The reason people hate vegans revealed!

I found the recent Press stories about vegans lacking choline a bit odd. At first, I thought it because we weren’t visiting enough public swimming pools, but apparently, it’s a vital brain nutrient.

I’d never heard of it before the Media used it as a “bash the vegans” stick, the Mail’s story even totally neglected to mention the plant sources of the nutrient.

Apparently, Emma Derbyshire wrote the piece for an opinion body, so it’s an opinion piece, not scientific fact and vegans had great fun debunking the story on Facebook. The anti-vegans were also less than quietly condemning vegans for their “nutritionally deficient” diet, an opinion backed up by no evidence at all.

The Vegan Society have summed the whole thing up rather well: https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/news/statement-media-reports-about-choline-and-vegan-diets

But that’s the point in this social media opinion dominated world, facts go to the wall and convenient truths rule the roost. I read someone said “I don’t trust scientists” on one thread. Personally, I don’t trust anyone who’d believe politicians and businessmen above scientists – maybe he thinks the world is flat, cigarettes don’t cause cancer, water isn’t necessary for survival and cars do run on baked beans – basically anything that isn’t a scientific fact! This is what we’re up against when debating climate change – one of the reasons it’s important to be more vegan. Yes, I said “vegan!” Most people say “plant-based” these days as if veganism is a dirty word.

Similarly, stories that vegans carry a higher risk of strokes – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49579820 – neglected to mention the fact the same study found vegans had a lower risk of heart disease in their headlines.

So, the real question is, why are people so worried about vegans’ health?

They’re not.

When people ask you “where do you get your protein/B12/iodine/choline” (delete as applicable) what they actually mean is “don’t be vegan, it doesn’t give you a balanced diet and that’s a good excuse for me not going vegan”. It’s another stick to beat vegans with. This one has “don’t you dare question my safe little reality with your vegan facts” etched on it.

They say “ignorance is bliss” and this rings so true when it comes to attacking veganism. Vegans are questioning the status quo, in effect questioning capitalism itself as the system is built on animal testing, animal agriculture and viewing our fellow creatures as commodities and not living beings – no wonder the Press, politicians and business leaders wish to lead the attack against veganism.

They do like to profit from the vegan pounds, of course, paying lip service to us by introducing plant-based products in supermarkets and fast-food outlets, raking in the vegan cash while failing to cut back on the number of animal products available.

People who question vegan nutrition online probably wouldn’t rush to your aid if you did collapse from protein deficiency. They laugh in a morbid “I told you so” manner when vegans happen to fall ill – totally ignoring all other factors. It is a sick way of reinforcing their prejudices if you think about it deeply – or not deeply at all come to that.

It comes down to asking why people hate vegans – and it’s not because we always talk about veganism, push our opinions down their throats or any other weak excuses, it’s for all the reasons above. Veganism remains radical, veganism remains rebellious and, fundamentally, it is the only way to save the planet’s wildlife and the planet itself. That this is seen as a threat shows that something is deeply wrong about people’s thinking and attitudes in the world today.

 

After the Ration Challenge

Me with homemade rice milk

 

Having done the Ration Challenge as a vegan, I thought I’d tell you all how it went.

I have previously blogged on my reasons for taking part in the challenge – https://veganonadesertisland.com/2019/06/12/why-im-doing-the-ration-challenge-as-a-vegan/

People are still able to sponsor me at https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/paulbenton

The charity’s aims are explained on their website – https://www.rationchallenge.org.uk/

Just in case you wondered – I did complete the challenge successfully, and, as a result of my experience, have started to think about my food choices even more deeply than your average vegan (is there such a thing?)

While it’d belittle the challenge to call it easy, I didn’t struggle. I felt a little hungry at times, but I wasn’t desperately craving chocolate or chips – although, to live like that all the time would be difficult. The fact my friends were so very supportive meant I earned plenty of reward items, meaning a bag of kale helped immensely – having soya chunks as my chosen protein also went a long way – dried TVP is so light, that you get a huge amount for the allowed 120g.

