Saturday, February 17, 2018

FebuDairy-Free

Hello my beautiful noble reader.

I hope this new year has been kind to you thus far. I'm sorry work has swept me away once again, but I could not let the Chinese New Year pass without wagging my earth dog tail and greeting you all with a resounding happy new year!


It's the year of the Earth Dog! Don't you just love dogs? They're so loyal and loving and always happy when you come home. Like most people, I feel like dogs are part of our family. We would protect them like we would our own children.

You know what's coming next right? Why protect dogs and not other animals equally intelligent, loyal and deserving of love? If you were not keen on taking the Veganuary challenge with me in January - I invite you to try going dairy free this month. Yep, FebuDairy- free. It's a thing. I'm not saying to have to give anything else up. Just try swapping out your dairy products for delicious plant-based alternatives.

Not sure where to start - head on over to the good folks at Veganuary and they'll help you out. Or you can reach out to me. I'm still new at this and had a ton of questions myself so I know exactly how you feel.

Happy new year and all the very best for 2018!
xoxo
Shan


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Confessions of a Cheese Addict

Well Noble Reader, we're nearly two weeks into the new year and halfway through Veganuary. If you have elected to take the challenge to go vegan with me, how are you making out? Have you made any new discoveries about yourself? Have you been tempted? Or maybe it's been easy for you and if that is the case, I'd love to hear how you've sailed through it all.

There's a reason that I personally hadn't ever taken the full plunge into an entirely plant-based diet up until now and I can sum that up for you in one word -- CHEESE. I confess, I'm one of THOSE people. The people who learn that someone is a vegan and say to them - but what about cheese? How can you possibly live without cheese? I used to put it on everything - from pizza and pasta to salad, nachos and sandwiches.

Lemme take you back a bit to how I originally became a vegetarian as a teenager. All it took for me was meeting a cow. Seeing her face to face, looking into those sweet brown eyes, I knew I could never eat her. And those adorable pink little piglets? Fluffy white lambs? Forget about it. Eating animals was out of the question. But I'd never made the connection about the harm dairy causes cows and what having a fried egg means for the chickens who produce them or who are unlucky enough to be born a boy.

Cut to years later in my thirties... I'm busting my ass working out with Tracy Anderson's Metamorphosis workout and I just couldn't seem to shed my muffin top and someone said these magic words - "you must eat more lean protein." So I added fish to my diet. It was then, I believe, that I began to lose my way. My vanity vetoed my compassion for fish and I was oblivious to what we were doing to this planet's oceans. Did I lose the muffin top by adding fish to my diet? Initially maybe yes, but I was following Tracy's prescribed diet at the time which amounted to about 800-1000 calories a day - so yeah. I lost it. But once I started eating normally again, my middle grew again. Turns out sugar was the real culprit. For more on that you can check out My Solution for cutting out sugar.

But even though I managed to kick the sweet stuff, I never gave up the fish. So I thought going vegan was going to be doubly hard, being that I had to let go of eggs, dairy and fish. What the hell was going to eat? Maybe you've asked yourself the same question. Or maybe I'm alone in this giant crazy universe. Either way - I haven't starved. In fact, the opposite has happened.

Making the choice to be plant-based in my diet has opened me up to so many more options than I'd ever thought possible. And one of those options is cheese. Yep, you read that right. Cheese. I stumbled across this fantastic Toronto-based company called Culcherd who specialize in butterless butter and Tree-nut cheeses and it is the best thing ever! I'm telling you, if I didn't know the difference, I'd swear I was having cream cheese.


This is the flavor that my love affair started with. It's fantastic on Mary's Gone Crackers vegan gluten free crackers.


The best part is that because I got brave enough to try something new {fussiest eater on the planet over here} I've been venturing further afield and have been experimenting more in the kitchen. In fact just this morning I made glorious Banana Muffin Tops from Oh She Glows. And yep - they're sugar free, gluten free, vegan and most importantly DELICIOUS! Thanks Angela!

I even spoke with my Mother In Law this morning and it's been five weeks since she's eaten meat! She's turned into a little vegetarian. Incredibly, she cooked a roast dinner for the family this afternoon but she didn't eat the meat. I'm proud to puddles - she makes me weep this woman, honestly. If she can be a vegetarian then for crying out loud I can be vegan. And in fact am happy to be.

