I made my own oat milk!

I’ve been resisting the urge to become “that kind of vegan” for a while now but seeing as I have made my own but cheese for a few years now I knew with the onset of zero waste making my own plant milk would be next on the menu!

I did a quick search online and I simply needed 100g of oats and 750ml of water.

I buy my organic oats plastic free from Zero Waste Club. So this milk is truly zero waste and costs 40p rather than the £1.60 that oat milk goes for in the supermarket.

The process is pretty straightforward.

1. Soak oats for at least 30 minutes

2. Rinse oats and discard soaking water

3. Blend oats and water together

4. Strain through cheese cloth

5. Transfer to bottle

I bought this gorgeous glass bottle in Sainsbury’s to use for my homemade milk.

You can use one litre of water if you like your milk a little thinner but I loved the mouth feel of this when I had it in a latte.

Have you considered making your own plant milk? I think I’m going to try hemp next as I can get hemp seeds on Zero Waste Club too. If you give it a try let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Plumes x

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I made my own oat milk!

Violife Cheese Board

My Husband has been mostly dairy free for a while now so he was excited to see Violife bring out a cheese board for the festive season, so much so he bought two, one for us to taste test and another to take to my Brother’s on Christmas day.

The cheese board contains three different cheeses each 150g and cost £5.50. We have a blue, cranberry and mature cheddar varieties. We tried these with Ritz crackers.

The packaging does seem quite big for the size of the cheese and when you have two packs it takes up a considerable space in the fridge.

I am not a great lover of blue cheese but I think this a fair approximation and tastes similar to the Bute Island Sheese version.

I was really disappointed with the other two cheeses. The mature is anything but and apart from the cranberries the other cheese lacks flavour as well. I have heard some people describe the texture as plasticky but that didn’t really bother me. We’re going to try the mature later in the week melted on chicken style burgers but you would expect the best was to enjoy a cheese board is simply on crackers.

I would not recommend this but would be interested to see what other people thought. Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Violife Cheese Board

A Vegan Dinner @ Pizza Hut

I was due to have a catch up with my friend Louise who happens to work as a vet in a practice on a retail park that contains a Pizza Hut and as they have just announced that following a successful pilot in a handful of branches they are rolling out vegan cheese nationwide I thought it was a great opportunity to try it out.

It has been many, many years since I have been to a pizza hut restaurant. I have had delivery minus the cheese but that has been a while now as I have an independent takeaway pizza place near me that I can trot down to with my own vegan cheese that they’ll put on for me. I really liked the look of the restaurant, its sort of like an American diner and even the toilets were kitted out with bulbs all round the mirror.

I went for the veggie pizza which comes with mushroom, sweetcorn, peppers and onions and I added olives. The cheese they are using is Violife which is coconut based. You also get unlimited salad bar with the pizza which was a nice starter and reminded me of Harvester.

My friend ordered the veggie with dairy cheese so I had a direct comparison. The vegan version definitely looked less cheesy and for some reason the cheese seemed to be on top of the toppings rather than underneath. 

The pizza was really tasty and I love the deep pan base which is sometimes what you need rather than the thin Italian style you get in Pizza Express or Zizzi’s. Next time I will definitely be asking for more cheese though!

I also enquired about dairy free milk for hot drinks. The waitress said they haven’t changed their machines so currently can’t do dairy free but she thought they would be looking to offer it in the future.

As my friend has a taste card we got our pizzas on a BOGOF deal so I’ll definitely be heading back as you can’t complain for £5.50 each! Some people have mentioned they don’t agree with the £1 premium for vegan cheese but I think if they get enough requests for it this might change. I also hope they decided to roll this out to their takeaway branches as well.

Have you tried the new vegan pizzas at Pizza Hut? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Dinner @ Pizza Hut

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

Veganuary 2017 – Initial Survey Results

If you don’t know what Veganuary is where have you been?!

Veganuary is a campaign to get people to try veganism for one month during January and offer lots of support through their website. By asking people to do this at the same time a community of participants springs up which can help eachother while they are at similar points in their journeys.

Every year Veganuary survey their participants a month after the end of January and again  in 6 months to see how they are getting on and the results of the first survey for 2017 are in!

In 2017 there were around 50,000 participants, up from 23,000 in 2016 and of those over 8,000 replied to the survey (making it statistically significant).

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The stats above are fantastic. Just to think how many fewer animals were eaten is amazing and it goes to show that people may have found it easier than theyou thought it would be.

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I think you have to contextualise the stats in the picture above as many people try to be healthier anyway in January after the excess of the holiday season. Also it is easy to be a junk food vegan so going vegan doesn’t automatically mean you are going to be healthier. However it is great that the respondents feel healthier for going vegan. I also maintain that veganism contributes to my spiritual and mental wellbeing as I know my actions are aligned with my values and beliefs.

