Vegobox: vegan snacks delivered to your door

This weekend I was lucky to receive a Vegobox in the mail. Vegobox is a monthly subscription service for vegans living in Europe. You sign up online and an assortment of vegan snacks are delivered to your door each month. Vegobox graciously offered to send me a sample box and I’m so glad they did!

Today I did a little taste test of all the goodies I received. The best part was that the box contained three chocolate bars! THREE.

Snack box subscription services like Vegobox are perfect for new vegans or those interested in veganism because they introduce you to new vegan products and tasty treats. These are things I wouldn’t normally seek out in the shop but I’m glad Vegobox broadened my snack horizons. 😉

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Now I’m looking forward to topping my oatmeal with chocolate and chia pudding. Yum!

If you are interested in signing up for Vegobox, use the discount code LISA15 for 15% off and place your order here. 🙂

What the health: a must-see documentary

Today we were lucky enough to attend a free documentary screening at the University of Dundee. Thanks to Barry for acquiring the film! 🙂

What the Health is a follow-up documentary to Cowspiracy. What the Health focuses on why we should follow a plant-based vegan diet for our health, for the protection of the environment, and for the betterment of society.

What the Health is similar to my favourite documentary Forks Over Knives (available on Netflix) because it focuses on the health aspect and benefits of a vegan lifestyle. A low-fat whole foods plant-based diet prevents and even reverses cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and scores of other medical issues.

What the Health asks the question: If we have numerous studies showing direct links between eating animal products and cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, then why are non-profit organisations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association advocating the consumption of animal products in their advertising campaigns and diet recommendations?

This documentary exposes the alarming truth that these non-profits are sponsored by the food and pharmaceutical industries. With their meat and dairy industry sponsors, of course these non-profits wouldn’t recommend a plant-based diet. They recommend a diet rich in processed meat, eggs, and cheese instead, even though this type of diet practically guarantees cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And sadly, the pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in NOT eliminating cancer, heart disease, or diabetes because they profit from their very existence. This might be hard to believe but these industries only care about making money.

If that isn’t disconcerting enough, they also explain how the US government funds advertising campaigns for the meat and dairy industries. The government is literally telling you to eat more processed meat, cheese, and eggs even though non-biased peer-reviewed studies prove we should avoid these at all costs.

I recommend vegans and non-vegans watch this film. Even if you think you don’t care about your health now, you seriously should consider what could happen to you down the road. With every meal you eat, you have the choice to help your body or to harm it.

What the Health isn’t on Netflix yet but you can watch it online here. They also provide all their sources used in the documentary on their website.

Have you seen What the Health? 

What did you think of it?

Vegan sushi to start the weekend

Happy Friday! We started our weekend right with vegan sushi for dinner. I like making sushi at home because it’s cheap, healthy, and filling. It’s pretty easy to make one you get the hang of it. 😉

Homemade sushi is much cheaper than sushi at a restaurant. I buy 10-sheet packs of nori from Matthews in Dundee for £1.68. We also buy jasmine rice in a large 10-kilo bag from Matthews for around £14. An avocado costs around £1 and a large cucumber costs £0.70. I usually make 10 rolls at a time and use 2 cups of dry rice. The combined cost of all these supplies is £17.38. You’d easily pay more than that for 10 sushi rolls at a restaurant. And the best part is you still have 10-kilos of rice to make more sushi! A 10-kilo bag lasts us a month even if we use 2 cups of dry rice per day.

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Avocado and cucumber is my favourite combo. Carrots, bell peppers, and steamed beets are nice as well!

I’d like to think the sushi I make at home is healthier than sushi made at a restaurant because I know exactly what goes into it. My sushi rice is simply plain jasmine rice without oil, vinegar, salt or anything extra added. Not that these ingredients are unhealthy in small amounts, but I try to avoid them when I can. Sushi tastes great with only veggies and rice, so I don’t feel the need to add anything to it. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll whip up a dipping sauce made of tamarind concentrate, light soy sauce, coconut sugar, and lime juice.

Rice keeps me full for a while so sushi makes a perfect high carb meal. We already ate dinner but now I’m hungry for more!

If you’d like to learn how to make sushi at home, check out my video:

What’s your favourite sushi combo?

Using less plastic: a constant struggle

It’s actually warm today (lucky me!) so I decided to be adventurous in the cafe and order an iced latte instead of a hot one.

