Inspiration

Top 10 tips for new vegans

Travelling around, meeting and cooking for new vegans and the vegan-curious, reminds me how tough it can be at first.  Many people ask me for some tips to get started, so here’s my top ten.

Changing the way we live and have eaten is not something that happens overnight for most of us.  There are may ways of approaching this transition, but here are a few tips from my experience that can make things easier and result in a new healthy and positive lifestyle.

What vegans eat!  Huge burgers packed with flavour – recipe here.

VEGAN FOR ALL

Eating a vegan diet has never been so accessible and popular. Many of us now realise that it can be such a healthy and vibrant way to feed ourselves and our loved ones. Eating vegan minimises the suffering of animals, drastically cuts pollution and can open up a lifestyle that is based on compassion and greater awareness.  Yes, we do have to read the ingredients on packets and meal planning will take a little more thought at first, but these things seem minor when we take into account how much benefit we can do for animals, the planet and, with a balanced vegan diet, ourselves.  Vegans generally have lower cholesterol, body fat, risks of type-2 diabetes, cancer and blood pressure.  It’s a no lose situation and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

MY STORY

I was a vegetarian for years before becoming vegan and the transition was an instant thing.  I watched a documentary and that was it.  I was down to only occasionally eating cheese, but when I realised that there is no major difference between the meat and dairy industry as far as the cruelty to animals, I dropped the Christmas day Stilton for good.  It just didn’t seem worth it.  As things go, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I hope these tips help in your transition to a more peaceful and totally delicious way of living.

Going vegan seems to be infectious, I look around me, years later, and see many people I know and family members giving the lifestyle a go or at least cutting back on meat and dairy.  I didn’t have to say anything, I just cooked!

So here’s my Top 10 tips:

1 – Easy does it… – I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that we all go vegan overnight.  For most people, a transition period is needed.  Start to incorporate vegan staples into your life and try out your new batch of vegan staple recipes, things that are quick, healthy, easy and filling that can replace all your favourites; things like lentil spag bol, shepherd-less pie, macaroni cheeze, bakes/ casseroles, stews, salads, soups, curries, omelettes, pizza, cakes and cookies.  These are the old school favourites that are easy to prepare and we know, most people love.  They are also awesome when made vegan, everyone loves them!

Also, try out some vegan staple ingredients like nutritional yeast flakes, tofu, tempeh, nut butters, sweet potato, hummus, seitan, jackfruit; these are all interesting new additions to anyones diet and with the correct cooking, are delicious and nutritious.  Of course, who doesn’t love a bit of avocado on toast.  Avocado is an ingredient I find most vegans love to use.

You’ll find over 200 of our vegan recipes here.  

If you are struggling at first, maybe start with one day at a time and expand on that.  Say, Tuesday I’m all vegan, see how it goes and if you run into issues, see how you could avoid them.  Most people find it easy at home, but at work or when travelling/ eating out, slip up.  Slipping up is cool, don’t beat yourself up about anything, but there are lessons to be learned there and it normally involves planning a little better.  Calling restaurants in advance to check about vegan options, travelling with vegan snacks, taking out packed lunches/ dinners.  It’s also sometimes a case of just being happy with whats on offer, if its only chips and a salad, no problems.  By mentioning that you are vegan, the staff/ management will become aware of their growing need to adapt.  Sometimes I may write an email if there are no vegan options and it’s a restaurant that I like.

2- Try a plan – I’m no great planner, but I know they can help and will certainly assist with your weekly shopping, as you begin to seek out and buy new ingredients.  A vegan diet is in no way more expensive than any other, but you may need to gradually re-stock your cupboards with some new and exciting ingredients, keeping a good stock of fresh fruit and veg, dried fruit, nuts/ seeds, wholegrains and beans.  Plan a little extra time for cooking vegan dishes, it will take time to learn new techniques and there can be a few more ingredients to play with in the kitchen.

You could think about trying out Veganuary, I know many people who have used it as a base to go vegan long term.  There is loads of support and inspiration there.  Also, the Vegan Society have a 30 day vegan pledge that is well thought out and has all the nutritional information you could need.  For the record, a balanced vegan diet, based around fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts, dried fruits and whole grains is going to give your body and mind amazing nutrition, but I’d recommend your read more about vegan nutrition on the Vegan Society website.   The information there is easy to follow and practical.

I don’t know about you, but I love to learn more about the foods that I eat, the fuel for my body, and how it affects my health.   Nutritional deficiencies are an issue across the board, not just solely for vegans, there is a lot of misleading studies and articles out there; calcium, iron, omega fats and protein can all be readily found in a vegan diet.  Read up on Vitamin D, Iodine and B12 would be my advice.

All the nutrients without the animals

3- Fill up – When you’re getting used to a vegan diet, many people say that they feel hungry.  This is where I’d say fill up on high protein and carb foods.  Things like pulse/ legumes, nuts and seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa etc are all high in protein.  I guess the idea is to not just drop the meat or dairy from meals, but replace it with something nutritious and plant-based.

If you feel fatigued and weak at first, this will pass, remember that many athletes are now vegan and praise the diet for enhancing their recovery times and overall performance.

