Milk alternatives – how do they compare

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There has been a huge boom in the popularity of plant based milks. In fact, a new study by Grand View Research found that the dairy free market will increase by 16% to 35 billion dollars globally by the year 2024.  There is more choice than ever to choose from in British supermarkets. Here’s how the most popular alternatives compare.

Coconut

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Made from pressed coconut and often with added calcium. This is lower in protein, with higher levels of saturated fat than most other plant based options. Great for baking, as the coconut flavour won’t overpower the food. Also consider using it in curries instead of the canned variety for a lighter option.

Coconut Milk Nutrition per 100ml*

28Kcals    120mg calcium    1.9g fat    1.7g sat fat    2.1g sugar    0.3g protein

*based on Koko Dairy free

Oat

Made from oats and enriched with vitamins and calcium. A low-fat option with all the goodness of oats. Definitely one of the creamier alternatives. I love using this to make homemade muesli and for a decadent porridge.

Oat milk nutrition per 100ml

45kcals    120mg calcium    1.5g fat    0.2g sat fat    4g sugar    1g protein

*based on Oatly Oat Drink

Hemp

A blend of hemp seed and fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Mild taste and slightly sweet. Great in hot drinks and to use in smoothies or sauces.

Hemp milk nutrition per 100ml*

32kcals    118mg calcium    2.8g fat    0.3g sat fat    1.8g sugar    0.2g protein

*Based on Good Hemp milk original

Soya 

The most commonly available, Soya ‘milk’ is comparable in protein content to cow’s milk and is low in fat. Soy-based foods can help to manage cholesterol levels.  Some brands are fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D.  Perfect in tea and coffee as well as wonderful for baking.

Soya milk nutrition per 100ml*

34kcal’s    120mg calcium    1.9g fat    0.3g sat fat    0.1g sugar    3.4g protein

*Based on Tesco Everyday Value

Almond


A blend of almonds and spring water, this is fortified with calcium and vitamins, including D and B12. Best for using in porridge and smoothies. A subtle nutty flavour – be sure to choose unsweetened. Very low in calories.

Almond milk nutrition per 100ml*

13kcals    120mg calcium    1.1g fat    0.1g sat fat    0.1g sugar    0.4g protein

*Based on Alpro Unsweetened

Rice

A sweet milk, low in protein and fortified with calcium. A Sweet but neutral taste. Beware of the thin consistency as well as the rather dark colour in hot drinks. Brown Rice milk is delicious in lattes.

Rice milk nutrition per 100ml*

50kcals    120mg calcium    1.0g fat    0.1g sat fat    7.1g sugar    0.1g protein

*Based on Rice Dream Original with added calcium

What’s your favourite plant based milk alternative?

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London Vegan Bird

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Vegan options at UK coffee shops

Costa Coffee

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Picture: Costa

Their coffees are all available with soya milk and are suitable for vegans except for the ones with chocolate powder – hot chocolate, mocha, etc which contains milk.

Vegan food available includes Plain or Multigrain Toast, Fruit Crumble Slice (delicious!) Tyrell’s Crisps (Exc. Cheese and Onion flavour), Sweet and Salty Popcorn, Pomegranate Glitter and Fruit Salads. www.costa.co.uk/

Starbucks

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On the coffee side, Starbucks is definitely getting better by recently adding coconut milk to their offering. Recent news Stateside is that they are about to add Almond milk too. So, with the already existing soya milk, that’s 3 dairy free alternatives. Good job SB! When it comes to seasonal drinks,  the majority of the syrups are vegan, although sadly not the pumpkin spice or honey and almond drizzle.

On the food side, they have a little bit of catching up to do with no vegan cakes or desserts to be seen. Suitable vegan foods include Multigrain Bagel, Perfect Oatmeal (with various toppings), Plain Bagel and Moreish Meze salad. http://www.starbucks.co.uk/

Pret A Manger

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In terms of vegan options, Pret A Manger are strides ahead. By now, we all know about the very succesful Veggie Pop up in London that has been open all summer and have an extensive vegan menu.

The great thing about Pret is that they regularly change up their menu with great Chef’s specials that change every month. Breakfasts include the rather exciting Acai Breakfast Bowl (which I can’t wait to try), Dairy free Bircher and Five Grain Porridge.

