How All Vegans Can Help The Black Lives Matter Movement

How All Vegans Can Help The Black Lives Matter Movement

Veganism is a social justice issue & movement so we all need start using our resources to learn about the latest matter in social justice, which is the Black Lives Matter Movement.

What’s The Story?

Just to give some context, on the 25th May, an unarmed black man named George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, USA. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Although this is irrelevant, George Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a fake $20 bill in a shop. For $20, a man lost his life and a daughter lost her father. On top of that, he didn’t even get the chance to go through the justice system. Whether he was innocent or guilty, the real issue is that a man was killed because he was black, whereas if he was white, I can almost guarantee he would not have died in this unjust way.

Vegans And Social Justice

I personally find that most vegans are the most compassionate people towards the planet, humans and animals, so we need to show our support and do the most we can. Every day we all speak up so strongly about the meat, dairy and cruelty free industry, however I find on my social platforms there are some vegans that just haven’t acknowledged what is going on. We HAVE to stand with the black community, as I honestly don’t think that you can be a humanitarian vegan and ignore this issue. We respect animals as much as we do the planet and humans, and if this was to happen to a cat or dog we would be KICKING OFF like crazy, rightfully.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

Martin Luther King Jr

I’m Not Black, So What’s The Point?

Initially, naive me didn’t plan to get so involved as I’m not black, however I have experienced and seen racism being from an Asian background. To be silent is not enough. Even if you haven’t experienced racism, we all need to SHOW that we are being anti-racist, not just a silent non racist!

It’s not the easiest topic to speak about and I completely understand that. Sometimes you may not want to say the wrong thing, you may not even understand it or you just don’t feel your voice will make a difference. This is where educating yourself is so important, and if you read on, I’ve provided ways in which you can help.

What Is White Privilege?

White Privilege? Confused about the term? I was too, don’t worry. Initially my first thought was, well that sounds a bit racist! Then I read into it and really understood what it meant.

Dr Francis E Kendall, author of Understanding White Privilege, a book which delves into the complex interplay between race, power, and privilege in both organisations and private life said the answer “is very visible for those to whom privilege was not granted”. Dr Kendall explained “white privilege is an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those of us who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institutions”.

One of the primary privileges you benefit from as white, she writes, is that of having greater access to power and resources than people of colour do.

“In other words, purely on the basis of our skin colour doors are open to us that are not open to other people”, Dr Kendall wrote.

Listed below are Just a Few Examples of White Privilege

  • Blacks receive almost 20% longer sentences for the same exact offenses as Whites.
  • Having better chances of getting a job over a black person with the same qualifications.
  • Having the Privilege of attending segregated schools of affluence.
  • Only learning about White/European race in history lessons.
  • Majority of children’s books are represented by white race.
  • Media being blatantly biased towards White.
  • Privilege of not being racially abused.

How Can Vegans Help?

You may or may not be vegan reading this, but this is how EVERYONE can help today:

Sign a Petition

Donate

In the UK, there are a wide range of charities and organisations you can support, all tackling racism in different ways. Below is just a few of them:

Protest

There are so many protests going on around the World. Initially, when you hear the word protest most people link it back to violence, tear gas and looting. There have been a number of peaceful protests around the World for George Floyd, from all different races. All 50 states in the U.S plus 18 countries participated in the #BlackLivesMatter protests as of yesterday. This makes it the largest civil rights movement in world history right now. If you don’t want to protest, here’s a few ways you can help fellow activists: Organise supplies such as hand sanitisers, face masks and first aid equipment, offer child care for those that want to protest but not take their children or even be an emergency contact. Sometimes, people can get hurt or arrested in protests, so they may need an emergency contact.

Watch Documentaries and Films

  • 13th – Netflix
    • We watched 13th yesterday on Netflix and learnt so much about black history in the space of an hour and a half. This documentary is a must-watch to learn more about the justice system in the US.
  • When They See Us – Netflix
    • This series addresses the case back in 1989 where 5 juvenile black boys were wrongly convicted of rape. This series shows systematic racism within the US Justice system.
  • Dear White People – Netflix
    • This comedy-drama series shows that reality of life as a black person in a society which is full of injustice.
  • Noughts and CrossesBBC Iplayer
    • The series imagines an alternate Britain where white people are subordinate to people of colour in a powerful commentary on racism.
  • BlackKklansman – Now TV
    • BlackKklansman tells the true story of African-American detective Ron Stallworth, who successfully infiltrated the KKK in the 70s. 
  • Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap – Netflix
    • Explained does an amazing job of breaking down real-life issues and covering a wide range of topics, including the racial wealth gap. 
  • Time: The Kalief Browder Story – Netflix
    • This documentary is a huge eye opener, telling the story of the 16-year-old teen from the Bronx who spent three years in jail, despite committing no crime. He was finally released due to lack of evidence, after spending 2 of those years in solitary confinement on Rikers Island, where it is intended to hold people for less than a year.

Social Media

Social media is such a powerful tool, where you can learn and educate yourself. Not only that, keep on sharing anything you learn regardless of how big your following is. The more we learn, the more we share, the more we’ll be heard. There are so many people online now sharing information on black owned businesses and influencers, go check them out and support. Some of my favourite vegan black influencers on instagram include @vegan_at_tiffs, @badassvegan and @sedjedo.

