Vegan resources

I am aware that going vegan can seem like a hugely daunting process, especially with the amount of information out there. It can be hard to keep up. So in an attempt to help make this entire process a bit less daunting for you all, I have a list of the most helpful resources for you that can help provide you with more information. If you guys have any questions too, I am always happy to help as best as I can!

Films

Earthlings – I will warn you, it has VERY graphic images of animal abuse and slaughter, so be prepared for a very jarring experience. However, it is this film alone that has been the main catalyst for many people to go vegan. It is hard to watch, but this is the reality of the world in which we live in and to shy away from it is to remain ignorant.

Cowspiracy – Netflix – looks at the impact of animal agriculture and the lack of conversation around this from the largest environmental charities.

What the Health – Netflix – Focuses on the health impacts of a vegan diet in treating (and reversing) chronic diseases.

The Game Changers – Netflix – Looks at how athletes and fitness professions get their macros on a vegan diet.

Food Inc – Amazon Prime – Looks at the food industry and the supply chain, showing each step of the process and how big corporations attempt to monopolise this.

Books

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer – He is sometimes deemed the Granddaddy of Animal Rights, so check this out for an overall summary of the main issues surrounding animal rights and animal liberation.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism by Mark Hawthorne

Among Animals: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction by John Yunker

V is for Vegan by Ruby Roth – A great way to introduce veganism to children

Websites

Veganuary – Lots of vegan recipes and restaurant guides

Viva

PETA UK – Regardless of how you may feel about PETA as an organisation, they have some useful resources regarding meal plans, shopping guides and activism opportunities should you wish to get involved.

The Vegan Society

Animal Aid

NHS website – A breif summary of the health aspects of a vegan diet. If you do have any concerns or worries, then always consult your doctor or health care practitioner.

Happy Cow– a guide to vegan restaurants. Also comes as an app that you can get on your phone that will show you directions to each restaurant

If you guys find any others let me know so I can go check them out! If you have any other questions in the meantime, do let me know as I am always happy to help ūüôā

T xxx

Taylor Tries to free roam bunnies: A journey

We have had our two bunnies, Lola (the fluffy lionhead) and Sasha (brown and white) for just over 6 months now, and I love them more than anything else in this world. They may be small, but these little bunnies make up for their size with their sass and their silly antics. They have been a test to say the least, but they bring so much more to our lives that I wouldn’t change a thing about them.

MVIMG_20200111_222523Do not be alarmed…Sasha is flopped and asleep. Lola is leaning on her. My heart cannot take how cute they can be.

When we first got them, they obviously had a big old cage to sleep in and to get used to us. After a few weeks, we started to leave the cage open while we were home so that we could let them come in and out as they please, and start to explore their new home. It did not take them long to get very used to the area and to start binky-ing around the flat.

We still kept them closed in the cage at night, but as they got bigger and started to spend more time out of the cage, we bought a fold-able puppy crate to put around the cage and a small area to let them have a bit more space at night without having to worry about them getting into any small spaces that they shouldn’t be in. It also meant that they could have more of their toys around them to keep them busy, while still having constant access to their hay and water.

Now, we have graduated to being totally free roam through our flat. They are not allowed in our bedroom (they like to run around under the bed…at full speed…at half 2 in the morning.) or our bathroom (they chew all of our toilet paper and try to get behind our sink) but other than that they have full access to our living room/kitchen area and the hallway. They definitely seem calmer having more space to run around in. They do, however, scratch at our bedroom door if we are not awake at a time that suits them for their breakfast pellets – so lie ins are now out of the question! Honestly, we were woken up today at 7.30am and we opened the door to two very impatient bunnies staring up at us with their best ‘puppy dog eyes’. You’d think they’d never been fed!

