love

Cheagan: the cheating vegan!

Happy Sunday lovely readers!

A few days ago I came across this article from the Independent online which says that veganism has grown by 360 percent in the UK with many world-class athletes leading the way: Novak Djokovic, David Haye & Venus Williams all choosing to go vegan. It's great to witness such radical changes in lifestyle, heath and body awareness in world class athletes who not only have very demanding lifestyles and need to be fully nourished to do what they do, but are also role models for many. It's also awesome to note the huge increase in the general population!

I have recently been experimenting with being a "cheagan" as Venus puts it :) a cheating vegan. When at home I only eat and cook vegan but when out I allow myself to have dairy if there are no alternatives (which sadly living in Malta is not as rare as I would like it to be). To be honest I thought it would be much harder than it is. Of course in the first few weeks I missed cheese at home but that passed quite quickly.

My decision to start this experimentation stemmed from more awareness and knowledge of the dairy and chicken farming industry in general. That is to say I do not necessarily think it is wrong to eat dairy or eggs as you are not killing the animal to do so, however the way that the industry treats these commercial cows and chickens is horrifying, and aside from the compassion I feel for these poor animals, I highly question the quality and life energy level of anything which has been so mistreated and produced and packaged for mass supermarket sales and consumption. 

For example did you know that commercial dairy cows are kept in a constant cycle of pregnancy to keep producing milk? Any mother who has been pregnant and breastfed knows that this is a physically demanding process to go through for one baby, let alone to be kept in this cycle for your whole life. This constant cycle of milk production in many cases causes severe mastitis (an inflammation of the udder) which causes the production of somatic cells which are released into the milk they produce. Legally in the UK there can be up to 400 million somatic cells in a litre of milk. Somatic cells as more commonly known as pus. Lovely. The cow is repeatedly put through all this trauma and continues to be pumped despite infections and weakness until they fall over and can't go on any more when they are then put down and sold as beef. 

Aside from this, now on the occasions when I do cheat and consume dairy/eggs I am very aware of the fact that within a few hours I begin to feel mucus congestion in my chest/throat starting. 

There are plenty of non-traditional sources of protein available to us: Dark, leafy green veggies, hemp, nuts & nut butters, quinoa, tofu, pulses, lentils, beans & chickpeas to name but a few and if world class athletes are thriving and training and winning on plant based diets, it means that us mere mortals can certainly nourish ourselves on a plant based diet too.

I apologise if this comes across as preaching, that is not my intention as I am really not one to preach my views on others, I would just like to spread more awareness around this industry and leave it up to you what you do with it :)

If you're interested to find out more there are plenty of documentaries around this issue, most recently I watched a great one called "Forks over Knives" which stars two ex-dairy farmers and cattle rearers who have now switched to a plant-based lifestyle. There are plenty more examples of dairy farmers themselves turning vegan - read more here

Should you wish to find out more about the dairy industry in a short, no holds barred video - here you go..

New year.....New me? No, thank you!

Happy New year!

I hope you've had a wonderful break and are ready to start this new year with a spring in your step! It can be easy to fall into the trap of New year = New me, but really we don't need to make any crazy resolutions about how we are going to move mountains (either literally because we will be so strong from working out SO much (!), or figuratively at work or in our personal lives) and become amazing at XY or Z. What we really need to do is learn to love and accept who we already are.

You don't have to move mountains

Simply fall in love with life

Be a tornado of happiness, gratitude & acceptance

You will change the world just be being a warm, kind-hearted human being. 

Anita Krizzan

If we could all learn to love and accept ourselves as we are, the world would be a much happier, peaceful place so my challenge to you this year is to stay you and to love you. 

x

On this note, I am not making any crazy resolutions but I am feeling very dull and heavy after the last few weeks of overindulgence so I will be doing a Cold Pressed Juicery 3 day juice cleanse this week to help me get back to feeling energetic and light again. If you're thinking about doing a cleanse too it's important to prep a few days before - here is a yummy, easy peasy recipe I made yesterday as a pre cleanse meal, enjoy!

Pistachio Dukka Recipe to make you go mmmm!

This delicious Persian combination of nuts, seeds & spices creates a warming, nourishing aroma perfect as we move into Autumn. Make sure to have some yummy bread (go on, it's ok to have bread every once in a while!) ready to dip and go mmmmmm!

LahLah Yoga's Pistachio Dukka LOVE

Ingredients:

  • 120g shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds (I sometimes mix sunflower seeds in too. Optional!)
  • a sprig of mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Scatter the pistachio kernels on a baking tray & roast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until they start to turn golden. Remove & let them cool before roughly chopping them. Heart shape is optional, but food always tastes better with a bit of love.
  • In a small, dry pan over medium heat, warm the cumin and coriander seeds until they begin to release their aromas. Enjoy these aromas for a moment before transferring to a pestle & mortar. Crush them here until they are broken up but not too fine.
  • In the same pan lightly toast the sesame seeds.
  • Add the pistachios to the mortar and bash until they are well crushed in. Add the sesame seeds, chilli flakes, salt (and mint if using). You can leave your dukka like this (a bit chunky) and serve with a dish of olive oil - dip the bread in the oil and then into the dukka - or scatter over soups, pastas, grilled veggies and salads. OR for a more dip like consistency there's one more step:
  • Transfer this mixture into a strong blender (I use my NutriBullet with the milling blades) and blend for a few moments until you have more of a dukka powder. Put this powder into a bowl and add olive oil (a little at a time) and mix until you have your desired dip consistency. Viola! 

Feel free to leave a comment if you like it, or discover any variations I should try!

*This recipe is a LahLah adaption of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's from his book "River Cottage Veg Everyday!"