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Beginners' Guides Green Living

Why Not Try Vegan This Veganuary?

Joaquin Phoenix Veganuary 2020

Why not try vegan this Veganuary and join an expected 350,000 others in going plant-based this January?

Launched in 2014, Veganuary is focused on changing consumer behaviours and attitudes, while providing all the information and practical support required to make the transition to veganism as easy and as enjoyable as possible throughout the month.

Last year, the campaign generated more interest than ever before. Following their Veganuary experience, 47% of respondents surveyed said that they are committing to staying vegan while 77% of people said that while they wouldn’t stay vegan, they were “very likely” or “extremely likely” to try vegan again.

This year’s ambassadors include an impressive list of high profiles artists, environmentalists and athletes such as: Joaquin Phoenix, George Monbiot, Chris Packham, Alicia Silverstone, Peter Egan, Evanna Lynch, Mayim Bialik, Anthony Mullally, Jack Monroe, Kerry McCarthy MP, James Moore etc…

If you feel daunted by the idea of switching to a plant-based diet, Veganuary is an achievable and enjoyable way to try out going vegan. In fact 60% of the participants that Veganuary surveyed last year said that the Veganuary challenge was easier than they had anticipated and 51% of those who decided to stay vegan say this decision was influenced by the discovery of great tasting food.

Last year, more than 500 businesses took part in Veganuary, while more than 200 plant-based products and menus were launched including Gregg’s famous sausage roll, Pizza Hut’s jackfruit pizza, and Marks & Spencer’s Plant Kitchen range.

Jack Monroe Veganuary 2020

Intensively farmed meat, fish and dairy wreak havoc on the planet while being extremely cruel to animals. Veganuary is an opportunity for all of us to make a difference and work towards a fairer and more sustainable food system. With high red meat consumption being linked to a host of diet-related disease, this is also a chance to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

To sign up to Veganuary simply head to www.veganuary.com. Every participant will receive the Veganuary 2020 Celebrity Cookbook, filled with delicious recipes to try. You will join a like-minded community, receive regular emails to support you throughout the month and have access to a Facebook support group.

The Veganuary website is full of helpful resources, like recipes, a starter kit and meal plans. There is also the popular Eating Out section which received more than 1.3 million visitors last year.

To whet your appetite, Veganuary has kindly offered to share two recipes from its 2020 Celebrity Cookbook below:

 

NOT MEAT BALLS BY JACK MONROE

Not Meat Balls Veganuary 2020

This “Not Meat Balls” recipe was created by talented chef, writer, activist and Veganuary Ambassador Jack Monroe. She made her name, developing tasty budget meals that cost very little to prepare. Her plant-based recipes dispel the myth that vegan food is expensive, complicated and tasteless. This recipe uses hearty aubergines and storecupboard ingredients to make flavoursome plant-based meat balls than you can enjoy on their own, in a sandwich or with pasta.

INGREDIENTS
2 aubergines
2 red or white onions
2 cloves garlic
2 red chillis
2 tbsp black olives, finely
chopped
6 tbsp oil
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 slices bread – either fresh
or slightly stale
Handful fresh basil

METHOD
1. Cut the stems off the ends of the aubergines and halve lengthways. Dice the flesh into small pieces and pop into a medium non-stick saucepan or frying pan.
2. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic, chop the chilli as finely as you can, and add these plus the olives to the aubergine in the pan, along with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes to brown and soften.
3. Grate over the lemon zest, squeeze in the lemon juice and, once the aubergines are soft, tip everything into a mixing bowl. Grate the bread over the top, finely chop the basil and mix in well. (If it does not mix, try blending and adding more breadcrumbs.)
4. Shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls with your hands. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and carefully fry the aubergine balls in batches until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with extra lemon juice and torn basil to taste.

 

LEBANESE TABBOULEH

Tabouleh Joaquin Phoenix Veganuary 2020

This Lebanese Tabbouleh is a firm favourite of Hollywood actor and committed animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix who has been vegan since the age of 3. Joaquin Phoenix has been named 2019 Person of the Year by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and uses his influence to champion the cause of animals.