Free roaming a bunny is definitely a learning experience: what worked for me, is not necessarily going to work for you and your bunnies. But as basics, you need to be sure that your bunny has access to the basics:

  1. Constant access to hay – their diet is mostly made up of hay, with pellets and fresh greens once a day in small portions. They therefore need constant access to fresh hay.
  2. A litter box – bunnies can be house trained, and to be honest our girls learnt after about a day where they were to go to do their business. You will also need to keep the little box filled with hay because they need to eat while they go to the toilet. Because rabbits.
  3. Water – despite what pet stores will say, bunnies do not drink well when they have one of the drip bottles. We bought our girls a fairly big bowl (similar to the one a cat may use) and fill it with fresh room temperature water twice a day – once in the morning and just before we go to bed.
  4. Toys and chews – bunnies chew. A LOT. Again, this is very much trial and error, as some toys will be super fun for about 5 minutes, while others will be their most beloved thing in the world. Our girls for example, will chew on no other toy than the carrot chews from Pets at Home. No other toys will do. But you can also try some sticks or twigs (provided you check which are rabbit friendly), some maze toys or even some treat hiding toys to make your bunnies work for their treats.
  5. Cover all cables – even if you think your rabbit cannot reach them, cover them with cord protector. Because bunnies have a special power of being able to find the ONE cable that makes your TV or playstation work, and chew through it. This is bad, not only for your electronics but also for your bunnies safety. So cover every single cable in your house…just to be safe.

While this is a very basic list, it should be enough to at least get you started, so that you can then see what works for you and your bunnies in your home. It has taken us 6 months to finally find a set up that seems to work for everyone and trust me…it was not without casualties.

IMG-20191104-WA0002My bag strap…a moment for our fallen cords, bag straps, shoe laces and skirting boards.

 

T xx

 

Plant Kitchen Salted Caramel Truffles

Another new addition for Veganuary comes in the form of Marks and Spencer’s Plant Kitchen range. It involves a whole new range of plant based food, including these little droplets of joy – The Salted Caramel chocolate truffles.

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I am not usually the biggest fan of salted caramel, as all I tend to taste is the salt. But these were so good! They do not have any overpowering salty taste, but are also not sickly sweet with the caramel. The only downside is that the truffle is a hard shell of chocolate, which gave me a slight shock when I bit into it. The outside is also covered in cocoa powder, so be prepared for some degree of a slight mess on your fingers. But other than that, they were very tasty and very moreish. Each one gives a nice little sugary chocolate buzz and a packet contains enough to last you a fair few servings.

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Overall: 7/10. A really good addition to the vegan food movement, and a nice way to treat yourself.

T xxx

The little things in life

Every day at work, at around 12.30pm, one of the council street cleaners will do her round outside of my office where I currently work. She pushes her cart, sweeps up old cigarette butts and crisp packets, before taking a 5 minute breather on the park bench. At around 12.45pm, the man I can only assume is her husband comes strolling out from one of the side streets with the tiniest and most excited pug puppy I have ever seen. The pug pulls his owner over to the lady, who meets him with almost equal excitement, and they have a little walk around the green patch of scenery close by, sit down, and have a little lunch break together.

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I have watched them enough times while I am waiting for my documents to print or for certain files to finish copying, that I have their routine down. I am very much a people watcher – leave me at a little coffee shop with a massive mug of tea, my book and a nice window seat and I could happily spend my day there watching the many passers by go about their business. It is one of my little pleasures in life, and one I wish I could do more. Plus, I genuinely believe that a proper cup of tea can cure all ailments…so that always helps!

The last couple of months have been pretty stressful for me for a whole array of reasons and while I sat watching the little pug bounce happily around his owners’ boots, I began wondering if it would ever be possible to be as happy as that little doggo. I feel that this is something that has been left off of the curriculum at schools: How to be happy. More importantly, how to be happy wherever you may be in life. Yes I may be 25, and as far as society is concerned I am a fully functioning adult that should be more than capable of looking after myself. In reality, I am not…or at least I don’t feel like an adult. I still live at home with my parents, I’m still on their car insurance and I have only very recently finished my education and managed to get my foot onto the career ladder of my choice. All the while I have my peers – or worse, the younger generation – working in high flying jobs for better pay, with their own mortgages and living the life that I at 16 thought I should be living at 25.

