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Bringing Vegan into Vogue

Through the Mills Heather talks about her tough times

Making a killing

WIN

a Soyabella milk maker worth ÂŁ129.95

Does working in an abattoir make people violent?

Crazy Sexy Juice

Apple and Cinnamon Chia Pudding p.22

Pack all the nutrients you need into one glass

Turning Vegan?

Calling the shots

Your New Years guide

Should vegans vaccinate their kids?

Also inArt this issue... Vegan Collections January/February 2016| issue 12 | ÂŁ3.95

Rising star p.76

Perfect start p.66

Massacre of the badgers p.78


Welcome After the excess of the festive period, New Year is often seen as the time to make changes in our lives, with lots of people promoting detoxes or strict diets. But perhaps instead of a punishing routine, this January could mark the start of your new vegan lifestyle. There are many reasons people turn to a plant-based diet – compassion for animals and the rejection of a system that comodifies these sentient, living beings, for example. For others, environmental factors – such as the damage animal agriculture is wreaking on the planet – is the catalyst. And other people choose a plant-based diet for their own health. But veganism itself is more than a diet – it is a social justice movement, and a philosophy. For lots of vegans, it is only after adopting the lifestyle that they learn more about this. And while this information can seem overwhelming, it is in fact extremely easy to adopt a vegan lifestyle, in fact, in honour of the New Year, we have compiled our easy guide to becoming vegan. There are so many foods to enjoy, as well as cruelty-free products. We were excited to sit down with vegan singer Rainey Qualley this month. This American country musician and actress (eagle–eyed viewers of Mad Men may recognise the star who appeared in the 60s drama) has already gathered quite a following in the states, and has recently released her self-penned EP, Turn Down the Lights, in the UK. A more divisive, but highly pro-active name on the vegan, animal rights scene is Heather Mills. The former model has faced controversy over the years, but is committed to promoting a vegan lifestyle and compassion for animals. She talked to us about why she does what she does – and how to deal with media attacks. On top of that, we bring you all the vegan news from around the world, as well as features on the environment, our monthly agony uncle column from blogger Fat Gay Vegan, and of course pages and pages of mouth-watering plant-based recipes. Have ideas you want to see in the magazine? Or any brilliant new vegan finds? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook, email, or even with a good old-fashioned handwritten letter.

Published by Prime Impact Events & Media Park House, The Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex CO6 2NS T: 01787 224040 | F: 01787 223535 info@veganlifemag.com|veganlifemag.com Editor Maria Chiorando maria@veganlifemag.com Designed by Laura Slater laura.slater@primeimpact.co.uk Art Director Emily Saunders emily@primeimpact.co.uk Publishing Director Keith Coomber keith@primeimpact.co.uk Managing Director Julie Saunders julie@primeimpact.co.uk Advertising Sales Charlotte Grant 44 (0)1787 224040 charlotte@primeimpact.co.uk Subscriptions and Back Issues Laura Bull 44 (0)1787 224040 laura.bull@primeimpact.co.uk Promotions and Blogger Community Jane Lambert 44 (0)1787 224040 promotions@primeimpact.co.uk Marketing and Press Hannah Irons 44 (0)1787 224040 hannah@primeimpact.co.uk

All the best for the New Year! 

Licensing Bruce Sawford 44 (0)1280 860185 Bruce@BruceSawfordLicensing.com

Maria Chiorando Editor

facebook.com/veganlifemagazine

@VeganLife_Mag

thoughts along the vegan way Recipe and image from the health experts at Udo’s Choice udoschoice.co.uk

Meet the Team

“The vegan lifestyle is a compassionate way to live that supports life, supports fairness and equality, and promotes freedom.” ~ Robert Cheeke

Accounts Yolande Arnold 44 (0)1787 224040 accounts@primeimpact.co.uk The publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the appearance or non–publication of any advertisement. Information about products and services featured within the editorial content does not imply endorsement by Vegan Life magazine. Every effort is made to ensure that all advertising is derived from reputable sources. Vegan Life magazine cannot, however, accept responsibility for transactions between readers and advertisers. The paper in this magazine originates from timber that is sourced from responsibly managed forests, according to strict environmental, social and economic standards. The manufacturing mill has both FSC and PEFC certification, and also ISO9001 and ISO14001 accreditation.

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contents ON THE COVER

RECIPES

22 On the cover The health food that tastes like pudding 38 Perfect polenta One main ingredient, a variety of recipes 44 Bryce and Luke’s signature dish Use exotic mushrooms to create this fine dining recipe

52 Through the Mills Why Heather won’t stop spreading the animal rights message

49 A touch of class These high end dishes will please any palate

88 Making a killing Does working in a slaughterhouse make people more violent?

66 Perfect start These breakfast recipes will get you into gear

56 Crazy sexy juice Pack all the nutrients you need into these flavourful drinks

86 Raw power This raw pizza combines flavour and nutrition

72 Calling the shots Should vegans vaccinate their children?

94 Chinese new year Celebrate a fresh start twice

46 Turning vegan January is a symbolic fresh start: the perfect time to go cruelty-free

Vegan Inspiration

Special Features

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34 Behind every strong man Barny du Plessis talks about veganism and his engagement

8 Vegan news All the latest stories

59 Brains behind The Wabi-Sabi Academy is a centre for health, vitality and mindfulness

32 Hedgehogs in focus A few facts about our spiky garden friends

74 For the love of pigs Timea Palmer talks about life with her rescue Francie

64 Bags for life? Why it’s essential to cut down on our use of plastic bags

76 Rising star A vegan musician on the brink of hitting the big time

42 Meet the chef We catch up with Luke Florence and Bryce Edwards

78 Massacre of the badgers The row over the controversial cull continues


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98 Playing the goat One animal’s sneaky ways to get treats...

15 Competition Win a Soyabella milk maker

Lifestyle, Health and Nutrition

16 Dear FGV Top blogger and Vegan Life agony uncle Fat Gay Vegan

20 What’s new? The latest vegan products for you to try 30 Our top 10 vegan beers We bring you the finest beers available

18 Vegan planet Vegan news from around the world 24 Giveaways

37 Polenta goodness This cornmeal concoction can be used in a variety of dishes

25 Vegan myths We tackle some of the biggest misconceptions around veganism

60 Cruelty-free grooming The low down on vegan products

28 Eat and drink - vegan style Rootcandi in Brighton

62 Veg on wheels Make the most of your weekly veg box

48 The accidental vegan A selection of products that are vegan by chance

70 Breaking the fast We round up some of the best breakfast items from coffee shops

95 Vegan pages

82 Eat to perform You can excel in your training plan while following a vegan diet 84 Precision fitness More plant-based eaters are taking part in the discipline of CrossFit 92 A vegan in chorizo country Sylvia Smith explores some unique Spanish territory

Resources

6 Your feedback Letters from you 14 Vegan diary Dates for your diary

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Subscribe to Vegan Life magazine and save over 35%* * Based on UK RRP

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your feedback We want to hear from you! Get in touch with us via facebook, twitter, instagram, email, or good old-fashioned letter – we love hearing your thoughts on the magazine and all things vegan.

r Sta er t Let

Dear Vegan Life, Reading your excellent article in the November issue ‘Battle of the Squirrels’ once again highlighted to me how some ‘animal lovers’ view the world around them. Animals deemed worthy of humanity are to be saved, and those that aren’t can go to hell. Is it the creature’s fault for not meeting their subjective evaluation of what a worthy animal should be? A grey squirrel cannot help being a grey squirrel, and their ability to feel pain and to suffer isn’t diminished because they are numerous and are no longer meeting some ridiculous aesthetic. Some people need to learn that the natural world isn’t there for their selfish enjoyment, and an animal’s life doesn’t become expendable just because it is no longer fashionable. Save the red squirrels by all means, but not at the expense of the greys. Yours Faithfully, Benjamin Bourn

Just discovered @VeganLife_Mag today in @WFMSantaFe ! So excited #vegan @vegsantafe   Picked up a copy yesterday- it’s fantastic @givea_v I’ve often wondered about cross contamination, actually. Look forward to reading the debate! Wayne Simmons 

Dear Vegan Life, I really enjoyed the comfort food and comfort drinks you had in your October issue. I loved seeing the mac and cheese on the cover – I think people must have done a double-take when they saw a dish like that on a vegan magazine. I think the work you do in promoting the vegan lifestyle is really important – I’m always trying to tell people it is easy and rewarding, and not about deprivation. Lisa

I’m on Long Island (New York) and get my issues at Barnes & Noble. This magazine is better than the majority of American veg publications I see. I really enjoy it. Danielle Dryad 

@VeganLife_Mag Friend just gave me my 1st ever copy of your mag :) WOW! :) Didn’t even know you were out there!! ;) THANK U SO MUCH @walkaboutsparky  

Yaaaas!!!! I found you guys in Barnes and Nobel this summer and have been hunting for another issue since. This is great news! Congrats to you, and lucky us! @grlfred 

Mine arrived today through the post, was a lovely surprise to arrive home from work too. Great issue @flo_jo_

Definitely worth a subscription. Makes me smile every time I see it on the door mat. Rachel Barton 

Star Letter

Next issue’s Star Letter will win an apple blossom soy wax candle worth £14.49 from Yours Naturally Naturally Yours ynny.co.uk facebook.com/veganlifemagazine

Yummy #vegan potato recipes, inspired by this month’s @VeganLife_Mag @secondhandsusie  

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@VeganLife_Mag @veganlife_mag

Vegan Life Letters, Park House, The Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex CO6 2NS editor@veganlifemag.com veganlifemag.com/forums


vegan news Bite-sized updates on all things vegan from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sports, animal advocacy and more. Got news to share with us? Get in touch!

Ellie Goulding credits vegan routine for fitness

Pop star Ellie Goulding has once again described how eating plant-based foods has contributed to her level of fitness. According to the singer, plant-based food helps her stay fit and healthy, and to honour her performance commitments. She said: “I make green juice for myself almost every day. I put in things like bananas, avocado, spinach, broccoli – whatever’s in my fridge, really. Sweet potato fries and salad are my absolute favourites. They make the perfect meal. I eat a lot of quinoa and nuts, too, but I also love eating chips.” Since transitioning from lactoovo vegetarianism to veganism, she has described herself as feeling ‘leaner and healthier’, but described missing cheese saying it was ‘definitely the hardest thing to give up’.

Vegan business is booming

The Vegan Society hosted a Parliamentary reception to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Vegan trademark – and according to plant-based business leaders, the forecast is looking positive. Among the attendees were MPs, business leaders – and of course, Vegan Life. Success stories were shared with talks from leading figures in the industry including Alpro’s Sue Garfitt, who detailed the company’s meteoric rise in the non-dairy sector, and Lush’s Hilary Jones. Christina Rees MP, who sponsored the event, said: “Now is the time to support and invest in vegan business, the growth of which is better for our health and the future of our planet. This is also a huge opportunity for our economy. The vegan market is experiencing exponential growth, much of it through UK-based manufacturers including successful startups and thriving small-to-medium sized enterprises. This ought to be encouraged through initiatives and policy, which will also improve public health and tackle climate change.” 

Tax meat to save the planet

Meat should be taxed to reduce consumption according to a report produced by a think tank. According to the publication by Chatham House, global meat consumption is a ‘major driver’ of climate change. The report -Changing Climate, Changing Diets – Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption - also suggests a carbon tax could make meat more expensive and reduce meat on offer in schools and hospitals and the armed forces to promote healthier diets. The livestock sector accounts for 15 per cent of global emissions, equivalent to exhaust emissions from all vehicles in the world.“Governments are ignoring what should be a hugely appealing, win-win policy,” said lead author Laura Wellesley, at Chatham House.“The idea that interventions like this are too politically sensitive and too difficult to implement is unjustified. Our focus groups show people expect governments to lead action on issues that are for the global good. Our research indicates any backlash to unpopular policies would likely be short-lived as long as the rationale for action was strong.”

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Ivory no longer under the hammer

A Danish auction house – its second largest – has stopped the sale of ivory. The move came after social media storm over its planned sale of two tusks belonging to an African elephant. The nearly two-metre tusks, weighing 28kg each, were to have gone under the hammer for over 20,000 euros. A sales director said: “We try to be as aware as possible of what can cause offence.” According to the auction house, the decision to withdraw the sale was based on both ‘the reactions we have received both’ from the conservation group WWF ‘and our customers on social media.’ The WWF has blasted the decision to sell the ivory, calling it ‘immoral’, and one Facebook user wrote: “Supporting the poachers is horrific! I will never do business with this outfit again.”


Secret recipe plant-based patty beats meat

Men’s magazine GQ has named its best burger of last year…and it’s vegan. The sandwich, from Superiority Burger in New York’s East Village, is made from a secret recipe. Retailing for $6 (£4) the superiority burger is said to have a delicious chunky texture. According to GQ’s Nick Marino: “Maybe the best thing about N.Y.C. chef Brooks Headley’s raved-about Superiority Burger— better even than the nutty patty, the roasted umami-bomb tomato, the fact that no cows were harmed in the creation of this sandwich—is the texture. The bun squishes. The lettuce crunches. The pickles snap. That patty, made from ingredients Headley won’t divulge and miles beyond whatever your vegan friends use to assault your grill during barbecues, has genuine heft.” Chef Brooks Headley told an American reporter: “The act of eating a burger is so iconic and so American, and it’s not just about the patty. It’s the squish of the bun, the crunch of the lettuce and the tang of the ketchup – there’s something primally satisfying in all that.”

Game keeper illegally killed rare birds of prey

The former gamekeeper of an estate in Norfolk has been found guilty of killing 11 birds of prey. The Stody Estate lost 75 per cent of its single farm payment following an investigation launched by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) after Allan Lambert was found guilty of killing 10 buzzards and a sparrowhawk on the shooting estate near Holt. Lambert, who was handed a suspended sentence and fine, was convicted of possession of pesticides and other items capable of being used to prepare poison baits. He had pleaded guilty to five other charges, including the illegal use of pesticides. In a statement read to the court, Stody Estate said it had considered Mr Lambert as a ‘valued and trusted member of staff’. However, he had ‘not been authorised, trained or asked to kill wildlife’ and it had ‘no knowledge he possessed such items’.


Goldfish ‘prizes’ banned in Cheshire

Pet thefts on rise across UK New figures have revealed a rise in the number of stolen pets. Research by the Blue Cross charity found 1,567 cats and dogs were reported stolen last year, compared to 1,150 in 2012. Now the charity is calling for tougher sentences - in the hopes this will deter would-be thieves. Becky Thwaites, Blue Cross public affairs officer, said: “The effect of having your pet stolen can be absolutely devastating for owners. This is why we want the Government to do more to deal with this increasing problem. Penalties need to be tougher for those committing these crimes to act as deterrent to others. We also believe that police forces need to ensure they deal with these cases in a sensitive manner and highlight where owners can go for further support.”

Alsager Town Council has voted through a motion to ban the practice of giving away animals as prizes. The motion was put to the council by Green Party councillor, and Animal Aid supporter, Jane Smith. According to Animal Aid: “At funfairs up and down the country, goldfish – and sometimes other animals – are placed in tiny plastic bags only to be given out to anybody who manages to ‘win’ them. Studies have shown that fish are very intelligent and complex individuals with elaborate social structures. Fish should not be kept in captivity, but live free lives in natural environments. Where they are captive, they should, at the minimum, have a sizeable tank, a decent filtration system and genuine enrichment. Most ‘prize winners’ are unable to fulfil these needs, which results in many fish suffering. Animal Aid holds the firm view that all animals’ lives matter, and that all animals deserve to live a safe, happy and fulfilling life – whether it be the widely admired elephant or the humble goldfish.”

Julianne Moore feeds the 500

Actress Julianne Moore chose Hampton-based animal charity Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) to receive over $5,000 worth of free cat kibble. The food – which was donated by Halo Purely for Pets – was distributed to 20 volunteers who were caring for feral cat colonies in the area. The group are part of ARF’s Operation Cat Program, a feral cat trap, neuter and release project that serves an area from the Town of Brookhaven to Montauk Point. Michele Forrester, senior director of operations and partnership programs for ARF said: “We were thrilled to be chosen. Every donation helps toward the bottom line of our budget.”

Reports of animal deaths after using flea medication

A number of bereaved people have reported the deaths of their animal companions after using Hartz flea medication. A website called Hartz Victims has stories, posted since 2002, describing the aftermath of using the medication. One woman called Staci wrote: “Until Friday, I had never heard about how dangerous Hartz flea drops are. Three weeks ago, I applied Hartz Ultraguard to both of my cats. Soon after, my 12 year old, Jackson started having strange leg spasms. It was like something was shocking him, and he would take off running. I thought he had grown tired of his food, so I tried several different brands. He would take a few bites and stop. Then he started drinking a lot of water. The weight loss was rapid.” The cat later died of acute renal failure. There are more stories on the site which seem to connect the medication with death, though whether this could be attributed to misuse is unclear. Hartz have not replied to a request for comment.

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Salt water fish apocalypse: 2048

‘Slaughterfree’ chicken to hit the shelf?

An Israeli foundation is working towards mass producing lab-grown chicken breast. The Modern Agriculture Foundation (MAF) in Ramat Gan, is the only such project concentrating on chicken — the second most popular meat on the planet next to pork. The move follows the production of a beef burger made from cow muscle tissue in 2014 by Dutch tissue engineer Mark Post. According to MAF cofounder Shir Friedman: “We are a group of caring individuals who came to the conclusion that what the world needs urgently, in terms of helping both the environment and animals, is for everybody to go vegan but that’s not realistic. So when we heard about the idea of cultured meat, we realized this is a way to reduce harm to animals and the environment while giving people the meat they want to eat.” 

A new study has predicted the seas will be devoid of fish as soon as 2048 due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. The research led by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, was undertaken as part of an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world. Dr Worm said: “I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are - beyond anything we suspected.” Study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory added: “This isn’t predicted to happen. This is happening now. If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all.” But all is not lost, according to Dr Worm, who is calling for sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, habitat maintenance, and the creation of more ocean reserves. He said: “It’s not too late. We can turn this around. But less than one per cent of the global ocean is effectively protected right now.”  

35% OFF! £15


Are pesticides killing our butterflies?

The controversial use of neonicotinoids on farms could be contributing to the declining number of butterflies, according to a report by researchers at the universities of Stirling and Sussex, in partnership with Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. While the report does not conclusively identify the cause of the population drop, chief executive of Butterfly Conservation, Martin Warren, believes the link revealed by the research required urgent further investigation. He said: “The debate up until now has been focused on bees. If neonicotinoids are affecting a lot of other insects, we should be even more worried. What we really want is more research. It’s crazy that we’re using a potentially dangerous-to-wildlife chemical and nobody has done those studies. If we’re going to get smart about using chemicals in the countryside we need to test them better before they get out there.”

Wildlife experts hit back at environment funding cuts

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has seen its Government funding slashed by 40 per cent. According to economists, this could mean over 5,000 staff redundancies meaning fewer people to, for example, advise farmers on managing land with wildlife in mind, research and find solutions for conservation problems, and make legal commitments to cleaning up rivers, lakes and drinking water, and regulate air quality, among other issues. Stephen Trotter, The Wildlife Trusts’ director, England, said: “Even before the announcement, the Government was only investing a tiny proportion of our national income in environmental stewardship and the restoration of wildlife habitats – its already far below the levels that we need. It will now be reduced to such low levels that there are real question marks over whether the Government can continue to deliver its most basic functions and responsibilities for the natural environment. We are now faced with the extremely worrying prospect that Government no longer has the ecological literacy or functionality that society needs if we are to build a genuinely sustainable future.”

Prison time for Staten Island puppy abuser

A woman who callously stuffed an injured two-pound puppy into a bag and then threw her in a field near the train tracks on Staten Island, NY has been sentenced to jail. The judge imposed a one year sentence on Alsu Ivanchenko, who was found guilty of the beating of the Maltese Shih-Tzuh mix named Snowflake. She is also banned from owning any companion animals for 15 years, must register as an animal abuser for five years, and pay $21,795 in restitution to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ivanchenko, 36, reportedly got rid of the pup because she couldn’t afford the vet bills, buying a new dog instead. Two good Samaritans found the puppy, now renamed Charlotte, whimpering along the side of the road, suffering from severe head trauma with two skull fractures, bruising on her head, and a broken leg. Charlotte has recovered although she still needs special care. She has been adopted by a family in New York City and is reported to be doing well.

Reward for death of rare bird in Cambridge

Wildlife charity the RSPB is offering a £1,000 reward for information about the shooting of a rare bird. The body of a red-footed falcon – a protected bird of prey was found near Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire last September. A post-mortem examination carried out after the body was passed to the RSPB has confirmed that the bird, a young (sub-adult) male, had been recently shot and that this was the cause of death. Cambridgeshire Constabulary Wildlife Crime Officer Alun Bradshaw said: “It’s awful that this rare bird has been needlessly and cowardly shot in the county. We take these matters seriously and are asking for anyone with information to contact us or Crimestoppers.” RSPB experts have also been able to confirm that the shot red-footed falcon is the same individual that birdwatchers and nature lovers in the Midlands and east of England had delighted in seeing since it was first spotted in Stoke, Staffordshire in July this year.

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Chickens top of council agenda

An American town may be changing its position on letting residents keep chickens. For the second time in several years, the Holly Springs town council, Mississippi, is fiercely divided over whether locals should be able to have the feathered animals in their back gardens. Current rules do not permit it. The biggest issue for many, is the amount of room the birds have to roam. According to councilwoman Cheri Lee: “Personally, I’d like to see a larger lot size.” Current discussions would allow a maximum of three chickens on a medium sized lot of 10,000 square feet. An initial inspection would have to take place, with a $75 permit charge. Not everyone is on board with the potential changes. Mayor Pro Tem Tim Sack said: “My feedback that I’ve gotten from everybody I’ve talked to is, we don’t need this. I don’t think we need the hens in Holly Springs. I think the way we have it right now is what we need to stay with.”

