The Vegan 2023 Issue 4

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Spotlight on Vegan and Thriving this November

2023 Issue 4 Sharing
to ‘pest
Nutrition for older vegetarians and vegans vegetar anforl fe org uk Gu de to th nu r l need o der adu s ud ng h se liv ng ca e hom or hosp t s Con i answ o f eq ent y a k d quest s such how t mu at ppetite boos t ent take a d good s ces of p te n for those texture- d ed d ts Nutrition guidelines Mature Vegans and Veggies UK Facebook group Grants to support independent living Helping to change the lives of older veg*ns Meal support for vulnerable vegans and veggies Making it easier to stay veg*n for life Veggie pen- and phone-pals scheme Support from our friendly team V for Life is the UK charity working on behalf of older vegans and vegetarians. For further information or for a copy of any of V for Life’s guides, please visit, call 0161 257 0887 or email Vegetarian for Life is a charity registered in England and Wales, number 1120687

Welcome to another jampacked edition of The Vegan! Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to our latest readership survey. I’m pleased to report that general enjoyment of the magazine is high, with an average overall rating of 7.8/10. Our new Deep Dive feature has been received well.

However, there’s always room for improvement! We are taking lots of recommendations on board. From 2024 Issue 1, the volunteer section will be reduced to one page to allow the popular nutrition feature to expand. We have also taken note of highly requested feature article topics, including the piece on vegan solutions to ‘pests’ which appears in this issue. We will continue to draw from these ideas when commissioning

future pieces. Finally, please email if you have any ideas for improving the magazine, especially the membership pages.

This edition kicks off with a fascinating piece from Julien Wulfgar, an autistic vegan journalist who shares their story of how living with neurodiversity impacts their life. Julien also includes comment from many of our wonderful supporters who also share their experiences.

Our Deep Dive feature in this issue is written by Dietitian Sandra Hood, who analyses how vegan children have been fed between 1940–2000.

You can also find a celebration of the ever-growing Vegan Runners group, who reflect on almost 20 years of championing veganism. All of this, plus our usual reviews, Vegan Society highlights, membership updates and volunteer news.

Editor’s letter and contents EDITOR’S
CONTENTS 03 Highlights Essential updates on Vegan Society news 06 Neurodivergent vegans Julien Wulfgar explores the topic 10 Recipes Balanced meals to help you thrive 16 Humane Wildlife Solutions Vegan ‘pest control’ 20 Shoparound New products to look out for 22 24 Reviews Including a Christmas recipe book Membership Letters, discounts, updates and more 30 Deep dive Vegan infant case histories 35 Vegan Runners Celebrating 20 years 37 Events Vegan events across the UK 27 Nutrition Considerations for over 65s 10 16 35
39 Volunteers Volunteer Hub and Volunteer of the Season Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 1


Happy World Vegan Month to all of our members and supporters! Every November presents a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the progress that our vegan movement has made. This year we are highlighting Vegan and Thriving, our health and nutrition campaign. You can read all about our Vegan and Thriving activities in the highlights pages. We had a busy summer, attending many events including Vegan Camp Out, which is always a highlight of the calendar for us. The team enjoyed meeting lots of you at the event, and signing up plenty of new members too. Welcome to everyone who has newly joined us!

We are gearing up for The Vegan Society’s 80th anniversary, which will kick off in November 2024 and will include a full year of events and activities. Email me at if you have any ideas for marking this important milestone.

I am very pleased to say that we are now offering free Vegan Society membership to those aged under 26. We want to amplify the voices of young people in the vegan community and to ensure our membership is representative of the vegan community as a whole. At a time when the cost of living is presenting problems for so many of us, we are happy to remove a barrier to being part of our organisation.

Thank you, as ever, for your continuing support as Vegan Society members. We couldn’t do our important work without you.

Sustainable Printing

The Vegan Society cares deeply about the future of our planet and all those we share it with. We are committed to operating as a responsible, sustainable organisation which means we are conscious of the social, economic and environmental impact in all that we do. With this in mind, we are very pleased to announce that we work with Seacourt to print and distribute The Vegan Seacourt are the UK’s leading environmental printing company and work closely with their clients to ensure that all material is produced with the lightest environmental footprint possible. In fact:

• Their presses are 100% free from water, alcohol and harmful chemicals

21 Hylton Street, Birmingham, B18 6HJ 0121 523 1730

• They use inks that are vegan and free from volatile organic compounds

• They are powered by 100% renewable energy

• They send zero waste to landfill

As a result, they are Net Positive (beyond carbon neutral including the entire supply chain). Every time they produce a piece of print, they take responsibility for more carbon than they are generating – what they call Planet Positive Printing

We hope you enjoy reading this issue, knowing that it has been produced in line with ethical, sustainable principles.

© The Vegan Society Registered Charity No. 279228 (England and Wales) and SC049495 (Scotland) Registered Co. Nos. 01468880 and 12377572 (England & Wales). VAT Registration No. 361 7274 92.

The views expressed in The Vegan do not necessarily reflect those of the Editor or of The Vegan Society Council. Nothing printed should be construed to be The Vegan Society’s policy unless so stated. The society accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. The acceptance of advertisements (including inserts) does not imply endorsement. Complaints should be made in writing to or or by post. Visit to find out more.

From the CEO
Printed on recycled paper
2 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023
Editor Elena Orde Designer Violeta Pereira Cover image Suze Morrison @GourmetGlow


We are launching the campaign with a short film and a series of videos which are designed to challenge the stereotype of what it means to be vegan, specifically in relation to masculinity. In these films we’re showcasing stories from several incredible vegan men from different professions, backgrounds and walks of life, who share how veganism forms an important part of their identity. There are a couple of cameos from their companion animals too!

Follow #veganandthriving to stay up to date with the latest content and developments.

Catering for Everyone

Brand new Vegan Society research finds that a quarter of UK councils don’t recognise their responsibility to cater for vegans.

in this area, such as Oxfordshire County Council, where all food served in external meetings is vegan and there are multiple vegan options on local primary school menus.

Weare relaunching our Vegan andThrivingcampaig n

We recently shared new research uncovering how far

However, a concerning number of councils are taking very few steps to be inclusive of vegans. Public sector bodies have an obligation to be inclusive of veganism, as it is a legally protected belief. A quarter of the councils we asked failed to acknowledge this, which is disappointing and indicative that many councils have significant room for improvement. read more about the campaign. Here you will also be able to find out how your council responded. We encourage you to use our template letters to engage with your MPs and local councillors, asking them to improve provision for vegans throughout their services.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 3 Highlights
We are working to improve vegan catering in every UK council

Research highlights

In July we welcomed Dr Shireen Kassam to the On the Pulse webinar series for her presentation on vegan advocacy in healthcare. Shireen discussed the work of the Plant-based Health Professionals and the importance of vegan diets for our health. A recording of Shireen’s presentation can be found on the Vegan Society website.

Our most recent research publication is our beauty report, Vegan Beauty Takeover first published a report on the cosmetics industry in 2021 and in light of recent changes to animal testing guidelines, we decided that now is the time to provide an update. The results from this year show once again that consumers are interested in purchasing vegan cosmetics, but that many consumers are confused by vegan and cruelty-free labels. As the vegan beauty industry grows, we will continue to produce fresh analysis for the benefit of brands and shoppers. Check it out for our most recent data on UK consumer behaviour.


focus on economically developing countries in Africa, where we receive a growing interest from vegan projects in countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

This year we have funded a project based in a secondary school in Nairobi resulting in the formation of a vegan club, a vegan street fair in Botswana and a vegan

Grants programme

The Vegan Society’s grants programme has continued to grow in popularity this year. Recently awarded grants have gone to projects based all around the world, with a particular

and probation service to improve menus and supplementation for vegan prisoners.

