Quorn – Vegan Fishless Fingers

Recently, when strapped for time, we’ve come to rely on a few really good pre-packaged, vegan friendly products. These, when thrown together with some well cooked veggies, mean we’re still able to get a balanced meal in at dinner time, without spending hours preparing it. 

Pre-vegetarian & vegan, we used to enjoy eating fish regularly; which is why we were excited to try Quorn’s new(ish) Fishless Fingers.

I have to warn you, if you’re vegan & you’ve given up meat or fish because you don’t like the flavour, these perhaps, aren’t for you… they really do smell & taste like the original product they’re emulating.

Like most Quorn products, these are made using Mycoprotein™, a completely meat-free form of high quality protein and a good source of dietary fibre, made by adding oxygen, nitrogen, glucose and minerals to a fungus called Fusarium venenatum.

Described by Quorn as fish free savoury flavour fingers, made with , coated in a crispy crumb, we paired these with mashed potatoes & peas, much as you would a regular fish finger.

The verdict? I liked them, but the boy wasn’t keen. Give them a go if you miss a good old fish finger buttie, but perhaps not for everyone.

  • Suitable for vegans
  • Vegetarian Society approved

Gosh!

New vegan friendly brand on sale at selected Tesco stores.

Have you heard of Gosh! and their range of burgers, bakes and bites, made using 100% natural ingredients, “as nature intended”?

Naturally free from the top 14 allergens, including cereals containing gluten, eggs, milk, soya, nuts, peanuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin, sulphur dioxide, crustaceans, fish & molluscs.


So far I’ve tried their Mushroom, Puy Lentil & Butter Bean Bugers and can honestly say they are very tasty and quite impressive. Baked in the oven for 15-20 mins, they are full of flavour and held together much better than most other vegan burger brands.


Each 125g burger is only 200kcals and contains 7.7g protein and only 2.3g sugar.

I’ve also just purchased the Mixed Seed, Quinoa, Carrot & Coriander Bakes with a Minted Pea Centre am hope these will be equally as tasty.


The whole range has been approved by both the Vegetarian & Vegan Societies.

Check out the whole range on sale online at Tesco or to find out more, including where you can purchase, check out their Facebook page or website.

Protein – the vegan way

January is a time of new beginnings. New Year’s resolutions made, but not so often kept. Two of the most popular being an overhaul of our diets, health and fitness. If, like many others, you have decided to go vegan for Veganuary, you might also have signed up to a brand spanking new gym membership, you’ll be wanting to get the most of your vegan diet.

Most of the time, when someone finds out I’m vegan, they suddenly become concerned that I get enough protein from my diet. No one seems to worry about your protein intake before you become a veggie or vegan!

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And I must admit, pre-veganism, I also thought the best types of protein was in lean meats & eggs. So to help out all you new vegans, I’ve pulled together what I hope is a helpful list of specific types of vegan protein, and what they are good for. Eat away…

 

pumpkin seeds

 

Pumpkin Seeds are a great source of healthy fats, fiber and protein to keep you feeling full, whilst the magnesium, phosphorus and zinc contained in them provide additional energy, great as a pre-workout snack.

 

tempehscene6

 

Tempeh is less likely than tofu to add on the lbs as it is made from soy beans, rather than soy milk. This makes it more of a whole food and retains more protein, around 50% more than tofu!

 

 

Health-Benefits-Of-Spinach

Spinach wasn’t Popeye’s favourite for nothing! Not only a great source of protein, but also high in vitamins A and C, antioxidants and calsium. Strangely enough spinach is one of the veggies that is best served steamed rather than raw, as it becomes easier for you body to digest and absord the calcium. And did you know that there is almost as much protein in one cup of spinach, as there is in a hard-boiled egg?! Superfood or what?

 

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Guava was an odd one to stumble upon for me, but it is the highest-protein fruit, whilst also containing 600% of your daily vitamin C requirement per cup.

 

 

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Chia Seeds are great for vegans and veggies; not only are they protein rich, but they also contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, something we can often be lacking while others can easily get it from eating oily fish.

 

 

spirulina-in-tablet-and-powder-formSpirulina is not a favourite of mine, I find it leaves a chalky residue in anything I had it to, but its protein content can’t be denied. Made up of 60% protein, like Quinoa it’s complete which means our bodies can directly convert it to muscle! It also contains 50% of your daily vitamin B12 requirement, something some veggies and vegans find themself deficient in when they stop consuming red meat.

