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Food & Nutrition

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Healthy Habits: A Guide to Dairy Milk Alternatives

With so many milk options out there, from oat milks to nut milks and everything in between. It can be hard to know which ones will suit your diet and which ones are worth it. It’s great that we can get dairy milk alternatives in all the main supermarkets now, however many contain sugar, are overpriced or are not what they’re cracked up to be. To help you figure this all out, I’ve done a run down of the main types of dairy milk alternatives and the benefits of each…

Soy Milk

Soy milk has to be one of the most popular non-dairy milks. You can get soy lattes in all the main coffee chains and hotels now, which is a great sign of the increased demand for dairy milk alternatives. Commercial soy milk contains vitamins A, B and D as well as calcium, potassium and magnesium – it’s also a great source of protein. Make sure you buy the unsweetened kind.

Almond Milk 

Almond milk is loaded with vitamins E and D. Ecomil, Provamel and Plenish are the brands I tend to buy as they contain 6.5-7% almonds, other versions such as regular Rude Health or Alpro only have 1-2% almonds in! Go for a variety with no added sugar, and avoid the additive carrageenan on the ingredients list. There are many other nut milks available now too such as hazelnut, these tend to be pricier but are delicious if you fancy trying something different.

Oat Milk

Oat milk has to be my favourite, it’s so cheap and easy to make at home. Just add some oats to filtered water and blend together, then sieve and store in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Nutritionally, oat milk contains great levels of iron and fibre. Oat milk also contains many vitamins and minerals including manganese, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and vitamins E and A. Wow – what a power house! Oatly is a great brand you can get in the supermarkets that works really well for frothy lattes.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is another great choice as it contains manganese and good fats. The fat (lauric acid) is converted by the body into monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial compound. Opt for a minimally processed variety, again avoid added sugar and additives like carrageenan. It’s also relatively easy to make at home, just add hot water (not boiling) and unsweetened coconut flakes to a blender. Sieve or strain through a cheese cloth and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Great for a turmeric or matcha latte!

Rice Milk

As far as dairy milk alternatives go, rice milk is probably my least favourite.  It’s higher in carbohydrates, and contains few nutrients than the others. Starchy water isn’t my idea of fabulous. That being said, if you have allergies to dairy and nuts, then it’s a good alternative. But do be sure to buy varieties that are fortified with calcium and protein to ensure there nutritional benefits.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is the Queen, she has it all. No, really! Hemp milk has all the essential amino acids, plus omega 3 and 6, protein, vitamins A ,D, and E, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, a high amount of calcium, vitamin B12 and potassium. If you are looking for an alternative milk that nourishes, go for hemp! Great in overnight oats for a post workout boost.

So, there you go. A quick guide to dairy milk alternatives, and some tips on when to use them.

Ruth x

Healthy Habits: How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

If you’re a savvy shopper and love to make your food budget go further, then a vegan diet is ideal. Eating deliciously healthy vegan food is super purse friendly, and there are some simple tips that can really help you to be a smart shopper. How to eat healthily on a budget is something that I’ve been practicing for the last few years. I share tips with friends, family, housemates, and once even my Uber driver! There’s no reason why healthy eating needs to be expensive, and there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re spending wisely and stretching your budget further. Check out these top tips…

The Cupboard Foundation

Initially, when you first change your diet to be healthier the first shop will be a bit of an investment.  You need to set a strong foundation of ingredients for your cupboard. Getting the basics right really helps, however, once you’ve done this you’ll just be topping up each week. Key ingredients will be things such as tahini, coconut oil, quinoa, tamari soy sauce, almond butter, nuts and other dried goods.

Dry Food Aisle

Some of the cheapest food at the supermarket are the beans and lentils in the dry food aisle.  Great news then that these are also super healthy and full of fibre. Great in salads, soups, curries and side dishes, they’re also a strong nutritional addition to a main meal. Energising and versatile, these are your core kitchen friends! They can be used to bulk out stews and soups, and are full of amazing plant proteins.

Bulk Up

If you have the space, then bulk buying ingredients is a great money saver. You can buy kg bags of grains, seeds, nuts and beans at great value if you order online. Amazon, Healthy Supplies and  Whole Foods Online are great places to shop. You might be able to order through your local independent health store too.

