Everyone has his or her own perception of ‘veganism’. It is thought almost 500,000 people are vegan in the UK alone – with many more thousands across the world. Lot’s of people recently have been asking if I am a fully fledged vegan now and whilst I am not (I still enjoy eggs, fish, honey and white meats), I have come to understand and enjoy vegan food so much more. The dictionary states a vegan is a person who does not eat or use animal products – and whilst this is true, there are so many layers to this meaning and different types of vegans. I am not a full time vegan, but I eat so many vegan dishes and have been astonished at how amazing the flavours can be. Jamie Oliver’s vegan shepherd’s pie is just to die for!! Not to mention the vegetable curries, salads and stews I’ve added to my recipe repertoire.

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Jamie’s vegan shepherds pie.. uh-mazing!!

But what does ‘vegan’ really mean and is it for you?! I’ve put together a (objective!) list of ten things to know about veganism – the good, the bad and the ugly.

  1. There are three main reasons people choose to go vegan. The primary reason often originates from opinions on ethics of animal sourced products and the belief that animals should live freely without human interference.
  2. The second reason for choosing the vegan life is for health reasons. Studies have shown that eating animal fats and proteins increases a person’s risk of developing certain cancers, heart disease and a number of other illnesses. Eating vegan is also a 100% cholesterol free diet – which is a great pro if you want to lower your cholesterol. With the rise in clean eating and prominent food bloggers releasing delicious vegetable alternatives, you don’t have to look far to see the benefit people are feeling.
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    Vegan matcha latte – so natural and delicious!

  3. The third reason is going vegan is actually incredibly good for the environment. Livestock farming takes up a huge amount of resources, including land, fertilizer and water. It is thought a significant amount of pollution in groundwater and rivers is from animal waste from farms and many argue that more people could be fed globally from the land if we were all vegan.
  4. Veganism often encompasses more than just what you eat, it comes down to the products you use too. Veganism isn’t just what you eat; it can be an entire lifestyle choice. Vegans will look for cosmetics and toiletries that are vegan, organic and haven’t been tested on animals.
  5. You can easily tweak meals to make them vegan! There are so many alternative recipes out there, so you can still cook your favourites for you and your family. Try a vegetable filled stir fry with garlic, ginger and chilli on rice noodles – or replace your meaty spaghetti Bolognese with quorn. Try replacing your morning fry up with avocado, toast, tomatoes and grilled mushrooms or whizz up a refreshing smoothie. So many possibilities!
6. Going vegan can actually be very cost effective. If you go back through your food shop receipts, you will notice that meat and milk based products are the most expensive. Reducing this cost may give you more money to spend on other things – perhaps a little treat!
7. Most restaurants do vegan alternatives – either marked on the menu itself or you can enquire with the staff. With the growing number of vegan, you’ll be surprised what is on offer when eating out. ALL of the below is vegan from various cafes and restaurants!
8. Vegans don’t eat honey – and also many gummy sweets, due to the gelatine content!
9. It’s vital to make sure you’re making up for the lost nutritional content when going vegan. Read up and find the vegan friendly products than contain the following: iron, amino acids, vitamin D, vitamin A, omega 3 and vitamin B12. Lacking in any of these could have serious impacts to your health.
10. Albert Einstein was a vegan. Yes, Albert was a vegan! He famously said ‘nothing will benefit health or increase chances of survival on earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.’ Now there’s something to chew on…!
 
Whilst it is a lot to go wholly vegan overnight – I would actively encourage you to explore some vegan options. Think how many fruit and vegetable you could pack into your body, in just one portion! img_1729
 
 
 

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The festive season is the perfect chance to try some new treats and goodies – and this spiced cookie recipe is a total winner. They are completely gluten free, sugar free AND vegan too! I promise they do actually taste delicious. These will keep in an airtight container for up to a week, so they make a perfect Christmas offering at a party. Pop them in a festive box as a little present – or keep them for yourself… just try not to eat them all at once!
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Ingredients:
200g ground almonds
180g rice flour
95ml maple syrup
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Some icing to decorate! I used pre made tube icing from a regular supermarket 
Equipment
Mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Rolling pin
Weighing scales
Sieve
Baking trays
Baking parchment
Fun or festive cookie cutters
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Method

  1. Pre heat the oven at 180C and cover a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, ass 100ml water and mix into a sticky dough forms. Make sure you sieve the flour!
  3. Cover a worktop and a rolling pin with rice flour and get your dough mixture onto the surface. Roll out into a 1-2cm thickness and completely smooth.
  4. Use your chosen cutter to cut as many cookies as you can from the mixture and place on your baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Check around 15 minutes and leave for longer if needed.
  6. When baked, remove from oven and leave on baking tray until cool.
  7. Now time to get creative! Decorate with your desired pattern and let the icing set.
  8. Enjoy with a hot drink! Perfect dipped in hot chocolate – yum!!

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