Friday, 27 December 2013

Vegan for January 2014? Give it a try! Vegan-uary-style!

If you're a vegetarian or veggie-curious - go on, you know you want to! 

So, 'Vegan'...Just what is all the fuss about?

Well sometimes it feels like the world's best kept secret! Perhaps that's because governments and industries like the farming industry, the pharaceuticals industry and the food manufacturing industries don't really want you to know about it!

You're in their control right now, if you're not living a vegan lifestyle - 
and do you really want to be in their control?
No! Didn't think so :)

You can learn about how veganism benefits you, animals and our beautiful planet.
It's truly liberating!

So - sign up to the Veganuary experience here. You won't regret it for a second.

Don't forget you can also get help from the fabulous vegan Twitter community - from my friends at @VeganRevoIution and indeed from me! @vegsoup4thesoul

We're with you all the way - we've been there, done it and we now wear 
the vegan T-shirt proudly.

Here's to the best and most compassionate New Year ever!!!!!

Subscribe to the Veganuary YouTube Channel here!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Let's do (Vegan) lunch darling...!

Never has there been a better time to learn about and experience a plant-based lifestyle.
A lifestyle that's kind to you, to animals and to our beautiful planet.

Whatever you've either heard about veganism or think about veganism - perhaps: how hard it is, how boring it might be, how bland the food must be - FORGET IT!!!

Negative perceptions - are just that - PERCEPTIONS - because a lot of industries want you to doubt how good a life vegans have.

But I'm here to let you in on the world's best kept secret - being VEGAN is WONDERFUL!!!

Of course veganism is a whole lifestyle, but starting with changes to your diet is the most fun way to get started. So let me show you that it's never about deprivation - more about liberation! Through scrumptious breakfast, brunches, lunches, suppers and treats.

Right then - let's do lunch!

[All the meals you see here have been made by me, from scratch, in my kitchen at home. I take my inspiration from everywhere and love to be creative too. No time to add all the recipes, so please contact me if something takes your fancy and I'll send you your very own recipe sheet.  
Much love - Chantal xx]

Hoisin 'duck' wrap.  
Exactly like your crispy Chinese favourite & you'd never know the difference! I use tins of braised gluten, drained, dried, shredded & fried! Then add shredded spring onion, cucumber & a vegan hoisin sauce in a vegan tortilla wrap.


Minestrone soup with canellini beans and garlic parsley flatbreads on the side. Nutritious, delicious and a meal in itself - this soup is one of my all time favourites. Add several bay leaves for that wonderful fragrant finish.


Maple glazed tofu on a bed of mixed grains and fresh spinach salad.  
This is officially now my favourite way to eat tofu! It's absolutely delicious - sticky, sweet, tangy. The grains underneath are 'Seeds of Change' brand Tamari infused. 


Cream of broccoli and asparagus soup. 
Ever chop off or throw away the stalks of these incredible veg? This soup was made with stalks! They are still so nutritious and tasty and blended like this with shallots, veg stock and some soy cream it's an incredible lunch. 


Spiced mixed vegetable pakora with mango chutney.
Add plenty of cumin and coriander to the gram flour batter mix and I think Geetas mango chutney is by far the most delicious brand to go with this (registered vegan too).


Spicy black bean tacos.
This is a simple dish to make using smoky chipotle paste and any beans you like. Top with guacamole and shredded iceberg. Old el Paso taco shells are vegan.


Posh beans on toast!
Just to 'pimp' them up a little bit & add extra nutrition - try adding onions, mushrooms, peppers etc & I love them with added BBQ sauce. This is amaranth quinoa rye from Biona.


Vegan BLT !
I did really use to love a BLT and whilst I'm not keen on the faux bacon products, I do love these bacon flavour spinkles! You can get them in Tescos and Sainsburys in the salad condiments aisle. They add a lovely crunch and Plamil vegan mayo is a must :)


Raw shoots & super seeds apple, omega salad.
Even the healthiest dishes are delicious. This combines sprouted shoots, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fresh apple, dried apricots and I added some Cauldron marinated tofu pieces. The dressing is lemon and an omega oil such as the one from Biona. 


Thai-spiced butternut squash and sweet potato soup.
For the Thai spicing I use red Thai chillis, a lemon grass stalk (not blended in) & coconut milk. The sprinkles are some remains of the raw salad above! 


Hummus with warm wholemeal pittas and raw veggie crudites.
This is my absolute favourite 'go-to' lunch so I always have hummus in the fridge or a tin of chickpeas at the ready. Warm pitta and crunchy sugar snap peas is the ultimate :) but for the best vegan nutrition, remember to 'eat a rainbow'.


Gazpacho with focaccia.
I made this chilled soup with the end of season tomatoes (great if you can grow or buy cheaply) with diced cucumber and plenty of garlic! Perhaps too much garlic. Jus-Roll now do vegan focaccia! Just add olives, rosemary & salt!