INGREDIENTS
50g bulgur wheat
2 large, ripe vine tomatoes,
finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley,
finely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, finely
chopped
1 small red onion, peeled
and finely chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

METHOD
1. Cook the bulgur wheat as per the packet instructions.
2. Make a small cross at the base of each tomato and place them in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 30 seconds, then drain away the water.
3. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, discard the seeds and dice the flesh. Transfer the diced tomatoes to a serving bowl.
4. Add the parsley, mint and onion to the tomatoes and mix well until combined.
5. Fluff up the cooked bulgur wheat with a fork until the grains are separated. Add it to the tomato mixture.
6. Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt. Mix well to coat the ingredients in the liquid.

 

Veganuary is such a positive way to start the year. The good news is that every step we take towards a more compassionate and sustainable diet does make a difference to our health, the environment and animal welfare. Individual actions do matter and help create change.

This year again, I have signed up to the campaign and while in the past I have not stayed vegan afterwards, it has helped me increase the amount of plant-based food in my diet over the years.

Do join me and take the Veganuary pledge by signing today at www.veganuary.com.

Categories
Veggie News

Virgin Trains Offers First Vegan Society Approved Wrap

Virgin Trains Offers First Vegan Society Approved Wrap v6

Virgin Trains has launched a new wrap approved by the Vegan Society after forming a partnership with the charity to provide more plant-based food.

The Hummus and pomegranate wrap has gone on sale in Virgin’s onboard shops following a rigorous registration process by the Vegan Society to ensure all its ingredients are free from animal products.

The partnership was formed after Virgin Trains became the first train operator to offer vegan-friendly options on all its menus last December.

The latest addition to its menu comes as Virgin Trains responded to customers who said they wanted to extend “Veganuary” to the rest of 2019 or simply cut down on their meat and dairy intake.

Julie Harper, Virgin Trains’ Food & Beverage Proposition Manager, said she had been overwhelmed by the response to becoming fully vegan-friendly in December.

“The response from our customers has been really positive. Vegans who want reassurance that they’ll be looked after onboard have welcomed this but we’ve also had great feedback from non-vegans. We’re delighted to be working with the Vegan Society and hope to be launching more products officially registered by them through the year.”

Elena Orde, Communications and Campaigns Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “We’ve been campaigning for decent vegan options on trains through our Vegan on the Go campaign and it’s great to see Virgin respond with products that anyone can enjoy. Market trends are showing a rapid growth in plant-based eating, particularly around this time of year when people are following on from their New Year’s resolutions to try a vegan diet as part of Veganuary. We hope that other train companies will follow Virgin’s lead and take notice of the power of the vegan pound.”

More than 250,000 people signed up to Veganuary last month, more than in the previous four years combined, for ethical or health reasons.

Virgin Trains’ partnership with the Vegan Society, the oldest vegan charity in the world, was launched to underscore its commitment to incorporating tasty vegan options into all its menus.

The new Virgin Trains Vegan Wrap was certified with help from Virgin’s sandwich supplier, Street Eats, and is available for £3.90 from its onboard shop.

Categories
Veggie News

A Record 250,000 People Have Tried Vegan This Veganuary

250,000 people have tried vegan with Veganuary this year, making the current campaign the most popular since the charity was launched in 2014.

In fact, ‘Veganuary 2019’, which culminates today, saw Veganuary match the total number of pledges that the charity achieved in the previous four years combined, highlighting how far veganism has come in the space of just a few years.

500,000 people across the world have now taken the Veganuary pledge’, and judging by what past participants have said, for every 10 who took part in the challenge, 6 will stay vegan. A full analysis and breakdown of 2019 participants is now underway and the findings will be released in the spring.

This year’s Veganuary campaign was, for the first time, helped by 13 overseas partnerships. Veganuary extended its global reach by running localised campaigns in India, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Iceland and Russia. The rise of veganism is not just a UK phenomenon, but is advancing at an incredible rate even in some of the most meat and dairy-loving countries on the planet.

