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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Body Shop Aloe Vera Products

I’m trying to replace all my products at the moment – make-up, nail varnishes, beauty and cosmetics, with vegan friendly brands and products, however this takes time and money, so every now and again I’ll be reviewing and showing you the vegan friendly finds for everyday life.

Hence, today’s Vegan Friendly Finds – Body Shop Aloe Vera Products!

Yesterday I was paid – YAAAAY! So I treated myself to a beauty haul.

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I have sensitive skin (the curse of being ginger) so Aloe Vera products are the best range for me. They’ve got a buy two get one free on at the moment too!

I picked up an Aloe soothing day cream, gentle foaming face wash and deodorant.

Body Shop are a well known for being ethical. Not only do they not test on animals, but all their products are 100% Vegetarian.

They have a policy on products that do contain animals which you can see below – or HERE

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So all you need to look out for is Honey, Beeswax, Lanolin & Shellac in the ingredients to find out if you can use it or not.

You can find their brand values on testing on animals HERE.The body Shop itself does not test on animals, however it falls in a grey area for some people as it was acquired by L’Oreal in 2006, and although The Body Shop still does not test its products on animals, L’Oreal does.

Obviously this is an issue, however I personally feel that having such a resource to vegan beauty products on the high street can only be good. Body Shop is a massive brand! ( I bought my products yesterday in a mall in Doha in the Middle East!) so many consumers are unintentionally buying and supporting the cause, and the more this happens the more companies will see profit in this and change their products.

Ok! Now that the credentials are over with, let’s get on with this bad boy!

The Aloe Soothing Day Cream – I cant live without this product! I’ve been using it since around 2012 and as soon as it runs out I grab another.

I hate moisturisers that leave you feeling greasy and shiny, however with this light, creamy, day cream I can pop it on, on my way to work knowing it would have 100% sunk in in the 20 minutes it takes to get me there.

Its marketed to have gentle hydration, leaves skin soft and smooth, fragrance, colour and alcohol-free and has no added preservatives. All of this can only be good!

Don’t get the night cream however! Although its effectively the same thing, its thicker, so unless you’re going to put it on at night before bed and no other time, you end up looking like a shiny bauble.

Ingredients are: Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel) (Skin Soothing Agent), Isononyl Isononanoate (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Glycerin (Humectant), Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Pentylene Glycol (Solvent), Butylene Glycol (Humectant), Cetearyl Glucoside (Surfactant), Myristyl Myristate (Emollient), Sesamum indicum (Sesame Oil) (Emollient), Cetyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Myristyl Alcohol (Emulsifier/Emollient), Palmitic Acid (Surfactant), Stearic Acid (Emulsifier), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Myristyl Glucoside (Surfactant/Cleansing Agent), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (Stabiliser/Viscosity Modifier), Bisabolol (Skin Soothing Agent), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Avena sativa (Absorbent).

If you, or if you know someone with sensitive skin, I thoroughly recommend this day cream. It makes me feel fresh and smooth, and as I use it everyday will hopefully keep those wrinkles at bay!

The Gentle Foam Facial Wash

I used this for the first time last night – and I picked this product for the specific reason that it says it removes make-up.

As we went for a lovely picnic yesterday in the Aspire Park in Doha, I wanted to look like a 50’s dreamboat so put on a nice dress and make-up. Here I am at the end of the very long day.

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As you can see my make-up routine involves a LOT of black eyeliner so this product will be put to the test!

Firstly – the foamy wash is great, just splash your face with water, pump the foam into your hands – you get a generous amount with one pump – then… Well… Wash your face!

I scrubbed really well, but unfortunately it didn’t get rid of my make-up and made my towel do a sad owl face.

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In the end I gave up and used a wet wipe, but I suspect for those of you who don’t base their look on Alice Cooper, this will work just fine. (P.S I’ve used it since the make-up experience, and it works really well on a day to day basis and leaves you feeling clean and refreshed.)

