Vegan eats in Newcastle: Little Green

The other day I had the pleasure of going to eat at Little Green in Newcastle. It’s a bit off the main grid but not far from where I live (perhaps to my purses’ downfall).

Firstly, it has it’s own refill section (amazing), it’s very open and cosy, with a real good laidback feel. My friend and I felt very comfortable.

The owners are just incredible. We ended up having a good five minute chat about the reality of opening a cafe and how she wants to move forward stressing the fact it’s all vegan. When the cafe opened that perhaps would have been enough to scare people off, but that’s just not the case anymore – people are a bit more open and considering the high populace of students in Newcastle, they’ve got a real market. They really were lovely!

The menu was really good, everything was tempting. I was pleased with how all of it seemed like fresh choices, if that makes sense. Like even the pizzas seemed incredible – for example ‘The Fresca’ is made with fresh tomato, pumpkin pesto and mozzarella (vegan obvs).

We decided to get burrito bowls and some dough balls on the side.

Oh. My. God. Those dough balls. They were freshly baked, soft, and buttery. The garlic mayo and the chilli dip were the perfect accompaniments. We were just blown away. I could have them again ten times.

The burrito bowl was super fresh and tasty. The jackfruit was flavoursome, I’m not sure what they marinated it with. Everything just mingled together beautifully.

And it wasn’t really expensive, all that coming to under £30 with drinks included.

Honestly, I couldn’t recommend it more. If you’re in the area, support a local business. It’s close enough to Heaton & Jesmond Dene parks, so why not have a lovely walk and lunch out? Or treat yourself to a guilt free evening meal, knowing you’re supporting an entirely vegan small business. They host a bunch of other things as well; I’ll be attending a clothes swap in March!

Those dough balls. *heart eyes*n

Meg x

Vegan haggis: a contemplative review (lol)

Disclaimer: I apologise for the chaotic energy in this post.

Looks brown and bland – is very tasty

Just a quick post really, mainly about a) vegan haggis and b) the wider issue of vegan substitutes for inherently non-vegan things.

Haggis, as defined by Merriam Webster is as follows:

a traditionally Scottish dish that consists of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or a calf minced with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the animal

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haggis

This is honestly the least vegan thing you could dream up (except maybe black pudding – another British concoction that you can Google). And yet Scotland lured me in with the idea of a vegan version of this national dish, which is basically a menagerie of lentils, onions, seasoning, oatmeal, quite distinctly not in the stomach of an animal. In fact not encased in anything.

In fact it is so distinctly not like haggis that one food chain found it acceptable to put it in a burrito (thank you 21st century).

Can we really call it haggis?

Was it delicious? Yes. Warm and comforting? Yes. Did it make me feel like it would be sensible to purchase a kilt? Sure.

But it wasn’t haggis, come on now.

But then it made me think of other vegan subs. Vegan cheese has never really touched anything remotely cheesy, but it substitutes in its place. Plant based milk – same issue.

But then again it got me thinking, what else could we possibly call it? If we’re going to be frank, a lot, maybe even most, herbivores want some sort of substitution because we’ve not necessarily given them up because we don’t like the taste. We’ve given them up because we don’t like what they represent in this world of ours.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t have any issue with them being labelled ‘milk’, ‘cheese’, ‘haggis’. Just in a long winded way, but I’ve heard that some people actually have an issue with this labelling…? Like why. What else would we call it?

Anyway, the Scottish invented vegan haggis, so really it is a Scottish national dish. And it’s delicious in a burrito (I know, I’m revolting).

What do you think about vegan substitutes?

Meg x

Vegan in Lille, France

So I went to Lille for two nights a while back and knew from the outset that relatively thorough research was needed to ensure I didn’t have to survive on frites et pain. France, as we know, is the land of cheese, meat, and oh la la (please forgive me).

I promptly googled the key phrases – mainly knowing vegan is végétalienne and how to say ‘no cheese!’ (‘sans fromage!‘).