Veganuary’s work has also been responsible for the booming ‘Veganuary effect’ amongst food producers. Countless retailers, food brands and chain restaurants have launched new vegan products during January to meet consumer demand from vegans, and the millions choosing to reduce their consumption of animal products.

During January, Parliament also heard the voice of Veganuary for the first time. Several politicians took part in Veganuary, including Andrea Jenkyns, Jenny Jones and Richard Burgon, while others supported the campaign, including Kerry McCarthy, Darren Jones, Chris Williamson, Christina Rees, David Drew, Thangam Debbonaire and Caroline Lucas. With Veganuary speaking at an All Party Parliamentary Group event in January, their call on Parliament to go plant-based is off to a strong start.

Rich Hardy, Head of Campaigns at Veganuary, said: “With a quarter of a million participants this year, Veganuary is finishing on an all-time high. I think Veganuary has reached critical mass now – vegan living is growing, it’s here to stay, it’s part of the national conversation, and it has credibility. That’s great news for people, animals, and the planet.”

Did you participate in Veganuary this year? If so, are you intending to stick to your plantbased diet?

 

Categories
Eating Out

Toby Carvery – “The Home of The Roast now has a vegetarian and vegan menu”

Toby Carvery

Over the past 30 years, Toby Carvery has built its reputation on serving meat feast roast dinners. As such, it’s probably not a place that vegetarians or vegans would immediately think of as a destination.

If you are vegetarian or vegan or simply looking to eat less meat, you’ll know that in spite of more and more veggie menus being available, it is still difficult to go out with friends to places that will cater for different diets. Toby Carvery is a meat-centric family restaurant, so I was curious to try out its veggie menu.

As first time diners there, we were not sure what to expect but with Veganuary still in full swing we were on the lookout for plant-based dishes. The kids opted for pasta and a child’s roast dinner.

Appetisers, wraps and tasters include a selection of vegetarian options, many of them cheese based such as Blacksticks Blue Cheese Fondue or Sharing Camembert. If you are vegan, you can skip directly to the mains menu where you will find a choice of:

  • Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart (vegan)
  • Broccoli & Brie Parcel (vegetarian)
  • Meat Free Carvery (vegetarian)
  • Grilled Aubergine Stack (vegan)
  • Root Vegetable Roast (vegan)

Each main is served with your choice of vegetables from the carvery deck. Some of the vegetables are glazed and unsuitable for vegans but you can ask for steamed vegetables without glaze instead. Our waiter was very helpful and the server behind the deck could point out the vegetarian or vegan options without hesitation.

In the case of the Meat Free Carvery, the vegetables from the carvery deck are the meal. My feeling was that this could have been an opportunity to add a nut or lentil roast that can be served directly from the deck.

Toby Carvery Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart [vegan]
Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart [vegan]
Graham chose the Portobello Mushroom Bullseye Tart which was nicely presented and tasty. My main, the Grilled Aubergine Stack, was tasty but looked more like a crumble than a stack. A little bit more care could have been taken with the aesthetics. With generous sides of vegetables, we could only manage one dessert between us.

Toby Carvery Grilled Aubergine Stack [vegan]
Grilled Aubergine Stack [vegan]
We picked the vegan Chocolate & Cherry Torte. Again this lacked in its presentation as the slice of chocolate cake was served on a plain white plate, looking quite sad compared to the picture on the menu. It was served warm but without ice cream or cream and it turned out to be quite sticky. Vegetarians can add a scoop of ice cream to it. With the choice of dairy-free ice creams and creams now available, I was puzzled why there was no vegan alternative as it would have made a big difference.

Toby Carvery Chocolate Torte [vegan]
Chocolate Torte [vegan]
Our bill came to £29 for 4 people which is quite a bargain for a family night out.

