Planet Organic Vegan Market

This week the organic supermarket Planet Organic held vegan markets at their various stores around London showcasing some of the products they sell with the opportunity to meet the product company owners and trying loads of samples!

I attended the market at Devonshire Square with my vegan pal Mitsu yesterday.

I have used clearspring products for a long time but I’ve never tried their soya mince/chunks. I’ve been reducing my processed soy consumption but for those once in a while times this looks like a good option as they use organic European soya beans.

I love the spiralina bounce balls and they’ve just had a revamp of their packaging. These are great as a snack or to have pre or post exercise.

This was a company I haven’t heard of, they make falafel and wraps which contain 5 different vegetables. The falafel a are baked and come with a dip.

These Be Mindfuel soups are high in protein and are the thickest powdered soups I’ve ever come across. I like to make my own soup so I don’t think I would use these but they are great to have in your cupboard or drawer at work.

I’ve tried cheese from Nutcrafter Creamery before but I was really excited to try their new alternative to Halloumi that I had seen on their instagram feed. It didn’t disappoint! All their cheeses are cashew based and they also have a cashew based “butter”.

I’ve seen these pastas made with beans in various location but it was mainly the price that put me off. We tried the soya beans spaghetti in a tomato sauce and it was really filling. You definitely would need to put a lot with this so it like having a complete meal which definitely makes it more attractive to me.

Coconut Collaborative make gorgeous yogurts, frozen yogurts and desserts. My Mum is a new convert to their little chocolate pots and they’ve just released some some little lemon pots which I’m really excited to try. 

Lastly we have Themptation with their hemp based houmous and pesto. These were really tasty and an easy way to get some hemp into your diet with all those omega 3’s.

It was really great to see Planet Organic promoting these vegan products and suppliers. It’s so nice to meet the people that make these products and get a real sense of their ethos and trying before you buy is always good!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

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Planet Organic Vegan Market

Fashion Revolution Week

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history.

There were five garment factories in Rana Plaza all manufacturing clothing for big global brands. The victims were mostly young women.

From BBC –

This week has dubbed Fashion Revolution Week to challenge how we think about buying clothes and what impact the fashion industry has on people and the planet.

www.fashionrevolution.org has tons of information, advice and how to get involved with the movement. 

Fashion has changed so much in the last 20 years and fast fashion has now become the norm.

How many items have you bought in the last month? How much did you pay for them? Did you think about the people who made them or what materials they are made from?

Lauren Bravo makes a good point in this article about her own fashion diet, that we often spends lots of money on meals out, takeaways and coffees in a month but we have a set limit in our head about the price we’d pay for a single item of clothing and then spend more by buying multiple cheaper items.

For many years now I have tried to be more conscious of the ethics of the shops I buy clothes in and there are certain shops I won’t buy from because of practices I know about or simply by thinking if that item is that cheap to me the consumer how much is the person that made that garment earning. 

Since the beginning of 2016 I have been “No New Clothes” sourcing as much as I can second hand from charity shops, vintage shops and on eBay. Even though I am buying my clothes second hand I don’t try to buy a lot of clothes. This is not a habit I have had to change as I’ve never really been into retail therapy and tend to just buy something when I need it.

As a vegan I don’t wear clothes from fabrics made from animal products (fur, leather, wool, silk) some of which involve quite complex processing methods using chemicals which aren’t good for the workers or the planet. This means I wear either synthetic fabrics or plant based ones such as cotton and linen. This Fashion Revolution Week I’ve been thinking about the fabric I wear. As I only buy second hand does it matter that I wear synthetics? These products are already in existence and I am reusing them and preventing them from ending up in landfill. On the other hand (and I use this argument against wearing fur, real or faux) am I perpetuating the view that these fabrics are fine and we should be making use of them? I think it’s something I’m really going to consider when making future purchases.

When buying plant based you can also seek out organic options which means chemical pesticides haven’t been used on the plants and are healthier for the workers and the planet.

You can search the hashtags #whomademyclothes and #imadeyourclothes on social media to find more stories on this issue. 

Craftivist Collective have started a new campaign in support of Fashion Revolution, Mini Fashion Statements are thought provoking messages that you write on scrolls, tie with ribbons and pop into the pockets of clothes in shops for customers to find.

Bourgeois Boheme currently have a pop-up in The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane showcasing their line of shoes which are made from pinatex, a newly engineered fabric that replicates leather but is made from fibres from the leaves of pineapple plants.

From their instagram feed –

What do you think about your own shopping habits? Do you think you should make some changes or would you like to? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Fashion Revolution Week

How faux is your faux?

In recent weeks there have been reports of products being sold as faux fur are in fact the real deal (BBC NewsMetroTelegraph). Some of these products have been sold from retailers who have no fur policies such as Debenhams and House of Fraser. 