 

what-is-the-health-benefits-of-cacao-96451269645126Dubbed the ‘food of the Gods’ in America, cacao is full of antioxidants, healthy fats, protein, minerals like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, zinc, potassium and Vitamins E and B. Full of fiber to help digestion and keep you fuller for the longer, this really is a superfood, the benefits of which have been rounded up very nicely here by The SuperFoods.

 

imagePeanut Butter is an absolute favourite of mine, and a teaspoon of a 100% nut butter, with no added salt, sugar or oil, is great as an after dinner treat, when you’re craving something naughty. Watch out though as it is high in calories, but 2 tablespoons added to a post workout smoothie, provide a great dose of muscle-building protein and healthy fats. Peanuts are also good for your heart, and studies have shown they can prevent both cardivasular and coronary atery disease.

 

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Another nut packing a healthy dose of protein is the almond. Consume before your workout and studies have shown that these little nuts can actually help you burn more fat and carbs.

 

 

Avocado-Recipes

 

A superfood high up on my list of protein packed favourites, is the avocado. Full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, more potasium than a banana, loads of fiber, vitamins & minerals in abundance, a regular sized avocado will contain around 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats.

 

 

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Popular with those trying to lose weight, mushrooms contain very little carbs or fat. The protein in mushrooms is only small, but is unique and it’s been thought to have anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

 

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1 cup of chickpeas contains 12g of protein, around 24% of your daily requirement. The protein in chickpeas is not complete, so combine with wholegrains such as wholegrain cous cous, or make up a batch of hummus and enjoy it on wholegrain bread or toast to get a complete protein.

 

beans

Not only are beans high in fiber and antioxidants, they aid with weight loss, and in turn disease prevention too! Comparable to meat when it comes to calories, beans are full of fiber and water, helping you to feel fuller for longer; meaning you should be able to cut calories, without feeling deprived. By losing weight you decrease your chances of developing serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. So nutritious are these little legumes in fact, that it’s recommended we tripple our weekly intake from 1 to 3 cups.

 

black-riceBlack Rice, also known as Forbidden Rice, has similar nutrient levels to brown rice, but with higher quanities of antioxidants. It is also a great source of fiber and minerals, including iron. A 100g serving of black rice has 8.5g of protein, 3.5mg of iron and 4.9g of fiber. Compared to white, brown and red rices, black rice has the highest amount of protein and double the fiber of brown rice.

 

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Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie nuts, at only 4kcal per average sized nut, you can enjoy around 40 of these delicious nuts for a healthy 160 kcal snack – I also find the process of cracking & eating quite theraputic! They are great sources of protein (around 20g for every 100g consumed), healthy fats, antoixidants, vitamins and minerals; a great all rounder and easy to carry in your bag for an on the go energy source.

 

So there you have it, a thorough but not exhaustive list of veggie and vegan proteins to help you get the most out of your month of Veganuary! Now off to the gym…

 

All images courtesy of Getty Images.

Wild Food Cafe | Covent Garden, London

Tucked away in a beautiful London corner is Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, and it’s here that you’ll find the self proclaimed “raw-centric vegan / vegetarian eatery”, Wild Food Cafe.

Run by raw foodies Joel and Aiste, this hidden gem uses only locally sourced and organic produce where possible, to prepare nutrient packed plant-based food, “served with love”.

I recently dined here with my non-vegan, but open-minded friend, Kate. This being our first visit, we both chose a dish from each course and then shared, wanting to sample as many of the delicacies on offer as possible.

Seating is set up canteen style, so we found a spot with our backs to the wall so we could people watch, then set about to ordering…

Although there is wine and organic beer + cider on offer, the smoothies had been recommended to me so that’s what we started with…

  

I chose the Incredible Green Smoothie (above), whilst Kate went for the Vibrant Green Juice.

  • Incredible Green Smoothie (V, R): Apple, celery, cucumber, kale, nettle, dates, avocado, banana, lime, green powder
  • Vibrant Green Juice (V, R): Apple, celery, cucumber, parsley, lemon, ginger

Both were delicious, but while Kate’s juice was light and refreshing, my smoothie was quite dense and thick, almost a meal in itself, and I couldn’t quite finish it.

Next up we shared a starter of Hummus & Raw Crackers.

  

  • Hummus & Raw Crackers (V, N, R): In-house hummus with raw crackers, veggie sticks + extra virgin olive oil

If I’m honest, I’m yet to be convinced by raw (rehydrated) crackers. I’ve had them in a couple of places now (to be featured in an upcoming review of Tanya’s), and they just don’t do it for me, though I can see the appeal. The hummus however was delicious and we couldn’t get enough of it with the vegetable crudités.