Andrea also appeared on a panel: ‘Human Health is Planet Health: How to Look After Both’ at the Sustainability Show in Manchester, and gave a well-attended talk on raising vegan children at Vegan Camp Out.

funded this vegan streetfairinBotswana
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Our most recent research publication is our beauty report, Vegan Beauty Takeover

The Vegan Pod

Have you been keeping up with our podcast, The Vegan Pod? We’ve had some brilliant episodes recently, including one on how protest laws are impacting the vegan movement and affecting animal rights protestors.

We also shared an episode which asked the question “Is it expensive to be vegan?” To tackle this common misconception, we were joined by Dan and Jess from Vegan Punks and cookbook author Katy Beskow. They shared their top tips for budget meals and their favourite low-cost recipes.

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, as well as Apple and Google podcasts (just search ‘The Vegan Pod'!)

Best of the blogs

We have published several fantastic blogs on our website recently. Vegan Society member Annie Button wrote two blogs – on eco-friendly lifestyle changes, and how to create a vegan-friendly celebration – which struck a chord with our followers on social media.

We have continued to create blogs containing tips and advice on how to live vegan while saving money, as part of our Live Vegan for Less campaign. Topics covered include small kitchen hacks and feeding an active family on a budget.

In celebration of International Non-Binary People’s day, we shared a blog to raise awareness of non-binary people in the vegan community. We highlighted the work of some

Vegan medicine labelling

The Policy Team held a meeting in partnership with the AllParty Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism in July, to discuss why clear labelling of medical products which use animal-derived ingredients is important to the vegan and vegetarian community, as well as members of many of the UK’s largest faith groups. The session heard from a range of speakers, including patients, clinicians and industry professionals who explored what action can and should be taken to improve labelling and encourage the use of non-animal derived alternatives.

Vegan-suitable medicines were discussed in parliament Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 5

Being vegan allows me to educate people about the harmful impact of eating flesh on your body and your environment.

- Daniel M Jones (also known as ‘The Aspie World’)

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Julien Wulfgar shares their reflections on becoming vegan and being diagnosed as autistic during 2020 and interviews other neurodivergent vegans about their experiences

I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs. My grandma would frequently tell me that when I was a toddler, if a dog was barking in the distance my eyes would widen, I would raise a finger and under my breath, say “boo boo”. My connection to animals meant that I was always repulsed by meat. If chicken was served and it was not disguised as anything else, I tended to load up on mashed potatoes. Steak or hamburgers bled, and I had a difficult time separating that from my own bodily functions. My journey from meat averse to vegetarian happened in 1993, when I discovered Hinduism. That interest faded, but I continued to avoid red meat and pork. In fact, in my early 20s I had a traumatic experience, witnessing a sow and chickens being murdered for food. There was no way of coming back from that.

In February 2020, my husband and I were watching the Oscars, and Joaquin Phoenix gave a riveting acceptance speech when he won Best Actor for his portrayal as the Joker. He pointed out how ego and selfishness lead to the exploitation not just of indigenous peoples, women and more but also of animals, specifically cows who are artificially inseminated and then have their babies stolen so that we can have milk for our cereal. I’m not sure why this speech touched my husband as much as it did, but the next day he suggested that we become vegan. I wasn’t sure how to begin, but we did it and have never looked back.

An illuminating discovery

Interestingly, during the pandemic I experienced another major life change. I found a psychologist who diagnoses adults – a rarity – and came away with the label of ‘autistic’. When my husband and I were getting to know each other, early on in our relationship he admitted that he was confused by my behaviour: how I reacted to conversations or situations. He suggested that I might be autistic. At first I was offended, because my only reference for autism was from the film Rain Man. Did he think I was Rain Man? But I came around. It’s true that I’d always felt weird, disconnected and alien. Once I had my diagnosis, I was elated and relieved.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 7
I have always been an animal rescuer. We’ve had rescue hens for over a decade and, weirdly, cats find their way to us.
- Anna Bobak

Finally, I had an answer to so much I didn’t understand about myself.

I tend to make friends online, so after my diagnosis I rejoined Twitter, and there I found a community of neurodivergents, many of whom were activists for the environment, social justice and animal rights. It struck me that many were also vegetarian and vegan. As I always do, I started down a rabbit hole wondering “Are neurodivergent persons more likely to be vegan?” After all, the person who started us on our vegan journey, my husband, is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and is probably also autistic.

For the purpose of this article, I sent a series of questions to five people about their experiences.


Daniel M Jones, also known as ‘The Aspie World’, is a social media influencer and entrepreneur. He is AuDHD (autistic/ ADHD) and became vegan in 2020, after getting food poisoning from a chippy in Manchester. His doctor suggested that he become vegetarian. “I was only eating eggs anyway at this point. I then saw The Game Changers on Netflix, and being a chemist myself, the science made sense and I was like ‘I have to be vegan.’ Literally from that moment, I became vegan.” He, too, expressed a life-long love of and affinity with animals, particularly dogs, and an inability to stand suffering. “Being vegan allows me to educate people about the harmful impact of eating flesh on your body and your environment.”

Being neurodivergent can present some challenges, particularly with regard to certain textures and tastes (for instance, I find it difficult to eat mushy apples or bananas unless they are at a certain point of ripeness) and for Daniel, he can’t eat hummus or have raw onion or garlic, because of sensory overload. He says, “I also have to have my partner help me with food prep due to executive dysfunction issues.” Executive dysfunction is a behavioural symptom that disrupts a person’s ability to manage their own thoughts, emotions and actions and can make certain tasks difficult. It is commonly experienced by those with ADHD.


Anna Bobak (MSc) is a psychotherapist specialising in neurodivergence and vegan trauma who runs Fife Counselling. She was only very recently diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). She and her son became vegan during Veganuary in 2018. “The food choices and lifestyle felt incredible, so the transition felt easy. At that time, I was looking at eating healthily, but over time my reasons for becoming vegan broadened”, she said. “I have always been an animal rescuer. We’ve had rescue hens for over a decade and, weirdly, cats find their way to us. Since we moved on to this property in 2005, three cats have moved in with us: all unchipped strays.”

Anna explained, too, that she’s always held a strong stance on equality that extends to animals. “Maybe I was influenced by George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Actually, I read a lot of Orwell as a teenager. I think 1984 provides a great parallel example of the cognitive dissonance that non-vegans have.”

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Najah Raya is a 29-year-old vegan who was diagnosed with ADHD about three years ago. She says, “Before my official diagnosis I struggled with organisational skills, time management, meeting deadlines, focus, mood regulation and an array of symptoms that make life, well, let’s just say less than a breeze. After my diagnosis I still have all those issues, but at least now I know why!”

Najah went vegan years ago after a friend showed her a video of chicks being killed and made into nuggets. “I thought it was utterly monstrous and unnecessary,” she says. “I believe that at the core of social justice lies the motivation to end the oppression and exploitation of vulnerable beings, no matter the species. This is also at the forefront of veganism.”

Najah follows several individuals who promote vegan ideals – Earthling Ed, Seb Alex, Fawziyya Jaffan and Roni Helou to name a few.


Kitty Thomas, who has a ‘late’ ADHD diagnosis, has been vegan for well over a decade. Her transition was very slow, as she was a pescatarian, moving onto vegetarianism before becoming vegan. “The more I watched the available documentaries, and the more I learned via social media, seeing such horrific images and the treatment of animals on farms, something deep within me changed. I think a lot about the treatment of animals, and the effect that it has had on our environment is staggering. I genuinely do not know how we’re ever going to recover from the damages we have done to the planet.”

When she started her vegan journey, there weren’t as many choices but “there were definitely signs it was happening in the UK. It seemed like more and more vegan products were becoming available … there was a time when dinners would be a rotation of pasta plus sauce from a jar, maybe with some Linda McCartney meatballs. Now we’re definitely prepping more actual veggies and making more of an effort to follow a whole food, plant-based way instead of being junk food vegans.”