Part of the issue is that where the furry element makes up a small proportion of the item the materials do not have to be declared, such as a trim on a coat or the Pom Pom on a hat, so without very close monitoring of suppliers and producers retailers may be caught out. Of course this is completely the responsibility of the retailer and they need to have stringent controls in place to make sure they are selling products correctly so consumers have an informed choice.  

Producing fur in the UK was banned in 2003 and whereas in years gone by you could tell the authenticity of a fur product by the price tag this is no longer the case with China flooding the market with cheap fur far from “ethically” produced.

There have been calls to boycott certain stores like those above along with Misguided and Forever 21 for selling fur as faux. As I don’t buy new clothes this isn’t an issue for me as I’m already boycotting the whole High Street! (Minus the charity shops of course).

There have also been calls to boycott Harvey Nichols (not difficult as I’ve never bought anything from there!) as they have recently withdrawn their no fur policy (Peta). They claim they can now source “ethical fur”. I think it’s a real shame as it appears their 9 year policy was just a publicity stunt when it was trendy to be fur free but now there is a resurgence in fur they have dropped their ethical stance.

One area I do come across fur and other clothing containing animal materials is the good old vintage trade. Some would argue that vegans can use vintage products containing animal materials as these things are already in existence. I agree with this for products I already own as throwing them out would be a waste but I’d much someone who does wear leather/wool/silk or indeed fur get use out of these items rather than buying new. (I overheard a horrible conversation in a vintage shop once where they were discussing how many fox/mink were used to make various items. Heave!)

They are also arguments that if you do not believe in wearing fur you shouldn’t wear faux fur as this perpetuates the view that animal fur looks good on people. This is something I subscribe to. Whenever I see someone wearing something furry I’m always wondering whether it’s real or not and whether the person wearing it actually knows whether it is and cares either way. 

What are your views on the issue? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

How faux is your faux?

Homemade Tempeh

This post is at the request of my twitter/instagram friend Liz!

Tempeh is a meat substitute originating in the far east made from fermented soya beans. Fermented foods are trendy at the moment and are helpful in improving digestion and gut health.

Photo from Wikipedia

Tempeh has a slightly nutty taste and can be marinated and used in a variety of dishes. A few weeks ago I made some tempeh bacon with shop bought tempeh.


Tempeh is made by soaking dried soya beans, cooking them, mixing them with a mould and then fermenting in a warm place for a couple of days.

This is the second time I have made my own tempeh. The first time I received a free sample from www.tempeh.info so I went back to them to buy my starter/mould this time.

This website has all the information about tempeh you need and step by step instructions on how to make it. 

I bought my dried soya beans from Tesco for £1.60 for 500g and I bought 25g of starter for about £12 (website is based in Germany so all prices there are in euros). 600g of dried beans and a teaspoon of starter makes 1kg of tempeh so it’s a lot cheaper than store bought.

They recommend you split and remove the skins of the beans which I found a bit time consuming so I wasn’t too conscientious about this.

After they were cooked I let the beans cool down then I mixed them with the starter and put them in a sealed sandwich bag and put a few holes in it. I put the bag in the cupboard next to my oven which was still warm from cooking dinner. The next day I went to my in-laws for the weekend with my fingers crossed. On my return today I was glad to see it had worked and my tempeh was done. I only made a small batch this time as I wasn’t sure how warm it would be in my absence and I didn’t want to ruin a big batch.

I’m interested to try out different versions which they have on the website and perfect my technique.

Have you tried tempeh? Did you like it? Would you consider making your own? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Homemade Tempeh

Happy Earth Day

The one thing you can do today that will have the most impact on helping the environment is go vegan. 

Does that sound like a huge impossible task?

Could you have one meat free day a week? Could you try a plant based milk in your tea? Could you introduce a new vegan recipe into your repertoire? 

Just by eating one vegan meal you have the following impact. 

Does the thought of going vegan make you worry about nutrition?

Plumes x

Happy Earth Day

Bloody Periods

Periods are annoying at the best of times, but the politics of periods can be particularly frustrating to say the least.

First off, here in the UK we have the tampon tax. VAT (Value Added Tax) is applied to luxury items at a standard rate of 20%. In 2000 VAT applying to sanitary products was reduced from the then standard rate of 17.5% to 5% following a campaign from Labour MP Dawn Primarolo. The fact we pay a luxury tax on sanitary products and not on Jaffa Cakes is frankly ridiculous.

There were calls for the tax to be scrapped completely a couple of years ago, but due to some sort of EU complication this wasn’t possible (maybe this will be post-brexit but I doubt it’ll be a top priority). However, then Prime Minister David Cameron said the money received from the tax would go to fund women’s health and support groups (The Guardian).  It has come out recently that some of this money has gone to fund an anti-abortion charity (The IndependentThe GuardianThe Metro). Many people were angered by this news (although little this government does surprises me nowadays) but there are ways to limit the amount of money you are paying towards this tax.

