Veganism from an omnivores perspective

Occasionally I like to have guest bloggers, it’s interesting to get a different perspective.  So I’ve teamed up with Jade the Notts Foodie http://www.nottsfoodie.com.  She is a Nottingham based food lover and critic who is dedicated and passionate about trying as many new foods and experiences as possible.

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A few weeks ago I did a guest blog on her site about the great vegan food at Baresca http://www.nottsfoodie.com/baresca-vegan-review/

Baresca

Its now her turn ………..

 

Veganism from an omnivores perspective Guest blog – by local food blogger Notts Foodie

 

“I’m a vegan” the three words that can put dread into many a carnivore. Up until a few years ago those words would have me rolling my eyes and searching for a different conversation. It was only when I met my colleague, a vegan, who educated me and broke down some assumptions I’d made.

Oscar and Rosies

Oscar and Rosies

The issue lies, I believe, with the media’s portrayal of vegans. With almost 600,000 people within the UK choosing the lifestyle (that’s more than the population of Nottingham and Derby combined) it’s likely that we’ve all met one or two, whether you were aware of them is a different question. It seems that people only tend to remember the vegans who are vocal, passionate or portrayed in a bad light. These vegans are the ones I’d previously only been aware of and are the reason for the discriminating mind set I’ve worked hard to shift.

Before I go any further I want to point out that this isn’t a blog about name calling it’s merely my experiences of veganism as a fully-fledged carnivore and how, with the help of education and understanding, I’ve come to admire that way of life.

top 5 vegan restaurants

Cafe Roya, RobeRoom, Zizzi, The Peacock, The Kiosk

 

When I met my colleague I didn’t have a clue what type of foods vegans eat, I wouldn’t know what to feed one, whether I should be cautious about showing her the pictures on my food blog or whether I should feel guilty that I’m not offering her a cup of tea. After several months of working together I started to ask those stupid questions to try and get a better understanding and stop feeling guilty for my own lifestyle choices. I found out at this point that she didn’t like cruelty to any animal, she used to eat meat, used to be a pescetarian which progressed to vegetarian and then eventually veganism, she also wasn’t vocal about it as she saw it as her choice. I liked this and I loved the fact that she had no intention of trying to make me a vegan.

thai-tofu-curry

Roll forward three years and I now have an idea about what to feed her if she came around for tea, that Oreos are an easy biscuit choice, dark chocolate is vegan (this blew my mind!) and that you can be unhealthy. I’ve also come to realise that there will always be people who are ignorant and who have no intention to cater for them. This annoys me now. I’m not talking about restaurants I’m talking about things like BBQ settings, work functions where dietary requirements are ignored or being given vegetables (and then offered ice cream to apologise!)

willow and dove vegan choc

As a carnivore I’m glad that I’ve had a chance to ask stupid questions in an informal setting without the worry of being patronising or being converted. Some of the stupid questions I’ve asked and genuinely want to know the answers to are below – sorry in advance.

  • What do you eat?
  • If I gave you a million pounds would you eat this?
  • Can you go out to eat in restaurants?
  • What’s the issue with honey?
  • Don’t you like the taste of meat?

vegan 12th

If you’re reading this as a meat eater but have that feeling or instant thought of “eurgh vegans” then I ask you to go away and find one that will help you understand their life. My colleague is great as she is aware that I am blissfully ignorant in terms of animal cruelty and I don’t want to know. I want to be in my own bubble and she accepts that, just as I accept that she’s been brave enough to burst her own bubble. Just make sure that you make clear your intentions and why you’re looking to know more, it’s not to be converted and it’s not to find ammunition it’s purely education. You never know, one day vegans may rule the world.

chocks cake

Chocks Away, Nottingham City airport

 

Food Trends for 2017

Food Trends for 2017: What’s in?

Food Trends for 2017January is the most popular month for giving your diet and lifestyle an overhaul. But what are the 2017 food trends that you will be encouraged to adopt?!