Kitty mentioned the importance of Dr Chris van Tulleken’s book Ultra-Processed People on her journey, as well as Dr Michael Greger, MD, FACLM, of She says, "This guy is our absolute ‘go-to’ for all information that’s science-based.” (He authored the best-selling books How Not to Diet and How Not to Die.)

KFinally, K (not their real name) is autistic and has been diagnosed with ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s. They discovered veganism in their 30s, when they were asked to work at a roller derby rally, and the woman in charge of the team was nicknamed Soya the Destroya.

“As soon as I put the pieces together and realised how horrific the meat and dairy industries were, I went vegan overnight. I researched it and learned every fact out there. From very young, I have always been very factual. It’s

hard to be non-factual when living, sentient creatures are suffering, our planet is dying and people are putting poison in their stomachs. There are days I want to scream from the rooftops, and there are days I can’t even speak, but my values will always remain the same when it comes to veganism.”

Like many of the others, K has always had a strong drive for justice and has a stronger connection to animals than they do to people. “I have spent most of my life rescuing animals, raising strays, raising money for animal charities … my dream is to use my company to make enough to open a sanctuary.”

Unfortunately, K can’t bear tofu unless it’s “super crispy”, and some textures make them want to gag. “When I first went vegan, my only options were chips and salad at most restaurants. Admittedly, I’m a junk food vegan, but I’m trying to add more whole foods to my diet.”

Concluding thoughts

So, are neurodivergent people more likely to be vegan?

According to Dr Matthew Ruby, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at La Trobe University in Australia, he wasn’t aware of any studies specifically focused on this issue, but he has “quite a few friends and colleagues who are both neurodivergent and vegan”. He believes that this connection might stem from the fact that autistic people, for instance, “are less impacted (on average) by societal pressure to eat animals.” And it is social pressure that is a barrier that comes up again and again in studies about barriers to maintaining veganism.

It also would seem that because many neurodivergent people spend so much time with animals – I have five dogs myself and am a dog walker/companion animal sitter – they form a deep bond with them: in my case, deeper than any human bond. How then could you even think of hurting, torturing, killing or eating your companions? And once you understand that a dog is no different to a cow or pig – it’s all culturally conditioned – how could you eat them? Once your eyes are open, it’s impossible to shut them to that reality.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 9 Feature
Julien and Murphy Wulfgar

Our health and nutrition campaign Vegan and Thriving is back! Here are three delicious and balanced recipes we have created with the wonderful Suze from @GourmetGlow – each one is balanced, delicious and made with love to help you thrive. Visit thriving to find more recipes.

10 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023
To help you thrive


Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes


For the roast butternut squash

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm slices, seeds retained

1 bulb garlic, with the top sliced off

Small bunch of fresh sage

4–5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 tbsp olive oil

Small pinch salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

Fresh soft herbs and cracked black pepper to serve

For the pearl barley

170 g pearl barley, rinsed (substitute cooked corn couscous for a gluten-free option)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the sesame hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 tbsp tahini

Juice of one lemon

1 tbsp white miso

1 clove garlic, peeled

½ tbsp sesame oil

3–4 tbsp warm water

1 tbsp sesame seeds

Nutritional information per portion kcal 436 fat 18 g sat fat 2.5 g carbohydrates 53 g sugar 5.7 g protein 13 g salt 0.58 g Serves

As the nights draw in and nature settles for her slumber, we begin to crave sustenance and comfort. This dish ticks all the boxes: easy to make, nutritionally dense and unctuous to the palate. It’s one to snuggle under a blanket with as the wind swirls the confetti of leaves outside.


Preheat your oven to 180°C fan and arrange the butternut squash slices in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Add the garlic bulb, sage, and thyme. Drizzle with the olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Rinse the squash seeds, remove any membranes and wrap them in a foil parcel. Lay alongside the squash and bake for 20–25 minutes or until everything is just tender. Drizzle it with maple syrup and cook for 2–3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the pearl barley. Cook for 18–20 minutes or until just tender. Drain and mix through the olive oil.

When everything is cooking, add all the ingredients for the hummus to a food processor and pulse to combine them. Once relatively smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or lemon if needed. Stir through the sesame seeds.

When ready, pile a serving dish with the pearl barley and spoon over the hummus. Arrange the roasted squash on top and squeeze over the soft garlic cloves, leaving the skin behind. Sprinkle over the roasted squash seeds.

Garnish with soft herbs and a good crack of black pepper and allow everyone to help themselves.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 11 Recipes


Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes


For the tahini lime dressing

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp coconut yoghurt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

Small pinch salt

½ green chilli, minced

For the noodles

180 g soba (buckwheat) noodles

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 head broccoli, shredded with a sharp knife

200 g Brussels sprouts, sliced thinly

150 g edamame beans

Lime wedges and soft herbs to serve

Who doesn’t love a noodle slurp? These noodles are smothered in a zingy, unctuous dressing that leaves the perfect splatter on your chin. Laden with winter green vegetables, it’s verdant and fresh for the cooler months. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat.


Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together and set it aside to allow the flavours to develop.

Cook the soba noodles according to the pack instructions and drain. Set them aside.

Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and add the sesame seeds. Cook them until they’re golden and smelling toasted, then set them aside. Add the sesame oil to the pan.

Add the broccoli and shredded sprouts to the pan and sauté for 1 minute, just to soften and heat through. Add the edamame and cook for 1 minute more.

In a large bowl, combine the noodles, dressing and vegetables. Divide between four bowls and top with the sesame seeds and soft herbs. Garnish with lime wedges for squeezing and serve.

Nutritional information per portion kcal 404 fat 14 g sat fat 2.7 g carbohydrates 43 g sugar 4.4 g protein 19 g salt 0.62 g

12 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023 Recipes
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Serves 4–6


For the pink pickled onions

2 red onions, finely sliced

200 ml apple cider vinegar

1 tsp raw cane sugar

For the potato salad

600 g miniature waxy potatoes, halved

3 tbsp olive oil

200 g kale, ribs removed and torn

300 g block firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp maple syrup

Sprouted greens or cress to garnish

For the lemon pepper yoghurt

8 tbsp soy yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch sea salt flakes

½ tsp cracked black pepper


(pictured on the cover)

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20–30 minutes

Potato salad is forever the crowd pleaser. But all too often it’s reduced to a sad, sloppy, mayonnaise-laden mush, devoid of flavour and nutritional value. This recipe holds the joy of a potato salad at its core but takes a lighter approach with a soy lemon yoghurt. The tofu scramble adds a textural element, in addition to much-needed protein. Pink pickled onions are the perfect tangy foil to the creamy dressing.


Mix all the ingredients for the onions in a jar and set aside to pickle while you make the rest of the dish.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, crumble the tofu into small pieces and mix with 1 tbsp olive oil, white soy sauce, and maple syrup. Add this mixture to a separate tray, and pop it in with the potatoes for a further 10–15 minutes or until it’s beginning to crisp.

Meanwhile, massage the kale with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil until it begins to soften.

Add all the ingredients for the yogurt to a bowl and whisk them together. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

When the potatoes and tofu are cooked, mix through the kale and half the dressing. Tumble them into a serving bowl and top with the remaining dressing, some pink pickled onions and fresh sprouted greens.

Nutritional information per portion kcal 431 fat 19 g sat fat 2.9 g carbohydrates 36 g sugar 13 g protein 21 g salt 1 g

14 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023 Recipes
Advertisement Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 15

Humans have forgotten how to co-exist with other animals. Whenever there is a wildlife conflict, we need to remember that we’re all earthlings and we all share the planet.

16 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023


Kevin Newell couldn’t possibly count the number of animals’ lives he has saved. Here he speaks about his incredible business, Humane Wildlife Solutions, which offers an alternative to ‘pest control’.

I was very different from all my friends as a teenager. They wanted to go to house parties, and I wanted to go out and look for snakes, lizards, birds and mammals.

My fascination with the natural world led me to volunteer at an animal rescue centre. I felt like this was where I belonged. I used to deliberately miss the train home on Saturday nights so I could sleep in the hay bales.

