5 things this Monday…

Happy Monday friends! I’m feeling determined and am lining up several posts for this week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here are 5 things that have caught my eye…

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  1. Sainsbury’s is leading a really exciting initiative to encourage shoppers to eat less meat! This involves improved visibility for vegetarian and vegan products alongside meat options and other plans. Companies are cottoning on to the environmental importance of eating less meat! If you are ever in doubt as to whether veganism makes a difference, consider this one of the many reasons why it does!
  2. We’re all familiar with 5-a-day, but scientists have found that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is even more beneficial to your health (I know, it kinda stands to reason). On a vegan diet, I have to say this is a lot easier to manage- sometimes I get 5 in my dinner alone! Seeing how many veggies you can shoe-horn in is a good challenge.
  3. Schools in California, United States are cutting cheese and meat from the lunch menu to help the environment. I’m so excited that institutions are really starting to take this seriously and take charge of climate change. More please!
  4. More you say? Well the German government has banned meat at official functions! YES! What a great example to set, by taking a practical step that people can follow 🙂
  5. M&S released this recipe for savoury rosti pancakes ahead of pancake day tomorrow and they look SO GOOD! I bought all the ingredients today and I’m going to give it a go..
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Small efforts.

Sometimes taking steps for the environment seem like massive sacrifices. Sometimes we think it’s only worth it we make a big impact. Today I thought I’d share a few things I’m trying that still count towards my effort, however small they may be.

 

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Spring onions and a leek 🙂

The window sill shenanigans are starting again! I know it doesn’t really make a major difference to the amount of food I have in, but re-growing veg in water is the first step in what I hope will be the beginning of growing food. It’s pretty amazing watching things grow! In a week my spring onions went from an inch long to a foot long and I chopped them up to use in a curry (below); now the roots are back in water again! Next week I’ll find a use for my regrown leek, and I also want to get a lettuce growing. See here for all the veg you can regrow in water.

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‘curry’ made completely from scratch!

I was eating a peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch today when I noticed the peanut butter has palm oil in it. It’s so annoying! Ever since I watched Before the Flood (see my review here) I’ve been super motivated not to endorse that industry, but I haven’t been too successful. It’s in so many things! However, the next time I buy peanut butter I’m hunting down one without palm oil.

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The debris from a paper cull I did recently…

In general I’m alright at avoiding printing. My train/plane/coach tickets are always on my phone, and other than that I have very few reasons to actually print anything… eeeexcept for uni. We get a lot of handouts, which there isn’t a lot I can do about, but I also have to do a lot of reading from online books. I used to print out the readings every week so that no matter where I was, I could get to them. A week ago, I decided to just try and read off the screen and take notes instead, then print if I really felt the need. I have yet to feel that need. I think I used to tell myself ‘it’s all very well trying to be better to the environment, but I NEED to print this stuff for my degree!‘ when actually it turned out not to be such a massive thing. Hoping to keep this not-printing thing up as much as possible going forward!

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Sneaky cinema shot!

Every Wednesday I go to the cinema on my own to watch a foreign film. It’s my me-time. Part of this mid-week treat is buying myself some popcorn. I could make it myself, but I don’t have that much time on a Wednesday, plus it’s nice to give back to the uni cinema whose prices are insanely cheap and staff are lovely. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been bringing back the same box that I bought popcorn in for the first film. They refill it and at the end of the film I pop it back in my bag for next week. The cardboard has softened a little but it works just fine, and I must’ve saved a good dozen other boxes from going in the recycling. It’s super simple and easy, but it all helps!

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GO WORMS GO!

I got a worm bin back in the Autumn, and whilst that has helped to absorb a bit of my food waste, they don’t eat quite fast enough at the moment to deal with everything I create (and then there’s the odd thing they can’t eat like onions and citrus). I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to chuck that stuff in the general bin in the kitchen until it hit me recently that I could take it into uni where they have food waste bins. About once a week, when I have a decent amount of scraps, I’ll take them onto campus and put them in one of their bins. Landfill diverted again, woo!

 

 

5 things this Monday…

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I saw this and it spoke to me (Source)

Hi friends! It’s time for another round up!

  1. Jamie Oliver has some great video tutorials for vegan meals! This one for sweet potato + white bean chilli looks simple enough but also ridiculously yummy. I’m in.
  2. Zero Waste Memoirs shares some tips on eating down the pantry and starting fresh. When you keep duplicates of tins and packets, it normally ends up being a waste of money and/or food because you can lose track. Keeping less + being creative with your food stock is the key. I found this a great read!
  3. Some news- Swedish supermarkets have started using laser marking to replace stickers on produce. I love hearing about creative ways that technology is making solutions to the problem of waste. In the words of Peter Hagg, one of the pioneers, ‘It’s small but I think it adds up’. Especially for people who have dramatically reduced their trash, these little produce stickers are annoying and unnecessary and everywhere!
  4. This super short, beautifully filmed video shows Jamie Kate Adoc’s zero waste travel kit. It’s just a collection of basic items to bring on a trip and avoid picking up disposable waste. I normally carry a canvas bag on my travels, but now I’m super inspired to put together my very own kit!
  5. LEGO have recently announced that they are investing 1 billion DKK into the ‘research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO® elements as well as packaging materials’. YOU HEARD RIGHT! Possibly the greatest toy manufacturers ever are jumping on the eco bandwagon- there is hope for everything else too 🙂

Have a great week!

