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Ethical, Food, Life, Vegan

Dilemma; buying food from companies with unethical parent companies

July 19, 2017

Marmite on toast - buying from companies with unethical parent companies

I am a label reader; when I’m in the shower, in the bath, waiting for something to cook, I’ll be reading the labels on whatever I’m using at the time. A few weeks back, I was reading the label on the back of my beloved Marmite, when I noticed they are owned by Unilever.

According to their website, Unilever own 255 brands globally across the food and drink, home care, and personal care sectors. Some of these brands include: Ben & Jerry’s (who are bringing vegan ice cream to the UK ‘soon’), Marmite, Simple, Dove, Lynx, Vaseline and a whole boat load of brands you might use / eat every day. I don’t buy any hygiene or cosmetic products sold by Unilever because I disagree with animal testing, but seeing ‘Unilever’ on the back of a jar of Marmite stopped me in my tracks.

How do I feel about buying food a company whose parent company test on animals, or I consider to be unethical?

Surprisingly, animal testing is not just limited to cosmetics and cleaning products. I would never associate food products with animal testing (perhaps that is naive on my part) but while I was doing some research for this blog post I discovered that some food products are not cruelty free. In 2013, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) called out Unilever, Nestle, Yakult and Danone for testing food products on animals to allow them to promote health claims.

That absolutely baffled me. Why? Why is that even necessary?

Let’s take a look at the Ben & Jerry’s example too. I love that they have created vegan ice cream and are planning to bring it over to the UK; I want to support companies who are making being vegan easier, because hell knows I find it very hard. I also really want a vegan version of Phish food.

If I choose not to support companies who test cosmetics on animals, doesn’t that mean I should boycott food brands which are tested on animals? Doesn’t it mean it should boycott food brands which might be cruelty free themselves, but are owned by a company who test other food brands or hygiene brands on animals?

On the other hand, I could support cruelty free and vegan companies for doing good, fighting animal testing, and creating tasty vegan food. Some people choose to do this with cosmetics brands, let’s take Urban Decay as an example. Urban Decay are cruelty free but they are owned by L’Oreal who do test on animals. The argument is that it’s good to support companies like Urban Decay because they are cruelty free and maybe, eventually, in some kinda movie-like way, L’Oreal will go “wow, a lot of people support these cruelty free brands we own, so maybe we should quit being dicks to animals.” That would be amazing, but it doesn’t quite sit well with me. I hate the idea that my money might indirectly end up supporting animal testing or supporting companies with unethical practices.

To counter that again, if you try to avoid food, hygiene, or cleaning products with unethical parent companies your weekly shop is about to get a lot harder, involve ordering from goodness knows how many websites and probably more expensive.

I am between a rock and a hard place with this one and would love to hear your thoughts about buying from companies with unethical parent companies.

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Food, Life, Vegan

30-Day Vegan Challenge | Week #4 – The End

February 18, 2016

Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes

That’s it! My 30-day vegan challenge is over, but don’t you dare go thinking that I’m going to go back to my old diet.

When I began this challenge, I would say that my diet was about 50% vegan to start with, but I was daunted about what it might mean to try to be as vegan as possible for a month. To my surprise, it wasn’t hard at all.

Changing your diet is really about changing habit, so eating vegan at home is easy as pie so long as you plan your meals and snacks to make sure you have what you need in the house. As I mentioned in my previous weekly updates, eating out is where it’s difficult to eat entirely vegan.

Some restaurants / cafes / eateries are really easy to eat vegan at, a couple of examples I’ve experienced are:

  • Costa Coffee – their soy lattes and fruit crumbles are delicious
  • Handmade Burger Company – they have a good selection of vegan main courses, and their rosemary salt chips are out of this world

However, some places make it impossible for me to eat vegan because they either have no option, or one option, which usually seems to be salad, which I hate.

All in all, I’ve found it easy. I will be doing a post over the next week or two about what I’ve learned from being vegan for 30 days. In short though:

  • I’ve discovered new food and I actually feel inspired by food, which is something I’ve struggled with for a long time
  • I’m taking an interest in what’s in my food and feel I’m eating a more balanced diet for it
  • I feel more energetic, and I think that’s a result of eating a more balanced diet
  • I’m cooking meals, instead of just dessert
  • My Mum and I are having a lot of fun talking about food and cooking together

I’m glad I took this challenge because it finally gave me the push to kick the cheese to the curb. Aside from one meal out, I’ve not eaten cheese for a month – something I considered unthinkable before, and I haven’t even missed or craved it.

