Julie Rosenfield

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Archive for the category “VEGAN”

LONDON – A FRIGHTFULLY GOOD PLACE FOR VEGANS TO PARTY!

In London, we vegans never need an excuse to party but this weekend was pretty spectacular:  what with Friday being Hallowe’en, Saturday World Vegan Day (and not forgetting 2014 marking the 7oth Anniversary of the Vegan Society!)  and with Sunday being the Festival of the Day of the Dead for our friends overseas in Mexico, there was nothing for it but to put on three frightfully good days of vegan celebrations in the capital and party, party, party….

Always one to put in the witching hours, I took to my broomstick and spent an incredible three days sampling some of the best events that London has to offer to dedicated vegan party goers.

 

FRIDAY 31sT OCTOBER 2014 – HALLOWE’EN.

Friday saw me in full witch gear, flying down to the London Vegan Meetup Hallowe’en party, hosted by lovely Laura and held in the dungeon of popular, central London veggie restaurant, Tibits, who thoughtfully offered a spook-tacular range of delicious, all-vegan dishes on their buffet that night. After all, it’s well known that vampires often fancy a bite after dark, and vegan ones are no exception….

Fangs to all the ghouls and boys who attended, and here are just a few highlights of a scarily good night out.

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Nice spooking with you ……

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Vegan meet ups are always out of this world ….

 

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Spider Man found us on the web ….

 

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It’s always good to catch up with “old fiends” …

 

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And the last word on the Hallowe’en Party goes to poetry competition winner, Alex.

 

 

SATURDAY  – 1st NOVEMBER 2014 WORLD VEGAN DAY

Saturday saw an unseasonably warm November day and the perfect chance to enjoy the Brixton Walkabout – a regular monthly fixture of the London Vegan Meetup scene. The day was extra special being both the second anniversary of the Brixton Walkabout, run by popular hostess Jess, and World Vegan Day itself.

Brixton itself was choc-full of vegan chocolate, cakes – courtesy of Trina’s and Ms Cupcake, Ethiopian fayre, Scoff Sweets ….. Need I go on?

But the icing on the vegan cake that afternoon was a fabulous fun-filled World Vegan Day party held at local hostelry The Dog Star, which saw an amazing afternoon of  rock ‘n’ roll dancing led by Sarah-Jane, raffles, a charity auction featuring vegan goodies including Plamil chocolate and Tropic Skincare products, musical chairs, singing contest …..

And if that wasn’t enough, when all the fun and games were over, there was nothing for it but to head up north to our favourite vegan cafe,  Kabaret at Karamel in Wood Green, for a special World Vegan Day Drinks night, hosted by Fat Gay Vegan. Here we were blessed by talks from two vibrant queens of the vegan scene: Louise Wallis, co-owner of Kabaret at Karamel, who initiated World Vegan Day 20 years ago, and Joyful Vegan and Author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, who was visiting from across the pond and who was, happily, able to join us for the celebrations.

A hearty range of food was on offer from Gourmet Burgers, to Pizzas and Spicy Sausage Casserole followed by a fabulous vegan chocolate cake. Yum!

And with dancing scheduled to go on till 2.00 am, these plant-fuelled vegans clearly had no shortage of stamina ….

 

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A sweet way to start the day at Trina’s cake stall …

 

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The auction was choc-a-bloc with prizes. Thank you, Plamil!

 

 

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And yet more auction prizes. Goodie, Goodie ….

 

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Sold to the highest bidder ….

 

SUNDAY 2nd NOVEMBER 2014 –  DAY OF THE DEAD PARTY

You’d think with all the late-night shenanigans of Friday and Saturday, those vegans would be wiped out. Not a bit of it. Even if some of us were feeling half-dead afterwards,  it really didn’t matter, as Sunday saw an amazing Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) party, back at Kabaret at Karamel and hosted by the tireless Fat Gay Vegan.

In any case, we were quickly revived by the most amazing vegan Mexican buffet, lovingly prepared by two specially-imported Mexican chefs, and which included wave after Mexican wave of vegan goodies: tasty black bean soup, enchiladas, tortillas, guacamole … And those with a sweet tooth were well rewarded by delicious vegan rice pudding, sugar skulls, Scoff sweets, and chocolate to die for from Cocoa Feliz.

Other treats along the way were a cookery demonstration featuring a fabulous Brazilian quinoa dish, made by our dear friend Vanessa of Essential Vegan, a talk by Emma of Veganbnb Travel on vegan holidays in Spain and Guatemala, an encounter with a Mexican wrestler and his hot Kankun chilli sauce – the joint was indeed kicking. Muchas gracias to all concerned.

Anyway, here I am to spill the Mexican beans ….

 

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Fighting for the last enchilada ….

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 Some like it hot …

 

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Not mushroom in my tummy … !

 

 

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Mixing it up with Vanessa, the Quinoa Queen!

 

 

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Mmmmm. Nice buns!

 

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Thumbs up for a really great party!

 

So there we have it! Three days of vegan celebrations in the capital.

Think we’re all going to slow down now the weekend’s over? Not a bit of it. London is vegan party town and we intend to keep it that way!

 

Join us for lots of fun vegan events in London at

London Vegan Meetup http://www.meetup.com/londonvegan/

Fat Gay Vegan Events http://www.meetup.com/FatGayVegan and check out his blog at http://www.fatgayvegan.com/

London Vegans. http://www.londonvegans.org.uk

 

Find out more about veganism at the Vegan Society http://www.vegansociety.com/

 

For vegan resources in London (restaurants, events etc), check out Vegan London http://www.veganlondon.co.uk

 

Eateries

Tibits Restaurant, 12-14 Heddon Street, off Regent Street, London W1B 4DA Tel: 0207 758 4112  http://www.tibits.co.uk

Kabaret at Karamel, Chocolate Factory 2, Coburg Road, Wood Green,  London N22 6UJ 020 8829 8989  http://karamelrestaurant.com/

 

Vegan Cakes

Trina’s Delicacies http://www.trinasdelicacies.com/collections/vegan-cakes

Ms Cupcake  http://www.mscupcake.co.uk/

 

Vegan Sweets and Chocolates

Scoff Sweets http://www.scoffsweets.co.uk/

Cocoa Feliz http://cocoafeliz.com/

Plamil https://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/
Vegan Skincare

https://www.tropicskincare.co.uk/shop/shabarisaha

 

Vegan Author

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau http://www.joyfulvegan.com/

 

Brazilian Vegan Food

Essential Vegan http://essentialvegan.co.uk/
Vegan Mexican Sauce

Kankun http://kankunsauce.com/

 

Vegan Holidays to Spain and Guatemala

Veganbnbtravel: http://www.veganbnbtravel.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VEGANISM? IT’S ALL IN THE GENES!

