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

Pinatex? Pineapple Leather? The Ultimate Guide!

Pinatex? Pineapple Leather? The Ultimate Guide!

Pinatex? PinaWHO? Ever heard of pineapple leather? The ultimate guide to sustainable and cruelty free vegan leather.

What Is Pineapple Leather?

Honestly, I had never heard of pineapple leather, also known as Pinatex until very recently. If someone had told me, their shoes were made of pineapples, I may have laughed thinking it was some weird joke that I really didn’t understand! How can such a sweet, delicious fruit be made into clothing? Well it isn’t the actual sweet part of the fruit, pineapple leather is made from the leaves which makes a lot more sense!

Upon research, I’ve learnt so much about about how pineapple can be used in ways other than just cooking. Just to give you some background, Pinatex was developed over many years of research and development by Dr. Carmen Hijosa. Carmen saw that the use of pineapple leaf fibre which is typically an agricultural waste product, provided the opportunity to build an industry for developing farming communities, with only slight environmental impact.

How was Pineapple Leather Discovered?

This all started back in the 1990, when Dr Carmen Hijosa was consulting on the leather export trade.

“Shocked at the environmental impact of mass leather production and chemical tanning she realised this could not continue, but knew that PVC alternatives were not the solution. She was driven to research a sustainable alternative. Inspired by the abundance of natural resources, including the use of plant fibres in traditional weaving such as the delicate Barong Tagalog garments, Carmen sought to create a new, non-woven textile that could be commercially produced, provide positive social and economic impact and maintain a low environmental footprint throughout its life cycle.”Ananas Anam

How Is Pineapple Leather Made?

Piñatex is created by binding the long fibres from pineapple leaves together to create a non-woven substrate. These leaves are normally left to rot after fruit is harvested, but Pinatex repurposes them to make leather. The leaves from the pineapple are cut up first as well as layered, before they go through the industrialization process. Pinatex can be dyed any colour and has a weirdly close resemblance to animal leather.

Is Pinatex Biodegradeable?

Pinatex unfortunately isn’t 100% biodegradable, as it is petroleum based, however Aananas-Anam are working on it. On the flip side to that, Pinatex  is created from pineapple leaves that are the byproduct of existing agriculture. Their use also creates an additional income stream for farming communities.

Why Should We Use Leather Alternatives?

pinatex pineapple leather

There are a number of reasons why consumers and companies are trying to find alternatives to leather. The one that first springs to mind is animal suffering for their skin. However, as well as leather posing an ethical issue, it does also cause an environmental one. The process that stops animal skin from rotting to turn it into leather, means that huge amounts of toxic chemicals are used. These toxic chemicals generally end up in water supplies as well as soil.

In comparison to real leather, Piñatex is a cruelty-free and sustainable option.

What Can Be Made From Pinatex?

Over the years, Pinatex has gained huge popularity. Not only is Pinatex used in clothing, you’ll find it in shoes, watches, accessories and even home furnishings! YES, I said home furnishings. I can’t wait to see what else Pinatex will be used for in the future. Here’s just a few brands that are using Pinatex:

  • H&M – They have launched their conscious exclusive collection, which has introduced the use of Pinatex in their clothing. They have also launched two other materials, which they’ve never used before. One of them being Bloom foam which is a flexible foam that comes from algae biomass. The second is Orange Fibre, which is a silk like fabric that comes from citrus juice by products.
  • Votch – This is a London based vegan friendly watch company. They have a range of watches, where the straps are fully constructed from Pinatex.
  • Tamasine Osher Design – London based artisan furniture company that creates one-off and limited edition bold pieces. They have created an incredible spider chair, which is made from Pinatex.
  • Hugo Boss – This German Luxury Fashion Brand have designed a vegan shoe range, which are made from Pinatex and they are 100% vegan. They come in a number of colours, go check out the range.

It’s amazing that there are so many vegan alternatives in the age that we live in, and I’m determined to try them all out! If you want to understand a bit more about vegan fashion, go check out this blog.

Let me know in the comments below your favourite vegan leather..

Ami x

What Is Vegan Clothing?

What Is Vegan Clothing?

This article will help you understand what vegan clothing is and how to identify whether the clothing you are buying is vegan.

When you decide to turn vegan, you first transition to a vegan diet generally. If you’re anything like myself, you’ve also looked into sustainable living which includes cruelty free beauty, sustainable fashion and zero waste living. It’s pretty simple when cutting out meat and dairy, however it’s not so clear cut when it comes to vegan clothing. I’m here to make it that one step easier!

So, What Exactly Is Vegan Clothing then?

In short, vegan clothing is keeping animals off your body and out of your closet. Over time, more and more of us are ditching wool, fur and leather in the hope of finding just as great cruelty free alternatives. There are vegan clothing brands which are always coming up, which use innovative materials as well as existing materials to create cruelty free clothing.