Ingredients are: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel) (Skin Soothing Agent), Sodium Cocoamphoacetate (Surfactant), Pentylene Glycol (Solvent), Sorbitol (Humectant), Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate (Surfactant), Butylene Glycol (Humectant), Glycerin (Humectant), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (Surfactant), Coco-Glucoside (Surfactant), Glyceryl Oleate (Emulsifier), Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (Surfactant), Dimethicone Copolyol (Skin/Hair Conditioning Agent), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Antioxidant), Lecithin (Stabiliser/Emulsifier), Tocopherol (Antioxidant).

The Aloe Anti-Perspirant Deodorant – I’m not a massively sweaty or smelly person. Not because I’m perfect, but mostly because I don’t do a lot! I’m not a runner, and I certainly don’t go out in the mid day Emirate sun, so although it is very hot, I’m mostly air conditioned.

Saying that, knowing you aren’t going to smell is always a plus, and due to the heat, having something that will cool and soothe would be nice.

This deodorant doesn’t smell, isn’t perfumed at all, and the two days I’ve used it hasn’t made me any less smelly. What is does do however is exactly what I wanted it to, which is to moisturise and cool your armpits.

I’m finding it hard to review as I’m sure many people will effectively say it doesn’t work, as it does not hide the smell of your sweat. What it does do however is cool and soothe your armpits so you shouldn’t sweat as much.

Basically, if your doing something sweaty, I suggest you use something more protective, but for me this is brilliant, inoffensive and protecting.

Ingredients are: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel) (Skin Soothing Agent), Aluminum Chlorohydrate (Anti Perspirant Active), Steareth-2 (Emulsifier), Glycerin (Humectant), Steareth-21 (Emulsifier), Sorbitol (Humectant), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (Emulsifier), Isodecyl Neopentanoate (Isodecyl Neopentanoate) (Skin Conditioning Agent), Octyldodecanol (Emollient), Panthenol (Skin/Hair Conditioning Agent), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), Bisabolol (Skin Soothing Agent).

So there you go! Next time you’re in the Body Shop pick yourself up some cruelty free products. X ;

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Recipe – Banana Pound Cake out of the box!

I wanted something sweet, but we’re all outta Soy Milk – which means no pancakes! Boooo! So I raided the cupboard and found an old Betty Crocker Pound Cake mix.

I know its not really a recipe – and sorry for all you Delia’s out there who would whip this up from scratch with no problem, but as I said, after a long days work I needed a quick fix and this seemed like the best option with minimal ingredients.

So here we go! Take one box Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix

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Empty the sachet into a large bowl with 180ml of water and mix.

The pack now ask for 2 eggs – but here we mush two browning bananas in a bowl until they’re all squishy and then add them to the mix.

Stir together thoroughly – depending on how much you mush your bananas your going to see some lumps in your mixture – this doesn’t really bother me as it means pockets of yummy banana moisture coming my way!

Divide into two Victoria sandwich tins and put in the oven at 175 to cook – the recipe says cook for 35-40 minutes, but because it has no egg or dairy I only cook for 30 – 35 as the bananas natural sugars will burn easily.

Whilst you’re waiting for your cakes to cook, whip yourself up a yummy filling by making vegan buttercream!

Just mix 150gms vegan butter with 200gms icing sugar (make sure your icing sugar doesn’t contain egg whites though!)

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Now all you have to do is wait for your pound cake halves to to cool then add the buttercream and a layer of Jam – I used Raspberry.

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Easy peasy and super tasty!

Enjoy! X >

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Charles Manson – a Quick Vegan History Lesson

Let me start by saying I’m not a big history buff, I didn’t even take it for a GCSE in school, but it struck me today that I didn’t know where a large part of my life, and belief system came from, and this, to me was very scary.

After all the notion of a vegan hasn’t been around that long – yes of course there are always people way back when (usually philosophers) who ate a plant based diet, but I’m talking about it in a modern context

As early as 1909 the ethics of consuming dairy products were hotly debated within the vegetarian movement which was already in full swing. However the term ‘Vegan’ and The Vegan Society, wasn’t born until 1944 by founder and vegetarian society rebel Donald Watson.

The term Vegan was derived at a meeting of six like-minded ‘non-dairy vegetarians’ in London with Donald, and if you didn’t already know, the name comes from the shortening of the word VEGetariAN. (I didn’t know that!)