We then shared a couple of main dishes between us and I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite.

  

  • Wild Pizza Special (V, N, R): Dehydrated almond + butternut squash base, topped with marinara, wild sea purslane pesto and a daily selection of toppings

  

  • The Wild Burger (V, N, R, G): Olive + shiitake burger, with cultured Wild Sauce, salsa verde, smokey baba-ganoush, a side of sweet potato wedges (not raw) served in our in-house grain-free seed bread

You’ll probably have noticed that the mains are quite small in size, however when dishes are this nutrient dense, you get filled up quite quickly; plus we’d ordered a lot of food, so the smaller the portions, the better.

And finally, though we were stuffed, we ordered 2 desserts, knowing we could take the leftovers home – which we did, to be devoured with a cup of Earl Grey tea later that evening.

  

  • White Chocolate Tart with Caramel Brittle (V, N, R): Cacao butter, maple syrup and cashew cheesecake topped with cacao nibs and salted caramel pecans on a walnut + date base

  

  • Sweet Potato + Cacao Brownie (V, N): Special of the day served with caramel brittle sauce + a berry coulis

Both desserts were absolutely delicious, and while I have made many a sweet potato brownie myself (much to the boyfriend’s distaste), the vegan “cheesecake” is something I particularly enjoyed, and is something I am yet to attempt in my own kitchen. I do however have a peanut butter recipe in mind, but I’ll share with you at a later date.

  

The whole bill came to £66.83, for 2 drinks, 1 starter, 2 mains and 2 desserts, including service charge. This could be considered quite pricey when you consider no alcohol was consumed, however all ingredients are organic and mostly sourced locally, and you have to appreciate the ingenuity that goes in to designing healthy and raw dishes such as these. 

I would thoroughly recommend the Wild Food Cafe to anyone looking to experience raw cuisine at its very best. Having visited a couple of similar establishments more recently, this place is by far my favourite and at the top of my list for a revisit.

Much has been said recently of the benefits to following a raw diet. Raw fruits and vegetables tend to have a higher water content than when they are cooked, and so fill us up more quickly, stopping us from over eating and aiding in weight loss. However it is believed that heating food also destroys it’s nutrients and natural enzymes, and it is these enzymes that boost our digestion and help to fight chronic diseases. Recently I have read conflicting reports that there are some vegetables that can actually be damaging to us when eaten raw, tomatoes for example, which should only ever be consumer cooked…

I believe in balance, and that eating a wide and varied diet, containing as many colourful ingredients (raw and cooked) as possible is what’s best. We’re all different though, and what works for one, may not work for another. I will continue to enjoy visiting raw and experimental restaurants, and I will always continue my vegan, plant-based lifestyle, however a fully raw lifestyle isn’t for me; not yet anyway.

Follow me on Instagram @my_vegan_kitchen for more vegan reviews and recipes, and make sure to come back soon for reviews on both Mildred’s and Tanya’s vegan / vegetarian cafes in London.
Key:

(V) – vegan, dairy-free

(N) – contains nuts /seeds

(R) – some or all of the dish is prepared below 42C to preserve enzymes, nutrients and flavour


Oil- free Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Yesterday I dedicated a whole, rather lengthy, post to the wonder that is the humble sweet potato.
  
Today I am sharing with you my first attempt at baking Oil-free Spicy Sweet Potato Fries. Having seen many an Instagram post of other people’s delicious looking oil-free fries, I wanted to give it a go myself, so here goes…

Ingredients

  • 1 x medium sweet potato per person, washed, sliced and chopped in to chunky fries, skin left on
  • Spices of choice – I used smoked paprika + cayenne pepper
  • Seasoning of freshly ground black peppercorns + pink Himalayan sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Put sweet potatoe fries in a mixing bowl and add seasoning + spices. The amount of each will be determined by the size of your sweet potato & how many portions you are making. You want to have a good covering on all sides.
  3. Put fries on a baking tray, in 1 layer and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until they have started to brown.
  4. Remove tray from oven, turn over or toss fries and replace in oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove when golden on all sides and serve.

  
Cooking times will vary depending on how many fries you’re making and the power of your oven, so best to keep an eye on them.

And that’s it. I served mine with a delicious homemade guacamole; made with 1/2 avocado, chopped baby plum tomatoes, diced red onion + lashing of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

  
Anyone else have any oil-free recipes or tip they’d like to share? Let me know!

Sweet Potatoes – Super Food?

