Monday, 21 August 2017

10 Quick Ways to Boost Your Wellbeing.

If you're feeling like you need a bit of a wellbeing pick me up then why not have a try as some of my 10 quick ways to boost your wellbeing. All designed to take minimal time for when you need a little more TLC.

We all have times where we need a little bit of a boost. Be it because our mood isn't as good as it could be, or we're just having "one of those days". I think it's so important to have an arsenal of feel good activities that take minimal time and help give your wellbeing that little bit of a boost. 


Just bundle yourself up and get outside. Breath in some fresh air and feel the wind in your hair. Even if it's just 5 minutes in the garden.


I'm a firm believer that the food you eat and how you feel are closely linked. Fuel your body with goodness and get in those greens. In fact - eat the damn rainbow (but not skittles - although honestly skittles would really boost my wellbeing in the right moment).


I'm pretty sure that you don't want to, but honestly, you don't regret a workout. Get those endorphin's racing with whatever you're in the space to do, be it a run, a HIIT workout or even yoga. Just move your body.


Social support and contact is closely linked to overall wellbeing. Pick up the phone, drop them a text or catch up over coffee. 


I don't know about you, but having a tidy space to relax in works wonders when I'm feeling a little rough. Yes, it's an effort but a few minutes of tidying will make all the difference.


Do something nice, just for a you. Take a hot shower, do a hair or face mask or paint your nails. Whatever it is that will make you feel that bit more fabulous that you already are.


Yes, I know that this is tough one in the UK, but if you see the sun then get out in it for 5 minutes (with your facial sunscreen on of course). Enjoy the warmth on your face and just spend a little time being in the moment.


Just 5 things. They don't have to be big things, but they can be as big or small as you like. 


They say laughter is the best medicine, so get out there and have a giggle. Be it from a favourite film, comedian or just your favourite funny person. 


And why not have a little dance while you're at it? Or sing at the top of your lungs. 

So next time you feel like you need a little TLC, give one of these a try and see how you go. I think that it's also important to highlight that the most important thing is that you do what works for you, within the space that you're in at that time. 

Let's start a conversation:
What is something that you do to quickly boost your wellbeing? I'd love for you to share your thoughts either in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan

If you're feeling like you need a bit of a wellbeing pick me up then why not have a try as some of my 10 quick ways to boost your wellbeing. All designed to take minimal time for when you need a little more TLC.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Why I Eat Meat Replacements as a Vegan.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like vegan meat replacements can cause a little contention. I’ve heard many a comment (usually from those that aren’t vegan) wondering why one might eat them if you’re so against eating meat, along with why companies feel the need to not only recreate meat, but then name it after meat too (the latter of which I think is down to marketing and wanting to make it seem like a familiar product).

I did put this question out to the Twitterverse and got some mixed responses. Lots of people said they enjoy them as part of their diet, although some prefer to choose whole food options and eat meat replacements occasionally. Some people said that although they might eat them occasionally they find their “meatiness” somewhat uncomfortable and prefer to give them a slightly wider birth. And honestly, I get all those opinions and no one is right or wrong in their choice. I thought that today I’d start a little conversation here on the blog about why I personally choose to eat meat replacements and what my overall thoughts are on them.

Sorry, not sorry if this photo makes you feel uncomfortable. This beautiful creature is the reality of the meat and dairy industry. If you choose meat, this beautiful creature is what could be on your plate.

Admittedly, when I first transitioned to being veggie and then vegan, I didn’t eat that much in the way of meat replacements, and I remember thinking “why would I eat something that’s intentionally pretending to be meat when I’m so against eating meat”. I wonder now whether it was maybe too close to the giant meat habit that I was breaking (I did go totally cold turkey into vegetarianism overnight and although I hate to admit it – I was a massive carnivore). But back then I just didn’t feel the need to eat them, and so I didn’t.

However, as time has gone on I have found myself eating more meat replacement products. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat them with every meal (which is what I used to do with meat), but I maybe eat them 2-3 times per week depending on a) how much time I have, b) how organised I’ve been with my food shopping and c) what I’m fancying on the day.

