Thursday, 23 May 2019

100 Plant Based Recipe Guide

When I first decided to change to a plant based diet back in 2015 I spent hours searching the internet for information on how I could replace my favourite foods with plant based alternatives. My first few weeks of eating plant based were the same few meals over and over again whilst I learnt about all of the products available and found recipes.

When speaking to people about being vegan I've come across several people who have given a vegan diet a shot but given up because they found it too hard, I think that comes from lack of information available to them at the time.

There are thousands of recipes online that will help you create amazing plant based meals, but if you don't have the time to trawl through them all then a plant based cookbook and eating plan is the way to go. It takes the work out of having to think about and go looking for recipes, it makes it really easy to stick to your plan until it becomes second nature. This great e-book is full of healthy vegan recipes so you don't default to store bought junk food, it even contains green juice recipes if you are determined to live as healthily as you can. They even offer a 100% money back guarantee if you aren't happy.

3 waste reducing products you need now

We all remember the summer heatwave of 2018 in the UK, here in the south we hit highs of over 30 degrees celsius. Whilst many of us were out enjoying the sunshine, it probably didn't register for most people that the hot weather was a consequence of global climate change.

I'm sure many people enjoyed the record temperatures and were none the wiser of the cause, unfortunately I feel the UK media missed a huge opportunity to use the real life event to create a direct link to what was happening and educate people on why. Lots of people will make changes if they are aware of the catastrophic effects climate change is having on our planet and how they directly affect us all.

If you are interested in learning a little more about climate change there is a good article you can read by The Guardian.

If everyone started to make even a few small changes it can have a huge effect, so here is a roundup of some products you can purchase today that will help you to go a little more green.

Reusable Straws

You may be aware of all the fuss recently surrounding McDonalds change to paper straws and the public were so up in arms about it that thousands of people even signed a petition to bring back the plastic straws! 
There is no need to use a plastic straw when you can buy a set of stainless steel straws that come with a handy carrier so you will always have them on you when you need a sturdy straw for your milkshake! These straws from Amazon even come in a range of amazing colours and a pack of 8 for only £5.99 means that you can give one to all of your family members!

Why Use A Steel straw?

Good question! Most plastic straws are too lightweight to be picked up by the mechanical recycling sorting machines so they end up being disposed of as normal waste therefor end up in landfill. Sadly a lot of plastic straws even find their way into our oceans, nearly everyone is aware of the harrowing picture of the sea turtle with a plastic straw jammed in his nose. So by swapping to a reusable straw you are doing your bit to prevent this from being as bigger issue and your plastic straw won't be one of the approximately 8.3 billion that are littering the worlds beaches!

reusable straw, stainless steel straw, metal straw, eco friendly

Reusable Shopping Bags

I know you're probably thinking this is old news Michelle! Yes you're right, since the plastic bag levy came in I'm sure you are using your own bags when you go shopping. But are you still putting your fresh produce in those annoying little plastic bags they have dotted around the fruit and veg aisles? Everything seems to be packaged in plastic and even if you decide to buy loose onions, tomatoes or potatoes, the chances are you've had to put them into a plastic bag which is somewhat defeating the purpose. In which case you need some reusable produce bags in your life, if you already take your own shopping bags to the supermarket it's no extra hassle to take along a few drawstring produce bags. You can get a pack of 4 from Amazon here for only £6.99 or if you buy a lot of fresh produce at a time you can get a bumper pack of 9 bags for £9.99

eco friendly produce bags,

Reusable Coffee Cup/Water Bottle

If you aren't already on this band wagon then why on earth not!? I've written before about using your own cup when you go to a coffee shop as it's a no brainer. It saves you money on your drinks from most high street chains as they offer a discount if you use your own cup as well as cutting down the amount of paper cups that end up in landfill or floating in your local rivers. With regards to water bottles, they are a much better option than single use plastic not just from the waste perspective but also because lets be honest most of us work somewhere that has a water cooler so you can fill up your own bottle and you haven't had to spend a penny but a lot of water bottles now are insulated as well which means you don't have to worry about your water getting warm even if you've left it sitting for hours.
This cup even collapses so you can throw it in your handbag with no problem, and it comes in plenty of cute colours.

travel mug, reusable coffee cup, eco friendly

I already have a water bottle but I came across this one on amazon that has a lifetime guarantee and will keep your drinks hot for 10 hours, or drinks cold for 20 hours! No more cold coffee or hot water, win win! SHO Fortis Water Bottle - £23.98

insulated water bottle, reduce plastic, eco friendly

All of these products are available on Amazon, so if you buy them today you can start using them tomorrow. It's so easy to start making small changes, that if everyone did would have a huge impact. Share this post with someone who is looking to reduce their single use plastic, maybe you could even split the pack of straws between you? ;)

Be the change you want to see in the world.

* This post contains affiliate links

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Cruelty Free Christmas gifts from The Body Shop

For the prepared amongst us you may have already bought all of your gifts. For the less organised you may start to feel the panic rising and need some inspiration, especially if you are buying for someone vegan or cruelty free and the whole situation feels like a mine field.

Cruelty free is a tricky area to navigate because some products are cruelty free they just don't display the leaping bunny logo or say they are cruelty free on the packaging, the reason behind this is sometimes due to money. Companies actually have to pay a fee to use the leaping bunny logo so many don't bother to go through the hassle of this and some may just don't want the spot light turned on them if they announce they are cruelty free because we all know some people like to pick holes.