Since then a lot has changed, and many forms of Vegan exist. According to Wikipedia “Veganism /ˈviːɡənɪzəm/ is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.

Distinctions are sometimes made between different categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but, in contrast to ovo-lacto vegetarians, also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet, but extend the vegan philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals or animal products for any purpose. Another term used is environmental veganism, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the harvesting or industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.”

According to several sources; Pol Pot, Hitler, Genghis Khan and Charles Manson were vegetarian and even vegan at stages of their lives. I know that this fact has nothing to do with the outcome of their actions or who they were in history, but what if they had an impact on vegetarians and vegans today?

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Here’s a few animal laws and milestones that came on my screen when researching this post that I thought notable, I know there will be lots more on the timeline – but to keep it readable I’m only adding high profile ones.

On April 21, 1933, a law was passed by the Nazi’s concerning the slaughter of animals. Germany was also the first nation to ban vivisection on August 16, 1933, by Hermann Göring as the prime minister of Prussia. He announced an end to the “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments” and said that those who “still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property” will be sent to concentration camps.

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Throughout 1950 – 1960 as pets became more common place, the UK created Welfare codes and laws protecting animals, including The Pet Animals Act 1951 (amended 1983) The Cock fighting Act 1952, and The Abandonment of Animals Act 1960.

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1958 – The Humane Slaughter Act was passed only four years after The Humane Society of the United States formation. (25 years after the Nazi’s)

1966 – The US Congress adopts the Animal Welfare Testing Act which excludes rodents and birds. States adopted animal welfare laws; US Public Health Service, Policy on the Humane Care and use of Laboratory Animals; American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC).

1975 – Australian philosopher Peter Singer published Animal Liberation, the book coined the term “speciesism”. 

March 1980 – Aug 1980 – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was created by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco.

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In 1980: Sundarapore, became the first country in modern times to declare a ban on possessing (including carrying, storing, selling, and consuming) meat. At the time of the declaration, approximately 96% of the Singaporean population was already vegetarian.

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1987 California high school student Jennifer Graham makes international headlines when she refuses to dissect a frog. The practice is taken off of many schools curriculum or seen as ‘optional’.  

In June 1989 Avon announced a permanent end to animal testing of their products, including testing done in outside laboratories. Avon was the first major cosmetic company in the world to end animal testing.

1993 General Motors stops using live animals in crash tests. (1993! – For shame!)

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1994 Tyke the elephant goes on a rampage, killing her trainer and escaping from the circus before being gunned down by police, highlighting the cruelty of the circus industry to the world.

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2002 – McDonald’s settles a class-action lawsuit over their non-vegetarian French Fries. 

In 2004 it became illegal to hunt wild mammals with dogs in England. This Hunting Ban – which divided the country – put an end to traditional fox hunting parties in the countryside, and made it a criminal offence that could end in a hefty penalty or arrest if broken by the public. 

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Obviously this is just a potted history of the animal movement – but it’s interesting to see how far we have come, and in some cases, still have to go.

I hope you’ve found this interesting, or maybe even picked up a few facts!

I’m going to leave you with the first ever edition of The Vegan News; written by Donald Watson and published in November 1944.

http://www.vegansociety.com/uploadedFiles/About_The_Society/Publications/The_Vegan_magazine/Feature_Articles/1944-news.pdf &gt

*Please note all photos used are not my own* ;

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Recipe – Vegan Spinach, Pesto & Tofu Tarts

I set out to make a Spinach Quiche, but as its nearly the end of the month, and pay day is another agonising week away, funds are running low and we didn’t have half the ingredients in the fridge!

So I improvised and came up with these cute little spinach, pesto and tofu tarts instead.

Unlike my husband, I am not a good cook. He makes everything from scratch, whereas I am a firm believer in a helping hand in the kitchen!

I dream of being a domestic goddess like Glenn Close in the Stepford Wives, or Bree Vandekamp in Desperate Housewives.

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Unfortunately in reality I’m more like Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle.

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But these came out pretty good, and they’re damn tasty.