My goodness…my (vegan) Guinness Following years of petitions from veggies and vegans, Guinness will be suitable for vegans around the beginning 2016 – when a new filtration system is introduced. For the first time in its 256 year history, the company will stop using isinglass –also known as fish bladders -to remove extra yeast from the stout. Isinglass has been used for filtration since the 19th Century. Although large quantities of the agent are filtered out during the brewing process, there are still traces of fish bladders in the finished product, meaning many vegetarians, as well as vegans, shun the drink. A spokesman said: “Whilst isinglass is a very effective means of clarification, and has been used for many years, we expect to stop using it as the new filtration asset is introduced.”

Fur takes another battering

Pop star Sia teamed up with animal rights group Peta to create a video about wearing fur. Together, they made a computergenerated parody of a fashion show, which shows viewers what it would be like to trade places with the animals who are electrocuted and bludgeoned to death to make coats and other garments. “Crueltyfree vegan fashion is more popular than ever and reflects changing attitudes over killing animals for their skins”, says Sia. “I was happy to lend my song Free the Animal to PETA for use in this important public service announcement.” According to Peta: “Every year, humans cage and kill millions of animals for fashion. Foxes on fur farms in China are kept in tiny cages before being clubbed to death and even skinned alive. Geese have the feathers yanked out of their bodies for down, and cows slated be killed for leather endure extreme crowding and confinement as well as castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning – all without painkillers.”

Meat sales plummet after cancer news

A report claiming processed meats are carcinogenic has led to a drop in sales. The data, released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), said eating the processed meats -including sausages and bacon- is as dangerous as smoking. In the weeks after the report was published, supermarkets across the UK reported a £3m drop in sales of sausages and bacon. Bacon sales saw the biggest decline, with a drop of 17 per cent in sales of the pre-packaged meat. Pre-packaged sausages saw a drop of 15.7 per cent. Martin Wood, the head of strategic insight–retail at IRI Retail Advantage data, said: “While there have been links between certain types of meat and some forms of cancer before, this announcement from a highly respected global body was picked up widely by the media and has had an immediate impact on some people’s shopping choices. It’s interesting that we saw these trends across all of the retailers, not just some. What came out of our analysis was that premium products were more affected overall. This may have been down to the credibility and science behind the story that resonated more with educated consumers and led them to make more informed, and possibly more expensive, alternative choices.”

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 January 1 Veganuary

January 7

Compassion over Killing benefit

Activists are invited to come together to enjoy cruelty-free food, and connect with other like-minded individuals at this event in Rockville, Maryland. The benefit takes place at Vegetable Garden (11618 Rockville Pike), starting at 11.30am and running until 6.30pm. Vegetable Garden will donate 10 per cent of the takings to Compassion over Killing. happycow.net/forum/events/

This month-long event invites people to try veganism. It’s made easy for participants, with a huge number of recipes available on the Veganuary website, alongside an eating out guide, information, advice and case studies. A number of people who have completed the month have gone on to continue with their new, cruelty-free lifestyle. veganuary.com

January 8 - 10

Liverpool/Manchester vegan beer and cider festival

The Liverpool leg of this event will take place at Maguire’s Pizza Bar on Renshaw Street on January 8, starting at 4pm and running through until 11pm. The next two days see the event come to Manchester city centre’s Thirsty Scholar pub on New Wakefield Street. Attendees will have the chance to sup their way through a number of cruelty-free beverages. facebook.com

February 3

Worcestershire vegans and veggies group meeting

This group hosts regular stalls throughout the county – food fairs, vegan barbecues and other social activities including talks. This meeting will take place at the Pheasant Public House on New Street from 7pm. New members are welcome – vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking to reduce their consumption of animal products. veggies.org.uk

February 27 – 28 VegFest Brighton

This vegan expo will return to the Brighton Centre in February, with over 200 stalls selling food, bodycare products, clothing, accessories and gifts. A number of campaign groups and charities will also host stalls. Visitors can expect talks and demos, performances and some brand new activities, including an animal rights forum, a teachers’ vegan summit and a mature zone. brighton.vegfest.co.uk

Ongoing... 14

Queer vegan disco

This monthly celebration brings the vegan community together from 8pm on the second Saturday of every month. The event takes place at Kabaret in Wood Green – a late night venue with a 100 per cent vegan bar serving beer, cider and spirits. According to Fat Gay Vegan: “Everyone is welcome to this club night that is set to become a classic in the capital. Queer Vegan Disco is aimed at anyone who loves decent pop music and is not afraid to show it.” fatgayvegan.com


Competition WIN a Soyabella milk maker worth £129.95 The Tribest Soyabella Milk Maker is the easy way to make alternatives to cow’s milk at home. It can make amazing raw almond, cashew, hazelnut and other nut milks in as little as 30 seconds and fresh soya milk in 15 minutes, as well as quickly and easily making a variety of other delicious milks such as oat, rice and coconut. Simply add soaked nuts, seeds or beans and enjoy 100 per cent natural, organic milk alternatives free from chemicals, preservatives and pesticides. The included grinding attachment can even be used to grind nuts, seeds and coffee beans. One lucky winner has the chance to get their hands on a Soyabella, and two runners up can bag some Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil with another two taking home Beyond Greens formula.

For your chance to win please go to veganlifemag.com/soyabella


dear

FGV

Top blogger and Vegan Life agony uncle Fat Gay Vegan offers his words of wisdom, encyclopaedic plant-based knowledge, and trademark wit. Got a problem? Write to us…

Q

Dear FGV, II have been vegan now for around six months, and I thought it would get easier. I find the lifestyle itself quite easy, but even after all these months, I am facing the same ‘jokes’ from my friends and family. Although they try to dress them up like banter, they are actually being really passive aggressive. I am sick of having to defend my position on animal rights. I am sick of the whole debate around where I get my protein, and all that kind of nonsense. How on earth do I deal with people constantly questioning my choices, and even insulting my appearance (you look pale, etc – not even true). If I ever do get annoyed, I get called a ‘typical, angry, militant vegan.’ Why are people such busybodies, the way I live my life is none of their business! Jane

A

Dear Jane, Nothing is unfunnier than a meat eater telling a vegan joke to a vegan. Well, maybe sad puppies or dolphins in tanks are up there on the unfunny scale but for the purposes of this letter I’ve decided carnivore comedians are the height of tedium. I’ve been vegan for approximately fifteen years and I’m delighted to report the jokes do start disappearing, but it usually takes some work on your part. Here is what you can do to address the unfunny jokers. Talk to them. I know it sounds like an incredibly simple solution but it makes sense. What is the one way to solve any sort of conflict in your life? Yes, that’s right. Communication. Confrontation doesn’t come easily to some people. My neighbours don’t like me to say hello to them in the street and the server at my local health food store won’t look me in the eye. Maybe it’s a cultural thing here in the UK or perhaps I’m not as likeable as I once thought. Either way, having a heart to heart with someone is challenging but the rewards far outweigh the interpersonal discomfort. Start with the person you think will be the most receptive and gently explain to them how these jokes make you feel. Let them know you don’t expect them to agree with your reasons for taking on a vegan lifestyle but at the very least you expect them to respect your decision. A solid friend or loving family member is going to hear your calm and emotional call for respect. It might take them time and the ensuing months will find them slipping up when faced with an irresistible opportunity to make a bacon-themed jibe in your direction, but a gentle reminder of how much it upsets you will put them back on track. If your heartfelt explanations don’t put an end to their dreary meat jokes, you might need to start cutting friends from your life the same way you eliminated animal products. As a back up, make some vegan friends through a local support group or social club.

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A night out with fellow vegans is fantastic. You feel supported and validated, with no need to justify your compassionate choices. Of course it goes without saying that all we do at a vegan party is make fun of meat eaters (I’m joking!).


Q

Dear FGV, I am getting married next year, and am planning on having a fairly fancy do, with a free bar, sit-down meal and canapés, all the trimmings. My partner and I are both vegan, so naturally we want to serve vegan food and drinks. With the cake, I don’t think anyone would notice, and with the food, we are prepared to fork out a lot for a fantastic caterer, whose food is sensational. One of my closest friends sat me down, and said it ‘wasn’t fair to impose’ my lifestyle on the guests, and people won’t bother coming if we won’t bother catering for them. I have to be honest, this really upset me. I have put in a lot of research trying to find great food – would my nearest and dearest really miss out on my big day because I won’t serve dead animals? Niamh

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Dear Niamh, Firstly, let’s get the most pressing issue out of the way. Free bar? Sit down meal? Trimmings? I think you need to resend my invitation as it appears to have been lost in transit. I’ll check with Royal Mail every day until it arrives. Enough about me. Let’s bring it back to you and your special day. Here are the simple facts about hosting a vegan wedding: 1. Some people will moan about beliefs being forced upon them. People like to moan. It’s what we do best. 2. Everyone who loves you will still attend and have a marvellous time. Even the people who moan. They will probably eat the most food. I’m not a huge expert on weddings but I do know how to throw big parties that vegans and non-vegans alike seem to love. There is absolutely no reason why one of the best wedding celebrations the world has ever seen can’t be 100 per cent plant-based. Everyone you invite will show up and every single one of them will eat every delicious morsel you serve. As you’ve been finding out, some of the finest catering companies supply sample plantbased menus on request and most cities now have at least one completely vegan party food supplier. Fancy dining can be cruelty-free and delicious. Any caterer worth their weight in dairy-free profiteroles will know how to turn out a spread capable of satisfying even the most ardent carnivore. That’s Mr Nice FGV out of the way. I’m going in a bit tougher now. Your close friend needs to buy a copy of Dummies Guide to Being a Close Friend. That book exists, right? Well it should, because your buddy is in desperate need of some guidance when it comes to being a loving and supportive person in your life. Sit your friend down and pour them a cup of unwavering truth tea (optional slice of lemon for taste). Let them know how much their support on your big day means to you, but how equally important it is for you to celebrate the way you choose. This is your special day and even close friends don’t really get a say. The only job your friend has is to be supportive and happy for you. If they can’t hold up their end of the friendship agreement, I’m not certain they deserve a spot at your wedding reception. Throw the wedding celebration you want and enjoy the sight of friends and family members jostling to get their hands on the mouth-watering vegan buffet.

fatgayvegan.com | @FatGayVegan


vegan planet Vegan news from around the world

America: Tennessee working on animal abuse register The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is working on a new website – to list animal abusers. The state will be the first in the country to host such a site. The site will work like the sex offenders registry - anyone convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals, animal fighting, or a criminal offense against an animal, will be posted, with a picture, on the website for two years. A second offence would lead to the picture staying on the site for five years. The TBI was aiming to launch the website this month. Executive director for rescue group New Leash on Life, Amy Haverstick, says organizations like hers would benefit from the registry. She said: “We all have what we call a do-notadopt list. We can’t keep up with everything that happens. Having the official list would be great.”

Ireland: Pro-vegan campaign goes large A farm sanctuary has launched a huge campaign across Ireland – the first of its kind in Europe–aiming to convince people to go vegan. The Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary has created a number of thought-provoking posters. The posters – which can be found on buses and bus tops, as well as ad boards – aim to correct common misconceptions about veganism – especially the idea that it is a ‘diet’ which is difficult or a burden. The posters also seek to educate people about how animals are harmed by being used for their bodies and secretions. According to campaign organiser Sandra Higgins: “Being vegan is not an act of charity. It is an act of social justice. Most people believe it is wrong to unnecessarily harm others. Yet we live in ways that contradict that belief, hurting and killing innocent animals through our lifestyle choices, and harming other humans, the environment and our own health in the process.” The campaign was reportedly funded by an ‘anonymous donor’.

Portugal: Bouncing baby dolphin joy A baby bottlenose dolphin has been born in the Sado Estuary in Portugal. The dolphin was born several months ago, but the birth was kept a secret until now. The National Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF) said the birth had not been immediately divulged in order to ‘protect the new arrival and guarantee the tranquillity necessary for its first few months of life’. The new arrival in the Sado Estuary – which is famous for its resident pod of dolphins – takes the pod’s total to 28. The all-time low was 25 in 2011. A high infant death rate contributed to the drop in animals, but this trend seems to have reversed. All but one of the recently born babies have survived and gone on to stay with the pod. 2013 saw the death of Asa – one of the pod’s oldest known members.

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China: Giant cloning factory aims to meet rising beef demand Plans to build the largest animal cloning factory in China have been met with horror by animal welfare campaigners. The main aim of the 14,000 sq metre proposed site will be cloning cattle to meet China’s rising beef demand. Xu Xiaochun is the chief executive of BoyaLife, the company beyond the project. He said: “This is going to change our world and our lives. It is going to make our life better. So we are very, very excited about it.” The new facility will initially produce 100,000 cattle embryos a year, eventually increasing to one million. But in Europe, the cloning of animals for farming was banned in September due to animal welfare considerations. Renate Sommer, the European Parliament’s environment committee co-rapporteur,has criticised the technique of cloning. She said: “Many of the animals which are born alive die in the first few weeks, and they die painfully. Should we allow that?”

Australia: Completely vegan fish and chip shop opens A suburb in Sydney is home to the city’s first vegan fish and chip shop. Bliss & Chips is in Newtown, which already has a vegetarian butcher as well as a number of plant-based eateries. The menu is based on a tradition Australian chippie – offering deep fried fish, burgers and even a deep fired ‘mars bar’. The décor mimics a typical fast food joint, with bench seats and tables left behind by previous occupants Bugerlicious. Menus are written in pen on a backlit whiteboard. The food has been described as not ‘overly oceanic’ in flavour, with ‘uncannily realistic’ textures. According to owner Liss Harry, who has a food science degree in chemistry and biological science, she saw a gap in the vegan market. In the future, she plans develop the food even further. She said: “I want everything to be nature identical. So for example, the “fish” will have omega-3.”


Yushoi snapea rice sticks

These snacks – which come in a few flavours including lightly salted, and salt and vinegar are familiar and unusual at the same time – but madly moreish. They are made from green peas and rice, and are crunchy, crispy bites with a definite and very welcome hint of pea pod. Clocking in at under 100 calories for the individual bags, they are a good choice for cutting back after the Christmas excess too. lyushoi.co.uk

Wing Yip Mai Siam range

This range of vegan-friendly products should appeal to adventurous cooks. The Mai Siam range includes a tasty sriracha, gluten-free rice noodles, and pad Thai sauce. Anyone who has wrestled with getting perfect texture noodles for pad Thai (neither too hard nor rubbery) will appreciate these. The sauce makes it easy to make a very tasty, dish without having to worry about avoiding ingredients like fish sauce. wingyipstore.co.uk

What’s New? We love innovative ideas, clever twists on old favourites and canny nutritional tweaks - anything that makes vegan life easier, tastier and more fun. Here are our latest finds…

Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend

Udo’s Ultimate Oil Blend is a combination of organic, cold-pressed seed oils, free of the nasties found in processed oils. Its unique formula provides an excellent source of the essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6, in a balanced ratio. It contains the unrefined good fats your body needs to work at its best without any of the processed, damaged fats we should avoid. udoschoice.co.uk

Foraging Fox beetroot ketchup

This tangy condiment is perfect for anyone looking for something a bit different – or even a bit more upmarket than the common or garden tomato variety. With earthy undertones, this vibrant sauce matches any number of foods well, great on the side of a vegan fry up, as well as more sophisticated dishes. I enjoyed it with a lentil cottage pie. Beetroot is considered by some to be a superfood, so a hearty splodge of this on your plate packs in a good dose of antioxidants and vitamins. foragingfox.com

Yours Naturally Naturally Yours hair care

YNNY’s Revive hair serum is made up mostly of the super fruit, sea buckthorn oil, which is known to stimulate hair growth. Scientific research indicates this oil kills the parasites that are believed to be the cause of major hair loss, and in conjunction with the oils restorative properties, lead to better hair growth. The company’s hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner is cleansing, moisturising, soothing and also promotes healthy hair growth. ynny.co.uk

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Toxaprevent

Toxaprevent skin salve contains processed clinoptilolite – a clean form of zeolite – which works like a sponge to absorb histamine on the skin. It’s useful for problems including acne, redness, and rashes. The Salve eliminates histamine which can cause these conditions and renders it harmless, reducing the inflammation. Apply up to twice a day to keep your skin healthy in 2016 and beyond. toxaprevent.co.uk


on the cover The health food that tastes like pudding

Apple and Cinnamon Chia Pudding • • • • • •

240ml (1 cup) almond milk 1 Apple, peeled and deseeded 2 pitted dates 1 tbsp chia seeds ½ tsp cinnamon Optional toppings: goji berries, chopped fruit, fresh berries, cacao nibs, etc.

1.

Blend all the ingredients together, apart from chia seeds. Stir in the chia seeds and continue stirring rapidly for 2 minutes so the seeds don’t clump up as they begin to form a gel. Leave to set for a minimum of 15 minutes. To Serve: drizzle with Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend and top with your preferred toppings.

2. 3.

Recipe and image from the health experts at Udo’s Choice udoschoice.co.uk

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giveaways 5

TO GIVE AWAY

Akamuti Organic Virgin Shea Butter 160g An incredible natural skin food, shea butter is rich and creamy and super softening. Packed with vitamins, this richly moisturising butter is ideally suited to very dry skin problems. Unrefined and unbleached, this organic shea butter is produced by women’s co-operatives in Ghana, West Africa using harvesting and crafting techniques that have been used for thousands of years. Free from any chemical processing, the shea butter retains all its natural goodness, creamy colouring and natural nutty aroma. Simply warm the butter in the palm of your hand and apply it as often as you need it. akamuti.co.uk ENTER at veganlifemag.com/akamuti

Dark Collection Hamper from Seed and Bean Seed and Bean is an English chocolate brand, offering a collection of multi-award winning, handmade, ethical, organic, 100 per cent natural and Fairtrade bars. The flavours in each bar are creatively blended using only ‘real’ ingredients, no ‘hints of’, or flavourings in the chocolate. Seed and Bean offers 18 mouth wateringly flavoured bars, 12 suitable for vegans. Some are easy on the palette, some will rocket your tastebuds! For example Chilli & Lime, Coconut & Raspberry or Mandarin & Ginger. You can trace the chocolate from field to store and our wrappers are compostable. Seed and Bean is proudly the UKs most Ethical Chocolate brand (Good Shopping Guide). seedandbean.co.uk ENTER at veganlifemag.com/seedandbean

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TO GIVE AWAY

Bumper hamper containing Savvy Organic Australian Carob Products Savvy’s founders have been working with carob fruit for 25 years and guarantee their new Australian carob, which has just hit the UK shelves, is the world’s tastiest. The farmer on their South Australian groves carefully selects and plants every tree for quality and taste. The company are totally committed to sustainable farming methods and the family-run farm also claims to be the only true nut free and allergy free carob facility in existence! Carob is naturally sweet, high in fibre and provides a great energy boost to keep you going. Learn more at our website. Savvy Organic Australian Carob is fully organic and available in nibbles, powders and spreads. savvyfoods.co.uk  ENTER at veganlifemag.com/carob

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TO GIVE AWAY


Myth 2:

HUMANS NEED DAIRY FOR STRONG BONES We take some of the biggest lies and misconceptions around veganism, and tackle them head on

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alcium is an important part of the diet, and essential in maintaining strong, healthy bones. Everyone, vegan or otherwise, should include it in their diets and according to some experts, the recommended daily allowance for an adult is around 700 – 1,000mg. A number of studies have shown many people do not hit these targets – meaning some of us need to evaluate our calcium consumption.

“There are fears about the levels of antibiotics and hormones in milk.” According to the dairy industry itself, milk products are the only way to source this mineral. This is untrue, dairy products are not the only source, and certainly not the best either. In fact, around 75 per cent of the global population are said to be lactose-intolerant. Lactose is a milk sugar – babies create an enzyme called ‘lactase’ to break down this sugar in their mothers’ milk – an ability we lose in adulthood. Some people are allergic to other macronutrients in milk – for example its proteins. There’s lots of anecdotal evidence to suggest removing dairy products from your diet can help reduce the symptoms of IBS, as well as acne problems and even chronic lethargy. There are also fears about the levels of antibiotics and hormones in milk, and the impact of these on the human who consumes them. Add this to the blood and pus content of milk (cows suffering from mastitis means there is a legal maximum amount of these allowed in milk) and dairy products

soon lose any appeal. And of course, humans are the only species to actually drink the milk of another creature. Milk is created for calves, so they can grow strong and healthy – not for people. Despite the best efforts of the Animal Agriculture lobby, the UK consumption of milk has dropped by over 30 per cent over the last two decades, and the alternative options continue to flow thick and fast, with cruelty-free alternatives for not only milk, but cheese, yoghurt and ice cream also hitting the shelves. Dairy farmers claim they are being paid less than production costs by major retailers as demand for the white stuff continues to fall. There is some disagreement over how useful milk products are as a tool against illnesses like osteoporosis, but studies have shown countries with higher dairy intakes (for example, the USA), also have higher levels of osteoporosis. While various lobbies argue about the stats, there’s no doubt that cutting out dairy is beneficial to the cows and of course, the environment. And the good news is, as a vegan, there are plenty of plant-based sources to get this magic mineral.