For lunch, how about the Super Greens and Reds sandwich, Chana Chaat Flat Bread, Mushroom and Avo Sushi Salad, Red Tapenade and Avo SuperBowl, Hummus and Crunchy Veg Wrap and various Soups of the Day.

And finally, snacks offered are Coconut Yoghurt Pot, Nuts, Crisps, Popcorn, Fruit and my absolute favourite Dark Chocolate Oat Cakes. https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb

Caffé Nero

857409_531235140295353_981706093_oAll coffees and teas can be made vegan with soya milk as well as the highly recommended hot chocolate.  A bit of a poor show on the sweet side although I am told the mince pies, available at Christmas are vegan.

Vegan friendly snacks include Bear Yo-Yos, Fruit Salad, popcorn and Fruit and Nuts. You can also order the porridge with soya milk for breakfast. Lunch options include Houmous & Falafel Wrap, Spicy Bean Fajita Wrap, Falafel & Tabbouleh Salad and Vegetable Pasta Arrabbiata. http://www.caffenero.co.uk/

I hope you found this useful.

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Vegan Bird Food: Veggie ‘Beef’ Tacos

Based on a recipe from www.greatbritishchefs.com, this works wonders for a weeknight dinner. I used the Tesco Soya mince which I really liked but you can also replace with beans for a healthier, protein rich option.

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Ingredients 

Taco filling

600g of vegetarian mince, frozen

1 pepper (any colour of your choosing)

1 large onion, sliced

1/2 iceberg lettuce, shredded

100g of vegan cheese, grated (I used original Violife)

 1/2 tbsp oil (I used coconut)

Spice mix

1 tbsp of chilli powder, mild

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cornflour

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Method

1.For the taco filling, use a wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, fry the peppers and onion for 1 minute.
2. Add the frozen vegetarian mince and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the spices, sugar, salt and cornflour and stir to combine.
4. Once combined, pour in 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the mixture thickens to coat the mince. Serve in taco shells with salsa, vegan cheese, shredded lettuce and guacamole, if you’re feeling fancy.

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How to be a healthy vegan…part 2

Here’s Part 2 of my how to be a healthy vegan post. You can check out Part 1 here.

Focus on whole foods

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Make these the staple of your meals leaving processed foods such as faux meats, cakes etc as secondary. Not only better for your body but better for the environment too as they generally involve less packaging.

Utilitse apps

headspaceThere are some great apps to help you on your healthy journey. Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen was created by the people behind Nutritionfacts.org and lets you keep track of the foods that are recommended in his book ‘Not to Die’. Headpace is a meditation app that suggests just 10 minutes a day can help improve concentration and happiness. Also, I have several Running apps that have really helped improve my time and distance. My favourites include Map by Run and Walk Jog Run. Stay tuned for a post on my favourite health and vegan apps.

Seeds 

flax-seed-1274944_960_720Nutritionally, seeds are great for providing you with healthy fats, protein and micronutrients. I always add a tablespoon of Flaxseed to my morning smoothie or sprinkle onto porridge. I also love to add pumpkin seeds and seasame seeds to salads and stir frys. And, in case you missed it, here’s my recipe for Chocolate Chia Seed pudding. https://londonveganbird.com/2016/08/22/vegan-bird-food-chocolate-chia-pudding/

Treat yourself

IMG_1806It’s true, for me, at least that if I put a ban on something (cake, for example), I will then seek it out and go eat all the cake so incorporate some less healthy choices if you fancy, just perhaps not every day. A little of what you fancy…

B12

muesli-698575_960_720As all vegans know, B12 is the one nutrient that vegans should supplement. It’s needed for your brain and nervous system to function. You can get it from fortified foods such as plant based milks, cereals, nutritional yeast flakes to name a few or by taking a supplement. For more details on B12, check out this article

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Vegan Bird Food: Chocolate Chia Pudding

Are you looking for a healthy pudding option that keeps you full and satisfied? Look no further, my friend. Here is my super easy recipe for Overnight Chocolate Chia Pudding.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/3 cup  chia seeds

1/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder (or cacao if you’re feeling fancy)

2 tbsp Agave Nectar (or Maple Syrup)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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Method
  1. Add all ingredients except agave nectar to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Let rest covered in the fridge overnight or at least 3-5 hours (or until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency).
  3. Serve chilled with desired toppings, I used dairy free chocolate.
  4. Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days…if you can make it last that long.IMG_2245IMG_3053I even added peanut butter to the next one I made and it was equally delicious. This is a great base for adding other flavours, such as peppermint, coffee or berries. Enjoy.

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London Vegan Bird

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5 Reasons To Go Vegan

For the Animals

IMG_0641This is personally my number one reason for going vegan. I just couldn’t justify the suffering these animals were experiencing at my hands. Animals have rights just like people. Who decided that these beautiful creatures should be used and abused at our expense and for our edible pleasure? Unfortunately, we seem to have a great love and respect for dogs, cats, lions, tigers and other cute and fuzzy animals, it sadly seems harder to make the connection that cows, pigs, lambs, chickens are just the same. I was there myself and I’ve glad I woke up.

For your Health

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Not only has the vegan diet been proven to reduce the risk of diseases, strokes, diabetes and obesity, I have never felt better. My skin is clear, I have more energy and I blooming well ran the London marathon. Nutritionfacts.org is a great resource for nutritional information as well as the latest studies and findings related to the benefits of a plant based diet.

For the Food

IMG_0403As I’m sure you know by now, vegan food is more than just lettuce and avocado.  ‘What do you eat?’ is one of the most common questions that I get asked by those carnivorous types. I usually answer ‘virtually everything you eat’…curries, stews, pies, stir frys, pasta, chips, crisps, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, cereal, bread. You name it, you can veganise it. See it’s not too different, eh?

For the Environment

IMG_0949If you’ve seen Cowspiracy, you would know that eating animals is one of the biggest contributing factors to climate change. The production of meat and other animal products places a huge burden on the environment – from crops and water needed to feed the animals, to the transport from the farm to your plate. Furthermore, the large amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss as well as species extinction.

 

For the People 

hands-63743_1920I have been accused of only caring about animals and not people. Apart from the fact, that my heart is big enough to care for all living beings, we can feed more people in the world on the food that animals, raised as food, eat than we can on the “food”  that you get from animals.

The fact is you can get everything you need from a vegan diet, without harming others and our environment in the process so what’s the point in eating meat?

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird.

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6 Favourite Vegan Instagram Accounts

@Thehappypear

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Always inspiring and usually very entertaining, these energetic identical twins from Ireland have created a food revolution in their country town of Greystones.  Their veggie food filled cafe looks an absolute delight and their adventures in ‘Pearville’ (their self made manufacturing and recipe testing grounds) are not to be missed.

@Accidentallyveganuk

Brought to you by the wonderful people at The Vegan Kind, this is a great resource for discovering the commonly found supermarket products that just happen to be vegan. Coco Shreddies, Walkers Marmite crisps and CoFresh Caramel Peanuts are some of my latest discoveries.

 

@Veganalamode 

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Something a little different, Karissa Bowers shares her cruelty free fashion finds in super cute outfit posts as well as delicious and colourful looking gluten free foods.

@Bestofvegan

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A little bit of a cheat but this account created by @Brusselsvegan showcases the dairy free cream of the crop of vegan instagram accounts giving some great recipe ideas and wonderful food photography inspiration.

@Vegansidekick

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Never failing to make me laugh, Richard of Vegan Side Kick has a clever and witty way with words and every cartoon is relatable and manages to get to the heart of every argument I’ve ever heard against veganism. It’s vegan activism at it’s humorist best. Pure genius.

@Knfx

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Kai Nora’s feed has the most incredible mouth watering photos displaying her own wonderful recipes. With a love for nicecream, pancakes and gorgeous buddha bowls, Kai’s photos never fail to make you hungry.

Do you have any Instagram recommendations?

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London Vegan Bird

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Vegan Bird Food: Sweet Potato Shepherd’s pie

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil (of your choice)
  • 1 large onion , halved and sliced
  • 2 large carrots (500g/1lb 2oz in total), cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp. thyme chopped or mixed herbs
  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 410g can mixed beans
  • 950g sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
  • 25g vegan margarine
  • 85g vegan cheddar, grated (I used Violife)
    Method
    1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add onion until softened.. Add the carrots and majority of Thyme or mixed herbs. Pour in 300ml (check – how much wine?)water and the tomatoes, then sprinkle in the stock cubes and simmer for 10 mins. Rinse can of beans thoroughly, add then cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots still have a bit of bite.
    2. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 mins until tender, drain well, then mash with the margarine and season to taste. Pile the bean mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the vegan cheese and remaining thyme or herbs.
    3. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cook for 20 mins if cooking straight away, or for 40 mins from chilled, until golden and heated all the way through. Serve with broccoli or a large mixed salad.

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London Vegan Bird.

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5 American products I wish were in the UK

Ok so some of these products may be available online now, but here’s 5 vegan foods that I wish were more widely available.

Lara Bars

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Ah my absolute favourite. I discovered these a few years ago and every trip since I have stocked up or else requested from my American based friends to bring some over on their visits. Like Nakd bars but a touch bigger and with flavours such as Peanut Butter and Jelly Cherry Pie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. https://www.larabar.com 

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter by Bell Plantation

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I discovered this product after my peanut butter obsession was getting a little out of control and I wanted an alternative with all of the taste and less of the calories. This is made by removing over 85% of the fat from premium quality peanuts.Great in smoothies and porridge. https://www.bellplantation.com

Earth Balance Popcorn 

I have heard great things about this range. I have only ever tried the dairy free margarine from Earth Balance but am itching to get my hands on the aged white cheddar flavoured popcorn. http://earthbalancenatural.com

Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream 

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You might have heard of a little ice-cream company called Ben and Jerry’s? And I’m sure it is not news that they launched 4 vegan varieties in the US back in February. When are we getting them in the UK, B&J, when? http://www.benjerry.com

Gardein 

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Ok so we have Fry’s over here which is tremendous but I am still desperate to discover more of the Gardein range after trying an amazing chick’n dish in a Florida restaurant a few years ago.  First on my list is their Szechuan Beefless Strips followed a close second by their Barbecue Chick’n Wings. https://gardein.com 

I would love to know what’s on your wish list.

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London Vegan Bird

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Vegan 101: Eggs

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Continuing on with my Vegan 101 series, my beginners guide to veganism. This time I’m looking at Eggs so let’s begin with some FAQs.

What’s wrong with eggs? The facts

  • Living Conditions at egg factory farms are terrible. Caged hens are kept in cramped conditions with wire mesh floors. What’s more,their beaks are cut off so as not to peck each other from frustration.
  • Male chicks are killed. Because male chicks are no use to the egg industry, they are either ground up alive or suffocated. And yes, this happens on Free Range and Organic farms too.
  • They’re not healthy Despite being heavily marketed as a health food (raw egg smoothie anyone?), eggs actually have zero dietary fiber, and about 70 percent of their calories are from fat—a big portion of which is saturated. They are also loaded with cholesterol (eggs have 3 times more cholesterol than a steak).
  • Chickens have been genetically modified to produce 300 eggs per year instead of their normal 17. How can this be good for the chickens?
  • The life span of chickens naturally is 10-15 years. In the egg industry, it is just 2 years.

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But what about Free Range or Organic?

Free Range means that hens must have outside space. However, there are no rules to say how often the chickens go outside. And in truth, many never do.

Organic hens have less crowded living conditions indoors and debeaking is forbidden but unfortunately, feather pecking is still a problem (when one bird repeatedly pecks at the feathers of another).

What if the eggs come from my own pet chickens?

This is rare that this scenario actually exists but apart from the fact that these eggs are not ours to take, they are not healthy either (as explained above). Not to mention the fact that eggs really are an equivalent to a chicken’s period. Gross.

What are the Alternatives?

The wonderful news is that there are tons of alternatives to eating eggs. On toast and as part of a Full English (vegan) breakfast, why not try Tofu scramble. Follow Your Heart even has a Veganegg product that is pretty darn similar.

For baking, you can use an egg replacer http://www.orgran.com/products/174/, flaxseed, apple sauce, cornstarch, vegetable oils, tofu, apple cider vinegar…the list goes on.

 

32125_1For more information: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/scary-egg-facts/ and http://freefromharm.org/eggfacts/

For studies into the health of eggs, see here: World Health Organization and here National Institutes of Health s International Urology and Nephrology.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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