Ingredients:
2 heaped tablespoons of vegan butter,
2 tablespoons vegetable oil,
4 tablespoons soya milk
300gms Spinach
2 cloves Garlic
1 vegetable stock cube
3 heaped tablespoons Jamie Oliver Spicy Pesto
2 tablespoons cornflour
Salt & Pepper
349gm extra firm tofu
Vegan Pre-made pastry – or make your own if you can!

Preheat your oven at 180.

Fry your garlic in the oil, then add your spinach, butter, soy milk and pesto in a pan then stir.

I used Jamie Oliver Pesto because it was in the fridge and also wanted to add a bit of spice, but you can make your own, or just add chilli flakes if you prefer.

Crumble in your vegetable stock cube – I used Oxo. Then add salt and pepper to taste.

I know theres a method to squeezing tofu between two plates to get the extra water out – but as said – I’m not one for following recipes, so I just crumbled it into the sauce and squished it all together.

Leave on the hob, on low, to cook for about 10 minutes whilst you prepare your pastry.

Line a cupcake tray with your pastry, pushing down in the corners so that you can get more filling in.

And don’t forget to put oil in your cake tray or else the pastry will stick!

I wanted a firmer texture to my filling so used cornflour to thicken it up.

Now fill up the pastry cases with your filling.

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Put in the oven on the medium heat for 20 minutes then its done!

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Leave to cool, then enjoy! If we had the ingredients I would serve these with a refreshing lemon dressed salad and Sweet potato fries.

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Best thing about this recipe is – with the left over pastry you can make Jam Tarts! YAY!

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – PEZ!!!

OK so it’s been a while as I spent the weekend in Dubai, but whilst there I made this amazing discovery.

Today’s Vegan Friendly Find is – PEZ!

Pez – the happy, nostalgia filled sweet is now on my, and your, list of sweet vegan snacks!

And you know what that means…. Awesome Pez dispensers! Oh yes!

Pez

I discovered Pez was vegan whilst in Candyland in the Dubai Mall (Which if you haven’t been, is SOOOO big it has an ice rink, a massive aquarium, cinema and full size dinosaur bones in it!)

Obviously I was very excited and felt – well, just like I was a kid in a candy shop!

I quickly snapped up a pack of Pez in different flavours and most importantly got a cool Ariel Pez dispenser. (Yes she’s my favourite Disney princess by far)

A Pez

This led to me and Benj saying ‘Ariaalll’ to each other like Sebastian the crab all day, so I suggest unless you want ‘Kiss the girl’ stuck in your head, get a Hello Kitty, or other non-musical themed one!

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I’m going to note here now though – that although Pez is vegan as far as I can see, I cannot tell you where the sugar was sourced from – and therefore it may be not vegan.

I’m struggling a lot with the sugar content in vegan products lately, and it seems 99% of vegan blogs ignores a sugar source and flat out say it’s vegan. Which of course it might not be.

My stance is that, I enjoy these products, knowing that there is a 99% chance that animal product is not in them – and if there is, it is a minute and untraceable amount, and I will stop eating it when and if it turns out there is.

As always, I don’t want to lie to you guys or be responsible for you eating something you don’t want to so i’m being honest as I can be.

I’ve emailed Pez to ask what source of sugar they use, and if it turns out it contains animal bones, then i’ll update this post and let you all know.

But for now, i’m going to enjoy those bad boys!

Please let me know what you guys do about sugar content in seemingly vegan friendly produce! x

P.s Strawberry is my best flavour.

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Whittaker’s Dark Chocolate

Really short and sweet today, just like this delicious vegan friendly chocolate bar.

I’m not really a fan of dark chocolate as I find it too bitter, but this bar is not bitter at all and tastes creamy and all chocolate’y and nice!

Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Whittaker’s Dark Chocolate

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Here’s the ingredients:

DARK CHOCOLATE [COCOA SOLIDS 50%* (COCOA MASS & COCOA BUTTER); SUGAR; EMULSIFIER (SOYA LECITHIN); VANILLA FLAVOUR] *Minimum Percentage. May contain traces of milk chocolate, peanuts and other nuts.