Non-dairy sources of calcium • • • •

Tofu Broccoli Almonds White beans

• • • •

Bok choi Kale Oranges Sesame seeds

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Images: Roberto Tancredi


eat and drink-Vegan style

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Rootcandi Brighton

ootcandi is the brainchild of Steve Billam, founder of Brighton’s beloved vegetarian café, Iydea – a hearty delicatessen counter that has become a go-to lunch spot for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. Open since August 2015, Rootcandi forms a cosy and intimate space above Iydea’s Western Road branch, offering vegan tapas sets drawing on culinary influences from around the world. It’s fair to say Brighton has one of the best vegan scenes in the UK, where it’s lacking, however, is evening dining, with very few dedicated upmarket locations. As the UK’s first – and only – vegan tapas restaurant, Rootcandi is changing all that, through a passion for experimentation that goes beyond the culinary to the very concept of vegan dining. Steve spoke with great passion about his quest to make the concept of a ‘plant-based restaurant’ just as normal as the ‘fish’ or ‘steak’ restaurant appears in the culinary world, which means ‘pushing the boundaries of plant-based foods’ far beyond the definition of ‘vegan’. “With plant-based foods the challenge is different – there’s unlimited potential and absolutely no rules – you can do whatever you want. I’ve been blessed to have a Michelin-trained chef who brings incredible culinary skills to the project - part of an amazing team that thrives on challenges. We are constantly thinking outside the box, and what you see here today is just the beginning of the journey.” Arriving early on a Friday night – to avoid the inevitable rush – I settled down with a glass of ‘earl grey fizz’ before sampling the first of the evening’s delights. I began with a dish of sourdough bread topped with mint, broad bean and cashew pate – fresh, wholesome and vividly colourful, set off by an impossibly sweet garnish of pickled red onions. Soon after came the pan-Asian tapas set, arriving on a rotating stand which I later learned was designed by Steve himself. It’s a treat for the eyes even before it hits the palette, with sesame coated radish rolls, bulging carrot dumplings and vibrant pink sushi competing for attention amid garnishes of edible flowers and micro-herbs. The ‘autumn sesame rolls’ gave an incredible mix of textures in just one bite - their mixed sesame seed coating giving way through a soft steamed wrap to crunchy Chinese vegetables underneath. The sushi plate was a small meal in itself, with quinoa, sticky rice and ‘beet brown rice’ varieties served with tamari and a powerful wasabi. Most memorable of all was the tofu dish, prepared in asweet marinade with a texture that quite literally melts in the mouth. Marinated in garlic, ginger, tamari, lemongrass and lime, it’s pan-fried in a maple-syrup glaze – a method I’ll be repeating at home on a regular basis. Served on a bed of mooli, beetroot and wasabi cream with a garnish of steamed samphire, it may very well be the finest tofu dish I’ve tasted. Feeling the need to indulge properly in Rootcandi’s ‘tapas world tour’, I also selected a few dishes from their South-American and European menus. I’m very glad I did, as these were the dishes that proved just how much the Rootcandi team are experimenting with concepts and flavours. ‘Melon and warm poached tomato’ from the South-American themed set was an experience I couldn’t have predicted. With just a little balsamic vinegar and crushed pistachio, the tartness of the tomatoes seemed to compete with the sweetness of the cool watermelon underneath – the juiciness of the flesh tricking the tastebuds into complete surrender. The European-style potato cakes were also a memorable concept –crisp puffs stuffed full of a soft blend of potato, pea puree and vegan cheese. What really made this dish, however, was the cauliflower dip – which served as a reminder that plants can create all the thickness and cream of any milk product. The Rootcandi experience is a standout example of what can be achieved in plant-based dining. For bookings or further info visit: rootcandi.co.uk. Emily Yates is a writer and yoga therapist based in Brighton. Her website is emilyyateslondon.com.


Our top 10 vegan beers We’ve supped our way through a varied range to bring you the finest beers available

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eople often believe veganism to be restrictive, that somehow we are depriving ourselves of something. Traditional views have it that if you remove the meat from your plate you’re left with two veg. In reality it is quite the opposite… We become more receptive and open with an enthusiastic willingness to try new things, to experience new tastes and sensations. Our diets transform to be more diverse and interesting than the omnivorous counterpart. Plates literally overflow with vibrant, colourful and energising foods. The same is true of beer too. We may learn that some of our previous favourites are not vegan friendly, including Guinness (due to change in 2016) or cask Tribute (bottles are vegan friendly). However we soon start to seek out tempting alternatives. Our palates change and we enjoy fresh and exciting flavours. From highly hopped beers with resinous pine and striking bitterness to unusual, mouth-puckering Belgian beers spontaneously fermented with wild yeasts. Hoppiness (6.7%) – Moor Beer Co RRP £2.75 for 330ml (Moor Beer Co Online Shop) Choosing a favourite beer from Bristol’s Moor Beer Co is like choosing your favourite child. Their core range of natural, unfined beers are all exceptional, however, Hoppiness is simply outstanding. An abundance of flavour has been squeezed into their shiny new cans, tasting as fresh as the moment it left the brewery. Huge pine and tropical fruit aromas fill your nose the second the can is opened. Sticky and fruity with unripe mango, pineapple and grapefruit.Hoppiness is held together with a rich malt backbone providing depth, warmth and sweetness. Moor Beer Co’sunfined ‘natural’ beers do not contain isinglass cask finings.

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Dark & Bitter (5.8%) – Gyle 59 RRP £2.50 for 500ml (Gyle 59 Online Shop) If you have the privilege of trying Dark & Bitter on draught all other cask beers you enjoyed before becoming vegan will pale in comparison. The clarity and range of flavours here are remarkable. From the mountainous white head, notes of citrus escape first, quickly followed by toffee, roasted malts and chocolate. These same flavours are all present on the tongue with a touch of earthy hops, red berries and grapefruit. Dark & Bitter finishes with a superb pithy citrus bitterness. Gyle 59 do not use isinglass making their beers suitable for anyone to enjoy whether omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan. Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio (5%) – Brasserie CantillonBrouwerij RRP £8.18 for 750ml (Beers of Europe Online Shop) From gently prising off the cap to teasing out the cork below, opening a bottle of Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio is a spiritual experience. This is a beer made for special occasions. Pouring a deep orange the initial aroma is strikingly sharp and funky. Green apples, honey and some acidity greet you. The taste is balanced, but incredibly complex. Tart with green apples, rhubarb and oak. Notes of dill, oranges and lemons all add to wide spectrum of flavours. In contrast to modern brewing methods, the wort is left to cool in large open tanks allowing natural yeasts and bacteria to initiate fermentation giving the beer its distinctive characteristics. No animal products are used in the production of their beers.


Mosaic Pale (5%) – Hastings Beer Co RRP £2.50-£3.50 for 330ml (Specialist Bottle Shops) Pete Mason, owner, MD and backup brewer at Hastings Beer Co is vegan so everything they produce contains no animal products whatsoever. Mosaic Pale is an intensely fruity beer. You would be forgiven for thinking they put a tropical fruit salad in the beer rather than hops. Rammed full of pineapple, apricot, melon, peach and blueberry it surely counts as more than one of your five-a-day. There’s a real clarity and freshness to the flavours of Mosaic Pale with the peach notes lingering long after the can is emptied. Hastings Beer Co have currently paused production to allow for changes to the way in which they make and sell their beers, but will return in Spring 2016. All beers are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. No finings or any other animal product (like honey or lactose) are used.

Rodenbach Grand Cru (6%) – BrouwerijRodenbach RRP £2.59 for 330ml (Beers of Europe Online Shop) Rodenbach Grand Cru is unlike any beer you will have tasted before. It’s a style of sour beer known as a Flanders red ale usually brewed in West Flanders, Belgium. Consisting of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 beer matured for two years in oak casks. The resulting blend is sophisticated with a vinous quality. Dark, woody brown in colour with hints of apple, oak and vanilla rising from the glass. Red apple dominates the initial taste with some wood and oaky notes. Subtle vanilla, honey and tangy balsamic vinegar add to the intensity of flavours. No animal products are use in the production of BrouwerijRodenbach beers.

Salted Caramel Quadrupel (13%) – Mad Hatter Brewing Company RRP £4.35 for 330ml (Beer Heroes Online Shop) Based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle Mad Hatter Brewing Company have firmly placed themselves as the standout brewery of 2015. Sitting alongside their core range is a regular release of inventive beers. From their Raspberry & Basil Wit to the vegan-friendly Smokey Bacon & Banana; the smoked flavour coming from malt that was smoked over sherry cask oak chips. Salted Caramel Quadrupel displays a familiar bouquet of dried fruit including figs and prunes that you’d expect from this beer style. These continue into the taste with a smooth caramel and toffee sweetness while your lips are treated to a tingling saltiness. All Mad Hatter Brewing Company beers are fining free so it is only the ones with lactose in (Nightmare on Bold Street and a few specials) and those that use the yoghurt souring method (Tzatziki Sour, Hold Your Plums etc.) that are not suitable. Oh and our Mad Yeti has honey in it as well.

London Porter (5.4%) – Fullers RRP £2.00 for 500ml (Sainbury’s) Deep, dark and delicious, Fuller’s London Porter is everything you could wish for from a porter. Reminiscent of a bar of fruit and nut chocolate the sweet aroma is packed with toffee, milk chocolate and raisins with a touch of wood smoke. Roasted malt, milk chocolate and toffee permeate the light and silky smooth taste. A subtle campfire smokiness lingers in the background

while London Porter signs off with a delicate burnt toast finish. The greatness of London Porter is it’s distinctive differences from a stout; roasted malt characteristics are there, but it’s the smooth toffee that takes precedence. Fuller’s bottled products (except Organic Honey Dew) are filtered and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

American Double IPA (9.2%) – Tesco Finest RRP £2.09 for 330ml (Tesco) Tesco Finest American Double IPA is an accessible introduction to beers with strength and one of the leading supermarket own-brand beers available. Despite being branded as a Tesco product it is produced by BrewDog and is essentially their Hardcore IPA in different clothes. Rich, fruity and full-bodied, American Double IPA contains a wealth of pine, citrus and caramel. Warming golden syrup and caramel give way to orange and grapefruit pith with tons of resinous pine. Thick, sticky and syrupy it leaves you with a bitter citrus fruit finish. All BrewDog beers are vegan-friendly unless they contain special ingredients (honey, lactose, etc).

Camden Pale Ale (4%) – Camden Town Brewery RRP £1.66 for 330ml (M&S) Beautifully packaged with attractive modern branding, Camden Town Brewery’s take on a US pale ale has been expertly crafted. Both light and refreshing, but with stacks of flavour from a plethora of American hops. Pouring light in colour with a small head, the fruity aroma of citrus and mango takes hold. Hints of pine and a subtle spiciness make their presence felt. The carbonation carries waves of citrus across the tongue leaving just enough bitterness to initiate another sip. Now easily available from M&S stores this should be in everyone’s fridge. Camden Town Brewery do not use any finings in their beer.

Organic Apricot Fruit Beer (5.1%) – Samuel Smiths Brewery RRP £2.55 for 355ml (Independent Health Food Shops) Samuel Smiths’ Organic Apricot Fruit Beer is a proper fruit beer. Ideal for people who don’t usually like beer and perhaps enjoy something sweeter, or people who would usually avoid fruit beers. Everything from the initial aroma to the the finish is pure, unadulterated apricot. Organically grown barley and wheat are used to create the complex base ale which is then blended with pure organic apricot fruit juice. The resulting beer has considerable strength and character to it. Paired with an almond feta tart where the apricot sweetness mellows the sharpness of the tart this is heavenly. All Samuel Smith’s beers and ciders are suitable for a vegan diet (except cask conditioned Old Brewery Bitter and bottled Yorkshire Stingo).

Follow Oliver Coningham on twitter: @oconingham

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Hedgehogs in focus A few facts about our spiky garden friends…

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nce a common sight, fewer hedgehogs are being spotted in our gardens. These creatures, who play a valuable role in our ecosystem, have been voted as Britain’s most popular wild animal many times. But nearly a quarter of hedgehogs born die before leaving their nest, and half of those remaining do not survive their first hibernation. There are a number of hazards facing these animals, including road traffic, poisonous pesticides, and even garden ponds. So what does all this mean for this iconic British species?

There is lots of evidence to suggest the hedgehog population is severely in decline – in Britain’s towns and cities, as well as the countryside – with fears they could be wiped out within a decade. Data at the time suggested there were 36.5 million hedgehogs in Britain during the 1950s – though this is considered to be an overestimate. A more recent estimate was made in 1995, putting numbers at just over one and a half million. This is believed to be more accurate, but there is still some uncertainty as to how accurate, as the number is based on estimates around limited information regarding hedgehog density in different habitats. Now evidence suggests numbers have declined since the 90s, with three surveys by the British Trust for Ornithology claiming we have lost 30 per cent of the hedgehog population since 2002 – placing the population at under a million.

If you want to help hedgehogs, you can register to become part of an ongoing campaign (hedgehogstreet.com) where you will be sent advice and tips. If you want to attract wildlife to your garden, it’s a good idea to provide a safe environment, with leaves and other materials suitable for nests and small dishes of water. You should always check for hogs when you are strimming or cutting your grass, and always check before lighting bonfires, as they sometimes like to sleep in there.

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• Hedgehogs (who are extremely noisy eaters) consume a whole range of foods, but the majority of their diet is made of invertebrates – mainly worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, ear wigs and millipedes. • Often people will leave out dishes of meatbased cat or dog food for hedgehogs. According to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society: “The hedgehog will treat this as a welcome supplement to its normal diet and will not go hungry if, for some reason, the food is not put out. Always ensure that a dish of water is available especially during the summer months or in extreme weather conditions.” You can also leave out unsalted crushed or chopped peanuts, or sunflower hearts. Hedgehogs often suffer from fleas. According to an old wives tale, they need these fleas – this however, is untrue. According to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society: “If it is necessary to remove fleas from a hedgehog, then a commercially prepared powder suitable for caged birds can be dusted amongst the spines (taking care to avoid the eyes of the animal) as an adequate treatment, but do not use on very young hedgehogs. The good news is hedgehog fleas are host specific and will not infest your cat or dog. Blood-sucking ticks are often found on hedgehogs and after taking their fill of blood, will drop off the host in order to complete their life cycle. Removal of these ticks is a difficult task but can be accomplished by using a tick remover. Though you may prefer to leave this to someone with experience as it is easy to leave the mouth-parts and head in the skin which may turn septic.”

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The male hedgehogs are called boars and females are called sows. Neither males nor females scent mark.


BEHIND EVERY STRONG MAN

Barny du Plessis, Mr Universe 2014, talks to old colleague Jenny Elliott-Bennett about veganism and his engagement to the UK’s strongest women It’s been almost two decades since we worked together at a nutrition centre. Back then you were bodybuilding on a carnivore diet. Now you are Mr Universe 2014 and vegan. Can you tell me about your move to a 100 per cent plant diet? Becoming vegan is the best thing I’ve ever done – my only regret is not doing it years ago. I wake up with more energy, recover faster and have gained mass. Josie (Keck – his fiancée) and I had both been more or less pescatarian for a few years prior to the decision of going full vegan. I grew up as a kid in a New Age hippy household as a vegetarian until I was about 18. Then unfortunately I started, reluctantly, to eat meat and fish in order to help me acquire adequate amounts of protein in my pursuit of building an awesome physique. Back then, and it is the same still to this day, the mind-set was and still is, you have to eat meat and consume animal products if you want to be strong, gain muscle and even more so if you want to be a champion. If you don’t, you won’t, and plant-based protein is totally inferior and isn’t worth anything to the body. So I consumed meat and dairy products for about 22 years. In this time, yes, I gained muscle and strength. I won many national and international shows and titles. However, on my journey, I also learned a huge amount about nutrition and so I started to question quite a bit of what the ‘fitness industry’ was advocating as the correct, indeed the only way, to build muscle, and what was suggested as a good or healthy diet. One thing clear in the industry was the idea that one must have a diet consisting of massive amounts of protein and it

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having to come from animal origins. This notion was becoming more obscene and ludicrous to us the more we understood the reality of good nutrition.

“I wake up with more energy, recover faster and have gained mass.” Though you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see them, I have three hernias. I’m due to get them sorted out, finally, after about eight years of discomfort. I mention this, as it has several connections to us going vegan. Firstly, we are totally disgusted with the whole meat and dairy industries. They’re completely unethical. The unethical treatment, exploitation, enslavement and mass genocide of animals is something we felt we simply had to take a stand against. The whole agricultural industry is another thing we don’t agree with, in regards to the use of pesticides and the corruption of grains with the introduction of GMOs. The general pacified acceptance of them and the mega corruption of power by a certain pharmaceutical company is something we felt so strongly about, we vowed to never purchase another product or give any associated company or one supporting the use of GMOs another single penny of our money. These two reasons were fundamental in our decision to go vegan.


The next thing was Josie is gluten and wheat intolerant, and had developed a dairy intolerance. After discovering these problems, and not wanting to eat animals, she then wanted to go vegan. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t sure about it for several reasons. Ignorance mainly, and another was the fact that I was in a couple of sponsorship contracts with supplement companies that obviously focused much of their sales and products around whey and other animal-sourced proteins. But the reasons to finally make the switch and live our lives as vegans were mounting up. The final nail in the carnivorous coffin was the fact that every time I ate a lot of meat, especially any red meat, I would get a lot of pain in my stomach. The acidity flared up my stomach acids and affected my hernias, causing great discomfort. I was suffering with acid reflux: severe, machine gun-like hiccups that could sometimes last for days at a time. It was unbearable. We became very aware there was a definite link with the food I was eating, namely meat, and my bad acid reflux reaction. So this was another reason for a change - our own health, though it wasn’t at the forefront of our thinking, it was just a consideration. The real reasons were the mass farming methods and the meat and dairy industry horrors in general. So ultimately, the biggest reason for our change to a plant-based diet was our love for animals. I couldn’t hurt a butterfly so how was I allowing myself to eat so much meat? It occurred to me I was a massive hypocrite. It seemed we woke up and simply had to make the change. It was a ‘no brainer’ at this point and easily the best thing we have we have ever done. We have also been on a spiritual journey over the last ten years. Josie is a spiritual healer and crystal therapist, and so changing to veganism was just another step in the spiritual progression in our lives. So, you are engaged to be married to Josie, the UK’s Strongest Woman 2010, who is also vegan. As you get near competition time, do you and Josie do anything extra in terms of diet? It is quite simple really, the same dieting principles that would normally be employed in order to get ripped for a bodybuilding show still apply. The protein intake remains at a constantly optimal level, fat is kept at a healthy minimum and the carbs are manipulated in conjunction with regular exercise and cardio vascular training.

no compromise. Stay true to the ethos. Think of the greater good.’ There isn’t anything particularly that we would advocate specifically for gender to be honest. Possibly an iron supplement, B vitamins, evening primrose oil are a few for the ladies. Creatine is always a good idea for a vegan athlete. Men would benefit from various herbs such as saw palmetto, a B complex, vegan omega oils. But it’s a specific thing to the individual and their dietary and lifestyle situation, so it is hard and would be unwise to blanket suggest other things as it may or may not be a good idea for the individual. We do vegan coaching, readers could drop us a line via email for specific queries.

“We will keep spreading the vegan thing: Greens, grains and plant based gains.” What do you say to the traditional attitudes surrounding men and meat? Do you get any ‘stick’ for being vegan? Unfortunately, for many reasons, men are hardwired to believe that we have to eat meat to be a man. It’s simply not true and there is no scientific link. It’s ridiculous. I have gotten more stick as a male bodybuilder than a man might get in any other field. However, I’ve also received a lot of positive support, though much of the support was private messages and emails as most of the men I know are under pressure and are afraid of the backlash if they publicly express their support. I feel I’m setting a massive example and leading the way forward. Ground-breaking, somewhat. I’m not bothered about the stick to be honest. In fact, I use it as fuel to keep shouting the message. I love the stick. In fact, I’ll beat them with it haha!

Could you each give your one best tip as per your gender for vegan nutrition? Is there something you absolutely advocate Josie, to female vegans? And Barny, what would be your ‘if you only do one thing’ advice be to male vegans? I would suggest that to be a healthy vegan you need to make sure you get adequate calories and a sufficient array of protein from a good variety of plant-based foods. Josie says ‘live and lead by example and

Any exciting projects in the pipeline that might interest readers of Vegan Life magazine? We are continuously involved with loads of articles around the world about our vegan thing. We’ve also just completed our part in a huge documentary being made. 100 million people plus are due to see it. It is being produced by non-other than James Cameron, who is also vegan!  It has a three million dollar budget. It’s going to be called The Game Changers. Keep your eyes open for it, it’ll be amazing. We are also making regular videos for our YouTube channel called ‘Powers of the Universe TV’. So tune into that, it’s really cool. Readers can catch us on twitter @mruniverseshut or email us for vegan coaching via powersoftheuniverse@hotmail.com. We will keep spreading the vegan thing: Greens, grains and plant based gains.

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“Animals have hearts that feel, eyes that see, and families to care for, just like you and me.� ~ Anthony Douglas Williams


polenta goodness This cornmeal concoction can be used in a variety of dishes

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or many people, polenta is a bit of a mystery – and a sorely underused ingredient. This golden Italian food is made when dried, ground corn is mixed with water and made into a thick porridge-like consistency – it’s a staple northern Italian dish, which can be served with all kinds of sauces or flavourings. It’s not the easiest ingredient to get right, but if you nail it, it’s very very good (and if you don’t, it’ll quite possibly be inedible). Different cooks recommend different liquid ratios, and indeed, different liquids. Many classic recipes call for water, but other chefs prefer to use milk, to create a polenta with more ‘body’. For vegan purposes, an unsweetened soya milk could work well here if you wanted to try something other than water. Fat will generally be added in any case. To make a very soft polenta, use five parts liquid to one part ground cornmeal. For something more rigid, use three parts liquid. One of the most controversial aspects of cooking polenta is the stirring issue. Opinion differs wildly, with lots of traditional Italians claiming the tastiest mixture, with the best texture, is made when it is cooked for as long as possible, stirring continuously. This can be extremely labour intensive, and in fact most modern recipes suggest stirring often, but not continuously. The cornmeal should be added slowly, while the mixture is stirred, to stop it from getting lumpy. Once all the liquid and grains are in the pan, stir until it starts to thicken, then reduce the heat. While this might alarm the purists, some suggest cooking polenta in a pan with liquid and margarine for 10 minutes, stirring the whole time, then

transferring the mixture to an oven-proof dish, covering with foil, and baking for an hour. While this can yield a soft and tasty polenta, it is not the traditional way of preparing it.

