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Becoming Vegan

EIGHT years ago when I decided to become vegan, I was the only vegan I knew.

In fact I hadn’t even met a vegan! My aunty was vegetarian for six years, but that was back in her ‘uni days’ and so it was described as some sort of hippy phase.

I remember making the decision and friends actually betting on when I would crack! (My friend Rachel bet me twenty quid I would break by a week – a lot to a 17 year old!)

Well here I am, unbroken, unwavering, and gladly friends with a more vegans than ever before.

It got me thinking though, when I first began there was no ‘Fry’s Chicken Nuggets’ available at my local Tesco’s – you had to make do, find your own recipes and pray to god you could make Tofu taste like anything other than just tofu!

A lot of discussions on WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook and everywhere else about vegans – seems to be talking to VEGANS. Preaching to the converted if you wish.

So I thought for anyone you know out there who is thinking about being vegan, or anyone who wants to become one, here are some handy links.

After all, this is what we’re all here to do right?

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Vegan Friendly Finds – Vegan Christmas Treats

If this is your first xmas as a vegan, don’t panic! You can have an amazing and super filling time and feel good about yourself.

Vegans aren’t always Gwyneth Paltrow thin and thanks to the growing number of #accidentlyvegan things, sweet treats and Christmas goodies are now more accessible than ever before.

He’s a quick list of the junk food things you can stock-up on before Christmas crazy shopping fever hits, so when baby its cold outside, you can stay in and get fat watching black and white movies 🙂

  • Diet Coke
  • Dr Pepper
  • Corona Beer
  • Co-op Prosecco (labelled Vegan)
  • M&S white/ red wine (labelled vegan)
  • Mr Kipling apple and blackberry pies
  • Tesco value apple crumble (88p!)
  • Skittles
  • Ooredoo’s
  • Golden Ooredoo’s
  • Hobnobs/ dark choc chip Hobnobs
  • Lotus spread – crunchy is best
  • Betty Crocker Choc Fudge Spread (AMAZING on cakes, toast, anything!)
  • Fry’s chicken strips
  • Bisto gravy
  • Cashew nuts
  • Mrs Crimbles Dutch Apple Cake
  • Choices Vegan Fudge
  • Co-op Jelly
  • Jammie Dodgers
  • Alpro custard
  • Nakd salted caramel bites
  • Nature Valley Bars – Maple Syrup

And soooooooooo much more. This is just a tiny view into the sugar filled world available to you!

Don’t forget you can also bake your way to satisfaction – good baking vegan blog here: http://www.veganricha.com/category/dessert

If I’ve missed anything that needs to be on this list out – let me know ❤

 

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Vegan Friendly Finds – Mr Tom Bars

How have I lived my whole life without these?

Mr Tom is a crunchy, moreish, yummy, dare I say it SCRUMMY peanut bar.

Mr Tom

And check this out:

THE MR.TOM PEANUT CRUNCH CONSISTS OF 60% FRESHLY ROASTED PEANUTS COVERED WITH CARAMEL AND FORMED INTO BARS. WHILE BEING SIMILAR TO PEANUT BRITTLE, MR.TOM BARS ARE SURPRISINGLY LIGHT, CRISP AND EASY TO EAT AND VERY,VERY MOREISH! ONCE THE FIRST MOUTHFUL HAS BEEN CRUNCHED UP AND DEVOURED WITH RELISH, YOU JUST WANT TO REPEAT AND REPEAT THE EXPERIENCE UNTIL THE WHOLE BAR HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED. DISAPPOINTMENT THEN REIGNS, AS YOU MENTALLY KICK YOURSELF FOR ONLY BUYING ONE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL PEANUT BARS. THEY ARE ALSO VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY AND ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF PROTEIN AND ENERGY. IF YOU LOVE NUT CONFECTIONARY THIS IS THE BAR FOR YOU!

Best of all you can get them at Poundland!

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Vegan Friendly Find – Nakd Bars

Cereal bars just got yummy for vegans!

No more searching for hidden honey (I’m looking at you Nature bars! – fool me once!)

Nakd bars are nutritious, and made from all natural ingredients such as fruits and nuts which are ‘smooshed’ together into a handy bar.

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They are wheat and dairy free, with no added sugars or hidden extras.

Nakd bars come in flavours of Rhubarb & Custard Bakewell Tart, Cashew Cookie, Cocoa Orange, Ginger Bread, Pecan Pie, Cocoa Mint, Cocoa Delight and Berry Delight. (My favourite is Pecan Pie <3)

You can pick them up from any UK supermarket – or online here:

http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk/mixed-boxes/nakd-mixed-case/

The Nakd website also has a page dedicated to going vegan – big love! (http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk/community/dietary-needs/thinking-of-going-vegan-top-tips-for-starting-out/)

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Betty Crocker Sunny Lemon Cake Mix With Glaze

Like cookies and cake? Too lazy to weigh everything out? Then look no further!

Today’s Vegan Friendly Find is Betty Crocker Sunny Lemon Cake Mix With Glaze!

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Ingredients:
Cake Mix (245g): Sugar, Wheat Flour, Palm Fat, Raising Agents: Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate; Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Emulsifiers: Propane-1,2-Diol Esters of Fatty Acids, Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids; Dextrose, Flavouring, Stabiliser: Xanthan Gum; Colour Curcumin; Citric Acid, Glaze Mix (50g): Sugar, Flavouring, Citric Acid

Firstly, I know what you’re thinking – “You said in previous blogs that due to deforestation and the extinction of several species of animals you were one of the many vegans that are currently avoiding palm oil.” ….And I am. However it gives me great pleasure to let you all know Betty Crocker (or General Mills) are one of the first big commercial companies to cave into our demands and publicly address the issue saying that:

“The company’s new policy respects Indigenous rights, protects rainforests and peatlands and sets a goal for sourcing 100 percent environmentally responsible palm oil by 2015.”