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However, every now and again I am reminded that life is short: With all the horrible things going on in this world from terrorist attacks, mass shootings and the threat of nuclear war, I am reminded that time is fleeting. My first 25 years have flown by and I already feel like I wasted so much of it worrying about things that did not even deserve a minute of my attention. Who cares if my hair is getting frizzy? Why do I care if I look tired or have bags under my eyes? Last night I stayed up until midnight (for the first time in months may I add) and watched a movie with my Dad, eating biscuits and candy and laughing about the events of Geordie Shore. Was I tired the next day? Ashamedly so. Did I regret my choice? Hell no. The little things in life, as cliche as it sounds, really will become the most important things.

So this is my message to you, lovely few of you who will read this, or stumble across it late at night by accident: Enjoy the little things. So what if your thighs are a little bit thick?! Revel in the fact that your legs are strong enough to carry you wherever you need to go. So what if your hair is super untame and won’t style right? When you’re 80 with thinning grey hair you will long for the wild locks of your youth. Ignore the negativity that other people will try to force on you because at the end of the day, the only person you need to impress is you. You are the only person you will have to live with every second of every day for the rest of your life, so you might as well learn how to love the little things that make you special.

Let me know what makes you guys grateful. What little everyday things make your day infinitely better?

How going vegan changed my life

No hyperbole intended…But it’s true. I have been vegan now for about 1 and a half years, and I am still learning new things every day. I am in no way, shape or form the ‘perfect vegan’ and I think that’s what makes this whole life style so exciting. So if you have ever thought about trying it, even for a few weeks or a month, here are some things that helped me make the decision and, most of all, stick to it!

1. My health

Anyone who really knows me will know that I have always had problems with my stomach. Countless trips to A&E, meetings with doctors and at one point I even tried alternative medicine practises to diagnose what my problems were. My stomach would cause me so many sleepless nights, from intense pain to constant discomfort for weeks at a time, but since going vegan these occurrence are few and far between. While I still do not have a definitive answer as to what the issue is (IBS? Hormone imbalance? Endometriosis? Chronns? Food allergies?) there is no doubt that switching to a plant based diet has helped lessen the symptoms dramatically!

Furthermore, my health in general is way better. I sleep better: I no longer wake up feeling tired and slugish, or wake up multiple times at night. I have more energy to do things: Recently I’ve started hitting the gym at 6am, heading to work for 9, rushing around all day until 5pm and then still having the energy to go for a long walk in the evenings before I cook my dinner and settle down for the night. I’m also a better runner, in that I feel my body is less achey after a hard gym session, my legs don’t feel as heavy when I run, and while I’m still not at my ideal level of fitness, having a stable plant based diet has undoubtedly helped me along that journey.

Furthermore, my diet is better because, quite frankly, most junk food isn’t suitable to vegans. Next time you go to a shop, pick up a bag of sweets, or a chocolate bar or even a can of soup and you will see that they almost all contain some sort of milk ingredient. Due to this, no matter how good that chocolate cake may look, when you have learnt all that I have about the diary and egg industries, the cake really doesn’t seem worth it at all. When I want to buy quick and easy food now (such as ready meals or microwavable foods), I have to really think about the food I am buying and normally, if I have to think that long about it, I don’t really want it to begin with! Plus, with all of the amazing alternatives being created every day, I am still able to enjoy all of my favourite comfort foods but in a way that causes the least amount of damage to our planet.

2. My appreciation for food

Now this may just be me, but I swear food tastes so much better now I’m vegan. Also, food just¬†looks nicer. Every plate is bright with colours, smells amazing and tastes so much richer than any meaty meals I had in the past. Even when I was vegetarian, food didn’t look as inviting as it does now that I’m vegan. Now this may be simply because I am eating a much more varied diet of fruit, vegetables, tofu, lentils and nuts (to name but a few) but I just feel that vegan meals look so much more inviting than other diets out there.

I also have a better understanding of food. I have not always had the healthiest relationship with food, but since going vegan I feel I have gotten to understand food, nutrition and even my own body more. I am almost at the point where I can work out the exact food that it is craving, to the point I actually look forward to coming home and having a huge bowl of carrots and broccoli, or a nice cold smoothie. I now understand that calories are not necessarily all there is when it comes to food: Peanuts may be high in calories, but they are the super good fat that I need to get through a morning, and while bananas may be high calorie, they are the perfect way to stop my sore muscles from aching at the gym. Food not only looks and tastes better, but I also no understand how to nourish my body and how to eat in a balanced and healthy manner.