Why Should I Care About Whether My Clothing Is Vegan?

Until very recently, I didn’t question what materials went into my clothing. The only things that I cared about was whether they looked great and fitted my body well. I never questioned the harm to the animals that went into the clothing I wore. Most production which involves animals is so cruel. Sadly, companies most the time care about creating products fast, rather than ethics.

What Should Vegans Not Be Wearing?

It’s crazy when I researched into vegan clothing and found out how many pieces of clothing actually contain animal materials. In my head, prior to research I only really thought of leather, snake skin and fur as non vegan products.

Here are some more to look out for:

  • Silk (Comes from Silkworms)
  • Angora (Rabbit Fur)
  • Suede (Comes from a number of animal skins)
  • Down (Feathers which are used in a number of winter jackets for warmth)
  • Cashmere (Goats hair)

Does buying Second Hand Clothing Make My Clothing Vegan?

No, as second hand clothes can also have animal products within them. Buying second hand is touching on buying more sustainably rather than vegan. You should be especially careful of vintage clothing as using animal trims and details were very common in the past. The older your clothing is, the more likely it is to be made from animals.

What Exactly Can Vegans Wear?

First of all, the best material has to be cotton as it is so readily available for vegans. Majority of clothing products have been made from cotton. Other Vegan fibers include:

  • Linen
  • Polyster
  • Lycra
  • Spandex
  • Bamboo
  • Pvc
  • Nylon
  • Cork
  • Acrylic
  • Denim

Of course, this does involve you looking at the label and checking the exact material included in clothes. There are number of sustainable and vegan brands out there. Let me know if you want a list in the comments below and I’ll write another blog for you all. A few of my favourite vegan brands include Beyond Skin, Ruby Moon and Stella McCartney.

My personal aim is to shop sustainably as well as vegan. If you’re unsure about what sustainable fashion is, go check out my latest blog which explains the three pillars of sustainable fashion.

Ami x

Coronavirus Lockdown Boosts Number of Rare Sea Turtles

Coronavirus Lockdown Boosts Number of Rare Sea Turtles

The largest number of rare leatherback sea turtles nests have been found on beaches in Thailand left deserted due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

When looking back at Coronavirus, has there been any positive news that has come out of this deadly pandemic? Well, yes you can argue that not all is gloom and doom! It’s becoming clear that animals and nature are reaping some benefits, as a result of people around the World practicing social distancing and staying indoors. Beaches are abandoned, businesses are closed and nature is getting its time to rightfully restore itself.

Return of Rare Leatherback Turtles

With beaches across the world cleared of people and their waste, rare leatherback turtles which were here for millions of years before humans appear to be making a comeback. These rare leatherback turtles have not been seen in decades and now they have been found nesting on beaches in both Florida as well as Thailand.

Are Sea Turtles Endangered Species?

Sea turtles are some of the most endangered species, seriously threatened by human activities. Nearly every single species of sea turtles are deemed as endangered. Sadly, there are a number of ways that humans are contributing to the decline in sea turtles. Few of these include:

  • Sea turtles are often slaughtered for their meat for food, skin and shells. We went to Bora Bora last last year and were saddened to find out that this was the case in most of the French Polynesia. There are of course laws to try regulate it, but unfortunately it still happens undercover.
  • A number of sea turtles get entangled in fishing gear which is left in the ocean.
  • Sea turtles are also victims to habitat destruction and pollution.
  • Last, but not least it is sickening to think that some humans take fun out of torturing animals!

Link Between Coronavirus and Return of Rare Leatherback Sea Turtles

It can of course, never be guaranteed that there is a link between Coronavirus and the return of these rare sea turtles. However, it is extremely likely that it is closely linked due to the desertion of beaches across the World.

“This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans,” Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, said of the 11 nests they found. These nests hadn’t been seen for the previous five years.

“If we compare to the year before, we didn’t have this many spawn, because turtles have a high risk of getting killed by fishing gear and humans disturbing the beach,” Mr Kittiwatanawong added.

Wild Animals Roam in Cities under Coronavirus Lockdown

With at least half of the world’s population currently on lockdown, wild animals are roaming freely in cities which are usually full of people. Here’s just one example below at Kruger National Park.

In South Africa, a group of lions napped on an empty road in Kruger National Park that was left deserted. The park closed the area at the end of March, due to the pandemic.

It’s great to witness nature and wildlife being restored, amidst this Coronavirus pandemic. If you like this post, go check out my blog post on the link between Coronavirus and the impact it has had on the meat industry.

Let me know, if you are aware of any other positive impacts that Coronavirus has had in the comment section below.

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

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