In recent months there’s been a lot in the British press, about the rapidly growing rate of obesity, especially in children.

So, being the health conscious (but also pizza and chip loving) being that I am, I decided to focus this post on something that we could all do with a bit more of in our diets, super foods; and one superfood in particular, deliciously gorgeous sweet potatoes.

Baked

But first, what are superfoods? Do they even exist? Their legitimacy has come in to question in recent years, and while I don’t personally believe there’s one group of foods that can cure all ills, obesity included, perhaps there are some foods, that when included in a colourful and varied diet of fresh ingredients, can help to boost our health and wellbeing.

If someone asked me what my favourite food is, I would have to answer “sweet potatoes”. Not only are they delicious to me, they are so versitile, sweet and savoury; Deliciously Ella even made brownies with them!

Brownies

They are also one of the most nutritiously dense foods out there, and public health experts in Africa are even hailing the humble sweet potato as a living Vitamin A supplement. That’s a pretty glowing recommendation, but the benefits don’t end there…

  1. So let’s start with the vitamins, sweet potatoes contain vitamin A in abundance. Necessary for bone growth, along with keeping immune and reproductive systems healthy; one regular sized sweet potato contains more than 100% of our daily requirements. Vitamin A, and in particularly its precursor, carotenoids, are also especially important for women. Past studies on women in the early stages of breast cancer, found that those with the highest level of carotenoids in their blood, had the least likelihood of the cancer returning.
  2. Another vitamin required for keeping immune systems in top condition is Vitamin B6. But that’s not all, this particular vitamin stimulates co-enzymatic activities that have positive effects on metabolism, premenstrual pain and strain, hormone control and skin conditions. Perhaps most importantly though, vitamin B6 helps to reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases including heart disease, kidney disorders and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  3. Next on the vitamin hit list is Vitamin C. Our bodies can’t store this particular vitamin, so we need to get it from our diets every day. Not just good at keeping colds and flus at bay, vitamin C is crucial in forming bones, teeth and red blood cells, aiding digestion, healing wounds, and producing collagen to maintain our youthful skin! Also, if you’re a keen exerciser, vitamin C is an important antioxidant that protects against the harmful effects of free radicals.
  4. The last vitamin on my list is D. Again important for healthy bone and teeth growth, it’s also necessary for maintaining energy levels and mood, along with protecting against diseases such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Let’s face it, with the below average sun levels here in the UK, we need all the help we can get with our vitamin D intake; eat up and don’t be S.A.D! After all these vitamins, as if there’s room for much else… But there is, minerals like Iron, Magnesium, Potassium.
  5. When I first started working behind a desk 4 years ago, my energy levels plummeted, so as a quick fix I started taking iron supplements. We all know we need iron to maintain adequate energy levels, but this isn’t all our bodies use iron for. It’s also needed for red and white blood cell production, stress management and metabolising proteins.
  6. Another anti-stress mineral is magnesium. Great for relaxation, but also necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle and nerve function.
  7. When thinking of potassium, bananas immediately spring to mind, but sweet potatoes are a great source of this important mineral. Great for regulating heartbeat, relaxing muscles, reducing swelling and keeping our kidneys active and functioning.
  8. With the current war on “hidden” and added sugars looking to continue, sweet potatoes are great for people suffering with diabetes. They contain naturally occurring sugars, which are released slowly in to our bloodstream, and help to maintain regular blood sugar levels, preventing spikes that can cause tiredness and weight gain.

It is for these reasons that sweet potatoes are consumed in such vast quantities in third world countries such as Africa. Work is currently ongoing to grow more of the orange varieties, as their current white fleshed potatoes are not so nutrient rich.

Crisps (Chips)

Even within countries such as Japan, in areas where weather has made it almost impossible for rice to be grown, sweet potatoes (often purple fleshed!) are consumed by the poorer communities; give me sweet potatoes over rice any day!

Roast, boil, bake, grill, steam, mash, fry, purée; sweet potatoes are so versatile. As if you need much more persuasion, unlike their white potato counterpart, sweet potatoes are considered one of your five a day.

Fries

If ever there was a super food in existence, I believe this to be it, so consume away.

Check out my Instagram @My_Vegan_Kitchen for ideas on how to cook and consume more of these delicious vegetables 🍠.

Which Foods to Eat for Maximum Plant Based Nutrition

I don’t know about you, but as a vegan I often get asked if my diet can be complete without animal produce. How do I get enough protein for example, or where do I get calcium or iron from? So I thought I’d pull together a quick, though not definitive, list of plant based foods that pack a nutritious punch.