One of the main things I realised – or remembered – was how easy it is to make your own milk alternative – rice milk just takes rice, water and a blender. Having just broken my blender, I have also come to appreciate how important kitchen equipment can be. You can get “cheap” blenders for a tenner – by I have found, to my cost, that they break very easily. I will be relying on my stick blender (a fiver) until I can replace said machine.

Making your own plant milk is fun and gives you a sense of achievement – you can also make just the right amount for your needs and save on packaging – a huge issue at the moment.

fried rice for the Ration Challenge
Fried rice for lunch

One of the other things I discovered was how tasty rice and beans are.

Yes, really!

I’ll admit I threw in both salt and my chosen spice – and usually bulked it up with soya chunks and kale, but just rice and kidney beans is fine in itself for a meal – especially if fried. I will admit choosing fried rice and beans as a main meal since completing the challenge.

I enjoyed the lentil soup from the challenge’s recipe book and also the basic flatbread bites – which is pretty much flour and water with added spice. I will be using both of these recipes in the future.

In fact, the only meal I didn’t really enjoy was congee – I prefer my rice with bite and, although I appreciate the energy this breakfast staple gave me, I did struggle to eat it without throwing up. Being sick is not advisable when you’re eating a rationed diet.

My overall belief that a vegan diet further an omnivore diet was reinforced – especially with the weight of soya chunks compared to the two sardines allowed as the meat-eating equivalent.

I realised that, even as a vegan, I don’t need to buy as many processed meals as I do – making dishes from scratch is healthier and more rewarding – and improves one’s relationship with food.

I came to appreciate that many have to live on a strict budget, and this is possible as a vegan, but, you have to be adventurous and eating the same or similar meals day in, day out can become very disheartening – you also have to be very mindful of getting enough of all the nutrients required for a healthy diet.

This made me think more deeply about the added challenge of people who live as refugees – life is certainly not easy and compassion is often in short supply in wider society – something which both saddens and frustrates me deeply.

What are we going to call vegan burgers now?

Will veggie burgers now be called veggie discs?

Much has been made by an EU plan to stop veggie and vegan products being called after meat product shapes such as burgers, sausages and steaks.

According to the article, “The protected designations would include steak, sausage, escalope, burger and hamburger, under a revised regulation that passed with an 80% approval.” Article at https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/04/vegetarian-food-banned-called-burgers-sausages-bacon-9114570/?fbclid=IwAR2tb7_mbRZBS_rdZJgrRG7oDwLSz2W51biCLrC3QMUrRQMmjM-sT39LNco

There have been a few attempts to do this, most notably in France in 2018: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/france-bans-meat-and-dairy-related-words-from-vegetarian-and-vegan-food-packets-a3822831.html

It is a French MEP who has bought the latest proposal before the European Parliament – it will be voted on after the European elections.

The UK dairy industry threatened to take legal action when vegan cheesemonger La Fauxmangerie opened in London – https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/vegan-cheese-plant-based-dairy-eu-laws-cheesemonger-a8775001.html

A whole industry taking on an independent trader seems a bit like overkill – but overkill is what the meat and dairy industries do best! It also stinks of desperation – are they scared that us snowflake vegans might hit their profits? I have blogged on this subject before – https://veganonadesertisland.com/2018/10/28/how-dare-you-call-a-vegan-burger-a-vegan-burger/comment-page-1/#comment-532 – so it is a bit of a shame that this issue is coming up yet again.

As I said last time, words such as sausages and burgers are the names of shapes, not foods. Are we also going to band fish steaks, lamb sausages or goat’s milk? No, that’s the right type of misnaming it seems!

There isn’t a vegan sausage or brand of soya milk on the planet that can be mistaken for a meat product on a supermarket shelf – that would defeat the object, so I really can’t see what all the fuss is about – people who love Quorn Sausages won’t suddenly say “I’m not going to buy them now they’re called Quorn Tubes because they don’t taste the same”. That would be ridiculous, but then politicians are pretty good at being ridiculous aren’t they?

So what can we call vegan sausages and burgers? Discs and Tubes sound a bit silly really – a Veggie Disc sounds like something you’d throw at the Evil Meatathron in an ‘80s video game. A Veggie Tube sounds like a streaming service for plant-based viewers.

