vegan lifestyle

Top tips for going vegan in 2015

As today is the last day of 2014, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and all of its ups and downs. Transitioning into a vegan lifestyle and starting this blog is by far one of the best things that has happened to me this year. Not only am much healthier now, but I also feel so much happier in the knowledge that I am living a cruelty-free lifestyle. I feel really fortunate to have been able to connect with so many like-minded people through my blog and instagram, and have loved promoting a kind lifestyle. Over the past 6 months, I have received a lot of questions from people considering the vegan lifestyle, particularly with regards to how I made the transition and if I’ve faced any challenges. So for my final post of 2014, I thought it’d be fun to share my top 5 tips for transitioning into a vegan lifestyle.top tips for going vegan

Before I get into my top tips, I thought I’d share a funny little story with you all. Before publishing a post, I usually ask someone to proofread it for me to catch any silly spelling mistakes I’ve inevitably made. This post’s proofreader, who wishes to remain anonymous, suggested I change ‘the lifestyle’ to ‘the vegan lifestyle’ in the opening paragraph as apparently it refers to swingers (I’m not sure how they know this ;)?!) At first I thought they were pulling my leg but after a quick google, it turns out it’s true. So if you’re looking for some interesting NYE reading, just google ‘the lifestyle’. Anyway, back to my top 5 tips for transitioning into a vegan lifestyle; I hope you all find them helpful!

Visit your local health food store and get creative in the kitchen

One of my favourite things about going vegan has been learning how to cook. I used to be what you would call a ‘junk-food vegetarian’, surviving on a whole lot of pizza and pasta. However, I love that I now have a reason to get into the kitchen and create healthier and cruelty-free versions of some of my old favourite dishes. I have also loved discovering lots of exciting new health foods which has led to an improvement in my overall wellbeing – a huge but unexpected benefit of this lifestyle.

food art

Educate yourself about the meat, dairy and egg industries

As a lifelong vegetarian who didn’t use any products that were tested on animals or wear any leather clothing, I thought my lifestyle was about as cruelty-free as they come. However, when I started to expose myself to the hidden truths behind the dairy and egg industries, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t gone vegan sooner! Understanding the cruelty of factory farming, as well as the health and sustainability benefits of a vegan lifestyle will give you a good foundation for making the transition. Personally, just doing some online reading was enough to make me want to go vegan but if you’re looking to learn more about a vegan lifestyle there are some great documentaries out there such as: Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, Earthlings and Vegucated.

cute micro pig

Go as slow as you need

Having been a vegetarian for the majority of my life, I didn’t find the transition into a vegan diet too difficult. However, I can imagine that for a meat eater it would be a huge change. I started with ‘vegan mondays’ that quickly turned into vegan tuesdays, wednesdays and before I knew it, I was eating entirely vegan. I think it’s really important to make the transition in whichever way works best for you, whether you’re able to cut out all animal products straight away, or whether it takes you a couple of weeks, or a couple of months.

vegan cauliflower cocktail

Ask questions and do lots of research

I love connecting with other vegans, as being newly vegan in a non-vegan world can be quite daunting, so it’s really nice to chat to other people who share your passion and can offer advice. I have really enjoyed  getting to know some lovely and inspiring vegans through my JGV interview series which you can check out here. I’d also recommend reading lots of vegan blogs for inspiration on everything from cruelty-free fashion, to vegan recipes, to tips on the best places to eat out. One of my favourite sources of vegucatation is Alicia Silverstone’s website The Kind Life and I would highly recommend you check it out.

alicia-silverstone

Never let the haters get you down

There will inevitably be people who disagree with your lifestyle choice and want to let you know about it. I don’t like to get into negative conversations, so whenever possible I try to briefly explain to people why I chose this lifestyle and that it works for me and then change the subject. However, if people don’t want to accept it, I’ve  found that the best way to deal with it is, in the words of the absolute goddess that is Taylor Swift, to ‘Shake it off!’

Taylor-Swift-Shake-It-Off

I hope these tips are helpful for any of you considering going vegan and if you have any more tips or even questions, feel free to leave a comment in the box below. I hope you all have a great NYE and I’m looking forward to expanding the blog and connecting with even more of you in 2015!