Educate yourself

Read more books, watch documentaries and have open discussions. Some recommended books include:

We all need to have these hard conversations, we need to challenge every single family member and friend. We need to actively support organisations and fight racism together.

Comment below and let me know what YOU are doing to help black lives today.

Ami x

Can A Vegan Live With a Non Vegan? The Ultimate Guide

Can A Vegan Live With a Non Vegan? The Ultimate Guide

Whether you transitioned to a vegan diet, whilst living with your partner or you’ve always been vegan, here’s my ultimate guide on how to live with a non vegan.

Personally, I transitioned to a vegan diet whilst living with my husband. This is probably the hardest adjustment as previously we used to eat and cook meat together. Now, I don’t cook any meat because it’s against what I believe in. Of course, the ultimate best scenario is that both you and your partner are vegan and you live happily ever after.

Whether you’re in the same situation as me or not, I’ve outlined all the scenarios below:

  • From day one you’ve been vegan since you’ve met your partner & you’re now moving in together.
  • Since moving in with your partner, you’ve transitioned to a vegan lifestyle.
  • You have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle since dating your partner, but you are now moving in together.
  • You’re both vegan, living together and cooking the best vegan dishes. You’re only here out of curiosity so carry on reading.

Communication Is Everything

Communication is incredibly important when you transition to a vegan diet. It’s so important that your other half understands why you have transitioned to a vegan diet. Everyone has their own reasons to transition to a vegan diet, whether that’s for animals, environment or your personal health. Make sure you discuss your reasons. As well as you speaking about your whys, your partner needs to be in the best situation to really take all the information in. Don’t try have this conversation, whilst you’re both in the middle of doing other tasks. Take that time to sit down, so they understand why exactly you’ve made this transition.

They may not agree with your view point, however as your partner they need to respect your viewpoint. I’m lucky, as my husband saw the good in me turning to a vegan diet. He does embrace it and I love him for that! It wasn’t ‘abnormal,’ to him as his sister has been a vegan for a number of years. Although he hasn’t converted, he completely understands why I made the transition.

You Need To Establish a System

What are you OK and not OK with? Do you mind meat being eaten in the house? Will your partner be willing to eat vegan meals? Will they expect you to cook their meat? Would you be OK with that if they do? Will they replace some simple substitutes like milk? Are they willing to give vegan food a try or are they adamant to stick to their meat?

You need to work out a system and what you are willing to do and not do. Again, going back to communication this needs to be communicated back to your partner so they understand.

Be Respectful of Each Other

Whether you were vegan before you were living together or you transitioned to a vegan diet, it’s so important to respect each other. Just because you’re not 100% aligned in the ways that you live, you chose to be with that person for a reason and don’t ever forget that. If you ever feel as if you’re being mocked for being vegan, talk about it as it’s the only way you’ll get through it together.

Will You Cook A Non Vegan Meal?

Personally, I haven’t cooked eggs or meat since I transitioned to a vegan diet as the concept feels like it’s against my ‘religion.’ I chose to transition to a vegan diet firstly for the animals and health, but also just as importantly the environment. For these reasons, how could I be fine with cooking meat and eggs? It’s entirely up to you what you decide in regards to cooking. If you are purely transitioning to a vegan diet for personal health reasons, then you may not have any issues cooking meat. It all goes back to the WHY.

Would You Share Cutlery and Utensils With Your Non Vegan Partner?

Me and my husband share everything in the kitchen including pots and pans, however I have spoken to other vegans which would not be OK with sharing. Personally, as long as it is 100% cleaned, I don’t mind sharing a pan that has previously had meat on it. If you want separate utensils, make sure that you can clearly establish which set is yours, like having a different colour or size.

Do You Need To Re-Organise The Kitchen?

Are you ok with sharing fridge and shelf space? Even if you are, it may be easier for you to have specific shelves in the fridge and cupboard space in the kitchen. How about keeping meat on a shelf at the top and keeping the rest open to vegetables and anything else you may have in your fridge. Any vegans worst nightmare is getting processed meats leaking on their vegetables, so even if you don’t mind sharing shelf space it would be worth separating vegan and non vegan items.

Surprise Them With a Vegan Meal

Sometimes, the easiest way to convert a non vegan is through their stomach. Have you tried cooking them your favourite vegan meal? Even if it doesn’t mean they convert, at least they can appreciate the great foods that vegans can and do eat. I truly believe that anything non vegans can do, vegans can do with a conscious mind! There are so many meat alternatives, so go start swapping out meat alternatives and see if they notice. Ok, that does sound like trickery and I’m not telling you to deceive your partner but it may be a fun little experiment! By your partner eating delicious vegan food, it may inspire them to incorporate more vegan items into their diet. If you need some help with vegan recipes, go buy this book below – It is honestly incredible!

How About Sharing Some Vegan Sides?

At dinner time, why don’t you make your vegan main whilst they make their meat main and share sides. Make all the sides vegan, which is super easy. You could share a large bowl of salad, even creamy mac and cheese or how about falafel? By incorporating vegan sides, into meal time it makes both your lives easier rather than both having to cooking separate sides.

How Do We Go About Food Shopping?

Do you buy your food together? Are you OK with your money going towards meat products? There is actually no right or wrong answer to how you go about this specific situation. Personally, I’m married and we buy our food from one bank account and it doesn’t bother me that some money goes towards meat. However, I can understand why it may upset some so you need to determine what you will and won’t accept. This could mean that you have separate budgets for food. Again, you need to work out a system that works for the both of you.

vegan and non vegan couple

How About Eating Out Together as a Vegan and Non Vegan Couple?