Spicy bean quesedillas with a 'cheese' sauce & rustic avocado, tomato, cucumber salsa.
I love Mexican food & these are so easy - you could use any veggie filling really. I fill the tortillas, fold them in half & griddle. Vegusto make the best ready-made cheese sauce (in my opinion).


Griddled vegetables with a herby mayonnaise in hot ciabatta bread.
I love these style of vegetables - so juicy and flavourful when grilled, griddled or roasted! Great with lots of fresh black pepper too. 

Griddled basil tofu with vegetables, fresh spinach and tomato salsa in a flatbread wrap.
I used Taifun basil tofu for this - and it makes a delicious change. Healthy and high in protein low in fat. 


Ginger and miso vegetable noodle stirfry with cashews.
Literally made using miso paste with a little water, tomato puree and fresh ginger.I used spelt noodles here, but buckwheat and rice are great too - although rice are more delicate. 


Spicy chickpea & quinoa salad.
Tinned chickpeas are so handy to have in your kitchen. Dust these in gram flour, cumin and paprika, then fry in a little oil and add to some cooked quinoa with a lemon, coriander, oil dressing. Simple! 


Leek and potato soup with granary sourdough.
This is a perfect autumn / winter classic - you can add carrots and celery to the base and I find Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillion the best stock powder by far. I blitz half the soup & mix back in.


Pesto mushroom pannini.
Pesto can be made using any combination of nuts, herbs, oils and seasonings. Experiment! This one was made by blitzing cashews, basil, garlic and hemp oil! 


Sweet potato wedges & dips (fresh guacamole, tomato salsa, mayo, sweet chilli).
You can bake or fry these. If frying then bake first, cut into wedges then fry (more crispy!) and guacamole is simply mashed avocado, pinch of cumin, squeeze of lemon juice & black pepper (tomato pieces if you like too). 


Bruschettas with salsa, guacamole and coleslaw.
Using up the remaining dips from the dish above (or any dips for that matter). Just have them on toast & go all Italian about it! :) 


Packed lunch - vegan style! Cucumber & marmite sandwich, date & oat cookies, savoury almonds, fresh apple & soya milk. 
Just trust me on the cucumber and marmite combo.


Sweetcorn chowder (clam-free).
Onion, carrot, leek, garlic, thyme, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, stock. Done. Throw in some lentils too if you'd like it even more hearty. 


Warm mixed grain and vegetable bowl.
This is great for leftovers! Any combination, hot or cold with any dressing for extra flavour. Open the fridge and raid... 


Thai vermicelli soup.
This is so light and fresh. Use a Thai red curry paste, vegan stock & soy sauce for the broth & simply add crunchy fresh veg, shiitake mushrooms & then cook the vermicelli rice noodles in the soup for 2 mins. 


Raw cashew hummus with herby tomatoes & fresh onion bread.
Hummus is basically a blend of nuts or beans or peas - usually with added tahini (sesame paste), oil, lemon juice and seasonings - to this I added garlic and onion powders. 


Mexican mushrooms with corn tortillas & green salad.
Mexican food uses a lot of fresh herbs sometimes, plenty of thyme and rosemary in this which create an amazing flavour with the chilli tomato base.


Walnut pate on warm 'buttered' toast.
I was never a fan of tarragon with chicken & now I know it's better with walnuts! Blitz with walnut oil, red wine, red onion, soy sauce, chives & some breadcrumbs. Yum. 


Mushroom burger with fresh salad and mayo.
This is a burger from Vegusto - and it's very tasty. It makes a light, quick lunch.


Lemony kale fusilli.
And lastly... where would vegans be without kale?! This was sauteed with onions, pine nuts & artichokes, added to fusilli pasta and mixed with an olive oil lemon dressing & loads of black pepper! [ The vitamin C in the lemon helps us to absorb the iron in the kale - top tip :) ] 

So another 30 ways to make the change to plant-based living.
How varied and tasty does that look?! Do vegans struggle to find things to eat? Ummmm NO!!
Enjoy :) 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Campaign Corner: YOUR money, their lives. Support charities who DON'T fund vivisection.

Please take a minute to do something for me...

Open a new tab and load your preferred search engine.

Type in 'vivisection'.

Select 'images'.

Scroll down for a minute.

Take a deep breath.

Come back to this page.

Please read on:

Feels good, doesn’t it, to support a charitable organisation or two, and special causes that are close to your heart?  

Brits give an estimated £9.3bn pa (2011/12 stats)*. We are one of the most generous nations in the world. 

But what if your good intentions are inadvertently contributing to animal and human suffering?

What if your hard earned cash is actually funding ‘bad science’ that could delay progress for the work of your chosen charity, perhaps in curing a devastating disease?
It wouldn’t feel so good, would it?