Essential for all living beings, Calcium is a main material in our bones and teeth. Find it in:

  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach

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An Iron deficiency can cause anemia, a decreased number of red blood cells, and leave you feeling weak, tired and irritable. Avoid these symptoms by consuming these foods:

  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Curly kale
  • Dried fruits (apricots)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

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Beta-carotene is found in colourful fruits and vegetables. Although it is not actually an essential nutrient, our bodies convert it in to Vitamin A, which gives us healthy skin and immune systems, along with good eye health and vision. Find it in:

  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Red bell pepper
  • Spinach

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Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium and phosphate in our bodies. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone deformities lick rickets in children, and bone pain called osteomalacia in adults. Keep yourself topped up with these foods:

  • Mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight
  • Sunshine

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Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can prevent free-radicals forming in our tissue. Find it in:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Spinach
  • Wheatgerm

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Vitamin K helps our blood to clot and form scabs on wounds in order for them to heal.

  • Broccoli
  • Cereals
  • Spinach

Vitamin C protects our cells and keeps them healthy, which in turn helps with healing. In extreme cases, a lack of Vitamin C can cause scurvy. Up your intake by munching on these foods:

  • Blackcurrants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Strawberries

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Folate and Folic Acid are water-soluble forms of Vitamin B. Folate is the natural form, whilst folic acid is the synthetic form that is added to foods like cereals, flour, breads, pastas, cookies, crackers etc, becuase it is great at treating low levels of folate in our blood, which can cause conditions such as anemia.

  • Avocado
  • Brown rice
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Peas
  • Spinach

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A Complete Protein contains all the essential amino acids that cannot be synthesised by our bodies, but are crucial to help our muscles repair themselves. All you athletes and yogi out there, make sure you eat plenty of these foods:

  • Buckwheat
  • Chia
  • Hempseed
  • Quinoa
  • Soybeans

 

And also a combination of these Incompete Proteins:

  • Beans
  • Cereal
  • Chickpeas
  • Nut and seeds

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Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of fuel, used easily for energy and needed for our central nervous systems, kidneys, brain and muscles (including our heart) to function properly. Found in these different forms:

  • Fiber from the fleshy part of fruits, oats, dries beans, peas and vegetables with their skins on
  • Starch from bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
  • Sugars from fruits

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Fiber can prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and even some cancers, as well as improving our digestive health. Fiber is only found in foods that come from plants. Non-vegan foods such as meat, fish and dairy do not contain any fiber at all! There are 2 types of diaetary fiber – soluble or insoluble – and our bodies deal with them differently. Our bodies digest soluble fiber, whilst insoluble fiber passed through us undigested, helping to move other foods through our digestive systems.

  • Soluble:
  • Fruite, such as bananas and apples
  • Golden linseeds
  • Oats, barley and rye
  • Root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes

 

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  • Insoluble:
  • Bran
  • Cereals
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wholemeal bread

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Fat Soluble Vitamins vs. Water Soluble Vitamins:

  • Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are found in fatty and oily foods. These vitamins are crucial for optimum health
  • Water soluble vitamins (C, B and B9) cannot be stored in the body, so they need regular replenishment. Many dieticians recommend steaming or grilling these foods, rather than boiling, as these vitamin types can easily be lost through heat or air exposure

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!

Happy Earth Day !!

Not a day or week goes by without there being another reason for us to celebrate our health, lifestyles, and the planet we live on.

Last month, at 8:30-9:30pm local time on Saturday 28thMarch, WWF brought us Earth Hour, when more than 172 countries and territories turned off their lights for 1 hour, uniting people in a bid to protect our planet. Started in Sydney back in 2007, Earth Hour has grown each year and is now more than just an event, but has a massive environmental impact, including forcing legislation changes. Here’s some of their images from across the world that night :

             

Next year Earth Hour falls on 19th March 8:30-9:30pm local time, put it in your diary now.

Back to the present and today marks the celebration of the 45th Earth Day. Celebrated each year on 22nd April – marking what many consider to be the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 – this year could be the most important in environmental history yet, with economic and sustainability joining hands, world leaders finally passing a binding climate change treaty and the year citizens and organisations divest from fossil fuels and put money into renewable energy solutions.  Inspired by the student anti-war movement at the time, Gaylord Nelson, then a US Senator from Wisconsin, founded Earth Day to force environmental protection on to the national political agenda, by harnessing an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. Back then 20 million Americans took to the streets in protest, demonstrating for a healthy, sustainable environment. Today Earth Day works with 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, focusing on global warming and pushing for clean energy.