As a vegan and non-vegan couple, you can still enjoy going out to eat. Depending where you are in the World, most restaurants will have vegan options. It’s important to make sure that you check a menu before you do go out to eat, as it will give you a bit of stress relief before going. I do tend to call ahead of time, as sometimes a restaurant may not be very clear on their menu whether some items are actually vegan. A number of dishes can be made vegan, even if not specified on the menu. If you other half does want to go to a restaurant, where there are limited/no vegan options, sorry to say it but they may need to find another friend/family member to go with. Unless, of course you’re OK with watching them eat, which would never be me!

Don’t Pressure Them to Change

Pressuring someone to change, when they have no intention to will only frustrate you as well as them more than anything. I personally wouldn’t want anyone to think they can tell me what to eat, so why should I tell someone else what to eat? It’s important that they respect your view point, but demanding them to change is unfair as it is for them to demand you to eat meat again.

Time & Patience Is Key

Vegans I find are generally patient people, but it can be easy to get frustrated in specific situations. Having to explain yourself again and again is never fun. At the end of the day you will either be OK with living with a non vegan or you won’t. Adjustments will take time for the both of you and as long as your communicating, you will definitely get through this together.

I hope you liked this blog, this is one that is close to my heart being married to a non vegan. Let me know how you find living with a non vegan partner and any advice you can offer in the comments below.

Ami x

Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Egg Substitutes in Baking

Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Egg Substitutes in Baking

Here’s a guide to egg-free baking and the best vegan egg substitutes that you can use! Discover new ways to make your favourite baked goods with these vegan egg substitutes.

vegan egg subbstitute

Almost all traditional baking recipes have eggs in them, and of course eggs are not vegan. It was one of my BIG worries, whilst transitioning to a vegan diet, especially having such a big sweet tooth. How am I going to get my sweet fix without being able to use a core ingredient in most baking recipes? After extensive research, I’ve now found my favourite vegan egg substitutes for baking and desserts. First, let’s go back to basic and understand why most baking recipes include eggs.

What Is The Purpose of Eggs In Baking?

Eggs are an important building block in many food recipes, which is why it’s so important to find vegan substitutes. The yolks add flavour and emulsifying power to any batter as they are full of protein. The yolks of an egg will also help thicken up custards as an example. White of an egg can be used for a lift in desserts for example in a traditional sponge cake.

What Happens if you Bake a Cake Without Eggs?

If you bake a cake without eggs and don’t have a substitute, then you will lose an important structure-building component, so you may end up with a cake that is flat and dense yet falls apart easily.

This is why it so important to replace eggs in a recipe, rather than just remove them. You could argue that the elements egg brings to recipes is as important or even more than flour and chocolate.

Flax Seed Vegan Egg Substitute

Flax seed is one of the substitutes that I do use the most often. It is so easy to make, has great texture and adds more nutrition to your baked goods. Flax seeds are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids as well as fiber. The easiest way to make a ‘flax egg’ is to mix 1 tablespoon of flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water and then let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. The fats as well as moisture in this flax seed can have the same effect as an egg. They also create a delicious nutty taste when replacing with egg.

Applesauce Vegan Egg Substitute

Eggs have two purposes, serve as either a binder to hold a recipe together or as a leavening agent to help it rise. When using eggs as a binder, applesauce is an egg substitute. When using eggs as a leavening agent, applesauce is not an egg replacement. According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the applesauce-to-egg ratio is one egg to one-quarter cup applesauce in sweet desserts. You can also mix with a half a teaspoon of baking powder for a lighter texture.

Chia Seeds Vegan Egg Substitute

Similar to flaxseed, you can also use chia seeds to replace eggs in vegan baking. They have a great texture, equal to flaxseeds however they can change the colour of your baked goods as they are darker. To make a chia seed vegan egg substiture you need to mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 3 tablespoons water and let sit for 5 -10 minutes.

Banana Vegan Egg Substitute

If you do plan on using banana as a substitute, bear in mind your dessert will have a slightly banana flavour. Use a 1/4 cup of mashed banana (about half a banana) instead of one egg when baking. If you haven’t already, go check out my 3 ingredient banana oat cookie recipe which involves no eggs.

I hope these vegan egg substitutes for baking help you, comment below and let me if you’ve tried them or you have any others. Would love to hear from you guys!

Ami x

5 Vegan Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System

5 Vegan Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System

Our immune system is so important for our survival. If we didn’t have an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and so much more. For this reason, it is vital to keep our immune system strong and here are 5 vegan foods that boost and strenghten your immune system.

Miso

Miso means ‘fermented beans’ in Japanese. Since miso is fermented, it is high in beneficial enzymes and supports immunity with its natural probiotics. It’s also so rich in antioxidants. In Japan, a number of people begin their day with a bowl of miso soup which is great for digestion and helps energise the body.

Garlic

I pretty much eat garlic every day in my dinner and before you start to wonder, no i’m not trying to scare away any vampires!

As well as hot chilies being a staple in most my dishes, garlic also is a top contender. I love the taste it brings to a dish, but not only the taste. Garlic is the queen of antibiotic, anti fungal, and antiviral foods. It has been advised, if you really want to get the most out of garlic consume it raw. Don’t fancy eating raw garlic, you could just try incorporating more garlic into your regular diet. If you don’t mind having it raw but couldn’t eat a large chunk of it you can add raw, crushed garlic to a salad dressing as an example, and this would avoid any cooking.