Scientists have announced today that when it comes to veganism, humans may actually have a genetic predisposition to being vegan.
Professor Frank Solo of the Berkeley Institute, California made the exciting discovery earlier this year while carrying out a study on Veganism and DNA Methylation in 1,700 vegans .*
The mutant gene – known as VEG0104 – was discovered in over 82% of the participants, explained Professor Solo.
People who carried this gene were also found to have high levels of compassion, empathy with animals, an interest in health and a concern for the environment. Another factor, one of the study’s researchers Dr A. Day noted, was a greater-than-average interest in cake. Vegan cake, of course.
While a predisposition to becoming vegan may be something we’re born with, it can be something which can be switched on and off during certain important times. Watching videos such as The Animals, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated and PlanEat for instance, were found expressly to switch the vegan gene on or just surrounding oneself with like-minded people, such as at one of the many Vegan Meetups around the world, can have the same effect.
Someone who is really switched on then is Al Gore who recently converted to veganism. “Over a year ago I changed my diet to a vegan diet, really just to experiment to see what it was like,” he says. “And I felt better, so I continued with it.”
Other celebrities believed to carry the VEG0104 vegan gene include Moby, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Joaquin Phoenix.
If this is true, then it may mean that humans were meant to be vegans all along and that the gene has only been switched off because of peer and family pressure and lack of knowledge.
All of which is great news for the many vegans around the world. It appears then like Bruce Springstreen’s song, maybe we really are “Born this way.”

If you think veganism might be in your genes, you can find out more at http://www.vegansociety.com or if you’re in London, come along and join us at http://www.meetup.com/londonvegan/ or check out your own local vegan group at http://www.meetup.com.

*A genome-wide association study identifies VEG0104 as a susceptibility locus for veganism in adults and children.
Authors
Solo, Frank; Day, A
Natural Genetics
14 (14-41)
Published online 1/4/14

 

Showcasing Vegan Food: Natural and Organic Foods Show, Olympia, London April 2013

It’s not every day you have the chance to peek into a crystal ball and find out what vegan foods you’re going to be eating in the future.

But yesterday, at the Natural and Organic Foods Show at Olympia in London, I was able to do just that and have a taste of  just what lovely new vegan foods are due to be coming onto the market and which  I’m certainly hoping to be enjoying in the not-too-distant future.

I began the day by watching an exquisite vegan cookery demonstration run by Jay Morjaria  of the vegan/vegetarian cookery school, Sutra Kitchen, which opened in central London eight months ago.

Jay effortlessly whipped up some delightful vegan dishes: including a beetroot and carrot salad with edible flowers, butternut squash patties, cauliflower puree and mushroom gremolata  – all cooked to restaurant  standards but which were, Jay assured us, surprisingly easy to prepare. It  certainly whetted my appetite for signing up to one of the Sutra Kitchen’s hands-on, practical, vegan cookery courses in the future. http://sutrakitchen.co.uk/

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Vegan cookery class from the Sutra Kitchen? It’s all in hand!

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Carrot and beetroot salad. Say it with flowers!

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Butternut squash patties, cauliflower puree, mushroom gremolata. Feast your eyes!

Next, it was time to take a whistle-stop tour of the special Vegan Pavilion to check out some of the amazing vegan products on display.

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Step this way to vegan heaven!

The first stop was to sample the Violife vegan cheeses from Greek company, Viotros. Their vegan cheese slices come in  flavours including Original and  Tomato and Basil flavours as well as a vegan pizza cheese. http://www.viotros.gr/

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Vegans can still enjoy a pizza the action with Violife vegan cheese!

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Violife Tomato and Basil vegan cheese slices. Just say “cheese!”

Then it was on to the Vegan Society stall who were proudly promoting a huge selection of products, all bearing the Vegan Society trademark logo.

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“When it comes to veganism, it’s in the bag!”

And what a range it is! Everything from Japanese Clearspring Tofu to home-made vegan cakes from Lujuria Vegana in Barcelona. http://www.lujuriavegana.com/

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Vegan cakes from Barcelona? That takes the biscuit!

Of course, it’s always good to see old friends at these exhibitions so here is a handful of some of our favourite vegan companies.

Redwoods are a perennial favourite and it was great to have a chance, at last, to sample their new vegan, fish-free, Smoked Salmon Style Slices: http://www.redwoodfoods.co.uk

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There’s nothing fishy going on with these Smoked Salmon-Style Slices. They’re just smokin’!

Another  favourite company  is popular,vegan chocolate manufacture, Plamil, who had an awesome display of vegan chocolate goodies for every day as well as for special occasions,  ranging from dairy-free Easter bunnies to vegan chocolate Xmas Santas.

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Chocs away – it’s Plamil!

It was then time to cross over to the States to sample some tasty vegan food, USA-style!

I actually nearly walked past the stall  from the Original Field Roast Grain Meat Co,  as I wrongly thought they were selling meat! Closer inspection happily revealed that their products are actually 100% vegan, artisan products, all the way from Seattle in Washington. I’m so glad I stopped by else  I would have missed the chance of tasting some of their amazing vegan Deli Slices in Wild Mushroom, Sundried Tomato and Lentil Sage flavours as well as their stunning Hazelnut CranberryRoast En Croute. http://www.fieldroast.com

Rumour has it that the Vx shop in King’s Cross, London will soon be stocking these products, so do keep a look out. http://www.vegancross.com/

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Take a closer look. Yes, they really are vegan!

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Deli-cious Deli Slices!

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This vegan  dinner deserves a roasting!

Also from the States were the Food For Life company with their delightfully-named vegan Moophrey burgers and Cluckphrey patties, as well as their huge range of delightful and wholesome Ezekiel sprouted breads and muffins. http://www.foodforlife.com

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Moove along and take a cluck at Food For Life’s Vegan burgers and patties!

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Food For Life’s Ezekiel bread is worth sprouting about!

Looking ahead to summer, if it ever comes, Wheaty were on hand to offer all manner of vegan BBQ items, schnitzels and sausages. http://www.wheaty.de/en/

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Join the Q for a vegan BBQ!

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Lining up for a non-meaty Wheaty vegan feast!

 After all that sampling, there was just time to try some of my favourite Nakd Wholefoods Trek bars as well as to take a bite of their brand new Crunch Bars. In strawberry, banana, apple and chocolate flavours, these latest bars contain soya protein crunchies, and are crunchy and delicious! http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

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The Nakd truth! Nakd bars are definitely worth the Trek!

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When it comes to the crunch,  Nakd Bars new crunch bars are something to chew on!

