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What would help you to eat more vegan food?

A heart made of colourful fruits and vegetables

We are on a mission here at Loved and Enough to help people to be eat more vegan food…. now that doesn’t mean just overeat any food that happens to be vegan 🙂 but rather, how can we help you eat more vegan and plant food in your overall diet.

Some of the suggestions that we have had so far include:

  • Gorgeous and inspiring photos of food
  • Honest and less gorgeous but still inspiring photos of food, ie quick phone shots of meals
  • Hints and tips on how to eat vegan
  • Sharing new vegan menu options at high street favourites, or new vegan product ideas
  • Recipes
  • Menu plans (like our VegPlan on a budget!)
  • Video tutorials

But then we get a little stuck, and we are also a little stuck on which of these suggestions would add the most value to you, and our community.

Our focus here at Loved and Enough, is to help you make tasty, simple, vegan food that everyone can enjoy.  Keeping it pretty healthy, but without worrying too much about the nutritional breakdown of the foods we eat – so it becomes a simple way of life, rather than something we have to spend a LOT of time studying every day. (Although of course we will put in more time at the beginning, to understand the labels and ingredients etc).

So, we would love to hear more from you… what would help you or those that you know, to eat more vegan food?

And how could we help with that?

Please comment below, and if you can spare a minute or two (literally), it would be awesome if you could complete our survey here.  This will help us to focus our energies onto the stuff that you value the most!

Thank you so much for your time… it will help us, to help you!

Rx

When recipes go wrong!

We all have those days when we set out to make a lovely meal and some things just don’t work out as you planned…. at all!  So today, I thought I would share with you some of my recent … er… experiences!

The Mezze Non-Cake

It was a friends birthday who is an exceptional cake maker, and since she was coming for my place for a birthday dinner – I thought I would go to the effort of trying out a new idea.  I had seen some savoury Mezze Cakes online, and thought I would create my own ad-lib style…..

So I prepared the ingredients and decided to use a large pudding bowl with parchment paper to cook in, lining the parchment with lightly fried courgette slices, then I layered the following to fill the bowl

  • cooked brown basmati rice (this may have been the main culprit)
  • cooked smashed falafel balls
  • cooked red onion rings
  • cooked aubergine cubes
  • fresh baby vine tomatoes halved

I then covered with foil, with a few holes.

And intended to serve with hummus and a simple homemade tzatziki with finely chopped cucumber, mint and soya yoghurt.

As all ingredients were pre-cooked, I estimated that about 30mins on about 180C, would nicely bind the bowl! But after this time, it didn’t look any different, to when I first popped in the oven.  About 50 mins later at 200C it was ready to serve!

I proudly took it out of the oven, removed the foil, put a plate on the bowl and gentle tipped upside down – removing the bowl and parchment I paused my breath to see the ‘cake’ be unveiled.

No sooner had it been released from the parchment, than it started to collapse – before I could even get a photo! And a few moments later, it was a lovely pile of rice and veggies!

The saving grace, was it tasted lovely and not only made dinner that night – but a few meals in the next couple of days too…… note to self, next time, use a shallower bowl and something to ‘bind’ the loose rice 🙂

IMG_0969

The Fire Alarm Seaweed (Bacon)

A much quicker failure.  I tried out the new seaweed that claims to taste like bacon when fried.  The instructions said use a generous amount of oil to fry, so I did but in the process it smoked so much in my kitchen, the fire alarm set off – despite the window open and extractor on! The seaweed wasn’t burnt at all, must have just been the process – but as I had a friend over for breakfast and I was demonstrating my new product, it was a tad embarrassing!!! 🙂

seaweed

The Charcoal Pan au Raisin

We were staying away for a couple of days and I decided to use up the shop bought pan au raisin we had leftover from christmas for a family breakfast, before it ran out of date.

I am terrible for just putting things in the oven and going by my instinct on timings – much to my husbands concern!  Although to be fair, almost always, that works out well and my internal clock tells the right time.  Maybe it was because I hadn’t used this oven before or maybe I just lost track of time or I’m not that good after all, but any way – the fresh cooked breakfast we were expecting became literally charcoal and inedible.  So peanut butter on toast it was 🙂

charcoal

ps not actual breakfast, but close!