It is great to find more and more vegetarian and vegan menus available in places you least expect them like Toby Carvery. According to our waiter, the meat-free dishes are actually quite popular so I hope to see more options in the future. A nut roast, meat-free meatballs, pie or any main that can be served with vegetables from the deck could enhance Toby Cavery’s veggie menu. Or at the very least a scoop of dairy-free ice cream with dessert!

While presentation and choice could be improved, the food was enjoyable. Toby Carvery is certainly one place to keep in mind if Veganuary has inspired you to follow a meat free diet but you still want to enjoy the company of your meat eating friends and family.

Find your local Toby Carvery here www.tobycarvery.co.uk or follow them on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

Categories
Product Reviews

The Hot List : 12 Must Try This Veganuary

The Hot List January 2018 12 Must Try This Veganuary

This month’s Hot List is a bumper issue of vegan products to help make your Veganuary a success.

I tend to cook from scratch most of our meals but modern family life gets in the way. For busy days, I really appreciate having good plant-based options at hand such as some of the convenience foods below.

I have been trying out Veganuary again this year. It has not been perfect (I seem to only function in the morning with organic milk in my coffee).  My biggest dilemma this month has been palm oil. It is lurking everywhere and not always sourced from sustainable sources even if products are claiming to be cruelty-free.

Below you will find a few of my favourite current vegan products. Happy Veganuary !

 

SACLA' Free From Pesto

SACLA’ No. 9 Free From Basil Pesto

Pesto is such a versatile ingredient, I am glad to have found a vegan version. Here SACLA’ has replaced the cheese with tofu so this pesto has the same texture and taste than regular pesto. It’s very hard to tell the difference. Enjoy it with pasta, rice, courgettes, aubergines, potatoes, meat substitutes etc..

Doisy & Dam

Last week I received a selection of Doisy & Dam‘s organic chocolate bars. The whole range is made in the UK and boosting with delicious superfood.  The vegan bars are made with 74% organic dark chocolate and are also gluten free and soya free. They are all really scrumptious and bursting with flavour. It’s so hard to pick a favourite, so you might have to try them all and tell me what you think! Additionally Doisy & Dam is now an accredited B Corporation which certifies their social and environmental commitments to use business as a force for good.


Violife

Back in December, I was invited to a Violife‘s lunch extravaganza where I sampled their whole range as well as the first ever vegan cheeseboard. I was very impressed with all the products which are made from coconut oil (without any aftertaste) and added Vitamin B12.  During Veganuary, I have been using the Violife’s Original Flavour Slices (great for sandwiches) and Creamy (a vegan alternative to cream cheese perfect on bagels and crackers ).

Pieminister

Kevin is the latest addition to Pieminister pie range. It is amazingly delicious. It reminded me of a rich steak pie except that it is completely vegan! Mushrooms, tomatoes, prunes, carrots & baby onions are cooked in a rich and silky red wine sauce. Flavoured with thyme, this is pure vegan heaven.

 

Meridian Tikka Masala

Meridian

For a curry in a hurry try this Tikka Masala vegan cooking sauce from Meridian. Rich and velvety, it is ideal for vegetables, tofu or vegan quorn.

Califia

Califia

Made from Californian almonds, Califia‘s dairy free milks are now available in the UK. Their unsweetened almond milk has a rich and delicious almond flavour which I really like. With no added sugar, you can use it in savoury dishes or in preparations which are already sweet enough. Personally I like it pure, straight from a glass. It has added calcium (189mg / 100ml) , though I cannot corroborate the packaging’s claim above.

Quorn Vegan Pieces

Quorn

Again convenience made vegan! I always keep a bag or two of Quorn‘s Meat Free Vegan Pieces in my freezer for busy days. I use them for stir fries, pies, casseroles etc..

Koko Dairy Free

Koko Dairy Free

My biggest dilemma about dairy free spread is that they are all made with palm oil. Koko Dairy Free is the only one I found so far which is made from sustainable palm oil. I was concerned it might have too much of a coconut aftertaste, so I was pleased to find it is quite neutral. Find it here.