So, after a busy visit to the Natural and Organic Foods show, I’m happy to report, the future’s bright, the future’s vegan and do look out for some great vegan foods in the near future!

* * *

Sutra Kitchen, vegan and vegetarian cooking school, central London  http://sutrakitchen.co.uk/

Viotros, manufacturers of vegan Violife cheese slices http://www.viotros.gr/

Lujuria Vegana, Spanish vegan cakes and desserts http://www.lujuriavegana.com/

Redwood Foods, vegan food products http://www.redwoodfoods.co.uk

Plamil chocolate, vegan chocolate, http://www.plamilfoods.co.uk

Wheaty vegan burgers, sausages, BBQ products http://www.wheaty.de/en/

Vx shop, vegan shop, King’s Cross http://www.vegancross.com/

Field Roast, vegan roasts and deli slices http://www.fieldroast.com

Food For Life, Ezekiel breads and muffins, Moophrey burgers and Cluckphrey patties

Natural Balance Foods, makers of Trek and Nakd bars http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

For more information on veganism, please visit the Vegan Society http://www.vegansociety.com

THE VEGAN PLEDGE: FEELING GOOD!

It happened a few weeks ago. I was walking into my local supermarket when a board outside attracted my eye. “The Boy and the Lamb,” read the sign.

It sounded heart-warming. I prepared myself for a tale of a young boy who had, perhaps, found an orphaned young lamb, adrift in the unseasonal British snowy Easter, and who was now raising and caring it for it. A tale to warm the heart, I thought with a smile.

But, alas, my smile, like the snow, soon froze over on closer inspection of the poster. The Boy and the Lamb was not the charming story conjured up by my imagination, but rather to me, the more stomach-churning account of a well-known chef who, as a young boy, travelled to Provence and learned how to cook lamb using garlic, rosemary and anchovies and who is now grown-up and doing it for a living.

And, just to ram the point home, instead of the photo of the sweet little lamb I had been hoping to see, I was instead assailed by a picture of a huge leg of roast lamb. As if this was supposed to make my mouth water and make me want to run into the supermarket and raid the contents of their meat counter. I think not, rather it had the effect of making me wanted to run out and head for my local greengrocer – which I would have done, if there was still a local greengrocer left that hadn’t been swallowed up by supermarkets. But that’s another story.

But a greengrocer? Some people ask me on hearing that I’m a vegan: “Don’t carrots have feelings?” There’s an old chestnut if ever there was one. Honestly, if I had a carrot for every time someone asked me that question, why, all my jewellery would be 24 carrot by now!

I can honestly say that I don’t know if carrots have feelings. They may have vibrations and they are certainly living when they are in the earth. But do I know how they feel when they are pulled out of the earth? Grinded to a pulp in a food processor? No, I don’t know, I guess you’d have to ask the carrot.

But I do know that animals have feelings. I’ve no doubt about that. I’ve held audiences with cows in a field when they’ve approached me and stood around me in a friendly and interested manner; I’ve had a flock of sheep run down the hillside and bleat at me, I’ve had a mother pig proudly approach me accompanied by nine delightful, muddy piglets and it’s been a wonderful, wonderful feeling. And isn’t that what it’s all about at the end of the day? Feelings.

From a young age, it never felt right to be eating meat. “This is meat and we eat it?” I questioned myself and my shepherd’s pie at the age of six. It didn’t feel right to be eating an animal when I loved animals but I was told by my elders that I had to eat meat “to grow up big and strong.”

It was only later on that I realised, despite having been forced to eat meat during my childhood, when finally grown to my full height of 5ft 1½, that I hadn’t grown up big and strong after all!

Well, although I may have had to toe the line when living at home, as soon as I left, I set upon the path of becoming vegetarian. When I left home and moved to London, one of the proudest moments of my life was to write in the dietary request book in the hostel I was staying in was “No meat, no fish please”. There then followed three months of cheese salad from the unimaginative hostel caterers before I could finally move out and start catering for myself.

Of course, it wasn’t quite cheese salad all the time. During that time, I went on a date with a guy who I really liked but who took me out to dinner and insisted on ordering veal for himself while I tucked into a dish of ratatouille. “But veal?” I protested to him. “Don’t you know where veal comes from? Don’t you know what happens to the little baby calf?” Needless to say, he didn’t stick around for very long!

And, of course, the other perennial question we are always asked is: “Where do you get your protein from?” Well, after over 20 years as a vegan, I’m still here so I must have been getting the protein somewhere: from nuts and seeds and lentils and beans and pulses and tofu and ….

So, if you too feel that actually you don’t want to be eating animals and you like this idea of becoming vegan but aren’t too sure how to go about it, then where do you start?

Well, one excellent way is to join the Vegan Pledge. If you live in London, this is an wonderful initiative run every year by the Vegan Campaigns group http://www.vegancampaigns.org.uk/ Participants pledge to go vegan for a month and are invited to two free days of weekend workshops, to be held this year in central London on Sunday 12th May and Sunday 9th June 2013. The workshops include talks about health and nutrition, cookery demonstrations where you’ll learn how to make simple, delicious vegan recipes, free recipe leaflets, films about what happens to the animals in the meat industry, a free delicious lunch and an ongoing support system from a vegan buddy who will support you through the whole process. You can find out more details about this year’s Vegan Pledge in London at http://www.vegancampaigns.org.uk/pledge

Of course, there are also Vegan Pledges taking place around the world. In the US, for instance, the Peace Advocacy Network (PAN) runs a 30 days vegan pledge in a number of cities. Details at http://www.panveganpledge.org/signup.html. Or if you’re in Australia, check out Animals Australia’s Veg Pledge at http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/veg-week/pledge.php

And even if you can’t get to a vegan pledge event in person, you can still join in with an online pledge, to start at anytime, with the Vegan Society at http://www.vegansociety.com/veganpledge.aspx

And, if you want to meet fellow vegans who share your feelings, if you’re in London, you can join us for regular events involving vegan food, drinks, pot-lucks and a whole lot more at the London Vegan Meetup http://www.londonveganmeetup.co.uk/ or check out the Meetup website for details of vegan events near you. http://www.meetup.com

Well, I’m off for a carrot juice now. I still don’t know if they have feelings, but I have good feelings about it and I know that, on a vegan diet, like the song, “I’m feeling good ….”

For more details about the Vegan Pledge and veganism, please visit:

Vegan Campaigns, London  http://www.vegancampaigns.org.uk/

Vegan Campaigns Pledge, London: http://www.vegancampaigns.org.uk/pledge

Vegan Society UK http://www.vegansociety.com/

Vegan Society UK online pledge http://www.vegansociety.com/veganpledge.aspx

London Vegan Meetup for vegan social events in London http://www.londonveganmeetup.co.uk/

Vegan Pledge in the US: http://www.panveganpledge.org/signup.html.