Reusable sanitary products have been around for a while and in my mind bring up images of hippies. I remember seeing stickers on the back of toilet doors at uni advertising moon cups. I was always a little curious but it wasn’t until I saw similar adverts at a vegan fair a few years ago I thought I’d investigate it further.

I bought a menstrual cup from Femme Cup  and it seriously changed my life. No longer worried about always having tampons on me just in case, having to change it far less often and having the piece of mind that I wasn’t adding waste to the oceans or to landfill. Also the money saved over the years is a plus point too!

From their website –

Femmecup is a reusable menstrual cup worn internally just like a tampon except it collects menstrual flow instead of absorbing it.

Femmecup forms a gentle seal with your vaginal walls and any flow is contained in the cup.  It is then simply removed, emptied into the toilet, rinsed with water and then reinserted; Femmecup is always with you when you need it most!

Femmecup is non-absorbent so it can be left in place for up to 12 hours with no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome; you may want to empty it more on heavier days and less often on light ones, it really is your personal choice as long as you always keep to the 12 hour rule.  In between periods your Femmecup should be sterilised either by boiling in water for 2-4 minutes or rinsing with sterilising fluid such as Milton.

Femmecup holds up to 30ml, that’s 3 times more than tampons or towels can absorb; so Femmecup is great on heavy days and light ones too.

Femme Cup also allow you to buy a cup for a women in the developing world where access to clean, affordable sanitary products is limited. It is a big issue in some countries where many girls miss time off school when they are on their periods due to lack of provisions. I was glad to read the following story in Stylist Magazine –

An initiative that provides free sanitary towels to girls in Bangladesh has significantly decreased dropout in 500 schools. Before the actions of organisation Labonya, girls in the Mithapukur district often missed a week of school every month as they had little knowledge of menstrual hygiene, which in turn lead many leaving full-time education altogether due to falling behind in their studies. “Students now don’t skip classes during menstruation and are doing well in exams,” said Labonya director Ashequr Rahman. The organisation is now calling for the project to be rolled out across the country.

 Unfortunately the affordability of sanitary products is now becoming an issue for school girls in Britain (The MetroBBC NewsThe Independent). It is also an issue for homeless women, refugees and asylum seekers. Bloody Good Period are an organisation which re-distributes sanitary products to those in need. You can go on their website and buy something from their Amazon wishlist or contribute in another way.

If you donate to food banks, especially the bins in the supermarkets please consider adding a pack of tampons or pads to your shop to donate. Unfortunately periods aren’t a luxury and are still such a taboo subject we need to help those most in need to have access to these basic supplies.

Thanks for reading.

Plumes x

Bloody Periods

Being Dairy-Free and Osteoporosis

Last week the National Osteoporosis Society released the results of a survey showing a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet. The articles I saw in the press seemed to leap to the sensational (Huffington PostBBC News).

These articles didn’t seem to mention dairy-free milks or calcium set tofu as a source of calcium which I think seems quite peculiar as I don’t know anybody who follows a dairy free diet (vegan or otherwise) who doesn’t replace dairy, with dairy-free alternatives. (This leads the sceptic in me to think the dairy industry is pushing an agenda.)

The NOS contacted the Vegan Society as they wanted to set the record straight and offered to feature a quote from the society on their website (see their full response here).

“The charity has informed us that some media reports exaggerate the findings, making it sound like dairy is the only source of calcium and failing to note the alternative sources that can be easily obtained on a vegan diet, such as calcium-fortified plant milk and soya yoghurt, and calcium-set tofu. Other sources include kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds.

“Damage to the environment and animal welfare concerns are likely to lead people to make the decision to avoid dairy products. We encourage those curious about vegan diets to visit The Vegan Society’s website which has extensive information and research on all aspects of plant-based nutrition.

“Since The Vegan Society was founded over 70 years ago, millions of people around the world have been following a vegan diet and enjoying its health benefits.

“Any diet, vegan or non-vegan, could be lacking in nutrients if they are not adequately planned. It is the position of the British Dietetics Association, the largest association of food and nutrition professionals in the UK, that ‘well-planned plant-based, vegan-friendly diets can be devised to support healthy living at every age and life-stage’.

Countries that have the highest consumption of dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis, there are various theories for the reasons why (which I’ll let you research at your leisure). Humans are the only species that consume milk past weaning and we have only being doing it for a relatively short amount of time (10,000 years) in terms of our evolution.

Every diet should be planned to ensure you aren’t suffering from deficiencies of any nutrients and if you are worried about any vitamin deficiencies you can speak to your doctor about getting tested for it.

Lastly I just wanted to leave you this graphic of dairy free sources of calcium.

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Plumes x

Being Dairy-Free and Osteoporosis