Here’s just a few of the things that Earth Day suggest we can do to get involved :

“”The possibilities for getting involved are endless! Volunteer. Go to a festival. Install solar panels on your roof. Organize an event in your community. Change a habit. Help launch a community garden. Communicate your priorities to your elected representatives. Do something nice for the Earth, have fun, meet new people, and make a difference. But you needn’t wait for April 22! Earth Day is Every Day. To build a better future, we all must commit to protect our environment year-round.””

I’d like to add another to this list and say “Go vegan”. Avoiding all animal products will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. As The Vegan Society put it on their website :

““This goes way beyond the problem of cow flatulence!
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.””

With vegan lifestyles becoming more and more mainstream, and vegan friendly options popping up in your favourite local restaurants, there’s never been an easier time to make the change. Each time you shop for food, or order in a restaurant, you can make a choice to live a healthier life, avoid killing other creatures and leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Even some of my fave vegan brands are getting in the Earth Day spirit!

  • Matt and Nat, who use recycled plastic bottle to make their beautiful line of vegan bags and purses, are donating $5 of every purchase made today to The Bee Cause
  • Vega are offering 20% off orders made through their eStore. They’ll also plant a tree for every order!
  • Food 52 have collaborated with MZ Wallace, producing a gorgeous line of water print bags, with 15% of each purchase going to supporting clean drinking water in developing countries

If you find yourself with a few mins to spare at work today, Google Doodle have a fun little quiz to find out what animal you are, and The Guardian have responded with their own online climate change-themed quiz.

So whether it’s shopping, completing a quiz or changing your lifestyle completely, let me know what you’re doing to celebrate Earth Day today!

Vegfest – Brighton 28-29th March

Has anyone been to Vegfest before? Last year I went for the first time, to the one at Kensington Olympia, London.

I picked up some bargains and found out about great new products and brands. So I am particularly excited for this Saturday, when the BF and I will be going to the one in in Brighton, unable to wait until it returns to London in October.

The dream is to one day have a stall selling food and sweet treats, but for now I’ll settle for being a happy visitor and customer.

A few things I will be purchasing :

  • Nakd bars from Natural Balance Foods – made from 100% natural ingredients such as fruits and nuts “smooshed” together in a handy bar. Wheat & dairy free, with no added sugars or hidden extras, I’m going to pick up a couple of boxes of my fave bars : Cashew Cookie & Cocoa Crunch
  • Explore Asian‘s bean pastas – vegan, organic, gluten-free, kosher “pastas”; the taste and texture of pasta, with all the benefits of beans! I’m especially looking out for their Edamame Spaghetti
  • Great Food UK 100% natural, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, Halal & Kosher range of bites, snacks and meals – last year they had some great offers on their falafel and sweet potato pakoras!

I was a little unprepared last year and didn’t do my research before I went, so this time I’ve been studying the schedule.

Non-shopping things I’m looking forward to :

  • Jasmijn de Boo‘s (The Vegan Society) talk on vegan businesses, trends & success stories
  • Ellie Bedford‘s cookery demonstration – How to Eat a “Chocolatey” Rainbow
  • Melissa (Ms. Cupcake) Morgan’s talk on how to replace animal products in baking
  • Anneka Svenska‘s talk on vegan juicing and smoothies
  • Animal welfare conference section
  • Environmental & food sustainability conference
  • The Hemp Expo showcasing the industrial and medicinal benefits of hemp, including a smoothie demo from Tim Barford

    Think I’m going to have a busy day!! Maybe I’ll see you there?

    Meat Free Week

    Happy Meat Free Week everyone!

    “Eat less, care more, feel good. Are you up for the challenge?”

    How many of you will be taking part this week? Anyone doing it to raise money for some of the great supporting charities ?

    There’s some great recipes on the Meat Free Week website :

    • Aubergine Cassoulet
    • Deliciously Dahl
    • Mixed Bean Chilli + Corn & Avocado Salsa
    • Quinotto Del Valle Sagrado
    • Stir Fried Curry + Brown Rice & Cashews
    • Tofu, Buckwheat & Chickpea Salad

    … To name just a few.

    Here’s a fun fact for you; did you also know it’s National Butcher’s Week here in the UK too? 

    Funnily enough I haven’t seen this one being promoted as much.

    Was Meat Free Week planned in UK for this week specifically to counteract it? If so, great idea from the founders, Lainie Bracher + Melissa Hobbs!