Alpro Vanilla Yogurt

Alpro

Alpro‘s Vanilla Yogurt is made from soya beans with added yogurt cultures. Rich and silky, it’s really good on its own or with cereals, fruits. You can also add it to smoothies.

Goodlife Falafel

Goodlife

Cumin and coriander add plenty of flavour to Goodlife‘s falafels. 15 mins in the oven and you have a delicious healthy snack or lunch. I love them in pitta bread with crunchy greens and vegetables, drizzled with dairy free yogurt or cream.

 The Coconut Collaborative Little Temptations Lemon

The Coconut Collaborative

For a dairy free treat try The Coconut Collaborative‘s Little Temptations Lemon. They are light with a nice lemony taste. A nice change from yogurt.

 

Tofoo

Tofoo

There is tofu and then there is Tofoo! I am a fan of the whole range with a particular soft spot for Tofoo Smoked Tofu. It has a wonderful flavour that even my kids enjoyed. It love it simply grilled in a bit of oil with vegetables on the side.

Categories
Beginners' Guides

4 Ways To Help You Make This Veganuary A Success

Veganuary 2018

Veganuary is back with 2018 promising to be the biggest ever. Veganuary aims to inspire people to try going vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. It began in 2014 with 3,300 participants. By 2017, that figure had grown to 60,000, and this year the campaign announced an ambitious goal to help 150,000 people across the globe to take the Veganuary challenge.

It goes without saying that a lot has changed in the vegan world over the past four years with veganism going from niche to mainstream especially in larger cities. It takes only a quick look around the supermarket aisles and on restaurant menus to find more and more plant-based choices. The trend shows no signs of slowing down. This is really good news as reducing consumption of animal products such as meat, fish and dairy is best for our health, the environment and animal welfare.

Taking a vegan pledge for 30 days might feel a little bit daunting, but it is important to remember that Veganuary is all about being inspired and trying your best. It does not have to be perfect. I really like that the campaign itself is really supportive and non-judgmental. Habits are hard to change so this is the best way to encourage everyone to try a plant-based diet.

I tend to take the pledge every year and probably get to be 95% vegan for the month. My weaknesses are milk in my coffee and the odd piece of cheese. I have also found eating out to be quite challenging. Still I have signed up again and am looking forward to January 1st! In anticipation, I have started stocking up my vegan pantry.

Browsing the Veganuary website I have also found quite a lot of resources and information to help me along.

 

#1 – How To Go Vegan

How To Go Vegan - Veganuary

Launching today is a fun, easy-to-follow and informative guide: How To Go Vegan: The why, the how, and everything you need to make going vegan easy. The team behind the charity Veganuary shares their experience from helping tens of thousands of people to go vegan, offering advice, tips and valuable information for anyone thinking about making the switch – whether for a month, a year or for the rest of their lives.

This isn’t a book that lectures or points fingers. Even when describing some of the more disturbing outcomes of animal agriculture, the charity holds the reader’s hand and guides them through the issues with sympathy and care. And once those reasons for going vegan are explained, the book gets down to the practicalities – the nuts, bolts and beans of how to make the change to a plant-based diet. Starting, of course, with breakfast.

There are chapters on surprisingly vegan foods, label-reading, essential ingredients and how to veganise popular dishes. The book sets out meal plans for a fortnight, using some of the most popular recipes on the Veganuary website, and offers a motivational list of books and films that are regularly cited by Veganuary participants as being influential and life-changing.

 

#2 – Veganuary Cookbook

Veganuary Cookbook

As soon as you sign up to Veganuary you get this free e-cookbook to start your plant-based adventure. It is filled with celebrity recipes from around the world from Beyoncé’s Guacamole, John Bishop’s Chickpea Burger, Moby’s Strawberry Shortcake or even Madonna’s Sticky Toffee Pudding!

Some recipes have been given to Veganuary by the celebrity author; others are inspired by what their favourite food is. Either way there is plenty of delicious vegan food to satisfy the whole family.