Interview with Lindsay of lindsaylivingvegan.com

For the second post in the JGV Interview Series, I am thrilled to welcome Lindsay from lindsaylivingvegan.com to the blog to share her story. I recently connected with Lindsay when she interviewed me for her blog (you can check out that interview here) and it turns out we have a ton in common, including our love for animals being our motivation for going vegetarian at such a young age and more recently making the transition into veganism. Lindsay’s blog has lots of incredibly yummy recipes that are in a great easy to download format, so if you’re looking for food inspiration, you need to check her out! It was so fun for me to find out more about Lindsay’s vegan story and I’m sure you’ll love reading about it as much as I did ▷►▹▸

Lindsay Living Vegan

Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences?

A: I guess you can say that my journey started when I was 4 years old. My step-moms dad has a ton of land in Wisconsin that people go onto for hunting. So when I was little we would drive up there and I would just be surrounded in that atmosphere. I remember that on weekends up there I would be so excited to spend all my time with their dogs that they used for hunting. I have always been the hugest animal lover and being around dead animals that people killed for fun just didn’t make sense to me. Being so young, I was terrified by the idea of eating animals so I refused to eat them and became vegetarian. I was an odd vegetarian because I also didn’t eat eggs or drink cow milk but I was addicted to cheese. About a year ago is when I started getting into nutrition and realizing how horrible the dairy industry is. I did a ton of research because I became obsessed with the subject and I quickly became full on vegan. Reading books and watching documentaries were my main inspirations!

Q: What would your top tips be for someone wanting to go vegan?

A: My top tips for someone wanting to go vegan is to get educated on the food industry and to start off slow to get your body and mind in check with becoming vegan. I don’t think most people really understand how the food industry works, especially here in America. People are addicted to chemicals and ingredients that are put into our food. Cutting out processed food is the best thing that you can do for yourself. I always promise people that once they know the dark side of the food industry, then they will want to cut foods out of their lives. Going slow and listening to your body is number 1.

Q: You have an awesome blog where you share recipes, beauty product reviews and so much more. Tell us about your blogging journey and the inspiration behind LLV.

A: Thanks so much! I have been following blogs for a few years now and I have always loved writing to express my feelings. I spend a lot of my time learning new things and creating recipes so I thought that since I am already doing all the work, I might as well blog about it! Blogging to me has been pretty life changing in the fact that I have finally found something that I love to do. I am now in the process of becoming a health coach and launching my own practice. I want to be able to help people live happier and healthier lives whether they become vegan or not. I have found that connecting with people and helping them with their health is my purpose in life. Oh and saving animals :).

Q: You’ve shared some incredibly yummy looking recipes on your blog. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: This is a super hard question for me. I have an addictive personality so when I get into a food, say zucchini noodles, I will eat it for 2 months straight. I love all types of food and love falling in love with new creations. I would have to say pizza is the one meal that I would choose to eat for the rest of my life. There are a ton of ways to cook it so I would never get bored eating it!

Q: What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty/ hair product?

A: I must confess that I don’t have a favorite just yet. I am still experimenting with brands and finding ones that I love. I am currently using Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner for my hair and the occasional coconut oil as a mask. I am actually going to go makeup shopping this weekend to find some vegan and cruelty-free products so let me know if you have any recommendations :).

Q: Going vegan has been an incredibly healthy transition for me, what positive effects has adopting the vegan lifestyle had on you?

A: Oh my… so much has changed! I have so much more energy that the only caffeine I ever need is a cup of tea in the morning. My skin has cleared up and sometimes I feel like I am glowing. I have lost a little bit of weight but nothing major. Oh and I now feel so much more connected with myself and my body. So much has changed since going vegan that I could go on and on about it.

Q: Describe a day in the life of Lindsay.

A: Well right now a typical day during the week for me consists of waking up in the morning, walking my dogs and getting ready for work (I work at an advertising agency). When I get to work I sip on a green smoothie and then have a cup of tea. When it hits lunch time I run home to have lunch, usually a salad, and be with my dogs. After work I sometimes go to a barre class to get a workout in or I go straight home to make dinner, blog and be with my boyfriend. Pretty normal stuff. We are planning on moving to Chicago soon so once we move I will be a health coach and blogger full time as well as being the marketing director for my dads kitchen design company.

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

A: ” I am going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life”.

A huge thank you to Lindsay for sharing her story on JGV. Be sure to check out her lovely blog here: www.lindsaylivingvegan.com ♥

World Animal Day

This weekend, I celebrated World Animal Day in the best way possible: hanging out with some of my best friends and lots of adorable animals at Pennywell Farm; of course all whilst my besty and I sported our matching Peta2 Animal hats.

pennywell farm

I have always loved all animals and getting to spend quality time with them just solidifies in my mind how happy I am to be living a vegan lifestyle.  The animals at Pennywell are all adorable, and we definitely came dangerously close to sneaking one of the tiny piglets and/ or bunnies out in our jumpers. How freaking adorable are they?!