 

What cooking ‘experiences’ have you had recently … come on, it can’t just be me, can it?

Rx

My lessons from Veganuary

Baby with carrots and carrot juice

I am often asked ‘what do you eat?’ by people trying to get to grips with how a vegan can live on vegetables or grass alone 🙂 So for January I pledged to help give others a better understanding of my reality of eating vegan food, by sharing my daily updates of what I ate each day.

When I look back over those posts, I found out a few things about this January that I wouldn’t have noticed without this accountability:

  1. I often eat the same foods a few times in a row.  Whether its leftovers from dinner as lunch the next day, or making foods to ‘use up’ ingredients in the fridge.  I enjoy this way of eating and it works for me!
  2. I have more ‘processed’ vegan food than I thought.  I was once a raw vegan, with 100% of my food unprocessed, fresh and natural – which I loved but found challenging to maintain whilst still enjoying going out for meals etc.  So I moved to high-raw, with over 80% of my food as raw but with elements of cooked food, especially some bread here and there, rice or quinoa.  But still it was VERY healthy food.  What I see this month, is that I have very often opted for food which, whilst reasonably healthy, isn’t AS reflective of the diet that I want to have for me or my family – so I can learn from this and make better decisions moving ahead.
  3. Despite my passion for waxing lyrical about the benefits of water, I often lapse into too many hot drinks or squash….. note to self – drink more water.
  4. When I am busy, my food doesn’t always support me.  Again, I strongly believe that food is fuel for the body, the better quality the better – but in January with so much going on at home and work, I was often too busy to take the time to prepare wholesome foods as much as I thought I did, and would like to!
  5. My meals weren’t consistent in size, calories or timing,  It seems I grabbed food on the go, had high calorie meals more than I realised and sometimes just missed meals altogether.  Yet I know the benefits of eating regularly, sensibly and balanced – so I must pay more attention to that.
  6. I share a lot of food with my toddler! Fortunately, I don’t overeat this way by finishing his meals – but rather that I make food for him which I often end up having as my own dinner.  Yet, I wouldn’t necessarily want the same food as he does – I like nutty salads and raw foods, which he isn’t a big fan of! Then other times I make a meal for myself and he says “I try Mummys” and I end up without a meal – bless his cottons!

I had some reslly positive feedback from these posts, as many people found it interesting to see what I ate every day – not that I have a typical vegan diet as I am sure there is no such thing – but at least it offered ideas and inspiration to those just starting out.

I would love you know how you found your own Veganuary journey, did you learn and lessons and what will you take forward into the rest of 2018 and beyond?

For me, it summarises as:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Make the best possible choices in each situation
  3. Keep it healthy
  4. Keep it balanced
  5. Eat food I really enjoy

How about you?

Rx

How to make the most of Veganuary

This week I was invited to Susy Radio to chat with Tess Lewsey about Veganuary and how to make the most of it.

It was a really interesting experience and Tess was genuinely very interested in hearing about veganism both on and off microphone.

The show was recorded live, so it was exciting and challenging to be put ‘on the spot’ about these issues!

The main thing that impressed me about the interview, was that her questions were thought provoking and well considered as she asked me about a range of vegan issues including the following which I have summarised with the essence of my answers:

  • what is the difference between a vegetarian and vegan
    • vegans also don’t eat egg, diary and other products such as leather and will consider their lifestyle choices to avoid animal usage
  • what is Veganuary
    • international vegan challenge for January, 150k participants in 2018
  • what about vegan children, should they take a vitamin
    • all children need a balanced diet and the NHS recommends vitamin D for all kids over 6 months old – so why not make it a good quality multivitamin as good practice for us all, not just kids
  • how well are vegan kids catered for at school and do they have to take a packed lunch
    • many schools are very accommodating to this, especially nowadays! and as veganism is protected by the human rights legalisation it makes it easier for us to ask our schools and let them know there is a demand
  • eating out, do restaurants cater for vegans very well
    • yes, the offer has never been better with so many places adding clearly marked vegan choices to the menus for everyone to enjoy
  • what did I think about using vegan food for weight loss
    • its important everyone has a healthy balanced diet, regardless of whether its by vegan food or not
  • do vegans take prescription medication that may have been tested on animals
    • essentially it is a personal matter on this one – the vegan society would say that veganism “is as far as possible and practicable”, so if you need medication, then you need it
  • and more!