Vegan beginnings

I was looking after some Chinese potbellied pigs at the rescue centre. After a morning with them, I went to the centre’s cafe to get my usual sausage sandwich. One of my pigs came in the door behind me and I realised I was basically eating one of them. I’ve always been a gobby Essex boy, so everyone in the cafe heard me say, “I’m going vegetarian – I can’t eat one of my pigs.”

A scruffy man came over from the other side of the cafe. He said I should go vegan and offered to take me to a dairy farm.

When we got to the farm, there was a skip around the back. In the bottom was one dead and one dying calf. It traumatised me. The smell, the sound, the sight – my senses went into overload, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Humane Wildlife Solutions

I started my business over a decade ago, and in that time we’ve saved tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives all over the world.

It’s still just me working for the business, so it’s very busy! In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Essex and Birmingham. I also do consultancy work for businesses and organisations all over the world and have helped with issues involving baboons, fire ants, skunks and many, many more species.

The majority of my clients are non-vegan, which is really surprising to me. I’m very open about my veganism

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 17 Feature

and proudly shout about it on my website and promote it wherever I can. We have a huge shortlist of people who want to use our services. They are usually happy to wait until I can get to them because no one really wants to kill an animal if they can help it.

No job the same

The jobs I work on are incredibly diverse, but at the root of every job is understanding how the animal thinks and behaves and then finding a non-lethal way to deter them from using those spaces.

Animal psychology is hugely important in my work. I’m always reading up about different species. And I learn on the job, especially when I’m working with a new species. I bring together knowledge from books I’ve read, wildlife watching or wildlife surveys I do in my free time.

Some jobs involve using non-toxic repellents and deterrents. For example, rats dislike citrus smells. This can be used to prevent rats from entering your home. I’m working on a wasp repellent which is completely made from plant compounds – it smells absolutely amazing, and we’re having good success with it, but we have a long way to go. We did get a funder who wanted to carry out research into it for us. They were offering us in the millions to research for this project, but it would have involved animal testing, so I turned it down.

Rewarding work

Every single job I work on is incredibly rewarding. I love being able to educate people about animals. A lot of conflict arises due to people not understanding the animal and having a fear of them in their space.

Sometimes the job is about reassuring people that an animal poses no threat to them or their family. For example, if a family is worried about foxes around their house, often I’ll encourage them to watch the foxes play in the garden – especially if they have children. This helps the children to learn and grow up with an amazing memory of seeing these beautiful puppy-like creatures playing. They may dig stuff up and make a bit of a mess, but if that kid grows up loving wildlife because of it, I’ve achieved something.

To me, every life matters – the bee, the fly, the silverfish, the ant or wasp, the badger or baboon – I want to save them all. I always joke that they’re my clients, every single one of

them. I give them maximum respect when I’m doing my work.

Slowing down

These days, people are in a rush. When I’m around wildlife, something truly magical happens. I just stop. And when you are still, nature accepts you and wildlife comes out. You can learn so much just by watching.

I work with a lot of animals who have a bad reputation. A lot of people don’t like rats, for example. But rats are so intelligent – I had friends who looked after two rats, and when one died the other was mourning. They feel the same emotions of happiness and joy and fear and pain, like we do. It saddens me that millions of rats a year are poisoned in this country.

In one job I did, I found a rat’s nest with the babies in there, and the client said that we had to get rid of them. I said, “Oh no, we don’t.” I know that rats love their babies so much. They’re fantastic parents. So, I covered up the nest and went away to work on the rat burrows in the garden. And, as I predicted, the rat mum came in and took her babies away somewhere safer. All I had to do was to give her the time and respect she deserved.

Sharing the planet

I’m currently working on franchising the business so we can help exponentially more animals. I also want to do more work on researching and campaigning. As well as a lot of work to help gulls in Scotland, I’m working on a campaign to help pigeons. So many pigeons die in netting, so we are trying to change the law to get a prosecution against an organisation where a bird has been caught in netting and died. We want netting to either be removed or checked regularly for any animals caught in it.

Humans have forgotten how to co-exist with other animals. Whenever there is a wildlife conflict, we need to remember that we’re all earthlings and we all share the planet. We need to come from a place of respect and understanding.

Especially in the UK, there are few animals that would actually do you any harm. We don’t need to find lethal solutions. I’ve shown over a decade, and thousands of cases, that you can solve wildlife issues without causing harm.

Visit to learn more.

18 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023 Feature
The Vegan | 19


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Promotional feature 20 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023

Galaxy Vegan Salted Caramel and Free-From Bars

Galaxy recently launched a new Vegan Salted Caramel bar made with hazelnut paste and filled with creamy salted caramel. It joins a trio of vegan bars – Classic, Orange and Crumbled Cookie. The Galaxy Vegan range has also had a free-from makeover. They’re dairy-free, gluten-free, made in a free-from environment and of course, Vegan Trademark certified. Available at Asda and Ocado (full range), Tesco (Classic and Orange), Sainsbury’s (Orange and Crumbled Cookie) and Co-op (Orange).

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Promotional feature Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 21


Punk Rock Vegan Movie, reviewed by

Punk Rock Vegan Movie, released at the beginning of 2023, is Moby’s debut as a film director. Moby, a vegan and activist since 1987, offers a truly original, inspiring and passionate perspective on punk rock: a movement of rebellion against the establishment which soon included the fight for animal rights, along with the fight for social and economic justice, women’s rights, the environment and anti-racism.

The film includes interviews with dozens of vegan musicians sharing their personal experiences on how they embraced vegetarianism, veganism and the fight for animal liberation, from Captain Sensible to Dave Navarro. It is also enriched by the presence of Bagel (Moby’s beloved dog) and plenty of original footage from the 80s and early 90s.

The movie closes with a strong and moving message of hope by Moby himself: “This current status quo of using animals for food just needs to be rejected and replaced. And that is the punk rock ethos – if you don’t like the status quo, you can reject it personally, regarding how you spend your money, how you eat, but you can also go out and actively try to change it. And that I guess is my biggest hope – that you look at this status quo and you reject it personally and you go out and do everything in your power to change it.”

Punk Rock Vegan Movie is Moby’s successful attempt to unveil the true essence of a phenomenon that was rebellious at heart and came to encompass the opposition to animal abuse. Highly and heartfeltly recommended! Visit to watch the film for free.

Rat Trap: The Capture of Medicine by Animal Research and How to Break Free by

Dr Pandora Pound, reviewed by Professor Andrew Knight

Globally, well over 200 million animals (and around three million in the UK) are used for research and educational purposes each year. The health of millions of human patients, workers and consumers is also dependent on the results. Accordingly, animal research warrants careful scrutiny. Such scrutiny is expertly provided by Dr Pandora Pound in this recently published book. Pound covers the history of animal research and the scientific flaws rife within it. These partly explain its poor predictivity for human outcomes, which she describes as an “open secret” within scientific circles. However, Pound argues that the focus should be on ending animal research, rather than trying to improve it, as the collective interspecies differences are virtually insurmountable.

Pound reviews innovative non-animal research strategies

22 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023

such as computerised modelling. However, as she notes, “After a century and a half of animal research, the practice is now baked into our institutions, our economy and our culture, and those whose careers and livelihoods depend upon it are fighting hard to preserve the status quo.” She reveals that, “the global animal testing market is expected to grow from $10.74 billion in 2019 to … $17.6 billion in 2035”. Pound exposes the scandalous, systemic biases within policy-making that preserve and support the growth of this industry, in defiance of its scientific flaws. However, the everincreasing scrutiny of animal research offers hope, and some legislation and policy is starting to modernise as a result.

Animal research is the most science-heavy topic within the animal welfare field. And yet, through Pound’s interesting personal experiences and stories about the colourful characters involved, Rat Trap is highly engaging. Rat Trap will entertain and educate scientists and non-scientists alike.

Andrew Knight is a Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare. His books include The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments, and The Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare.