So when I discovered (thanks to the latest Animal Aidcampaign literature) that some of my donations were funding vivisection (live animal experimentation), I was shocked. It wasn’t something that I’d previously considered.
And many of us, myself included, are vegan, great animal advocates, passionate about animal rights and against animal cruelty in all its forms.
As part of my journey into veganism my independent research led me to several organisations that explain, very clearly, just why the scientific practice of vivisection is now outdated and in fact produces misleading results that may have hindered medical progress for decades.
And when you think about it – it’s obvious as to why. Whilst most animals used are mammals – that’s where the similarity to humans ends.
Animals have different physiologies to us and different responses to us. No species can be a biological marker for another. We are all different – pure and simple. So different that even small genetic variations can dramatically skew research results and lead to outcomes that are harmful to humans when products are subsequently manufactured on the back of the ‘scientific animal-based research’.  

* * *It’s estimated that death from adverse effects of medical treatments is the 4th highest cause of death in industrialised countries. * * *

Not only this, but consider the fact that in persisting with such unreliable research scientists are potentially bypassing the use of new and (better) biotechnologies AND therefore potentially missing cures and solutions to some of mankind’s’ most difficult challenges!

And the barbaric nature of vivisection is such that humans cannot (should not), in all conscience, inflict this on other perceptive, feeling (sentient) beings. Because whilst we know that other species are different to us, science has also proved (and continues to acknowledge) that they all still suffer fear, pain and emotional turmoil, on scales that are comparable to ours. 

NO perceived ‘progress’ is worth this.

There’s no need for me to describe graphic details of what might be happening in research labs, all around the world, every second of every painful day here – you can easily search for yourself online (just as I've advised above). Do it, please. Wake yourself up.

And then, take these positive steps, immediately:

1. Identify where YOUR chosen charities spend YOUR money.
If they’re more progressive and do not support vivisection for their research – then please let them know you appreciate this and will continue to support them because of it.

2. If, however, you’re inadvertently supporting something that horrifies you as much as it does me, then let your charities know what you think of their decisions.
You may wish to phone them, email them, write to them, tweet them and FB them and you may wish to withdraw your support until such time as they change.
Most importantly, you must tell them WHY you’re doing this, so that they can consider their future actions. Whilst I’ve said how generous a nation we are, it’s a fact that donations in total have decreased by an estimated 20%, in real terms, since 2010 and competition for your money is fierce. Further losses will help them to wake up.

3. Please share this with everyone you know and come into contact with.

You can easily do this in just 10 minutes and I’ve created a little ‘tool kit’ below to help you further.
Please join me and my compassionate friends at All Animal Rights and Animal Aid in making this important stand against unnecessary and vicious animal testing – the lives of billions of animals depend on you – including humans (maybe even YOU one day) who rely on accurate scientific research.

Keep fighting for the voiceless. We’re all strong on our own, but together we’re a real force to be reckoned with.

Much love

Still waiting for official responses to communications / emails. I’ll add them as and when they come in.

Your tool kit for action:

Get the latest on Animal Aid’s campaign here.

Check if the charities you support fund vivisection here.

Adapt and use the email/letter below if you wish to withdraw your support from a charity.

Support Animal Aid in their campaign – you can get more involved in spreading this vital info here.

Support organizations that fund and promote pioneering medical research into human disease WITHOUT the use of animals or animal tissue - such as The Humane Research Trust and The Dr Hawden Trust.

Please share this with everyone you know.

Template letter:

Dear [insert name of Chief Exec etc]

Subject: Why I can no longer support [charity name].

I’ve recently been very shocked, saddened and distressed to find out that [organisation name] funds research into [disease i.e. heart disease] using the outdated and barbaric scientific practice of vivisection on sentient animals.

It’s widely recognised by eminent and leading scientists, worldwide, that this method of research does not only yield inaccurate (and therefore potentially dangerous) results but that it dramatically hinders medical progress for the benefit of us all.
[insert any personal relevance i.e. Given that my Father suffered with severe Alzheimers for many years and that I’ve supported you with considerable time and monetary funds, I’m devastated to know that my money has been spent in this way and possibly with no positive outcome for the elimination and cure for this terrible disease.]

I have no option but to withdraw my support from your organisation immediately and to tell everyone I know to do the same. I shall, instead, be offering my support and funds to [insert other organization name if appropriate] who are funding progressive research through modern biotechnology. And I have joined the 1.26million people who have signed the latest ‘Stop Vivisection’ EU petition.

It makes me very sad to have to do this. Please can I urge you to reconsider your position on the research that you do.

Vivisection is a blatant act of turning a living, feeling, sentient being into a commodity to experiment on. This simply cannot be tolerated in a modern society. And to do it for results that are valueless, possibly dangerous, makes it all the more disturbing.

Please let me know your current stance and future plans regarding this. Should your work change then please also let me know and I shall gladly reconsider offering my support.
But for now [add ways in which you support i.e.:  I have cancelled my direct debit, will no longer donate goods to  / buy goods from your shops, give money to collectors, run the annual coffee morning, purchase from your website, promote you to others etc.]

[your name]

Sadly its too late for these poor creatures - but for those of the future - it's in YOUR hands.
Thank you.

*UK Giving 2012 report, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Animal Aid ‘Victims of Charity’ Campaign 2013.
The ‘Stop Vivisection’ EU petition (1,126,005 signatures 02.11.13)