American Vegan Society http://www.americanvegan.org/

Animals Australia Veg Pledge

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/veg-week/pledge.php

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HARD-CORE VEGAN SWALLOWS APPLE TREE!

32 year old vegan, Pilar Diaz, from  the tiny village of Lofos in Colombia,  got more than she bargained for on a recent trip to the dentist.

Pilar, who’s been a vegan for 15 years, explained what happened:

“I happened to mention to the dentist that I had something stuck between my back teeth. I’d been flossing for a few days as hard as I could but could not get rid of it.”

Her dentist, Dr Alfonso Folo, decided to investigate and pulled on what he thought looked like a tiny green thread in the back of Pilar’s mouth.

Dr Folo takes up the story:

“I saw that Pilar had a small green thread – perhaps some leftover spinach – stuck between her teeth. So I used one of my usual dental instruments to try to dislodge it. I started pulling on it and eventually it started to loosen but I quickly saw there was more to the thread than I realised.

“I kept pulling on it for about five minutes, trying to reach the end of the thread. Imagine my surprise when what finally emerged from Pilar’s mouth was a 12 inch high apple tree sapling. And not just any apple tree but a very rare variety called the Lirpa apple tree, which only grows in very pure and clean conditions, and which normally only flowers once a year.”

It turned out that Pilar, who follows a wholefood vegan diet, had been routinely swallowing the whole of her apples:  core, pips and all.

“And I think that because Pilar has such a healthy vegan diet, her stomach provided the ideal conditions for growing the Lirpa tree,” concluded Dr Folo.

But Pilar might yet have the last laugh.

“I have planted the tree in my backyard and will soon be growing apples for the whole community to share. But I think, in future, I won’t be swallowing the pips,” she said with a grin.

All of which shows that a vegan diet is very healthy and that an apple a day might keep the doctor away but not the dentist.

Translated from an article in La Broma: the Latin-American online magazine – April 2013.

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FRY’S NEW VEGAN CURRY PIES (REVIEW)

Fry’s launch a new exciting surprise:

Vegan Curry Pies – go nice with fries.

 But were Fry’s trying to curry favour

With their latest new curry flavour?

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To find out more, I sent my  spies

All dressed up in thick disguise

And asked them to go and feast their eyes

On Fry’s new, culinary, curry prize.

* * *

But all too soon did they realise

Amidst the “Oh my”s and “Let me try”s

That Fry’s really do hypnotise

With just one taste of their fine new pies.

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Just  like Bond in those “Live and Let Die”s

Hot and tasty are the new Fry’s curry pies

A meat-free feast, how they tantalise

A tasteful treat from the guys at Fry’s.

* * *

So remember each one of you who buys

Avoid food companies, who with their lies

Include bits of animals whose names they disguise

Instead, trust Fry’s and their pure vegan pies.

* * *

And amidst the host of deafening cries

From those who clamour “Let’s veganise!”

You be the judge, and let the court rise

And pass favourable sentence on Fry’s Curry Pies

* * *

So when thinking of the where’s and why’s

Go buy a box of Fry’s Curry Pies

Smell them, taste them, revel in their size

And hear around you those satisfied sighs.

 * * *

So to finish off, then let’s summarise

With the final report from my spies:

You can’t do better lunch or dinner-wise

Than to go and enjoy Fry’s new Curry Pies.

* * *

Fry’s new vegan Curry Pies are now available in the shops.

For more details, please visit http://www.frysvegetarian.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrysUK

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FIVE VEGAN MEETUPS IN LONDON IN SEVEN DAYS: 16-23 FEBRUARY 2013

“You’re never alone,” an old cigarette ad used to say,” With a Strand.”

These days, as a vegan in London, I’d say you’re never alone with a Meetup* event, and more specifically, the London Vegan Meetup group  http://www.londonveganmeetup.co.uk/

To test this theory, last week I challenged myself to see how many vegan meet-ups in London in one week I could possibly fit in. It turned out that it was five – and what a wonderful and varied week it was.

Like the 5-a-day campaign that encourages people to eat more fruit and veg, when it comes to vegan meet-ups in London, I found that 5-a-week is an optimum number and so I was delighted to take five!

Here then is my round-up of the five vegan meet-up events I enjoyed in London last week.


SATURDAY 16TH FEBRUARY 2013 – MEET-UP 1 – CAMDEN TOWN

LOVING HUT, CAMDEN

A mini-meet-up! One of our regular London Vegan meet-up attendees has reported an exciting development in the world of vegan cuisine: vegan battered sausages! We hot-foot it to the Loving Hut in Camden to investigate these rumours which, happily, prove to be true. Some of our party are soon witnessed tucking into a hearty, tasty lunch of vegan battered sausages, baked beans, chips and salad.

Those of who mutter excuses about watching our waistline opt instead to stuff ourselves at the Loving Hut’s delicious  all-you-can-eat for £5.95 vegan buffet and enjoy all manner of pumpkin, curry, vegetable and noodle dishes.

Thanks, Loving Hut, we’re loving you and your battered sausages!

http://camden.lovinghut.co.uk/

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COOKIES AND SCREAM

Then, for those of us with a crumb of spare capacity, or a separate dessert stomach, it’s off to fabulous Camden  vegan bakery, Cookies and Scream, where some of us manage to wolf down a warmed-up slice of raspberry and coconut cake or delight in a peanut butter cookie. Others of us, who lovingly over-indulged at Loving Hut, can only look on and sigh.  http://cookiesandscream.com/

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P1010298Cookies

 

 INSPIRAL VEGAN CAFE

Then, as early evening approaches, we set off with nearby vegan café Inspiral in our sights, where we, alas, like the victims of the recent horsemeat scandal, fall at the first hurdle. Inspiral, with their renowned selection of wonderful raw cakes and hot tasty buffet items are, like us, just a bit too full and can’t accommodate a party of eight. Next time, people!

http://www.inspiralled.net/

THE BLACK HEART PUB

With pub after pub  in Camden understandably full on a Saturday night, we head down a nearby side street for edgy music pub, The Black Heart.

Once settled in a corner table with a range of drinks, we peruse the menu and are delighted to see on the menu a vegan burger, made with arancini mushrooms and spicy Kimchee. Alas, still full from lunch, there is not mushroom in my stomach so with a fond farewell, I slink off into the night.

http://www.ourblackheart.com/

It’s been a great day out for vegans in Camden with lots of interesting topics under discussion:

1)      Should a heavy week at work, always be followed by a Saturday session with a vegan battered sausage? We agree that it probably should.