But if in doubt the official Whittakers website states:

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Perfect!

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Enough said really.

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Shisha Smoking!

**Update – have found out thanks to the below comments that a German brand named ‘Pöschl Tabak’ offers vegan cigarettes! Also since returning to the UK I’ve noticed Vaping has vegan options so will write a blog about that at a later date**

First lets get this out the way. I’m a vegan, but I smoke. Or at least I did smoke until I discovered smoking was not vegan.

I’m not talking about the environmental impact or the health issues, as those are non essential vegan worries – but at base level – not consuming animal products – smoking is non vegan.

I discovered this when I watched a documentary, where it stated that the fur trade supports the smoking industry by giving dead beavers to tobacco companies for their Castoreum.

Castoreum – more Here – is the exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) and the European Beaver (Castor fiber). Within the zoological realm, castoreum is the yellowish secretion of the castor sac which is, in combination with the beaver’s urine, used during scent marking of territory.

Ok what?! I hear you ask…. Well I started researching, and it turns out most pre-rolled straight cigarettes DO have Castoreum in them. Ewwwwwwww.

Not just that, but when looking into tobacco companies that didn’t use this in their cigarettes, I ended up finding out a whole list of other non vegan ingredients that straight cigarettes contain such as gelatine in the filters.

So what about loose tabacoo? Well as far as my research goes, there is only one tobacco company that doesn’t use animal ingredients in their blend – American Spirit. This is 100% vegan, and the brand say they don’t test on animals! YAY!

So as long as you smoke without a filter, you should be ok right? Wrong.

When you look up the owning company of American Spirit- not just the brand – they are owned by the R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Company Who are notoriously horrific animal testers – more HERE – so what do you do?

My only clear answer… Shisha.

Obviously I can hear everyone is saying just give up! And yes I have the perfect excuse and haven’t smoked a cigarette since before christmas, however I like smoking and don’t want to quit, and I know that sounds silly but if and when I do find a vegan cigarette, only then will I decide if I’m going to start again or quit for good.

But until then, believe me when I say, this is the best option we vegan smokers have.

So today’s vegan friendly find is – Shisha.

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A hookah (Arabic: حقہ‎, ḥuqqah, hukkā, Hukić, ‒ also known as a waterpipe, narghile, arghila, qalyān, or shisha) is a single or multi-stemmed instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco called shisha in which the vapor or smoke is passed through a water basin ‒ often glass-based ‒ before inhalation.

Basically it’s this…

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Looks familiar?

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The tobacco that you effectively melt is made of up tabacoo, fruit purée and molasses. So 100% vegan! and pretty tasty.

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Living in the Middle East, I’m pretty spoilt as they’re everywhere, but you can get them all over the world.

So heres how you do it:

Fill the top bowl with your tobacco, don’t overfill or you will find it burns easily and doesn’t smoke well.

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Cover your tobacco with silver foil and pierce holes for the heat to seep through.

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Now heat your coals – try to get natural coal (coconut shell) otherwise you’ll be smoking what tastes like petrol – which is unpleasant to say the least! We bought an electric coal lighter, as it takes about 3 minutes and saves burnt fingers with a blowtorch!

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Whilst your coal is heating, you want to fill the base of your Shisha up with water (there will usually be a pipe that sticks out the middle that you can pour water out/ fill with) fill the base about 3/4 full and give a good suck on your pipes pipe. Ooooooooo eeeeerrrrrrr.

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If the water bubbles when you suck without coming up the pipe you know you’re good to go! (Hence the name Hubbly – Bubbly!)

All you have to do now is add the white coals and enjoy!

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Remember to turn the coals every now and again, to keep the heat going, that way you will be able to smoke for longer and keep the flavour. I tend to find it will last about thirty minutes max with three coals.

Anymore than three and its too hot and your tobacco will burn.

Obviously be safe, don’t burn yourself or go to bed with hot coals burning in your lounge! But equally give it a go, if you like smoking, especially the social aspect of it, and like me cant seem to find a vegan smoking alternative this might be the best answer.