Are Bangers OK? That’s just slang, right? Veggie bangers may sound like Moby’s best rave tunes or a Vegan porn channel, but it is one alternative. Plant Circles is another option – although that sounds like aliens have visited your nan’s begonias.

Instead of “steak” maybe we could have Vegan Bricks – or would the building industry be opposed to that? How about a vegan Loaf – I doubt bakers would take issue with that – they haven’t complained about meatloaf (the food, not the rock star – although I doubt they’ve complained about him either).

Some soya milk is already sold as Soya Drink, or Almond Drink, so the milk branding doesn’t seem to have made much difference. But I am a little stuck on an alternative name for cheese – Gary seemed to go down quite well – maybe we couple have a vegan cheese could – Gary and Georgie? Or we could just replace one letter – Vheese or Cheeve – plural Cheeves – that sounds a bit like a butler alternative though.

Will blatant truths such as No Meat be OK? I like the Iceland No Bull, No Moo etc range, maybe they can just remove words like “burger” from their packaging as their brands are strong enough to stand up on their own? You can see from the picture on the packet that it’s a burger shape.

Are musicians going to complain about chicken drumsticks?  Can you see how ridiculous the whole argument is yet?

But post-UK in the EU will this matter? Who knows? Many vegan products are made abroad and, as seen with the cheese war, the UK meat and dairy industries are already pushing for such measures, so an EU implementation may give them an excuse to wander off down a similar crooked path here.

It’s a distraction. It diverts attention from the real issue – the ethical reason for going vegan, the health reasons for going vegan and the fact that many people are moving away from meat and dairy and those industries don’t like that.

 

Don’t get bitten or burnt this summer

Going on holiday this year? Head down to Holland and Barrett and grab some incognito protection. I first noticed the brand last summer before one of my walks in the Fens.

incognito is launching a new improved Second Skin Suncream this month (May). According to the company “the newly formulated triple action 3-in-1 sun cream, insect repellent and moisturiser now provides SPF 30 UVA and UVB (broad-spectrum) protection and is clinically tested to be 100% effective for over 5 hours against mosquitoes that can carry dengue, chikungunya and Zika.”

Sounds good – and a bit scientific, eh?

When holidaying or travelling, the best way to be protected is to use an insect repellent to deter mosquitoes and other biting things combined with a sun cream as protection against being zaped with cancer-causing sun blasts.

incognito Second Skin Suncream Repellent is a triple action, 3-in-1 sun cream, insect repellent and moisturiser that provides SPF 30 UVA and UVB protection, naturally. It is also water resistant – so you can go wild swimming in it too and be totally natural!

incognito CEO Howard Carter comments: “We are amazed at our new suncream insect repellent.  We have listened to feedback on our SPF25 and have improved the formulation so it’s now even more effective and has a higher SPF. Uniquely, it also provides 100% protection from mosquitoes for over 5 hours and 88% after 8 hours according to scientific testing. These are hitherto unheard of results and Team incognito are very proud.”

The cream has a non-greasy formulation with a citrus fragrance and is suitable for children aged 2+. It is COSMOS natural certified, assuring quality, plant-based, non-GM, irritant-free ingredients, and no animal testing. The active-ingredient, PMD, is recommended by WHO, NHS, Public Health England, NaTHNaC and, and is the same as that used in the incognito spray and roll-on.

An added benefit is that it helps lighten the load, with three products in one saving you luggage space. Plus it works in conjunction with the other products in the range; incognito Second Skin Moisturiser/after sun and Hair & Body Wash. Using complementary skin care products means there are no competing fragrances and smells which could negate the effects of the repellent.