Serving suggestions A good, classic way to service polenta is served very soft in deep bowls with a rich tomato sauce – you can add roasted vegetables to the sauce to make it more robust, or meatreplacements. Simply ladle the polenta mixture into single servings and top with a dollop of the sauce for a hearty winter-warmer. The more adventurous cooks can make canape polenta toasts. After cooking, wrap the polenta in cling film, and chill for two hours. In the meantime, sauté tiny diced red onions, peppers and mushrooms with some stock and a dash of non-dairy cream. Reduce the mixture. Slice the polenta into bite-size portions, and top with a spoonful of veg. Polenta can be eaten any time of day – try as a delicious porridge. Add two parts water to one part cornmeal, using half water and half non-dairy milk. Simmer until it thickens, then add a good dollop of brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Top with non-dairy cream, and serve with fresh fruit.

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perfect polenta One main ingredient, a variety of recipes

Polenta with wild mushrooms, hazelnuts and figs. Recipe and image from Pure Vegan by Joseph Shuldiner, published by Chronicle Books (£18.99) Š Emily Brooke Sandor

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Polenta with Wild Mushrooms, Hazelnuts, and Figs Serves 4 Figs • 4 dried black Mission figs, stemmed • 250ml (1 cup) black currant juice or 100% pomegranate juice Black Currant Dressing • Reserved black currant juice (from the figs) • 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard • Juice of ½ lime • 2 tsp minced shallot • 1 tbsp crème de cassis • 1 tbsp red wine • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar • 125ml (½ cup) hazelnut oil • Salt and freshly ground pepper Polenta • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan and brushing 1.

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2.2L (9 cups) water Salt and freshly ground pepper 300g (2 cups) polenta 180g (1 cup) French green lentils, rinsed and drained 2 tbsp chopped shallot 250g (10oz) mixed wild mushrooms (such as oyster, chanterelle, and stemmed shiitake), thinly sliced 2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and skinned and finely chopped 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme Baby lettuce, arugula, or microgreens for garnish

Prepare the figs: Put the figs in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the black currant juice to a boil over high heat. Pour the juice over the figs and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the juice, and coarsely chop the figs. To make the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat the reserved juice over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 2 tbsp, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the reduction to a blender. Add the mustard, lime juice, shallot, crème de cassis, wine, and vinegar and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the hazelnut oil and blend until the mixture is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a squeeze bottle or bowl. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking pan lightly with olive oil. In a large saucepan, combine 6 cups (1.4L) of the water and salt over high heat. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly and vigorously to break up any lumps. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Pour the polenta into the prepared pan and use the back of a wet spoon or a wet spatula to spread it in an even, flat layer and smooth the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 15 minutes. Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and add the remaining water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer until soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain, then season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the figs, hazelnuts, and thyme and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Preheat a medium-hot outdoor grill or heat a grill pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. Cut four 3-inch circles of polenta (save the scraps for another use.) Brush olive oil on both sides of the polenta and grill until the bottom is browned and the polenta no longer sticks to the grill, about 5 minutes. Turn and grill the other side until browned, about 5 minutes. Reheat the lentils and mushrooms if need be. Spoon a quarter of the lentils in a 4-inch pool in the centre of each plate. Place a polenta round on top. Spoon a quarter of the mushroom mixture over the polenta, then top with a few leaves of the baby lettuce. Drizzle 2 to 3 tbsp of the dressing over the top and around each plate and serve immediately, with the remaining dressing alongside.

Recipe and image from Eat Like You Give a Damn by Michelle Schwegmann & Josh Hooten, published by Book Publishing Company 2015

Polenta Fries

Serves 4

Kcal 138 | Fat 1g | Saturated Fat 0g | Carbohydrate 27g | Protein 5g (per serving)

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375ml (1½ cups) water 375ml (1½ cups) no-salt-added vegetable broth 150g (1 cup) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal 30g (¼ cup) nutritional yeast flakes ½ tsp salt

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Put the water and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, stirring constantly. The polenta will thicken quickly and bubble (stand back to avoid splatters). Decrease the heat to low (keep stirring!) and stir in the nutritional yeast. Cover and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the polenta is as thick as you like it, 10 to 15 minutes. Mist a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Spread the polenta on the prepared baking sheet about ½ inch thick. Smooth the top. If the polenta has cooled enough, you can spread it with wet hands. Refrigerate for 1 to 12 hours or put in the freezer for 15 minutes. When you’re ready to bake the fries, preheat the oven to 220°C (450°F). Cut the cold polenta into French-fry shapes or triangles or use a cookie cutter to make whatever shapes you like. Mist with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 25 minutes.

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Seared Polenta with Marinara Sauce

Serves 4

Kcal 620 | Fat 33g | Carbohydrate 73g | Protein 19g (per serving)

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480ml (2 cups) plain unsweetened soymilk 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp red pepper flakes 175g (1 cup) corn grits/polenta 35g (¼ cup) whole-wheat pastry flour or corn flour Canola oil for frying Good-quality jarred marinara sauce, heated 30g (1 cup) chopped fresh flat leaf parsley 60g (½ cup) pine nuts, toasted

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Grease a 9 x 9-in/23 x 23-cm baking pan with olive oil. Set aside. To make the polenta: Combine the soy milk, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups (480ml) water in a medium saucepan, and bring them to a simmer over medium heat. At the same time, bring a second pot of water to a boil. Slowly whisk the polenta into the soy milk–olive oil mixture in the medium saucepan. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth, reducing the heat to

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low to avoid spattering. Cook until the polenta grains are tender, about 15 minutes, whisking regularly (it should have the consistency of cream of wheat). If it gets very thick before the polenta is fully cooked, add additional boiling water, ¼ cup (60ml) at a time. Immediately pour the polenta into the prepared pan. Cool for about 20 minutes, then refrigerate until the polenta is cool, 1 to 2 hours. Cut the cold polenta into eight equal triangles using a sharp knife. First cut a vertical line down the middle, followed by a horizontal line that divides the polenta into four equal squares. Then make two diagonal cuts from corner to corner to create eight triangles. Sprinkle the flour on a flat plate and dredge each polenta triangle in flour. Ready a plate lined with several layers of paper towels. Place a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat and film it with a thin layer of canola oil. Sear the polenta triangles on each side until they are crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add more oil as needed between batches. Transfer the seared polenta to the paper towel–lined plate to absorb excess oil. To assemble the dish, place two polenta triangles on each plate. Top with hot tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the parsley and pine nuts, and serve immediately.

Recipe and image from Straight from the Earth by Myra Goodman and Marea Goodman, published by Chronicle Books (£17.99) ©Sara Remington

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Meet the chef Luke Florence and Bryce Edwards

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he remit of vegan food is expanding to include fine dining – and the chef duo behind a new degustation menu at the Transformer Fitzroy in Melbourne are using classical techniques to create dishes that look as impressive as they taste, featuring veggies at the heart of the

According to Bryce Edwards: “I have become more and more interested in role of vegetables as the star over the last few years. I come from a classical French cooking background so for me it has been an incredible creative odyssey, discovering so many new cuisines along the way. Many different cultures around the world may be associated with certain products, like the French with cheese, or the Japanese with fish, but everyone the world over eats vegetables and there are so many recourses out there. Piecing together the principles of vegan cookery from such a wealth of different cultures has been a great experience.”         His co-chef Luke Florence adds: “I first began cooking vegan food out of general interest in the environment, health and animal cruelty. I believe if more of us take on a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle it would be for the common good of our communities.” For Bryce, curating a vegan menu has been a great opportunity for him to expand his culinary knowledge, as well as be a part of something that is really pushing forward how the dining public think about vegetable based cuisine. He says: “There is a growing movement amongst chefs to focus more on vegetables and highlight their amazing flavour without the addition of any animal products. Our recent vegan degustation dinner allowed the team to really focus our creative energy and expand our knowledge, senior and junior chefs alike. For me, vegan cuisine is undoubtedly about the produce and its journey, from producer to kitchen to table and how each step respects its integrity and natural state. Luke and I work closely together to come up new menu items, bouncing ideas off each other and trying new produce and techniques whenever we get the chance. Seasonality is key so it is important to have a great relationship with our suppliers and always be talking about what is at its best and is available locally. A local zucchini is always going to be better, tastier and fresher than one that has been on a truck for 2000kms.”   Luke says the bulk of the initial menu was created over several months prior to the opening of the restaurant when he was experimenting with different dishes. “Bryce came on board a month or so before the restaurant opened and also contributed to the menu,” he says. “We practiced the menu for a week or so before the restaurant opened and the rest of the team helped to fine tune it. Since we have opened the menu as changed dramatically. Bryce and I share the majority of these responsibilities but also encourage input and ideas from our team.” So what is next for vegan food? Bryce says: “I strongly believe the future of vegan food lies in the home and more specifically in the home garden with more people eating vegan every day. So many people I know are leaning away from the traditional supermarket model of sourcing their food and are become more connected to their produce through growing it themselves or having a relationship with the farmers through local farmers’ markets. When you can pull something from the dirt, wash it and cook it within minutes, much less is needed to create wonderful flavour other than some light seasoning and a few spices. As more and more people realise that this is how vegetables can and should taste they will stop reaching for the butter or cheese.”   Luke adds: “I feel veganism is growing at a rate far greater than one could have reckoned several years ago. The fact that it is more than just a fad, it is a lifestyle choice, makes me believe that it will continue to grow. Moreover it seems as though the vegan lifestyle is becoming more accepted and understood by non-vegan people. This will greatly shape the future of vegan food. Food is an important part of culture, having your loved ones understand and accept your choices will allow you to feel comfortable and free with who you are and what you believe in. This will create a smoother path into a vegan lifestyle allowing more people to make this change and stand by what they believe in.”


BRYCE AND LUKE’S signature dish Use exotic mushrooms to create this fine dining recipe

Chargrilled oyster mushroom, smoked shallot, confit garlic and pine nut puree Serves 2 • • • • • • • • • • •

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2 heads garlic 75g pine nuts 3 king oyster mushrooms 2 large shallots 25g flaked sea salt 25g porcini powder 100ml grape seed or other neutral flavoured vegetable oil 50ml olive oil Lemon infused olive Micro chives Smoking chips as required  

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Confit garlic and pine nut puree: Combine olive and vegetable oil and heat to 90 degrees. Place peeled garlic cloves into oil and cook at very low temperature until soft and sweet, this should take around 2 hours, stir occasionally. Meanwhile lightly toast pine nuts in the oven at 160 degrees until golden brown, around 6-8 mins. Remove garlic from oil and combine with pine nuts and blend to fine puree, season with salt and pepper. Reserve confit garlic oil for use in dressings or for finishing pastas. Allow to cool and put into squeeze bottle for presentation.      Smoked shallots: Peel shallots, cut in half and gently steam until just soft but still with a bit of firmness. Place on wire rack above deep cooking tray containing smoking chips. Cover tray with foil and place over flame on cook top until it starts to smoke, keep over heat for a further minute and then turn off and allow smoke to infuse into the shallots. Once sufficiently infused remove shallots and cook shallots cut side down in very hot pan until a little black. 6. King oyster mushrooms: Cut mushrooms in half lengthways and brush with oil. Grill on hot griddle or Barbeque for around 6-8 minutes turning after 3-4. Add a little moisture by spraying with a little water from time to time. Combine sea salt and porcini powder. Remove mushrooms from grill and season with porcini salt. 7. Arrange mushrooms and plater with smoked shallots and dots of confit garlic and pine nut puree. Garnish with micro chives and drizzle some lemon infused extra virgin olive oil.


turning vegan January is a symbolic fresh start: the perfect time to make changes in your life. For those considering going cruelty-free, here’s our easy how-to guide…

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hanging to a vegan lifestyle is a positive step for so many reasons – for your own health, for compassion, and for the environment. You may also become happier – a study in 2012 showed meat eaters have more arachidonic acid in their diet, which can drag down mood.

For health. For compassion. For the environment. So with this in mind, we’ve put together the ultimate guide of how to go vegan, in ten easy steps.

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Go at your own pace – some people change instantly, others take longer

For every vegan who changed overnight, there is another who slowly phased all animal-products out of their life. If the idea of dropping everything at once seems impossible, do it in stages. Work out the best way to do this for yourself - cut out meat, start replacing the dairy milk in your cuppa with plant-based one. Increase vegetables – look at

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using grains as the set piece of meals. Experiment with new foods and recipes, as well as adapting old classics. Take your time if you need to.

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Experiment with vegan alternatives to your favourite meat-based foods – sausages and bacon

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of planning animal-free meals, an easy way to get started is to replace the meat in the dish with one of the alternatives available. There are a number of meat replacement products, including tofu-based products, seitan, tempeh, and nut roasts among others. You can easily recreate standbys like a bacon sarnie, or even an entire meal – for example a roast – using one of these products as the centrepiece (as long as you use non-animal fats for the veg). While it’s not a good idea to eat too much processed food, many newbie vegans find these options a life saver.

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Learn to read food labels

If there’s one thing every long-term vegan becomes an expert in, it’s scanning the back of packets and being able to pick out nonvegan ingredients within seconds. At first, it can seem labourious having to read every single item in the ingredients, but it gets easier, and soon becomes second nature.


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Find out which restaurants – including your favourite high street chains have vegan options/menus

Being vegan doesn’t mean missing out on dining in restaurants. Most places have vegan options – though some dishes may require a few tweaks. Lots of surprising high street chains have many animal-free foods. Check out Peta’s video about what you can eat in Nandos, for example. There are entire websites devoted to listing the plant-based options. Some restaurants (including Carluccios) have separate vegan menus – just ask the waiter.

Reach out to the huge online vegan community – you can even meet likeminded people at special themed meet-ups across various cities

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The idea of being ‘the only vegan in the village’ can be intimidating. But in this digital era, it’s becoming easier and easier to connect with others who share your beliefs. As the number of vegans continues to grow, so do your chances of knowing friends and family who lead a cruelty-free lifestyle. But if you don’t, there are a number of online resources for meeting others, including the nationwide Vegan Meet Up.

Be organised – create a meal planner, carry vegan snacks with you. Preparation means you won’t get caught out

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While it’s generally easy to pick up a vegan snack anywhere (nuts, fruit, etc) sometimes there is the possibility you might find yourself hungry, with nothing to eat. It’s good to keep something tasty and filling with you – a raw bar, or a piece of fruit. If you’re going to a friend’s house for dinner, it may help if you offer to take your own food, or to prepare a dish everyone can share. When you visit restaurants, check ahead online to see what you can eat. Some people like to carry mini cartons of non-dairy milk with them when staying in hotels and B&Bs. It’s getting easier and easier to find a vegan option all the time, but if you plan ahead, you won’t get caught short in trickier situations.

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Educate yourself – watch films about the meat and dairy industries, and find out all you can

Documentaries like Earthlings are a valuable resource for anyone interested in a cruelty-free way of life. This film, which exposes the ways animals are exploited for food, as well as for entertainment and as pets, has turned informed many, with its unflinchingly honest, and often difficult to watch, portrait of how humans abuse animals. Another useful film is Cowspiracy, which documents the impact of animal agriculture on the planet. Easier to watch than Earthlings, it’s educational and a real eye-opener – a must-see for anyone interested in the environment. In terms of the health benefits of a plant-based diet, Forks over Knives is a popular and informative documentary, detailing the correlation between consuming animals and illnesses.

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Veganism is not just a diet

What you eat is a big part of a cruelty-free life, but what you wear, and the products you use also play a large part in it. Deciding what to do with leather goods such as shoes, jackets and handbags can be difficult – some people choose to give them away to charity, while others use them until they are worn out. With cosmetics and grooming products, it’s less wasteful to use them than replace with vegan, non-animal tested ones as required. Lots of brands are now offering cruelty-free products – the best thing to do is check online for lists though, as companies will often try to use phrases which make them look cruelty free, even if they aren’t.

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Try Veganuary

If you want some support, look at the Veganuary website (veganuary.com), which encourages people to give veganism a go for the month of January (though many continue indefinitely). There’s lots of information available, as well as others who are in the same position.

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Stock up on store cupboard essentials

It’s easy to enjoy vegan versions of your favourite foods. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite alternatives, to make the transition to the new you even smoother. Plamil organic fairtrade dark chocolate sweetened with unrefined coconut blossom sugar This new addition to Plamil’s range of vegan chocolates is dairy and gluten free and made using 100 per cent renewable energy in the Plamil Chocolate Factory where no nuts are used.

Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes (with B12) Nutritional yeast flakes (aka ‘nooch’) are an essential vegan food with a cheesy, nutty taste. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast lakes over pasta, soups, stews and salads, or dissolve in milk and water. 

Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Country Pie A comforting combination of soya mince in rich onion and beef-style gravy, the Linda McCartney’s Deep Dish Country Pie is topped with a crunchy puff pastry lid. Serve alongside roast potatoes and peas for a warming mid-week meal. Koko coconut milk This milk alternative is a great choice for coffee and tea. With a very mild flavour, it works well over cereal as well as in cooking or as a cold drink. Available as chilled or longlife.

Primal Pantry paleo raw food bars There are five energy bars in the range, each made with no more than six ingredients and 0 per cent junk. Free from GMOs, gluten, grains, dairy, soy and refined sugar.  

Really Not Dairy mayo This dairy-free condiment comes in a variety of flavours, including original, chipotle and roasted garlic. Ten Acre Pastrami in the Rye premium hand cooked crisps This flavour is a tasty new addition to Ten Acre’s award winning range of quirky vegan snacks. Not only are ‘Pastrami in the Rye’ hand cooked crisps suitable for vegans - they are also gluten, dairy and msg free, British and great tasting too.

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Mr Kipling apple and blackcurrant pies

These shortcrust pastry pies are bursting with a fruity apple and blackcurrant filling. Slightly tart, as well as sugary sweet, these individually portioned puds are tasty served as they are, or even nicer heated up in the oven, and served with cold pouring cream (soya or oat works well) or even vegan custard. Easy to find, they come in a box of six, and are available in a number of supermarkets.

Alpen Light jaffa cake cereal bars

PBMG bacon crumbles

Cereal bars have long been a minefield for vegans, with the sneaky addition of unnecessary ingredients like milk powder. Not anymore – these new chocolate orange flavoured treats fit the bill. Rolled oats, with a good tangy orange flavour, are topped with a drizzle of dark chocolate – which stops the whole thing being too sweet. Available in supermarkets.

These crumbly little bites add an element of crunch to salads, pasta dishes and baked potatoes, as well as any other meals you can think of. Despite the bacon-y, smoky flavour, these mighty morsels are suitable for vegans. They are available from Tescos, and come in a large tub – perfect for livening up dull dishes, and adding a salty bite.

the accidental vegan A selection of products that are vegan by chance rather than design

This page is all about top treat and snack food finds that just happen to be suitable for vegans. These products aren’t advertised or clearly marked as vegan, but we scan and check the ingredients, and share our discoveries with you. If any of these products say they main contain milk or other animal-derived substances, this is due to the item being made in the same factory as other food produce.

Cornets premium waffle cones

It’s getting easier and easier to find dairy-free ice creams with an abundance of soya, coconut and even almond milkbased varieties on the supermarket freezer shelves. But what should you serve these delicious desserts in? Many cones contain small amounts of egg, ruling them out for plant-based eaters, but these robust waffle cones are, amazingly, suitable for vegans. Generously sized, tasty, and with a satisfying crunch, this supermarket buy is perfect for making vegan cones at home.

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Tesco healthy living lentil and baconflavoured soup in a mug

Sometimes you just want something super quick, and these instant soups fit the bill. Many flavours contain milk powder, but this lentil and bacon recipe is dairy free and suitable for vegans. It’s not haute cuisine, but it’s easy to make, takes seconds, and has a good, punchy flavour. Perfect for dunking hot, vegan-buttered slices of toast in. These four pack boxes are available in larger Tescos stores.

Have you found a brilliant accidentally vegan product? We want to know! Share it with us on Facebook (facebook.com/veganlifemagazine) Instagram or Twitter (@veganlife_mag) The Vegan Life Forum (veganlifemag.com/forum) or you can send us an email or a letter: editor@veganlifemag.com The Accidental Vegan, Park House, The Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex CO6 2NS


a touch of class These high end dishes will please any palate

Kale Salad with Avocado and Lime Verjus Dressing, Trumpet Mushrooms, and Avocado Serves 4 – 6 Kale Salad and Avocado Lime Verjus Dressing • 1 bunch (about ½ lb) kale,chiffonade (can substituteromaine lettuce) • 1 tsp salt • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted • 25g (½ cup) tightly packed coriander (cilantro) • Juice of 1 lime • Salt and pepper to taste • 2 tbsp Verjus (Navarro Vineyard’s sourgrape juice) • 1 tbsp brownrice vinegar • 1 tbsp agave syrup • 40g (¼ cup) raisins Mushroom Ceviche and Assembly • 400g (4 cups) trumpet royale mushrooms, cleaned and then sliced into rounds • 60ml (¼ cup) water or store-bought vegan broth • 1 shallot, minced • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional) • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme • 1 tsp salt • Juice of 2 lemons • Juice of 2 limes • Juice of 1 orange • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

For the Kale Salad and Avocado Lime Verjus Dressing: Place chiffonade kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Massage the salt into kale leaves until they are well coated. This process will help break down the cell wall of the kale, making it tender. If using romaine lettuce, omit this step. Combine the avocados, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper,Verjus, brown rice vinegar, and agave in a high-speed blender, andmix until completely smooth. Combine raisins and 2 tablespoons of the dressing with kale and set aside. For the Mushroom Ceviche and Assembly: Braise mushrooms over medium heat with ¼ cup of water or vegetable stock to help prevent sticking. Stir occasionally until mushrooms are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain. Combine mushrooms, shallot, jalapeno, thyme, salt, and citrusjuices in large bowl and mix until well combined. Let sit for at least 3 hours to incorporate flavors. For each salad, in a cylinder mold on a salad plate, insert about 3inches of the massaged and dressed kale, pressing down firmly. Follow with a thin layer of the sautéed mushrooms. Finish with a layer of thinly sliced avocados fanned out on top. Remove mold. Garnish with the diced red bell peppers.