I always specify “sitting in” (in every cafe I visit) so the baristas know to serve my drink in an actual cup, not a paper or plastic take away one. I ran to the toilet and when I returned, I was surprised to find my latte in a plastic cup, complete with a plastic lid and straw. I told the barista my drink was for here but she explained that all iced beverages come in plastic cups, no matter if you are sitting in or taking it away.

I was upset because I try my best to avoid single-use cups because they’re incredibly wasteful and unnecessary, but I didn’t take it out on the barista. It wasn’t her fault that this cafe only uses plastic cups for cold beverages. I still explained to her that next time I’ll just order a hot latte since I don’t want to use plastic. She apologised and I could tell she genuinely felt bad about it.

I have daily struggles with reducing the amount of plastic I use. Today is a perfect example of a situation out of my control. I didn’t know iced lattes only come in plastic cups before ordering one today. And once the cup is filled, there’s nothing else I can do besides recycle it. Asking the barista to pour my latte into another cup reserved for hot beverages wouldn’t make sense since they would just toss the plastic cup into a bin anyway.

My options are to skip the iced lattes at this cafe and only order hot ones, bring my own re-useable cup or glass, or skip visiting this cafe altogether since there are other cafes in Dundee which offer real cups and glasses for sitting in.

I emailed this cafe and explained what happened today. I didn’t complain but I wanted the owners to know how disappointed I am, and how it doesn’t make sense to serve beverages in single-use plastic cups if the customers are sitting in. Who knows, if enough people speak up about this issue, maybe the cafe will change. It doesn’t hurt to try and spread some awareness!

Do you have any tips for reducing plastic?

How to cook oatmeal on the stovetop

I’ve been having oatmeal almost every day for breakfast or lunch. It’s cheap, filling, and tasty. I also enjoy it because it allows me to be creative with plating. 😉

Making oatmeal on the stovetop is easy and only takes a few minutes. I use a ratio of one cup of oats to two cups of liquid. Lately, hemp milk has been my milk of choice but soy milk is nice too. I’ve made oatmeal with two cups of soy milk before but it was too rich for me. Instead, I use one cup of milk and one cup of water.

I heat up one cup of hemp milk and one cup of water in a large pot (or medium-sized pot, if you have one!) until it starts to steam. Then I add one cup of oats, turn down the heat a bit, and stir with a rubber spatula. I stir the oats only for a few minutes, just until they’ve absorbed most of the liquid. I transfer them into a bowl, let it cool slightly, and decorate it with my favourite toppings.

That’s all it takes! You can modify your oatmeal anyway you like. Try cooking it in other non-dairy milk or even a fruit smoothie. Stir in a scoop of jam or peanut butter into the milk as it warms. Throw in a handful of fresh or frozen berries into the milk as it warms or into the oatmeal once it’s cooked. Drizzle some agave syrup on top or sprinkle on some coconut flakes, chia seeds, or cocoa nibs. And don’t forget to decorate it with some sliced bananas or berries. 😉 The possibilities are endless!

Alternatively, if you don’t have time to whip up cooked oatmeal in the morning, try making overnight oats instead. The night before, set aside a cup of oats and your favourite non-dairy milk in a jar or sealable container. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. By morning, the oats will have softened after absorbing some of the milk. The amount of liquid you add depends on how creamy you want your oats to be. Overnight oats won’t absorb as much liquid as oats cooked on the stove top, so try using less than a 1:2 ratio of oats to water and see how you like it! Try adding some cinnamon, nutmeg, dried ginger, dried cranberries, or chia seeds into the jar. Yum!

Oats are so versatile and incredibly cheap! I buy a kilo bag of oats from Tesco (the cheapest bag they have!) for £0.75. These are just as delicious as the pricier varieties. 😉 I expect to get ~13 servings out of this kilo bag, so we’ll see if my math holds up. A litre of Good Food hemp milk costs £1.10 and gives me just over 4 servings. So each meal (not including my toppings) only costs around £0.34! And even with a few strawberries and banana slices on top, it’s still incredibly cheap.

Tag me in your oatmeal photos on Instagram if you’re oatmeal-obsessed like me. 😉

What are your favourite ways to eat oats?

I haven’t experimented with savoury oats yet. Have you?

Downsizing your wardrobe? Donate your extra bras!

Since we are moving to Spain very soon, I’ve started sorting through my minimalist wardrobe just to see if I can downsize it even more. Currently, I have around 30 pieces in my wardrobe that I wear regularly throughout the year.