Mushrooms

Anyone that’s been following my Instagram a while, will have seen that I use mushrooms a lot in my cooking! Whether that’s in my tofu scramble or in a stir fry, it’s one ingredient I always have in my fridge. There are so many types of mushrooms, however unfortunately the ones I use in my cooking most days (closed cup mushrooms) are not the best for the immune system. The top three I would recommend are shiitake, chaga and reishi.

  • Shiitake mushrooms are a well known superfood. They have a number of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are necessary to fuel our bodily functions. Shiitake is an excellent choice of mushroom to boost immune system due to its high nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, niacin, and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
  • Chaga Mushrooms – This mushroom has the HIGHEST amount of antioxidants and melanin of any substance on planet EARTH (gram for gram). They also have a high amount of zinc, which further supports immune function. If that’s not enough of a reason to have chaga mushrooms, I don’t know what is!
  • Reishi Mushrooms – They are used to help enhance the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue. People also take reishi mushroom for health conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Apart from shittake mushrooms, you’re going to struggle to find these in your regular supermarket. I’d highly recommend this supplement which contains all 3 and more:

Tumeric

Turmeric has been a staple of Indian cuisine for at least 4,000 years and you’ll find it incorporated in a number of dishes. There’s always so much talk about turmeric, being super healthy for you. I even have tumeric teas at home. But is it as great as it has been made to look, in terms of health benefits? Well yes, curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. One study theorized that turmeric can moderate the immune system. It can even help those with autoimmune disorders. As well as helping with your immune system, there are studies which support that it can also help prevent cancer, inflammation and even depression. Load up on turmeric in your dishes, or you can even take a turmeric supplement which you can buy from Amazon here.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are so versatile and can be used in a number of dishes from savoury meals to sweet dishes. They are amazing for your body because they’re packed full of antioxidants and vitamin A.  Vitamin A helps keep the skin healthy and as it is our largest organ, having healthy skin can be one way of helping fight off infection to your body and immune system.  Sweet potato is also a good source of carotenoids which also help your immune system.

What Other Ways Can I Strengthen my Immune System?

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Try to minimise stress – Easier said than done, I know!
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • Wash your hands frequently and no I don’t mean only during this COVID-19 pandemic. Washing your hands frequently, helps to avoid infections in general.

With this global COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to keep your immune system strong. I’m not saying by keeping it high, that you won’t catch it because it is seriously contagious! You may have a better chance of surviving it as morbid as that sounds, with a strengthened immune system. Stay safe everyone!

Let me know how you keep your immune system strong in the comments below.

Ami x

15 Powerful Vegan Quotes

15 Powerful Vegan Quotes

I don’t know about you guys, but I love reading powerful, inspiring vegan quotes. Here are just a few of my favourites:

“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

Sir David Attenborough

“We can sit back, do nothing and watch our planet be destroyed. Or we can take action, become advocates and start making lifestyle choices which are kinder to people and the planet.”

Kira Simpson

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

Gandhi

“Some people think the “plant-based whole foods diet” is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn on their coronary artery. Some would call that extreme.”

 Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn

“Could you look an animal in the eyes and say to it, ‘My appetite is more important than your suffering?” 

Moby

“I remember very clearly the day my mom made chicken fingers. I was like, ‘Wait, this was alive? This had parents? I’m not eating it anymore.” 

 Jenna Dewan-Tatum

“You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car.” 

Harvey Diamond

“When I see bacon, I see a pig, I see a little friend, and that’s why I can’t eat it. Simple as that.” 

Paul McCartney

“It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.”

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Joaquin Phoenix is by far one of my favourite actors. If you disagree, did you not see him in the Joker?!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall
vegan quotes

“If you don’t like seeing pictures of violence towards animals being posted, you need to help stop the violence, not the pictures.” 

Johnny Depp

 “People may hate you for being different and not living by society’s standards but deep down, they wish they had the courage to do the same.” 

Anonymous

“My own view is that being a vegetarian or vegan is not an end in itself, but a means towards reducing both human and animal suffering and leaving a habitable planet to future generations.”

Peter Singer

Sometimes, I find it really helps me looking at powerful quotes from vegans to re-assure that I am doing the right thing. I also love how many celebs have transitioned over to a vegan diet, as they can have a huge positive impact with the amount of influence they have. If these quotes have made you think about transitioning to a vegan diet, go check out my step by step guide.

What are your favourite vegan quotes? Comment below and let me know!

Ami x

How has Coronavirus Impacted the Vegan Food Industry?

How has Coronavirus Impacted the Vegan Food Industry?

Coronavirus (COV-19) is the worst pandemic that I’ve seen in my 31 years and probably will ever see in my lifetime, but is there any good that can come out of it? Well, yes there is as many of my fellow vegans will agree!

Where did Coronavirus Come from?

There are tonnes of conspiracy theories that are now circulating, however in majority of the public mind the origin story of Coronavirus seems well fixed. The story is that the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan was infected with a virus from an animal that has caused this wide spread pandemic. Much like swine flu, bird flu, and SARS (which was also caused by a coronavirus linked to a Chinese wet market), COVID-19 spread from animals to humans, starting with those who worked in or visited the market. It is suspected that they contracted the virus by eating or touching an animal who was infected.