A Very Vegan Christmas by Sam Dixon,

Are you on the lookout for an immaculately presented vegan Christmas recipe book? Look no further than A Very Vegan Christmas, in which author Sam Dixon combines her talents as a chef with her passion for styling.

Sam Dixon started her professional life as a baker and now owns a food photography studio in London. Following on from Sam’s success with Broke Vegan, a timely cookbook for current times, A Very Vegan Christmas continues the budget-friendly theme by using generally accessible and affordable ingredients and features a ‘Leftovers’ section, with inventive recipes for reusing surplus Christmas food.

The book includes 70 intriguing vegan versions of popular Christmas dishes and is divided into six chapters: Party Food and Drinks, including Coco-nog and Curried Parsnip Croquettes; Mains, including Mushroom Wellington; Sides, including Garlicky White Bean Mash; Leftovers, including Mincemeat Pancakes; Baking, including Christmas Cake; and Desserts, including Quince pudding. To finish, there is a useful index and glossary.

I tried the Lemony Artichoke Pate, which was delicious and easy to make just by blending all the ingredients, although marinated artichoke hearts may not be easy to find in all supermarkets.

I am always on the lookout for new nut roast recipes, so the Carrot Swede and Parsnip Nut Roast was the other dish I tried. I would definitely include it in my food lineup for Christmas Day; it was easy to source all the ingredients, the instructions were clearly written and the nut roast was tasty.

A Very Vegan Christmas does not include allergen advice or adaptations for those with food intolerances. Overall, though, it is a book I would purchase as a gift and would enjoy exploring.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 23 Reviews



I enjoyed the article ‘Veganism in the Media’ (issue 3, 2023, by Anna Boardman) as it chimed with issues that have been on my mind recently.

The article points at the recent softer focus on veganism in the media. There has been an increasing awareness of veganism as a lifestyle choice, assisting people who want to be healthier. Boardman is right to point out that unless people engage with the issues underpinning veganism, they are unlikely to sustain a truly vegan lifestyle.

Many people will come to vegan ideas through a growing awareness of the environmental impact of the meat and dairy industries. Many of those activists will have considered the impact of capitalist development based on the devastation caused to the planet by the use of fossil fuels. It is likely that the people who are focused on these matters are more likely to engage their brains to consider the issues around veganism and how veganism interacts with the environmental movement. The two movements have to build on these connections to create a more powerful voice for both.

Anyway, great article by Boardman!

Star Letter

Hi, my name is Lynda Free. I have a smallish animal rescue sanctuary in East Sussex. I was 64 when I went vegan, 15 years ago now. I had always said in the past I was an animal lover and I bred Arabian show horses for 25 years thinking I was bringing these beautiful animals into the world to be cherished and admired for their beauty.

What I didn’t think about was, morally how was that helping animals? I was actually blind to the fact that they didn’t want to be paraded around the UK and Europe, they wanted nothing more than to be in the fields with their buddies ... I realised this wasn’t about them, it was about me!

The year my mother died something awoke in me. A deep sense of loss triggered a blindingly empathic realisation. I literally went vegan overnight, not worrying about what I was going to eat, but more focused on what I definitely was NOT going to eat.

I have never looked back. My health skyrocketed! My skin became clearer, I became fitter and stronger even though these were not goals I set out to achieve, it was just there! Now aged 78, I am fitter than I was in my early 40s. I have annual blood tests which confirm I get all the nutrition I need from a plant-based diet.

My future goal is to show everyone that it’s never too late.

24 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023

Congratulations to Lynda, who has won a gift hamper from The Goodness Project – a company who offer our members a 10% discount. Next issue’s winner will receive a £50 voucher from sustainable lifestyle online shop Veo ( Send your letters to or our usual postal address.

Membership News

Free Youth Membership Launched

We want to amplify the voices of young people in the vegan community and ensure our membership is representative of the vegan community as a whole, which is why Council (the society’s Board of Trustees) recently decided to trial free Youth Membership for those under 26. This will be a twoyear trial and will be reviewed in 2025. If you know people under 26 who are vegan or who might like to find out more about becoming vegan, please do let them know that they can now get free membership and receive all the usual benefits of an eco membership.

World Vegan Day

This World Vegan Day on 1 November why not purchase a gift membership for a colleague, friend or loved one who is vegan or interested in veganism? There are welcome packs with resources for those interested in becoming vegan or for those who are already vegan.

Discounts update

Don’t forget that there are over 100 third-party member discounts available including 10% off our multivitamin VEG 1.

This autumn why not:

• Shop a wide variety of brands on sustainable lifestyle online store Veo, with 15% off. Veo is also offering a gift voucher for the Star Letter prize in our next issue.

• Switch to bamboo toilet tissue, with 15% off at Bumboo and 10% off at The Cheeky Panda.

• Treat yourself or a friend to a new scent for Christmas, with 20% off at Dolma Perfumes.

• Indulge in the beautiful sparkling alcoholic drink, Prodolce, with 10% off.

• Take advantage of the 90-day free trial for Films for Change, with documentary MILKED recently added to their library.

All member discounts can be found in the Members’ Area of our website at Please contact us if you have any problems accessing your account.

We value your feedback

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the membership team with your feedback. You can email or contact us at the usual phone or postal address.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 25 Membership
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Age alone does not determine physical health or ability, but research shows there is a greater risk and prevalence of coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, falls and fractures in older adults. So, what lifestyle factors should we focus on as we age, and how can we change the narrative? Why do needs differ as we age?

It is estimated that we can lose around 10% of muscle mass each decade after the age of 40.

Bone health also becomes increasingly important as we get older, as our bones can become thinner and weaker with age, and diet and physical activity play a key role in optimising bone health.

Dietary considerations


Older adults need fewer calories and more protein, and it is recommended for adults over 65 to aim for 1–1.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (i.e. 65–78 g protein per day for someone weighing 65 kg). This can be achieved by emphasising quality protein sources with each meal, such as beans, soya, lentils and peanuts.

Vitamin B12

It is important for all vegans to include a reliable source of vitamin B12 in their diet from fortified foods and/or supplementation. For older adults, this becomes increasingly important as the body produces less intrinsic factor, which is a protein produced in the stomach that aids absorption of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 absorption is optimised in frequent small amounts, and it is recommended to either consume fortified foods at least twice daily, take a daily supplement containing at least 10 mcg or take a weekly supplement containing 2000 mcg for sufficient absorption. No upper limits are set for vitamin B12, as no toxic effects have been shown; therefore, there is no harm in combining fortified foods and supplementation.

Calcium and vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D work together to maintain bone

health. Consuming calcium-rich sources at least twice daily can help to meet requirements, and for some people with diagnosed bone disease, three rich sources of calcium may be needed.

Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium from your diet, and supplementation is recommended from October to March as a minimum. Some older adults with less sun exposure should consider year-round supplementation.


Despite misconceptions, soya does not affect testosterone levels in men, and soya has actually been proven to support muscle mass and strength. There is also research to suggest that eating two servings of soya can reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flushes – a common symptom of the menopause.

Little and often

Some older adults experience a reduced appetite. This can mean that heavy fibre and protein loaded meals are impractical, and three small meals with nutritious snacks and nourishing drinks may fit some people’s eating pattern better. Examples of nutritious snacks include smoothies blended with fruit, nut butter and soya or pea milk, oatcakes spread with hummus and a handful of unsalted nuts and raisins.

Physical activity

Physical activity contributes to healthy ageing and social interaction. Due to the nature of ageing, physical activities should incorporate strength, balance and flexibility to support muscle, bone and joint health. Physical activity in later life can help treat and counteract symptoms of many chronic conditions (e.g. depression, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease).

However, the increased risk of falls in older adults could impair confidence in regular activity, which is why guidelines now emphasise small increases in daily light intensity activity such as walking two miles per hour and simple gardening. The overall aim is to improve physical function to enable more moderate intensity physical activity such as brisk walking, aerobics and resistance training. In a nutshell, something is better than nothing, and it’s never too late to improve physical health.

