Vegans! When is a Vegan not a Vegan?

Veganism can be an emotive topic for many. There are a few definitions floating around the internet but the Vegan Society says it is:

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Is this duck a vegan?I do notice the words ‘as fast as possible and practical’. The reason I am writing this blog post is that I now identify myself as a Vegan. Some may take umbrage at that because of the way I got here and the reasons I stay vegan.

I am inherently selfish. There I said it.  I am not a vegan for the animals but by being a vegan, I help the animals from exploitation. If it quacks like a duck, talks like a duck, walks like a duck … you know the saying.

Why am I a Vegan?

I have lived with eczema and asthma my whole life. I have been very ill up to the middle of this year in fact. I have been making gradual changes to my life and I have been improving but it wasn’t until five weeks ago that I saw dramatic change. That is when I switched to a plant based diet. It’s not all about a plant based diet though. I wash in olive oil soap (even my hair), my creams consist of coconut milk and I don’t own a leather jacket. I don’t even have a pet! …because you guessed it, I’m allergic to them.

Since I became vegan, my skin has cleared up and I take my asthma pump less. There has been only one hiccup which when I accidentally drank something with lemon in, (I am still very allergic to citrus fruits – veganism can’t help with that one!). I’m unfortunately still recovering from the lemon incident but the effects would have been a lot worse prior to becoming vegan.

There are certain things that vegans believe in or do. I’m going to say where I fit into these categories and I’ll let you see whether you think I qualify for the term vegan!

Beauty

I’ve never agreed with animal testing. It’s not about hurting the animals (although I don’t like it) but I don’t see the point of it. It is illogical. Animals are (obviously) animals and we are humans we are going to have different reactions. On the couple of times in my life that I did check out dubious cosmetics from big brands, I have been allergic to them. Testing on animals is just pointless and cruel for no reason. To be extra, especially honest, I don’t actually wear cosmetics anyway these days. I used to wear it for a job interview or a special night out but since I usually get an allergic reaction regardless of how ethical it was made I tend to avoid it for the most part unless I really, really need to. Those situations are rare.

Some soaps are based on animal products. I just think that’s yucky. You are meant to be washing with it not putting remnants of dead corpses on your bits. I use olive soap for everything. Also, when I clean the house, a far as I know, bleach and vinegar haven’t been near animals either.

Medicines

The Vegan society, say we shouldn’t worry about that one, so I’m not.

Fashion

Let’s be frank here, no one would ever accuse me of being a fashionista. I’m a jeans and long sleeved t-shirt gal. I have never owned a fur coat in my life and I never will. The only thing that might have animal products in, might be my trainers and they feel man made to me. Plus they were bought before I made the decision to be vegan.

Entertainment

I’m not sure how this would apply. I think circus animals have been banned but I haven’t been in a circus since I was 12 anyway. I haven’t been to a zoo since I was a kid but I have been to a safari park (not the hunting kind). I think zoos and safari’s have their place as long as the animals are treated well. In a lot of cases they are dying out in the wild and while I still think they would be better off in their natural habitat, I’d rather they existed than become extinct – with the caveat that they are well looked after.

I think the conservatives aim of bringing back fox hunting is abhorrent and I’m not keen on horse racing. I may have tried my hand at gambling a few years ago but I mainly bet on football teams and they get paid enough to play their games!

Delicious vegan foodVegan Food

People who eat a plant based diet are called dietary vegans according to Wikipedia. Take off the dietary and you have the word vegans – so I’m laying claim to it. I have been going vegan for a very long time. I used to joke I was either a meat eater or a vegan, there was no middle ground. This is because I am allergic to dairy. There was no way I could become a vegetarian. So, 5 weeks ago I completely eliminated all animal products from my diet. It wasn’t actually hard and I don’t miss it. It was easy at the beginning. I just switched burgers to vegan burgers, sausages to Linda McCartney sausages etc. Now, it is getting harder because I am trying to be more healthy as well as not eating meat, dairy or eggs. I used to like the odd salmon sandwich but that is out as well. Still I am learning every day and there are recipes out there to help us newbies and I’ll get through it. It has helped I’ve been dairy free since I was a child. I can still have my scrumptious raspberry ripple cheesecake.

Christmas as a vegan will be the true test but there is so much food out there that is ready made like Fry’s vegan sausage rolls and I’m dying to try out a nut roast. I’ve known vegetarians who are s-o-o strict the rest of the year but have the ‘end of the roast beef’ during Christmas dinner. I definitely won’t be doing that!

The benefits of being a vegan have been good. My health has improved and my hair is getting thicker. I did lose a bit of weight at the beginning but it has stabilised now which is boring. I think that possibly cutting back on the vegan chocolate might be an idea!

So what do you think, do I qualify? I might not be doing it for the animals but the effect is the same.

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Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake – No Dairy, no Citrus and No Bake!

The coconut, raspberry ripple cheesecake that tastes nothing like coconuts!

cheesecakes

Are you allergic to dairy? Have you been craving a squishy dairy-like pudding? No fear, this desert was designed for you. This recipe is also suitable for vegans.


Ingredients

For the base

  • 125g Vitalite (or butter if you are not allergic to dairy)
  • 150g Chocolate Chip Cookies (I used Foxs Chunkie Cookies Dark Chocolate)

For the Raspberry Puree

  • 200g Frozen raspberries
  • 60g icing Sugar

For the Cheesecake

  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 400g Cream Cheese substitute (I used Vialife made from coconut cream but you can use Tofutti)
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 320g Coconut cream

Anything else

  • You will also need lots of mixing bowls, measuring scales, rolling pin, whisk. sieve.

The Base

Step 1: Put your biscuit of choice in a plastic bag and whack it like it’s an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife.

Step 2: Melt the Vitalite (15 seconds in the microwave) and mix it with the cookie crumbs.

Step 3: Add the base to your individual dishes and put them in to your refrigerator until you are ready to fill with cheesecake.

The Raspberry Ripple

Step 4: Defrost the raspberries if they haven’t already done so and mix in the icing sugar until they look like pigeon poo.

Step 5: Push the raspberries through the sieve to remove seeds and put to one side.

The Cheesecake

Step 6: Empty the Cream Cheese into a bowl and give it a stir. If you can fit in a few gym sessions before doing this step all the better.

Step 7: Add the caster sugar and vanilla into the cream cheese and mix thoroughly. If your toddler hits your arm while you are pouring in the vanilla don’t worry it will still taste fine.

Step 8: Take out the coconut cream from the fridge and whip until there are soft peaks or you are seriously bored with beating it.

Step 9: Fold the coconut cream into the cream cheese mixture. Tip, don’t accidentally get your finger in the mixture. It is seriously distracting how awesome it tastes at this stage.

Step 10: Take out the dishes you are putting the cheesecake in and add three quarters of the mixture on top of the base you put in earlier.

Step 11: Dribble some raspberry puree in each of the dishes.

Step 12: Add the remaining cheesecake mixture to the dishes.

Step 13: Drizzle some more raspberry puree on top and add a raspberry for decoration,

Step 14: Put the dishes back into the refrigerator to set for at least a couple of hours. Get some handcuffs and cuff yourself to something away from the puddings until the time you planned to eat them.

Step 15: Eat and enjoy!