3. I feel like a better person

Now I am in no way saying that I am a better person when compared to others: I don’t think meat eaters are barbaric, or all a bunch of idiots, just as I don’t believe that all vegans are angelic activists. I feel that I am a better person when I look back at how I used to be as a person, which I think also shows how I no longer try to compare myself to others or try to appease other peoples desires: I am living my life in a way that is ideal for me, as an individual. I am able to live my life knowing that I am acting in a way that fulfils ME, that fulfils MY needs for MYSELF and allows ME to be the kind of person I wanted to be growing up.

I have always loved animals and the environment, and even though I went vegetarian at 16, it wasn’t until I was 21 that I finally started to understand the gap in my logic: I love animals, yet would cause them pain and suffering just by eating eggs. I am against oppressive and exploitative practices, yet still drank milk every morning with my tea. I feel as though I live a life that is now in line with all of my beliefs and that in itself is a very empowering feeling.

Now I’m not saying it isn’t tough sometimes: vegan junk food may be hard to find on a daily basis but it is not exactly impossible to find. Crisps, vegan chocolate bars and now sorbets and ice creams are all becoming more and more readily available, to the point I am probably eating more food than half of my friends! By understanding my food more, I now understand the difference between nice sugar (oranges, apples, kiwis etc) and bad sugar (vegan cakes, soy milkshakes, plant based candy) so that now when I want chocolate, I know that I¬†really want chocolate, rather than just because it was convenient.

Still not convinced?

I am in no way saying that this should be a snap decision, as just with every lifestyle choice, it can be done wrong. The good thing about living in this day and age is that information is at the end of our fingertips no matter where we are and I believe veganism has taught me the importance of self-education. There are hundreds upon thousands of vegans in the world, and most of them are very lovely and encouraging individuals. Join a facebook group of vegans to get inspiration and motivation, follow vegan youtubers for yummy food ideas, google the animal agriculture business and learn about the industry on a deeper level than it’s advertising campaign. There is so much information out there that I know for a fact that I will¬†NEVER know everything there is to know, but that’s what makes this entire life style so much more exciting. If in doubt, I find this little quote always gets me through:

Image result for dumbledore quotesDumbledore always came through with the nuggets of wisdom

If you guys have any questions then by all means ask away and I will be more than happy to help…or at least point in the direction of someone who knows more!¬†

T xxx

 

 

Easiest ways to help the planet

While this post is technically a day late, I thought it would be a good time to right a list of everything you can do on a daily basis to help protect the Earth. Whether you chose to believe in global warming or not, there is no doubt that our planet is not in a good state: Ocean temperatures are rising, coral reefs are being bleached into obscurity and the amount of pollution we are producing is not a maintainable standard of life. Therefore, in honour of Earth Day 2017 here is a list of how to be kinder to our planet.

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Recycling

This is probably one of the easiest ways in which you can lessen your impact on the Earth. In 2015, the EU made it mandatory to separate out all recyclable waste from normal rubbish, and for the most part it is pretty easy. But why is it good for the environment? For the most part, rubbish that is not recyclable just ends up in a land fill where it can be burned, but is usually just packed into the ground. Everywhere has their own method of dealing with it, but these are the most common solutions. Obviously, land fills are bad news: They are dirty, contaminating and not to mention a complete eye sore for anyone who happens to live near one. It’s not nice to look at and it is just using our earth as a dumping ground for all of our unnecessary stuff.

Recycling on the other hand allows us to reuse the things we need to throw away: In most cases, recyclable products such as plastic bottles, paper and tin cans can all be melted down to create new tin cans, new water bottles, and in some cases even make handbags, notebooks and shoes. By doing this, we can create a maintainable resource as we do not have to continually cut down trees to make new paper, nor do we have to make room in our countryside for unnecessary landfills. It is kinder on the planet, and a more resourceful way of making our products so that we don’t have to worry about the future of our planet every time we buy a bottle of water.

For more facts about recycling and it’s benefits, have a look at this!