If you eat a lot of dairy, meat, drink alcohol and coffee etc, then just drop it all, your body will go through a detox period that can lead to fatigue, nausea and generally feeling rough.   Again this will pass, but unless you’re on a planned and even supervised detox, I wouldn’t recommend just dropping everything at once.  Meat and dairy also contain lots of fat, your body may crave it, maybe up the plant fats in your diet for a while.

You will most probably get cravings, stay strong and satisfy them in plant based ways.  After all, things like vegan chocolate, pizza, burgers and crisps are just as amazing as the other stuff.  The cravings go, hang in there!!

Key facts about a veganism

4- Find alternatives – This is becoming ever easier.  Cheeze, sausages, burgers, pizzas, yoghurt, milks, mayo, single cream, even creme fraiche are all available in most supermarkets.  You can also make your own if you have time, that is of course, our way, but the vegan diet is now convenience friendly for sure.  We all need a little convenience sometimes and this can help make things more sustainable in the long run.  Once you’ve found where everything is in your local shops, there will be vegan options in most places now, you can get into a new routine and whizz around in no time.

You’ll find that substituting the vegan options into your favourite recipes works.  There is cheese now that melts, cream that is creamy and mayo that hardly anyone can tell the difference between.  With the increased vegan market, there has been a general increase in vegan food quality.

Check out cereals and milks fortified with vitamins and minerals, these can be a great source of what we need.  Most new vegans I speak to mention how much more they think about their diet and the choices they make revolving around food, for me, this is one of the added bonuses of going vegan.  Educating ourselves and eating in new ways, it’s all fresh and creative.

It doesn’t all have to be pizzas, falafels and burgers, vegan cooking can be more refined. Pappardelle with Artichoke & Almond Sauce.

5 – If at first…. – You think tempeh and seitan are uurgh and tofu is not your thing, all is well.  These things need to be cooked right, and when they are, I find that most people love em!  However, a vegan cooks options are huge and they don’t need to be based around the classic vegan staples.  There are so many ways of making plant-based ingredients shine and you will get the hang of it.  Tastes change with time and who knows, maybe soon you’ll be digging seitan?!

6- Hit the umami – The big, savoury flavours, that we are used to in a meat/ dairy diet may not always be there for you when you are learning your new vegan recipe repertoire.  I say, go umami!  Giving  up our favourite foods is not easy, we’ve enjoyed them all our lives.  Things like mushrooms, yeast extract, olives, balsamic vinegar, fermented foods (kimchi!), sun dried tomatoes, tamari/ soya sauce, miso are high in umami and vegan cheeses are packed with it, like cheddar/ blue-style and Parmesan.

We can’t just rely on one big piece of roasted meat for flavour, we need to be creative, layer our flavours, tantalise our palate in new ways and be more conscious of pairing textures and colours.  Roast things, fry them up, get out a griddling pan or even better, a barbecue, use big and bold sauces and dressings.  The options for amazing vegan food are endless.  All of this is can be a challenge, but a great one, we’ll become better cooks and no doubt, more connected with the food we eat.

I travel a lot and know that it can be easy to be vegan on the road.

7- Vegan on the road, no probs! –  Check out local vegan restaurants, Happy Cow is a great source of info, and keep your eyes out for Lebanese (see above). Indonesian and Indian restaurants especially, there will be many vegan options there.   I find that most countries I travel to have a wide range of traditional dishes that are already vegan.  Of course, some countries are easier than others.  Also, always keep plenty of snacks on you, just in case.

8- Be gentle and kind with yourself – If you slip up, that’s normal.  If you are persistent, you will get there.  If you miss your daily kale smoothie hit, no problems.  Our diets have to be flexible and fun.  Having positive intentions is the key thing and not being disheartened when you first start out.  Your body, and digestion especially, may take a little time to get used to the shift, but after a few weeks, you’ll be flying!!

I believe that anyone can be vegan and very healthy, regardless of body type.  Many of the difficulties that arise in the transition period are in the mind, stay positive, join friendly and supportive local or on-line vegan groups and remember that you are joining a family of people, millions strong, who live well all over the world.  You’re not alone, but some people around you may be critical, which is their stuff entirely.  Stay true to the ethical reasons you chose to go vegan and spread your new lifestyle by communicating positively, not being drawn into arguments (which can be tough) and living the vibrant potential that a vegan diet offers.

9- Supplements are fine – I was a little put off at first about taking supplements, but they can really help us get what we need.  Many vegans take iron, omega fat, iodine and B12 supplements.  Also, maybe some vitamin D unless you live in a sunny place.  These are all good ideas and something that many people need a boost in, not just vegans.  There are fortified foods out there which will help with keeping us shining and well.

10- Stay positive and open – If you want to do it, you will.  If you stay positive, the whole process will be much more enjoyable.  This is not a punishment in anyway.  Going vegan should be a enjoyable thing, where you can learn and grow, meet new liked-minded people and gain new insight.  There will be times when people question your choices, you don’t have to go into detail or in at the deep end all the time, you can say you like the food or just change the subject.  Sometimes we don’t have the energy or resolve for a full-on debate and that is fine, many people hold strong views about a vegan lifestyle, but in my experience, most people are curious and open minded about it all, asking questions in good faith.

