Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Fry Up/Cooked Breakfast [VEGAN].

Let's talk cooked breakfast - today we'll touch on how to make the classic fry up vegan friendly whilst keeping it tasting delicious. Click to read more!

As I vegan, I don't like to think of all the things I choose not to eat, I like to think about all the things that I do choose to eat. It's a far more positive and optimistic way of looking at veganism, rather than viewing it as this lifestyle of restriction - which is how I saw it for the 26 years before I went vegan. Anyway, since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, I've made it my mission to find ways of enjoying "normal" foods in a vegan friendly way. So today we're talking the good 'ol cooked breakfast.

I love a good cooked breakfast and have done for as long as I can remember. I know they're not viewed as being the healthiest of meals, and let's be honest, in their traditional form they're not. However, I like to think that my vegan version not only provides some of my favourite flavours, but is also a wee bit healthier too (providing you can rein yourself in on the hash brown front). 

So what goes into a vegan cooked breakfast? Well, we've got the "meat replacer", which for me means Linda McCartney sausages, because they are the bomb. You can get vegan bacon, but I haven't tried this as to be honest the sausages are enough for me.  

Then we have the "egg replacer", a.k.a scrambled tofu. To achieve this you basically take a block of firm tofu, crumble it in a pan, add 1/2 tsp of turmeric (to make it look more eggy) and 1/2 tsp of black salt and warm through. Black salt contains sulphur which smells and tastes eggy. I picked up this tip from Hello Gemma's Ebook, The Vegan Kitchen, which is an excellent read if you're a new vegan or just fancy some reasonably simple but delicious vegan recipes. In case anyone was wondering, I ordered my black salt from Amazon*.


Let's talk cooked breakfast - today we'll touch on how to make the classic fry up vegan friendly whilst keeping it tasting delicious. Click to read more!

I also like to bulk up on the veggies. Since going vegan I've discovered an affinity for mushrooms - something which I avoided like the plague for years as I believed they felt like slugs in my mouth. These days I can't get enough of them and so I like to cook them either in some dairy free margarine or a little bit of oil and water. Either way, I like to add a bit of garlic and some spinach, because what is a meal without greens. I also love to add some tomatoes which I tend to cook alongside my mushrooms for ease, however, you can also grill or bake them. And let's not forget about baked beans (technically one of your 5 a day so they can hang out here with the veg). You can make your own, but I like an easy life so tinned do just fine for me.

Now, last but by no means least, let's get to the carbs, of which the possibilities are pretty much endless. I love a good hash brown, so these have become a welcome addition to my vegan brekkie. The crispier the better if you ask me. Other carb options include, but are not limited to, potato cakes (nom), fried bread (double nom), toast, crumpets and English muffins. You can literally go as wild as you fancy on the carb front.


My General Life - Vegan Cooked Breakfast - Make It Vegan

Now if you ask me, all of the above makes for a pretty full and tasty plate - packed full of protein (from the tofu, sausages and beans - so don't even try that vegans lack protein bull) and veggie goodness. I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out at all, plus with it being that bit healthier and less greasy, it's something I feel happy eating on a more regular basis rather than as the occasional treat.

Let's start a conversation:
How do you feel about a vegan fry up? Is it something you would try? Or, if you've tried it before what are your favourite additions? I'd love to hear your thoughts either in the comments below, or why not drop me a tweet @_hellojordan


* denotes affiliate link - it will not cost you a penny to click this link, however, if you were to purchase an item through the link, I would receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.



Saturday, 19 November 2016

DIY Deodorant [VEGAN & CRUELTY FREE].

My General Life - DIY Deodorant [Vegan & Cruelty Free]


Over the last couple of months I've become intrigued about living a more minimalist lifestyle with less emphasis on stuff and buying things and more emphasis on paring back to just what I need and being more creative. Now before we go any further, let me just say that it's still early days for me and I still have a LONG way to go before I could even be considered a minimalist, but I've started and that's a step in the right direction.

So how does this connect to DIY deodorant?! Well, as part of my quest to minimise my life I looked at all the beauty and body products that I have and attempted to pair them back a bit - and I have actually managed to significantly decrease my collection and remove items that I just don't need or even use. I love the idea of making your own products and so as I've been working through all the products that I have currently, I decided that once they ran out I'd like to try my hand at creating some of my own purpose made products. I felt that would likely work out cheaper, reduce waste over time and allow me to fully customise my makes to meet my needs. 

One of the first things on my list of DIY projects was deodorant as honestly it looked so easy that even a complete novice, such as I, couldn't mess it up. I've always used conventional deodorants and antiperspirants without giving it a second thought, however, I like the idea of using something more natural without any added chemicals that I can easily whip up in my kitchen. And let me tell you I really wasn't disappointed.

Here's how I'm making my deodorant currently (that's not to say it won't change over time as I learn more about making my own products), and then I'll share with you some of the pros and cons that I've found of using it.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

♥ 1 part coconut oil
♥ 0.5 parts bicarbonate of soda
♥ 0.5 parts  corn flour
♥ A few drops of the essential oils of your choice - I *think* I used a mix of lavender and peppermint

I've done the recipe in parts as this basically allows you to make as much (or as little) as you like, an example of this ratio would be 2tbps coconut oil to 1tbsp each of bicarb and cornflour - you get me?