2)       Should we have a vegan trip to New York and meet-up with our vegan meetup counterparts across the pond? Tempting, very, very tempting, and actually, maybe even possible.

3)      We exchange news and views. The coming Vegfests in Brighton (March), Bristol (May) and the brand-new one in London Olympia (October) all excite particular attention.  http://www.vegfest.co.uk/

Well done, Camden. It will be hard to better a battered sausage! Let’s see what the rest of the week has to offer …..

 

SUNDAY 17TH FEBRUARY 2013 – MEET UP 2 – KENTISH TOWN

VEGAN HIGH TEA, THIRD ESTATE, KENTISH TOWN

These days, in London, you never know where the next pop-up vegan café or restaurant is going to pop up, so it’s a good idea to pop into the London Vegan meetup site regularly to check out what’s going on.  http://www.londonveganmeetup.co.uk/

So, as soon as I received details of  a very special, new, pop-up event: a Vegan High Tea, to be organised by one of our favourite vegan guys, Fat Gay Vegan http://fatgayvegan.com/ and  hosted at ethical clothes and shoe store, The Third Estate in Kentish Town, I put my name down as quick as I could. Just as well as, with only 20 places available, the event sold out like hot vegan cakes.

And what a delightful afternoon it was, courtesy of a wonderful spread laid on by vegan baker Dumisani, whose Vegan Tart stall is a particular high point for those of us who enjoy a regular trip to Brixton with the London Vegan Meetup  group on the first Saturday of the month.

For the Vegan High Tea, we were able to indulge in a wonderful, tasty spread.  To start, we enjoyed rounds of dainty cucumber sandwiches  and vegan cheese and tomato sandwiches, followed by a flavoursome broccoli tart. Afterwards, fabulous scones with vegan cream and jam magically appeared. And to round it all off, a huge thick slice of sumptuous aromatic Lavender cake, washed down with as much tea – delicious Raspberry Leaf tea, in my case – as we could drink.

It is hoped that Vegan High Tea will be a regular feature so do look out for it on the London Vegan Meetup group. As I say, The Vegan High Tea is a popular event, so if you do see it, best book up quick before it’s scone!

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TUESDAY 19TH FEBRUARY 2013 – MEET UP 3 – CLAPHAM

ALKARMEL CAFÉ AND ROUTE TO HAPPINESS MUSICAL, LANDOR THEATRE, CLAPHAM

Members of the London Vegan Meetup group are a talented bunch so we were delighted to hear that one of our esteemed members, Alexander Bermange, a musical composer and songwriter, had a new show in town called The Route to Happiness.

With this in mind, we quickly booked tickets and arranged for a vegan meetup in Clapham. We began the evening delightfully with a pre-theatre supper at the nearby Alkarmel Vegetarian Café in Landor Road, Clapham. On hearing of our proposed visit, the owners immediately pulled out all the stops to include a selection of delightful home-made vegan dishes. So, it was with real relish that I sat down to a delicious plate of Lentil Shepherd’s Pie topped with Sweet Potato mash. For those of our group who were adventurous or who had big appetites, they also offer a large plate containing a huge variety of savoury and salad items.  Awesome and very good value.

Afterwards, much fortified by some jolly good grub, we then went on to satisfy our appetite for musical theatre. The show, The Route to Happiness at the Landor Theatre, is a musical journey through through the lives of three characters each seeking love, money or fame.

In the musical, some of our members were particularly tickled by a reference made by one of the female characters to a date she had had with a vegan guy who only ate tofu, peas and corn. If only he’d known, he could have popped down to the Alkarmel and had a much more varied diet!

The Route to Happiness was a fantastic piece of musical theatre with brilliantly clever music and amusing and touching lyrics, with outstanding performance by three very talented performers: Cassidy Janson, Neill Sheehy and Shona White.

And in writing about this musical pursuit of love, money and fame, all we can say is that the members of the London Vegan Meetup group  loved  the show, thought it was well worth the money and hope that  it brings Alexander Bermange lots of fame.

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WEDNESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2013 – MEET UP 4 – QUEEN’S PARK

NAMA ARTISAN RAW RESTAURANT, QUEEN’S PARK

Well, after three meet-ups featuring hearty vegan cooked food, I was ready to eat more lightly and more healthily. So when news came in of a neighbouring meet-up group, the Raw Foods Community Meetup group, holding an event in a brand new raw restaurant Nama in Queens Park,  you can bet I was there quick-celery-sticks. http://www.facebook.com/Nama.Artisan.Raw.Foods

The restaurant, which inhabits half of a cake shop called CC’s, has only been open for a month and is run by two very charming people: Rich and Irene.

It’s a tiny place where you sit at a counter and Rich and Irene actually make the food in front of you: just like being in a friend’s kitchen at home.

The food is indeed outstanding with its colourful visual presentation, exquisite taste and superb raw food nutrition. We began with some excellent samples of raw chocolate brownies and raspberry truffles, washed down with a refreshing green smoothie.

Then it was onto the real raw business of the day. We happily chomped through sensational starters: on offer were raw versions of falafel, sushi, and beetroot ravioli; followed by a choice of delightful main dishes all with a raw twist: lasagne, vegetable terrine,  pizza and quiche and then to end, some truly blissful desserts – indeed some of us insisted on sampling two for quality control purposes – from a choice of raw blueberry cake, raw chocolate ganache cake and raw mocha chocolate cake.

We felt privileged to have Nama open specially for us for the evening. Normally, they are open during the day from 9 to 6 every day except Monday, but say they may look into opening on a Thursday evening once a week.

It was raw-tastic  evening, if the appreciative ‘raw ‘of the crowd was anything to go by and made for  a raw-some fourth meetup of the week.

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THURSDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 2013 – MEET UP 5 – CENTRAL LONDON

TIBITS, HEDDON STREET, W1

Well, after a hearty week of Vegan Meetups, as always, I’ve saved the best till last. The monthly London Vegan Drinks event, organised by Fat Gay Vegan and held on the third Thursday of every month, is always the highlight of the social calendar for vegans in London.

Since it began, over a year ago, it has been held in the basement of Swiss vegetarian buffet restaurant Tibits http://www.tibits.co.uk , and now, like the monthly London Vegan Potluck held  in Holborn on the first Wednesday of the month, regularly attracts up to 100 people.

There is nowhere else in London that boasts such a huge crowd of wonderful vegans and aspiring vegans  and where old and new members are always so warmly and eagerly welcomed.