It was a thorough and wide ranging, so much so, that we are already talking about follow up interviews due to the popularity of this one!

It was a great opportunity to ‘spread the word’ about veganism and great vegan food, and brilliant that Susy Radio were so open to hear about it for their listeners in such a positive light too.

To listen to the interview in full, just follow this link:  Susy Radio Interview

I would love to hear your feedback too!

Rx

Are you taking the Veganuary challenge?

The start of January 2018, marks another year of Veganuary – the challenge for those new to vegan food to try it out for a month.

It also means there is a lot of extra support, ideas and even products available to those who are up for it – in addition to the Veganuary website and email support, various vegan groups and businesses will be upping their support and information to help too.

Here at Loved and Enough we are fully supporting this great initiative in several ways:

  • Our Facebook page will be filled with more posts than usual to help support people
    • With both an insight to what I am eating every day to offer some ideas of easy, tasty vegan meals, along with other inspirational ideas
    • I have pinned a post at the top of the page too, which shows some of the questions I am answering away from this page but which may be helpful to others who are getting their head around this
    • Please do share anything vegan here too – we would love to hear your ideas and favourites 🙂
  • I am working on more and more recipes to share, to help with ‘easy to make’ ideas that all the family can enjoy
  • I am also running a personal support group for a small number of people who are new to veganism, and both dedicated to Veganuary, and the prospect of making shifts beyond January – so my goal is to make this as easy and enjoyable for them as possible!
  • Then…. towards the end of January, we will be releasing a brand new 7 day menu plan to help people eat more yummy food for breakfast, lunch and dinners!  This plan is budget friendly (very!) to help ease the post christmas financial pain but also we will offer it COMPLETELY FREE!!! So watch this space for more details over the next couple of weeks or so.

 

Don’t forget the FREE download for 7 Steps to Eating More Vegan Food, which you can get by signing up on our website 🙂

We would love to hear you questions, thoughts ideas and comments – or indeed how we could help you on your vegan food journey, so if there is anything you would like to know that you think we can help with, just post onto out Facebook group @lovedandenough

Why not challenge us to veganise your old favourite dishes – we all like a challenge don’t we!

To all of those participating in Veganuary – congratulations and well done, its great to have you on the journey! And to anyone still thinking of whether to – just remember this isn’t about perfectionism, its about doing our best.

Rx

 

 

Vegan New Year resolution?

Are you taking the Veganuary pledge to eat vegan food for January this year, or making a new years resolution to eat more plant foods in 2018?  If so, well done, thank you, congratulations, you can DO IT!

Whatever your motivation to eat more vegan food, here are seven steps to help you eat more vegan food in 2018!

 

Step 1 Focus on every day at a time

Before you know it the days will become a week and the weeks will become the full month! And beyond that, you will know enough to help you make vegan food choices whenever you want.

Step 2 Learn the basics

Vegan foods contain no animals or animal products

  • That’s also means fish, chicken, dairy and eggs
  • Watch out for ‘hidden’ ingredients made from animal products! The Vegan Society has a current list of known things to watch out for

Step 3 Identify what you already enjoy that is vegan

You might be surprised how many of your favourites are vegan-friendly! Like beans on toast, tomato pasta, chips, crisps, salads – of course, jacket potatoes, pizza with vegan cheese or no cheese!

Step 4 Try new foods and recipes

  • Explore new foods and flavours to find new favourite vegan foods
  • Try a vegan restaurant or ask your favourite restaurants what they can make
  • Have a look at our recipes to find inspiration and meal ideas
  • Veganise! Replace non-vegan food items with vegan versions within a meal, try using tofu, lentils, soya products
    • If you have a favourite dish that would like help veganising, just post our FB page and we will get back to you with options!