So Who Has been Impacted?

One in five Brits, which is more than 13 million have cut down on meat consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to a survey conducted by The Vegan Society. Is this purely from fear of catching a disease from meat? Well partially.. Due to the panic buying in the UK, 41% of those have reduced their meat or dairy consumption because of their preferred product not being available. 43% chose to reduce their meat consumption out of concern for the environment, health or animal rights reasons.

As well as meat alternatives on the rise, 15 percent of respondents said they have reduced their dairy intake during lockdown. Almost more than half of respondents that made this switch will continue to purchase soy & almond milk. In regards to meat alternatives such as one of my personal favourites the beyond burger, approximately 50% will continue to purchase these products after lockdown.

meat industry decline

The Number of Vegans Are on The Rise!

Ever since Game changers went viral at the back end of 2019, Veganuary in 2020 showed the highest number of people trying out the vegan diet. That’s not to say it was the only reason that people turned to a vegan diet, however watching that documentary was the trigger for many like myself. On top of that, we are now living through the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a number of reasons why people are buying vegan products. Some are convenience, cost, whereas others have concern for their own well being, the environment and animal rights.

Until people start trying vegan products, there’s always a misconception that vegan food is ‘boring’ and ‘doesn’t taste great.’ Now, people in the UK are trying these products and actually enjoying them. It has opened up their eyes to the vegan world. I personally feel like vegans are the only happy people when their favourite supermarket product is out of stock. It’s a sign that veganism is on the rise! Power to the Vegans!!! OK I sound like I’m part of some strange cult right now.. So I’m going to mellow my tone a little..

The more people that convert to a vegan diet, the more companies will need to provide new vegan products. Also, let’s not forget how much turning vegan helps the animals, environment as well as our health. As horrific as this pandemic is, it’s important to look at the positive aspects too.

Is It a Phase?

There’s always that concern that people will go back to their old ways of meat eating after COVID-19. Let me know if you think it’s a phase or will we get some true converts from this COVID-19 pandemic?

If you are someone that is looking to change to a vegan diet, here’s a step by step transition guide for you.

Ami x

Can Vegans Drink Alcohol?

Can Vegans Drink Alcohol?

So you’ve mastered vegan food, now it’s on to understanding the alcohol side.. and before you panic – yes absolutely, vegans can and do drink alcohol. You can still enjoy nights out when transitioning to a vegan diet with a gin and tonic in your hand!

Initially when I turned vegan, it’s not something I even considered looking into. I just presumed all alcohol was vegan, but boy was I wrong. Just like vegan food, clothing and beauty products, vegan alcohol does not contain any animal products and it has also not used any animal ingredients during its production. Majority of alcohol that is not vegan friendly, has used animal ingredients during it’s production rather than containing animal products. You don’t get many bacon flavoured wines but you do get wine that is filtered through fish.. gross I know!

So How do I know What Alcohol is Vegan Friendly?

Unfortunately, finding vegan alcohol isn’t as easy as finding vegan friendly food. The reason for this is, manufacturers aren’t required to list ingredients on labels for beer, wine, and spirits. It isn’t impossible though! Keep on reading to find out more..

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients and Fining Agents used in Alcohol

  • Milk and cream. These are sometimes used in cocktails and even beers and liqueurs to give a creamy flavour.
  • Whey, casein, and lactose. These milk byproducts are occasionally used as ingredients or fining agents.
  • Honey. Honey is fermented to make mead and used as a sweetener in some alcoholic beverages.
  • Eggs. Egg white protein, also known as albumin, is often used as a fining agent in wine. Eggs are also added to some cocktails.
  • Isinglass. This popular fining agent is derived from fish bladders, mostly found in beer and wine.
  • Gelatin. Gelatin is not only used to make jello, puddings, and gravies but also commonly serves as a fining agent.. It is also derived from animal skin, bones, and cartilage.
  • Cochineal and carmine. Carmine, a red dye made out of scaly insects called cochineal, is added to some alcoholic beverages for colour.
  • Chitin. Chitin is a fiber which is used as a fining agent. Though vegan versions exist, it’s often a byproduct of insects or shellfish
is alcohol vegan

So if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably not heard of half of these ingredients. The reason I have listed them is just to make you aware of products that can be in alcohol or part of the alcohol making process, which makes them not vegan.

The easiest alcohol in my opinion that vegans can go to is hard spirits!

Vegan Spirits

You’ll be glad to know that nearly all distilled spirits are vegan except for cream-based liqueurs and products that mention honey on the label. Here’s a list of the typical spirits that most people go to, which are vegan:

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Tequila
  • Rum
  • Vodka
  • Whisky

As mentioned earlier, it is mainly the process that makes some alcohol non vegan. When it comes to spirits, such fining isn’t necessary because the process of distillation that every spirit goes through removes the various agents that can cloud other drinks. Spirits are naturally clear and so filtration isn’t required.

Off to the bar and get me a double please!

Vegan Wine

is alcohol vegan

This is where it starts to get tricky and a little confusing! I know what you’re thinking, isn’t wine made from grapes? Yes it is, but the final ‘fining’ process often uses animal derivatives to latch onto any impurities in the wine, so that unwanted particles can be easily caught in the filters before bottling.  

  • White, rose and sparkling wine – Typically use isinglass which is derived from fish swim bladders. This makes the product clear.
  • Red wine – Egg whites and milk protein are often used to remove bitter flavours.