Dinner.

Since I moved to France and especially after I went vegan in January, I’ve been turning into a foodie. The kitchen has become my favourite place, and whereas a year or two ago cooking was a chore and a source of stress in my life, it is now what I look forward to most days!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty abysmal at following recipes. But that’s okay, because it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re happy with the result. Here are a few meals that I’ve made recently:

 

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Broccoli and lentil soup – My hand blender was on the blink which I only realised as I got it out to blitz the broccoli up for this soup, so it ended up having some quite large bits of broccoli in it! But it was actually really nice to be able to taste all the elements and them not to be blended together. The key was putting onion and garlic in and seasoning it well.

Ingredients:

Broccoli

Green lentils

Onion

Garlic

Sea salt, black pepper, coriander

 

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Rice, plantain and lettuce – This one was easy. I am obsessed with plantain. Maybe it’s because it’s sweet and I’m a sucker for anything sweet. Maybe it’s because I fry them in oil, who knows (coconut oil is perrrffecct for this as it brings out the sweetness!). Also, brown rice is great. I made the switch a few months ago and I do not regret my choice one bit.

Ingredients:

Brown rice

Onion

Lettuce

Plantain

Coconut oil

 

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Roasted yellow peppers with quinoa – This one was a fun one. I started off by boiling the quinoa, then mixed it in with some black beans, chickpeas, tomato purée and some spices then filled a hollowed-out pepper and whacked them in the oven! It turned out really yummy.

Ingredients:

Yellow pepper

Quinoa

Tomato purée

Black beans

Chickpeas

Red onion

Sea salt, oregano, black pepper

 

As you can see, most of my dinners aren’t that fancy. They don’t involve too many ingredients and usually include at least one vegetable and some kind of grain. They are filling and pretty healthy, and it’s exciting to keep experimenting every day with new ideas. I haven’t included directions on how to make these, because I am basically just making it up as I go along, or I look it up on Pinterest and follow someone else’s recipe 🙂

Small steps.

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I am reluctant to even mention the word ‘gardening’ at all in this post, because what I’ve been doing feels pretty far from it in many ways, but it’s exciting and a small step in the direction of gardening!

I found out recently that you can grow certain vegetables (spring onions, leeks, lettuce etc.) from the root in just water. So in theory, if I planned it right, I wouldn’t need to buy any of these again! I started off with spring onions, saving about an inch off the bottom and submerging its root in some water in a jar. Just over two weeks later I have these babies!

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The longest one (which I’m assuming I planted first)  has had about 5 inches of regrowth! In the next few weeks I’m going to chop it up and see what it tastes like. In hindsight, I might still be buying spring onions in the future, as the yield I’m currently getting is considerably smaller than you would get if you bought them. However, I’ll add a shoot or two to the shop-bought onions I’m using, why not. Eventually when I have a nice big collection, it’ll pay off, especially when you consider that they are organic.

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several of my growing onions has started to sprout another stem!

I have enjoyed watching these little guys shoot up so quickly, and it’s nice to have something low-maintenance to look after to ease myself into it! This week I’m adding a leek root to see how that does alongside the spring onions on my windowsill. See this article for a list of veggies you can regrow from water with tips 🙂

 

Review: Live and Let Live (2013)

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This documentary in a nutshell is people telling stories about how they came to veganism. What makes it really special is that it draws from a variety of different people (activists, dieticians, ethicists, athletes, farmers) but feels like an honest, laid-back conversation.

Among the interviewees was a guy who worked his way up from washing dishes to cooking in restaurants to owning his own. At that point, responsible for the most minute details of his establishment, he realised he was authorising the death of animals needlessly. The life he now leads is not only cruelty-free, but he is passionate about organic, local produce that’ll bring nourishment to his customers and honour the lives of the creatures he shares the earth with.

None of the subjects claim to be saints, nor do they preach; they simply tell their stories. They explain how they used to live, the moment they realised that consuming animals was wrong, and why they continue to live that way. Often they mention health, but the overwhelming reason is that, to paraphrase from the film, they finally opened up their circle of compassion to include animals.

The concept of carnism (eating meat) is broken down in the documentary. It requires the covering up of the inherent violence involved in bringing meat to our plates, the denial of the logic that- at least in the west- we would be horrified to learn that the meat we were eating came from a cat or dog, but completely satisfied to hear that the burger we’re eating is made from the flesh of a cow. It’s good to be reminded that there is a whole system keeping people in this destructive practice, but that it’s completely possible to become aware and break free as well.

Watching people, in some cases decades on from the point I’m at, reminded me that my level of compassion still has room to grow and that I have things yet to learn- but in a really exciting way.