The Suncream is packaged in renewable source sugarcane plastic, which significantly eliminates the carbon footprint of the product – every kilogram produced prevents 4.6kg of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. It is produced by an ethical and environmentally conscious company that donates 10% of its profits to charity, such as Enactus Edinburgh projects, Bethsaida Hermitage, and partners with the Travel Foundation charity.

incognito Second Skin Suncream retails at £25 for a 150ml tube. It will be available from Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, independent chemists and health stores, on 020 7792 8687 and from www.lessmosquito.com

Ingredients:Aqua (water), caprylic/capric triglyceride, zinc oxide, PMD (eucalyptus maculata citriodora), sorbitan laurate, propanediol, glycerine (organic), isostearyl isostearate, polyhydroxystearic acid, titanium dioxide, polyglyceryl-4 laurate/succinate, tocopheryl acetate, magnesium aluminium silicate, decyl isostearate, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf extract (organic), leontopodium alpinium (edelweiss) extract, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) oil (organic), isostearic acid, aluminium stearate, alumina, xanthan gum, citric acid, dehydroacetic acid, benzyl alcohol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, citral, geraniol, linalool, citronellol, limonene. All blended together in a unique secret process.

incognito Factor 30 Second Skin Suncream Lifestyle 6

Let’s talk iodine

Let’s talk about iodine

Why? Well, the Press and non-vegans seem to think it’s a problem for us vegans – isn’t it nice how they worry more about our health than we do?

Until recently, I, probably like many of you, hadn’t even heard of iodine, let alone wondered about its absorption into my body – so what is it?

In the words of the Vegan Society, “Your body uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones control how fast your cells work. In the UK, the recommended iodine intake for adults is 140 micrograms per day. Every vegan needs a reliable source of iodine in their diet.”

So now you know!

Earlier this year, there were a couple of articles about concern vegans weren’t getting enough of the stuff. There are always articles about what vegans lack (I lack tolerance for stupid comments made by non-vegans, for example), but I wondered how many people had actually heard of the stuff? So I decided to blog on it – because it’s important nutritionally. Iodine deficiency affects mental health and alertness and can cause fatigue and stunt mental growth in children – it’s vital pregnant women get enough (incidentally, breast milk is another good source). In the words of Wiki: “It may result in a goiter, sometimes as an endemic goiter as well as cretinism due to untreated congenital hypothyroidism, which results in developmental delays and other health problems. Iodine deficiency is an important public health issue as it is a preventable cause of intellectual disability.”

In other words, it’s important.

So, why is it a vegan issue? Well, some believe (wrongly) that animals are the only source of iodine – or the only reliable source anyway.

The best source is some seaweed (kelp, nori, kombu, wakame). But, the Vegan Society warns: “Although seaweed is a rich source of iodine, there are several reasons why it may not be the best option. The iodine content of seaweed is variable, and sometimes too high. Also, some types are contaminated. Iodised salt is not a good option because public health authorities recommend that we cut down on salt.”

They argue that a supplement may be the best option.  The Vegan Society markets a daily vitamin and mineral supplement designed for vegans called VEG 1, providing reliable intakes of vitamins B12 and D, iodine and selenium. Please discuss the use of supplements with a health professional to help ensure that they are suitable for you. Read what they have to say on the issue: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/downloads/iodine

Personally, I adore samphire – I love foraging for it and cooking it – most of all, I love eating it! In fact, I wrote about it last year: https://veganonadesertisland.com/2017/07/23/foraging-for-samphire/

But it is rich in iodine. The amount of iodine in veg varies so widely because it comes from the soil in which they grow – and the amount in soil varies wildly. Therefore, the dairy and eggs supposed to be strong sources, also vary according to the amount of iodine the cows and chickens themselves receive.

The Vegan Society explains: “During the last century, farmers started supplementing animal feed with iodine because research showed that this could make their businesses more productive. This also resulted in a huge increase in the iodine content of cows’ milk, particularly during the winter months when grass is limited. Disinfectants containing iodine also contribute to the iodine content of cows’ milk because they are used to clean teats and tankers. It is probable that supplementation of animal feed boosted the iodine contents of meat and eggs too.”

In other words, animal agriculture is only a reliable source because the products are supplemented with it – hardly natural!

It also needs to be said that you can get too much. ODing on iodine causes thyroid issues and weight gain – so be careful with the supplements. The NHS online says taking a 0.5mg or less supplement a day is unlikely to have any adverse effects.