Whichever one (or none) you decide upon to really succeed you need to consider making “small but permanent changes’.  What can you live with from here on in, or certainly beyond the end of February!?

 

As its January (or Veganuary) lets start with veganism or a plant based diet.  There is lots of evidence that a diet rich in fruits and veg can not only reduce your body mass index (BMI) but your risk of getting certain illnesses and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers.  I predict there will be more vegan vegancafe’s and restaurants opening up on the high street and more regular eateries will be offering a greater choice of vegan options.  We are already seeing it  in Nottingham; the Peacock Pub has a 100% vegan kitchen, cafe Roya is an upmarket veggie vegan delight, Alma living foods is a small vegan deli and sandwich bar, The Dice cup is a board game and vegan cafe and the screaming carrot is a secret little deli in Sherwood Rise, selling very tasty sos o rolls

 

 

I recently visited Pizzi, an Italian restaurant and found out you can have vegan cheese on your pizzas and pasta dishes.  Witherspoon’s have made their chilli vegan (sadly they don’t have non-dairy milk so your coffee has to be black!) and last Christmas Cafe Nero’s mince pies were also vegan.

protein barsProtein enriched food is also on the increase. Protein is the bodies building block, its helps muscles repair and grow and can help you maintain or lose weight because it can make you feel full.  So of course it is now enriching some standard food items.  It started with protein powders for dedicated gym goers so they could consume protein shakes by the ‘shaker’ full. Yoghurts also got a makeover; Skyr, Liberte and Fage Total yogurts have about 10g of protein per100g,  compared with 5g per 100g for other “Greek’ type yoghurts. Flapjacks were also due an upgrade and are now called ‘protein’ or ‘energy’ bars, being sold at health food shops, gyms and Aldi!  With some containing as much as 22g of protein per bar they certainly pack a punch.  But a word or warning, with increased protein often comes increased calories and sugar.  The 68g ‘Cliff Builders’ bar has 273 calories and 21 g of sugar (or 5 teaspoons)

palm oilPalm oil free or RSPO-certified food and products will come on to our radar because palm oil it is said is one of the major causes of rainforest deforestation.  Have a look in your cupboards and bathroom cabinets and see which of your foods and products contain this plant oil?  Its found in toiletries, packaging, bad goods, instant noodles, sliced bread and ice-cream to name a few.

Is seaweed the new kale? Like its green cousin it’s also low in calories and high in nutrients, particularly iodine, calcium, antioxidants (vitamin A and C) and potassium.  So get nori seaweeddown to your nearest sushi or noodle bar and enjoy some Nori.  But a word of warning don’t over do it; moderation is the watch word, that means about 2 tablespoons of this sea vegetable a week.  And consult your GP if you have any pre existing medical conditions

Curcumin, a super-healthy compound is the reason why turmeric has made it on to the list. It is the root stalk of a tropical plant that’s part of the ginger family and can be brought fresh or dried from most supermarkets.  Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants are just a few reasons why the medical turmericworld is getting excited about turmeric. Its health benefits have been linked to cancer, types 2 diabetes, alzheimer’s disease and dementia and arthritis. Expect to see it appearing more on restaurant menus, in supermarkets and your local coffee shop may offer you turmeric latte or tea!

Say hello to Sauerkraut! Fermented foods could be big in 2017. Its all about good gut health and fermented foods help with the production of good bacteria (probiotics) that can help maintain our immune system. Live yoghurt, sour cream, some cheeses, sour dough bread, pickles, kimchi, kefir, miso soup kimchiare all examples of foods that you may be eating more of in 2017.  We may also be hearing more about pre-biotics; they feed probiotics and therefore help them to multiply and grow. It is also believed they can help with calcium absorption. Bananas, onions, leeks, garlic, beans and asparagus are just some examples of foods that contain pre-biotic properties.  You can also buy products that are boosted with pre and probiotics.

If you believe there are some other food trends for 2017 that I haven’t included then please add a comment