Reusable items

Something that links on to the above point is the use of reusable items: Water bottles, coffee cups, thermos flasks…the list can be endless and for most part of relatively cheap alternatives to buying one every day. Plastic water bottles are surprisingly expensive, especially when you can drink the tap water for free in almost every part of the world. Why spend ¬£1 every time you need a bottle of water, when you can spend ¬£5 and have a bottle readily available to fill up throughout the day as and when you need to. Personally, I drink a lot of water anyway but when it’s hot or I’m out and about a lot seeing friends or running errands, having a bottle of water on hand in my bag is a genuine money saver and life saver.

You can also do the same with reusable coffee cups: Most disposable ones are not recyclable, so if you buy a Starbucks or Costa coffee every morning on your way to work, then it is definitely worth investing in a nice, sturdy, washable travel mug that you can reuse each morning. You can pick up pretty good ones for about £3 or less on ebay, and they can come in so many pretty colours your main concern will be choosing your favourite!

Diet

It has long been known that red meat has been linked to climate change, but how so? Well, aside from the animals rights side of things, raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water. In a report by the Worldwatch Institute, 51% (at least!) of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Furthermore, most deforestation is caused by the demand for animal rearing land, where large areas of the rain forest are being cut down to make room for even more farmed cows to be raised and slaughtered. With less trees, more CO2 is released into the air and thus causes a rise in climate change, as trees take the CO2 and convert it into oxygen during photosynthesis.

Therefore, if you care about the environment, it is advised to leave meat, especially red meat, off of your plate. This however is also not considering the impact that even fish, chicken and pork have on your health and the overall impact it has on the environment: Chickens may not be as gaseous as cows, but they still take a huge amount of land, water and food to raise them so that they can become food themselves. Over fishing is now a problem across the world, with many ecosystems being negatively effected by the amount of fish that we are taking from the sea. Many other species of marine life are also being killed by mistake, including whales, dolphins, turtles and sharks, all because we as a species have such a high demand for fish meat.

Needless to say, cutting out meat from your diet is a huge way you can combat climate change without even trying to and in this day and age where more and more people are realising the positive impacts a vegetable diet can have on their life and their environment, there are so many new and exciting replacements out there that can make going vegetarian or vegan a very easy and straight forward process. I, for example, have been vegan for about a year and a half now, and have saved around¬†2,269,326 litres of water,¬†1,526 sq. metres of forest,¬†4,960 of CO2 and 545 animal lives. Even if you don’t care all that much about animals, you can’t deny that just by cutting out meat from your diet you are combating huge amounts of climate change.

Have a look at this website to see how much you can save by switching to an animal free diet.

A few extra tips

Next time you buy a kitchen appliance, get one that is Energy Star-approved, and only plug in electrical equipment when you use it often: Don’t leave them on standby, or leave your phone charging all night long.

Skip the pre-rinse when using a dishwasher and only run it when full as this can save up to 7,300 gallons of water a year!

Buy local, plant-based food to cut back on the distance it has to travel from farm to plate, as this will in turn reduce the amount of emissions caused.

Doggy bags or composting are the way forward: only order or make as much food as you can eat in one sitting to prevent waste. If you happen to have leftovers, store them in a reusable glass or stainless-steel container and compost any inedible scraps. Compost can then be used to grow your own vegetables and thus teach you how to be self-sufficient and with less chemical pollution in our soil and our air.

Organise a clothes swap with friends or work colleagues, or even donate unwanted furniture and clothing to charities. This way your trash doesn’t end up in a landfill anywhere but rather can become another person’s treasure. Most cities have clothing bins, but most charity shops are happy to take any unwanted clothing, furniture, books and china (provided they are all clean and still usable!). If there is no chance anyone else would want it, why not get creative and turn those old jeans into a storage box, or that old knitted jumper into a comfy pillow or even a throw? The possibilities are endless!

As you can see, there are many ways that you can help lessen the impact we have on the environment, and with scientific and technological advances being made every day, we as a society should be focused on moving toward a sustainable and healthy way of living so that generations after us can enjoy all of the wonders that this world has to offer.

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Do you guy have any environmental friendly tips too? I’d love to hear some other ideas!

T xxx