I travelled with two friends who eat meat and I didn’t want to deny them French food in France, so I didn’t feel we could consistently stick to the places that were just good for me. There didn’t seem to be mainstream ‘blended’ restaurants, where they have a token offering for us herbivores.

But here’s a few things I found:

La Luck

So La Luck markets itself as a French/American bar (according to Trip Advisor), where you can play boardgames and listen to live music. It was a pretty jazzy set up and they did have some English speaking staff (which was not an expectation, only that our French was well intentioned but a bit shit).

I couldn’t have ‘French food’ but I did have a pretty delicious hot dog. Only downside is that they were having some sort of music event (which we bopped along to after dinner – very fun) and service took forever. Also the vegan dessert was all sold out, boo.

Apparently their brunch is tres bien so I do recommend.

Wally’s Coffee

Ok, so I thought they were going to have vegan options but no. They were accommodating when I asked for the avocado on toast minus the egg and cheese (though I still had to pay full price *sigh*). The cafe itself was beautiful, airy, and modern, and the food was good and tasty. Also the kitchen was open plan and they were cooking brownies so it smelt like HEAVEN.

Friterie Meunier

Literally just fries. Now, I was debating whether I should even put this one up because I am assuming they were vegan. I know, I know – this is very naughty. But the kitchen was open and looking at it, they fried all the chips plain in the same oil and added toppings after.

And so on…

So my friends could actually eat some local food, we went to a restaurant we found in the centre and I, in some stilted but enthusiastic French, asked for pizza without cheese. I did some research on pizza dough to find that about 9/10 the dough is made vegan. I’ve also never made pizza dough that needed animal products in it.

On the flip side, one morning I had to have fries for breakfast, which made me feel a bit ill and isn’t advised as a breakfast food. This is because it was a Sunday and, unlike the UK, the shops actually close. I was originally going to grab a bagel I’d seen advertised, so I was pretty sad the shop was closed. But lunch made it better, since we realised that these small, organic food markets I can’t remember the name of (lol, so helpful) did a) refill stations (!!) and b) vegan food. So we bought baguettes, hummus, and spread cheese for a picnic in the park. It was tasty.

Not a surprise, but there are lots of patisseries and confectioners, so I bought some candied fruit (one pineapple slice was 7 euro – I died) and a sorbet – the vendor confirmed it was dairy free.

I don’t feel like I ate the absolute best but at least I ate and it was only a couple of days. It’s the sacrifice you make sometimes, I guess. But I’ve gotten so used to how accessible it all seems in the UK. Happy Cow voted London the most vegan friendly city in the world, which shows that demand drives accessibility.

Since I went, the Trip Advisor page I used seems to have been updated with more restaurants than what were on there before. A link is here. I think it’s hard to go travelling with people who aren’t vegan to places like this because I so didn’t want to stop them having a choice in what they could eat. I think next time, since I know what I’m doing now, I’ll do more research and plan it out a bit more before I go. Lille is beautiful though, and only a couple of hours on the Eurostar from London.

If you have any comments on vegan food in your home country then please let me know, I’d love to hear!

Meg x

Spotty vegans: breakouts + dietary change?

Now, I can only correlate the outbreak of tiny, angry second-heads on my face as a direct result of going vegan. Deep, under the skin spots on my chin, a smattering of small pimple like constellations across my forehead, trickling down into angry, welt like lumps on my temples. Even a few rearing their ugly heads on my cheeks (how dare they!!).

Ah, nothing like the power of words to make you sick.

But honestly the sudden onset of these nuisances really affected my mood and the way I viewed myself. I’d never have spots, so why now? Eating all this wonderful plant-based, easy to digest food?

Queue much googling.