Just simple answers can work; good for animals, good for the planet, good for us.  Keeping our positive energy topped up is so important, conflict is draining, we need to take good care of ourselves physically and emotionally if we’re going to be at our best.  If we want to be shining lights for a brighter future for us all, we need to charge up!  If we are empathetic, and let’s face it most of us were not born vegan, we will have a much better platform for talking about veganism and a better chance that our message will be understood and considered.

How your diet can change the world

We should never feel bad or shy about speaking about veganism, but should be sensitive and constructive at the same time.  Again, these sometimes challenging conversations are an aspect of being a vegan that we can get used to with a little experience and support.  Ask fellow vegans for advice and don’t judge others.  If I communicate clearly and with sincerity, I find most people are open and receptive.  My approach is, preach from the plate, cook amazing food and enjoy it!  Good vegan food is a powerful message in itself.

If after, say a few months, you are no closer to being fully vegan, maybe revisit your original reasons for choosing this path.  Remind yourself of the motivation, ethical or otherwise, that stirred you into wishing to make a change.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about your vegan adventures and any challenges you faced.  What were the best bits?  I think one thing is clear, there is no one way, but there is always your way!  I feel that going vegan is not giving up anything, we’re actually gaining so much.  Peace and Good luck!

Here’s our vegan cooking group on facebook if you’re looking for inspiration and support.

I also like the group Vegan Food UK, lots of like minded, friendly vegans over there.

My favourite book relating to veganism is The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle.  Here’s one of my favourite vegan interviews with Will.

Carnage by Simon Amstell is brilliant and the Okja movie on Netflix I enjoyed.

Some popular vegan documentaries are What the HealthForks Over Knives (Health), Cowspiracy (Environment), Earthlings (Animal Agriculture/ Meat and Dairy Industry), Vegucated (New Vegans)

 

Categories: Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Nutrition, plant-based, Travel, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

The Healing Power of Nettles

Nettle tea - 2015 vintage

Nettle tea – 2015 vintage

After a strong nettle tea this morning, I feel supercharged and inspire to share the wealth of our green and bountiful friend.  The nettle plant is much misunderstood, yes it stings a bit, but there is so much more to nettles than that.  It is one of the healthiest plants that grows in temperate areas and is something we could all benefit hugely from incorporating into our diets.   Nettles are one of natures multivitamins (and the rest)!!

We love drinking nettle tea, its a complete health tonic and ideal first thing in the morning. The way we start our days is so very important, what we choose to put into our bodies after many hours sleeping can have a huge effect on our day and health in general.  Nettle tea is the perfect start!  It’s just one of those infusions that you know is doing you the power of good. Then you read a little into it and you’re certain. Nettles are packed full of pure plant power.

Nettles have historically been regarded as a superbly healthy food in many different cultures.  Milarepa the famous Tibetan sage and saint ate them when meditating for ten years in a cave, eventually turning green and gaining the ability to fly (I love these legends).  Sometimes I think we feel like exotic foods, with cool names, are our only source of sparkling nutrition.  However, there are so, so many super foods on our doorsteps (or nearby).

Milarepa - Green after a few too many nettles

Milarepa – Green after a few too many nettles

The nettle picking season is just around the corner and we’re very excited. Hopefully a few will be ready before we head over to the States. North Wales is quite a tough place to grow things however nettles love it and we go on massive picking sessions each year, drying them in our dehydrator or in the boot of our estate car (on very warm days). We can then store the leaves for tea and adding to soups and stews throughout the year. You can even pan fry the leaves or use them fresh, just like spinach. Its a way of stocking up on essential minerals, vitamins and a whole host of sparkling nutritional properties, not to mention that the tea tastes wonderful. Its in the realm of green tea with a few added nuances. Some say its an acquired taste, but I think most are?! When the leaves are fresh, they have a lighter flavour. Free wonderfoods fresh from the hedgerow, now you’re talking!!

Nettles grow prolifically throughout the temperate areas of the world.  They actually thrive on the waste we produce and interestingly, large patches of nettles may be used as sign of previous settlements that are now long gone from our countryside.

Pan Roast Maple Parsnips and Young Nettles

Pan Roast Maple Parsnips and Young Nettles Recipe

THE POWER OF NETTLES
One of Jane’s teachers, Susan Weed, is a firm advocate of all things nettle and writes about them extensively.  Nettles are also known as the devil’s leaf and even wild spinach, they are certainly equally delicious and even more nutritious.  There are literally hundreds of health properties attributed to this wonder plant, here are a few:

  • Nettles strengthen the kidneys.  Their Greek name is Urtica Dioica, ‘Uro’ meaning urine.
  • They are a powerful tonic, anti-anaemic, diuretic, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergenic, decongestant, anti-arthritic, laxative, antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, expectorant……..the list goes on and on.
  • Nettles are ideal for women, especially during pregnancy, childbirth and lactation.  Nettles help with menstrual cramps, nausea and bloating.
  • A general relaxant that helps with hypertension.
  • Fresh nettle juice is antispetic and can be used as a kitchen spray, for washing skin.
  • Nettles infusions can be used to wash hair, leaving it shiny and thick.  They are also said to prevent hair loss.
  • Helps with gastrointestinal diseases, IBS and constipation.
  • Cures the common cold.
  • They can also help with hormonal, adrenal and energetic imbalances and the circulatory system.
  • They can be taken as an anti-histamine, which over a period of time, can cure ailments like hayfever.
  • Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque when used as a mouthwash.
  • Nettles are known as a digestive restorer and consistent use of nettles strengthens lungs, intestines, arteries and kidneys.
  • Even the nettles sting has been shown to alleviate joint pain!
  • And many, many more……

It’s even been said; 

“The seed of nettle stirreth up lust……”

Gerarde-Johnson 1633

You can definitely say that nettles are an all-rounder!

