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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 – Kosebasi Restaurant

Last week, whilst wondering around the new Gulf Mall in Qatar, I spotted a stylish looking restaurant on the corner.

Imagine Paul mixed with PF Chang’s meets the Middle East.

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I took a look at the menu and although at first the Turkish food seemed heavily to rely on meat I had an amazing meal and found a few great gems for you guys to try out at your local restaurants or make at home!

OBVIOUSLY I ate hummus. A lot of it.

But I also discovered :

Söğürme – Grilled eggplant, tomato and chilli green pepper mixed and roasted on the oven.

Fattuş Salata Fattush Salad – With Lettuce, tomatoes, green olive slices and parsley served with black olive paste dressing – TO DIE FOR.

Kısır Bulghur salad – with parsley, onion, mint and spices.

And a lot of other delicious things I’ve never tried before (one was this crazy white bean salad in a tomato sauce I can’t find the name of)

For my die hard vegans out there obviously the menu still has things like – Çiğ Köfte – Raw ground meat, pounded with onion and pepper; served with lettuce cups – on it (at least they’re eating lettuce hey?!) but I found it a great place to go with some omni friends and know my meal is vegan friendly.

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Unfortunately branches only seem to be out this way at the moment – but who knows, they might expand across to the US, Europe and beyond soon.

http://www.kosebasi.com/subeler

Anyone in Qatar I thoroughly recommend it – although I didn’t fancy shopping anymore after stuffing myself silly!


			
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Vegan Friendly Finds – Fashion Brands

 

I just thought I’d pop this up here as I know lots of people struggle in finding vegan clothing.

I’m very much on the fence when it comes to fashion. I don’t wear leather, wool or anything that I know comes from or would harm an animal.

Equally I don’t shop solely in ethical vegan clothes shops – because they are usually CRAZY expensive.

Saying that I’m always looking for a good winter coat (even though I currently live in the desert – but I’m ginger so a green long winter coat is perfection for me) and I noticed a few of the shops in these links have things such as ‘vegan wool’ which I need to have in my life. SNNUUGGGLLLLYYY!

So yes. Obvs things like Linda McCartney make an appearance but also a few cool little American online places that have trendy shoes and bags I might just order. Then I can be a cool kid.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/shopping/best-vegan-fashion-brands-for-shoes-bags-and-accessories/

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Vegan Friendly Find – Johnny Rocket Streamliner Burger

FINALLY a burger from a burger chain that is actually vegan.

Ok here’s the details and below my thoughts:

Note – it’s sometimes called a ‘streamliner’ sometimes a ‘Boca burger’:

Boca JR

Veggie Burger (Soy Boca® Burger) ingredients:

Water, soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, contains Less Than 2% of methylcellulose, salt, caramel colour, dried onions, yeast extract, sesame oil, hydrolysed wheat protein, natural and artificial flavour (non-meat), Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate. Allergens: Wheat, Soy, Sesame (note sesame is considered a major allergen only in Canada)

Also note:

Johnny Rockets currently uses soybean oil for its fried foods.”

http://www.johnnyrockets.com/menu/ingredient-allergen-list.html

The verdict – the burger is pretty bland but has some serious home comfort skills going on. The bun is vegan and they don’t put Mayo on the burger – but I ask for it without mustard, as, well…. Mustard is gross.

I do have it with fried mushrooms and the manager tells me that every Johnny Rockets has a separate area for vegan and veggie food to be cooked.

BEST OF ALL – the sweet potatoes fries and APPLE PIE are vegan (if you have it without cream or ice cream) a burger and dessert! Heaven!

Although there’s none in the UK yet, I’m pretty sure with enough emails we can get one in London at the least!

Check the website for more details on branch locations.

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Vegan Friendly Finds – Co-Op Dark Chocolate 

Okay UK people listen-up!
Get your butt to your nearest Co-operative shop and buy yourself a dark chocolate bar. Now!

   
 It’s 50% cocoa solids, dark, delightful and dreamy. 
Perfect for baking, scoffing or melting. Plus! While you’re there pick up co-ops awesome cruelty free washing powder, conditioner and soap.