WHAT TO DO:

♥ Melt the coconut oil either in a double boiler or in the microwave until fully liquid.
♥ Add in the bicarb and corn flour and mix thoroughly.
♥ Add in the essential oils and give it another thorough mix to distribute them.
♥ Place in a clean container (I use a little metal pan) and leave for a few hours to set.

My General Life - DIY Deodorant [Vegan & Cruelty Free]


See, I told you it was easy - I'd say almost foolproof! Now let's get to the pros and cons.

PROS:
- In my eyes, this deodorant is far better that any shop bought deodorant I've tried. It doesn't stop me sweating, it's not intended to stop me sweating as sweating is a natural occurance. It's main function is to eliminate the odour which it definitely does. On every occasion I have worn this deodorant I have not experienced any unpleasant body odour, even after doing exercise (NOTE:  when I say exercise I mean aerial hoop and yoga, not intense cardio so I can't comment on how you (or I) would smell after a super sweaty HIIT workout).
- The coconut oil makes for a moisurising base which is great as my skin can get quite dry under my arms.
- I've not personally experienced any skin irritation from the bicarbonate of soda used in the deodorant. I do have quite sensitive skin that is easily irritated so this is a definite win.

CONS:
- The application of the deodorant is more messy that using a conventional spray or roll on. It does involve getting your finger in there and you do have to take some care when rubbing it in a bits can crumble off in this process. Although I don't see why the recipe couldn't be adapted to make it into a stick deodorant - I think adding a tbsp or two of Candelilla wax should do the trick. I may well actually try this in the future if I can find any stick deodorant moulds.
- This is not so much a con, more of a pointer - it's worth waiting a few minutes for the coconut oil to absorb into your skin before getting dressed as I have noticed that the oil has left marks on my clothing. 

Overall I'm so chuffed with how this worked out and the results I've had from using it. Let me tell you that Pinterest is a world of inspiration, so if you fancied checking out other recipes that would definitely be my first port of call.

Let's start a conversation:
Would you consider making your own deodorant? I'd love for you to share your thoughts either in the comments below or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan



Follow my simple step-by-step to create your own vegan, cruelty free deodorant that actually works!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

5 Steps To A More Sustainable Life.

5 steps that you can take towards living a more sustainable and environmentally life. Click to read more!


Since switching to a vegan lifestyle I've really noticed a massive shift in my thinking. It's like someone took the blinkers off that I'd been wearing for the last 26 years. All of a sudden I'm so much more aware of the impact that we all have on this ball of rock that we call home. And the more I look, the more I see that our gorgeous planet is slowly but surely being ripped apart by our destructive practices. So I decided that I'm going to make a conscious effort to be kinder to the Earth, to try to reduce my foot print and show a little bit more compassion to the World.


Here's 5 tips to get you started with living a more sustainable life:



REDUCE WASTE


I've really been making a conscious effort to reduce waste and recycle as much as I possibly can, including composting my food waste too. Although I'm actually surprised at how hard I've found this because so many products come wrapped in plastic and it can be really difficult to avoid. I now find that the majority of what goes in my bin is plastic packaging and honestly it does make me feel a bit uncomfortable thinking about it just being buried in the Earth. I would really love to be able to access more foods that aren't wrapped up in a little plastic blanket - if anyone knows of any zero waste shops in Cheshire please do enlighten me!


USE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PRODUCTS


I've really enjoyed experimenting with different environmentally friendly products, many of which have become permanent additions to my life. These include Soapnuts, bamboo tooth brushes, bicarb and vinegar (a match made in cleaning heaven), the Mooncup, cloth sanitary pads and DIY deodorant - which surprisingly is pretty effective. Slowly but surely I'm trying to make more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices as and when I use things up.


GROW YOUR OWN


Using land to grow food, rather than farm animals on is far more environmentally friendly and sustainable method of food production. This year I've decided to try my hand at growing some of my own vegetables in a hope that I might need to purchase less. I'm not naturally green fingered but I'm excited to give growing my own veggies a try. I'm currently only growing a small amount as my garden isn't set up for growing lots of veg (yet), but I'm excited to watch it grown and enjoy my first crop. 


CONSUME LESS


We live in a consumerist society that encourages us to buy into things that we really don't need. I'll hold my hands up and admit that I'm guilty of this and it's something I'm trying hard to change. The more you buy, the more demand there is to produce. With this comes pollution, chemicals, deforestation, waste, the list goes on. The way I see it, it's all about supply and demand and if demand goes down then the supply will too. Think about the things you buy and if you really need them. If you do really need them then is there a more environmentally friendly or sustainable option?


REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF ANIMAL PRODUCTS


Reducing your intake of animal products can be a huge step towards living a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. Eating more of a plant based diet uses up less resources and is a far more sustainable option for the Earth. Livestock takes up a huge amount of land and produces far less food when compared with using that land to grow crops (plus the land used to grow the crops that actually feed the livestock in the first place).

I promise you it's far easier than you think it will be to reduce your intake of animal based products. I have plenty of recipes here on the blog to get you started, you can find them here.

I'm not writing this claiming to be perfect, I'm far from it. But I'm making a conscious effort and that, for me, is what it's about. And if I can do it, then you can too. Explore, learn and grow, we only have one Earth and it's up to us to do what is within our power to try to look after it.

Let's start a conversation:
I'd love to hear if you have any sustainability tips or tricks to share, what are you doing to lead a more environmentally friendly life? Why not leave your thoughts in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan.



5 steps that you can take towards living a more sustainable and environmentally life. Click to read more!