Focus on Simple Food

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest superfood craze and end up with a basked full of powders, tonics, raw chocolates and peculiar looking bits and bobs. I love health food stores, and could easily spend £100 in ten minutes.  Instead, I aim to stick to a shopping list to avoid blowing the budget.  Simple, but effective – go prepared with a shopping list and most importantly stick to it.

Preparation is Key

If you plan meals that suit your routine, and your workout/social schedule, you’ll find your food bill will go down. It’s the daily trip to the shop buying food on a whim that results in a big monthly food spend. Plan to make extra dinner for the next day’s lunch, and you’ll save lunch money too. Sunday’s are a great day for a chilled prep session, so plan these into your week and get ahead of the game.

Stock Up on Leftovers

Make extras, and have leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze some for future. You’ll save money and time, and have food ready for the end of the month when budgets are tight. Or even better, those days when you’re feeling totally ‘over it’ and cant’ be arsed to cook…

Visit Your Local Food Market

Farmers markets tend to be much cheaper than supermarkets. Most areas have good foodie markets running at weekends. You’ll also be supporting local business, and the food will have a lower carbon footprint. It’s a lovely weekend activity to mooch to the market!

Be a Savvy Organic Shopper

I’d rather buy organic where possible, however there are certain foods that are better to eat organic. The Environmental Working Group research extensively, and they’ve produced a list called Dirty Dozen. These twelve foods are the worst for absorbing pesticides and fertisliers, and are best to buy organic. There is also a Clean Fifteen list of fruits/veggies that aren’t worth buying organic. Healthy savvy shopping right there!

Stick to Seasonal

Not only are seasonal products tastier, they are much cheaper. Imported food is more expensive so it’s worth learning which foods are in seasons and incorporating these into your monthly meals and weekly meal plan. Again, buy British products just as they’re ripe and you’ll get more for your money!

Frozen Food is Your Friend

I always make sure I have certain foods in my freezer – frozen berries for smoothies, frozen garden peas, edamame beans, green beans, sweetcorn. I have frozen soy mince, sausages, and often a Fry’s, Cauldron or Linda McCartney burger/sausage pack for an easy weekend brunch.

Store Food Properly

Make sure you look after your ingredients as well as possible. Keep lids sealed, airtight containers handy and oil rich foods such as nuts & seeds need to be kept in a cool dark airtight place. I store nuts and seeds in old jars in the fridge as they stay fresher for longer. I also freeze almond meal, ground flax seed and matcha tea pouches so they stay fresh. Oily foods go rancid quickly if they get hot or exposed to oxygen.

Hearty & Homemade

You can easily learn to make condiments and sauces at home. Hummus is so easy to make, and it’s much tastier fresh and homemade too. Overnight oats or porridge with a banana and sprinkle of nuts/seeds are both super cheap breakfast ideas that are nutritionally balanced. You don’t need to be fancy every day, (but if you want to be, that’s ok too!). Stews, soups and curries are a great way to make big meals for very little money. As mentioned above, bulk out with beans and lentils, you’ll have meals for days!

Enjoy incorporating these tips into your routine to eat healthily on a budget, and please share your own tips in the comments below 🙂
Ruth x

Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant – London Review

Neatly tucked away from the bustling mayhem of Oxford Street is Ethos vegetarian restaurant. “Deliciously Different” is the mantra at Ethos, and it certainly lives up to this.  There is a self-serve menu, with tonnes of fresh and inventive dishes to choose from. All of the dishes are clearly labelled, with plenty of amazing vegan and gluten free options too. It’s a little gem!

Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant - Salad Spread

Each of the dishes are really tasty, and together totally delicious.  I love that you can have a bit of everything, and can cut out the 20 mins trying to decide what to have! I am the worst for that, so this is a welcome change. The only challenge is not to go mad and pile up the plate too high…
Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant - Christmas plate

There is a luxurious feel about the place, gold and white details and of course the tall birch trees adorned with flowers. All making for a gorgeous interior. Did I mention the flowers? So gorgeous, it’s woodland dining.

Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant - The Vegan Edit at large!

A few of my favourites are the vegan lentil pie, the sweet potato chips and the kale & mandarin salad.