The Tibits buffet  is always augmented with extra vegan main courses and desserts for the night of the London Vegan Drinks. I am as ever addicted to their falafel and last week’s ever changing selection of hot dishes also included  a delightful Vegetable Jambalaya, a fragrant Thai curry and a filling Rosti potato dish. Vegan desserts on offer include classic favourites of Sticky Toffee Pudding and Victoria Sponge Cake.

With our ever-increasing number of members, there are rumours that the London Vegan Drinks may be moving to a new venue soon. As ever, do keep a regular check on the London Vegan Meetup website to check on the details and ensure your place at this very, very special and popular event.

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And, so ended a very busy week on the vegan scene in London. It was  a pleasure  to spend the week sampling five diverse, but equally enjoyable, vegan meetups in seven days.

It was a great week and I’m exhausted but exhilarated! Well done to everyone involved and I can’t wait to see what next week has to offer.

So, if you’re a vegan living in and visiting London, don’t be stranded – come along and join us. Let’s meet up and eat up, vegan-style, very soon! http://www.londonveganmeetup.co.uk/

*A Meetup is an event organised through the website www.meetup.com where people in cities all around the world gather for common interests.

For details of all London Vegan Meetup events: restaurant trips, pub visits, monthly potluck and monthly drinks, visit http://www.londonveganmeetup.co.uk/

Loving Hut, Camden; vegan buffet/restaurant  http://camden.lovinghut.co.uk/

Cookies and Scream, Camden: Vegan cakes and cookie stall http://cookiesandscream.com/

Inspiral vegan and raw food café http://www.inspiralled.net/

Black Heart pub – vegan burger http://www.ourblackheart.com/

Fat Gay Vegan blog http://fatgayvegan.com/

Third Estate – Ethical Clothes and Shoes http://www.facebook.com/thirdestatelondon

The Vegan Tart – vegan baker  http://www.thevegantart.co.uk

Alkarmel Café, 95 Landor Road, Clapham, SW9 9PH

Landor Theatre http://www.landortheatre.co.uk/

The Route to Happiness musical http://home.btconnect.com/bermange/trth.html

Nama artisan raw restaurant   https://www.facebook.com/Nama.Artisan.Raw.Foods

The Raw Foods Community meetup group http://www.meetup.com/The-Raw-Foods-Community/

Tibits vegetarian restaurant http://www.tibits.co.uk/

THIN END OF THE VEG (ARTICLE)

Words, words, words. I have to admit it: I do like words. Even small words with only a few letters.

Here are some good words. Cake, that’s a very good word. Or how about a longer word: chocolate? Another very good word, indeed.

Some of my favourite words can even be built into charming little phrases like “vegan cake,” or, better still, “free vegan cake.”

So, it may not be too surprising to learn that two of my favourite phrases are “all-you-can-eat” and “vegan buffet.” Put these two together and they instantly become one of my very favourite phrases in the whole of the English language.

So why then, do I now find myself wanting to have words with the owners of the all-you-can-eat vegan buffet places in London?

Some years ago, a new chain of establishments, specialising in Chinese and Thai vegan cuisine, started popping up all over the London. These places, which normally had names with three letters: eg Tao, Veg and Joy, though small in name, offered a huge selection of vegan buffet delights.

Such buffets would host a mixture of hot and cold delicacies. Some, such as the much-missed Joy buffet in Percy Street, offered such a huge selection of salad items in their buffet that raw-food eaters could happily go in and chow down alongside their vegan cooked food-eating companions.

For the cooked food cabinet boasted all manner of hot vegan savouries: from spring rolls, sesame toast and vegetable dumplings, through to hearty tofu and wheat-based main dishes in a variety of flavoursome sauces.

And, even though such dishes were labelled “fish in black bean sauce” and “sweet and sour chicken,” vegan and vegetarian diners could happily eat in there, knowing that the nearest that the “fish” ever got to the sea was the small ribbon of seaweed which surrounded its wheat-filled interior and that the “sweet and sour chicken” was nothing more than a tasty amalgamation of soya pieces served in a delicious, pineapple sauce.

Once, in a rare moment of rebellion, I even ordered at one such veggie restaurant a dish with the somewhat unappetising name of “Pork Belly”. Not the ideal choice for a vegan normally, but happy in the knowledge that I was going to be pigging out on nothing more harmful than a large piece of wheat gluten and vegetables, I was more than happy to make a pig of myself.

Now, many people are divided as to whether or not vegans and vegetarians should even be eating mock meat in the first place. Give up eating meat for mock meat:  isn’t that just a mockery? But, I, for one, find such places are good venues to take meat-eating friends;  those who are transitioning from meat-eating to vegetarianism/veganism and those who say “But I could never give up eating meat,” as well as being a tasty place for vegans and vegetarians to eat anyway. Surely, if there is a delicious, acceptable substitute out there, then people will have to agree that, yes, they can give up eating meat, be healthy and save many animals’ lives in the process.

I have to admit, though, that even I had to draw the line at some of the too-realistic looking prawns on offer at some of the vegan buffets. It was in vain that the owners assured me that they were made of nothing other than wheat, seaweed, spices and colouring. But still, some associations are just a bit too strong. Shellfish of me, perhaps, but still ….

In any case, the beauty of the Chinese vegan buffets was that they offered such a huge variety that even if people really didn’t want to eat mock meats, they could still more than amply compensate by tucking into a whole range of vegetable dishes such as fried aubergine slices, spicy curries, broccoli dishes, assorted salads and of course, oodles of noodles.

So then, imagine my disappointment on learning that some of these esteemed vegan buffet places have now started to introduce meat into their buffets.

Real meat and not just pieces of soya dressed up and labelled for the occasion.

Meat made from real animals. It just doesn’t bear thinking about. As if there weren’t enough buffet places offering meat all over London anyway.

And, of all the vegan buffets which have started to adopt this unfortunate practice, it was with particular sadness that I learned that the Thai buffet in Golders Green, have now also decided to go down the “Let them eat meat” route.

The Thai buffet has been located in Golders Green, with its large Jewish population, for many years and, until now, has been a safe eating venue where Jews, vegetarians and vegans alike could happily eat, safe in the knowledge that all the food on offer was pure, vegan and wholesome and compliant with any dietary and religious restrictions.

So, imagine the confusion of diners now going in there, thinking they are choosing a fake meat option and then finding out that the “sweet and sour chicken” they have chosen is actually sweet and sour chicken. Made from a real chicken.

Yes, they have put up a label saying Meat section, and say they are keeping the meat dishes well away from the dishes in the Vegetarian section but, still, if you’re in a rush, and are used to the old ways, well, you can imagine the unfortunate results that could ensue.

Certainly, the thought of meat being served in a vegan buffet just makes me lose my appetite and the owners the future custom of myself and many other like-minded people.

