself, with extra jalapeños and The Greek for my partner, knowing we’d share a slice or two. Both were delicious. We opted for the thin crust base, which was really good, as it wasn’t too thin and really filling. I even had enough left over for lunch the next day! I really liked the tomato sauce too. It was really tasty and there was plenty of it. After a long day at work, it was just what I needed – especially as my partner went to pick it up, meaning I had plenty of time to get comfy on the sofa in preparation for my pizza feast!

Garden Pizza

One thing I didn’t realise about Papa John’s pizza was that they offer a no-quibble ‘Quality Guarantee’ and in the unlikely event that you’re not totally satisfied with your Papa John’s pizza, you can request a replacement completely free of charge! How good is that? This Bank Holiday weekend, to recognise Oxford’s love of pizza, Papa John’s are extending their ‘Quality Guarantee’ for one weekend only (from Saturday 2nd May – Monday 4th May) and pledge that if a customer is not 100% happy with the quality of their pizza from another national pizza delivery chain, Papa John’s will replace it like-for-like, free of charge and no questions asked.

To claim the offer, Oxford residents must visit www.campaignforbetterpizza.co.uk. An online proof of purchase receipt must be submitted with the claim to qualify for a free replacement pizza (T’s & C’s apply. Check the website for details). Don’t live in Oxford but want a pizza bargain? Non-Oxford pizza lovers can get 50% off when you spend £15 or more. Just click the link above. Not a bad way to celebrate the Bank Holiday weekend eh? Let me know which pizza you’d opt for.

*Disclosure: I was sent the pizza for review purposes, along with a DVD and board game. As ever, opinions are my own.

Review: Burger Shop, Bournemouth

A few weekends ago, the family & I headed down to Bournemouth for a bit of a family get together. Sitting round the breakfast table, trying to decide where to eat for lunch, my partner Phil came across the Burger Shop. A quick perusal of the menu to check whether the veggie burger was really and truly a burger and not one of those stupid portobello mushroom in a roll masquerading as a burger and we were on our way!

Nutella Milkshake

As we walked in, I clocked the milkshake menu on the wall. This little beauty is a nutella milkshake. It was pretty much heaven in a glass and I had to make myself slow down and not drink it all in one go. Definitely worth the calorie splurge!

Fat Chips Burger Shop Veggie burger

I ordered the veggie burger with mahoosive chips to go with it. I was not disappointed. The chips were epic! They are the chunkiest chips I think I’ve ever seen! Cooked to perfection, they were delicious. While my veggie burger allegiance lies with my local burger place, Atomic Burger, this burger makes a pretty close second place. The burger patty was accompanied with the standard lettuce and tomato, but it also had a portobello mushroom and slice of cheese. Read that faux veggie burger purveyors?! The mushroom was in addition to a veggie burger patty! It was delicious. I was a very happy veggie burger fan.

I really liked the Burger Shop. The staff were great and not intrusive or overly friendly – hate when restaurant staff treat me like we’re age old friends. I would happily go back there the next time I’m in Bournemouth. Well worth a visit if you’re making a visit to the seaside.

Planning Healthy Meals

I have to admit, my healthy eating went completely out the window over summer. It was either too hot to bother or I was feeling too lazy to plan, shop and cook. Plus I ate all the ice cream and barely moved, with the exception of walking Poppy. Oops. So I needed to get myself sorted, shopping for and cooking healthy meals, moving more and generally getting myself organised. The only way this was going to happen if I planned my meals and prepped them ahead of time. I started planning my meals on A4 paper, but as you can see, it’s a little messy so I made a menu plan template, which looks a little neater.

Hand written menu plan Menu Plans

To make my life a little easier, I’m going to rotate these plans every four weeks, swapping out seasonal foods where possible. By the end of September, I’ll have plenty of healthy meal options, which can all be made very easily or ahead of time, essential in my book and I’ll have all of the ingredients in my favourites in my online shopping list. Ordering takeaway is always going to be easier, so I need to make sure I make healthy eating as easy as possible or I just won’t do it.

Menu Plan Template

I get most of my meal ideas from Pinterest. I don’t know where I’d be without it, though my iPad screen would be a lot cleaner! It’s such a great place to find healthy meals and lunch inspiration, so that I don’t get bored. I’m also doing the 30 Day Shred throughout September to get myself moving and I’m already thinking about exercise I can do in October. I think I need to mix things up or I’ll get bored and stop.

I’ve been eating healthily for over a week now and feel good. The focus has been wholesome foods, cooked from scratch where possible, lots of fruit and veg. We’re lucky to live near Modern Baker so that we can still enjoy a cake while we watch #GBBO, but not ruin our healthy eating. So far, it’s going really well and I can definitely feel the difference.

What are your healthy eating tips? How do you make sure you’re not calling Dominos everyday?! If you think the meal plan I made would be helpful to you, feel free to download away!