I definitely will not be returning to my old diet and I’m looking forward to discovering so many more tasty vegan recipes.

In keeping with the other updates I’ve done for this so far, here are a couple of recipes I’ve really enjoyed this week:

  • Peanut butter and jam cupcakes – these went down a real hit with everyone
  • Spicey falafel and roasted veg naan-wich – after seeing this pin, we decided we had to try it. We used the falafel recipe from Mayim Bialik’s Vegan Table, made our own avocado sauce, and it’s not hard to roast your own veg

If you’ve got any questions about becoming vegan, or need some tips, let me know because I want to put a blog post together helping people switch to a vegan diet.

Food, Vegan

30-Day Vegan Challenge | Week #3

February 11, 2016

Vegan millionaire shortbread

With three weeks under my belt, I’m beginning to feel like a little bit of a pro at this vegan thing.

I’m really enjoying cooking and spending time searching for tasty recipes – and not just for pudding either, I’ve been hunting down and cooking actual, nourishing meals, which is impressive for me.

The only time I’ve not been able to eat vegan during week three was, yet again, when I went out. I almost managed an entirely vegan meal at one of my favourite diners – I asked for nothing on the veggie burger but guacamole, but they put melted cheese on too…Maybe I should have sent it back, but I honestly couldn’t be bothered for the sake of a slice of cheese. Perhaps that makes me a ‘bad vegan’, but the place was rammed, it was probably an honest mistake, and I was hungry.

The second time, I went out to a little dessert restaurant in the city my university is in and there was nothing vegan on that menu that I could see. To be honest, I was disappointed because they have a huge range – pretty much any dessert you can think of – so I was a little gutted to see that there wasn’t a dairy free section. Especially when it’s easy to make dairy free desserts.

On top of that, my best friend’s Mum had a party and there was nothing vegan and to be honest, I don’t expect friends to go out of their way to do things especially for me. Though, saying that, if I had an allergy would I expect something allergen-free? Food for thought.

Eating out aside, everything I ate during week three was vegan. I’ve discovered that Aldi’s Oaties are vegan, which is good on one hand, not so good for my goal of eating less biscuits. Another surprising vegan discovery is Kellog’s Star Wars cereal.

Two of my favourite recipes in week three were:

I can’t believe how fast these 30 days are going, this time next week the challenge will be over with. To be honest, I have no intention of going back to my previous diet – I’ve found a vegan diet much easier than I expected and I feel much better in myself (though a part of that is because I am eating healthier).

What tasty things have you eaten this week?

Food, Vegan

30-Day Vegan Challenge | Week #2

February 4, 2016

  

I have now completed my second week without eating cheese!

I don’t feel like there’s a huge amount to say in addition to last week’s update because I haven’t found it hard. Well, I tell a lie; I went out for a meal on Monday and there was no choice but to eat a non-vegan meal. There were no vegan meals on the menu. I had a veggie burger which, for some reason, had cheese in it. I have no idea why because it’s not necessary and I couldn’t even taste it – so that was a bit annoying.

When I started this challenge, I knew that eating out would be the hardest part because so few places near me are vegan-friendly.

In other news, I read that Ben & Jerry’s are releasing a vegan range which makes me so happy. It’s nice to see a big, international brand acknowledge vegan diets or people who are lactose intolerant. I’m not sure if / when it will be available in the UK, but I hope they bring it over here.

I’m continuing to feel better in myself and am enjoying cooking, and experimenting with new things. Here are a couple of recipes I’ve enjoyed this last week:

What recipes have you been enjoying recently?

30 Day Vegan Challenge, Food, Vegan

30-Day Vegan Challenge | Week #1

January 28, 2016

  

Last week, I decided to take the 30-day vegan challenge and I’m pleased to say that the first week has been really fun.

I originally planned to do a bit of a food diary but I completely forgot, so instead I’ll give you a little overview of how the first week has been.

My biggest weakness is cheese, but to my amazement I haven’t craved it or felt like I was missing out. I’m so impressed with this because I definitely ate way too much cheese before.