And then, there’s the whole issue of possible cross-contamination in the kitchen, and the fact that going in there means supporting and paying for an establishment that uses meat. Why, it all rather leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Guys, this is the thin end of the veg. Meat is creeping in where it shouldn’t be doing so and I, for one, am not happy about it at all.

In the meantime, though, if you would like to visit some  places  in London which offer a fully vegan buffet (as well as a la carte), then I would recommend the chain of Loving Hut* restaurants, which are located in London in Mornington Crescent, Archway and Edgware and also in Brighton and Norwich. This chain is always vegan and is also international. I myself have been fortunate enough to dine out at some of their branches in Malaga, Spain; Malaysia and Florida in the US. The food is always excellent, has a huge variety and meat is never, ever on the menu.

Other Chinese vegan buffet places In London which are still 100% vegan at the time of writing include the Qing* in Camden Town and Jai* in  Old Compton Street.

And, if Chinese and Thai buffet places are  not quite to your taste, then may I recommend the delicious healthy buffets on offer at two particular favourite vegan restaurants of mine:

222* Vegetarian Vegan restaurant in West Kensington offers a wonderful selection of dishes in their lunch-time buffet such as carrot tart and aubergine moussaka.

http://www.222veggievegan.com

Vitao* in Wardour Street serves a tasty and mainly organic vegan buffet as well as many raw options http://www.vitao.co.uk

So, as I say, I do like words. So I will be having words with the owners of the Thai buffet place in Golders Green, very polite words indeed.

For it is my belief that if we act now, we can persuade them to change back to being 100% vegan. I do hope so, otherwise I’ll just have to eat my words.

*For places offering a vegan buffet in London.

Loving Hut: Morning Crescent, Brighton, Norwich:  http://www.lovinghut.co.uk

Loving Hut: Archway: http://archway.lovinghut.co.uk

Loving Hut: Edgware: http://edgware.lovinghut.co.uk/

Qing 6 Kentish Town Road, Camden London NW1 9NX

Jai, 33 Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1D 5JU.

Vitao Restaurant, 74 Wardour St  London, Greater London W1F 0TE
020 0207 734 8986 http://www.vitao.co.uk

222 Veggie Vegan Restaurant
222 North End Road, West Kensington
London W14 9NU
020 7381 2322

Lunch buffet 12:00 – 15:30

http://www.222veggievegan.com/

For more vegan and vegetarian places to eat in London, visit Vegan London at  www.veganlondon.co.uk

For the book ,Vegetarian London – new edition coming out soon – and other books featuring vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the UK and abroad, please visit Vegetarian Guides at: http://www.vegetarianguides.co.uk

For more information on veganism, visit the Vegan Society at :www.vegansociety.com

RE-BRANDING: 269 CAMPAIGN

These days when some certain sections of society talk about branding, they’re often referring to designer labels eg that little Gucci dress, Jimmy Choo shoes etc.

Or you’ll hear long, heartfelt pleas from parents unable to afford the latest Nike branded trainers for their children and who fear their offspring may encounter bullying at school if they sport inferior brands.

Other times, you may be surprised to discover that the superior brand of baked beans you buy in the store is nothing more than a souped-up version of the identical, supermarket own-label, baked beans but with a nice new label and a charming hike in the price thrown in for good measure.

Guys, it’s a jungle out there!

So, it was quite a surprise when news reached me of a brand new initiative in the Vegan world. What could this possibly be? Was vegan celebrity, Russell Brand, going to have his portrait featured on one of Ms Cupcake’s delicious, hand-made vegan cupcakes? Was racing track Brands Hatch going to be given over to a day of organic vegetable box car racing? Were Sainsbury’s giving away free bottles of vegan brandy?

No, it was explained patiently to me.

“We’re talking about human branding.”

“Human branding?”

“Yes, you know how cows get branded ….”

Visions of red-hot branding irons appear in front of my eyes, followed by the awful, sizzling sound of the scalding of the flesh of a poor, innocent animal…

“Yes, but when you say human branding, you don’t mean people are actually going to line up and …?”

I must say at this point that I hold the current titles for Miss Squeamish and Miss Zero Pain Tolerance. To me, you’re a hero if you get your ears – or for that matter any part on your body – pierced or tattooed. Even having acupuncture gave me the needle.

“So, run this by me again,” I asked uncomfortably.

“There’s a video,” it was explained. Through nervous gaps in my fingers I watched a video of activists in Israel being branded with red-hot irons for their new 269 campaign. http://www.269life.com  Not easy for me to watch or for them to endure but it’s something that cattle collectively and unwillingly have to go through every day.

The 269 campaign first came about, I learned, when some animal rights activists in Israel were moved by the sight of a little calf on a dairy farm, branded with the number 269. This doomed little calf made an impression on the guys as deep and indelible as the mark of the branding iron on the calf’s flesh. As a sign of solidarity with farm animals and to highlight the cruelty of the dairy industry, the activists started the 269 campaign. They subsequently took the brave but painful move of having the number 269 branded on their own skin, using a red-hot branding iron, in Israel on 2nd October 2012.

The point of the 269 campaign is to highlight the cruelty of the dairy industry: an industry where male calves are unwanted by-products because they don’t produce milk. The calves are then either shot shortly after birth or sold to the veal industry. It could make you weep even more than being at the end of a branding iron just thinking about it. At least, the physical pain of the branding will heal eventually. The pain of dairy animals just goes on and on…

Of course, a more painless and equally long-lasting way to show your feelings against the dairy industry is simply to go vegan, and that really is what the campaign is all about.

The red-hot irony is, of course, that humans don’t even need to drink milk from cows at all. Cow’s milk is designed for baby cows. It makes them big and strong and turns them into grown-up cows. It was never meant for humans – being full of saturated fat and growth hormones – any more than giraffe milk, gorilla milk or tiger milk would be. Hardly surprising then, that a huge majority of people on the planet are actually lactose intolerant.

And, of course, there are many kinds of delicious, plant-based alternatives to milk available such as soya milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk and hazelnut milk. Also there are vegan cheeses from companies such as Vegusto, Redwood and Bute Island; vegan yoghurts from Alpro and much, much more.

The Vegan Society have lots of information about all the different kinds of dairy-free products out there and about how to go vegan. www.vegansociety.com.

The 269 campaign is now coming to different cities in the UK later this year, with volunteers who feel strongly about cruelty to dairy animals already lining up to take part. In London, two women and one man are already planning to have themselves branded on 21st March 2013.