I do have a few shirts, leggings, and bras that I no longer need, tucked away in the closet, so now’s the perfect time to find new homes for these items before we leave the UK. I plan to photograph my clothing and post it on Facebook just in case one of my friends would like to take any of it off my hands.

But what should I do with my bras?

In the States, you can donate gently-used bras to second-hand stores, no problem. I was planning on doing the same here but it was brought to my attention (thanks to a post shared on Facebook!) that charity shops in the UK don’t accept used bras. However, the same post highlighted the Scottish charity Smalls for All.

According to their website:

Smalls for All is a Scottish Charity which collects and distributes underwear to help women and children in Africa.  We help those living in orphanages, slums, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and schools, as well as providing underwear to hospitals to help those suffering from medical conditions like obstetric fistula.

While people living in Western Society tend to have easy access to underwear and take it for granted, in many more remote or poorer parts of Africa, that is far from the case.  Underwear is a luxury that many people just cannot afford or it isn’t easily available.

Giving pants and bras may seem like a small thing, but it can make a life-changing difference, for example having pants can help teenage girls complete their education without having to miss school each month during their period.

We accept donations of new pants and new bras and gently worn bras.  We also accept donations of money to support our work and help us to help more people. Our supporters can donate here.

If you’d like to donate underwear, here’s what they recommend:

All you have to do is buy a packet of ladies’ or children’s pants and send them to us. They must be new and size wise for children aged 3-15 or ladies size 8-16.

We also accept new or ‘gently worn’ bras which can be any size, including teen, sports and nursing bras, but not cropped top style or bikini tops.They offer additional instructions for posting your donations:

If you’re sending an underwear donation, please include a note of your name so we can show you our appreciation in our monthly thank you posted on the Talking Pants pages of our website.  If you would like to receive our monthly update please also provide your email address.

If you’re able to include a small donation of £3 to help us with our work that would be pantastic too.  Donating a little more like this means that together we can help so many more people.

Or to give online click here and if you’re able to Gift Aid your donation you can make an even bigger difference.

Please send your smalls to:

Smalls for All
108 Buchanan Crescent,
Eliburn, Livingston, EH54 7EF
United Kingdom.

I had never heard of this charity so I’m glad I stumbled across their post on Facebook. I have three bras to donate and it feels great knowing that these bras will be put to good use instead of ending up in a rubbish pile somewhere.

Now I just need to package them in a box and head to the post office! 🙂

Diet update! I’m starchy now.

Depending on when you started following this blog or my social media accounts, you might remember that I was eating fully raw last summer while I travelled around Europe. I didn’t just jump into that lifestyle straight away, however. I transitioned to a mostly raw diet after meeting Kuba. I ate primarily raw fruits during the day and steamed veggies and potatoes in the evening.

I maintained a raw diet for a few months while in France, Slovenia, and Croatia thanks to the abundance of summer fruit but struggled once I arrived in Ireland. And honestly, I felt trouble brewing a month or so before that. My cravings for pasta and other starches were so intense that I’d crack every couple of weeks and give in to a hearty pasta meal made with gluten-free pasta, spicy tomato sauce, broccoli, and mushrooms.

Then I arrived in Dublin and rarely had a fully raw day. I craved warm, starchy foods so I let myself eat them. At first, it was difficult for me to accept eating foods other than raw fruits but I eventually came to terms with it and started enjoying them once again.

After Dublin, I returned to Scotland and went back to eating mostly raw since that’s how Kuba eats. It’s easy (and delicious) to eat this way when we make meals together. 🙂 We also had a three-week holiday in Thailand and didn’t have any trouble maintaining a mostly raw diet. I took advantage of all the affordably priced cooked food, though, indulging in papaya salads, pad Thai, and the occasional curry. I really miss the food some days!

After Thailand, I planned to revert back to eating fully raw but could never really keep it up for long periods of time. I think I only lasted a week before I ate something cooked, like steamed potatoes or rice.

I can think of several reasons why I’m not able to maintain it, but I really don’t care at this point. Sure, I could force myself to only eat raw fruits and vegetables here, since there’s no shortage of quality fruit (thanks to Tesco), but is that what I really want?

I don’t think I want to be fully raw anymore, at least not at this time in my life. I like the idea of only eating raw produce because it is the simplest vegan diet, but I also like the idea of eating cooked starches. Minimalist problems, I guess! 😛 Oatmeal, potatoes, and rice are cheap, nutritious, and very filling so I prefer them.

So, for now, I will continue to eat starches with abandon. Starches and fruit in unlimited quantities seem to work best for me! 🙂