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This is the best stat! Even those who have decided not to stay vegan, I’m sure they will reduce their animal product consumption and will have introduced some new foods into their diets. It will be interesting to see at the 6 month survey how many people have managed this!

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From the stats in the bottom left of this infogram people intend to seriously decrease their use of animal products which is great for their individual health, the animals and the planet.

99% would recommend taking part in Veganuary to others! Let’s see what next year brings!

Did you take part in Veganuary? Did you find it easy or difficult? Are you staying vegan? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

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Veganuary 2017 – Initial Survey Results

Round up of the week’s food 160911

I’ve still been feeling under the weather this week. I’ve been very tired and had anxiety issues so I am going to see my doctor.

My Husband and I have been discussing how we can make small changes that will help our mental health. I think we are ok at planning our main meals but we definitely snack too much. I also buy the majority of my lunches out at work and I don’t have a regular breakfast routine. So hopefully we can save some money as well improving our health.

I swim most weeks and walk almost everywhere. I did do the Couch 2 5k a few months ago but felt it hard going in the heat of the summer and have let it slide so I hope to pick it up again as we get into autumn. I did feel it helped with my mental health and general wellbeing and I need to keep it up.

On Monday we started with a vegetable stir fry. I like this at the beginning of the week to get a good injection of veg.

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On Tuesday I went to a supper club hosted at Black Cat Cafe by vegan clothing brand Ethics and Antics with my Sister-in-law. I did feel really tired on Tuesday and could have easily gone home to my bed but we had prepaid and I was glad I went. We paid £35 each for a three course surprise menu with a goody bag.

The goody bag was laid out on our place settings when we came in and I was impressed by what we were given, including two full size drinks, two snack bars, crisps, chocolate, superfood powders and some discount vouchers.

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For starter we had a raw pad thai. This was really fresh and the peanut sauce was great.

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For main we had a sweet potato lentil dhal with rice, kale, roasted chickpeas and half an avocado. The curry was quite mild but tasty and filling. I wasn’t quite sure what the avocado added to the dish and thought it could have presented better.

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For dessert we were served a chia pudding. This was nice and light after the curry although I usually see chia pudding as a breakfast rather that an dessert!

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I did enjoy the food but if I had seen the menu before I don’t think it’s something I would have left at. I do like a supper club and I think it’s a great way to try new food.

On Wednesday I had a Linda McCartney quarter pounder with sweet potato fries and salad. I didn’t really have much appetite so hadn’t eaten much in the day but I did enjoy this.

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On Thursday we had a simple pasta dish with aubergine pesto and veg.

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We were cat sitting on Saturday so on Friday we decided to get a takeaway so we take the leftovers and wouldn’t have to cook while we were there. I had vegetable noodles and sea spice beancurd (my favourite!) Unfortunately it took nearly an hour and a half to get to us so I had well and truly stuck in before I thought to take a photo!

I’m looking forward to making soups and stews in the autumn and winter and feeling really nourished by vegetables.

Hope you have a good week.

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160911

Round up of the week’s food 160904

Can’t believe it’s September! Autumn is my favourite season, I think due in part to it being when I met and married my Husband. I’m looking forward to lots of stuffed squashes and stews in the coming months!

I haven’t been feeling too well this week but I’ve still had some great food.

On Monday we had a simple stir fry which has become a weekly staple in my house, I think it’s an easy way to get a decent amount of veg!

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On Tuesday I was very ill and had to come home from work, I managed some plain spaghetti for dinner. On Wednesday I stayed at home and had some salad for lunch. My Mum made me dinner and it was stir fry again, this time with some tofu from the Asian supermarket.

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On Thursday I was still after simple food so had gnocchi with a dairy free pesto, this was ready in under 10 mins and was really tasty!

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On Friday I was up for something more adventurous but still tired so we decided to get a takeaway. I had aubergine with potatoes, chickpea masala and lentils with spinach. I love getting a few vegetable dishes and this lasted me for dinner on Saturday as well and tea on Sunday!

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On Saturday I went to Primrose Hill in London for Pup Aid a charity dog show against puppy farming. I also helped on  the SaveABulls stall, a campaign set up by Sister-in-law and her veterinary nurse colleagues against the Breed Specific Legislation aspects of the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) which I wrote about previously here. We had a great day, I saw loads of lovely dogs, did a bit of celeb spotting (!) and spoke to lots of people about Breed Specific Legislation. We had three exempted dogs who had been deemed pit bull “types” on the stand, giving a great example of how lovable and friendly these dogs can be.

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My Brother and I went to the top of the hill and had a lovely look down at the event and across the London skyline.

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We took a break and walked down the canal to Camden for lunch. I stopped at Club Mexicana at Kerb food market. I’ve tried their jackfruit burrito before so I went for their to-fish tacos which were lush. I thought they might be a bit messy to eat but I managed it quite well!

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Hopefully I’ll continue to recover this week and get a bit more energy!

Have a good week!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160904