Apparently it’s ‘normal’ to have an outbreak when encountering dietary change of any sorts. One source even said it could be a sign of detox – if I believed in things such as detoxing (hello I have a liver for a reason, thank you). Another said vegan diets sometimes means a switch to a more carby based foods, which can contribute.

Either way, it wasn’t so easy for me to start scouring shops for products to rid me of these evil things – what with trying to be plastic free and (as much as poss) zero waste in the bathroom. But there’s a couple of things I started doing that I thought – hoped & prayed – might help.

  • Double cleansing – once to get rid of my makeup with a facial soap bar and another with a Lush oil cleanser I found in a bag of toiletries I had.
  • Toning with witch hazel diluted with water, as it also helps reduce inflammation and smells like a witch’s workshop.
  • Mixing sudacrem with my moisturiser as it’s anti-bacterial and apparently a bit of a cult product in the murky world of pots & potions. Not plastic free but very cheap and one pot lasts for like a millennia.

I also tried altering my diet, thinking ‘oh no what if it’s the bread, processed vegan cheese, and *gasp* soya’… but I quickly scuppered this plan. I’ve only just started enjoying food again, veganism helping rid me of several unhealthy fears I’d had about food – contributing to a frightening weight loss in 2017/2018. I don’t want to start restricting myself by demonising food I’d enjoyed. I can’t do that to myself. I know I am balanced (for the most part) and healthy (for the most part) – I will not punish myself for eating food I have enjoyed.

My mum recommended Evening Primrose Oil based on rave reviews from colleagues at her workplace and I decided there was no harm trying. After some research I found there was a double whammy of it (potentially) helping with cramps during menstruation. It’s a mixed bag of scientific evidence but I can only review based on my experience. Having one pill a night before bed seems to be really helping the hormonal (?) outbreaks of spots I get on my chin, especially the deep under the skin ones. The science behind it is that it contains Omega 6 fatty acids that help keep the skin plump and soft – and I think that’s what is helping my skin as it’s naturally quite dry. Also, the pre-menstrual/ovulation related pain doesn’t seem to be as bad as normal; my periods have been appearing out of thin air with little cramp notice. The only change has been the oil, so I think it’s helped in that way. Though my pain during periods is still pretty horrible. I’m not going to start raving about it though – there’s a lot of claims of what this oil can do and a lot of science refuting it as a miracle cure.

Lastly, and perhaps most effectively, is the cheapest, simplest, and most accessible solution of them all: steaming and hot compress! After cleansing my face I’ve been soaking a reusable cotton round in hot water and then wringing it out and applying the heated cloth to my chin area. The science is that it helps release the oily sebum by opening up the pores and helping clean these gunky spaces out. I’ve also been steaming my face once a week for the same reason. I have seen the biggest difference. It helps bring the pimples to the surface on those nasty under-the-skin spots and helps soften the skin so it doesn’t feel tight and dry. I cannot recommend doing this enough. I really do think this simple remedy has made the biggest difference, especially in culmination with my other solutions.

Some say that diet related spots will clear up by themselves, and whilst I didn’t want to wait months feeling a bit uncomfortable and painful in my own skin I was not going to sacrifice the healthy relationship I’d built with my food. Life, as they say, is for living.

How do you help get rid of spots?

Meg x

Vegan = convenient?

Well, yes and no. More so that it used to be, yet surprisingly still quite difficult in certain situations. So what do I mean in terms of convenience? Well, simply accessibility and variety.

When I’m at home with access to a supermarket, it’s fine – I make my own meals anyway. So my lunches / dinners are pretty much sorted. And nearly all supermarkets have a ‘free from’ range of some sort, with varying levels of variety. I find ASDA to have the most options.

But when is it less convenient? Well, going to London was a bigger eye opener for me. I think I expected vegan convenience to be pretty much widespread across London, disregarding the fact London is actually a pretty big place. And whilst what I found and had was great (perhaps minus the falafal and hummus sandwich – the only two ‘fillings’ that spring to mind when thinking ‘vegan’, apparently) I didn’t find it anymore available than at home in the Midlands.