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I find it so strange that lots of people see dogs as pets, yet see pigs as food. Pigs make just as awesome companions as dogs and are such clever animals. Some fun facts about pigs: they have their own language, mother pigs sing to their young and some pigs have even been taught to play video games! That’s at least one thing that they’re better than me at… although admittedly given my shocking (lack of) FIFA skills, that’s not too surprising! If you need more convincing of how awesome pigs are, check out Esther the Wonder Pig. Esther is a total babe who is revolutionising the way we view pigs, one adorable picture at a time! I fully intend to share my home with a gorgeous piggy one day, but until then I will coo over cute pictures like this one on a regular basis ▶▷▸▹

How unbearably cute is that little face?!

micro piggy

Beautiful bunnies and micro piglets aside, we got the chance to chill out with lots of other gorgeous animals including: huge (and I mean huge) shire horses, cashmere goats, and lots of sheep. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the day ▶▷▸▹

pennywell

penywell

pennywell

pennywell

Summary of this post: I seriously need to live on a farm one day so that I can chill out with lots of beautiful animals like these on a daily basis! I hope you all had an awesome World Animal Day too, let me know if you got up to anything fun.

One more extremely exciting thing that happened this weekend; I was featured on the awesome Lindsay Living Vegan‘s blog. You can check out the interview here and be sure to check out the rest of her blog whilst you’re there as she has lots of great posts ranging from beauty to health to recipes. A huge thanks to Lindsay for inviting me onto her blog; I’m looking forward to featuring her in the JGV Interview Series soon.

lindsaylivingvegan

Vegan Afternoon Tea Recipe

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with afternoon tea. I have been having major cravings for it lately, so this bank holiday weekend I decided to make the most of my time off and made my first vegan afternoon tea – it did not disappoint! Aside from looking forward to all of the yummy food, I was also super excited to use the beautiful afternoon tea set that my boyfriend bought me for my 20th Birthday!

How cute is that ?! ▽▼▽▼▽

afternoon tea with jade green vegan

For me, afternoon tea is all about the sandwiches, which is strange as under other circumstances I’m not usually a sandwich fan. There’s just something about the tiny, bite size, variety of flavours in afternoon tea that makes the sandwiches so much better than usual! …Or maybe I’m just weird. Either way, these sandwiches were amazing so I’m beyond excited to share the recipe with you! The rest of it was pretty awesome too, so here it is…

Sandwiches

I made 3 different types of sandwiches on a mixture of white and whole grain bread and used Pure dairy free spread!

1. Guacamole and pine nut

I love guacamole so I was super excited to make this sandwich. Peel & mash one avocado, then mix in one clove of crushed garlic and squeeze a little lemon in the mix. Stir together and season with sea salt and ground black pepper before serving with a sprinkle of pine nuts.

guacamole and pine nut sandwich

2. Roasted veg and hummus

For my roasted veg sandwich I used: mushrooms, red onions, garlic & carrot, but what’s great about this is that you can just use whatever spare veg you have lying around in your fridge. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees, then drizzle the veg in garlic oil, season with sea salt and ground black pepper and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. The veg is then ready to be served with hummus. Side note: this was my first attempt at recreating an awesome sandwich that I had on my trip to Amsterdam and it was just as delicious as I remembered.

roasted veg and hummus sandwich

3. Pepper and sea salt seasoned salad

The final sandwich is super simple but so yummy; even my salad fearing boyfriend loved it! It includes: a slice of cucumber, a slice of tomato, a few pieces of sliced red onion (lots of slicing going on here guys!), a piece of iceberg lettuce and a thin slither of beetroot, all seasoned with sea salt and ground black pepper.

salad sandwich

I am feeling majorly hungry after writing that up! On to the sweet bits before I run downstairs and whack out the afternoon tea set!