It is worth mentioning that if you are taking certain pharmaceuticals, you should seek a doctors advice before taking nettles regularly.

NUTRIENTS

Nettles are especially high in calcium, vitamin C and iron.  They are also high in protein and fibre, a whole host of minerals and many more vitamins.

The whole plant is basically a powerful medicine, from roots to seeds.  It is especially good for ‘pale and pasty types’.  I like this little rhyme:

“If they would eat nettles in March and drink Mugwort in May, so many fine maidens would not go to the clay” (Funeral song of a Scottish mermaid)

We seem to have lost touch with so many of natures gifts that surround us throughout every season which are there to give us health and vitality.  I believe that in each environment we can find the nourishment we need to thrive, that is, if we have the knowledge and are inspired to seek them out.

Brewing nettles for tea

HARVESTING NETTLES

Nettles are easily identified by most, we’ve all had a little incident with them as children.  Like any plant, if you are not completely sure, don’t pick it.  There are many different types o nettles, this is especially true if you’re traveling to other countries.  Some have a very nasty sting.

We travel with marigolds and bags in nettle season and when we see a good patch, we harvest.  For eating fresh and drying, take the tender, young leaves from the top of the plant.  The first four is a good rule of thumb.  Like many plants, the growing energy is concentrated in the upper plant, this is what we after.  Nettles become more fibrous as the season goes on, so get in there during early spring although some young paler nettles will grow in shaded areas until late summer.  Always pick nettles, and any edible plants, away from man made signs of poisons and ground contamination.  This means away from roads, railway lines etc.  Many foragers also avoid plants near popular dog walking areas, or at least pick above leg cocking height!

COOKING NETTLES
Nettles are easily transformed into a delicious edible green leaf vegetable.  Simple blanch them in boiling water, this breaks down the formic acid which stings.  You can leave them to steep to make a lovely tea or use as you would any leafy green.  Try a Nettle Aloo or Nettle Soup.  We love them in smoothies and iced teas.  Nettles make for a great pesto and can be used in place of basil and we especially like nettle hummus an stirring the leaves into hot pasta.

NETTLE JUICE

Rinse young leaves and stalks in water, place in a mechanical juicer or place leaves in warm water and leave to steep for 30 minutes.  Place in muslin cloth and wring out the bright green juice.  The juice will keep in a fridge for one day.

RUTH’S NETTLE SOUP

Recipe here.

NETTLE TEA

Recipe here.

PAN FRIED NETTLES

Blanch the nettles leaves in just boiled water.  Save the water as a stock or drink it.  Strain the leaves well.  In a frying pan, add some oil and garlic followed by the leaves.  Fry for a minute and served topped with pine nuts or almonds.

TINCTURES

Jane also makes a wonderful nettle tincture, basically pop lots of leaves into a kilner jar and cover with vinegar (you can also use alcohol like vodka or gin).  You should use young leaves,  dried or fresh are both fine.  Leave for a month or more (the longer left, the stronger the tincture) and then strain with muslin cloth.  Place in small bottles and use the tincture for eczema, psoriasis, allergic rashes, rinse in hair to treat dandruff, taken internally it is known to treat hayfever.  Take 1 teas poon every morning as a preventative or three times a day to treat ailments.

Glorious nettles!

Dry the leaves without blanching them.  As I mentioned, you can do this in a warm car with a couple of windows slightly opened.  On a very sunny day, thinly lay out the nettle leaves on news paper.  Leave for a day and check that the leaves are nicely dry and crisp.  If you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator at home, dry as you would kale or other leaves.  It won’t take long.

The strong fibres of the nettle plant have been used to make paper, sails, bags, cloth (think a silky linen) and makes a very strong string or rope (fifty times stronger than cotton).  Nettles have been cultivated in Mexico for 8000 years for these purposes.  Nettles can also be made into a dye, the leaves for green and the stalks for yellow.

Nettles are a gardeners delight.  They are hugely nourishing to the soil and are amazing on compost heaps.  They can be brewed into a homemade plant fertiliser packed with nitrogen compounds (this stuff stinks by the way) and can be grown as a companion crop with tomatoes and aromatic herbs.

I still think that it’s incredible that nettles are not sold in greengrocers or markets.  It is a shame that more people are not benefiting from this stunning plant.  I’d say if you’re taking multivitamins, why not try nettles instead.  They’re perfectly natural and free!

Drinking nettle tea and eating fresh nettles in stir fries, soups etc will ease and energise the circulatory, immune, endocrine, nervous and urinary systems.  Like I said, an incredible overall tonic and they literally grow on trees (or in small bushes).  If we all used nettles wisely, pharmacies would go out of business!  Nettles are good for us in ways that we don’t really fully understand yet.  The nettles season is coming, don’t miss out!