 

#3 – Eating Out Guide

Living in London we are spoiled with food choices. Still, finding vegan food can be difficult, especially if you want a meal that can cater to non-vegans too. This is even more challenging when you live in smaller cities. The good news is that more and more places now offer a wider choice of plant-based options.

This year I have tried Pizza Express and Wagamama’s vegan menus. TWID also made a very enjoyable evening of live opera and vegan food.

Veganuary has a very handy vegan restaurant guide which I find very helpful. It not only lists restaurants and cafés but also type of food so you know what to look out for.

 

#4 – Inspiring Ambassadors

Veganuary has teamed up with a wide range of ambassadors such as Tim Shieff, Sara Pascoe, Evanna Lynch, Jasmine Harman, Jack Monroe, Carl Donnelly, Anthony Mullally, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Derek Sarno, Tammy Fry and Peter Egan.

Vegan athletes, TV presenters, film stars etc… share their experience on how switching to a plant-based diet has helped them lead a more compassionate life while benefiting their health or performance.

Feeling inspired? Kick off the new year by signing up to Veganuary here.

 

 

 

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I Am A Flexitarian

I Am . . . Flexitarian: Sophie Peters

I Am A Flexitarian - Sophie Peters

Where do you live?
Bristol

Current Diet?
Usually Flexitarian, currently having a go at Veganuary.

What was your motivation to start eating less meat?
Sustainability. I have always been a bit of an environmentalist, conscious about the planet. At uni, I studied Environmental Science, an interdisciplinary course that discussed the effects of almost everything on the planet and its systems. I didn’t eat much meat as a student anyway, but when I learnt the alarming statistics of water, energy use and emissions from animal farming, this added weight to my reasoning. I also stumbled upon a TED talk by Graham Hill: Why I am a weekday vegetarian. This was the first time I had heard of my diet being a concept, as from then that’s how I described myself (until I came across the marvellously coined word Flexitarian, of course!)

Volunteering and interning in sustainability roles taught me more about the food sector and as I understood more about animal welfare this further strengthened the way I thought about food and the connection we have with it.

How many meat-free days do you have in a week?
With Veganuary in play, all my days are meat-free. Ordinarily, my meat-free days fluctuate somewhat, but on average probably one meat-day a week.

What are the benefits?
During Veganuary I have felt pretty good, I haven’t felt heavy or bloated and I feel even more engaged with what I am eating. Being mindful of this means I am looking after myself more, making sure I get what my body needs. I am more aware when shopping, peering at the back of every pack that I pick up. I don’t buy many pre-packaged goods, most of what I make is from scratch.

Main challenge?
For Veganuary, I have found the most challenging aspect is the prepping and thinking of new things to make. The benefits of this were that I actually am using my recipe books and I am winging it less. The vegetarian curries and chilli that I usually make were easy to adapt to vegan. Realising how many dairy based dishes I made was alarming. I don’t miss cheese, but I do miss cooking with butter!
My shopping trips took longer than normal – looking on the back of packets for bold allergens is addictive. I was surprised by the amount of packaged foods that were not vegan, with traces of milk etc. I didn’t eat many packaged items before but now I eat even less which is great for my wallet and my insides.

Have your family and friend been supportive?
My family and friends are very supportive; I live in a flexitarian flat share which makes things easy too! It’s great to be able to share meals and new flavours. I often cook for friends and they seem pretty open to trying my culinary delights. I’m not the best cook, a little ad-hoc – usually turns out okay though…

Favourite meal?
Oosh. Brunch. Veggie Brunch. Usually along the lines of mushrooms, spinach, roasted tomatoes, sautée new potatoes, buttery sourdough and poached eggs, you get the gist.
But if it’s not brunch you can’t go wrong with a vegetarian lasagna (packed with veggies and lentils, not that fake meat stuff.)

Favourite place to eat out?
In Bristol, we are very lucky to have a splendid array of restaurants delivering diverse menus that cater for all. Simply spoilt for choice as a flexitarian. And with the Flexitarian Restaurant Award being launched by Flexitarian Bristol, it’s even easier to spot where is good to go! There are currently 10 restaurants going through the award process – it’s great to see them being showcased for what they do. It’s pretty hard to have a favourite, but since living in Bristol I’ve probably visited the Thali Café the most.