Visit for more information on vegan health and nutrition.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 27 Nutrition


This recipe ticks all the boxes, being rich in soya protein and calcium and low in salt for a delicious and convenient festive meal. You can reduce the fat by swapping the pastry for rice paper to make your very own sausages.


1 block of extra firm tofu (grated)

8–10 chestnut mushrooms (minced)

1/2 large white onion (finely diced)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

150 g cooked chestnuts (roughly chopped)

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (finely chopped)

4 stalks of fresh thyme (picked and finely chopped)

1 tbsp liquid smoke*

2–3 tbsp plant milk

3 tbsp flour

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 sheet of ready-made shortcrust pastry


1. Season the grated tofu with liquid smoke.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion, garlic and fresh herbs.

3. Add the tofu and mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook them until brown.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool.

5. Add the chopped cooked chestnuts, flour and milk to the mixture and mix it well. The mixture should become firm and able to hold its shape.

6. Slice the pastry sheet approximately a third of the way across and place the cooled mixture in the centre.

7. Cover the filling with the remaining pastry sheet and seal the edges by pressing down with a fork.

8. Brush the top with a splash of plant milk and place in the oven at 180 °C/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes until golden brown.

9. Serve with your choice of festive sides.

*TIP: Liquid smoke is a bottled flavouring and can be bought in health food shops or online. As an alternative, you can add 1–2 tsp smoked paprika or use smoked tofu instead of plain tofu in this recipe.

Nutritional information per portion kcal 500 carbohydrates 41 g fibre 6.3 g protein 17 g fat 29 g sat fat 8.1 g sugar 3.6 g calcium 542 mg salt 0.36 g

Article and recipe by Andrea Rymer, Dietitian

28 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023 Nutrition
Photography by Hannah Hossack-Lodge


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I thought it would be fascinating to explore the diets of vegan children when The Vegan Society was formed in 1944 and how the parents managed then. Looking back at the experiences of those early pioneers may be helpful in dealing with the challenges of veganism today

30 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023

Visit or contact us directly on our usual channels for up-to-date nutrition information. Please speak to your GP and ask for a referral to a dietitian if you have specific concerns.


Dietitian Sandra Hood

details how vegan children have been fed from 1944-2000

When I became vegan in the 1970s little was known about veganism, and I did struggle but fortunately had a very supportive family. My dear friend Arthur Ling (of Plamil Foods) became vegan as a seven-year-old child in 1926, and that diet gave him a solid foundation for good health in later life. I thought it would be fascinating to explore the diets of vegan children when The Vegan Society was formed in 1944 and how the parents managed then. Looking back at the experiences of those early pioneers may be helpful in dealing with the challenges of veganism today.

First mentions

The first mention I could find on raising vegan children was in the Autumn 1946 issue of The Vegan. An article was written by Dr Pink who, with Dr William White, purchased Stonefield, a Victorian mansion which they converted into a maternity home. Dr Pink stated he had seen “a hundred or more” infants weaned onto a vegan diet and that they “reached a higher standard of health than their cousins who have been fed on cow’s milk”.

Dr Pink went on, “We have noticed that [vegan babies] have been more free from disease, especially sepsis. They have looked so exuberantly healthy that they have frequently attracted the attention of strangers who stopped to admire and enquire; they have developed fine muscles and a somewhat lighter physique than normal and have been mentally more alert but less irritable than milk fed children.”

The Baby Bureau

In The Vegan, Summer 1946, it was suggested a ‘Baby Bureau’ was formed to share the knowledge and experience of those raising vegan families and would be administered by Mrs Kathleen Mayo, a mother of two. Her father, Mr J H Cook, was manager of the Pitman Vegetarian Hotel (opened in 1898) and founder of the Pitman Health Food Company.

Mr Cook raised Kathleen “without flesh foods or dairy produce”, and he sent a letter to the journal Popular Science Siftings which was published on 12 April 1913 detailing his daughter’s diet. He reported her diet was “so successful that she was able to ride a bicycle at three years old and to cycle ten miles a day before she was four”. Unfortunately, I could not find any details of the specific foods she was fed.

Kathleen continued on a plant-based diet and raised her

Deep dive
Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 31 Deep dive

own children vegan. In The Vegan in 1946 she wrote that her 14-month-old daughter Pamela was a “real happy baby” and summarised her diet as follows:

On waking, Pamela was given a teaspoon of ‘Government orange juice’ and a teaspoonful of rosehip syrup1

At 8.30am for breakfast Pamela had first a small cup of raisin juice (juice from ¼ lb raisins soaked overnight) followed by muesli made from 1 tablespoonful of medium oatmeal (soaked overnight), a grated apple, 10 grated hazels, 1 teaspoonful Froment2, 1 dessertspoonful chopped soaked raisins and 3 sieved dates (soaked). During the winter months Kathleen added 7 drops of Radiostol3 to her food. After her muesli, she was given fingers of Allinson bread4 and vegetarian margarine.

Lunch at 12.30 consisted of a small cup of carrot juice, made from raw grated carrot squeezed through muslin, and salad made from a tablespoonful of grated carrot, 1 dessertspoonful chopped cress and lettuce, 1 tablespoonful of cooked lentils or split peas, cooked with a tiny portion of Yeastrel (yeast extract), mashed together with the inside of a baked potato. Sometimes instead of the salad, Kathleen would provide steamed cabbage mashed with raw grated carrot.

Kathleen particularly highlighted that Pamela went straight from breast milk to grated raw fruit and sieved vegetables without any milk, nut or animal, in her diet.

Dairy milk replacements

cereal) or a dish of cooked vegetables with potatoes/rice/ macaroni and some nutmeat7. Small sweet from bottled fruit and some nut cream or almond puree.

Tea: Muesli, fruit or fruit juice and dried fruit. 1–2 slices of wholemeal bread/crispbread with nut cream or almond puree spread and tomatoes, cucumber, etc or wholemeal fruit cake. Rosehip tea.

Supplementation with vitamins and minerals was rarely discussed, and the first mention of vitamin B12 was in Autumn 1954 when it was suggested that a lack of B12 may cause anaemia. This was of great concern to The Vegan Society, and in 1956 the Plantmilk Society was formed by Leslie Cross, vice-president of The Vegan Society, and Arthur Ling7 became the chair. From this eventually Plamil8, the first ever soya milk in the UK, was produced.

Interestingly, there was as much emphasis on the emotional health of the child as that of a healthy diet.

The first mention I found in The Vegan regarding a commercial dairy milk replacement was in 1947 when members of The Vegan Society held a ‘Milk Conference’ to discuss the production and distribution of vegetable milks. It sampled Soylac5, a powdered soya milk, which it hoped would soon be available for distribution in the UK. In a later issue of The Vegan Kathleen mentioned including a cup of Soylac in her menu suggestion for a one-year-old, using “2 tablespoons of Soylac in a pint of water”.

At the time, the preferred baby weaning milk was almond milk. This was made following Dr Bircher-Benner‘s6 recipe which was recommended in a booklet called Aids to a Vegan Diet for Children. This booklet was published along Dr Bircher-Benner’s guidelines, written by Mr Cook, Kathleen’s father.

A suggested meal plan

In the Baby Bureau section in 1949 Kathleen detailed a suggested meal plan for a child from 18 months until adolescence:

Breakfast: Muesli, fresh fruit or fruit juice and some dried fruit (dates/figs/sultanas). 1–2 slices wholemeal bread with nut cream or almond puree spread, or home-made jam or rosehip puree or rosehip tea.