If you are interested in foraging or taking courses in the UK, www.wildforage.co.uk is a good place to start.

Categories: Detox, Foraging, Healing foods, Healthy Eating, Inspiration, Local food, Nutrition, Recipes, Spring, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Feeding the future – My recent article in the Barefoot Vegan Magazine

The new Barefoot Vegan packed full of inspiration and joy

The new Barefoot Vegan full of inspirational articles and reasons to be cheerful

Many of you may know that I’m a regular contributor to the Barefoot Vegan Magazine.  Its a place where a positive and vibrant vegan message can be found.  Something so peaceful, healthy, natural and inspiring for all!  Vegans and non-vegans are bound to find articles of interest and this edition focuses on kids and young people.

Subscribe to the Barefoot Vegan here.

My recent article - subscribe now and read it in full

My recent article – subscribe now and read it in full

I think it is so rare to find a publication that is based purely on love and positivity.  The focus in the Barefoot Vegan is creating a better world for all, a powerful message that is deeply effecting and in the magazine you get all the good news!

There are so many people out there pulling in the right direction, making efforts and putting energy into creating a more peaceful, accepting and harmonious global society.  The Barefoot Vegan is like an antidote to what we see on the news or read via the media in general.  Its empowering and full of hope, without which, positive change is hard to muster on any level.  We’re off to the Americas for a while very soon, but hopefully I’ll be able to write an article or two on the road.

There are so many reasons to feel proud of each other and the efforts we make, no matter how small, to reverse the trend of a depressive world view and destructive approaches to living.  Going vegan is massive step in so many wonderful ways and has profound effects.  It’s much, much more than simply changing our diet.

The Barefoot Vegan is like a sanctuary where optimism, compassion and peace are virtues to be celebrated and are ultimately realistic and hugely transforming.

Peace and Happiness, lee

'Feeding the future!' - a vegan diet is wonderfully nutritious for children and all ages

‘Feeding the future!’ – a vegan diet is wonderfully nutritious for children and all ages

 

Categories: barefoot vegan, Environmentalism, Healing foods, healthy, Healthy Eating, Inspiration, magazine, Sustainability, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness is the highest form of health – The Dalai Lama

No matter how many kale smoothies we drink, no matter how much we avoid processed sugar or potatoes, “happiness is the highest form of health.”  I found this little quote put much of our current eating habits into focus.  Enjoy your food, whatever you’re cooking or eating!  A healthy, content and happy mind inevitably leads to a healthier body.

Happy gardener, happy cook, happy food, happy eater.

Jane and I are up in Mcleod Ganj, India, at the moment, spending time with the Tibetan Community in exile.  Read more about our antics here.  If you like this quote, we post regular things like this on our Facebook page.

Chagpo Nang (take care)……

Long life to the Dalai Lama!

FREE TIBET

Categories: Friends of B.H.K, Healthy Living, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inspiring Vegan Quotes (pt 1)

Hello Lovely Ones,

We normally let the food do the talking, but have been reading into veganism of late and unearthing some real pearls of inspirational wisdom.  We thought you might like them too.  Here we present a selection of our favorites (part one of a two part series!)  

Sometimes a good quote can really focus your mind on an issue, another persons voice, a like minded echo, can cast new light and energy.  These assembled quotes will be made into the new B.H.K. page ‘Inspiration Library’  (see above).  We hope you find them as challenging and uplifting as we did and that the message of peace to all beings rings true, far and wide.

Lee and JaneXXXXXXX 

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

“In matters of conscience the law of majority has no place.”

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”  Mahatma Gandhi

“One should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world.” Buddha

“Let food be thy medicine.”  Hippocrates

“The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; they are the trees and the plants and the seeds.” Plato

“Isn’t man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife – birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes – by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal- health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.” – from Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coats

“The torch of love is lit in the kitchen.”  Author Unknown

“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.” Charles Darwin

“Non-injury to all living beings is the only religion.” (first truth of Jainism) “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves.” “This is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill anything. All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. This is the pure unchangeable Law. Therefore, cease to injure living things.” “All living things love their life, desire pleasure and do not like pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being, his life is very dear.”
Yogashastra (Jain Scripture) (c. 500 BCE)”

“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” George Bernard Shaw

“Let us remember that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. They are splendid beings in their own right, who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet”  Marc Bekoff

“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would object to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.” Gary Smith

“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing to the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times” Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Most people would say they love animals, but the reality is, if your using animals for food, clothing, or entertainment, you’re only considering the lives of certain animals, typically those of cats and dogs.” Melisser Elliott

“Let us not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around us in awareness.” James Thurber

“Make ethical choices in what we buy, do, and watch. In a consumer-driven society our individual choices, used collectively for the good of animals and nature, can change the world faster than laws.” Marc Bekoff

“Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them whenever they require it… If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” St Francis of Assisi

“We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear.” Robert Louis Stevenson

“Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. That is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.” Albert Schweitzer

“May our daily choices be a reflection of our deepest values, and may we use our voices to speak for those who need us most, those who have no voice, those who have no choice.” Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

“If you are a feminist and are not a vegan, you are ignoring the exploitation of female nonhumans and the commodification of their reproductive processes, as well as the destruction of their relationship with their babies;

If you are an environmentalist and not a vegan, you are ignoring the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster;

If you embrace nonviolence but are not a vegan, then words of nonviolence come out of your mouth as the products of torture and death go into it;

If you claim to love animals but you are eating them or products made from them, or otherwise consuming them, you see loving as consistent with harming that which you claim to love.