 

The inevitable Veganuary backlash and the desperation behind Februdairy

As Veganuary comes to an end, we don’t know how many “new vegans” have been created this year, but we do know it has been a total success. More people than ever are doing Veganuary this year and there have been so many newspaper articles on the event, I have lost count. Papers such as the Guardian even published supplements of vegan recipes. But, predictably, there has been a little bit of a backlash.

But, take heart, there always is when something is successful. People in the UK seem scared of success, so the backlash against Veganuary is just a testament to its rise. Of the three anti-vegan article links I can remember, two are discussed below. The third was about the problems of soya and is probably an old link.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-5239137/The-hidden-downsides-trendy-dairy-free-coffees.html

The article does admit “Veganism is officially no longer a fringe lifestyle, with more people opting to cut out animal products from their diet altogether.”

But apparently Oat milk is the most “calorific” and a skimmed milk latte is the least fattening – all of which misses the point by a million miles.

  1. Many vegans aren’t vegan for health reasons.
  2. Other health benefits of going dairy-free are ignored by the article
  3. Detrimental health effects of dairy are ignored by the article.

Early in January, the Mail also published this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5227331/RICHARD-LITTLEJOHN-says-Veganuary-gimmick.html

Richard Littlejohn writes: “Meanwhile, the rest of us will shrug our shoulders and take no notice whatsoever,” and then goes and writes a whole smug, predictable article about it – oh the irony Richard!

Right-wing commentators are more obsessed with veganism than vegans are. The backlash just proves how popular veganism is becoming.

Then there’s this from the Sun: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5405801/veganuary-ditching-dairy-iodine-deficiency-drop-13-iq-points/ which claims you lack calcium and iodine by going vegan – kale, broccoli and fortified plant milk are all calcium sources – the article claims (wrongly) that non-dairy milk isn’t fortified.

Iodine is something you need very little of and can get through seaweed – but natural iodine is hard to come by – some fruits and veg have a bit, depending on how iodine-rich the soil they are grown in is, so a supplement can be a good bet. Iodized salt is also a source – it is important during pregnancy. The article states that dairy is the best source – that’s only because it’s added to animal feed – it isn’t a natural source.

And as Veganuary careers towards a successful conclusion, we have news of #Februdairy – an attempt to silence the dairy industry’s critics – they say impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery. Here’s what a farming paper says about it: https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/support-your-dairy-farmers-februdairy-launches-to-silence-industry-critics-50675

But it does show veganism’s rise is now a financial threat to the dairy industry – they are desperate to prove they’re not cruel – we, however, know different.

Of course, Veganuary has grown beyond vegans’ wildest dreams over the last four years (the charity was formed in November 2013 – ready for January 2014), so, the biggest surprise is that it’s taken the dairy industry four years to respond. The fact it has responded is a testament to the growing power of veganism! You, of course, can still visit the Veganuary website: https://veganuary.com/ to see what the fuss is all about.

 

 

 

 

A film more important than Earthlings

Land of Hope and Glory is described as the “UK Earthlings”.

It basically consists of undercover film shot in UK farms and slaughterhouses.

It’s harrowing, it’s hard to watch, it’s heartbreaking and shocking. It is also a film all vegans in the UK should watch.

Why?

Well, it’s free to view online – either from the website at the bottom of this article, or on Youtube.

The film is about 50 minutes long.

But mainly because the facts are laid bare. It’s a stark reminder of what is happening every single day of the year. Plus, everything you need to know to form a solid argument while debating with others is there.

These facts are also printed out on the website – as are links to where the footage came from.

So, if Earthlings already exists, why make this?

That too is answered on the website. The makers – Surge (surgeactivist.com – the group behind the Official Animal Rights March) said that people were saying “that doesn’t happen in our country” in response to Earthlings. This film proves it does.

I, personally, think that this film should now replace Earthlings in UK “experiences” as it’s more start, more relevant and will resonate with people on a deeper level in this country – this is their bacon, pork, eggs and milk.