Favourite cookbook?
In my flat share Anna Jones’ books are a favourite! They are often open on the kitchen table, feeding our inspiration and our stomachs. She creates winning recipes that work every time.

For more information on the Flexitarian Restaurant Award visit www.flexiaward.org or on Twitter @FlexiBristol


Flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan? We would like to know what motivates the way you eat and why it is important for you to eat less meat or even no meat at all. If you would like to be featured, please send us an email at hello@theflexitarian.co.uk

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Categories
Green Living

My #OrganicUnboxed Challenge

OrganicUnboxed Challenge

Eating organic food has always been important to me, not only because I believe it is better for our health but also because it’s better for the environment. So when a few weeks ago, Organic UK asked me to take their #OrganicUnboxed challenge, I jumped at the chance of being part of this exciting campaign.

I was sent a generous box of organic vegan products and asked to create a recipe with some of them. Perfect timing really, for an eco-minded foodie like myself who has signed up to Veganuary.

There was a lot of excitement around this box arriving on my doorstep, so much in fact that instead of one recipe, I actually created three! Make sure you check back with the blog over the upcoming weeks.

I am sure you are all curious to see what was in my box and which recipes I have lined up for you. Watch the video below to find out more about the content of my #OrganicUnboxed box as well as my first recipe, a vegan Organic Beetroot Cake with Coconut Orange Frosting.

 

I always make sure I buy organic dairy, eggs, meat, flour, grains and pulses. For fruit and vegetables I tend to follow the advise of the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Why is organic important?

  • A More Natural Choice – when it comes to organic, you know exactly what’s in your food. GM crops and ingredients are banned in organic farming, as are hydrogenated fats and artificial pesticides, and it does not allow aspartame, tartrazine and monosodium glutamate to be used.
  • Protects The Environment – organic farming uses fewer pesticides which benefits the health of the soil. A good soil promotes healthier crops with stronger natural resistance to pests and diseases, and encourages natural predators so avoids the need for almost all pesticides.
  • Reduce Our Carbon Footprint – organic farming releases less greenhouse gases.
  • Encourages & Protects Wildlife – organic farmers help look after our wildlife by managing and maintaining habitats, which is a vital part of a successful organic farm. This helps organic farms support up to 50% more wildlife – that’s more of our great British bees, birds and butterflies for us all to enjoy!
  • Higher Animal Welfare – the philosophy behind The Flexitarian is not only about eating less meat but also eating better meat when you choose to. Animals raised to organic standards are given plenty of space and fresh air to thrive and grow more naturally, guaranteeing a truly free-range life. Free-range systems encourage healthy animals and this means fewer drugs or antibiotics.
  • Great Tasting Food – healthy, fertile soil is key to growing produce that is bursting with flavours.

Here are the two organic recipes I created for #OrganicUnboxed.

Organic Beetroot Cake with Coconut Orange Frosting [vegan] by The Flexitarian

 

Organic Butternut & Cabbage Mild Curry [vegan] [gluten free] by The Flexitarian

This post and recipe were commissioned by #OrganicUnboxed in partnership with Veganuary.

 

Organic Beetroot Cake with Coconut Orange Frosting [vegan] by The Flexitarian

 

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Categories
Beginners' Guides

Veganuary – Stock Up Your Vegan Pantry

Veganuary - Stock Up Your Vegan Pantry

Start 2015 with a bang by taking a vegan pledge for the month of January. A vegan diet will not only boost your health but also help lighten your carbon footprint. By not eating meat, fish, dairy and eggs you will also lead a more compassionate lifestyle towards farmed animals.

The  Veganuary campaign aims to inspire and  support people all  around the world to go vegan this January. I am very proud that they have asked me to share some of my recipes on their website.