Recipe from Dining at the Ravens, by Jeff and Joan Stanford of The Stanford Inn (December 2015) Photography by Daniel MacDonald dmacphoto.com

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Chanterelle and Fall Vegetable–Stuffed Portobello Marinated Portobellos • 3 tbsp whole-grain mustard • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage • 1 tbsp salt • ½ tbsp minced fresh rosemary • 5 cloves garlic, minced • 1 tsp pepper • 125ml (½ cup) white wine • 60ml (¼ cup) olive oil • 2 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional) • 4–6 portobello mushrooms,stems and gills removed • Spray oil Harvest Stuffing • 325g (1½ cups) peeled and diced sweet potato • 225g (1½ cups) peeled and diced beets • 325g (1½ cups) peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash • 3 tbsp sunflower oil, divided • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme • ½ tbsp minced fresh rosemary • 1 tsp salt • ½ tsp pepper • 400g (2 cups) chanterelle mushrooms (or other wild mushroom), cleaned and sliced ¼ inch thick Kale Parsley Pesto • 1 bunch kale, stemmed (about 4 cups tightly packed) • 1 bunch parsley, stemmed (about 2 cups tightly packed) • 50g (1/3 cup) pumpkin seeds, soaked for 20–30 minutes and drained • 2 cloves garlic • ¾ tsp salt • ½ tsp pepper • 65ml (1/3 cup) olive oil

Serves 4 – 6

1. For the Marinated Portobellos: Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). 2. Combine all ingredients except the portobellos in a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until well incorporated and emulsified. 3. Dip each portobello into the marinade mixture and place, gillside up, on a sheet tray or shallow pan that has been lightly sprayed with oil. 4. Bake for 20–30 minutes until mushrooms are softened and begin to fill with juice. Set aside and let cool slightly before stuffing. 5. For the Harvest Stuffing: Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). 6. Combine sweet potatoes, beets, and butternut squash in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tbsp of the oil, spread on a sheet tray, and roast for 25–35 minutes, until golden brown and tender. 7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss gently to incorporate flavours. 8. In sauté pan, combine mushrooms and remaining 1 tbsp oil and cook over medium heat until mushrooms are tender and golden brown,about 7 minutes. 9. Gently toss cooked mushrooms with roasted vegetables and set aside. 10. For the Kale Parsley Pesto: Steam or blanch kale until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool. 11. In food processor, combine cooled kale, parsley, pumpkin seeds, garlic, salt,and pepper. Process until well incorporated and smooth. 12. Slowly stream in olive oil to further incorporate mixture. Scrape downsides with rubber spatula once or twice to ensure mixture is smooth and combined. Set aside. 13. For the Assembly: Drain each portobello and place on a plate, gill side up. 14. Spread 1/3 cup Kale Parsley Pesto on each portobello. 15. Top with Harvest Stuffing and serve.

Recipe and image from Dining at the Ravens, by Jeff and Joan Stanford of The Stanford Inn (December 2015)

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Vanilla Crème Brûlée Serves 10–12 depending on ramekin size • • • • • • • • • • •

2 ½ tins coconut milk Seeds from 1 vanilla bean 500ml (2 cups) almond milk 35g (¼ cup) cornstarch 35g (¼ cup) tapioca starch ¾ tsp salt 2 tsp almond or hazelnut extract and 65ml (¼ cup) water 85g (¼ cup) agave syrup 1½ tsp vanilla extract 10–12 tsp sugar 1 tbsp agar agar flakes or 2 tsp agar agar powder

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In medium saucepan, combine coconut milk and vanilla bean seeds. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add agar agar flakes and almond milk to another Recipe and image from Dining at the Ravens, by Jeff and Joan medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stanford of The Stanford Inn (December 2015) Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until flakes are dissolved. After vanilla bean seeds have infused into the coconut milk, add cornstarch, tapioca starch, salt, almond extract, agave, and vanilla extract to the mixture. Whisk over medium heat until thickened,about 10–12 minutes. Watch the mixture closely, making sure not to bring it to a boil. When coconut milk is thickened and agar agar is completely dissolved in the almond milk, slowly whisk the agar agar mixture into the coconut milk mixture. Whisk for 2–3 minutes (mixture should be thick and creamy), then pour into 10–12 8oz brûlée ramekins. Allow to cool at room temperature before storing in refrigerator. Right before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over each chilled custard. Using an ignited kitchen torch, gently hover the flame over the sugar crystals. Move flame in a circular motion over the sugar until caramelized and golden brown.

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Carrot Cake

Makes one 9 inch round cake

Carrot Cake • Spray oil • 275g (2 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour • 2 tsp ground cinnamon • 1½ tsp baking powder • 1 tsp baking soda • ¾ tsp salt • ½ tsp ground nutmeg 1 • /8 tsp ground allspice • 150g (¾ cup) granulated sugar • 250ml (1 cup) apple juice 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Recipe and image from Dining at the Ravens, by Jeff and Joan Stanford of The Stanford Inn (December 2015)

14. 15.

• 125ml (½ cup) sunflower oil • 125ml (½ cup) maple syrup • 2 tsp vanilla extract • 100g (2 cups) grated carrot Carrot Cake Frosting • 225g (1 cup) vegan margarine • 375g (1½ cups) Vegan Shortening • 250g (2 cups) powdered sugar • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the Carrot Cake: Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a round 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and spray the parchment with oil. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a medium bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, apple juice, sunflower oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir until no large clumps remain. Add grated carrot to the batter and stir in. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and tap against counter top to remove any air bubbles. Bake for about 25 minutes, until inserted toothpick removes cleanly. Cool completely. Carefully remove from pan. Prepare the Carrot Cake Frosting: Whip cold margarine with paddle attachment in a stand mixer. Add shortening to the whipped margarine, and whip until creamy. Leaving the mixer running, sift powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time Add vanilla extract, and continue whipping until the frosting has achieved spreading consistency. Cover entire cake with Carrot Cake Frosting. Any leftover frosting can be stored in airtight container in fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

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THROUGH THE MILLS The activist talks to Vegan Life about why being attacked in the press won’t stop her spreading the animal rights message

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ay the name ‘Heather Mills’ and you will get a range of responses – from those who admire the former model for her work as a world-recording holding skier and campaigner for animal rights, and those who have pilloried her ever since she’s been in the public eye. Heather became a household name after losing her leg in a road accident in 1993. Despite wearing a prosthetic limb, she continued her work in modelling – and in fact this injury led her to a plant-based diet. She told Vegan Life: “When I was hit by a police motorbike, I lost my left leg, punctured a lung and crushed my pelvis. After three months in hospital, I had an infection in my left leg that refused to heal up. The hospital warned me they may have to amputate my knee. A friend introduced me to a plant-based diet, which healed my infection and saved my knee.” As a young girl, Heather moved around a lot with her family from Aldershot in Hampshire where she was born, to Northumberland when she was six and then Tyne and Wear, before moving to a farm in Northumberland. Here she started to develop a compassionate relationship with animals: “When I was very young, I was brought up on a farm with cows, sheep goats, and an old English sheepdog called Ben. He used to walk me and my brother and sister to school. I remember he even knew how to cross the road and wait at the lights until they went green! I remember my father helping the vet deliver a calf. We never ate the animals they were just there. Having had animals since being a child made me fall in love with them and I’ve always had some kind of animal. My dog Oliver died after 17 years of perfect health he was a wheaten terrier.

Image: Heather Mills ©

“One day he fell asleep on his dog bed and went peacefully, though it was sad I felt really lucky to have a healthy dog for 17 years. Now I have two rescue cats called Catcher and Jumper. Catcher actually thinks he is a dog, he likes to be taken for walks and talks all the time and loves to have his tummy rubbed. He is the funniest, cuddliest, most loving cat I’ve ever met.” This love of animals fed into her consciousness as she began to transition from being plant-based to full veganism: “Later came my understanding the impact being vegan had on animals and the planet. My awareness was raised. Every time I look at animals or feed my daughter a vegan meal I think ‘wow – it feels good to not be harming her, the animals or the planet’.” As well as making headlines on the front pages, Heather has made them in the sports pages. Earlier this year, in April, she set a world record, becoming the fastest disabled woman on skis, after speeding down a French mountain at 103.6mph. At the time she described the experience saying: “I feel completely elated. It was such an incredible thing to do. I’m so amazingly proud of myself >

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“When you are on the front line and visiting someone whose child is dying of cancer, when you are living and breathing in that environment, then that is what is important. You see huge differences that can be made, and then what the media can do to devastate things. We created No More Minefields, but because of all the press, I was told to step down. Nobody continued my work in that field, so it’s very sad, but I fund other landmine charities behind the scenes.” (The Heather Mills Health Trust - existed between 1996-2000 and was changed to Adopt A Minefield which ran until 2006. It delivered prosthetic limbs to people, focusing on children, who had been injured stepping on landmines. In 2001, she received an award from the Croatian prime minister for her work raising money to help clear landmines).

and my team. It’s a rare man who can give you the same thrill going down a mountain at more than 100 mph can.” Her skiing career started during a holiday in Austria in 2010, when Peter Prodinger - ex Olympic coach to the Austrian alpine ski team – spotted Heather speeding down a black run (the most difficult). He told her he was impressed with her skills and control, especially when she told him about her leg. So at the age of 42, Heather decided to embark on an alpine racing career – winning a number of medals over the next few years, including four gold medals at the United States’ Adaptive Alpine Skiing National Championships World Cup in Colorado in March 2012, and a World Cup silver in slalom in 2013. Despite her massive success on the slopes that year, a bust-up with officials over which boots she would have to wear in competition meant Heather did not perform in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi – though she continues to train, picking up instructor qualifications along the way, as well as an invitation to sit on the committee for the Special Olympics in 2017. What drives someone to achieving these goals? “In life we have a finite amount of seconds so if we don’t make the most of them, we are wasting our life,” she told Vegan Life. “No matter what disability or what challenges we have to overcome there are people far worse off. So it’s essential to get on with life, get up and make the effort every day. We all have things to overcome, we will have challenges and we can all sit down and be defeatists or get up and make a difference.” When she talks about challenges, it’s not only the issues with her health she is describing, but issues with the media. In fact, media vitriol towards Heather reached such heights it became a topic of commentary itself, with Guardian columnist Matt Seaton writing in May 2003 that: “There is little that is edifying in the symbolic lynching of Heather. The poisonous judgmentalism that drives it is in the worst tradition of small town gossip. It is prurient, spiteful, hypocritical, and we should cry ‘shame’ on it.” According to Heather, the backlash is to be expected: “Everyone who has ever tried to make a difference has been criticised. Monuments were never built for the critics, but for the criticised. However having had fifteen years of abuse for just trying to help animals and people, it does get exhausting. The sad thing is that every time I did something for charity it was destroyed.

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Now, she is skiing again, as well as working as a charity campaigner, animal rights campaigner and vegan food advocate. “I was an activist until the media destroyed my reputation with lies,” she says. “Now I am a behind-the-scenes advocate and pop my head up when I can and when I’m strong enough to take more abuse.” She spreads the vegan message through her company VBites – “I am currently opening concessions in partnership with Holland and Barrett as well as showing people how good it is for you, and that it tastes just the same, or even better, than processed meat” – as well as writing her LoveBites cookbook, which Heather describes as a point of reference for vegans and omnivores alike. So, with all these achievements to her name, how would she like to be remembered? “Just for the truth, it would be nice if that happened one day.” 

Heather in two minutes • My favourite albums to cook to are ACDC, ELO, Frank Sinatra, Wagner… I have an eclectic ear! • My all-time favourite vegan dish is Japanese spinach dumplings. I am in love with food, always have been. Eating is such a huge pleasure in my life. • As I’m ski racing I’m travelling a lot, so I don’t plan on getting any more animals until I’m settled again. I’ll probably get two more rescue dogs, when the time comes. • I love vegan chicken korma as it shows an ethnic cuisine that tastes the same with vegan chicken. I learned about real Indian cooking when I lived with a family there during my modelling days. • My real specialties are Thai, Japanese and Oriental cooking. At Christmas I also love to cook a mega roast for 30 people – delicious VBites vegan beef or turkey – with everyone drinking mulled wine and helping to prepare the sweet potatoes, sprouts and carrots. • In order to heal my infection all those years ago I embraced a living raw food diet which is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. To begin with I found it difficult to make the change to a plant-based diet a permanent one.  In truth I missed all my old recipes. When you have been cooking a certain way for a very long time it can be difficult to completely change the way you do things overnight, however good your intentions. Now I do mainly raw in the summer cooked in the winter. • I believe animals need us they are vulnerable.

You can find out more about Heather Mills and VBites at heathermills.org and vbitesfood.com. To find out more about Heather’s cookbook visit vbitesfoods.com/product/love-bites-recipe-book


crazy sexy juice Pack all the nutrients you need into these flavourful drinks

Berry Protein Power Makes 2 servings • • • • • •

1 large banana, frozen 100g (1 cup) blueberries, frozen 375ml (1½ cups) almond milk or nondairy milk of choice 2 tbsp hemp seeds 2 tbsp cacao nibs 225g (1 cup) kale, leaves only, tightly packed

1. 2.

Wash and prep all ingredients. Blend and serve.

Recipes and images from Crazy Sexy Juice by Kris Carr (Hay House UK, £14.99)

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Sesame Superhero Makes 2 servings • • • • • •

100g (1 cup) collard greens, cut into ribbons, tightly packed 1 large banana, frozen 1 tbsp tahini 375ml (1½ cups) nondairy milk of choice 15g (1/8 cup) raisins, packed ½ tsp vanilla extract or powder

1. 2.

Wash and prep all ingredients. Blend till smooth and serve. Recipe and image from Crazy Sexy Juice by Kris Carr (Hay House UK, £14.99)

• •

Collard leaves are very low in calories (provide only 30 calories per 100g) and contain no cholesterol. They are rich in invaluable sources of phyto-nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as di-indolyl-methane and sulforaphane. Collard greens are rich in vitamins A, C and K as well as many vital B-complex vitamins. Further, the leaves and stems are good in minerals like iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.

nutrition-and-you.com

Detox Darling Makes 2 servings • • • • • •

100g (½ cup ) dandelion greens, tightly packed 225g (1 cup) baby spinach, tightly packed 10g (1/3 cup) sunflower sprouts, tightly packed ½ large or 1 small pear, cored and seeded 1 banana, frozen 375ml (1½ cups) almond milk or nondairy milk of choice

1. 2.

Wash and prep all ingredients. Blend till smooth and serve. Recipe and image from Crazy Sexy Juice by Kris Carr (Hay House UK, £14.99)

Sunflower greens are full of folate (folic acid), and B complex, vital nutrients for pregnant women and a developing baby. High levels of antioxidants in sunflower greens can aid in heart health, slow aging, and support cellular recovery. High levels of vitamins C, E, and selenium can even reduce high blood pressure and improve arterial health. All sprouts, including sunflower sprouts are full of chlorophyll. In human beings, this one constituent keeps our blood healthy, reduces inflammation, calms the nervous system, revitalizes tissues, and balances pH levels in the body.

naturalsociety.com

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Chocolate Avocado Makes 2 servings • • • • • • •

2 small bananas, frozen 1 to 2 pitted Medjool dates 1½ tbsp cacao powder ¼ Hass avocado 420ml (1¾ cup) almond milk or nondairy milk of choice ½ tsp vanilla extract 225g (1 cup) baby spinach, tightly packed

1. 2.

Wash and prep all ingredients. Blend and serve.

Recipes and images from Crazy Sexy Juice by Kris Carr (Hay House UK, £14.99)

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Brains behind The Wabi-Sabi Academy is a centre for health, vitality and mindfulness

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his popular and unique tearoom in the village of Coxhoe, on the outskirts of Durham City, has recently re-opened following a year of personal struggles for the three generations of the Gadd family who own and run it. They made the tough decision to temporarily close it last year, after both owner Tony and daughter Jade suffered from unexpected health problems, leaving wife and mum, Roz, to care for them both. “The centre is a blend of the things we love about eastern and western cultures, merged together to create unique and beautiful surroundings,” says Roz. “We teach Qigong, Tae Kwon Do, self-defence and mindfulness, and serve fresh, seasonal food. All our food is vegan, and it’s organic where possible. Our burgers, curries and delicious noodle pots are our top dishes, and they’re complemented with a global range of teas from organically farmed plantations and co-operatives. For coffee drinkers there is cold brewed coffee, which is sweet and smooth-or perhaps a smoky tea.” Wabi-Sabi attracts lots of people who are focused on being more health-conscious, as well as people recovering from serious illnesses and injuries. “Its a place where we separate ourselves from the rat-race,” says Roz. “We invite you to slow down, spend more time in the present moment, and just be.” This ethos came into play when Tony was diagnosed with cancer and Jade was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Roz says: “We believe Tony’s diet and Qigong practice ensured he was strong enough recover as well as he did. His specialist was shocked by how much the cancer shrank before he had even started his treatment. Jade uses her mindfulness practice to help with pain management, and to overcome the challenges she has endured, becoming wheelchair-bound with this terribly painful condition, after previously being a very active 14 year old.” And it’s not just health and wellbeing that’s catered for. According to Roz: “We are looking at running vegan events as well as music, book and spoken word events. We also sell beautiful teas and a variety of unique gifts such as driftwood meditation stools, along with works by local artists.” The tearoom has won a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor, been rated one of the top three restaurants in Durham City and been honoured with an award from China. It is open on Fridays and Saturdays each week – a testament to the dedication of the Gadds.

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cruelty-free grooming Rose Brown, founder of PHB Ethical Beauty, gives us the low down on why vegan products are better for our health, for animals and the environment

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y passion is educating people about the hidden dangers and ingredients found in many beauty products. Often people don’t realise most beauty products contain harsh chemicals and animal derived ingredients that damage our health and cause unnecessary suffering to millions of animals each year. Animal fats and crushed insects are common ingredients found in mainstream beauty products and in lots of natural and organic beauty ones too. When you’ve made the choice not to consume animal derived ingredients you don’t really want to find out there’s pig fat in your lipstick!

“It’s important to show the companies that continue to use these kinds of ingredients we’re aware of these practices and don’t find them acceptable.” PHB is a compassionate company and we strongly oppose the use of animal derived ingredients in beauty products. Our entire range is 100 per cent vegan. No beauty product requires the use of animal ingredients to make it desirable or effective yet so many companies continue to make profit from the death of animals. Animal testing is another issue close to our hearts. Many big brands claim not to test on animals but sell their products in China where animal testing is a prerequisite. Many cruelty free companies still use animal derived ingredients, and even many companies who provide some vegan certified products use animal ingredients in their ranges. There’s still a long way to go in the fight against animal cruelty in beauty items.

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Below I list the top 10 ingredients to look out for that may be lurking in your makeup bag. It’s important to show the companies that continue to use these kinds of ingredients we’re aware of these practices and don’t find them acceptable. By vocally demanding they stop, and by choosing to purchase products from companies that only use ethical ingredients, we can power a change that will encourage compassion and make a huge difference to the world we live in.

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Animal Hair

Used for false eyelashes and cosmetics brushes. Often made from mink, fox, sable, horse, goat and even squirrel. Vegan alternatives: Many high quality synthetic options are available.

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Carmine (a.k.a Cochineal, Crimson lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, or E120)

This red dye is commonly found in lipsticks, blushers and nail polish. Sourced from crushed cochineal insects by extracting the colour from its body and eggs. Reportedly over 70,000 insects are killed to produce just 500g of dye.

3

Collagen and Elastin

Found in creams, lotions and lipstick for its plumping effect, collagen and elastin are proteins extracted from dead animals. Collagen is made by cooking their bones, connective tissue and skin. Elastin is found in the muscles, neck ligaments and aortas of cows. Vegan alternatives: Hyaluronic acid and MSM are naturally derived skin plumpers.


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Glycerine

One of the most commonly used ingredients in cosmetics. Found in moisturisers, cleansing products, hair care, cosmetics and soaps. Often from animal fats it is a by-product of soap manufacture. Vegan alternatives: Vegetable glycerin. Find a palm oil free alternative. PHB uses vegetable glycerin derived from organic coconut oil or soya.

5

Guanine

Used in eyeshadow, nail polish and blusher to create sparkles, guanine is made by scraping the scales off dead fish.

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Lanolin

Found in moisturisers, lotions and lip balms. Especially prevalent in dry skin and eczema products, lanolin is fat derived from the grease in sheep hair. Can be obtained from both living and slaughtered sheep and is a by-product of the horrific wool industry.

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Keratin

A current favorite in many hair and nail care products. It comes from hair, nails and horns of animals. Vegan alternatives: almond oil and soy protein.

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Squaline

Found in many cosmetics including deodorants, lip balm, lipstick, moisturisers and sun tan lotions. Often used for its anti-oxidant rich emollient properties. Obtained by squeezing the oil from the liver of a shark often via the cruel practice of ‘livering’. This is a process fishermen use to expedite collection by removing the liver and throwing the injured shark back to the waters still alive and suffering. Some sharks that produce squalene are at risk of extinction in only a few years time due to the high consumer demand for this product. Vegan alternatives: Vegetable derived sources of squalene from olive oil, rice bran and wheat germ.