I take this as a victory, and as I know the company are now using sustainable and un-cruel methods, I can eat the palm oil and support their move (just as Sainsbury’s in the UK have done).

OK. So the Betty Crocker company is a bit of a vegan legend. Although the company itself is not vegan, they’ve written several vegan cookbooks and recipes aimed to make quick tasty vegan food for families.

As far as I’m concerned exposure such as this is great, as its gets ‘normal’ everyday families eating non meat meals, and even if this is just once a week – and if my maths is correct – then a family of four, over a year could save up to 208 servings of meat.

If you’re thinking what? The Betty company? Surely she means woman? No I do not and I’m going to blow your mind now.

There is no Betty Crocker.

‘Betty Crocker’ was made up to make the products seem more friendly by a woman named Marjorie Child Husted – the real Betty.

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Ok history lesson over! Back to cakes!

Betty Crocker Mixes are designed to just add milk, eggs and butter and bake, so when you’re trying to find out if this product, thats designed to be used with animal products is vegan, it can be tricky – however the Betty Crocker website was tres helpful:

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Basically just double up on oil, or use a banana as an egg substitute as we do.

After finding out that the emulsifiers used were from vegetable origin, it was just a case of a lot of googling! (Lots of E numbers and long ingredient names I had to check to see where they derived from) and I have concluded that based on the fact Betty’s products are labelled vegetarian – the E numbers in the ingredients come from plant, not animal sources.

The Betty Crocker Cake Mixes that are vegan are:
Sunny Lemon Cake Mix With Glaze
Betty Crocker Maple Syrup Cookie
Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix
Betty Crocker Carrot Cake Mix

PLEASE NOTE: There are undoubtedly more options available out on the market that are vegan friendly, and as Betty’s range and flavours widen – its only good news for us! Just make sure you google the E numbers if the packet does not say vegetarian, or if theres a ingredient you haven’t heard of look it up!

So if you’re like me and more of a taster than a chef, then cheat your way to vegan friendly cakes today, without the fuss and hassle of following recipes!

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How Do You React To Accidental Consumption Of Animal Products?

Most people I know who are strict vegan or vegetarian have had at least one accident or another regarding animal based products.

Unfortunately its one of those things that happens when you buy and live in a world that uses animals for almost all of its products.

I myself have had many accidents in my 7 vegan years, some through lack of checking – yes assumption really does make an ass out of you and me – and some through sneaky companies.

For example, since I have been vegan, Skittles have been vegan twice, but are now not vegan in the UK again, Walkers crisps have changed their recipe (without publication) to include milk and Sainbury’s FigRolls that were once perfectly ok for me to eat – suddenly contained butter. Overnight. It was devastating!

So yes. I have eaten non vegan products, and tonight is another example of one of those.

My husband Benj, who is a fabulous vegan cook, decided to make vegan pizzas tonight using his very own vegan cheese recipe (I will blog one day) we used pre made bases that were vegan friendly, he made his own sauce and poured his cheese overtop.

Just look. Isn’t it freaking delicious looking…

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After one slice I was happily munching away when he said … I put a drop of wine in the sauce to make it richer… My heart dropped. Wine?… Oh no, I haven’t checked that wine (its our housemates).

I stopped eating.

“Did you check if its vegan?”

His bunny in the headlights look said it all.

“Ohhhhhh Ben!!!!”

I go out and take note of the wine – Anakena Chili Sauvignon Blanc.

Please I think as I google it – Pleeeease!

Nothing comes up, which is so often the case, and you know what, thats worse than knowing. It leaves that awkward thought…Do you continue to eat? Or do you not eat?

Ben advised me to keep eating.

“But what if its got fish guts in it? That repulses me, I cant eat it.” I snap.

He looks angry, and I get it, he’s cooked this amazing meal and I cant eat it, just in case it has something in it, that possibly may not.

Needless to say I didn’t eat it, and after a few sharp words I explained to a Ben that it wasn’t the fact he made a mistake that upset me (as said above we all do, and this is the first time) it was the assumption that – you’ve already ate a bit, so might as well keep going. Like it didn’t matter.

Everyone goes through stages when they find out there is an alien ingredient in their mouth, something unfriendly, un-vegan and just not right.

I think I’m definitely a blamer. I blame others when I eat something I shouldn’t. Its my mums fault for contaminating the potatoes with the meat. Its Bens fault for not reading the label properly (I have really bad eyesight) or its the companies fault for changing the ingredients when I’ve already checked the old ones.

I’m also a guilt holder. Even now I’m picturing the poor fish being gutted. Its like a heavy weight in my stomach that will haunt me for days. I don’t think this is a healthy way to think about it, but it does act as a wake up call to how I truly feel about my beliefs. It shows me just how much I care.

I also know people who are violent reactors – instantly making themselves sick or cleansing themselves by taking laxatives.

Then there’s the people who would continue to eat the food, on the principle that the animal had been killed or used for this, they had made a mistake but now should not waste the produce that the animal went through suffering for.

None of them are right or wrong, its just about processing your emotional and physical response and reacting the way you think is best. No one but yourself should judge you on that.

How do you react? Disgust? Acceptance? Guilt?