Yes, eggs and milk. Make no mistake, this is a vegan film, not a vegetarian film – footage of the eggs and dairy industries are also laid bare.

It also dispels the myth that halal slaughter is somehow different to traditional methods of slaughter – stunning often does not work, and animals are still conscious when they have their throats slit.

The documentary is split into chapter by species – pigs, cows, sheep and birds. It does focus on farming and the use of animals for food – but there are other films available that tackle subjects such as animal experimentation and hunting.

There is a link on the website to a short film on fish.

Despite the fact this film was released earlier this year, it seems to be getting very little publicity among vegan groups on social media. That is the main reason I have decided to write this blog.

It is an important film. It’s modern, it shows what is happening on farms and in slaughterhouses here in the UK and it does not shy away from graphic, hard-hitting scenes.

In other words, it is vital ammunition in an activist’s arsenal.

It doesn’t go into the health benefits of a vegan diet (again that is discussed in other documentaries) and it would be nice to see a farmer try and defend what they do in a film such as this. I may think it’s indefensible, but I like to see a little balance just so the charge of “vegan propaganda” can be discounted.

I also think the fact the film lacks star appeal may put some people off – as does the fact that Earthlings is seen as THE animal rights film – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other movies! There is certainly room for this – I cannot reiterate enough how relevant it is to the UK! It is notoriously difficult to obtain footage from inside slaughterhouses and farms, so this really needs to be seen by everyone:

By vegans to remind them of what goes on and to arm them with the facts.

By non-vegans to show them the suffering behind their diets.

See the film at https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/

 

 

Gosh, these vegan sausages are natural

IMG_4018

Gosh Naturally Fee-From 6 Sweet Potato and Black Bean Sausages reviewed

One look at the ingredients tells you these are jam-packed with natural goodness. Although, reading the ingredients, or, indeed, the cooking instructions, is a challenge in itself. The horrible white on green print means that less than perfect eyes, or less than perfect lighting, renders the back of the packaging illegible.

The big plus, however, apart from the natural goodness, is the fact that this product is both gluten and soya-free – in other words, they are suitable for almost anyone – which is great news.

Now, the name might imply blandness – I have to say that this is deceptive. Tucked away at the end of the ingredients list is two words that completely annihilates all thoughts of blandness – and also disperses any taste of sweet potato (27 per cent of it, according to the packaging) that may have been there when the sausages were first formed!

“Just tell us the words,” I hear you scream. Well, they are chilli flakes! Two innocent words that spice things right up when it comes to sausages. In fact, the heat is the overriding taste that takes control of your taste buds with every bite.

The fact the packet neglects to mention this means you’ll either be pleasantly surprised (like me) or utterly horrified. Let’s face it, not everybody likes spicy food, so the fact the box says “with a hint of lime”, rather than “with a kick of chilli” is a bit perplexing to me – especially as I failed to detect the “hint of lime”.

However, I could taste the black beans (25 per cent of the ingredients) – something which was a huge plus for me – I’m a big fan of beans, and sausages and beans are, of course, natural bed fellows.

They sausages are very dry, so a brush with oil before cooking is a good idea – as is covering them in gravy (especially if you wish to lessen the chilli hit), but they have a soft texture and a rusk-like taste and feel to them – again, this is a plus in my book as it makes them more sausagey (yes, I did just make that word up).

All in all, a pleasant surprise for me, but not one for those who dislike spicy food.

I got mine from Morrisons, and they are, at the time of writing, priced at £2.47 on their website – https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/product/Gosh-Sweet-Potato–Black-Bean-Sausages/389798011 – which seems more than reasonable to me.

 

Where have all the vegans come from?

The number of vegans keeps growing and growing and social media keeps uniting them.

It’s odd really – animal rights protests and protest movements are attracting a fraction of the participants these days in comparison to the ‘70s and ‘80s, but it does actually make sense.

Many new vegans are driven by celebrity culture promoted by social media – often this means people are vegan for health reasons – and the argument that veganism is a healthier diet is certainly compelling.