I’m pretty sure this all comes back to size though, I bet there are hot spots in London (like Shoreditch) that you can’t turn around in without bumping into a vegan food place. But London is huge, and each area has its own vibe and is pretty much a small town in itself. All those local, small places I like to eat aren’t necessarily going to cater to me if the population surrounding them doesn’t drive up demand for this sort of food.

It’s easier, in that case, to stick to chains or bigger restaurants. To be honest, it’s not restaurants that are an issue, most places have vegan options now to keep up with competition – just with ratings as to how much variety they offer. For example, Pho, a place I reviewed in my last post, had loads of options, but the brunch place I went to on Sunday had maybe one or two. Both delicious, but I appreciate the choice.

But you don’t always want to go to an actual restaurant. Smaller cafes can be a bit more tricky. I tend to stick to veggie cafes, as they by nature have a lot of variety, whereas smaller, local places tend to have few, is any, options. At least I’ve found. I love a trendy cafe, so I’m always pleased to find a good one, and it’s not really a surprise that local cafes don’t have options, as they’re catering to a particular group of people, as I’ve said above.

For snacks and things though, I think it comes across still as a bit niche to be catering heavily, or specifically, towards vegans. My friend messaged me the other day about a vendor in Sheffield selling vegan treats and I was delighted. Small vendors, at places like markets, seem a mixed bag when it comes to options. I’ve been to craft fairs and festivals that have had a range for me to choose from. I’ve still yet to go to a vegan only market: there’s a few markets in London that host a vegan night that look fun. And then there’s the opposite: I went to a country market in December and it barely catered towards vegetarians. It was chips or nothing. Even in Old Spitalfield Market, there were definitely options but there was no specific stall (at least one that I saw).

We went to The National Library and I couldn’t really find anything, plus we were in a bit of a rush, so I tried to nip into M&S at London St Pancras. I know M&S normally have a good vegan range, so I fully expected to find something easily. Yet I couldn’t find anything. I ended up nipping into WHSmith to find they had more options – well, the hummus and falafal sandwich (why).

And don’t get me started on being an eco-conscious vegan (those two things don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand all the time). I can’t always avoid plastic when buying food, but snacks can be a merry old issue. I do try to avoid just buying a packet of crisps or a snack bar, especially in my day-to-day work life. For example, I’ve made my own snack bars for this week (apricot and cranberry oat bars). So in some ways having a lack of choice can be a good thing because it stops me buying packaged snacks constantly (even if I am a bit sick of oats).

So ultimately, variety is going to differ from place-to-place, some areas are going to be more vegan friendly than others. But one thing we should all be doing, whether vegan or not, is questioning our own beliefs on convenience in relation to the environment.

Meg x

Vegan eats you can’t beat – London (Clapham Junction, Old Spitalfield Market)

So I was in London this weekend visiting a friend, which was lovely! I thought I’d share a couple of the places I went to eat, including how I tried to reduce my waste whilst eating ‘on the go’.

Pho – Vietnamese

I ate here for lunch on the Friday I arrived and it’s really very good! The branch I ate at was Clapham Junction, but it’s a chain across London that I would definitely recommend. Plenty of vegan options here, but quite a lot of peanut heavy options, as an allergy warning.

Starter – Gỏi ngó sen
Main: Phở chay

Now, the starter doesn’t look like much except a pile of vegetable sticks. So I was a bit ‘how much did I just pay for this’ about it when it arrived. But it was actually really tasty: the sauce was tangy and flavourful, and all-in-all it was a really refreshing, clean starter to get the appetite going.

The main on the other hand impressed me from the get-go. Yet again more fresh, crisp veggies to add to the button mushroom and tofu broth. It was fresh and a little bit earthy, but filling all the same. It was also great fun slurping on the noodles. I liked that you could add your herbs and veggies as much as you wanted (I’m a dump it all in kinda gal).