I’ve no doubt that the people volunteering to do it have already had enough lectures about how painful it will be. As one concerned lady on a BBC radio phone-in said yesterday, when asked about one volunteer who is planning to have himself branded: “Oh no, he shouldn’t do that, he’ll feel so poorly after it.” This was a lady, who although compassionate enough about animals herself to abstain from eating cows and sheep, sorrowfully admitted that she did “eat the poor pig”.

Of course, some people will even claim that the whole 269 branding exercise is nothing more than a publicity event. One which the press will run with one day and run away from the next, in search of something even more eye-catching and eye-watering. No doubt, some critics will ask if the same effect couldn’t have been achieved by the participants dyeing their hair red, wearing yet another armband, or having a nice, sensible, washable tattoo of the number 269 instead?

Maybe, but then haven’t people always done desperate things to highlight injustice? It’s only a century ago that women were chaining themselves to railings, enduring force-feeding and throwing themselves under horses to earn voting rights for women. Some people may argue that that wasn’t the reason that women were finally given the vote, it was for their invaluable work during the war. But, once the seeds of an idea are planted, who knows where they might lead?

So I, for one, am not going to debate the rights and wrongs about whether people should volunteer themselves for this human branding exercise. The guys are adults, they’re over 18, it’s their bodies, and it’s their right to protest against a wrong and cruel industry.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to admire those guys. After all, they have got bottle and, happily, not one single drop of it comes from a dairy cow.

For more information about the 269 campaign, please visit

 http://www.269life.com

 http://thethinkingvegan.com/interviews/269-the-interview/

 For information about going vegan, visit the Vegan Society www.vegansociety.com

269

ENOUGH FOOD IF – THE MISSING INGREDIENT

Now, it has to be said, I do love a mystery. You can’t beat a bit of intrigue so I was delighted to receive a mysterious invitation this week.

The invitation invited me, as a local contact for the Vegan Society, to take part in a major national campaign launch event, to be held at a central London location, at 6.00 pm on Wednesday 23rd January 2013, but was no more forthcoming with information than that. I sensed a bit of mystery, and hungry for more information, I eagerly accepted.

Now, I have to say that it is not the first time I have been sworn to secrecy this week. Why, only on Monday, I had the pleasure of being in the audience at the latest round of the Britain’s Got Talent auditions in at the London Palladium theatre. I, along with my fellow audience members, was strongly urged by the warm-up man not to reveal any identifying details of any of the new acts performing.
Fair enough, so I’ll just tell you that there were a couple of really great singers, some amazing dancers, some not-so-great singers and some less-than-amazing dancers. And no performing dogs. Other than that, my lips are sealed.

In the event, I could have done with my own warm-up man, when finally attending the mystery event. It was actually held at Somerset House, and given the freezing conditions in London this week, I was not unreasonably wondering whether their famous ice-rink might be making an appearance. Alas, it wasn’t. Just as well, as there was more than enough ice on the ground already.

Still, it was worth braving the cold conditions, and secretly warming myself with the whole cloak-and-dagger operation of the whole event, to attend the launch of  an exciting new initiative to end global hunger: The Enough Food IF campaign. http://www.enoughfoodif.org.

Now, it’s a simple enough idea. We need to end world hunger. And we can end world hunger. As they kept telling us, we have enough food to feed the world, but not everyone in the world is being fed.

It’s a sobering thought that every year, in the developing world, one billion people go to bed hungry every night and 2 million children a year die from malnutrition. This is in sharp contrast to the millions of people in the West who are suffering from an ever-expanding, obesity crisis. It is indeed a shocking and shameful thought that such polarity exists in the world today.

So the news from the Enough Food IF campaign is that we at last have a chance to do something to rectify this situation. In June 2013, the leaders of the most powerful governmentsin the world, the G8, will be attending a hunger summit in London, hosted by British prime minister, David Cameron. If we make our voices heard ahead of this summit, there is a real possibility that 2013 could see the beginning of the end of world hunger.

The Enough Food IF campaign centres round four initiatives which are detailed on the website at www.enoughfoodif.org,

According to the campaign, we could all have enough food and end global hunger IF:

1)      We give life-saving aid to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest families feed themselves.

2)      We stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and we grow crops for food, not fuel.

3)      Governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so millions of people can free themselves from hunger.

4)      Governments and big companies are honest about their actions that stop people getting enough food.

I was impressed by the estimated thousand people who turned up to lend their support on a freezing January night. Members of the public and volunteers from 100 charitable organisations rubbed cold shoulders with celebrities such as actor Bill Nighy and Harry Potter film actress, Bonnie Wright. Bonnie spoke movingly of her experiences visiting Senegal, where she witnessed at first hand the suffering of families who were struggling with the effects of malnutrition.

I listened closely to the arguments being expounded. There were even contributions from the great and the good: everyone from Bill Gates to One Direction, whose filmed support for the campaign was projected onto the front of Somerset House.

Afterwards, there was a charming choir who performed a re-worked version of that classic song made famous half a century earlier, IF I ruled the world….

But then, my inner Miss Marple, kicked in. I had uncovered a mystery. The Enough Food Campaign IF is great for starters…. but there is a missing ingredient which puzzled me and members of my group greatly. IF this campaign is as serious about tackling global hunger as it claims to be, then why was there no mention on their website or at the launch, about the role that veganism can and must play if we are to support and sustain our ever-growing planet.

The campaign stated repeatedly that we have enough food to feed people now. But what of the future? With, according to the Worldwatch Institute, the possibility of the global population increasing from today’s figure of 7 billion to 9.2 billion people by 2050*, how are we to feed these increasing numbers?

A vegan diet is the only one which is truly sustainable and offers practical means by which the world’s population can truly be fed. We need a vegan diet whereby crops are grown and eaten directly by people: not one where crops are grown, fed to livestock, and livestock are fed to people. Such a diet is wasteful, impractical and unsustainable.

A vegan diet requires one third of the land, water and energy needed for a meat-based diet. It has to be the way forward and offers us the best chance to end global hunger once and for all.

We must call on the organisers of the Enough Food IF campaign and the leaders of the governments attending the G8 summit to take veganism seriously and make it a prominent and vital part of any new policies on tackling global hunger in order for this important new initiative to succeed.

In conclusion, I applaud the Enough Food IF campaign. I encourage people to sign up to it at www.enoughfoodif.org and to spread the word widely on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

But, until they acknowledge the important role of veganism, I would have to award the campaign G8 out of G10!

There is no mystery how to solve the problem of global hunger. Veganism is the way. And that is no secret.

 

 

*Population figures according to the WorldWatch Institute  http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6038

 

For more information, please visit:

Enough Food IF campaign: www.enoughfoodIF.org

 

Vegan Society http://www.vegansociety.com

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