Lunch: Fruit or fruit juice, raw salad or vegetable juice or puree (according to chewing capacity). Vegetable soup or stew (with soya flour or some wholemeal flour, rice or other

In 1968 a study was carried out looking at 12 vegan children aged 1 to 7 years and the children were resurveyed in 1973 when a further 27 children were followed. Their diets consisted of a wide variety of vegetable and pulse dishes with a liberal supply of fruit and salads. The main cereal food eaten was wholemeal bread with a spread such as peanut butter, tahini, vegetable margarine and yeast extract. Soya milks and home-made nut milks were used as milk substitutes by most families. Snacks between meals were usually bread or biscuits and fruit and nuts. Confectionery and refined sugar was avoided by many families, but molasses and dried fruit were quite widely used.

In 1973 Frances and Friedenstern Howard (who spoke about their veganism on BBC TV in the 1960s) published a booklet entitled Parents’ Handbook of Breastfeeding and Plant Foods. Again, unfortunately I could not trace this booklet that reportedly quoted an observational study at Columbus University, Ohio. The study followed the progress of 17 babies fed on soya milk, cereals and vegetables and compared this with those fed on cow’s milk. Aged three months the babies fed on soya milk “were, on average, half an inch taller but averaged 11 ounces lighter than the cow’s milk babies as they had less fat under the skin”.

Emotional health

Since The Vegan Society was formed, much has been written on the growth and development of vegan children. Interestingly, there was as much emphasis on the emotional health of the child as that of a healthy diet. In 1973, The Vegan Society published its first booklet Vegan Mothers and Children where 10 mothers provided anecdotal reports on their children’s diets. In the foreword Kathleen Jannaway, then secretary of The Vegan Society, highlighted the importance of “a happy home and ... the opportunity to form happy personal relationships and to develop a positive attitude to life”.

The non-dairy milks sold in the 1970s included Plamil (liquid) and Granogen and Granolac (powders). There were two vegan margarines, Tomor and Outline. A vegan infant

32 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023 Deep dive

formula milk was available in the 1970s for mothers unable to breastfeed or to supplement breastfeeding but unfortunately is no longer available.

‘ Kate’, aged 3 ½ (information included in the second Vegan Society booklet on infant diets)

Breakfast: 1⁄2 cup of Plamil. Sunnybisk and raisins/ homemade muesli/Frugrains with Plamil and sometimes a banana. 1⁄2 slice of wholemeal toast with Tomor.

Mid-morning: 1⁄2 an apple.

Lunch: main meal. Nut roast/pulse savoury/tinned nutmeat with potato/brown rice/wholemeal pasta, 3–5 vegetables depending on season. Fruit crumble or pie or fresh fruit.

Tea: Salad or homemade soup with bread or snack on toast. Bread with Tomor, homemade jam, fruit, cake or flapjack. Plamil to drink. Water at bedtime.

In 1989 a larger study in the US, known as The Farm Study9 looked at the growth of 404 vegetarian and vegan children in Tennessee. While they did observe young children between the ages of one to three years old having shorter stature compared to non-vegan children, this did not continue past the age of five years.

Plamil Case Histories

Plamil's Vegan Infant Case Histories, printed in 1991, showed that many parents were still cooking from scratch, but a few ready-made vegan foods were being introduced.

‘Joanna’, aged 2 years

Breakfast: Familia Swiss Baby Cereal with sweetened concentrated Plamil and either puffed rice or wholemeal flakes. Sometimes with extra ground almonds and molasses. Or wholemeal toast/rice cake with sugar-free jam/yeast extract/carob spread.

Lunch: Any one of the following (all home-made): vegetable soup with lentils and ground nuts and seeds, various beans and vegetable stews, buckwheat hash, shepherd's pie made with tofu, nut roast and vegetables, rice and peas with tofu, pasta with tomato sauce.

When in a hurry I use tofu burgers/sausages with a few steamed vegetables or beans on toast. For dessert, fruit, soya yoghurt or on special occasions jelly/trifle.

Tea: Wholemeal bread sandwich/pitta bread/rice cakes with nut butter/yeast extract/carob spread/jam or bread sticks/oat cakes/crackers. Fruit and cake occasionally.

Snacks: Fruit, dried fruit bars, raisins, digestive biscuits and occasionally crisps and carob drops.

Drinks: Usually apple juice or water.

In the last Vegan Infant Case Histories printed by Plamil in


1Rosehip syrup was a popular source of vitamin C during the Second World War.

2Froment was a type of wheatgerm.

3Radiostol was a fungal sterol. Also known as provitamin D2 and made from ergosterol.

4Thomas Richard Allinson was born in 1858 and qualified in medicine at the age of just 21.

5Soylac was made from soya flour and other cereal starches and sweetened with malt.

6Dr Bircher-Benner experimented with the health effects of raw foods which he believed cured himself of jaundice.

2000 a number of the menus included more vegan readymade foods but still contained lots of fruits and vegetables.

‘Kaleb’, aged 16 months

Breakfast: Cereal with unsweetened Plamil or toast and half an apple/handful of grapes.

Lunch: Sandwich with pate, hummus/vegan cheese/cheating meat or soup, noodles or beans on toast. Fruit dried or fresh.

Tea: Vegetable chilli and rice/pasta and sauce, vegan sausage, chips and beans, tofu and veg with cous cous, shepherds’ pie, falafel and salad in pitta bread, bean stew and dumplings. Pudding: vegan yoghurt and fruit, occasionally rice pudding/fruit crumble and custard, soya dessert with ground almonds.

Snacks: Fresh fruit, dried fruit, crumpets, toast, sesame sticks, crackers, flapjacks, flavoured pastry sticks.

Drinks: Weak apple juice, sweetened Plamil or water.

In 2021 I was privileged that six parents shared their children’s diets with me for my book Feeding Your Vegan Child

Although some processed foods were included, much of the food given to their children was very similar to that above, including lots of fresh homemade dishes. Some parents were supplementing with multivitamins and all were including a reliable vitamin B12 source.

Informative and heartening

Over the last decade, so much has been written on plantbased eating and we can all be overwhelmed with health information and lose track of what our children need to eat. Looking back at The Vegan over the years is informative, and it is heartening to see how children then were thriving on a plant-based diet. Reading these articles, the food was very simple and unprocessed.

Being very involved in the food they were providing their children enabled them to appreciate the health benefits from unprocessed plant foods supplying all the important nutrients, and simply taking out animal products from the diet was not an issue.

The Vegan magazines in the 1940s through to the 1970s also focused on the importance of the psychological wellbeing of the child. This is just as important today as it was then. We should embrace the positive choice we have made and, like the pioneers at the beginning of the 20th century, celebrate this lifestyle for the benefit of animals, the planet and ourselves. As a vegan for over 40 years and an NHS dietitian for many years, I have no doubt that plant-based eating is the way forward for this generation and generations to come.

7Pitman nut meat was available in the 1940s, and it was made from peanuts, water and salt. It is still made today by Granose and is called

8For more information on the fascinating history of the production of this milk, please go to

9O'Connell JM. Dibley MJ. et al. Growth of vegetarian children: The Farm Study Pediatrics 1989; 84(3):475-81. PMID: 2771551

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 33 Deep dive



Online, over the phone or in person at a local solicitor's o ce.

Your support makes a huge di erence to the work we do and ensures that we remain one of the leading − and most trusted − organisations for vegan resources in the world! Together, we will create a kinder world for animals, people, and the planet.

Become a legacy pledger today: or call us on 0121 507 9987.


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Vegan Runners is closing in on its 20th anniversary and is the fastest-growing athletics club in the country. Ursula Watson shares how the group has gone from strength to strength.

The starting blocks

Vegan Runners founder Peter Simpson was originally a member of the Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club (VCAC). This was the only affiliated running club close to his vegan beliefs. In 2004 Fiona Oakes, another VCAC member, finished the London Marathon in the top 50, earning her a place in the elite category. Fiona says they both saw this as a ‘massive opportunity’ to start Vegan Runners “purely to get this word ‘vegan’ out there.”

At the time, nearly 20 years ago, even the VCAC was very small and running as a vegan was considered unique. Peter arranged to have kit made and in 2005 Fiona ran the Florence marathon as a Vegan Runner, coming fifth. “It was a moment in time, and we grabbed the opportunity,” she says.