 

Ethos Alchemy Restaurant - Deliciously Different

Ethos is a great place to go if you’ve given alcohol up for lent (well done you!) as there are loads of delicious alternatives such as my favourite Jarr kombucha, fresh juices and elderflower presse.   Although, if you do fancy a tipple there is a carefully curated organic vegan wine menu too, and a cocktail list including a divine espresso martini.

Ethos Elchemy Restaurant - "Detox" Superjuice

Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant - Gorgeous flowers

Whilst the desserts are delicious, I do think they’re slightly too pricey.  Tiny weeny squares of cake are £4 which is pretty insane if you ask me.  I can’t help but to compare the desserts to those at Wild Food Cafe (read my review here) which are far better value for money and much tastier.

Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant - Dessert Spread

Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant - Green Juice

If you’re out shopping on Oxford Street and need to re-fuel, or meeting friends after work and looking for a central location I’d recommend popping into Ethos vegetarian restaurant for a plate of something deliciously different.

When you do, let me know what you think?

Ruth x

PRESS Soup Cleanse Review

So I’ve wanted to do a cleanse for a long time now, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to do one…I’ve been missing out BIG TIME! I decided to take my first dive into the world of juicing by trying the one-day PRESS Soup Cleanse which has just launched. Having a specially designed programme delivered was a whole new experience, and it was awesome! As a fully fledged cleanse convert I thought I’d better share a bit more about what a cleanse is, how it can benefit you, and what I thought of the soup cleanse programme.

So what’s the idea behind a cleanse?

A cleanse is a diet designed to give you body (and especially digestive system) a rest, in this case with nutritionally rich juices and soups. When consuming pure plant based juices and soups, your body is flooded with key minerals, nutrients and enzymes. Importantly, by having a cleanse that is a mix of cold-pressed juices and nourishing soups you don’t feel too restricted.

Ultimately, in the words of the PRESS team – “It’s about breaking habits, giving your body a rest and finding the healthiest version of you”.

Which cleanse did I do?

I decided to go for the ‘Energise’ programme as it has been designed for those with a more active lifestyle.

This was the menu for the day;

Charcoal Lemonade

Greenhouse 1 (Green Juice)

Skinny Veg Broth

Thai Coconut Soup

Orchard 2 (Fiery Apple & Ginger Juice)

Butternut & Beetroot Soup

Vanilla Leche (Almond Mylk)

It might not look a lot, but trust me it’s filling enough to get you through the day no problem!

PRESS Soup Cleanse - The Vegan Edit Review

What are the benefits?

Breaking your food routine means you can reset your habits and start a fresh. The boost of vitamins, minerals and enzymes is really beneficial to your body, and will help to improve your complexion and skin quality too. It’s also a great way to kick start a healthier lifestyle, where you are more mindful of what you put into your body and how your body responds to different foods. A way to spark a new way of thinking and a healthier happier daily regime.

The team at PRESS say… “You will be left feeling energised, refreshed and ready to take on life’s challenges with a little more spring in your step”.

Amen to that!

What do I like about this soup cleanse programme?

Firstly the ethos of PRESS is awesome – Let us dream, let us never stop trying, let us laugh, let us make someone else’s day, let us live in the moment…. Let us live the juice life

What I like most about the PRESS Soup Cleanse is the combination of juices and soups – the mix of the two is such a simple and effective idea. I like to think of this as more of a foodie-friendly cleanse, as the variety means that you can look forward to each of the delicious flavours throughout the day. The soups are warming and savoury, and the juices are sweet and fresh. Both are super nourishing and balanced, created by the in-house nutrition team in LA!

The juices are cold-pressed which means they retain the highest amount of nutrients. Each recipe is specially formulated with rejuvenation in mind – with ingredients chosen to reduce inflammation, boost immune system function, aid digestion etc. Most importantly, all the juices and soups are super tasty!

PRESS Soup Cleanse - The Vegan Edit Review Greenhouse 1

So.. how did my cleanse day go?