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Shellac

Used for nails and in hair lacquers. A resinous excretion obtained from the lac bug of India and Thailand. It’s estimated that anywhere between 50,000-300,000 lac bugs are required to make just 1kg of shellac.

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Stearic Acid

A very common ingredient found in cosmetics, soaps, hair products, deodorants and creams. It most often refers to fats taken from the stomach of pigs. Can also be obtained from cows and sheep. It can be quite harsh and irritating to the skin. Vegan alternatives: Stearic acid can be derived from vegetable fats. Find a palm oil free alternative such as organic coconut oil or soya.


G E V on s l e e h w Jacqueline Meldrum inspires you to make the most of your weekly veg box

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hristmas has come and gone in a flash. It was a great distraction from the winter, but now January has arrived and it can be quite a depressing month. We’ve spent too much, eaten too much and all the fun is over now, so it’s time to start a new year. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions or maybe I just don’t think I can stick to them, but I do love a fresh start, making plans for spring and a new selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables arriving in my veg box. January is all about comfort food and eating well. This month I’m focusing on apples, Brussels sprouts, horseradish, pears, potatoes and swede. Apples Apples are great for eating on the run, but I like to cook and bake with them too. I grate an apple, toss it in a little lemon juice to stop it discolouring and mix it with grated carrot and cabbage to make a really tasty coleslaw to fill a baked potato or as a topping for a bean burger. I make the dressing with Alpro plain yogurt, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper and lots of fresh dill. Or why not spread a long strip of puff pastry with some apricot jam, then top with thin slices of apple sprinkled with cinnamon and bake until gloriously golden? Serve with dairy free custard for the perfect dessert.

Brussels Sprouts These little green orbs shouldn’t be forgotten once Christmas is over. They are often boiled into submission, but you can do so much more with them. I recommend cutting them in half, then tossing them in a little rapeseed oil,

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salt and pepper, sit them on a baking tray cut side up and drizzle them with a little balsamic vinegar before roasting them in the oven or you could simply shred them and add them to a salad or wrap?

Horseradish I love the flavour of horseradish. It tastes great with roasted vegetables or in a mushroom sauce. It’s easy to use too, just grate it finely and add it to your dish. I sometimes flavour homemade mayonnaise with it too. Whizz 50ml of unsweetened soya milk, 2 tsp wholegrain mustard and 1 tbsp of lemon juice in a blender or food processer, then drizzle in 150ml olive oil a little at a time until it emulsifies into a creamy mayonnaise. You can then flavour some of your mayo with grated horseradish and leave the rest plain.

Pears I’m about to tell you to make crisps again. I may have a slight obsession. If you read Veg on Wheels last month, you’ll know what I’m talking about! Slice the pears thinly, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at a low heat until they become addictively crispy snacks. You can also make a spiced pear vodka to warm you when you get home at night chilled to the bone. Add slices of pear, a cinnamon stick and a couple of generous slices of ginger to a clean jar ( I run mine through the dishwasher and fill while hot) with vodka and store in a dark place until the flavours develop, usually this takes 5-7 days. At this point strain out the spices and pears and pour into a fresh bottle.

Potatoes Who doesn’t love potatoes? They’re so comforting! I like to make them into tattie scones and serve them with baked beans, vegan sausages and toast for a hearty Sunday Breakfast. You can make tattie scones with leftover mash or from scratch. To make them from scratch boil 400g of potatoes until tender, then mash with 50g dairy free spread and season with salt and pepper, then mix in 80g plain flour and ½ tsp baking powder to make a dough. Roll it out and cut ½ cm thick circles and fry or bake until golden on each side.

Swede Swede, or turnip as we call it here in Scotland, is often overlooked but it makes a great base for soups and a nice alternative to mashed potato on top of a lentil shepherd’s pie. Just make sure you mash it until it’s really creamy with some dairy free spread, and season it well. You could also make swede fries. Cut the swede into chips or skinny fries, toss in a little rapeseed oil seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika, then bake until crisp.


You can find more of Jacqueline’s ideas and recipes at tinnedtomatoes.com

Red Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Swede Mash Serves 4 – 6 A rich comforting pie topped with a layer of smooth mashed swede and creamy mashed potato that will happily serve a family or can be frozen in portions for busy midweek dinners. • • • • • • • • • • 1.

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1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 6 medium carrots, chopped 2 medium courgettes, chopped 1/2 squash, seeds removed, sliced and chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 400g tin chopped tomatoes 5 tbsp tomato puree 4 tbsp HP brown sauce (or veggie Worcestershire sauce)

• 250g red lentils • 750ml organic vegetable stock (3 cubes) Mash • 1 kg potatoes, quartered (or small for quicker cooking) • 2 tbsp dairy free spread • a good grinding of salt and black pepper • 1 swede, peeled and cut into chunks • 2 tbsp dairy free spread • A good grinding of salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the carrots and squash and cook gently until starting to soften, then add the red pepper and courgette and cook for a few more minutes. If it starts sticking a little add a splash of water. Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes, tomato puree and sauce, then stir well. Cover and leave to simmer gently for about 25 - 30 minutes until the lentils are starting to soften, stirring occasionally. Add a little more stock if you think it needs it. Heat the oven to 180°C /gas mark 4 and get on with peeling and chopping the potatoes and swede. Boil them in separate pans for 15 - 20 minutes until tender, then mash with the dairy free spread, salt and pepper. Spoon the lentil mixture into one or more ovenproof dishes and top with a generous layer of swede and then a layer of mashed potato and bake in the oven until the mashed potato starts to crisp and brown at the edges, about 20 minutes. Serve with a smile and if you want to be extra virtuous, a portion of broccoli and green beans. Enjoy!


BAGS FOR LIFE? Helena Jones investigates why it’s essential to cut down on our use of plastic bags

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he introduction of a 5p charge for plastic bags in England marked a significant shift towards more sustainable consumerism, with the Government citing their aims to reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, and the litter they can cause, by encouraging people to reuse bags. But do the public welcome this change? And will it really make a difference? Following the lead of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, since October 5 2015, shoppers in England have been charged 5p for every new bag that they use. Retailers are expected to donate the money raised from the charge to charitable causes and the government hopes this charge will raise ÂŁ730 million for good causes over the next 10 years. Why was the charge introduced? In 2014 supermarkets in England gave out 7.64 billion plastic bags, 200 million more than the previous year. In light of these staggering figures and campaigns from various pressure groups that highlight the environmental and visual pollution caused by plastic bags, a bag charge was implemented. It rests on hopes a 5p charge will deter people from buying new plastic bags and encourage them to reuse old ones. Furthermore, the government hopes to make savings on carbon use and litter clean-up costs. Will this make a difference? Well, after the introduction of a 5p charge in Wales in 2011, supermarkets reported a 71 per cent reduction in bags used by customers. Similarly, following the introduction of a charge in Scotland

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in 2014, statistics show an 18 per cent drop in bag use from statistics for the previous year. Bags have also been banned altogether in countries such as Rwanda, Bangladesh and India. And what about England? The government expects to see an 80 per cent reduction in the use of plastic bags in supermarkets following the charge. A recent survey of the general public reveals whether the 5p levy really has changed shopper habits. More than three-quarters of respondents answered they use fewer bags than before the charge was implemented, suggesting the government may indeed meet its target of an 80 per cent reduction in bag usage. The survey also indicated that following the introduction of the charge, a majority of people use their own bags most of the time, with an increase from 37 per cent before the charge to 61 per cent. Moreover, the number of people who said they always use their own bags following the charge was over four times higher than the figure from before the charge was implemented, with a shift from 6 per cent to 27 per cent. So not only are people buying fewer plastic bags, but they are also reusing more of their own bags. The change also appears to have been received positively by most people, with over 90 per cent believing it to be positive. The reasons for this acceptance were largely attributed to the importance of reducing plastic waste and its harmful effects on the environment. However, most people did not believe it had positively impacted their lifestyle in other sustainable ways.


People were also supportive of the donation of profits from the sale of plastic bags to charities, but most stressed these should go to environmental charities working on increasing sustainable practices and clearing the land and oceans of plastic. Nevertheless, although the survey showed people thought businesses should do more to prevent plastic bag pollution, most people believed the government and the general public are the key actors who should be responsible for more sustainable consumerism. Is it enough? Whilst there appears to have been a large reduction in plastic bag usage, is this enough to reduce environmental pollution and alter lifestyles? Should the government go further and ban plastic bags altogether? In Bangladesh, all plastic bags were banned in 2002 after they were found to be a major cause of floods, as they had clogged up drainpipes. Closer to home, plastic bags have been banned in the town of Modbury, Devon since 2007 due to a local campaign to reduce pollution and increase the sustainability of the town. Although the survey demonstrated general agreement that the 5p charge represented a positive step towards more sustainable lifestyles, opinions over the wholesale banning of plastic bags were much more divided between those for it and people vehemently opposed to a full ban. However, many people felt a ban was appropriate, but should be gradually implemented through raising the charge incrementally. Nonetheless, people hoped the charge would initiate changes to other forms of packaging in shops and internet delivery packages, to reduce waste of plastic and other materials in all areas of businesses. This might occur through the double effect of the charge being donated to charitable causes if they seek to promote environmental sustainability. These groups could lobby for a reduction in plastic waste throughout supermarkets and shops and help to raise public awareness of other environmental issues. It seems that further changes to bag usage and packaging in shops and businesses are likely to be controversial. Nevertheless, there is clearly reason to be optimistic about the effects of a 5p bag charge on consumer practices and perhaps this could be the tipping point in a shift to more sustainable consumerism.

The destructive life of a plastic bag Developed in the 1960s, the modern plastic bag derives from crude oil in the seabed and oil reserves on land. These bags are produced from polyethylene, which is a by-product of the oil-refining process – which involves a large input of electricity to heat up the oil, so that it can be separated into various polymers for plastic production. They are then shipped thousands of miles across the world to end up in our shops and supermarkets. China is the highest exporter, producing 1, 197 million kilograms of plastic bags a year, whilst the USA is the biggest importer, buying 512 million kilograms of bags each year. After being given to customers, a typical supermarket bag is used for an average of 20 minutes before it is thrown away, and whilst some bags are re-used, an overwhelming 98 per cent end up in landfill where they do not decompose. Due to their lightweight, aerodynamic structure, bags can easily fly out of rubbish trucks to litter landscapes and oceans, wreaking havoc on our marine life. Floating debris can be caught in ocean currents such as in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, discovered in 1997, which is a giant ocean gyre of plastic in the Northern Pacific. These bags can strangle or choke marine life such as turtles who may mistake bags for jellyfish, which are part of their diet. Their long decay-time means that plastic bags can then remain in landfill sites and the oceans for up to 1000 years.


perfect start These breakfast recipes will get you into gear

Chia and Coconut Flour Pancakes with Blueberry Baobab Sauce Makes 12 small pancakes • 6 tbsp chia seeds • 270ml (1 cup) water • 60g (¼ cup) coconut oil, melted,plus extra for greasing • 300ml (1 ¼ cup) almond milk • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 50g (¼ cup) coconut palm sugar • 100g (¾ cup) coconut flour • 100g (¾ cup) buckwheat flour • 1½ tsp baking powder • Maple syrup, for drizzling(optional) Blueberry baobab sauce • 150g (1 cup) blueberries • 100g (½ cup) coconut palm sugar • 120ml (½cup)water • 2 tbsp lemon juice • 1 tbsp xanthan gum • 1 tbsp baobab powder 1.

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To make the blueberry baobab sauce, heat the blueberries, coconut palm sugar, 120ml water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir frequently, then bring to a low boil. Use a fork to mash the blueberries to help release some of the juices. Slowly stir in the xanthun gum – this helps to thicken the sauce – and the baobab powder, then simmer until the blueberry sauce is thick enough. Leave to cool. Combine the chia seeds with the 270ml water in a bowl and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Put the coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla and coconut palm sugar in a large bowl and add the chia seed mixture. Stir in the coconut flour, buckwheat flour and baking powder. Grease a non-stick frying pan with coconut oil and heat over a medium heat. Pour one-quarter of a cup of batter into the pan for each pancake and cook for 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the other,until they are golden brown. Don’t be alarmed by how thick the batter is – this is due to the coconut flour. To serve, stack the pancakes and smother with the blueberry sauce. Drizzle with maple syrup, if using.

TOP TIP •

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Chia seeds are great as an egg replacement, and, because they swell to up to 10 times their size when mixed with liquid, you feel fuller for longer.

Recipe from The Chakra Kitchen by Sarah Wilkinson, published by CICO Books (£14.99). Photography by Adrian Lawrence © CICO Books


English Muffins

Serves 4

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 tsp coconut palm sugar 160ml (¾ cups) warm water (approx. 35ºC/95ºF) 1 tbsp dried active yeast 55g (½ cup) sorghum flour 50g (½ cup) potato starch 70g (½ cup) quinoa flour 40g (¼ cup) teff flour 40g (¼ cup) brown rice flour 1½ tsp baking powder 1 tsp xanthan gum ½ tsp sea salt 120ml (½ cup) unsweetened plant-based milk 1 tbsp ground golden flaxseed, mixed with 3 tbsp water 2 tbsp polenta

1.

Mix the sugar and water in a small mixing bowl, sprinkle on the yeast, and whisk together thoroughly. Place somewhere warm (such as a slightly heated oven, turned off) for 10–15 minutes until the mixture has frothed up. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Add the milk and the ground flax mixture to the yeast, then combine thoroughly with the dry ingredients. Transfer the sticky dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl using a spatula, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and leave in a warm place for 1¼ hours to prove. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Dust a baking sheet with half the polenta. Coat your hands in flour and form the dough into four 9 x 3cm circular muffins. Place on the polenta covered baking sheet and pat the remaining polenta on top of each muffin. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When ready to eat, slice in half and toast, then serve with vegan spread.

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Low GI Lemon Marmalade Makes 5 x 225g (8oz) jars

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8 x 8 in/20 x 20cm piece of muslin/cheesecloth; string 4 unwaxed lemons 500g xylitol (2 ½ cups) Juice of 1 lemon 4 tbsp agar flakes

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Boil the jars and their lids in a large pan of water for 10 minutes to sterilize them, then place in the oven on a low temperature to dry. Wash the lemons and remove the top button-like part. Place in a large saucepan with 1.25 litres water (4 cups). Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1½ hours or until the lemon peel is soft. Leave to cool, then remove the lemons when touchable. Slice the lemons in half and remove the pips. Place the pips in the centre of the muslin and tie with string to form a small bag. Add this to the remaining liquid in the pan. Cut the peel and flesh of the lemons into strips (as thick or as thin as you like) and add to the pan. Add the xylitol and bring to the boil, stirring until completely dissolved. Semi-cover with a lid and boil rapidly for about 30 minutes. Prepare the agar by adding the lemon juice and 60ml (¼ cup) water to a small pan, then sprinkle the agar flakes on top. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then bring up to the boil for a few minutes, until the flakes have all dissolved. Remove the muslin bag from the lemon mix and add the agar liquid, stirring thoroughly, then return to the boil for a further 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then pour the marmalade into the sterilized jars and seal straight away. Store in the fridge for the best consistency and use within 1 month.

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Recipes from The Chakra Kitchen by Sarah Wilkinson, published by CICO Books (£14.99). Photography by Adrian Lawrence © CICO Books

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Smoothie Breakfast Bowl Serves 1 • 250ml (1 cup) Water • 1 frozen banana • 60g (½ cup) blackberries • 60g (½cup) raspberries • 200g (1 cup) Strawberries • 1 tsp acai powder • 1 tbsp Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend Toppings • Pumpkin seeds • Blueberries • Granola • Raspberries • Almonds 1.

Blend together water banana, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Blend in acai powder and Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend until smooth. Top with pumpkin seeds, blueberries, granola, raspberries, and almonds.

Recipe and image from the health experts at Udo’s Choice udoschoice.co.uk

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Recipe and image from Primroses Kitchen

Flapjacks •

Makes 9

200g (2 cups) Primroses Kitchen apple and cinnamon muesli 2 bananas 150g (1 cup) pitted dates 125ml (½ cup) water 75g (½ cup) crushed almonds (can be replaced with any nuts or seeds)

• • • • 1. 2. 3.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Heat the water, chop the dates and then add the dates to soak for about 10 minutes. Then blend them. Add the mashed bananas (you should have about 1 cup), the date puree and the the muesli and almonds into a mixing bowl and stir everything together well.

Recipe from The Chakra Kitchen by Sarah Wilkinson, published by CICO Books (£14.99). Photography by Adrian Lawrence © CICO Books

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Line a baking tin with baking paper and pour the mixture into it. Smooth it over the top. Place the tin on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take the tin out when the mixture is hardened and cut it into squares. If it sticks to the baking paper, you can turn it all around and swipe it with a cold, wet cloth, which should losen the flapjacks. After baking, the banana and cinnamon taste will shine through the strongest. Enjoy!

Chai Latte • • • • • • • 1.

2.

Serves 2

600ml (2 ½ cups) unsweetened plant-based milk 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra to serve ¼ tsp ground cloves ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper Pour the plant milk into a small saucepan and gently heat as you stir in all the spices. Bring almost to simmering point, whisking as the milk heats, then pour into two large cups or mugs. Dust with a little freshly grated nutmeg before serving.


Breaking the fast January 24 – 30 is National Breakfast Week. We round up some of the best items from chain store coffee shops

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t’s not always easy to pick up vegan food on the go – but consumers are starting to make more requests – and the big chains are starting to take note with more and more plant-based options becoming available on shelves. December saw both Costa and Nero offer a vegan mince-pie style pastry – and as the new year dawns, there are still tasty bites vegans can sink their teeth into.

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Starbucks

A basic espresso is vegan, customers can replace the dairy milk with soya in drinks like cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites. In terms of food, their porridge can be made with soya milk, and topped with a variety of topping that are SFV, including dried fruit and maple syrup. Also available is the classic old standby of fruit – either Fairtrade bananas or fruit salad – a combination of seasonal and sub-tropical fruits, that changes depending on what’s available.

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Pret a Manger

This popular chain offers soya milk in coffee. In terms of breakfast food, it lists the five grain porridge and with fruit compote as SFV, as well as the giant pretzel, which comes in plain, poppy seeds or sesame. Pret also sells a dairy-free coconut-based yoghurt, as well as a good range of different fresh and dried fruit options (check individual dried fruit packs). There are four plant-based smoothies on offer too – the berry blast, coconut crush, passion pop, and strawberry and banana.

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3

Caffe Nero

As above, Nero has soya milk as an option. In terms of breakfast food, their porridge, if served with soya milk is SFV, and there is a berry compote which goes with it, as well as a maple sauce. Again, good old fruit salad is on offer, as well as small fruit roll ups.

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Costa Coffee

Like the other chains, this one offers soya milk in its drinks. Its tropical fruit medley and Autumn fruit salad are vegan-friendly are the only breakfast foods marked as SFV.

Something for a little later?

The chain stores have also started offering vegan nibbles for later in the day, with Starbuck’s veggie good houmous wrap and moreish meze salad as options. Pret a Manger offers a range of crisps and popcorn (check each flavour) supplementing the super greens and reds sandwich, and soup. The daily soup rotates, and there is often a vegan option, with flavours that are SFV including butternut squash, lentil and quinoa, and an Indian tomato. Like Starbucks, Nero has a houmous and falafel wrap on offer for vegans – and also a takeaway container of spicy arrabiata pasta. While the soup the chain serves isn’t SFV, the ciabatta roll that goes with it is, as is the falafel and tabbouleh salad. Costa Coffee is a little trickier, with crisps and popcorn (check individual flavours) listed as their vegan choices.


CALLING THE SHOTS Should vegans vaccinate their children?

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yes

no

For many parents, the risks of the disease they are vaccinating against outweigh other concerns. Mother of one, Ruth Brown, says: “There is a lot of scare-mongering about vaccines and autism, resulting from an old report. But evidence has, time and time again, dismissed the causal link between these jabs and autism, and I would like to see people catching onto this, because I feel they are putting not only their own children at risk, but others too. “As a vegan, I understand the argument against using medicine as it has been tested on animals, but here, I feel I have to approach the bigger picture. In everything I have control over, I make compassionate choices, I never eat, wear, or am entertained by animals. I am very careful to only use cruelty-free products, and I research companies and their affiliate organisations before buying anything from them. “When it comes to vaccines and medicines, unfortunately, these have been tested on animals, and may even contain animalderived ingredients. But there is no alternative cruelty-free option, and in this case, I have to consider the health of my child. Veganism is about making the best choices, and doing the absolute best I can – after all, it is impossible to be perfect.” She feels the vast majority of bad reactions to the injections tend to be short-lived, meaning the benefits – freedom from diseases such as polio –are key in making the decision. “Seeing children get preventable diseases is heart-breaking,” she explains. “It’s time to educate people about the reality of these jabs, rather than relying on the media hysteria of the past. Lots of parents are making potential life and death decisions, because understandably, they have been misinformed.”

There are a range of reasons why some vegan parents choose not to immunise their children, with some fears about the potential health risks caused by vaccines. According to Lily Thirk: “I have two children, and I have never vaccinated either of them, and neither has suffered from ill health because of it. The biggest concern for me was that these injections could actually harm my kids, and I just can’t take that risk. I’ve read about a link between certain vaccines – especially the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella jab) and autism.” [a 1998 paper published in medical journal The Lancet made the claims, but was later discredited]. This paper, by Andrew Wakefield, is often cited in the case against vaccination, despite the fact it was later undermined. Media at the time picked up on the paper, and reported it widely, which is one of the reasons the fear generated by the piece continues to affect some parents. At the time of the report, there was a sharp drop in the number of children being injected with the vaccine, with one medical journal later commenting that the report was the most ‘damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years’. But for Lily, this is not the only reason to avoid the vaccinations. She says: “As a vegan, I avoid using animals, and that includes medicine - which has been tested on animals – and medications which actually contain animal parts of their secretions. “I also look at vaccines as the product of a huge pharmaceutical industry that favours profit over health. I have seen children suffer some terrible reactions to being vaccinated – they are being injected with toxic chemicals after all - but I have yet to see any problems with my non-vaccinated children.”