Interestingly, these processes are not necessary but they do drastically speed up production. It would take more than a month for wine to clear naturally. However, that is not to say you can never drink wine again as there are some manufacturers that do clarify naturally. You will need to look out for ‘not fined/filtered’ on labels. There are also some organic wineries that use natural rock and clay.

The easiest way to find out whether your wine is vegan is by checking barnivore.com.

Vegan Beer

Beer is typically made of a few basic ingredients: water, a starch source (usually malted barley), brewer’s yeast and flavorings. Nothing non vegan yet… However, specific types of beer, such as milk stouts, contain lactose, and others may contain honey. These can be easily spotted in the ingredient list and you’ll be glad to know that most beers are vegan friendly.

The more common problem with beer is the use of isinglass in the production, which is typical of wine also. Fortunately, breweries are gradually abandoning the practice of using animal byproducts for fining. As vegan diets are growing, it’s becoming harmful for business for brewers to deliberately make beers with these substances. In 2017, Guiness made its famous Extra Stout beer vegan by installing new equipment at its main brewery in Dublin.

Here’s a list of some Vegan Beers which are popular and widely available:

  • Stella Artois
  • Budweiser
  • Beck’s
  • Corona
  • Coors
  • Carlsberg
  • San Miguel
  • Heineken
  • Pear-flavoured Magners
  • Bulmers
  • Guinness

Vegan ale is also a fast-growing trend amongst craft beer companies here in the UK. Few of them which are embracing plant-based brewing: Moor, Marble, BrewDog. As well as the obvious ethical benefits, it is widely accepted that removing isinglass significantly improves the flavour and taste of the finished product.

When it comes to cider, the vast majority are not vegan friendly. The most popular brands incorporate gelatine into their manufacturing, such as Kopparberg, Strongbow and Rekorderlig.

What’s The Best Way to Approach Alcohol as a Vegan?

You need to find to the go to brands that you know and trust. At first, especially if you are a wine or beer drinker this may seem limited. Once you experiment more with vegan alcohol, you’ll start to understand what you like and what you don’t like. My go to is checking out barnivore, which is an online directly of alcoholic beverages that give you information on whether a brand is vegan-friendly or not. It has more than 44,000 alcoholic beverages and is well known to be a reliable source of what’s vegan. Make sure you do your research before you go out, as you could hold up that bar queue whilst your figuring out whether the alcohol you’re ordering is vegan. Get prepared for those dirty looks!

So I’m in a Social Situation and I’m offered a Drink, What do I do?

Ok so this has happened to me a few times, when you’re in a social situation and you’re offered that yummy cocktail but you’re just not sure if it’s vegan. You can politely decline.. Or you can claim ignorance and run with it. It is entirely up to you how you handle the situation. There have been times when I have drank alcohol which is not vegan, without realising it wasn’t vegan! It is so easy to overlook situations at times, but personally I don’t want any part in supporting the fining agent products that use animal ingredients. It just sounds disgusting too, why would I want to drink delicious grape wine which has been filtered through fish? Especially when it can be made naturally, and will also taste better if it is!

I would love to hear about your stance on fining agents in alcohol, do you think it’s important to not drink non vegan alcohol? How do you monitor whether your alcohol is vegan? Comment below and let me know!

If you need any help transitioning to a vegan diet, go check out this step by step guide.

Ami x

5 BEST Vegan Documentaries

5 BEST Vegan Documentaries

In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, or 1.16% of the population which is a staggering increase from the 150,000 (0.25%) in 2014. It’s now 2020, can we increase it by at least another 1-2% this year? With the Coronavirus pandemic, I wouldn’t be surprised if 2020 gives way for the biggest increase in vegans.

I personally went from eating meat to vegan overnight, after watching 5 documentaries in the space of a week. They were all huge eye openers and the lack of knowledge I had about the meat industry, prior to watching the documentaries was next to nothing. The increase in the number of vegans is due to a number of factors, but the one that is most prominent is people educating themselves on the impact of the meat industry. For many vegans like myself, it was a hard-hitting documentary that first inspired them to make the switch.

These must-watch documentaries will hopefully open your mind as well as your heart to the downfalls of animal agriculture and the many benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. They may not make you switch to a vegan diet, but they may encourage you to swap out one meat-based meal a day for a plant-based one. They may even get you to try out a vegan 30 day challenge.

Even if you don’t make any difference to your diet, you’ll definitely learn something new from at least one of these documentaries.

Let’s start with the one that I initially watched, which triggered the change for me – The Game Changers.

The Game Changers (2019)

This film, directed by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan, focuses on the benefits of plant-based eating for athletes. This film stresses more of the performance benefits of eating a plant-based diet -vs- just showing the negatives of eating too much meat.

It follows a diverse group of athletes that have thrived on a plant-based diet with the aim of dispelling the myth that consumption of animal products is key for athletic performance. You won’t see footage of animal cruelty like some other vegan documentaries, so rest assured. It definitely has a positive light hearted note throughout the film, rather than focusing on the negatives.

It’s 100%  an entertaining watch, and even if you have no interest in turning to a vegan diet, I highly recommend watching it. If you are interested in vegan fitness, go check out my blog on where vegans get protein from as it will help you on your journey!

The Game Changers can be watched on Netflix or you can buy it from Amazon.