If you do know any truly vegan brands/options let me know! X

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Barry M Red Glitter Nail Varnish

Ok so did you know nail varnish wasn’t vegan? Because I didn’t! It’s not even vegetarian!

Obviously anything that tests on animals should be avoided wherever possible but apparently most shiny – or metallic nail varnishes have animal and bug products in them. Ewwww!

The only bugs I want on my nails are super cute ones, like this:

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*please note: this is not my photo

This is a problem for me as I am a big fan of getting manicures, so now I have to take either my own cruelty free polish with me, or google the polish they use whilst there – which kind of takes away the relaxation of it all.

Thats why I’m pleased to let you know that today’s Vegan Friendly Find is Barry Ms Red Glitter Nailvarnish!

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This has always been my favourite thing to put on my nails, and now we know its in the cruelty free section, we should all celebrate with a coat of this dazzling, delectable decadence.

First lets look at the results. Then I’ll show you the company’s policy’s (a little bit of bling, then a little bit of a vegan win – ok not my best rhyme, but you find something to go with bling!)

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It makes me feel like I’m wearing Dorothy’s ruby red slippers on my hands. Therefore, it is the best polish ever.

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Please note – you will need to add two coats to cover the whole of your nails, I tend to find that because its so glittery and thick, it chips, but equally because it doesn’t show brush strokes, you can easily fill in the chipped gap with the polish during your day, perfect if you’re not a dainty housewife who never chips a nail.

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The results are great, and at £2.99 its a bargain – So now the company –

Barry Ms website says this – HERE

Our strict No Animal Testing policy

Since our foundation in 1982, Barry M has never tested our finished products or ingredients on animals or engaged another company to do so on our behalf. All companies in our supply chain must provide us with an annual written assurance that no product or ingredient used in Barry M products has been newly animal tested by them after our fixed cut-off date. Our strict policy means that within our company and our supply chain, we do not tolerate cosmetics animal testing.

Through working with HSI, we have now gone one step further and pledged not to permit our products to be sold in countries such as China whilst they require additional new animal testing. We have also pledged not to use new ingredients that become available in the future unless their safety can be assessed entirely without animal testing.

All of our products are suitable for vegetarians, but some do contain animal by-products (like Beeswax), making them unsuitable for vegans. Ranges of products not suitable for Vegans are Natural Dazzle Bronzer, Super Soft Eye Crayons, Blusher Brush & Eye Brush.

All VEGAN friendly products have a V symbol included on the drop down list of ingredients. You can find these on each product page entitled “View Product Ingredients”

Best of all Barry M is a global brand, that not only makes nail varnishes, but makeup! So you can now check out what other products are Vegan on their website, so that when your shopping you can pick one up HERE

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I dunno about you, but I’m going to be googling and disposing of a lot of my collection of varnishes in the next few days, and picking up some new, animal free sparkly ones! YAY! X

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Benj’s YUMMY Vegan Enchiladas and Cheese

The perfect way to start the weekend.

In the Middle East our weeks run from Sunday – Thursday, so as yesterday was my Friday night, and Benj promised to cook and show you all my favourite meal ever…

Nom nom nom! Its vegan enchiladas!

Ok, so this is a bit of a long recipe, but trust me.. Its worth it.

Not only will you have TWO lots of enchiladas, meaning you can freeze one lot for a rainy day and save cooking it again. (I think thats a basic – cook one get one free) BUT! You’ll have the tastiest, warmest, happiest meal you’ve had in a long time.

So get cooking, pick a good movie and fill your belly with happiness.

Basically you need to make a chilli – a refried bean sauce – and a vegan cheese sauce for this recipe so bear with me!

Ingredients for the Chilli:

1 large red onion,
Oil – to cook with,
Red large Chillies – we used two as I don’t like it that spicy!
Two thirds of a bottle of Corona (if you don’t drink Alcohol replace with a cup of coke – 200-250ml but don’t add the sugar!)
1 teaspoon of sugar,
1 tin of red kidney beans, white beans and chick peas,
2 peppers,
2 tablespoons tomato paste,
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon,
A good shake of Chipotle or hot sauce,
1 tablespoon Cumin,
Salt and pepper – to taste.