It was great to hit the reset button and give my digestive system a bit of a rest.  I loved feeling lighter and knowing that I’d had such a nourishing diet. It was also really great to have a break from cooking for a change. I can honestly say that each and every one of the juices and soups are delicious. There is a Queen of the Cleanse though, I must give a huge shout out to the Thai Coconut Soup – it is mind-blowingly tasty. Seriously, it’s the best soup I’ve ever had (and I eat a lot of soup!). I know this sounds ridiculously high praise, but it’s completely true – this soup is the bomb! I was really surprised at how awesome all of flavours were, the PM drink Vanilla Leche is another winner. What better way to finish off the day than to have a sweet nutty mylk to sip while I read the latest issue of Women’s Health.

PRESS Soup Cleanse - The Vegan Edit Review Almond Leche

The day after..

I slept really well and woke up feeling light and energised. I did my usual 7am pilates class, managing a great workout with the usual strength and energy from start to finish. I was really surprised that I didn’t feel hungry as my tummy is usually rumbling in the mornings. It goes to show that the Press soup cleanse is a great way to re-set your appetite too. I found I ate a lot less than usual and felt in control, rather than being ravenous come lunch time or dinner time – a welcome change! I noticed feeling more thirsty, which is hopefully a good sign.

I really enjoyed doing the cleanse and genuinely think it is a really well designed programme. Delicious, easy and effective. Certainly something I think is well worth doing every month or so, or to give you a boost if you’re a bit off track.

*Update* it’s been nearly a week since I did the cleanse and my stomach is still really flat, I’ve not been bloated, I’m eating less (I’ve not felt like over-eating, which makes a change!) and feeling super light and energised! Amazing 🙂

If you fancy trying this awesome one-day Soup Cleanse I urge you to go for it. The team at PRESS have been kind enough to offer you a special 15% off with the code VEGANEDIT …so you might as well go for it. For more information and to order visit www.press-london.com

I’d love to hear how you get on, so let me know in the comments below!

Ruth x

PRESS Soup Cleanse discount code

PS. I love sharing great health, fitness and wellbeing products that I genuinely think are awesome. I wrote it independently, and won’t be making any money from the code when you use it 🙂

How does the meat industry contribute to global warming?

Considering the recent commentary on global warming and climate change (especially from certain unnamed maniacs), I feel even more passionate about sharing how animal agriculture and the meat industry contributes to global warming. Whether you want to admit it or not – we are in the midst of many ecological disasters all over the globe. The single greatest source of destruction by humans is raising animals for food. It is becoming increasingly clear that those corporations who could make the biggest difference are shirking this responsibility in favour of profits and convenience. Unfortunately, as consumers we do the same, disregarding our environmental impact and favouring personal convenience and cheap goods. Whilst veganmism is certainly centred on eliminating harm to animals, it is also about minimising the environmental impacts of your lifestyle and making considered choices. The planet needs us all to do our bit, every little helps and the small changes add up to make a big difference.

The culprits that usually come to mind are fossil fuels from transport and the energy industry. Oil, natural-gas and coal are all major contributors of greenhouse gases. However, even when combined these emissions and resulting carbon footprint are still lower than that of animal agribusiness. The science and research into the impact of animal agriculture is a growing area, and more and more astonishing facts are making their way into the mainstream media too.

Climate change facts that will blow your mind…

Here are 12 facts that show the link between animal consumption, the meat industry and global warming:

  • 1) Animal agriculture produces 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, however more recent research suggests this could be as high as 51%. The combined exhaust from cars, trains, buses, planes etc is only 13%. (source: Worldwatch Institute “Our analysis shows that livestock and their by-products actually account for at least 51% of annual worldwide emissions.”
  • 2) Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day. Methane is 25 – 100 times more destructive than CO2, and has a global warming effect 86 times more powerful than CO2.
  • 3) Livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than CO2 (carbon dioxide) which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. (source – Cowspiracy, read more about this documentary here)
  • 4) Even if we halted fossil fuels today, we would exceed the 565 gigatonnes CO2 limit by 2050, all due to animal agriculture. (source: Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work by Richard Oppenlander)
  • 5) The UN has published a report concluding that animal agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale from local to global. (source & further reading)
  • 6) Environmentally damaging emissions from agriculture are projected to increase 80 per cent by 2050. Conversley, adhering to a Vegan diet could cut global food-related emissions by nearly 1/3 by 2050. (source) 
  • 7) Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon is known as “the Earth’s lungs” as it produces 20% of Earths oxygen, so this destruction is a huge issue no matter where in the world you live. (source)
  • 8) Increasing appetite for meat and population growth in developing countries mean global meat consumption is on track to increase 75% by 2050, which would make it virtually impossible to keep global warming below the internationally-agreed limit of 2C. (source)
  • 9) If the world’s population were to cut to healthy levels of meat consumption – about 70g per day – it would reduce carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to annual output of the US, (the world’s second biggest polluter). Just imagine how much emissions would drop if the world’s population moved to a vegan diet! (source)
  • 10) Studies have projected that, at current levels agribusiness emissions will take up the entire world’s carbon budget by 2050. This would mean every other sector, including energy, industry and transport, would have to be zero carbon, a scenario described as “impossible”.
  • 11) An Oxford University Study showed that meat-eaters are responsible for two and a half times as many diet related greenhouse-gas emissions per day then vegans.
  • 12) Loma Linda University in California found that vegans have the smallest carbon foodprint, with meat-eaters responsible for a carbon footprint 42% higher in greenhouse-gas emissions. (source)

Despite the mass of evidence showing agricultural sector accounts for the majority share of our collective emissions, it’s been ignored at all the major international climate negotiations. This includes the landmark climate change conference that was held in Paris in 2015. For the moment, it looks like it is up to us to champion the change, ramp up the pressure on the agribusiness sector and take responsibility for our consumption.

Key take home?

We can conclude, with certainty, that anyone eating pork, beef etc is consuming up a vastly disproportionate share of the planet’s resources, and that a switch to a vegan diet would dramatically reduce that person’s environmental footprint.

The less meat the world eats, the better it is for our health, the stability of our climate, and the global economy.

Ruth x

Easy Vegan Pancake Recipe

No pancake day would be complete without a vegan pancake recipe post. This has to be one of the best days of the year because it is acceptable to have pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So, I guess we’d better make the most of it this week! When I’m in the mood for something a little special for brunch I opt for these pancakes.  I almost always have all the ingredients in, and it’s a nice opportunity to get creative with the toppings.

Vegan pancakes are actually surprisingly easy to make and there are lots of different ways of making them.  This particular recipe tends to be my default, as the pancakes are filling and a great treat to have at the weekend. You may have noticed that I’m always looking for ways to add extra nutrients to my meals. It’s a great philosophy, so get in the routine of asking yourself – ‘How can I add more nutrients to this meal?’. There is almost always something else you can sprinkle on, add in, or have on the side to boost the nutritional value and tastiness.

Print Recipe
Easy Vegan Pancake Recipe
Easy Vegan Pancake Recipe - Picture 1
Course Breakfast
Servings
4 medium pancakes
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Servings
4 medium pancakes
Ingredients
Easy Vegan Pancake Recipe - Picture 1
Instructions
  1. Firstly, mix the flax (or chia) in a bowl with the 3 tbsp water and leave to sit for 3-5 minutes. The seeds will swell up and the mixture will get thicker.
  2. Meanwhile, put the baking powder, salt, baobab and baking powder into a bowl and mix together. NB If you don't have any baobab then you can substitute in 1/2 tbsp of extra flour and 1/2 tbsp of cacao powder.
  3. Put the banana, vanilla essence, milk, almond butter and sweetener of choice into a blender. Add the flax mixture and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and combine until there are no lumps.
  5. On a medium heat, melt 1/2 tsp of coconut oil in a large non-stick pan. When the pan is piping hot pour 1 ladle's worth of batter into the pan and spread out evenly into a nice smooth circle. Be speedy doing this as these pancakes do cook quickly.
  6. The pancakes should go golden brown after about 1 minute and be ready to flip over for 1 minute on the other side. Repeat this until the batter is finished. This makes 4 medium sized pancakes.
  7. You can get creative with your toppings. Coconut flakes, berries, slices apple, maple syrup, almond butter, lemon juice, a sprinkle of cinnamon, cacao nibs, goji berries ... there are so many delicious options!
Recipe Notes

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Everyone needs a great pancake recipe up their sleeve, and this one is worth bookmarking.

Bon appetit,

Ruth

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