Stop trying to make excuses. There are no good ones to make. Go vegan.”  Gary L. Francione

“Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger, but a heart as soft as tofu.”  Chinese proverb

 

 

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale

“Society does not want individuals that are alert, keen, revolutionary, because such individuals will not fit into the established social pattern and they may break it up. That is why society seeks to hold your mind in its pattern and why your so called education encourages you to imitate, to follow, to conform” Krishnamurti

“We all love animals. Why do we call some ‘pets’ and others ‘dinner?’” K.D. Lang

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

Albert Einstein

“The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer?’ Jeremy Bentham

“In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.”  Ruth HarrisonAnimal Machines

“I am in favour of animal rights as well as human rights.  That is the way of a whole human being.”  Abraham Lincoln

”Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution.  Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”  Thomas Edison

“It shouldn’t be the consumer’s responsibility to figure out what’s cruel and what’s kind, what’s environmentally destructive and what’s sustainable. Cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. We don’t need the option of buying children’s toys made with lead paint, or aerosols with chlorofluorocarbons, or medicines with unlabeled side effects. And we don’t need the option of buying factory-farmed animals.” Jonathan Safran

“My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.”  Leonardo Da Vinci

“Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he’s the one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.” Mark Twain

Categories: Inspiration, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Raw Earth Month – Moving Back to Nature

Raw Earth Month at The Beach House Kitchen

Raw Earth Month

RAW EARTH MONTH

at the Beach House

‘Raw June’ in 2012 was a whole month dedicated to eating raw food, with no caffeine, added sugar, or alcohol. It was an incredible month for me. The experience made me realise that I actually ENJOY eating raw food! After it had finished, it felt natural for us to continue with a big part of our diet raw from then on.

Not only did I develop quite a flair in the kitchen for whisking up quick, gorgeous salads, soups and sauces (I’m not a natural cook), we both became very at home with the basics of nutrition, combining foods, new foods, health foods – the days were long and light, the food was sunny, and bright, and so were we!

The other interesting thing for me was that I really connected a lot more with my body during that time. I listened to it more, and felt into my energy levels more often during the day. For the first time in my life, I was aware of the conditioning of my mind, telling me I was hungry just because I didn’t feel ‘full’ (despite eating bowls and bowls of the most nutritional food on the planet)! And my goodness, did I get a whopper lesson on the nature of cravings? Wheew! It was as if something happened in my brain and I suddenly over-night became an addict of chocolate, dairy, crisps and even fried chips! It was a great exercise of willpower for me, especially since my birthday also fell into the month of June….

The other day, while roaming Anglesey’s wild and beautiful coastal path on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, Lee and I started excitedly planning the next Raw Food month for this Summer.

Inspiration spiraled as we sparked off each other, and soon we were discussing not only how we could improve the way we eat, but also the way we live our lives in general. The way we impact our Mother Earth.

Mother Earth

I would say we live in a fairly environmentally conscious way; we are not huge consumers of material possessions, electricity, or water. We recycle and make compost for our veg patch, we don’t own a clothes dryer, microwave or TV, we make our own washing up liquid and toothpaste, I don’t wear make-up, I use cloth pads during my moon time…. But no way are we perfect! We still use some chemical cleaners around the house; we use laundry detergent, conventional soap, and I use conventional shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. We both use our computers for hours each day, electrical appliances and lights are accidentally left on… that kind of thing.

So we have set an intention! For a whole month starting on the Summer Solstice Friday June 21st, we are going to be eating only raw vegan food and we are also going to live in a way that lowers our impact on nature and the climate.

This means we are going completely ‘chemical free’ in the home – we’ll be experimenting with home-made eco-cleaning products, laundry products and toiletries. We are cutting down our electricity usage by not using appliances or electric heating. We are also going to switch off our lights in the evening to become more in tune with nature’s circadian rhythms. We’ll reduce our petrol consumption to essential trips only, and limit ourselves to 2 hours of computer time per day. Our mobile phones will be off unless we’re working, and, last but not least we will not buy anything apart from food and essentials – so no shopping trips!

It was not easy for us to agree the finer points of this experience – because of course it does involve sacrifices to our normal way of living, and would not be a challenge otherwise. For example, there was a point in the conversation where I flatly refused to even do Raw Earth Month! It was when Lee brought up the topic of shampoo and conditioners. This was met by fiery resistance by me as my hair is unusually big, long, thick and DIFFICULT at the best of times, even with these wonderfully enriching chemically products in my life. The other thing I felt resistance about was hand-washing all our laundry, not using conventional laundry liquid, and disinfecting the loo. Other than that I’m excited to experiment and relishing the thought of no technology and evenings sat by candle light… Bliss!

Lee on the other hand had no qualms about giving up chemicals on his body and hair, but found the computer part challenging – and even managed to haggle me up from one hour (as initially suggested) to two per day! I do take his point that blog articles can take time to write…

I’m just hoping that we can learn some new life skills during this phase; hopefully lessons we will be able to integrate into the rest of our lifes forever. In our opinion, saving and conserving energy is something we will all have to do more in the future. We will have to turn back once more to Mother Nature, and work with her not against her. Lets get a head start!