In 2006, Peter registered the club with England Athletics and by 2010 registration was growing with a lot more interest and more local groups. Peter remembers a 10K event held in Stockport that year had approximately 160 members. Fiona talks of Peter as ‘an unsung hero’ to get them to this stage. She says, “To affiliate a running club is not easy. He did it all by himself. I did the running.”

Parkrun, a free weekly 5K run which began in 2008, helped the club’s prominence grow. By 2015 Vegan Runners was growing and attracting runners of all abilities. Today it has a committee, and over 30 volunteers have specific roles within the club.

Running on plants

Rory Cockshaw has been a member of Vegan Runners for 18 months and is the club’s nutritionist. He says common questions he answers are about recipes and race day nutrition. “A lot of vegans want to move away from the processed version and want to adopt a more whole foods plant-based diet,” he says.

Rory has run five marathons and three ultramarathons so knows how to eat well for events. “A couple of days beforehand, eat a lot of quality carbs, potatoes and brown rice or pasta. That increases your glycogen content and means you have the fuel to keep going for a long time,” he suggests. On the morning of the race, he recommends a large portion of overnight oats as long release carbohydrates. For an ultra-marathon where you have aid stations providing food, he recommends bananas and salty crisps to help retain electrolytes. Although his normal diet is unrefined whole foods, he says eating crisps and using gels at events is helpful: “Gels are specifically designed to help you race well.”

The overall picture and pattern of what you eat is what shapes you, not the odd day of gels and sugar to keep you going. In fact, after an event with a calorie deficit of up to 4000 calories, he says you can eat anything. His advice for new runners is just getting out there and to remember that it can take a month or two of hard work before you start enjoying it. He isn’t training for an event at the moment:

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 35 Sport

“Now I’m in a phase of running for the sheer enjoyment of it: enjoying the countryside and having a nice time outside, which I think is just as valid as chasing the next milestone.”

From strength to strength

Fiona’s purpose for running was to ‘showcase the Vegan Runner vest at the top level’. Her achievements are recordbreaking. She is the fastest woman to run a marathon on all seven continents and the north pole. Competing internationally in ultramarathons and marathons, she has set five marathon course records. She says, “I’ve never had a coach because of the hostility towards the plant-based diet. People have said to me that I cannot possibly achieve what I want to achieve just eating plants.” She is humble about her success.

“I’m very good at enduring. Marathons are hard but some people’s and animal’s lives are so much harder.”

Fiona’s advice for new runners is to listen to your body and learn from your runs. She doesn’t run with any technology and by doing so has become an excellent judge of pace. Managing her

3.30am and training has to fit around her jobs there. She says for training, “Be creative, don’t force yourself and enjoy it.”

A family

For Fiona and Peter, the primary goal is publicising veganism and meeting other vegans. The running is secondary. Fiona highlights the camaraderie and club spirit: “It’s one happy family of people who are running, who are vegan, who are passionate about the planet, a safe space.” Peter says the club shows “what we can achieve on a vegan diet and as part of a team.”

Vegan Runners is particularly inclusive of all abilities. With the club’s affiliation to England Athletics, Peter can enter slower runners into championship events to gain experience. In the future he wants to establish training sessions, expand and get teams in competitions, while Fiona hopes to see the club grow globally – not just in numbers but in prestige, publicity and results.

Visit to find out more.

The incred i b l e F i o n a Okase Interview
Camraderie and club spirit: Vegan Runners meetup


Swindon Vegan Fair

Saturday 4 November (10am–3pm)

Swindon Hub, 36 The Parade, Swindon, SN1 1BA

North East Vegan Festival

Sunday 5 November (10am–5pm)

Stadium of Light, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

Cirencester Vegan Market

Sunday 12 November (10am–3pm)

Corn Hall Indoor Market, 26 Market Place, Cirencester, GL7 2NY

Vegfest London

Saturday 18–Sunday 19 November

Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX

Newbury Vegan Market

Sunday 19 November (10am–3pm)

Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5AA

Piries Place Vegan Market

Saturday 25 November (9.30am–3.30pm)

Piries Place, Horsham, RH12 1DG

Live a Better Life Christmas Vegan Fair


Saturday 2 December (11am–5pm)

The Old Police Station, 80 Lark Lane, Liverpool, L17 8UU

Eaglescliffe Christmas Vegan Fair

Saturday 9 December (10am–4pm)

Egglescliffe Community Centre, Durham Lane, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees, TS16 0EH

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 37 Events
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Meet Katy Malkin, our new Volunteering Coordinator

followed by a strong cup of tea. I love to cook pad thai, mild curries and experiment with healthy dessert recipes. I’m also a big believer in supporting nearby eateries that have good vegan options and buying from local ethical businesses. Championing veganism in my local space is important to me.

Fun fact: I’m a trained nutritionist too.

In my professional life, I’ve worked for big non-profit organisations before. Now, I’m excited to use those skills in

about veganism, are well-organised and have an urge to do more for the movement. You could even sign up with a vegan friend near to you and do this together!

My inbox is always open, so if you have any questions about the roles, do get in touch at You can also visit to find out more about the Community Network.

Issue 4 2023 The Vegan | 39 Volunteers
Katy and her family


Meet Abi, a fantastic member of The Vegan Society’s Community Network

Tell us about yourself, Abi!

I’m a Community Organiser for The Vegan Society in Manchester. I’ve been vegan for around 12 years and have been volunteering since last year. I have too many hobbies –I can’t help but find most things interesting. My life is a flurry of running, music, art, reading, climbing and more.

Can you tell us about a time that you successfully campaigned on a vegan issue?

Aside from supporting The Vegan Society, vegan issues crop up in all our daily lives. I’ve been able to influence my place of work to improve catering for vegans in the canteen, but also in the unexpected places that animal exploitation can crop up. No longer do they plan team bonding events around animal racing, or ice breaker games with marshmallows. It can feel uncomfortable to broach, but I have found that people are understanding and willing to reconsider when we express, with grace, the reasons that we would abstain from such activities.

These small conversations and changes are happening everywhere. It’s easy to underappreciate the significance they have, but over the past 12 years that I have been vegan, the landscape is dramatically different. That is the imprint left by all those small conversations stacked up together.

What is it like being a Community Organiser?

It’s exactly what you make of it! It can be deeply fulfilling to see how you are able to make a difference. Recently we had a stand at the Manchester Sustainability Show. It was a wonderful and fascinating experience full of enriching

conversations. I was surprised by how popular our stand was – we were so busy chatting to vegans and non-vegans. Some people vowed to make changes in their own lives, others signed up to the society or came seeking help.

Being a Community Organiser means working with other vegans in the network to make a difference locally, and the people that I work with in the network are truly inspiring. Being around people who are compassionate and have the desire to take action to move us towards a better future makes your own world so much brighter. Our activities can vary from hosting a stand at a local event, leafleting, engaging businesses or MPs or giving people the resources that they need to help them to understand how to make changes in their own lives.

We are always looking for new Advocates to work with us, so however much time you have to spare, even if it’s only every now and then, please go ahead and sign up. It all makes a difference, and we are grateful to anybody lending their time and their heart. It takes courage to be kind and give yourself to this world but don’t let hesitation rob you of that.

What is something about you that surprises people?

I’m a Jack-in-the-box. I surprise myself sometimes. Sometimes I am surprised by what people find surprising about me. I run no less than 10k every day and have kept that streak going for years now. Most controversially, I’ve never tried tea – not a sip!

Visit to find out about our Community Network.

40 | The Vegan Issue 4 2023
Now no one is left out of the party… GLUTEN-FREE MILK & EGG FREE VEGAN HAND BAKED IN A NUT FREE FACILITY Join in the j y Join in the j y …Find Mini Vic the Vegan Caterpillar Cakes now in Sainsbury’s, Morrisons & Co-op!

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