Tag: vegetarian

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 – nakd bars

February. Isn’t it great getting January out the way? It was a crazy busy month for me and now I’m paying the price with a horrible cold. In a bid to delay the onset of the cold (it’s been lurking for about two weeks) and to eat more fruit & veg, I’ve been looking for ways to make fruit and veg more exciting. I’m a really fussy eater, made worse by being vegetarian. You’d think being vegetarian would mean I eat plenty of vegetables. Alas, this is not the case. Sadly, there are no vegetables in fizzy cola bottles. And I’m lazy and hate cooking (Hello Dominos!). I was feeling really sluggish, so thought I should try eating like a grown up for a change. I’ve started reading Laura’s blog, Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish and it’s full of great healthy eating tips and I noticed that she’d eaten one of these.

nakd bars

I am in love with these nakd bars and the coco delight and berry cheeky flavours are my favourite. They are a great way for me to eat more fruit (one bar counts as your one of your five a day) and they’re made from natural ingredients (so no added sugar). I could eat them all day long, but limit myself to one a day, max. I’ve also been eating massive salads and more fresh fruit, as well as limiting my junk food intake (haven’t eaten any cola bottles in nearly 2 weeks!). As I’ve been poorly, I haven’t yet noticed a change to my energy levels, but it can’t hurt right? I was also going to start exercising again this week, but needing to blow my nose every five minutes has put an end to that. (Did I say that I’ve been ill?!)

Do you manage to eat your five a day? I’d love to hear any healthy eating tips you might have. I need all the help I can get!

Why I’m a Vegetarian and other rantings

For those that don’t know, I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and was initially moved to cut meat out of my life after learning about what life is like for the many animals who form part of the food industry. Battery chickens, intensive farming, inhumane conditions – all of it made me sick and I couldn’t be a part of it any more. I couldn’t stop associating the cute animals in the field with what was on my plate & kept picturing Bambi, the adorable pig from Babe, the rabbits from Watership Down & felt guilty. I appreciate that there are plenty of alternatives to mass produced meat and that lots of animals have very lovely lives before they are slaughtered. But I’m not prepared to raise, kill & prepare meat or fish for me to eat it so I wouldn’t expect anyone else to either and so I said goodbye to meat, poultry, fish & any food that contained an animal by-product such as gelatine. And personally, I don’t agree that there is such a thing as ‘humane slaughter’. Not long after I became a vegetarian, I moved to a flat what was in front of a small abattoir which dealt with a small number of animals on a daily basis (The rent was cheap!) so I understand the process. I also know that a lot of the animals used in the food industry wouldn’t live at all if they weren’t bred for food but for me it’s not enough. As a vegetarian, I don’t eat fish either. I don’t see them any differently to chickens, cows, pigs or horse. If only the food industry understood this.

M&S

I’ve seen restaurants label fish as vegetarian, parmesan as vegetarian and this week, prawns, salmon & tuna even made it in the veggie section of Marks and Spencers sandwich selection. Hey M&S! I don’t care how luxurious your prawns are, veggies don’t eat fish! I don’t expect Joe Bloggs on the street to understand the difference between vegetarian and pescetarian, but the food industry should. It’s their business. I’m no Alan Sugar, but surely it makes good business sense to be able to cater for as many people as possible!

Pescetarian: someone who eats fish but not meat

The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as: “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of slaughter.”

So often I go to restaurants to find that the veggie options were clearly an afterthought or they haven’t been thought about at all. And god help you if you’re vegan*! By not understanding their customers makes me think that they don’t want my business. They are not worthy of my money. Lots of people are vegetarian for many different reasons. It’s a choice they’ve made. By ignoring them or not putting much thought into them makes me want to take my business elsewhere. So if a restaurant incorrectly labels food as veggie when it isn’t or doesn’t offer veggie options at all, it won’t be receiving my custom at all. Am I a second class citizen because I made a choice to exclude certain food groups from my diet? Is my money less valuable? Oh well, fortunately for me there are still plenty of great options. That’s why I always try to review places I’ve eaten so that other vegetarians in the area know who does good vegetarian food. Plus, even meat-eaters enjoy meat free food sometimes! Be more adventurous than mushroom risotto or, for goodness sake, Broccoli & Cauliflower bake! Use vegetarian ingredients, label your puddings & don’t just give us cheese and pasta! You’re the chefs – be creative!

Being vegetarian is my decision. I don’t force it on anyone else, and no, Poppydog does not follow a vegetarian diet. She enjoys meat &  some of the by-products of the meat industry, including, as of this week, pig trotters from the local butcher. I don’t feel guilt about it – they didn’t die for me, but waste not, want not!

I eat meat

Forgive me if I’ve not explained myself very well – it’s quite an emotional issue. Have a look at what Luiz Antonio views eating meat – He explains my view very well! Out of the mouths of babes…

*I tried to be a vegan, as there are lots of ethical issues surrounding the production of leather, wool and dairy products, but for me, being veggie is enough. Having said that, I avoid leather as much as possible and buy ethical wool & dairy products as much as possible.

How Do You Drink Yours?

Chai Latte

For anyone who follows my Twitter or my Instagram feed, they’ll know how much I love Drink Me Chaichai. It’s my favourite treat of the day. I’m always pleased to discover a café who sells chai lattes. That being said, I’ve had many different types of chai lattes – sometimes even in the same place. Some places use chai teabags & add hot milk; some places use warm milk & add a chai syrup; some places use Drink Me Chai & add warm milk. This last one is my favourite because it enables you to get the right mix of spice, creaminess & warmth.

Here’s how I like my chai:

I always use Drink Me Chai Spiced flavour at home. It’s easy & convenient. I add 4 teaspoons of the mix to my favourite mug, Big Brown, & boil the kettle. (Yes, I named my mug – what of it?!) I add about 1/4 cup of hot water to dilute the mix then start on heating the milk. I use light soya milk & it works fine, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. It does alter the Hot milktaste slightly, but I’m used to it now. When I have chai in cafes, I don’t usually bother to ask about soya milk because semi-skimmed milk actually gives a nice taste. We’ve got a fancy Dualit coffee machine that enables me to heat up the milk & get a decent froth on it, something which didn’t happen with our Nespresso machine. I don’t mind a bit of foam because it helps to keep the drink warm, which is really important. But sometimes, too much foam means not enough chai!

I occasionally sprinkle some cinnamon on the top before I drink it, as it just makes it even more luxurious! I usually have a chai latte once a day – anymore than that & I’m worried that my love of chai might just grow into an addiction! There are also quite a few different flavours of Drink Me Chai: Vanilla, chocolate, mango & peppermint, but my favourite is Chai LatteSpiced Chai & pretty much only drink that. It’s such a warming drink that it fits perfectly with my chilly little study!

One of the biggest criticisms I have of cafés is a lukewarm chai. As you know, I’m almost always cold & one of the things I love about chai is it warms me up. So to have one that I can drink really quickly is really disappointing. A chai latte should be something that you take a break over, not something that you have to drink quickly because it’s going cold. And it shouldn’t be too milky either. I’ll order a spiced chai for a reason: I want to taste the spice!

I’d love to know how you like your chai or if you have any other chai recipes. Let me know! x