Janexxxxx

Janexxxxx

and

Leexxxxx

Leexxxxx

For more info on raw food check out our posts from last year, June – July 2012.

Also see our page ‘Why Raw Food?

The ‘No Impact Man‘ has been doing things like this over in New York.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Inspiration, Raw Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Beach House Kitchen nominated for the ‘Beautiful Blogger’ and ‘Reader Appreciation’ Awards

The Beautiful Blogger Award

Another couple of wonderful award nominations have landed at the Beach House doorstep recently. We love ’em!
I’ve finally managed to get around to acknowledging this kindness.  We are putting both nominations onto one post due to the Beach House being full of busy at the moment.  Not enough time to cook, never mind type!

Karin Wiberg nominated us for the Beautiful Blogger Award, which is a real pleasure because we love Karens writing, especially the regular haiku’s that spring from her blog.  A wonderful place for creative writing and literary inspiration.  We’ve been called many things in the past, but never beautiful!  We are blushing up here in the hills.

Yoga with Maheswari nominated us for the Reader Appreciation Award.  Yoga with Maheswari is a really wonderful blog for positive vibrations of the yogic kind, wisdom and much bendiness.  One day we hope to attend a class and share a breath.

The rules of both awards basically the same:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link.
  2. Copy and paste the award logo to your blog.
  3. Share seven things about yourself
  4. Nominate 5-10 bloggers for the award and notify them.

Seven things about ourselves:

1- Our front garden is being laid siege to by a particularly grotty group of feral street sheep.  These sheep are not pets and stare down oncoming traffic.  If they breech the dry stone walls, our tomatoes are in great peril.

2 – Our back garden is being laid siege to by a seemingly infinite number and vastly diverse range of ravenous slugs.  They are eating anything that lays down roots for too long and we fear they may be planning future raids on the veg drawer in our fridge, such is their devious and slimy nature.

3 – Our first green chilli bloomed yesterday on the windowsill, the same day as our first tomato.  A day when the sun actually shone for a while.

4 – Jane is Gemini, I am Taurus.

5 – Jane has recently taken courses in aromatherapy, mechanics, Spanish and woodworking at the local college.  I am allergic to the classroom environment.

6 – The Beach House may sound like an exotic location bathed in sunshine and bikinis, well, not quite.  We have had the worst summer in North Wales for the past 100 years and the Beach House may be more aptly named the House of the Rising Damp.

7 – Jane is a keen breeder of spider plants, we currently have at least one in each room and the ‘Mother’ is threatening to take over the front room (remember the film ‘Little Shop of Horrors’!)

Here are our nominations for ‘Beautiful Bloggers’ and what a gorgeous bunch they are.  We also feel that they deserve the ‘Reader Appreciation Award’, so we bestow that accolade on the below blogs also.  This may be bending the rules slightly, but richly deserved non-the-less.

I just wish I had the time to give them all a nice write-up, needless to say, they are all equally amazing places you should embrace, visit and enrich:

1 – Super Natural Life Enthusiast 

2 – Byzantine Flowers 

3 – Free Flow Foodie

4 – Moel Faban Supper Club

5 – Mother Nature Loves You

6 – Mumtopia

7 – The Bear and the Blackberry

8 – Kolpona Cuisine

9 – Travel Butterfly 

10 – Veggie Nook

Big love and thanks to all Beach House readers, we will be posting more soon (things have been a little hectic of late).

Peace and Happiness,

Lee and JaneX

Categories: Awards/ Recognition, Blogs, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Wonderful Movie – ‘The Green Beautiful’

This is the best movie we have watched in ages and its free on youtube. Hooray!  We felt like sharing it with all you lovely people.

Its about a lady who lives on an idyllic planet, where all people live in harmony with nature and their world.  She is beamed down to earth to help and the adventure begins.  It is a French movie and rather funny.

Grab some nibbles and a loved one and get lost in the Green Beautiful.


Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

The Beach House Kitchen voted for a ‘Thought Provoking’ Blog Award

Lovely Ivelinax

Our dear Ivelina at ‘Mother Nature Loves You’ has kindly bestowed the B.H.K. with another little blog award, the ‘Thought Provoking’ Blog Award.  We love to receive these awards, especially from a wonderful lady like Ivelina.

Ivelina has created a very special space, where she conveys her wisdom and gifts on a daily basis.  Ivelina’s insight into living and her shining energy is a constant source of inspiration for us and we are blessed to have such a friend supporting the Beach House Kitchen.  Ivelina is also very knowledgeable about all things vibrant food and holistic living.  Thank you ‘Mother Nature’X

This award actually started off at my other blog ‘Riding Effortlessly On A Large Green Turtle’ a blog for travel, poetry, philosophy and whatever else I encounter along the way; but eventually found its way to the Beach House.  I have found so many great new blogs and like minded folk through such an award, I love to pass them on and spread the good word.  We hope you find the same!

At the Beach House Kitchen we aim to create a home for folk who love healthy vegetarian food, a place for vibrant ingredients and energies to mingle and create; a little hillside retreat from the grey modern world where we can add a little colour and spice to living, a place that nurtures body and mind.  We also have a very good laugh at the same time.

Here are a few foodie blogs that inspire us and get out thoughts flowing in the right direction (just a handful and in no particular order):

   the bear and the blackberry – Beautiful vegan blog.

freeflowfoodie – Wonderful energy to be found here (and veggie bites)

the veggie nook –  Gabby is a real sweetie!

sacred strawberry – Emily writes from the heart and heat of Madrid

veganchopnchat –  Inspirational words and food abounds.

mumtopia – Many Mum’s join us in the BHK, it seems a great time in life for healthy food!  The is lovely Ali (Jane’s sisters) brilliant blog about all things motherhood.

travelbutterfly – Because we love travel and Savannah gives us wings!

lucysfriendlyfoods – Lucy has the luckiest family around.  Cordon Bleu treats and balancing a busy, busy lifestyle.  A real inspiration.

postpunkkitchen –  The PPK is a constant stream of amazing recipes and huge library of gorgeous dishes.

Peace the consciousness, the transitoriness, your existence – What is cooking without a little poetry?!  Beautiful words that light up our days.

  Thank you to the whole blogging community for being so kind and supportive and enriching out lives.

Lee and JaneX

Categories: Awards/ Recognition, Blogs, Healthy Living, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you gonna live? “

This is a wonderful post that I felt compelled to share, as it is exactly how we feel in the B.H.K about a balanced approach to good living.  It doesn’t take much, just a greater degree of sensitivity with the body and mind.  The lifetstyles we choose have a profound effect on who we are and how we act.

Thanks to the beautiful Ivelina at ‘Mother Nature Loves You’ for the constant inspiration, love and light.

You are given a body -this most wonderful perfect system. it is impossible to think the amount of processes , that are happening every second , regardless if you are awake or asleep.

It is my opinion , that there are 3 approaches in which people like to treat their body-there are those , that live only in the body and strive for perfection, there are those, that have forgotten they have a body and treat it like something, that they have to carry about with them , and there are also those that believe that to have a fulfilled life one has to find the mind , body and soul balance.When those 3 are in balance life is a pure bliss. According to the Ayurveda medicine when this harmony is disturb in any way your being is in dis-balance which is the root cause of all diseases. Long before any illness appear you body is giving you different signals, that you can sense with your heart and understand with your body. The main thing is not to ignore them , but listen to your body . When you are tired rest, when you are feeling unwell make yourself better, your wee has a colour-drink more water, your tongue has a white coating -fast for a few days,….the list is endless.

 

There is a reaction behind every action and prevention is priceless, but you can’t buy it when it’s too late. It is never too late, unless you re dead. So start now listen to your body, sense it with your heart and understand it with your mind.

The magic of living is to optimize you body-soul-mind trinity. I would like to share a few tips form the Ayurveda medicine for optimal health and I would love to hear from you -what is your best tip for being healthy.

1.Rest before you are tired – a regular 20 minute break will benefit not, just your body but will also refresh your mind and make you more present . Always make time for it. it is really worth the effort.

2. Eat when you are hungry -this is an universal advice . Educate yourself about the differences between emotional and physical hunger and learn to respond to them accordingly . If it a real physical hunger it will come on stages and you can easily identify and satisfy it with natural foods. Emotional hunger is sudden and it craves certain foods- when you know it is happening ask yourself why and let the answer come to you. Awareness is a powerful tool.

3. Ayurveda describes massage as one of the best way to remain healthy – a nice foot, head or back massage can be very beneficial at any time and it can cure many discomforts and tensions in your body, it also calms your mind and sooths your soul.

4. Accept what is and learn to love what is .One of the biggest causes of any disese is the fact , that we sometimes try to change what we can not control. Long term stress brings your immune system down so do your best to reduce and eliminate bad stress. Focus on what matter and do your best to use your energy on things , that you can actually change .

5. Move your body – you have been given legs to walk with, hand to lift with and body to dance with . Find your best way to move every day. Ayurveda recommend yoga as the ultimate mind-body -soul movement and I couldn’t agree more, but i also love to dance, love to cycle and love to walk and swim. Getting physical reduces stress, clears your head and makes you feel good.

6. Cultivate and nourish your relationships- nothing gives your soul more meaning , than sharing it with others. Communications, connections and Love. This is pure medicine .Love, be loved and loving . It is the only truth.

7. Forgive . Forgiveness is the greatest gift known to man. Start with yourself and gradually extend that forgiveness to all. Do not be picky, take your time and explore the beauty of forgiving . This is a gift, that you owe to yourself .

8. Be grateful . Always , even for the stuff you did not want . There is a silver lining in every cloud and every disaster could be a blessing. The only attitude worth the effort is the attitude of gratitude . At the end all makes sense and you would be grateful for the lessons you’ve learned .

So over all another good Irish saying comes to mind-”a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything”.I love going to bed in the evening . Since I cycle every day I feel this sweet tiredness , that I have missed for years

Sending blessings and love

Original post here:

http://www.mothernaturelovesyou.com/if-you-dont-take-care-of-your-body-where-are-you-gonna-live/#comment-570

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Categories: Ayurveda, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Relax | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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