What The Health (2017)

What The Health focuses on the detrimental effects animal foods have on human health.

Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn speak to various medical professionals and researchers about the growing effects that animal products have on the human body. I don’t want to give too much away, but in summary they realise that major health organisations have conflicting interests when it comes to educating the public, uncovering the massive corporate influences that impact on a nation’s health.

This was the second documentary I watched after The Game Changers and I was really taken back by what I saw. If you or anyone you know, that is suffering with any health condition, I would really recommend you watch it. It will have you thinking twice about eating meat, for the sake of your health.

You can watch this on Netlix or buy the it from Amazon.

Cowspiracy (2014)

Cowspiracy was created by the same people who made What the Health. It is a groundbreaking environmental documentary following filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. This film is focused on saving the planet, which is often an overlooked reason to go vegan, but in my eyes it is one of the biggest reasons!

You can watch this on Netflix.

Forks over Knives (2011)

This documentary has a similar focus to What The Health. It provides insights to the importance of a low-fat, plant-based diet in preventing or even reversing disease. It also follows the lives of people who were completely changed for the better by changing their lifestyle and diet.

This film is a great watch, and it shows how moving to a plant based diet can really improve your health.

Again, you can watch it on Netflix.

Earthlings (2005)

This is probably one of the more ‘extreme’ vegan documentaries. There have been a number of stories about people watching Earthlings and then immediately making the switch.

vegan documentaries

Shaun Monson exposes the animal suffering endured at puppy mills, factory farms, research labs and more. Yes, it will shock you, but it is the harsh reality of what actually happens!

You can buy it here from Amazon or you may even be able to find it on Youtube.

Are These Documentaries Biased?

Any documentary, is meant to make you feel a certain way, however all these documentaries have studies which back their claims and in a number of cases they are showing live footage. In my opinion, no they are not biased.

These documentaries have been made to open your eyes about what is going on in the meat industry and the impacts it can have on your health, the animals and the planet. I personally think that people who think these documentaries are ‘fake’ or ‘biased’ don’t want to make that transition, so would rather ignore the facts in front of them. Wake up people!

Let me know if you’ve watched these documentaries and how you found them..

Ami x

Canada Goose is Ditching Virgin Fur, but Is It Enough?

Canada Goose is Ditching Virgin Fur, but Is It Enough?

Canada Goose is Ditching Virgin Fur For good

Canada goose is finally getting rid of it’s coyote fur trims, which has been made as a pledge as part of a sustainability drive. They have announced they will stop using virgin fur from 2022. They also plan to buy back fur from its customers’ coats for recycling. This means that they will no longer be supporting coyote trapping in Europe and North America.

They have rightfully received a lot of pressure from animal rights campaigners over its use of fur, down, and treatment of animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has petitioned for Canada Goose to ditch fur products for decades.

According to Canada Goose, the decision made was not in response to the campaigns and petition.

“We’re absolutely not switching for any other reason than we believe switching from new fur to reclaimed fur makes something sustainable more sustainable,” Dani Reiss, the group’s chief executive told the Financial Times.

Real Fur is Cruel

At the moment, cruelty can be found in every stitch of Canada Goose’s jackets and other clothing items. Coyotes used for the fur trim of the jacket, suffer in steel traps. They are then shot or beat to death! It’s honestly revolting the way they are killed and mother’s that are trapped and want to get back to their kids end up chewing off their own limbs.

Watch this video below, which shows what really happens to these coyotes.

The cruelty that these coyotes go through, just for a a strip of fur on a jacket is disgusting. It is great that Canada Goose are moving in the right direction but..

Is It Enough?

This move can be seen to many, including myself as brainwashing the public. As well as coyotes being killed for a fur trim, there are duck and geese whose throats are still being slit for feathers which are used in their parkas.

Canada Goose have no intentions to give up fur for virgin animal products entirely. They also plan to still insulate jackets with virgin down geese feathers, so in my opinion, no it is not enough.

Comment below and let me know your opinion..

Ami x

10 Super Easy Vegan Switches

10 Super Easy Vegan Switches

It’s great that we’re living in a time where switching over to a vegan diet has made been super easy, in comparison to how it used to be 5 or more years ago. I find in most supermarkets there’s always a ‘free from’ section. This makes it is so easy to find items which are free from dairy as well as gluten.

Here are some super easy vegan switches for all you newbie vegans that need a bit of help along the way.

Vegan Switch 1 – Milk

The demand for non- dairy milk is extremely high as more and more customers are questioning the consumption of cow’s milk. Plant milks aren’t a ‘new’ thing as people have drinking them for years on end, in a number of cultures. A lot of milk alternatives do have added sugars, but unsweetened options are also available.

This was by far my easiest switch as I was happily drinking non diary milk before I turned vegan. There are so many types of milk which are non dairy – almond, soy, hazelnut, cashew, hemp, soy, coconut and the list goes on. My personal favourites are almond milk, oat milk and soy milk. Almond has a slightly nutty taste and I love having it in cereals, however I find it doesn’t work as well in my daily coffee as it is quite flaky. My preference for hot drinks are cashew milk and soy milk.

Vegan Switch 2 – Honey

Finding a replacement for honey is super simple. There are plenty of vegan alternatives to help satisfy that sweet syrup craving you may have. They all come from plants and some are more like honey than others. A couple of the best switches for honey are maple syrup and agave nectar. Anyone that follows me on Instagram, knows how much I love agave nectar. I put it on pretty much everything, including my breakfast tofu scramble at times! I have such a sweet tooth so if you don’t, you probably won’t enjoy it!