To a large saucepan, put on a high heat and add enough oil to cover the base, chuck in your chopped onions, but only cook them until they are soft – not caramelised.

Slice your chillies, (take out the seeds unless you like it nice and spicy!) add to pan and cook. Then slice and add your peppers.

Once softened, add tomato paste and stir, add corona and cook on a high heat until reduced by one third. (Takes 5’ish minutes)

Wash your beans (ooooo errrr) add to pot, then add the sugar, cinnamon, chipotle and cumin. Stir well, cover and turn down to a low heat to continue cooking until it thickens (remember to come back and stir occasionally to avoid your chilli burning to the bottom of the pan!)

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Now make your refried beans, They don’t look the tastiest, but they’re a perfect gooey filling for this hearty dish and full of fibre.

Refried bean filling:

2 x cans of vegetarian refried beans,
One third of the corona from the chilli (if you don’t drink skip this step)
1 level tablespoon cumin

Add refried beans to a saucepan, with the corona and cumin, stir well until cooked through.

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DONE! Easy peasy!

Vegan Cheese:

Vegetable oil,
Flour,
Salt.

This is basically just an over salted vegan roux sauce, but the texture and taste is perfect on vegan pizzas, pasta bakes and these enchiladas.

In a small pan, pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the base and fill by about 1/2 a cm.

Heat gently, then add 15-20g flour and stir on the heat until it forms a liquid.

Add soy milk (add a little bit at a time) and stir until the mixture is the right thickness for you and it no longer just taste like flour.

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Add salt to taste – we always over salt (1 tablespoon) to get that salty cheesy taste.

Please note – the thicker it is the more it browns when baked in the oven. I think it’s best when it’s the texture of a cake mixture.

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Thats the cooking done! Now its time to put it all together.

Add a thick line of your refried beans in the middle of a tortilla wrap,

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roll it up into a parcel,

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And put in a oven proof dish,

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Continue with tortillas until your dish is full. This recipe will fill two medium over prof dishes (or a dish that will fit four rolled tortillas in)

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Add a generous helping of chilli over the top.

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Then your cheese….

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Put in the oven to bake on a medium heat for 20 minutes – until your cheese looks like this:

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Then enjoy!

For the whole Mexican hog, serve with onion rings and tortillas.

Put silver foil over the spare enchiladas and put in the freezer. This dish is OK to leave in the freezer for around a month.

Make sure you defrost the enchiladas for around 6-9 hours in the fridge before reheating in the oven.

So there you go. Yummy enchiladas! X

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1

Outspoken Vegans – Help or Hindrance?

This is a subject I’ve been debating for a very long time, and I think it a subject most vegans deal with on a daily basis.

When should you stay quiet and when should you stand up?

I’m not talking about if you see animal abuse for example, you should always report or speak out against this. I’m talking about on the daily conversation you might have with people when explaining why you don’t want cheese on your pizza, or why you need to know the ingredients that go into the unlabelled bagel.

I for one shy away from confrontation with meat eaters.

 I was once very vocal about my beliefs in my younger years, but found that people didn’t like being preached at, or told why they shouldn’t eat at KFC, and so I learned to shut up.

Infact I now go red if the conversation arises, not out of embarrassment of what I belive in, but of the ultimate argument that is about to take place….

“So why are you vegan?’

*Insert non preachy, straight forward answer*

“Yeah but we’re carnivors, these are canine meat teeth/ there’s a natural order to things and we’re top of the food chain/ you’ll actually kill more animals if you don’t eat them due to overpopulation etc etc etc.”

No matter what you say, no matter how valid your argument, you will not win.  And what makes matters worse is that, due to the stereotypes portrayed in the media, it’s ok for people to literally shout their opinions at us, but when we shout back?… Hippies, brainwashed, tree huggers, extremist, weirdo… the list goes on.

Where did these stereotypes come from? Where did this preconceived notion of a hemp wearing ‘vegan’ happen? And how can we change this weak – complaining – overly sensitive caricature that the group has become, into something that demands the respect of the press?

