It’s that time of the month again, time for a rundown of all the things we’ve been loving in the last thirty days and this month we’re very much food centered, looking at our favorite Vegan and Gluten Free discoveries.
I know, I know, back at the end of January Vegan was a dirty word in our house and I for one, was never going to go there again, but time ticks on and things change and so again we find ourselves in a position where being Vegan, or at least, as Vegan as possible isn’t just a challenge but actually a little bit necessary.
To cut a long story short, and to retain some of my wife’s privacy, the long and short of it is that a dairy and gluten free diet was suggested to Sarah as a way to manage certain symptoms of a wider problem and although we were sceptical as to how well it would work it has actually been extremely effective particularly in managing the pain. When Sarah first floated the idea I agreed to be supportive, I’ve been supportive of her vegetarianism for as long as we’ve been together and she’s never expected me to become a vegetarian, however, because it’s much easier, I do tend to eat a predominantly vegetarian diet, often opting for the veggie option even when we are eating out (something that I think stems from eating quite a lot of veggie food when I was growing up because my dad was a veggie). This time round I stated very simply I would eat the same as her in the house but when we were out (or I was at work) it was fair game, still remembering the hell of January and not even close to committed to put myself through that permanently.
It turns out though, it’s actually easier when it’s an option not a rule, and I’m finding myself making more and more Vegan or Vegetarian decisions than ever before. I think trying in January has helped, it meant that we were already aware of some things we could eat, I had some recipes we enjoyed that I could make easily and we knew some of the accidentally vegan things we could eat, but it’s been so much easier to do this time round (and I’m much more organised).
I’ve also found myself in the rather bizarre position of contemplating actually going at least Vegetarian for the first time in my life. In the past it isn’t even something I’ve considered (I tried it for Lent one year and caved the first Sunday when I realised that being vegetarian meant no meat on my Sunday dinner), I like meat too much, bacon sandwiches, honey glazed gammon, chicken in just about everything, but I’ve been eating less and less recently and I haven’t missed it.
Just last week I threw out two chicken breasts that I’d bought with the intention of having them for lunch through the week but had opted to have falafel and humus wraps instead and I spent a whole dinner feeling slightly uncomfortable and guilty even, when the main course was a salmon fillet and in Ask at the weekend I didn’t even look at the normal menu and went straight for the vegan menu. I’m not about to put a label on myself at this point, it might just be a faze that might pass in a few weeks and I’ll be back to craving meat again but I’m just going to ride it out and see what happens.
We’ve been working on it for a few months, since March ish and we are getting better and better at cutting the animal products out altogether, I’m also finding myself checking labels more and more and thinking about my food more which I don’t think is a bad thing. We’ve joined a couple of Vegan groups on Facebook that are equal parts helpful and entertaining and there are some Youtubers I really rate when it comes to tips, recipes and ‘accidental vegan’ videos, as well as some Instagram accounts which share recipes and advice. So in this blog I’m going to focus on our fav food finds but I think that there is at least another blog in this somewhere so keep your eyes peeled.
I’ve tried to put a mixture in but I’m going to be real with you, I cook a lot from scratch so meal wise we are pretty set unless we are eating out, but snaking is the thing that has been revolutionised this time round!
If someone had told me about Vego chocolate bars in January I’m pretty sure I would have been far less miserable! While there is absolutely nothing wrong with Tesco or Asda’s own dairy free chocolate (I discovered Asda do a chocolate orange one yesterday which is quite pleasing) Vego is something else altogether. It perfectly recreates that decadent guilt that you feel when you finish a whole bar of really, really good chocolate and that is just the single serve bar, I’m yet to buy a share bar, mostly because I’m terrified that I would eat the whole thing myself!
My boss also bought me a Mini Moo’s honeycomb dairy free bar last week and it was amazing, not as decadent as the Vego but probably also better if you just want a little bit of something sweet and want to avoid that sicky feeling you get when you over indulge! I’d never seen the Mini Moo’s before but apparently Sainsburys is the place to get them. (Sainsburys is still one of the few supermarkets I haven’t been to to have a look at their free from stuff)
I think the real game changer for me has been discovering Vegan Tuck Box, it’s where I first discovered Vego and is one of the best value for money boxes I have ever bought. It is essentially a vegan snack subscription box but you can also buy one off boxes, which is what I did because they had an offer on (I’m a sucker for a bargain!). Not only was the box I got Vegan but also Gluten Free which is even better since we are trying to do both as much as possible. The box contained 11 items and the only things left now are the burger mix which I plan to use for tea one night this week, and the vegan pate which I plan to have in my sandwiches this week. There wasn’t a thing in the box I didn’t like, though there are a few things that Sarah stole off to work that I didn’t get to try! The wagon wheel was a revelation, I’ve never enjoyed a Wagon Wheel so much in my life and the Vegan caramels were an absolute dream. I liked the box so much that I have thought on more than one occasion that I might cancel my stationary subscription box (anyone who knows me knows this is a huge deal!) to replace it with this one though Sarah talked me out of it and suggested we just buy one off boxes every now and then (I think this is because she knows that Papergang day is my favorite day of the month.)
Holland and Barret has been a bit of a lifesaver too, especially while they have their buy one get one half price sale on. We’ve had some smashing sausages and bacon from there as well as the pies pictured above which were amazing. The pies were so good that we both said we could eat another as soon as we had finished the first and, despite my reservations (and memories of Quorn Bacon) the bacon was an excellent edition to the vegan mac and cheese I made last night, so much so that we both had seconds and there were no leftovers! They are also good for snacks, I’m a particular fan of the chili and lemon lentil chips and on more than one occasion have accidentally eaten the whole bag before I’ve even noticed what I’m doing and they have a massive selection of snack bars and protein bars that I am slowly working my way through.
Next month we are moving house in the same week that I am away at camp with my Guides which is probably going to test my resolve, though it might strengthen it. Luckily one of the guides is Vegan so we’ll be eating the same thing but because I’m in charge of food I’ll be handling all of the none Vegan stuff too. So because of this madness I want to know; what are your favorite camping hacks and what are your favorite house moving/ packing hacks? Because I’m looking around at the moment and I have no earthly idea how we are going to pack all of this stuff!
I really am going to try my hardest to get a mid month blog out this month which will be easy because I finish work for the summer on Friday but for now I’m going to start going through my books and getting rid of some (even if I just get rid of one that’s an achievement right?)
Till next time!