The decor was really modern and spacious; we had a lovely window view. The staff were also helpful and attentive, giving us more time when we needed it and recommending options they particularly liked. It was a bit pricey: I had a starter, main, and alcoholic drink for £23, but for London I didn’t think it was too bad. Well worth it for the freshness and care that went into the food.

5/5 – good options, fresh food, friendly service

Dumpling Shack – Old Spitalfield Market

Vegan dumplings in soy & garlic dressing

Surprisingly there wasn’t an over abundance of vegan options at the market, but there was enough to have a choice! I went with the dumplings because they looked really good. Sometimes I find vegan options to be more expensive, or as expensive, as meat options – but these were only £5 as opposed to the £6-7 for the meaty options. There was such a queue at the stall, so we knew it’d be good.

They were steaming hot and freshly made, the dough was soft and the insides a succulent blend of veggies and tofu. The dressing was incredibly light, just adding a bit of a tangy edge.

I have to say, they didn’t fill me up overly (but I am a bottomless pit), so I followed up with some plain old fries from another stall.

See the bottom of the post for how I stayed eco-friendly in the market.

The British Library – never enough cake and books

So on the last day we went to the British Library (which is an incredible place I can’t recommend highly enough – such a peaceful atmosphere) and I fancied a spot of lunch. Because it was a Sunday I don’t think the cafes were really firing on all cylinders, which could be why there wasn’t much in way of vegan options.

I didn’t get lunch but I did get a lovely slice of cookies ‘n’ cream cake, which was yummy. It was soft, sweet, and fluffy – really you couldn’t tell it was vegan. I didn’t take a photo, I was too busy eating and taking in the good, bookish vibes.

5/5 for cake and the fact the waitress went out of her way to see if the soup was vegan friendly, 2/5 on vegan lunch options (on a Sunday though)

All in all…

I ate very well this weekend, my friend even made bean burgers for dinner one night! So I felt very loved and looked after. 🙂 If not a bit bloated. Oops.

In terms of being eco-friendly, I started off really well. In the market the food came in paper bowls etc. and I forwent the plastic cutlery in favour of my own little wooden spork (so useful to just slip in your bag). In general the stalls were quite clued up, where 5 years ago it would have been Styrofoam it was now recyclable paper containers.

I did however forget to ask for no lid on my hot drink twice, which made me realise I really need to be getting myself a keep cup. I also got myself a cake that came in a plastic box, which I have no excuse for, and when we went out I forgot to ask for no straw a couple of times. So definitely things to work on, but as I was saying to my friend, changing behavior is going to take time. Also in terms of perceiving convenience: I didn’t have the space or amenities to make my own packed lunch on the Sunday, considering I thought I’d be eating lunch out. So I nipped into a shop and bought a meal deal, including a packet of crisps. I put this down to a necessary evil, considering I don’t want to be hungry, and planned to put the crisp packet in an eco-brick and got a can of drink instead of a plastic bottle. But in reality, maybe I could have nipped into Subway and got a sandwich wrapped in a sheet of paper. Maybe I didn’t need the crisps. Maybe I need to reevaluate how I judge what is convenient or not. I think I’ve come away with some positive things to work on now though.

If I had any eco-tips for being out and about, especially at an event or a market, it would be:

  • Carry a little spork – less bulky than a full cutlery roll.
  • Carry a metal straw, they’re always helpful!
  • Have a keep cup: they’re small enough to put in your bag without being too bulky.
  • Have a water bottle on hand, if you’re like me and end up walking around loads, it’s going to be important to stay hydrated.

Any vegan places in London you’d recommend?

Meg x

Vegan eats you can’t beat – Sheffield

Ok, I’ve eaten out six times in the last four days and I’m trying to be ashamed of myself but I’m mostly just impressed.