We have presented you with two sides of the argument, but what do you think? Have your say on our forum, Facebook or Twitter veganlifemag.com/forums

facebook.com/veganlifemagazine

@VeganLife_Mag

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for the love of pigs Timea Palmer talks about life with her rescue Francie – and her plans to help more animals

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igs are very much like toddlers; very inquisitive and mischievous, can easily get into trouble if bored by becoming destructive, or accidentally hurting themselves. My husband Winton and I always had a soft spot for them, but really only found out how amazing they actually are after Francie moved into our home and hearts. Scientists have proved their intelligence level is equivalent to a threeyear-old human child’s, but to actually witness and experience this in person day to day, takes things onto a whole different level. Before Francie, I liked to eat ham and cheese sandwiches every Saturday and Sunday morning, now that’s become literally unthinkable, it’s kind of like ‘I might as well start eating human flesh’ and not only because pigs and humans share 85 per cent of their DNA. Thanks to Francie, I’ve become vegan and I feel much better about it too, physically better! A real win-win situation.

“Francie’s sweetness and intelligence shines best when you interact with her in person, how she responds with the cutest little snorts and nudges.” Francie’s sweetness and intelligence shines best when you interact with her in person, how she responds with the cutest little snorts and nudges, the twinkle in her eyes when she knows you’ve got a special treat for her. Francie has her preferred past-time with each of us: she absolutely loves playing with Winton - she nudges his legs and they chase each other around a bit, hiding and jumping occasionally...when she really gets into it she jumps and turns with all four legs in the air - quite a sight, adorable! She loves music - when her favourite tracks come on, she starts wagging her tail to the beat - she particularly loves Lissie - and often even does a little jump and spin! And with me she loves cuddling - often after I do an exceptionally long day at work, she comes to greet me at the front door and lies straight down for a belly rub and a cuddle. During walkies - she loves going to the park and climbs into the car using a ramp that Winton has built for her - she prefers if I walk next to her and we both follow Winton. And if one of us stays behind or goes off track for some reason she just turns around and starts trying to find us: she only feels safe if we’re both around and she can see us both. She always goes and lies down in the hallway facing the front door when Winton is about to arrive home, and if he’s out late, she starts looking for him in the house, nudges his slippers and the main door. Francie understands our every intention and also specific words (aside from the usual ‘come here’, ‘sit’, ‘no’, ‘good’, ‘bad’ etc) such as bananas, snacks, treat, tummy rub, play, peanuts, Bombay Mix and groomies... and probably many more and she knows when we’re about to go out/ leave the house - she makes her bed and lies down - but she also knows how to differentiate between when we go into the kitchen for

something or when we go to get something for her, without us actually saying anything to her. Pigs need their own room or part of a room that’s safe or as we call it ‘pig-proof’ (no live electrical cables, sharp or potentially dangerous objects, plats or liquids) along with plenty of mental stimulation (toys, games and company) as they are highly intelligent and social creatures. When home they constantly seek our company, even if it’s just sleeping by our feet as we work at the computer or watch a movie, they prefer to be next to us, rather than in the other room. As for bedding, we tried lots of different types (from large pet beds to various cushions, baby mattresses and blankets) and found fleece blankets with small cushions work best. Francie, as all other pigs, loves to do her own bed and can sometimes spend up to two hours organising and re-organising her blankets and cushions before she goes to sleep for the night. Fleece is warm, light and if it rips in the process, there won’t be annoying threads littering the floor. Sometimes she prefers to climb under them, other times she lies on top of them, but most of the time she prefers to sleep with one pillow under her head and another one under her bottom. In terms of space, it’s very important to have a garden, she loves her daily ‘garden-patrols’ and the fresh air, and that’s also where she does her business. Inspired by Francie, our aim is to create a safe yet exciting and inviting environment where a wide range of pigs and people can come together and shed some of their preconceptions about one another. In practice this will look like a piggy-park with guided tours, a vegan cafe and later a B&B. Definitely not your average farm yard, and a first in this country, at a time when farm-animal sanctuaries are needed more than ever and parents along various organizations are seeking different ways of re-connecting children with nature.

“She loves her daily ‘garden-patrols’ and the fresh air.” Pigs make wonderful companions, they are funny, intelligent, sensitive, compassionate and social, but for these same reasons, having a pig is a lot of responsibility and long term commitment - they live around 20 years - so anyone who considers giving a pig a home and a family (we really do become their family) should do their research beforehand. Sadly a lot of ex-pet pigs suffer tremendously and die from trauma or an aggressive death, after their former human companion wasn’t quite prepared for them or simply got tired of looking after them. Those few farm sanctuaries who can take pigs, are already stretched above and beyond their capacity with neglected and mistreated animals and pigs aren’t usually the priority...not yet! Follow Francie’s antics on Facebook facebook.com/franciepig & Twitter @londonpigwig. Visit our website thepigissuefoundation.org to get involved, donate and help build the sanctuary.

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RISING STAR A vegan musician on the brink of hitting the big time

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or country music star Rainey Qualley, performing was always in her blood. “I’m quite shy,” she explains, “but if I’m singing, acting or dancing, I feel like I can be more outgoing – it’s like a different persona.” Despite a background in dance, as well as acting experience (she appeared in an episode of acclaimed drama Mad Men), the singer says music is the art that fulfils her most. “Even if this wasn’t my job, I would still be working on my song writing and singing every day.”   Rainey, whose mother is actress Andie MacDowell, is the only vegan in her family. “I’ve just always loved animals,” she says. “I love cats so much – I always carry a can of cat food in my car. There are lots of strays – most of them are scared of people, but if I see one, I’ll put food down. I just want to take care of them all, I hate to think about any animals suffering.” Born in New York, the family moved to Montana when she was two, where they lived on a farm. Along with her parents, Rainey and her older brother and younger sister enjoyed wide-open spaces to roam and play, inspiring a love of the outdoors and animals. They moved to North Carolina when she was nine.

“I have to find that perfect balance between having my own morals, my own beliefs, but also not ostracising people who don’t feel the same way as I do.” Rainey flirted with vegetarianism during her childhood (“it wasn’t until I was responsible for my own food and cooking that I could really stick to it”) after making the connection between the animals she’d see on the family ranch, and the food on her plate. “I realised to eat animals, you had to kill them, and I just thought ‘f**k that’. If you look at the lives of animals raised to be eaten – a conventional factory farm for chickens will give them about the size of a magazine each to live in – that’s all the space they have, they can’t move around, they don’t see proper daylight, then they are killed. That’s their whole life - what kind of life is that? I think that’s really messed up.   “It’s something that’s so important to me – and has been for a long time. I remember being in school, and every time we had to make a persuasive speech, I would talk about animals and not eating meat. There are all kinds of stats which I think back up how much healthier it is to be vegan.”   Living in LA for some time made it easy to find all sorts of vegan cuisine. “Now I’m in Nashville, it can be a bit harder, but it’s still pretty easy – I don’t eat loads so I’m happy with things like smoothies and salads.”

the artist herself. “Every song comes from a different place. I write everything, it’s all based in reality. A lot of my songs are about the human condition, classic emotions like love, heartbreak, relationships. When I write songs that tell a story, it might not literally line by line have happened to me, but everything starts with my own experiences. I dwell a lot on the human condition – I also write a lot about death, but those songs haven’t made it onto the record! Writing can be really therapeutic – I am able to say things in a song that I could never say in real life. It can be really liberating.”

“That’s the point of art, to connect with something inside people.” Building a career in country music was always on the cards for the artist, who grew up in North Carolina, an important region for the genre. Studying dance from a young age exposed her to a lot of music: “I always really liked the older music – I listened to a lot of Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. My dad taught me to play the guitar – he was really into musicians like Dylan, so there was that folky element, and that was what really influenced me. I still play the guitar – mainly I play it when I’m writing.”   Both of the music videos Rainey has recorded for singles Turn Me On Like the Radio and Me and Johnny Cash were conceptualised by a filmmaker friend. “My first video was also her first video, and it was a great experience working on something more abstract. A lot of country music videos are very on the nose, pretty direct. I wanted to do something different.” The result, on her Johnny Cash video, is a slickly produced piece that wouldn’t look out of place on any mainstream music channel. She says: “I do make that kind of music which could appeal across genres, there’s the really earthy element to it.”   The future sees the singer continue to travel and play gigs (“we just met my agent, and I tell them to book me in for everything, I love playing in the UK so much”) and building a global profile as she launches the album.   “There’s so much I’d like to do in the future, I have a lot of dreams. Right now, I am working on playing more, touring. I know I will never write an album that everyone loves, but I believe if you write something honest, you will get fans – there will be people who are touched by your music. That’s the point of art, to connect with something inside people.”

The country world is one that embraces hunting and shooting – and many of the people interested in the scene are involved in farming. How does that tie into her choices ethically? She says: “I was never tempted to go out hunting – I just couldn’t kill an animal, although it can be a big part of the country scene. I have to find that perfect balance between having my own morals, my own beliefs, but also not ostracising people who don’t feel the same way as I do. But for me, the life of an animal has just as much value as my own life.” All the songs on Rainey’s EP Turn Down the Lights were written by

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MASSACRE OF THE BADGERS

The row over the controversial cull continues. DominiKa Piasecka reports

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report about the badger cull – and whether it has been a cost effective way to stop the spread of bovine TB was recently blocked by Environment Secretary Liz Truss – angering critics who believe the cull is not only inhumane, but highly expensive too. Animal rights campaigners had been trying to access the analysis using freedom of information requests but Truss ensured the report was kept under wraps. Defra’s official line is the report has not been finalised and releasing it at this stage ‘could mislead the public, distract from the discussion of effective disease control and impinge on the safe space officials require to develop the policy’. But the decision to withhold the information has infuriated campaigners. Peter Martin, chair of the Badger Trust said: “This policy is now becoming something of a national scandal. The levels of secrecy surrounding its implementation indicate that the Government has something serious to hide from us.            “The public and MPs should have been given full access to the cost benefit analysis on the pilot badger culls before any decision was taken to roll out the policy to new areas of the country. People’s trust and confidence in the Government is being tested to its limit as all the indications from Defra’s published figures suggest this policy is not only ruinously expensive but also failing on every measured indicator.”   

“Indications suggest this policy is not only ruinously expensive but also failing on every measured indicator.” History of the badger cull Bovine TB has been increasing for 25 years and control measures such as testing cattle, preventing cow-to-cow transmissions and rapid slaughter of infected animals weren’t sufficient to improve the situation, not to mention eradicate the disease. If a herd is tested positive for bovine TB, the farmer cannot sell the cows apart from for slaughter, meaning he may lose about £1,000 on each infected cow. This, together with the low pay for cow’s milk, could be the reason why the number of dairy farmers in England and Wales has halved in just over 10 years. The Government decided to determine whether free shooting of badgers, rather than trapping them, can reduce their population enough to stop the increase in bovine TB. Somerset and Gloucester were chosen as two pilot areas in 2013, with Dorset added in August 2014. As cows can get infected by badgers who can then pass bovine TB to humans through non-pasteurised milk, the aim of the six-week trial cull was to protect the cows, keep British food safe and avoid more tax money being wasted on dealing with the problem. Experts in various fields have deemed the badger cull inhumane and ineffective. Nature broadcaster David Attenborough called defence of the cull ‘ignoring the science’, while Brian May pursued High Court legal action, calling for a judicial review – unfortunately the attempt failed. >

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“Over 20 per cent of badgers during the cull are taking over 5 minutes to die from gunshot wounds.” “We must never forget that over 20 per cent of badgers during the cull are taking over 5 minutes to die from gunshot wounds. Whether bTB is increasing or decreasing due to the badger cull is irrelevant to a family of badgers being targeted with high powered rifles, a method rubber stamped by the government because it’s the cheapest way to kill a protected species that farmers see as vermin.”

Even the Government has admitted the cull may not fulfil its purpose, with Nigel Gibbens, chief veterinary officer at Defra saying ‘the benefits of reducing disease in cattle [in the Gloucestershire cull area] over the planned four-year cull may not be realised’, though a couple of months later, Truss said the Government ‘will not let up, whatever complaints we get from protesters groups.’

“As badger setts are disrupted, the animals roam more widely and thus spread the disease quicker and further.” Why is bovine TB such a big (and costly) deal? The Government spends £7,583 on each shot badger, while the cost of vaccinating the same animal has been estimated at about £700. Throughout the three years of the cull, £16.7m has been spent on killing 2,449 badgers. The significantly cheaper vaccinations are also more effective as their use doesn’t cause badgers to flee the cull zones. Furthermore, UK badger expert Professor Rosie Woodroffe said: “Vaccination does not prompt protest, so it is cheaper to implement than culling.” And this money is being spent without even knowing whether the cull is effective. The biggest issue with verifying the effectiveness of the cull is that the Government won’t test badger carcasses for bovine TB because ‘standard’ post-mortems apparently don’t show signs of the disease… unless they’re ‘detailed’, which they’re not willing to do. Nature writer Patrick Barkham, said: “[W]e will never conclusively know if culling badgers reduces cattle TB because the government refuses to fund proper scientific monitoring of the cull. And, unfortunately, there is nothing honest, nor scientific, about this futile annual slaughter of wild animals.” Experts have also warned that as badger setts are disrupted, the animals roam more widely and thus spread the disease quicker and further, while infected badgers move in from other areas. Badger cull activist Jay Tiernan added: “The case for whether or not the culls may lower bTB in cattle has never been an issue, it’s always been assumed that it would by Defra. The farmers themselves have to pay for the cull; free shooting is a fraction of the cost of cage trapping.

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‘Every animal has the right to life’ – a sab’s tale Animal rights activists have had a huge impact on the cull, from lowering the number of killed badgers by disrupting the shooters, to making the cull more expensive because of policing costs associated with them being in the fields. Sabbing is a very time-consuming and often physically demanding form of activism. Badger-patrolling groups are not large but consist of dedicated people who travel for hours from all over the country, stay up night after night and walk tens of miles to save animals. Why do they care so much? “It’s the idea that every animal has a right to life and a human shouldn’t exploit them for profit or kill when it’s convenient,” said John from Manchester Hunt Sabs. “If we can do something and we don’t, that’s wrong. Even if can only minimise it, we should be doing it.” The 25-year-old spent all of his leave 140 miles away from home and his pets last summer, fighting the badger cull in Gloucestershire. While sabbing he would walk for up to 13 miles during the day and usually more at night. Badgers are nocturnal, hence the cull takes place at night. Shooters use expensive night vision products to enhance their chances of a successful shot. Most sab groups can only afford torches, making it more difficult to find a shooter or spot an animal in danger. Asked about how his group works, John explained: “We prevent them from reaching targets and try to make it ineffective and expensive so that they stop doing it. We’re trying to prove that there’s enough opposition.” The techniques used to sabotage the cull include disrupting shooters by making noise or shining torches, picking up peanuts that had been scattered around as bait, looking out for injured animals, and checking traps to release any badgers. Sabs need to drive around to check different fields and finding a shooter often feels like a needle in a haystack. If you’d like to add your voice opposing the badger cull, John suggested you find and contact your local sab group on Facebook or Google.


EAT TO PERFORM

You can excel in your training plan while following a vegan diet

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t this time of year, many people choose to reflect on their diet and exercise routines, throwing themselves into tough detoxes or over-enthusiastic athletic regimes. Most professionals agree balance is generally best, not only for motivation, but in terms of being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, without abandoning it because of physical hunger, or over-exercise.

“To increase your energy intake and fuel your training sessions, eat more carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes.” A well-balanced diet can enhance an exercise regime. While many instantly associate a training diet with protein, according to the NHS, a good balance is what is required: “If you are exercising once or more every day, you will use more energy than if you did little or none. If you are a healthy weight and don’t want to lose body fat, you will need to eat more food each day to maintain your weight. However, you still need to have a balanced diet. To increase your energy intake and

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fuel your training sessions, eat more carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes. Try to choose wholegrain varieties, and eat potatoes with their skins on. Include sources of essential fats from foods such as nuts and seeds. You will also need enough protein-rich foods to help repair and build your muscles.” Different athletes swear by different diets – including high carb, low fat raw and other ratios of macronutrients (see box) – but there are some basic nutrition rules which work for most people. And according to the NHS, most people don’t need a special diet for exercising if they are vegan – they give this advice to both omnivores and vegans, saying: “Most vegans have enough protein in their diet for the body to grow and repair itself. If you exercise regularly, make sure you eat plenty of complex carbohydrates such as rice and pasta for energy, and drink enough fluids when exercising harder.” Animal rights charity Peta has made a list of perfect pre-workout foods, saying: “There always seems to be mass confusion when people decide what to fuel up on before a workout. Should I make a protein shake? Have a piece of fruit? Do I even need anything at all? Ultimately, everyone’s different, and we all have different nutritional needs—so give a few of these ‘accidentally vegan’ workout foods a shot and find your perfect combination.”


“There are some basic nutrition rules which work for most people.” Peta’s recommended food list includes; fruit with nut butter, oats, dried fruit and nuts, wholegrain toast, baked sweet potato, pretzels, and, surprisingly, coffee, saying: “This one’s kind of an oddball, but coffee has been linked to increased performance at the gym. Additionally, its diuretic effect is minimal and is counteracted by the liquid found in the coffee itself. If you’re reaching for a drink 30 minutes to an hour before your workout, consider making it a cup of black coffee—you can also add a light amount of soy or almond milk to it.”

What are macronutrients, and what do they do? Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy – ‘macro’ means large. There are three of these – carbohydrates, protein and fat. Carbs and protein clock in at four calories per gram, with fat providing nine calories per gram. Carbohydrates are essential as they are the body’s main source of fuel, and are easily used for energy. They also play a role in the function of the brain, muscles, central nervous system and kidneys. Carbohydrates are often stored in both the liver and muscles until they are needed for energy. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested, but is required. Low fibre diets can cause constipation, and an increased risk of certain types of cancers, whereas high fibre diets reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity. Protein is important for growth, tissue repair and absorbing some vitamins – but it is important to note despite the common question asked of vegans regarding their protein intake, many people in the UK actually exceed the daily recommended amount. Good plant-based sources include nuts and seeds, pulses, beans and quinoa among others. Fat is very often vilified, but some is necessary for survival, with different bodies recommending between 20 to 35 per cent of our calories coming from it. The right amount of fat supports growth and development, provides a concentrated source of energy and helps absorb some vitamins – including (but not limited to) A and D. There are different types of fat, with the main three being saturated, unsaturated, and trans. Saturated fat (which is mainly found in animal foods) and trans fats (often found in food like margarine and baked goods) can increase heart disease. Unsaturated fat, in the form of avocados, nuts, and olive oil is considered a healthier option.

The importance of hydration Liquid is part of the dietary equation – you have to make sure you’re taking in enough. Most people do this naturally, a combination of liquid taken via food, as well as drinks throughout the day. It is essential to have the proper balance between water and electrolytes – this determines how most of our key systems function – muscles and nerves, for example. Drinking the right amount of liquid also helps to control our temperature, maintain healthy blood pressure and metabolism, and remove waste through urinating. Humans cannot survive without water – which is, of course, the best drink for you. It contains no calories, and is freely available from every tap. For those undertaking intense exercise, or working out for over an hour in hot conditions, sports drinks are also a good option. While mild dehydration can lead to performance problems in sport, severe dehydration can lead to more serious consequences, including severe confusion, loss of consciousness and extreme weakness.


vegan fitness

precision FITNESS The famously tough discipline of CrossFit is almost synonymous with the Paleo diet – but more and more plant-based eaters are taking part What is it? CrossFit is described as a strength and conditioning program consisting mainly of a mix of aerobic and body weight exercises as well as Olympic weight lifting. According to CrossFit Inc, the programme is ‘constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains’. The very best in the sport can take part in the annual CrossFit games, described as ‘a gruelling test for the world’s toughest athletes and a thrilling experience for spectators’. Why do people do it? Because of the intensity, people often report big improvements in fitness. Sessions are held as cross fit gyms – which are known as ‘boxes’ and are an hour long, comprising a warm-up, skill development

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work, a high-intensity workout (which changes daily as is known as the workout of the day, or WOD) and stretching. Boxes are equipped with weights – barbells and dumb bells – skipping ropes, medicine balls, kettle bells and resistance bands among other equipment. While people often complain of finding the workouts incredibly tough, others can get addicted to the huge improvements they make towards their fitness goals. Who does it? According to a recent study, men and women take part equally. The activities are suitable for any level of fitness, and you will find a huge range of abilities taking part. In addition, the style of programme used at CrossFit is used in some military organisations as well as law enforcement agencies and fire departments, due to its ability


to increase athletic ability. According to founder Greg Glassman: “CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains [cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy].”