But there is certainly a rise in compassionate vegans – people who are vegan for animal rights reasons – and the rise in social media means that there has also been a rise in social awareness. Look at the reaction to the film Earthlings compared to the Animals Film – the latter was actually broadcast on Channel 4 during its opening week. At the time, of course, there was no social media, internet, or even mobile phones, so the Animals Film was only talked about in school playgrounds, offices and common rooms.

Yet, in many ways, the Animals Film is more important than Earthlings because it got there first and got mainstream coverage – and it includes footage of the ALF and hunt sabotage. It’s worth tracking down on e-bay.

One could argue that the huge increase in the number of vegans saves countless lives in itself – and it does. Vegans are everywhere. When I first became vegetarian, there was one brand of soya milk in my local health food shop – and it tasted like dish water.

Now, every supermarket stocks plant milk and most stock plant cheeses. Most restaurants have vegan options and veganism is talked about in the national press.

Even farmers have been complaining about plant milk being called “milk” – because they see the rise in its popularity as a threat to the declining dairy industry.

However, social media also promote laziness – anyone can share a petition, comment on a story or fire off an email – getting out and demonstrating, or doing direct action seems less, well, popular these days. That’s probably because electronic protest is so easy, or maybe it isn’t seen a socially acceptable – I’m not sure why.

The rise in veganism has, by many, been labelled a “middle class thing”. The rise in luxury foods like hummus and avocado as vegan staples hasn’t helped – the latter is over-priced and over-rated in my opinion.

The main issue I have with vegans on social media is bullying. People who are vegan for different reason, new to veganism and transitioning are often shamed, shouted down and attacked for using this or that product, liking this or that person and not boycotting this or that company – it’s a very easy way of turning someone against veganism. Gentle debate often produces better results – especially with people who are, broadly speaking, on the same side as us.

On the plus side, information sharing – such as where is good and bad to eat, where you can buy what and swapping recipes and cooking tips has never been easier – and sometimes, online friends can become real-life friends.

It is also true to say that film of animal abuse is now easier to share – you are not limited to TV as a medium and nearly everybody in the Western World can take video on their mobile phone. This means that animal abuse is very often caught on video and shared widely. The same goes for vegan messages and recipes – and definitely for vegan products – look at the Gary publicity!

So, which came first, the decent vegan food, or all the vegans? Well, firstly, there is no replacement for cooking from scratch and using natural ingredients. I, and many other vegans, eat too much processed food – because it’s available.

Supermarkets are driven by demand – and social media gives a medium to voice such demands – so, the rise in veganism can, I believe, be the reason supermarkets are catering for us.

The message is being heard and spread because it’s backed up by science, welfare concerns, health concerns and, it has to be said, the promotion from celebrities and, in particular, sports stars, as a healthy diet.

All hail the kale! Strong Root Kale & Quinoa Burger

DSC_0827

Both kale and quinoa have been called super foods – so this should make these burgers super super!

Well, they are quite nice. And, it’s always nice to find new vegan foods that sound pretty awesome – in a healthy way too! Although, these go perfectly with chips – should you wish to not overdo the healthy thing.

Who doesn’t love kale right? Kale crisps are the perfect homemade vegan treat – health and quick, and for immune system boosters – well there isn’t a better food on the planet.

Crumbs, vegans even wear T-shirts with Kale written on – you don’t see that with potatoes!

But let’s not underestimate Queen Quinoa! Oh no! She is a complete protein and an awesome wheat-free alternative to grains – in other words, you don’t need to feel guilty when chowing down on these burgers.

So what are they like? Well, inside they are very green – kale green in fact – surprising that!

They come in a pack of six, so they are pretty small – a strapping young (ahem) like me needs three with a meal! But, as they’re pretty healthy, I’m not complaining – and no animals have been harmed in making these burgers – I don’t emphasise that fact enough on here!

The coating lacks crunch, but adds flavour – I will happily forego crunch for flavour – and they only take 15 minutes to cook in the oven – bonus!

They taste – well, natural!

They aren’t over-seasoned – or seasoned much at all, it seems – although salt does feature on the ingredients list!

They are soft, delicately flavoured and complement most dishes – so, overall, a thumbs-up from me.

 

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