The Body Shop ethos has always been against animal testing and they actually campaign tirelessly to get animal testing banned so they are a solid company to get behind in my mind. Currently they aren't totally vegan as some products still contain beeswax and honey, but they are clearly labelled if that's the case.

body shop cruelty free christmas gifts

Most women love to receive nice cosmetics for Christmas, often because we wouldn't buy the more luxury items for our-self so it's a nice treat when we receive them from someone else.

Here are a couple of the items I liked best from The Body Shop's Christmas collection.

The berry bon bon fragrance is really nice and very festive so I picked up the little Berry Bon Bon Cottage, it's a little gift set that comes in a cute gingerbread house inspired box and it contains a little pot of body butter, a shower gel and a shower scrunchie. This adorable little set is £9 so it makes a great secret santa gift or present for a friend or work colleague.

The Vanilla Chai body scrub smells amazing! I love all things vanilla and all things spiced so the combo of the two is perfect. I got a pot of this to help soften my dry scaly winter legs. I have since realised that this isn't part of their current festive array but it was stocked in my local store(?!) I'm guessing they were pulling a cheeky move and putting out stock they had left from last year! So the closest comparative product would be their vanilla marshmallow range.

I attended an event at Body Shop a few weeks back and got to see all of their Christmas range including their new lovely liquid eye shadow which side note are really lovely and totally for the festive season and all of the parties!

Body Shop Liquid eyeshadow, vegan cosmetics

We received a couple of items from the event one of which was the peppermint candy cane shower gel which literally smells like Christmas! The other item was the Berry Bon Bon handcream, this isn't an item I would buy myself because it isn't vegan but if you are buying for someone cruelty free it makes a handy gift for them to stash in their handbag.

The Body Shop have a lovely range of festive gifts, so they really are worth checking out of you are still in need of Christmas presents or maybe even a little treat for yourself!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Why should I support local, when local doesn't support the environment?

This is a subject that really grates on me, and if I allow myself to think about it too much I want to gather some fellow environmentally aware people, and stage some sort of protest outside these little shops in a bid to open their eyes!

Big companies often feel pressure from the government to clean up their act and show how they are taking measures to minimise their impact. We are living in the era when plastic consumption is rife, and awareness on how we can and should be reducing it is being documented everywhere. Yet when I walk into a very busy local food shop in Chelmsford I am constantly met with their total ignorance to the impact they are making to this issue, and it really angers me to the point where I don't feel I should support them.

On the couple of occasions I've asked what ingredients are in their packaged food the young girl behind the counter gawks at me like I've got 2 heads!
Now I could be entirely wrong but it doesn't seem ethical to be selling food without a clue what's in it, what about it containing allergens? I happen to think they have a duty of care to their customers to be able to inform them what's in their food and I'm pretty disgusted that they don't feel it important to do so. They regularly put items out on their shelves with no label whatsoever, so I guess customers are supposed to guess the contents?

My next issue is plastic upon plastic, everything this shop sells is packaged in so much plastic. This place seems to be a popular choice amongst local workers for lunch options; sandwiches, salads and such, and from the huge piles of packaged food they always have in their chillers they appear to be selling it in boatloads yet they don't feel any responsibility to package it in a less harmful manner.

Every sandwich and salad is in a cheap vile plastic package and every meal meant to be heated is in a plastic box. The sheer amount of waste that this one local shop is creating is truly shocking, and I don't know how I'm supposed to get behind a place like this and support it.

My latest gripe with particular shop came when I went in on a recent Saturday morning to get a cup of coffee. They do serve soya milk which I will always appreciate small shops doing, however I always try to use my own reusable cup when getting take away coffee and this day was like any other. I asked for a soya latte and handed the man my cup, he then turned to the coffee machine and proceeded to use a PAPER CUP to make the espresso in!!! I couldn't believe my eyes, was this person really going to waste a paper cup to make espresso, when on top of the coffee machine they have piles of china cups. But yes, that is exactly what he did! He then poured the espresso into my cup, and threw the paper cup into the bin! I was utterly dumbfounded and couldn't help myself saying something to him. When he handed me the coffee I said "you know it defeats the purpose of me using a reusable cup if you are going to make the espresso in a paper cup and throw it away anyway!" To which he looked at me blankly and said "ok". I would place a bet that it went in one ear and out the other!

We are encouraged to support local as it's good for the local economy, but the problem with local independent stores is they don't really have to answer to anyone or be seen to investing in or looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint the same as the big companies do. A lot of the local run shops are the worst culprits for waste and terrible packaging. They fall under the radar of the 5p plastic bag charge, don't encourage people to use their own bags, and don't support reducing take away cups the same as the big coffee shop chains do. They may think they are small and their impact is minimal, but if you take all of the small coffee shops and sandwich shops across even one town the amount of waste they are producing will be as much as any of the chains.

What can we do? I've thought about writing a letter to the stores and suggesting they make changes, if they have a conscience they might consider making them. We can only try.

If you are wondering why I'm harping on about plastic, this is a good site to go and have a look at to get an idea of why it's so important: The Plastic Tide

I also wrote about the benefits of buying and using your own cup for take away coffee here.

If you are in the market for a reusable coffee cup so you can take advantage of the 25p discount on your morning coffee then check out my top picks below.

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