For me, meat replacement products are a massive convenience. They can make whipping up a quick meal really easy for when I’m in a time pinch or not really in the mood to cook. I had 25 years of meat being the star of the show, and so for me it’s a bit of a fall back, default setting. I know I can always stick some Linda McCartney sausages or a Fry’s burger in the oven and have something tasty with minimal effort – and damn, they’re so tasty. Ok, that’s not the most nutritious meal, but you know, I’m generally eating a far healthier diet as a vegan than I did as an omnivore so I’m personally happy to have the odd slightly less nutritious meal. Life’s about balance after all.

One thing I do think meat replacement products are great for is supporting the transitioning veggie or vegan. Using meat replacement products, I am able to make the majority of the meals that I really enjoyed as a meat eater – sausage casserole, roast dinner, meaty stir fry. All these meals are possible (and in my opinion, don’t taste much different) with the use of meat replacements. They’re also great if you eat meat, but are trying to look at reducing your intake. There as so many wonderful veggie/vegan recipes out there that don’t require a meat replacement and don’t miss that “meaty” component to the meal, but for ease, I think it’s great to have the option of a substitute.

I think as time has gone on, I’ve had more opportunity to try different meat replacement products and realised that I do quite enjoy the taste of them. I quite enjoyed the taste of meat too and I certainly didn’t go vegan because I didn’t enjoy meat, I really did enjoy meat. I just didn’t enjoy the reality that what was on my place was once a living being and it no longer had a life because I’d chosen to eat it.

 I think many people who aren’t vegan see the vegan lifestyle and diet as being very restrictive, but I don’t like to look at it that way. I’m a glass half full kinda gal, and so I like to see all the possibilities -  all the foods that I choose to still eat, which is a far larger group than the foods I choose not to eat. And meat replacements just make that group of foods I choose to eat that bit bigger and could make veganism feel that bit less restrictive to someone on the outside looking in.

I’d love to live in a world where animals aren’t killed for us to eat. Where people see the reality of the cruelty involved in animal agriculture and choose compassion over something that tastes good in the moment. If meat replacements help us on our way there and provide someone with an option to make a positive change for the animals, the planet and themselves, then I am ALL FOR THAT.

And just in case you’re wondering, here’s a little list of some of my favourite, vegan friendly meat replacement products.

Linda McCartney Sausages
These are my absolute staple, I always buy in bulk and have them on hand. I actually start to break out in a cold sweat if I see my stash getting low. I personally prefer the original to the red onion and rosemary and chorizo varieties. Perfect in a sausage butty or my ultimate comfort food, sausage casserole. FYI the sausage rolls are also pretty heavenly.

Vbites Meat-Free Duck Pieces
I much prefer the Vbites mock duck to the LM shredded version as it’s bigger chunks and personally I think it tastes nicer. I used to be a big lover of duck, especially from the Chinese takeaway and I can honestly say that the taste and texture of this is so similar – it’s like wizardry. Whack it in a stir fry or in a spring roll and you are on your way to food heaven.

Fry’s Burgers, Escalopes and Meaty Strips
I’ve tried lots of the Fry’s products (burgers, escalopes, schnitzels, strips) and honestly, I like them all. The burgers are succulent and juicy and taste amazing. The escalopes, chicken style burgers and schnitzels make for an excellent katsu curry addition a la Wagamamas, and their meaty strips pimp up many a dish including pastas and stir frys.

I’ve only ever made my own seitan, so I can’t compare to shop bought, but seitan is pretty easy to make and great to have on hand. It’s made from wheat gluten and so is high in protein and makes for a wonderful stroganoff or even a donner style kebab. With seitan it’s all about the flavourings, and if you’re making it yourself you have full creative control of how you want it to taste.

Let's start a conversation:
I'd love to know your thoughts on vegan meat replacement products - are they a yay or a nay for you? Also, if you do choose to eat them, what are your recommendations? I'm always looking for new things to try so send them over either in the comments below or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan.