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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 – Holidays!

The other day I was talking to my South African housemates and they were urging me to go on Safari in the country.

“You’d love it” they said, “The animals are so close, and they live in the wild.”

I have to admit I was intrigued, however after a quick bit of research (including a great Louis Theroux Documentary – here) I found that most of these ‘wild life parks’ or ‘game reserves’ actually made their money from hunting.

Of course there are a few exceptions to this rule, but I found communication slow and even the ‘eco-friendly’ websites didn’t have sufficient information on the animal welfare and upkeep of the ‘sanctuary’.

On my travels I did however find a few websites that can help fellow vegans looking for a guilt-free escape and so I thought I’d share them – I haven’t been on any of these holidays (yet!) but if like me you are just looking for some inspiration and somewhere to add to your wanderlust list, check these pages out.

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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 – 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 – Skittles are back!

YYYYYYYAAAAAYYYYYYY! Now we can taste the rainbow.

Right! Skittles were always vegan in America, but not the UK because they contained – E120 cochineal.

But now it’s been removed from UK packs! 🙂

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Note: The Wrigley’s Website still lists E120 as an ingredient but it is no longer listed on a back of the packet and it says “Suitable for Vegetarians” :

So – just check your pack for E120 and if it doesn’t have it you should be good to go.

Also – for those like me who don’t like to eat non sustainable Palm Oil.

  • What is Wrigley’s policy on sourcing palm oil?

    Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars, deals only with those suppliers who have respect for the environment. Wrigley is committed to working with all stakeholders to make progress towards more sustainable production. We support the environment and the sustainable production of palm oil.

    Currently, we only use palm oil suppliers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and our aim is to move to 100% RSPO certified palm oil, originating from sustainable sources by 2015.

    The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit association, works to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through cooperation within the supply chain and open dialogue between its stakeholders. More information on the RSPO can be found at www.rspo.org.

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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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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Mentos!

I can only apologies at how long it’s been since I last posted on here – but to be fair I have been very busy trying to save three lovely stray dogs in the Middle East! (More about that later!) So you can’t be to mad!

Last time I posted I promised to put my Top 5 chain restaurants and believe me, I have been eating out A LOT (I blame all of you for the weight gain of course!) So I will post that up soon.

But for today to ease us all back into this blogging malarkey – something simple, sweet and classic.

Today’s Vegan Friendly Find is Mentos!

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It’s hard to find a readily available sweet that you can just pick up and munch on, so these are a god send! (Especially to anyone with low blood sugar or as a snack at the cinema)

Plus! As I use Lush Vegan Toothy Tabs instead of traditional Toothpaste so I’m always paranoid I have smelly breath, so pop a packet of mint in your bag and you’re good to go!

From my research – The flavoured mentos (mixed fruit) have sugar, glucose syrup, hydrogenated coconut oil, gellan gum, dextrin, natural and artificial flavor, gum arabic, and coloring inside/outside of it. (All Vegan friendly)

Mint mentos have almost the same ingredients except it has corn starch in it.

As per norm – the sugar used is from an unknown source – Some of you might be ok with this, others not. The choice is yours people! I will email and ask, but they don’t tend to get back to me in any rush.

I’ve been warned that some Mentos contain beeswax from different countries , so watch your labels!

Mentos say “The wax in the Mentos products which are imported and distributed by Stuart Alexander & Co. is carnauba wax which is derived from the palm tree.

We are not able to answer questions for Mentos products which do not state that they are imported and distributed by our company.”

Happy munching!

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Today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Lush Toothy Tabs

Did you know that most toothpastes have animal fat in them? I know EEEEEWWWWWW.

I only found this out a few weeks ago, and living in the Middle East I thought, yeah – good luck finding a Vegan Toothpaste here! There’s calve’s hearts on most menus, so vegan toiletries is not the most demanded produce.

But then, whilst shopping in one of the many air conditioned malls, I came across the glory that is a Lush shop.

Imagine my surprise as I browsed the many lotions and potions, that behind the cashier, there was a shelf of tiny boxes with the word Toothpaste on them.

Hence today’s Vegan Friendly Find – Lush Toothy Tabs

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Toothy Tabs have only been on the market for two months, so lots of you might not have seen them, but effectively they are tablets of solid toothpaste.

Obviously as it’s Lush – they haven’t been tested on animals and theres a big Vegan logo on the box that tells me I can chomp on these till the cows come home!

But before I go into the awesomeness of these little buggers, here’s some more about traditional Toothpaste:

Ignoring the fact that most brands are tested on animals, most toothpastes are not vegetarian or vegan in definition, as they contain glycerin which comes from pigs and cows. Some even use ground bones – for added calcium.

Obviously in this day and age if you see glycerin in a list of toothpaste ingredients, it does not automatically mean that it is not vegetarian as there are now a host of ways to produce glycerin, but there is a chance that it might not be.

You can find an ethical toothpaste brand rating list via this link:

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/healthbeauty/toothpaste.aspx

The toothpaste brand which received the lowest ethical rating was Crest. Other toothpaste brands which recieved low ethical ratings include Rembrandt toothpasteSensondyne toothpaste, and Aqua fresh toothpaste.

This will help so that the next time you go to the supermarket, if you don’t have a Lush shop at hand, you are buying the most Vegan version you can.

Now! On with today’s find!

Toothy tabs, are solid pieces of toothpaste made in pill form.

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They contain all natural ingredients and you simply put them between your teeth, give them a crunch and brush.

Firstly, I need to point out how impressed I am with the branding, packaging and recyclability of this product. Not to mention the natural ingredients!

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Secondly, the range of flavours is great! And depending on how you like your toothpaste – whitening, extra fresh etc, theres one for you! You can view them all HERE.

The toothy tabs foam really well, and once you’ve done the crunching part its just like normal toothpaste.

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I’m using the ‘Dirty’ tabs and my teeth feel really, really clean and look whiter thanks to the bicarbonate of soda in these bad boys!

The only thing I’m willing to say thats negative about these is the taste.
They don’t taste horrible, but they don’t really taste like you expect toothpaste to taste like. If that makes sense!

After three weeks, I’ve got used the Dirty tabs, and now I can really taste the mint in them, when I first started using them however, I wondered how I was going to stick to doing that two/three times a day as it wasn’t the nicest sensation.

Overall I urge you all to give them a go. They’re good for the environment, good for animals, good on your teeth and its good to support a company like Lush.

Let me know what you think. Would you try them? Do you have them?

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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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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.