Step 5 Get support!

  • Join our community on FB if you aren’t already 🙂
  • Welcome your friends and family to try new foods too. It’s more the merrier to the vegan party!

Step 6 Be kind to yourself if you make a mistake

  • Perfectionism is tricky and we all make mistakes, just remember what first motivated you and keep trying!

Step 7 Remember this is your journey

  • Trust your own judgement on how you will best eat more vegan food, try to avoid conflicting opinions of what you ‘should’ do

 

Eating vegan food will be easier than you might imagine and whilst it will take a bit more effort in the early days to get into the groove of what to eat, especially if this is a very different diet to you than before, just remember that every vegan meal matters and you can do it!

Rx

 

Mainstreaming vegan food for everyone

There is an interesting issue about where should vegan food be located within a supermarket? Should it be in a separate section so that those who specifically want it, can find much of it co-located in a neat section, or should it be spread out across the store mingled in with non-vegan products – so more people will see it and buy it?

And what about meat alternatives? Nestled next to the meat products to tempt those who are open to trying something new, or in a section totally separate from any animals.

A separate section is particularly helpful for people who want vegan options, but who get a little lost amongst the plethora of labels, ingredients, searching through the shelves and aisles.  Every vegan will know what this feels like!

Personally I prefer a separate section because I like to avoid looking at the animal products, especially meat and fish – so I would never walk down those aisles to see if there were any vegan foods lurking because quite honestly it makes me nauseous.

However, I can absolutely see the benefit of displaying vegan products and meat alternatives alongside their animal based rivals on the shelves, because it is at that point of choice that people may be curious and willing to try them – those same people may not be motivated or go to the effort of looking for the vegan section, but they may pick up the vegan burgers, sausages or other products if they are within reach through their normal shopping routes.

Generally speaking, Vegans talk about food …. a lot.  We often seek out new foods, new restaurants and recipes – so we are more likely to search the shelves for vegan products, but what about all the non-vegans who would happily buy the plant based products if they knew they existed.  The more plant based options that exist, the more people CAN buy them, the more demand is created and then the more companies will supply.

cycle vegan food 2

Ideally supermarkets would locate products in BOTH places, but with shelf space at a premium, that is unlikely to be a popular commercial choice.

I recently had the privilege to have a conversation with Derek Sarno, a man that Tesco headhunted to be their Director of Plant Innovation and within seconds it was clear to me, that he was a guy with passion and authenticity.  When I later heard him give a talk, he spoke about how the Tesco Executive team genuinely support of increasing plant based foods and drive his part of the Tesco business – it struck me just how much the world is changing towards vegan food.

Some vegans are sceptical that big companies are just adding vegan and plant based foods purely for commercial reasons rather than caring about the animals, and I say whether or not that is the motivation – bring on the vegan options!

The more choices there are for everyone the better, we just need to know where to find them.

What do you think?

Rx

 

 

Mushroom and chestnut soup with port

A simply festive classic soup, which makes an ideal starter or tasty lunch and can be served with fresh toasted bread if desired.

mushroom chestnut soup final

Level: easy

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 180g pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 30ml port
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • In a large pan, fry mushrooms in oil until cooked
  • Add port and fry until liquid has been absorbed
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Blend mushrooms with chestnuts and 200ml water
  • Return mixture to pan and heat
  • Serve piping hot
  • Try a drizzle of truffle oil to add an extra touch of decadence

Vegan broccoli and blue cheese soup

A vegan take on this classic soup, ideal for a festive menu as a starter or as a hearty lunch served with some fresh toasted bread if desired.

brocolli and blue cheese soup

Level: easy

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • ¼ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 50g vegan blue cheese, chunks plus further 20g finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

  • Lightly fry onion and garlic in a large pan
  • Add broccoli and vegetable stock, boil until tender – about 15 minutes
  • Add in 50g cheese and stir in well until cheese dissolves into soup
  • At this point, you can transfer the soup to a blender to smooth the soup, or continue to stir to break down the broccoli
  • Serve piping hot