“It’s simple to get enough high-quality nutrients, including enough protein, on a varied plant-based diet.” But don’t you have to eat meat to do it? How can it work for vegans? Many CrossFit enthusiasts follow the Paleo diet. This involves eating as cavemen are assumed to have eaten, eliminating processed foods, grains and dairy products from the diet, and focussing on meats, fish, fruit and vegetables. It is often lower in carbohydrates and higher in animal fats and proteins – very different to the typical vegan diet. But more and more vegan fitness fans are taking up the activity without deviating from their plant-based plans. According to one CrossFitter: “Different gyms focus on different goals – some are more geared towards aesthetic fitness and others are about functional fitness. Each gym will promote an eating plan to support that aim. Some people will stick very closely to those plans, and others, like myself, don’t want to limit our diets like that. I am very confident following my own eating plan, and reaping the benefits of the work I’m putting in at the gym.” One of the biggest vegan names currently on the CrossFit scene is Ed Bauer – a former champion competitive bodybuilder. Speaking to Breaking Muscle, he talked about how vegans concerned with performance can adjust their diet. He said: “It’s simple to get enough high-quality nutrients, including enough protein, on a varied plantbased diet. This contributes highly to our gains as an athlete. The bottom line, too, is that if you want to make significant gains in CrossFit, you have to commit to putting in the work. A really good program design helps. It’s easy to make excuses that veganism is to blame, but most times we’re not paying enough attention to the quality of our diet and/or the effort we put into it.”

“The bottom line is that if you want to make significant gains in CrossFit, you have to commit to putting in the work.” Ok, I want to try it. How do I start? The first thing to do is find a local gym – or ‘box’. These are becoming more widespread, and the internet is your friend in terms of research here. Think about what your fitness goals are, and look for a gym that focuses on that. Many people involved in the sport point out how important it is not to be put off by how difficult you find the exercises – or be intimidated by the fitness levels of other participants. If you are unable to do one of the exercises, they can be adapted to the right level – you can lift lighter weights for example. The key is to give it a go – it’s not for everyone, but for many, CrossFit can become an addiction.


raw power This raw pizza combines flavour and nutrition

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Raw Pizza with Mushroom, Onion and Aubergine For • • • • • • • • • • •

the base 400g (2 cups) presoaked and sprouted buckwheat 150g (1 cup) sunflower seeds 150g (1 cup) milled flax seeds 75g (½ cup) flax seeds, soaked for 2 hours 25g (1/3 cup) sundried tomatoes, rehydrated (if jarred then wash off the oil) 75ml (¼ cup) rapeseed oil 90ml (1/3 cup) water 4 garlic cloves ½ onion Pinch of sea salt Fresh spinach leaves

For • • • • • • • •

the aubergienes 2 aubergines 4 tbsp oil 2 tbsp tamari 2 apricots 3 tsp onion powder 1 clove garlic 1 tbsp curry powder Dash of water

For • • • • • • • •

the mushrooms 200g (2 cups) mushrooms, peeled and sliced 2 tsp dried juniper berries, ground 125ml (½ cup) tamari sauce 75ml (¼ cup) rapeseed oil 2 garlic cloves 75ml (¼ cup) apple cider vinegar 75ml (¼ cup) water 2 dates

For • • • • • • •

the onions 7 large onions 3 tbsp olive oil 75ml (¼ cup) water 2 tbsp tamari 4 medjool dates 4 dried apricots 2 tbsp agave

For the sauce • 55g (1 cup) sundried tomatoes (rehydrated or if from a jar rinse off oil first) • 150g (1 cup) soaked dates (soaked overnight in water) • 3 large tomatoes • 2-4 garlic cloves • ½ onion • 75ml (1/3 cup) rapeseed oil • ½ lemon juiced For • • •

the cheese 75g (½ cup) cashew nuts, soaked for 2 hours 3 tbsp water 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

For the base: Blend all the ingredients in a food processor on the S-blade until a dough like consistency is reached. Pour onto a baking sheet and shape into a round pizza base using a spatula. Dehydrate for 1 hour on 40. Remove drying sheets and flip base and dehydrate for a further 10 hours. For the aubergine: Slice the aubergines lengthways into 2mm thick slices and place in an oven dish. Blend together the remaining ingredients and pour over the aubergines, ensuring all are covered in the mixture. Leave to marinade for at least 4 hours. Remove from the dish and dehydrate for at least 6 hours on 40. If you do not have a dehydrator you may dry in the oven at 50 with the door ajar for 2 hours. For the mushrooms: Blend together all ingredients except the mushrooms Pour marinade over sliced mushrooms and leave for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove mushrooms from marinade and used as they are, alternatively dehydrate for at least 4 hours to create a rich creamy and fried texture. For the onions: Peel and slice the onions to make rings. Blend together the remaining ingredients and pour over the onions, massaging with hands to ensure good coverage. Dehydrate on 40 overnight (8 hours), turning once. If you do not have a dehydrator place in an oven dish and dry in the oven on 50 with the door ajar for 4 hours. For the sauce: Blend all ingredients and store in a jar until ready to use. For the cheese: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high. Pour the mixture on top of each burger during the last hour of dehydration and continue to dry in the oven/dehydrator To assemble: Add a base of spinach leaves before the pizza sauce to prevent a soggy base then decorate with toppings of your choice. Finish with pizza cheese and eat immediately or dry further for ten minutes. Bases can be frozen to use later. Recipe and image from the health experts at Tribest tribest.co.uk

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making a killing Does working in a slaughterhouse make people more violent? 88


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n July 28 2012, Karl Bestford invited his landlord Simon Meech to his Gateshead flat. After the two argued over rent arrears, Bestford repeatedly stabbed Simon, then severed his head almost clean off in a shockingly vicious attack. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years after being found guilty of murder. The reports of the crime included one important fact: Bestford was an ex-slaughterhouse worker. Could his job have made him more likely to be violent?

Prof Taylor told Vegan Life: “We used a measure of propensity for aggression that can be presented as a total score and also as a score on subscales that look at the type of aggression (physical, verbal and so on). We found the meat workers overall aggression scores and their physical aggression scores were very high – similar to scores reported for incarcerated populations of both genders. While we expected their aggression scores to be higher, the levels we found were pretty astonishing. We looked into it a bit more and found that the type of work done in the slaughterhouse affected the scores. Essentially those working on the kill floor and in load out scored highest on aggression measures. While the finding regarding the load out area might seem counter intuitive if you are assuming that proximity to death, violence and killing are the causes of aggression, it actually isn’t. We asked our sample about the load out room and were told that this is where they put people to work who ‘can’t handle’ the killing any more. In other words, those in the load out are probably those who have done the animal killing for the longest periods of time.” While Prof Taylor described the sample size as small – she looked at 26 meatworkers (the study also looked at 41 farmers, concluding they were not affected in the same way, and on the whole did not treat the animals as violently) – she said the study built on existing research, which has already established a link between being prone to violence and working in an abattoir.

“A number of studies in areas with large slaughterhouses have highlighted the social and criminal issues affecting the local population.” In fact her work followed on from a 2010 study from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. This research found violent crimes including sexual assault and rape increase in towns once an abattoir opens there. Criminologist, Professor Amy Fitzgerald who was part of the team behind the report, claims it wasn’t the nature of repetitive and dangerous work, but the act of slaughtering an animal that was to blame for the increase in violence. She said: “The unique thing about [slaughterhouses] is that [workers are] not dealing with inanimate objects, but instead dealing with live animals coming in and then killing them, and processing what’s left of them.”

Image: Joseph Sohm

The week Bestford was appearing in court, a report was published in the Society and Animals journal. The research, undertaken by Australia’s Flinders University associate professor Nik Taylor, claims slaughterhouse workers’ levels of aggression are so high they are similar to the scores for incarcerated populations. In addition, abattoir workers are more likely to become desensitised to suffering – which could make them more prone to being violent towards other people

The spotlight was first shone on abattoirs at the beginning of the 20th century, when author Upton Sinclair exposed the devastating work and living conditions in Chicago’s stockyard slaughterhouses in his novel The Jungle. He made the connection between the work of dismembering animals all day, and violence, writing: “He [the police officer] has to be prompt—for these two-o’clock-in-the-morning fights, if they once get out of hand, are like a forest fire, and may mean the whole reserves at the station. The thing to do is to crack every fighting head that you can see, before there are so many fighting heads that you cannot crack any of them. There is but scant account kept of cracked heads in back of the [stock] yards, for men who have to crack the heads of animals all day seem to get into the habit, and to practice on their friends, and even on their families.” His work was so detailed, and the details he exposed so unsanitary, his work was the catalyst for an investigation launched by President Roosevelt. This led to 1906’s Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. The idea that propensity for violent crime is increased by work that involves routine slaughter of non-human animals is known as the ‘Sinclair Hypothesis’ – and according to Professor Fitzpatrick it ‘has not been given much attention, geographers, sociologists, and anthropologists have begun to examine the community effects of the migration of slaughterhouses from urban areas to rural communities’. Her report went on to examine the relationship between slaughterhouse employment levels and crime rates. >

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A number of studies in areas with large slaughterhouses have highlighted the social and criminal issues affecting the local population, with increased demand for social assistance (partly due to low wages, and the high injury and illness rates) and an increase in crime. Her report claims: “Of these social problems, increased crime rates have been the least readily explainable. The slaughterhouse community studies have documented dramatic increases in crime that have outpaced increases in the population. Increases have been documented for violent crimes property crimes and drug offences. Most of the increases in violent crime rates have been attributed to increases in domestic violence and child abuse.”

“I think slaughterhouse work is just awful, on every level.” Prof Taylor is keen to stress how difficult the work itself is for those who do it: “I think slaughterhouse work is just awful, on every level. It’s awful for the humans who have to kill everyday – and these are not people who ‘hate’ animals. I’ve talked with slaughterhouse workers and their family members and been told extraordinary stories of them rescuing other animals (for example, taking home animals that were born in the slaughterhouse), and heard of their attachment to their own companion animals. It’s also a casualised workforce, usually made up of people under, on, or close to the poverty line. They have few benefits, or security, in what is a dangerous and a very physically and mentally demanding job. Now, onto all this add the fact that their work is killing, day in, day out and you begin to see just how awful it truly is. I don’t think a particular type gravitates to slaughterhouse work –

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which is to say that there may be some with certain personalities, on occasion, who are drawn to it, but in the main it’s just regular people who have little other work available to them.” Her opinion on the difficulties of the work is backed by Timothy Pachirat, assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusettes Amhurst, and the author of Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight, a book he wrote after working undercover on the kill floor. The first person account of working in this environment details the hard working conditions. He describes how society hides the ‘dirty, dangerous, and demeaning work to others tasked with carrying out the killing, skinning, and dismembering of living animals’. The 12 seconds refers to the kill rate – workers killed and processed one cow every 12 seconds – 2,500 a day. Speaking in an interview with Prof Pachirat said adapting to the various roles in the slaughterhouse was ‘slow and painful: “Each job came with its own set of physical, psychological, and emotional challenges. Although it was physically demanding, my main battle hanging livers in the cooler was with the unbearable monotony. Pranks, jokes, and even physical pain became ways of negotiating that monotony. Working in the chutes took me out of the sterilized environment of the cooler and forced a confrontation with the pain and fear of each individual animal as they were driven up the serpentine line into the knocking box. Working as a quality control worker forced me to master a set of technical and bureaucratic requirements even as it made me complicit in surveillance and disciplining my former coworkers on the line. Although it’s been over seven years since I left the kill floor, I am still struck by the continued emotional and psychological impacts that come from direct participation in the routinized taking of life.”


This idea that routinely taking life affects the psyche is something chief investigator for the Humane Farming Association (HFA) Gail Eisnitz explored in her book Slaughterhouse, published in 1997. In it, she interviewed a number of US workers, who admitted the speed at which they had to work meant mistakes happened all the time – animals were routinely skinned while still alive. According to the HFA, the workers have to kill a large number of animals per hour (up to and over 1,000). The difficulties of the job could involve the animals suffering more violence as the workers attacked them out of frustration. According to one worker: “The Hogs get stressed out pretty easy. If you prod them too much, they have heart attacks. If you get a hog in the chute that’s had the shit prodded out of him and has a heart attack or refuses to move, you take a meat hook and hook it into his bunghole. You try to do this by clipping the hipbone. Then you drag him backwards. You’re dragging these hogs alive, and a lot of times the meat hook rips out of the bunghole. I’ve seen hams — thighs — completely ripped open. I’ve also seen intestines come out. If the hog collapses near the front of the chute, you shove the meat hook into his cheek and drag him forward.” This seemingly casual attitude towards cruelty is echoed throughout society according to Prof Taylor: “As a society we are dreadfully cruel to animals, all justified by their difference and presumed inferiority, to us. In many ways I don’t think slaughterhouse workers are that different to the average person who, say, eats meat and closes their mind to who that meat comes from. It’s just that slaughterhouse workers are easy to identify as a group so they are easy to scapegoat. In turn, this means we deflect attention away from really considering the (many and awful) consequences of living in a society where violence to others (in this case species) is normative. I think we end up so

fixated on extra-ordinary examples of abuse to animals that we forget that most abuse is condoned, if not encouraged, and usually in the name of profit and/or perceived human ‘need’. So, we end up fixated by undercover footage of cruelty to animals in slaughterhouses, for example, where we are all encouraged to be aghast at such incidents while neatly sidestepping that even in the most organised of slaughterhouses what goes on there is still animal abuse. Similarly, there’s a lot of protest and outrage about individualised incidences of cruelty to companion animals but precisely because it is individualised – is seen as the outcome of individual pathology – we aren’t talking about the broader social and cultural damages that cause such actions in the first place.” She believes there’s a ‘huge need to address all of this for workers and animals’, believing the only way to do it is to close slaughterhouses, saying “We know from research that they are bad for workers, animals and the communities they are situated in. I also think they are a physical representation of an acceptance of violence toward disempowered others that needs to be removed from our society if we want to ‘fix what ails us’ in many respects. Essentially, I think the way we treat animals is the same as the way we treat other groups who have little power or standing; to change one we must change them all. It’s about addressing root causes of violence and cruelty which, following ecofeminist arguments, I believe to be binary and hierarchical thinking that posits ‘us’ as better than ‘them’. Without doing this, all we will ever do is tinker round the edges. And as much as I think we need to tighten up oversight of slaughterhouses, I’m sure tighter regulations don’t mean too much to the millions of animals who enter them daily, never to leave again.”

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Images: Richard Duebel


A vegan in chorizo country Sylvia Smith explores some unique Spanish territory

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t’s become an unspoken assumption that Spain is a macho country where bull fighting and the Pata Negra pig are part of the cultural identity. Southern Spain in particular is known for offering the British tourist the standard package holiday food-a far cry from considering food choices as activism that can forge a better society. As one vegan put it, Spain is the hardest country in which to practice food activism as the inhabitants seem never to have heard of vegetarianism.

The ethos of Esenia has brought many benefits to those who eat there and to the family itself. Susana, now a chef, used to work in the oncology unit of a hospital on the island of Palma de Mallorca. As a nurse, she tried bring in a new therapeutic approach to help cancer patients. Her aim was to help them recover or at least to tolerate better the illness and treatment, supplementing treatment with good, meat-free nutrition.

For the more adventurous who are willing to forego the usual sand, sea and sangria, and leave behind the mass holiday mentality to go off in search of the real Spain, little is required other than an inexpensive train ticket and the desire to discover how to eat well Spanish style without having to dodge the ubiquitous tortilla and paella.

“Veganism is not only the healthiest way of evolving from vegetarianism but it also becomes a very spiritual way of getting a deeper understanding of life.”

A small, rather quaint train runs inland from Algeciras on the Mediterranean coast (the station is a ten minute walk from the ferry terminal for Morocco) to Ronda, a town set dramatically above a deep gorge. Rather than staying on the train until it reaches its destination, alight at Jimena de la Frontera. A few steps out of the station and you will find a square and in one corner a restaurant and coffee shop called Esenia. It’s an unassuming building but this is the informal meeting place of locals as well as travellers with a real conscience about what they to eat, as well as those interested in understanding the true cost of farmed and industrial food. The Esenia concept is run by identical twins, Maria Belen and Susana who have created their own rather idiosycratic vegan corner. “As far as we know, we are the first vegan restaurant in Campo de Gibraltar,” Maria Belen explains. “There is only one other in the whole province of Cadiz.” Jimena de la Frontera has a population of approximately 3,000 and is best known for its Romano- Moorish castle which stands on a hill overlooking the town. Esenia is very different from the other typically alcohol-fuelled, noisy bars and restaurants in the town. It is a haven of peace and quiet. Although the twins’ parents used to run a very successful restaurant in Andalucia, Esenia is a culinary experiment and the atmosphere is informal but cultured. Susana has the restaurant and is in charge back of house, devising daily menus, ordering food and testing new recipes in her spare time, while Maria Belen is front of house in the coffee shop making soap and other organic items for sale as well as welcoming visitors to what looks like her own living room. The emphasis is on food - and local food, including carob, quince, pomegranate, mushrooms, green asparagus, tagarninas (a kind of thistle) and chestnuts which all grow wild in the vicinity. In fact, such is the area’s richness in agricultural produce, that the Romans chose to create a town there as they could easily feed a garrison full of hungry soldiers without needing to forage further afield. According to Maria Belen: “Fifty per cent of our clientele are regulars and the other half are travellers. Although many people come because they just want to find out about this new way of eating, out of curiosity, equally many come for health reasons and for ethical reasons.”

Then out of the blue Susana, who had always cared for cancer patients developed breast cancer. She relied on her research and started to treat herself through a natural, organic vegan regime. She claims the results were sufficiently impressive to astonish the oncologist who was in charge of her case, with a reduction in the diameter of the tumour from 3.5 cm to 1 .5 cm just through diet. The diet has brought about other very positive changes in Susana’s life. As she puts it becoming vegan has been part of a very natural path. “Veganism is not only the healthiest way of evolving from vegetarianism but it also becomes a very spiritual way of getting a deeper understanding of life. Loving animals and feeling compassion for them means that I have found ways of feeding myself properly without having to make any animal suffer.” The benefits of Susana’s choice are spreading beyond the family and more people are coming from the surrounding areas for a meal in the low-key restaurant. “It’s a new way of thinking about running a business,” says a French couple eating a three-course lunch. “There is so much to enjoy about being here as well as the food. Lunch here costs no more than elsewhere, but there is a different feeling about the place. A lack of aggression and a lot of care taken in the presentation of the food.” Esenia is showing that there is a different way of approaching life, that makes you more healthy not only physically but also mentally. As Maria Belen puts it: “l understand now that life is so much more than we have been told. I consider myself a very spiritual woman and l think that food awareness is part of that.” Susana agrees: “We believe that being vegan is related to loving animals, health and caring for the planet as well,” she says. “Love yourself, love animals and love the planet.”

Esenia Restaurant and Coffee Shop, Jimena de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain. Reservations + 34 956 641 260/635181728

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chinese new year Celebrate a fresh start twice

Vegetable Tempura with Homemade Yuzu Mayonnaise Serves 4 • ½ red pepper, cut into strips • ½ aubergine, 1cm round slices • ½ sweet potato, 1cm round slices • 8 baby sweetcorn • 8 stems of asparagus • 1 litre (4 cups) rapeseed oil • 250ml (1 cup) icy water • 150g Yutaka Tempura Batter Mix Yuzu mayonnaise • 100g (½ cup) silken tofu • 200ml (1 cup) rapeseed oil • ½ tsp sugar • ½ tsp sea salt • 2 tbsp yuzu juice • 1 clove garlic, grated

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Prepare the vegetables and keep chilled until use. To make the mayonnaise, blend the tofu, sugar, sea salt, yuzu juice and garlic until smooth whilst slowly adding the rapeseed oil. Pour 220ml of ice cold water into a mixing bowl and add 150g of the tempura batter mix. Stir quickly until the flour is moistened but do not over mix. The batter is perfect when small flour lumps appear at the surface of the batter mix. In a saucepan, heat at least 5cm of oil to about 170-180°C or until a little batter dropped into the oil sizzles and floats to the surface. Dip the ingredients in the batter, and then drain to remove excess. Place gently into the hot oil and fry in batches until light golden brown on all sides. Drain on a wire rack or paper towel and serve immediately with the mayonnaise.

Recipe and image from yutaka.co

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PLAYING THE GOAT One animal’s sneaky ways to get treats…

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he Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Maidstone, Kent, has seen its fair share of characters – according to founder Bob Hitch most goats are very individual. But one, Rhubarb, stands out for his mischievous ways. According to Bob: “Some years ago we received a phone call completely out of the blue from the Ministry of Defence, asking if we could possibly take into care 32 goats. I took a very deep breath, and made a frantic calculation as to where we could put them all, and said, ‘Yes.’ The Ministry of Defence had been using goats for experiments on submarine rescue, putting them into pressure chambers to see how their lungs would react under force. Over 200 died during these experiments. Eventually, due to the pressure put onto them from members of the House of Commons and animal rights groups, they decided to cease this draconian procedure.”

“When Rhubarb thinks anyone is looking, he hobbles like an old man with all the troubles of the world on his shoulders.” The goats arrived at the sanctuary, and were rehomed around the county – but as sometimes happens, two groups of four returned – including brothers Rhubarb and Custard.

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Bob says: “As time passed, Rhubarb started to develop a serious deformity of his front legs, both legs bowing outwards very visibly at the knee. When Rhubarb thinks anyone is looking, he hobbles like an old man with all the troubles of the world on his shoulders, and is unable to move at all fast. He does rather play on the situation, and consequently gets much sympathy and attention from all and sundry.” But Rhubarb is not stupid – and manages to use this difficulty to his own benefit. According to Bob: “He has been seen – when he thinks no one is looking–jumping over the stable door to freedom. On other occasions, when we throw chopped vegetables out into the field for the goats, it is surprising how quickly his disability vanishes as he races to the head of the crowd to get to the goodies first. Afterwards, on the way back to the stables, he comes back limping very slowly, head down with all the cares of the world on his shoulders again”. And that’s not his best trick–using his ‘goat intelligence’ he purposefully moves up and down the corridors where the other goats are still locked in their pens, and with his lips shoot the top securing bolts, releasing all the goats from their pens. To find out more about Buttercups Sanctuary , including how to adopt a goat, visit buttercups.org.uk.



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