I know one blog will not and cannot answer this, however I thought I we could start by looking at the current vegan celebrities, or to be more precise, the outspoken vegan celebrities.  

I’ve decided to look at four celebrities – Joaquin Phoenix, Ellen Degeneres, Morrissey and Pamela Anderson.

 

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Instantly I can see that this list comprises of two types of outspoken vegans, and most of us will fall into one of these camps, you’re either a – enlightener or engager.

Enlighteners – such as Morrissey or Joaquin are loud, unapologetic and unnerving on their stance of animal consumption.

From their carefully chosen vocabulary – Morrissey for example branding the White House’s annual turkey pardon as “Thankskilling” – to their actions – Joaquin’s disturbing ‘drowning’ video for PETAs – Go Vegan advert springs to mind!  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij3W0BetI60)

As the title suggests their aim is to enlighten people to their view. It might not be the most polite way, but it is direct.

Although these actions are brave in today’s PR focused world, and grab headlines, they sometimes draw negative press to the cause too, and I cant work out if the negative fallout is worth the exposure.

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 On the other hand – the engaging vegans have a completely different approach.

As their title suggests they engage the audience, and try to get people on their side through friendly and warm messaging.

Both Pamela and Ellen have published blogs, or books on their vegan lifestyle and both have posed on billboards as the poster children for the vegan lifestyle.

 This method is more friendly, more welcoming and more ‘female’ (or at least in my opinion).

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Its interesting that the men are shouty and violent with imagery, whilst the women pose naked with lettuce leaves or pose with pictures of animals. But gender stereotypes are a whole other issue we won’t get stared on!

I feel that engaging vegans are more likely to get people talking, and talking in a positive way. As unfortunately if you alienate your audience, they will not listen to you, so instead of showing a five minute movie on the death of a baby pig, talk about how a non-dairy diet like ‘oh my god’ improved your skin and made you lose 12 pounds! Wow!

It sounds like I’m arguing that this method is wrong, but it’s not. In fact I feel the oposite, by taking veganism to its core of what it can and will do for people, this will be more effective than guilt.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, although engaging vegans are more likely to open a discussion with meat eaters. I truly feel its the enlighteners who – well – enlighten.

Nothing will make you want and more importantly STICK to a vegan lifestyle like hardcore messaging. Those images with blood and guts and pain. Thats what you’ll remember when you tuck into your bacon sandwhich, not the valid but vague reasoning of why Ellen decided to go vegan.

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But who’s right?…None of them are. The important thing is that people in the public eye are talking and publicising what is happening.

And just in case you think I’m being overly critical of the ‘engaging’ side, I want to point out an article that made me cringe with the backlash that this comment will have on us all….

Morrissey recently said:

  • “I see no difference between eating animals and paedophilia [sic],” he replied. “They are both rape, violence, murder.”
  • “If I’m introduced to anyone who eats beings, I walk away. Imagine, for example, if you were in a nightclub and someone said to you ‘Hello, I enjoy bloodshed, throat-slitting and the destruction of life,’ well, I doubt if you’d want to exchange phone numbers.”
  • “If you believe in the abattoir then you would support Auschwitz. There’s no difference. People who would disagree with this statement have probably never been inside an abattoir.”

Enough said really.

As you can imagine the press went mad and so did the comments on the websites, social media and news. His views echo how many of us feel, and equally are the polar opposite of others, but by putting it out there, in the press, its now going to be found by every anti- vegan troll on the internet. And unfortunately, although I applaud and respect Morrissey and this shocking allegiance to animals, I cant help but think to non vegans this is all a little bit lost in translation

The same applies for Joaquin’s heartfelt voice over for the docu-movie ‘Earthings’. Which, not only makes you want rip out your own heart then vomit on it at the heartlessness of the human race, but also makes you want to punch Joaquin, after the seventeenth image of a cows throat being slit in two minutes.

 

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 However you want to look at them, these celebrities are creating a dialogue between meat eaters and non meat eaters, and are exposing the industry for what is truly is – barbaric. So whether it’s with a suggestive smile, a warm embrace or an all out attack on your senses it’s all good.

What do you think?