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Vegan Friendly Finds – Jammy Dodgers

So it turns out these have been ‘known’ for a while, but as I only found out a few weeks back I had to share, in case anyone else hadn’t heard the exciting news that Jammy Dodgers are now vegan!!

  

At a children’s party with a buffet and nothing to eat? Pick up one of these beauties! Or better yet pick up the chocolate dodger as they too are vegan my friends! 

    

It’s getting easier and easier to get junk food as a vegan. I both love and hate this! 

Enjoy! 

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Vegan friendly Find – Lotus Spread

So, you know those little Lotus biscuits you get with coffee? Well they’re vegan. But that’s not what this blog is about, so move onto the fact that some genius has made it into a spread. 

Yep. Buiscuit flavoured spread. 

It blew my mind. It will blow yours. 

Someone needs to make cupcakes with this pronto! 

   

 

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Vegan Friendly Find – Jus Roll Pastry

I’m a lazy cook. I’m not making pastry… and now you don’t have to either!

Jus-roll pastry is Vegan!

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Here’s what it says on their website: http://www.jusrol.co.uk/askjanet.aspx

Which products are suitable for Vegans?
All Jus-Rol Ingredient Pastry is suitable for vegans except our All Butter and Sweet Shortcrust products which contain butter.

That means a whole world of tarts, puffs, pies and party treats have just become a whole lot easier!

The only issue I can find is one that Jus Roll contains Palm Oil – HOWEVER they claim to use sustainable Palm Oil in cooperation with the RSPO (http://www.rspo.org/) this seems like a go to me – but I couldn’t help notice a tweet that made me think the RSPO might just be a marketing front:

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(https://twitter.com/maryrayner/status/315492905823379456)

Either way it’s up to you guys – the product is vegan 100% – it’s just the ethics behind it might not be so ethical.

Let me know if you know whether the RSPO is doing good work or not – then I can get baking too!

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Vegan Friendly Find: Savanna Dry Cider

Today’s Vegan Friendly Find is – Savanna Dry Cider.


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I’ve spoke before about my love of Corona beer, not only is it delicious (and I love Mexican food) BUT it’s vegan.

Finding out if your booze is vegan can be really difficult, and there’s nothing worse than that awkward feeling of standing at a bar and looking for something you know you can drink, whilst everyone looks at you like your strange.

Wine is off the menu, cocktails take molecular science to work out what’s in them and standing with a pint of beer in your hand, although delicious, looks, well – laddy.

In Britain drinking is a serious hobby. It’s not something you do to relax, most the time it’s a weekend full of alcohol you cram in before heading back to work on a Monday. And I say Amen! To that!

I used to drink a LOT more than I do these days, part of the cut down has been living in a muslim country for the last year and a bit, so you know alcohol is the last thing you tend to crave due to fear of being sent to jail for being drunk on the streets, and the other part has been this blog, which has made me revisit every part of my life and question if it is truly vegan or not.

Note: You can drink in selected bars and hotels in Qatar, but it’s crazy expensive!

But anyway, I’m writing this blog sat in a jazz bar in Qatar and it just so happens to be ladies night! I get two free drinks and 50% off all future drinks. A jazz version of Britney is playing and life seems grand.

But what to drink?

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Cider is always a pretty safe bet, but Savanna Dry I’ve never heard of… Turns out this South African drink is delicious.

Dry, sweet and best of all totally vegan – look here: http://www.savanna.co.za/about.q?countryNamespace=uk

The website says for those too lazy to click…

Savanna Dry is a clear 100% apple cider in a unique see through bottle and made from the juice of real South African apples. 5% ABV and energy content of 244 kJ/100 ml.

Savanna Light is made from the same crushed apple goodness, but has a lower alcohol by volume percentage. 3.00% ABV and energy content of 168 kJ/100ml.

So What’s In It Then?Or more importantly, what’s not?
Savanna is GMO-free which means there is no traceability of genetically modified organisms (GM’s) in ingredients and final packed product.

Savanna’s allergen status – Savanna doesn’t contain any of the following allergens: gluten containing cereals, crustaceans, peanuts, shell fruits (nuts), celery, mustard, sesame seed, lecithin, eggs, fish, caseinate.

Fact: Savanna Dry is Vegan

So go ahead people – everybody in the club getting tipsy!