In general, I haven’t found a vegan diet to be very restrictive. The only time it has felt a little restrictive is when I went to Costa Coffee to meet my friend – I didn’t spot a vegan option. I tweeted Costa though, and apparently their fruity crumble is vegan, so I’ll keep an eye out for that next time I go – I’m hoping I just missed it. 

There are a couple of things I’ve eaten during the past week that have become absolute favourites for me and I cannot get enough of them:

  • Peanut noodles
  • Thai pasta from Mayam Bialik’s Vegan Table
  • Bliss balls – I started out with Kayla Itsines recipe, but ended up just doing my own thing, throwing in desiccated coconut and more cocoa powder

So far, so good and I’m looking forward to another week of discovering new, delicious meals.

 

Food, Vegan, Vegetarian

Autumn, apple and cinnamon spice cookies [Vegan]

October 28, 2015

Simple, vegan, apple spice cookies

Cinnamon, apple, and chocolate cookies.

It’s no secret that I love autumn, and biscuits, so it just seemed right to make autumn-inspired apple, and cinnamon cookies.

I reworked a recipe I’ve used for vegan cookies a couple of times to create delicious, soft, apple spice cookies. They’re so delicious and perfect for a cosy autumn day all snuggled up with a hot drink and a book.

A stack of cookies

Books and cookies

You can control how soft and squishy your cookies are in the middle by making them thinner or thicker. If you like cookies which are raw in the middle, make them thicker.

I’m really happy with how these cookies turned out, and the base recipe is really easy to customise to whatever flavours you fancy trying.

Apple and cinnamon cookies
Yields 16
A delicious, and simple autumn-inspired apple and cinnamon cookie.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
174 calories
26 g
17 g
8 g
2 g
5 g
44 g
10 g
17 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
44g
Yields
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174
Calories from Fat 68
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
12%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 17mg
6%
Sodium 10mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 26g
9%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 17g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
4%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Vitalife)
  2. 1 cup dark brown muscovado sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  5. 2 tablespoons of water
  6. 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  7. 1/2 an apple (normal apple, doesn't need to be a cooking apple)
  8. 1 and 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  9. 100g chocolate (UK people's; Tesco's Finest cooking chocolate is vegan)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F
  2. 2. Combine the butter and sugar until creamy and well combined
  3. 3. While that's mixing, cut up the apple and chocolate into small chunks
  4. 4. Mix the cornstarch, baking powder and water, before adding to the butter and sugar.
  5. 5. Add the flour, chocolate chips, and apple until it forms a dough. I've found that depending on the kind of butter you use, you might need to add more flour. If it's a bit wet, keep adding flour tablespoon at a time until it's a well-combined matte-looking dough.
  6. 6. Place on a tray, with baking paper and a sprinkle of flour. I find using an ice cream scoop / tablespoon a good measure. You might need to squish them down a bit, to make sure the middle cooks.
beta
calories
174
fat
8g
protein
2g
carbs
26g
more
Adapted from Baker Bettie's Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Girl In Awe http://www.girlinawe.com/
I could eat these bad boys all day, every day of the week. In the run up to Christmas, I want to try out chocolate and orange cookies to make something that reminds me of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.

If you give these a go, please send me a photo and let me know what you think.

What autumn-inspired cookies would you create?

Beauty, Cruelty Free, Vegan

6 of my favourite cruelty free & vegan beauty products

June 8, 2015

6 of my favourite cruelty free and vegan beauty products

Toni from Lemon Freckles actually suggested this post a few months back when she said she’d like to see some of my favourite cruelty free & vegan beauty products. Your wish is my command!

It’s been easier than I imagined to buy cruelty free and vegan. I do still have a lot of things that aren’t cruelty free, or vegan, or are one but not the other, but I don’t see the point in throwing stuff away. 

Here are six of my favourite cruelty free and beauty products. 

Yes To Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturiser

Yes To Tomates – Daily Balancing Moisturiser 

I’m not going to lie, I was really skeptical about this when I first picked up it. Mostly because I was worried my face would smell like tomatoes, but this stuff actually smells like cinnamon. Om nom nom. 

This is a really good daily moisturiser that helps to keep dry patches moisturised, and help to control the oily patches as much as it can. 

It doesn’t entirely stop my skin becoming oily towards the end of the day, even with mineral foundation on top of it, but I’m not sure that anything will stop that to be honest. 