Had you asked me about vegan cooking a few years ago you would probably have been met by a sceptical face. What a difference the past 24 months have made! Vegan cooking and  vegan baking have presented some exciting challenges but so many rewards as well. Cutting down dairy and animal proteins has greatly improved my digestion and energy levels.

If you believe that vegan food is boring and unappetising, it’s time to have a rethink. Vegan cuisine is exciting, delicious, healthy and can rival any non-vegan option. Browse my vegan recipe collection for some inspiration.

Below I have compiled a list of products that will help you go vegan this January. Don’t hesitate to add in the comments box below anything I have forgotten.

The Veganuary website also has a handy list of products including common food replacements. And of course don’t forget to take the pledge!

 

BEANS & PULSES

High in Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and fibre beans & pulses are a real staple for a vegan diet.

  • Lentils – Puy Lentils, Green Lentils, Red Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans – Red Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Borlotti Beans, Cannellini Beans
  • Edamame 

GRAINS

Grains are also a great source of vegetable proteins and another staple of the vegan diet.

  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Wheatberries
  • Couscous
  • Polenta
  • Rice – Wild Rice, Brown Rice, Black Rice, Arborio, Basmati, Jasmine and Red Rice
  • Oats

HIGH PROTEIN FLOURS

Replacing plain flour with high protein flour is a simple way to add healthy low fat protein to your cooking or baking.

  • Soya Flour
  • Chickpea / Gram Flour
  • Amaranth Flour
  • Teff Flour
  • Wholewheat Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour

NUTS & SEEDS

Nuts & Seeds are high in minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, fibre, antioxydants. Add them to your baked goods, sprinkle them on salad/cereals or simply eat them on their own for a healthy snack.

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts

MILK SUBSTITUTES

Non dairy milks are not only delicious but also easier to digest than their dairy counterpart. They are generally lower in fat than cow’s milk and depending on the brand you can find them fortified in calcium, vitamin D and vitamin Bs.

Hemp, rice, oat and soya milk are very versatile and can be used for savoury and sweet dishes. I prefer almond milk on cereals or in cakes while coconut milk is a star ingredients for curries, soups and baked goods.

  • Coconut Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Hemp Milk 
  • Rice Milk 
  • Oat Milk
  • Soya Milk
  • Soya Cream
  • Soya Yoghurt

VEGETABLES

Look out for vegetables that are high in calcium, iron and protein such as:

  • Dark Greens – Kale, Watercress, Broccoli, Collards, Spinach, Mustard Greens
  • Okra
  • Mushrooms
  • Turnips
  • Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Butternut squash
  • Sweet Potato

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Nutritional Yeast – strong flavour it is a popular substitute for cheese.
  • Tofu 
  • Tempeh 
  • Dairy Free Butter
  • Jus-Rol Puff Pastry & Shortcut Pastry
  • Egg-Free Pasta & Noodles  – Soba Noodles, Wheat Pasta, Stir Fry Noodles
  • Miso
  • Tahini
  • Agave Syrup
  • Orange Juice
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dry Fruits – Raisins, Prunes, Figs and Dried Apricots
  • Soy Sauce
  • Vegan Pesto
  • Oils – Extra Virgin Olive Oil , Vegetable Oil, Sesame Oil.
  • Vinegars – Rice Vinegar, Cider Vinegar.
  • Vegetable Stock Cubes / Powder 
  • Spices – Curry Powder, Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin, Nutmeg, Mustard Seeds, Cardamom, Pepper, Cloves, Chilli, Paprika etc…
  • Capers
  • Cornichons
  • Olives
  • Preserved Lemons
  • Jar of Roasted Peppers

VEGAN BAKING

Cooking without eggs and dairy requires a few essentials to make your vegan baking a success.

  • Baking Powder
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Dairy Free Chocolate
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cider Vinegar
  • Ground Chia Seeds egg replacer
  • Ground Flax Seeds – egg replacer
  • Banana – egg replacer
  • Carrot – egg replacer
  • Apple Sauce  – egg replacer
  • Dairy Free Milk (see above)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Dairy Free Butter
  • Agar Agar
  • Guar Gum