Scones

In lieu of scones, I made my delicious oatmeal raisin cookies but shaped them into balls before cooking, giving them a softer, more gooey centre – yum! You can check out the recipe for these bad boys here. Alternatively, I’m sure there are some great vegan scone recipes out there, I was just too lazy to look; and plus these cookies are so good, I grab any opportunity to make them!

vegan oatmeal raising cookies

Cakes

For the cakes, I made the awesome Chocolate Covered Katie’s chocolate brownies. They didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped… maybe because I cooked them in a yorkshire pudding tray (I’m a goddess in the kitchen, in case you haven’t already picked up on that) but I rolled with it, quite literally… I rolled the gooey brownies into little cake balls! Despite their questionable appearance, they were delicious and the perfect end to my favourite meal!

chocolate covered katie brownies

Tea

Last but not least, for the tea we had hot lemon water. I’ve spoken before in my summer favourites post about how amazing this is for you; it’s also really easy to make!  Just put a couple of slices of lemon in the bottom of the tea pot, fill with boiling water, and then squeeze the remainder of the lemon into the tea pot.

hot lemon afternoon tea

I hope you enjoyed reading about my afternoon tea almost as much as I enjoyed eating it, which would be a lot! I would definitely recommend making this whenever you have a spare afternoon as it rocks! Aside from stuffing my face with sandwiches this weekend, I also went on a lovely long walk with my dogs in our local fields. Here they all are soaking up the sun!

cockapoos in meadow

I hope everyone else had a beautiful bank holiday weekend ♥♡

Vegan at YO! Sushi

Last night, after a bit of Glastonbury shopping with my mum (I just can’t help myself!) we went to Yo! Sushi for dinner. Now that I’m transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, there are obviously quite a few dishes in my favourite restaurants that I no longer eat; so I was beyond excited to discover that as a vegan I can still enjoy all of the same dishes I had as a vegetarian in Yo! Sushi. For this week’s ‘Being Vegan at’ post I thought it would be great to share last night’s eats with y’all.

Vegetable Gyoza – this is my all time favourite dish; they’re like little parcels of heaven!

Yo! Sushi Vegetable Gyoza

Pumpkin Karoke – these strips of pumpkin covered in breadcrumbs are awesome, and the ‘fruity’ sauce is just too good!

Yo! Sushi Pumpkin Karoke

Aubergine Salad – last night was the first time I’d tried this salad and it has become a new favourite;  the harusame sauce is delicious and I can’t wait to try to recreate this healthy snack at home!

Yo! Sushi aubergine

I was definitely full up after these 3 dishes but I’m also a big fan of the Kaiso Salad and Vegetable Yakisoba.

For a full list of vegan options currently available at Yo! Sushi, check out the Allergen section of their website here.

Vegan at Nandos!!

For this week’s ‘Being Vegan at’ post, I have chosen my favourite restaurant: Nandos!

Being a long-time vegetarian, and now transitioning vegan, people always find it weird when I say that Nandos is my favourite restaurant, but it is. I really love Nandos. I go there several times a week in hope that they’ll recognise me and finally deem me worthy of a black card. I’m still living in hope. Sidenote… check out Example & Ed Sheeran’s Nandos black card song below, absolute genius.

Anyway, back to the food. Their veggie burger is the best; so I was praying I could still have it when I became vegan. Good news is, on reading their website I found out that I can still have the burger filet, peri peri sauce (thank the lord!), salad garnish, and chips. However, the bad news is that this yummy burger cannot be sandwiched by one of their buns as they contain dairy. I decided to try the burger sans bun and actually really enjoyed it.

Next time, which of course was a few days later, I tried the veggie wrap without the mayonnaise and chilli sauce and this was even better. Another bonus is that when I said I was vegan, the staff were so helpful and accommodating. The manager brought out a huge, and i mean huge allergen menu and went through it with me to see what I could have. This (and the amazing food) is why I love Nandos!

vegan nandos

All of their bastes are suitable for vegans; and they also have a great range of vegan friendly sides including corn on the cob and a mixed leaf salad!

You can check out their vegan recommendation on their website here; and it’s definitely worth asking to see the allergen menu in the restaurant if you fancy mixing it up with some other sides as they are always adding new ones.

 

Vegan at Pret-a-manger

One of the things that worried me most about becoming vegan is eating out, as I’m not an ‘I’ll just have the side salad’ kinda gal.  I initially anticipated that this would now involve me dragging my friends & family around all of the London vegan restaurants; or picking at a plate of leaves in a more ‘mainstream’ restaurant whilst they ate. However over the past couple of weeks, as well as trying out Vegan restaurants such as Mildred’s & Bistro 1847 (yum!), I have become acquainted with a lot of Allergen menus in my favourite chain restaurants. I have been pleasantly surprised by the vegan options available and thought it would be great to share my experiences of eating out as a vegan  in mainstream restaurants in a series of ‘Being Vegan at…’ posts.