So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to impart some ideas of where to eat in my hometown – though a few of these are chains you might be able to find where you live. 🙂

Church: Temple of Fun (sinfully delicious)

Ugh, I love Church. (In fact, I think the next time I go back I’m going to do a longer post, maybe a set of posts on the ‘good vibe’ places I go to chill – but this is besides the point.) It’s a gorgeous converted Church based in the ever trendy Kelham Island: there’s angels on the ceilings, the old confessional has been made into a photo booth, and there’s comfy space-like pods inserted into the walls that you can climb into and play on games consoles in. Like what? That’s so cool.

So yeah, ambiance is on point.

But also, the food (made by Make No Bones) is the perfect vegan junk food. Like, ideal hangover food. I went for the vegan doner kebab (made with seitan) and it was lush. It was messy, hard to hold, and ridiculously tasty. I didn’t really like the look of the burgers, they looked too realistic to me – it was freaky. But my friends really seemed to enjoy them.

*Maybe not the best place for anyone with a nut allergy though, a lot of the cheese is made with them and I wouldn’t risk it really.

However, I can’t wait to go back for a) more food and b) vegan cocktails and chill.

5/5 – because there’s unlimited choice, the atmosphere is chilled out, and it’s dog friendly

Bella Italia – a saucy little joint

So, Bella Italia have a pretty nice vegan menu and I found myself there twice, and one of them was a three course dinner, haha. I really enjoyed having a selection to choose from and it was tasty, comforting food.

Here I am with my Polpette being a top food blogger

The Polpette (vegan meatballs) were delicious, so much so I had them twice. By themselves they were really flavoursome, but they were made even better by the rich tomato sauce they were bathed in. I followed this up with the Lenticchie, which doesn’t look like much (with the half-arsed leaf they’ve popped on top) but was tasty, comforting pasta.

The second time I went I had the Risotto Funghi, and to be honest this was the only dish I was disappointed with. It was nice, but I like my risotto to really pack a flavour hit – this one was a bit plain. I wanted that strong mushroom taste to come through the entire dish, but it didn’t really, which is a bit of a shame. I enjoyed the lemon ‘cheesecake’ though, which despite smelling slightly of tofu mixed with limoncello tasted really nice.

3.5/5 – great that they’ve got a menu, tasty food, but some of the choices did seem a bit bland

Frankie & Benny’s – more potato please

After listening to my friend give a rave review of the F&B main menu, I thought I’d go over for breakfast whilst my car was being serviced. The main menu does look good but there wasn’t many breakfast options. Saying that the staff were super helpful in explaining that I could pretty much pick and mix my breakfast options. So I got the veggie big breakfast and subbed the eggs for the herby potatoes. It was perfect.

3.5/5 – the breakfast was amazing but there wasn’t much else I could have, however the service was great and the main menu looked really good

Tamper Coffee – kiwi-te the wonderful place

This little gem is hidden near the station and Hallam’s Students’ Union. It’s a super cool, industrially styled building selling Kiwi food and drink, which is both novel and exciting. Definitely the right level of hipster for me. Me and mum dropped by because I’d been in for a drink once and thought the atmosphere was really cool; whilst I was there I saw someone on the table next to me eating a good portion of great looking food. There’s no bigger turn-off than stingy food portions, so I was sold.

And whilst the menu didn’t have too many vegan options, the one I found, basically a Buddha bowl, was honestly delicious – I could have eaten it twice. It was fresh yet exciting and filling at the same time. (Beetroot hummus, mmmm.)

4/5 – not much choice but I’ll for sure be back again, even just for a drink (though I don’t know how I’ll resist ordering that bowl again)

Lucky Fox – chick, chick, chick, chick, chi- no.