Today is another day that no one had to die to feed me. That's pretty darn cool people. Would love to hear how you're doing with it all. Leave me a comment below.

xoxo
Shan

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Where there's a will...

It's my last weekend before I head back into the office, so wanted to write a post to share some really great news! You know that old expression - where there's a will there's a way? Well, I'm amending it to - where there's a will, Amazon has a way! I'm not saying we can shop away all our troubles, but when you're addicted to your instant foamy milk drink and said foamy milk drink contains dairy and you need a way to create a foamy milk drink at home that is both instant and dairy free -- well my dears, look no further than Amazon.

I don't know if I've ever shared this, but I have a tiny kitchen. I mean to tell you it's the size of a postage stamp. It's so small you have to leave it to have the space to change your mind, you hear what I'm saying. You know the beautiful vegan feast I made over the holidays? That was possible because I was staying in a rental cottage that had a palace of a kitchen. Mine? Not so palatial. In fact I think the bathroom in a palace would put my kitchen to shame. In fact I know it would.

So anyway... I have been oooohing and awing over getting an espresso machine that has a foamy milk maker attached to it but as I was doing all the research, I found out a couple of things. The really good ones cost you an arm and a leg - both of which I need for work on Monday -- and even the crappy ones take up a boat-load of space - which if you've been reading - you know I do not have! In my desperation {frustration} I googled milk frother because I wondered if there was such a thing as just the foamy milk maker. Ha!! Turns out there is. Who knew?

Did you know? If you knew, why didn't you friggin' tell me. I've been dying over here. Compassion - that's my virtue for January so I guess this means I can't hold a grudge so you're forgiven. {This time. But don't let it happen again, you gotta tell me shit, I don't get out much}

After a bit more research -- BAM! I was ordering and having a foamy milk maker delivered by Prime so of course it came the very next morning and voila! Look look look!


Isn't she gorgeous! And she's only knee-high to the base of my vitamix, so petite, so pretty, yet so powerful! Omigod it's love. I've been experimenting and she froths soy the best. Almond is a close second. Cashew milk? Not so much. Yuck. I've made cappuccinos and chai tea lattes for He Who Shall Not Be Named. So quick and easy and no muss no fuss.

Don't give up. If you have a favorite food or beverage that you fear going vegan will make you sacrifice, think again my beauties. There is always a way to veganize everything. So do me a favor will ya? Get your butts over to Veganuary and sign your ass up if you haven't done so already. This movement is growing.

Speaking of growing, that's the other bit of amazing news I have to share. We spent the Christmas holiday with He Who Shall Not Be Named's mom, my mother in law. She came over from England and spent the whole holiday being my fabulous sous chef in the kitchen. And she did confess before she came, she was really worried about being holed up in a cottage in the woods for two weeks with a coupla plant-eaters. We did tell her she could have chicken or fish or whatever she felt she needed. But once here, she decided to go with the flow.

She did so well. The only thing she had that wasn't vegan was cheese. The woman lives on a dairy farm for crying out loud, cut her some slack. In any case, that isn't the news. The news is that once she got back to England, she went to spend a couple of days with her daughter, my sister in law. On her second day there, her daughter offered to cook her up a roast lamb dinner for the following day {I even find that hard to type as I have never ever eaten lamb - except for one accidental and very unfortunate incident that I rarely like to talk about} My MIL said she thought that would be okay.

On the day in question, she woke up, went to her daughter and asked: Would it be okay if I had a vegetarian meal instead? What? Whaaaaat?! When she shared this with me I burst into tears of joy. Mary's little buddy was safe for another day. She of course told me that she was in no way going to become a vegan {Sure Jane, it's just a matter of time love} and that she wasn't even sure she could be vegetarian because she'd still like to cook her roast dinners for the family on Sundays. To me, this was a massive victory for the little animals. If someone like my Mother in Law could find it in her heart to make better choices, so can the rest of the world. If you can't be a vegan, try vegetarianism. If that seems too hard still, then do it a couple of times a week, or one meal a day. You choose. But the sooner we lighten the load off animal agriculture - the better off our whole world will be.

Enjoy your weekend.
Loads of love,
Shan

And PS I adopted a pig.
Well, I didn't adopt so much as sponsor - it already has a home on a cozy farm sanctuary - I'm just chipping in to help pay for food and stuff. Cool right? You can too - check out the directory to find a sanctuary near you and pick an animal that you can help.