Went off on a little tangent, but honestly this is such an easy switch. I find that agave nectar in particular has a very similar taste. You can find vegan honey in health food stores, however it does cost a bit extra. The alternative you decide on, really depends on how much you want to splash the cash.

Vegan Switch 3 – Ice Cream

As spring and summer is now creeping up in London, everyone needs some ice cream in their freezer. There are a number of delicious non-dairy ice creams on the market. My personal favourite at the moment is the Vegan Magnum. It is to die for and it tastes even creamier than the original Magnum!

A few other brands that have dairy free ice cream include booja booja, halo top, swedish glace, northern block, judes, alpro, haagen daaz, ben and jerrys and and more.

vegan switch

Vegan Switch 4 – Mayonnaise

I was never really a fan of mayonnaise and then I found Vegenaise Garlic Aioli which I am obsessed with. I add it to every sandwich and wrap I have. It’s not the healthiest, but nor is mayonnaise! My personal preference is vegan alternatives over mayonnaise. When Nando’s released their Vegan Perinaise, I was SO happy as that was one sauce I missed! Even Hellman’s and marks and spencers have made vegan mayo and it can be found easily in most supermarkets.

A few other brands include Earth Balance, Nasoya, Best Food & Sir Kensingtons

Vegan Switch 5 – Chocolate

Say hello to the biggest chocoholic known to man kind – Me! There’s not one day that goes by where I don’t eat chocolate. When I turned vegan, initially I did struggle as pre-vegan it was so easy just picking up a pack of MnMs at the supermarket, if I needed my chocolate fix.

Now, I do really have to search in a supermarket for vegan chocolate. Saying that, I was over the moon when galaxy released their vegan chocolate in Tesco’s at the start of this year! The Galaxy vegan range are my go to bar of chocolates and they comes in 3 delicious flavours. My personal favourite is the smooth orange.

If you’re feeling a bit more upmarket, hotel chocolat have a vegan chocolate range which is made up of dark chocolate. Bear in mind, they have announced on their website, “We believe our dark chocolate is suitable for vegans, however as it is made in the same environment as our milk chocolate we cannot guarantee it is free from milk traces.” It really depends on your stance as a vegan to whether this does matter or not.

I personally do buy a lot of chocolate from health food shops too, so if you’re a chocoholic like me go check out the vegan chocolate range at planet organic!

vegan switch

Vegan Switch 6 – Cheese

Cheese is another staple in most people’s fridges and vegan substitutes are available in all larger supermarkets.

My favourite brand is Violife, which have a delicious cream cheese spread with garlic and herbs. This tastes amazing on a bagel. As well as violife, other brands include applewood, new roots, happy cashew amongst many others. You can even make a cheese like dish, without substitute cheese. Not convinced, go check out my mac and vegan cheese recipe.

Vegan Switch 7 – Meat

Initially when I switched over to a vegan diet, I used to have a lot of ‘fake meat.’  These days giants like Tesco, Quorn and Linda McCartney have made vegan meat substitutes and they can be found easily in most supermarkets. My personal favourites are the beyond meat burgers as well as the vegetarian chicken box by Linda McCartney.

I am trying to switch over now to less fake meat as a lot of it has additives. Natural ingredients that I use to try substitute meat are subs like tofu, tempeh, mushrooms and even lentils.

Vegan Switch 8 – Butter

There are a lot of ways to enjoy butter on a plant-based diet. You can opt for Earth Balance or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’s vegan spread, which can be found in most major supermarkets. If you live near a vegan grocery or a health food store, you might even come across varieties made by smaller brands that you won’t find in typical supermarkets. Some of these include Nutiva, FabaButter and Wayfare.

Vegan Switch 9 – Yoghurt

Similarly to alternative milks, there’s an array of plant-based yogurts – perfect for adding to fruits, cereals, or just having on their own as a snack. They can be used for baking and cooking, too. Dairy free yoghurts are mostly loaded with vitamins and filled with probiotic bacteria. You can get pretty get much any flavour vegan yoghurt that you get with dairy yoghurts. Few of the brands include alpro, silk, nush and so delicious.

Vegan Switch 10 – Crisps

Back to the topic of snacks, every vegan needs a delicious packet of vegan crisps. Sure there are healthier snacks around – for instance, a carrot and a handful of sunflower seeds but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. Many of the crisps that are vegan, are actually accidentally vegan. Here’s a few of my favourites – Pringles Texas BBQ, Kettlechips Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, Doritos Chilli Heatwave Tortilla Chips & Tesco Bacon Rasher Snacks.

Vegan Switches are on the Rise

It’s crazy to think that only about 5 years ago, vegans were so limited to a few options or a small section of odd products in supermarkets. It really is worth exploring what’s available to find the best products for you. The rise in the number of people trying out the vegan lifestyle has driven the increase in new and exciting substitutes. It’s an exciting vegan era we live in and it’s only going to get better and bigger! The more vegans there are, the less meat we’ll see in supermarkets and the more substitutes we’ll find – Win Win!

I hope these easy vegan switches have helped you out! Comment below and let me know if you found this blog useful..

On a side note, it’s April 23rd so Happy Belated Earth Day for yesterday! 🙂

Ami x