I could go on, as usual, but if you’re interested I hope you’ll watch it yourself. It’s available on Netflix UK now.

5 Things this Monday…

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It’s about time I did another one of these! I’ve been saving interesting articles as usual, but for some reason sticking them in a post seemed like an impossible feat! Anyway, here’s some stuff I’ve read recently..

  1. Kristina has done it again with a brilliant recipe for fully raw sushi rolls. They look so yummy and more importantly easy. I’ve been meaning to learn more raw food meal ideas as it’s really really good for your health.
  2. Next up is a little story from The Beauty in Simple. This lady made a lacy pillowcase that was just lying in her closet into a dress to gift a friend’s 2-year-old on her birthday (pictured above). She even made sure to employ the straps to make a pouch for her hankies. Star!
  3. The BBC reported in May that a reality check is needed if we want to reduce our emissions in time to save the planet. According to this article, a third of greenhouse gas emissions are created by agriculture.
  4. Rob Greenfield shares his 12 undeniable ways to better health. What I like about them is that they’re not complicated, and the basic premise is being natural and giving your body what you know it needs.
  5. Lastly, I’ve been trying recently to save energy by washing my clothes less often. Some items have got me stuck though because what do you do when things start looking and smelling not quite dirty but not clean either? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO!

5 things this Monday…

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(Source)

I fell out of sync a little with posting these last few weeks, but I am back on the wagon as of now, I promise! Here are 5 things I read this week:

  1. 5 myths about sustainable fashion debunked. It’s really hard not to get the impression shopping sustainably means compromising on style or shelling out more than you usually would when the high street is presented as our only option.
  2. Laura Miller of Raw. Vegan. Not Gross’s video on healthy vegan-friendly camping recipes has got the inspiration going! This is often a scenario where the meat/animal products are everywhere you turn, but I’m now pretty excited to invent some alternatives (and steal hers, obviously).
  3. A nice introduction to the concept of eating seasonally. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re in any doubt as to what it entails, or are in need of a few pointers this is a good read. I definitely need to work on this some more..
  4. I’ve never been a massive gravy person (apart from that awesome Swedish one they serve in IKEA haha) but some of these vegetarian (and some vegan) recipes are making me salivate.
  5. This article from the Huffington Post explains that child Syrian refugees have been found to be working in textile factories that supply H&M and Next among other UK clothing stores. These are the only two that owned up according to their official inspections, however a number of stores refused to comment which says a lot about what they’re hiding.

5 things this Monday…

  1. Why not start with some humour! I’m a fan of Marcus Brigstocke, but you can’t not be a fan of the way he talks about climate change in this talk, which is hilarious but doesn’t skirt around the truth. The Dr. Seuss style poem on how climate change summits go down is a particular highlight!

2. The Beauty in Simple outlines how living zero waste refines your cupboards, bedroom, shelves and wardrobes not into sparse, boring places, but beautiful and simple ones. As if there were any more reasons to be more environmentally friendly, this post appeals to our love of good-looking homes, with good old decluttering.

3. This article from the Guardian is entitled ‘The supermarkets take us for mugs. And we let them‘ and exposes the way own brand products are branded with english sounding names of fictitious farms to make us think they were produced locally, when they actually come from overseas. Particularly a problem among animal products, but it’s good to be aware of the fact that branding is first and foremost designed to sell, often at the expense of honesty.

4. Next up we have a few myths vs. truths about zero waste living. The way this post is written really captures the essence of why it is worth trying to reduce your waste: it really is easier, healthier and empowering! But take it from someone else 🙂

5. Finally, I know I am healthier as a vegan, but what about athletes- could you sustain an intense fitness regime on a plant-based diet? Definitely. Here are some tips from a vegan endurance athlete on how he does it!

Dinners inspired by recipes.

I’m a massive fan of Pinterest, and it has been my favourite place to search for vegan versions of all sorts of meals and desserts recently. I would definitely advise taking a look at some vegan meal boards or searching up specific alternatives if you’re lacking inspiration.

The title kinda sums up my approach to recipes: What I end up making is normally inspired (sometimes very loosely) by the recipe rather than what you would get if you followed it to the letter. This is DEFINITELY not because I know better than the amazing people that created the recipes, but rather because I like to keep things 1) simpler and 2) cheaper. Very rarely do I use ALL the ingredients in a given list. But each to their own; you just have to make things work for you and be realistic.

Here are 2 common dinners that I cook, accompanied by the link to their original recipe….

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One Pot Tandoori Quinoa – I first tried this a few weeks ago, my main attraction to the recipe being that you can put everything in one pot/wok and just leave it to cook, WIN! It came out such I vibrant colour due to the curry powder and turmeric I added, and tasted awesome.

Link to original recipe here

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Masala Lentils and Rice – There are a lot of spices that I didn’t have for this recipe, but the basis is there, and it’s totally fine to use what you have. I added a massive wedge of lettuce for the greens- so filling, so tasty.

Link to original recipe here