What better place to start than PRET-A-YUMMY (Pret-a-manger)?!

My job sends me all over London, so I am constantly grabbing breakfast and lunches on the go from coffee shops. Pret is my all time favourite, and turns out when it comes to Vegan options, they don’t disappoint.

Breakfast

For breakfast I have been loving the Super food fruit salad. It’s so refreshing, and with all of its goodness this yummy little pot is the perfect way to kick-start a busy day.

pret super fruit salad

Their smoothies and juices are also amazing; my favourite is the mango smoothie.

pret mango smoothie

Lunch

Last week, I tried Pret’s vegan friendly superfood sandwich for the first time. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have been putting this off for a while now, as I thought it looked ‘too green’ but I am so glad I tried it because now I am addicted!

pret superfood sandwich

They also do a great vegan-friendly butternut squash soup.

butternut squash soup

Snacks

On the snacks front, there’s a great range of vegan options: selected crisps, pretzels, drinks & of course fruity treats like dried mango.

Check out Pret’s allergen menu here for a full list of all of their vegan options. I have this bad boy downloaded on my phone, ready to whack out at any time!

10 reasons to go vegan

Since going vegan, I have been asked by so many people why I chose this lifestyle. There have been a lot of these moments…

i am vegan

However, it has also got me thinking. I’m always taken a little off guard and never know what to say when I’m asked this question, so I normally end up mumbling something about loving animals. The truth is, whilst my love for animals is my primary reason, I didn’t realise how many other amazing reasons I have until I started writing them all down. I thought it’d be fun to share my top 10 with you all, and also to maybe have somewhere to refer people to next time I get asked the question ;)…

My Top 10 Reasons for being Vegan

1. I have always loved animals, and this George Bernard Shaw quote pretty much sums it up Quotation-George-Bernard-Shaw-friends-Meetville-Quotes-156371

2. Animals are all sentient beings and I don’t believe that any of them have less of a right to live than I do

peace

3. Esther the wonder pig is so awesome and has shown us just how similar pigs can be to the dogs we love and share our homes with

esther the wonder pig4 cockapoos

4. Vegan food is awesome and I’m now so much more aware of what I’m putting into my body IMG_5973

5. I get to try out all of these cool, new vegan restaurants like Mildred’s and Bistro 1847 Bistro 1847 - battered vegetables

6. At 20 years old, I’ve finally given myself a good enough reason to learn to cook IMG_1392

7. Amazing people who I really admire, like Alicia Silverstone are great examples of how rewarding a vegan lifestyle can be

alicia silverstone

8. Since making this lifestyle change, I can honestly say I am feeling the healthiest I ever have vegans are healthier

9. I get to connect with like minded people and hopefully inspire people to live a kinder life through my vegan blog

blog

10. And if all of that isn’t convincing enough, who am I to argue with a genius?!

albert einstein veganism

I’d love to hear what made you decide to go vegetarian/ vegan in the comments box below this post?

My first entry in Jade’s Vegan Diary (Exciting!!!)

Hey and welcome to Jade’s Vegan Diary! I have been a vegetarian for the majority of my life and recently decided to become vegan. This decision was not only fueled by my love of animals, but also by the amazing health benefits that this awesome diet offers.

I am lucky that a lot of the people I’m closest to are either vegetarian or pescetarian, so I have never struggled in maintaining this diet. However, I know zero vegans so this lifestyle is completely new to me and has already been a massive learning curve since I started transitioning into it around a month ago.

In such a short space of time, I have already had so many amazing experiences and have learnt so much. On top of that, I am feeling the healthiest and most energised I have ever felt. I am so excited about living all aspects of this lifestyle, so  decided to start this blog as a way to share my experiences and connect with like-minded people.

On my blog, you can expect lots of yummy recipes; vegan and mainstream restaurant reviews; exercise and general healthy living  posts; vegan beauty product reviews… and really all things vegan! I’m sure I’ll also find a way to work in lots of stories about my amazing dogs, as everyone who knows me knows I always find a way to bring them into the conversation. They even have their own blog here; yep I’m one of those people!

One more thing to note about me, is that prior to becoming vegan my culinary skills were probably less extensive than those of most 5 year olds, so learning to cook and bake all of these yummy vegan foods has been a completely foreign but amazingly exciting experience for me.

I hope you enjoy getting to know me through this blog, and hopefully finding some inspiration is my stories and recipes. I’d love to hear from you so please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jade xx