So, me and my friend, at the Confused Vegans, wanted to try a small, hole in the wall restaurant in the city centre called Lucky Fox. They’d specially created a vegan ‘chicken’ menu for Veganuary. I wasn’t sure how I was gonna feel about this, because, as I’m sure I’ve said, I’m a lil bit funny with fake meat (the texture makes me a big gaggy). Luckily, this didn’t really taste like chicken, it tasted like stuffing. Which, tbh, is quite delicious. What I liked most was the crispiness, though. Welll, as well as the portion size. The chips were also pretty much to die for.

4/5 – I liked the chicken and the price was really good, it’s also a cute little restaurant with friendly staff

The round up!

So, yeah, a pretty indulgent few days of eating. I think for atmosphere and choice, I’d choose Church any day. But the best thing I ate had to be the bowl at Tamper Coffee.

Let me know your favourite local places to go for food!

Meg x

The little things Veganuary can teach you

I might as well start this by making note of the fact that I’m going to continue being vegan. This was a decision I made before the month began. Last year I was eating a mainly vegan diet, but because I wasn’t 100% committed I didn’t feel it necessary to be experimental with my food. The great thing about Veganuary is the variety it offers, what with brands / restaurants / pretty-much-everyone offering more options. It also stirs up a bit of competition to make the craziest creation, which is just fun. Also, you don’t have to do it alone.

The last couple of years I’ve had my issues with trying new foods. This is because of a whole lot of anxiety that has made me painfully aware of what I eat. But without getting too far into it, I’m glad to say this is something I’ve been working my little ass off to overcome. In fact, being vegan has made me less nervous to try new things, because its made trying new things exciting. I’ve found myself to be a mainly plant based vegan, so that means lots of colours, textures, and variety.

Since the start of January I’ve tried loads of different things: tofu scramble, seitan, vegan chicken… All of which would have freaked me out, and if I’d had other options, I probably wouldn’t have had them. This is because I’d gotten into the habit of over-analysing what I’m eating. I would just make the same things all the time. This served to make me a) unhealthy, b) constantly anxious about going out, and c) just not enjoying myself. But with vegan food, there’s such a combination of flavours, textures, ingredients that I realised I’d be missing out on something wonderful if I didn’t experiment a little.

And I have – I find eating no dairy / eggs has made me significantly less bloated and eased my digestion. This is because I’m making more of an active effort to get my probiotics and necessary vitamins. I eat a lot of sauerkraut, oatmilk and coconut yoghurt with B12, and a huge amount of green, iron filled veggies. I think before I took it for granted that I’d be getting enough of these things, but now I’m thinking of new ways to get them into my diet. I feel more awake, less stodgy, and just overall quite happy with my diet.

I haven’t really craved or missed anything either. I think convenience has been my only thing. It’s just not as convenient in terms of grabbing something to eat off the shelf. But actually this might be a good thing because I’m trying to be more environmental – and if I’m preparing my own food everyday, well, that can only help.

But let’s face it, vegan food doesn’t always have to be healthy. Just like it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being completely eco-friendly. I’ve had weekends where I’ve eaten oh-so indulgently that I’ve had a stomachache. Also, I’ve not lost any weight as a vegan, if anything I’ve put a little bit on (which I’m absolutely ok with because I’m enjoying my food). On the eco-front, vegan snacks / yoghurts / milks / staples come in just as much plastic as anything else. Sure it’s not actively made from animals, but it’s still hurting our ecosystem. Though I have found vegan brands tend to be more awake to this sort of issue and explore ulterior packing methods. Like with anything, balance is absolutely key.

Socially it hasn’t been an issue either, I’ve gone out loads, been to people’s house for dinner, and had people over. It’s pretty much a non-issue. I’m surrounded by very supportive people and, honestly, no one can make your decisions for you. As long as you’re happy and healthy, you do you.

So here’s a massive shout-out to everyone whose complete Veganuary, whether you’re continuing or not!

What are the little things you’ve learnt about yourself this Vegauary?

Meg x

Ethical fashion: Will’s Vegan Shoes – review

Women’s Chelsea Boot V2 – Chestnut, £88

Shoes. I hate buying them.