Read my review here

 

Bare Minerals SPF 15 Matte mineral foundation

Bare Minerals – Matte SPF 15 mineral foundation in fair 

I have two mineral foundations, this Bare Minerals one, and a Lily Lolo one. I was alternating between the two for a while, but over the past couple of months I’ve found myself using the Bare Minerals one more. 

It’s a little more buildable, and gives slightly better and longer lasting coverage, and I can’t argue with that.

I’ve not done a review on here for this mineral foundation yet, I’m working on a product wars post for it, but know that it being on this list means that it is good and I would recommend it.  

 

LUSH Shampoo Bar - Jason and the Argan Oil

LUSH Shampoo Bars

My biggest worry when I decided to buy cruelty free and vegan was haircare, because there aren’t a huge amount of cruelty free or vegan hair products on the high street.  Luckily, LUSH came to my rescue. 

Their shampoo bars are brilliant, and I don’t think I’ll ever switch back to liquid shampoo because the bars are so much more convenient (especially for travel) and cost-effective. They have a huge range, though do bear in mind that not all of them are vegan, as I found out when I stupidly bought one called ‘Honey I Washed My Hair’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but it’s not vegan. 

The one above is Jason and the Argan Oil; I haven’t used it yet, but it smells amazing, and apparently it’s great if you colour your hair a lot. 

I’ve reviewed three LUSH shampoo bars now, and you can read my reviews of them here

 

Elf Blush in Twinkle Pink

Elf Blush in Twinkle Pink 

This is easily my favourite blusher, it’s a really nice subtle pink colour with a bit of shimmy, but not a major amount, and it’s long-wearing. 

At the moment, those of us in the UK can’t get hold of this as the Elf website is being redone. I have no idea when it will be back up and running, but hopefully soon. If you live in the US, I highly recommend you check this out. 

Read my review of Elf Twinkle Pink here

 

LUSH Solid Perfume in Imogen Rose

LUSH Solid Perfume in Imogen Rose

I love anything rose-scented, and this is just the best rose-scented thing ever. It smells like roses with talcum powder, and it just works so well. It smells gorgeous. 

Unfortunately, LUSH don’t seem to do their solid perfumes in these twist-up sticks anymore. Their solid perfumes come in small tins now, and it really annoys me, because these sticks are so much easier to apply. Now you have to rub your finger in the product (which I’m not a fan of) and rub it on. Sticks are just easier. 

I know this is a favourite products post, but I love Imogen Rose so much that when I finish, I will put up with the tins for it. I like it that much. 

You can read my review of LUSH’s Imogen Rose here

Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paints

Barry M Nail Paints

I don’t even bother buying nail paint from any other brand anymore because there’s no point. For me, Barry M have got the formula nailed, especially the Speedy Quicky Dry range, and anything else just disappoints me. 

They’ve got a huge range of colours and finishes, they’re really cheap, and they usually have an offer on. 

I’ve reviewed a few Barry M products, and you can see all of those reviews here

 

I’m always on the look out for new cruelty free & vegan brands, so please share any recommendations below! 

Food, Vegan

Vegan cupcakes + icing | recipe

April 12, 2014


This recipe is seriously the best cupcake and icing recipe I have ever tried. Any words I use will not do it justice. 
It’s so fluffy and light. It’s better than any non-vegan cupcake I’ve ever tried. If you aren’t vegan I highly recommend you try it too; there are no weird ingredients in it and it has honestly produced the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. 
I took some into work to test it on my colleagues and they all loved it and said it was the best cupcake they’d ever eaten.
So without further ado, here’s the recipe
In the interest of complete honesty, I made the cupcakes vegan but the icing wasn’t as we only have normal butter and the icing still tastes delicious. 
I’m not going to post the recipe here but there are a couple of things I’d like to mention about it to make it easier for you. 
– the little ‘t’ means teaspoon and capital ‘T’ means tablespoon.
– the recipe says 365 which is Fahrenheit, for those of us using Celcius it’s 185C. 
– this recipe produced nine cupcakes in muffin cases 
– half a cup of melted butter = 2/3rds block of butter 
This recipe uses cups instead of weight but you can pick up a measuring cup from most supermarkets so they aren’t hard to find. Alternatively you could use a mug but you might not get the same quantity of mixture but it should still work. 
This is a fantastic recipe and it will probably replace my non-vegan recipe and I know I will definitely use the icing recipe instead of any other.