I think it’s because they’re so necessary, it’s like booking a service or MOT on your car – you have to do it but it’s expensive and it’s not something you want. Unless you’re shoe obsessed, which I am not.

When it came to shoes I had one goal: they had to be ethically made and not contain any animal derived materials, such as leather.

A quick google brought up The Third Estate, a UK based brand dealing in ethically made clothing, shoes, and accessories. I knew I wanted boots with tread for winter that would last, and I didn’t mind paying a bit extra if meant I didn’t have to buy any again for a while

I was immediately impressed by the website: it was clearly laid out, had a good variety of choices (I didn’t think there’d be that much choice!), and provided me with a product description that let me know:

  • What the shoes were made of (bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops in a carbon neutral process, insoles made from recycled rubber)
  • Shoe spec etc., such as them having good tread & being water proof…
  • Ethical info (made in Portugal under EU health and safety regulations, and Vegan Society Registered)
  • The brand: in this case Will’s Vegan Shoes.

Will’s Vegan Shoes are a shoes, accessories, and bag shop, taking items we normally see made from leather and making them Vegan, as well as more ethically produced. Next time I need a bag or anything, I’m definitely going to head there (just another thing I loath having to buy).

My friend and I had to have a little ‘boot photoshoot’, which didn’t look strange at all.

The service was great, they came quickly and safely. The box contained a little info sheet on taking care of the boots and the packaging was minimum fuss. The shoes themselves were beautiful, not a mark on them. It took me about a week to wear them in properly, but now they’re very comfy and are water proof as promised. When I walk I sometimes hit the inside of my foot with my other foot (normally leading to scuffs and broken material), but the material seems to be really good quality and hasn’t marked. Apart from being a little bit muddy, they’re as good as new (except comfier).

They’re just boots but it’s nice to know I’m reducing my footprint one step at a time (ba-dum-tush).

Meg x

Update: Veganuary week one!

My flat smells of potato and cookies, which is a bit weird. Meal prep problems.

Anyway… so, we’ve almost come to the end of the first week of Veganuary, it’s time to settle back with a cup of tea and a book to celebrate our small steps forward. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so diversely. I expected to be relying a fair bit on vegan substitutes (cheese etc), but I haven’t been. I know that’s neither here-nor-there because everyone does it their own way, but it surprised me regardless.

I decided to use this cookbook my dad bought me as a guide for the first couple of weeks (and because it was after New Year and I was far too lethargic to consider thinking of meals on my own). I’m going to write a full review of the book, so I won’t get into too much detail. Except maybe to say the first week has been very red cabbage heavy.

I feel good, for the first half of the week my stomach was pretty confused. It went from rich Christmas food to things like cabbage boats, sweet potato bowls, and tofu. But otherwise, I don’t feel tired, I didn’t feel hungry throughout the week because my meal portions were really good. My meals are balanced and I’m pretty sure I’m getting my nutrients.

I only follow the lunches and dinners of this book, cutting the portions down a little because otherwise they’re a bit too much for me. On the other hand, for breakfast they normally just advise a smoothie or a bowl of fruit, which just doesn’t cut it for me – I’ve been having my usual oatmeal, made with oat-milk and topped with pecans, blueberries, and banana. What can I say, I’m a hungry gal.

I didn’t take too many pictures because I’ve been busy settling back into work and the New Year, except for some pics this weekend:

Delicious banana pancakes topped with coconut yoghurt and fruit!
A Buddha Bowl (Plate?) made from leftovers that I had for lunch today, with curried chickpeas, marinated tofu, avocado, and salad.

Rock on to week two.

Congrats to everyone else doing Veganuary, keep on going! You’re making a big difference and the more people that get on board the more we can encourage companies to pay attention to the massive issues plaguing the animal product industry.

Check out the this site to learn more about why it’s so important: https://veganuary.com/why/