What we eat has never been so important. In many countries we are blessed with the choice to eat what we want. At the B.H.K., we believe that going vegan is the most important decisions you could make in terms of your own health, the planets health and the welfare and care of animals. Veganism is the ultimate expression of peaceful intent for the future. We will never judge anyone for doing otherwise, we were both very much into bacon sarnies, but here is how we feel now and how our opinions and lifestyles have changed.
Veganism is just a name, we all eat loads of vegan food everyday. If you eat vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, you are part vegan already! Hoorah!!!! Choosing a vegan diet, even if its just every now and again, is not about sufferance. You are not giving anything up, you are actually gaining loads! Vegan food is outrageously flavourful and moreish, naturally leading to weight loss and energy gains. For us, thinking vegan lead to new and healthy habits and highlighted the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet. Taking a step towards veganism leads to a giant leap forward in our collective sustainability. All we need are open minds (and mouths!)
TAKING THE PLANT-BASED PLUNGE
Jane and I have been vegan/ vegetarians for a while now, and around two years ago, I decided to take the plunge and become full-power vegan (Jane is still eating her homemade Kefir and likes a very occasional Indian Railway style Chai). If you look back into the Beach House Kitchen library, you will find vegetarian dishes with cheese and egg, but no more. Our recipes are full plant power and loving every plateful! We have gone through the whole process, from extremely carnivore to content herbivore and we know exactly what its like to be curious about a vegan diet. I’ve always loved cooking vegan food. We ended up giving bits and pieces up and finally blooming into full blown vegan-hood.
We were first attracted to vegan food by its creativity and vibrancy. It really seems like the food for a brighter future. It all seemed so beautifully fresh and tantalising. In our experience, eating vegan food has made us feel lighter and brighter, with oodles of well being and energy. I know we all say that, but its true! We have never felt so darn healthy and vivacious.
As a cook, vegan food takes you to a new levels of plant-based deliciousness, it is cooking that is laced with constant surprises! Rich, robust, raw, ravishing…….all that and much, much more. Organic plant foods are clean and superbly nutritious, there is no need for dairy or meat in our diets anymore. We can choose a new way to eat. Munching and cooking a balanced and creative vegan diet is such a joy and is never, ever dull. It is inexpensive and simple. Anyone can do it (we did!) Vegan food worships good produce and is constantly looking for fresh and interesting ways of creating magical meals. Hopefully we tap into that enthusiasm here on the B.H.K.
A NATURAL PROGRESSION
Avoiding meat and dairy all together seemed a very natural progression for me, especially when based on environmental and ethical evidence (some of the challenging facts and figures can be found here). The closer we got to nature and the more we learn about the impact of large scale meat and dairy production, the more we realised that this is the only way for us to express our hopes and dreams for the future. Becoming a vegan has a massive effect on the environment; our own health and the well being of animals. It is a no-lose decision and can only lead to a more peaceful existence for all. It’s very big deal!
Leaving meat and dairy off your plate is a powerful message and a stance against many forms of cruelty. The suffering that animals endure to provide generally unnecessary nutrients to humans seems utterly wrong. Meat and dairy not only harm the body by labouring it with saturated fats and cholesterol, which inevitably lead to a long term degradation of health, but also see us collectively condoning the destruction of our beautiful planet.
A MINDFUL DIET
We are more conscious now of what we eat, we don’t just wolf it down anymore. We feel more in tune with our bodies and far more creative with our cooking; having to combine a greater number of ingredients and textures to create delicious dishes. Veganism has made us focus much more on our diets and how they effect our body and mind. We have also learnt a lot more about nutrition and have come to realise that we are what we eat and most (if not all) mass-produced food is just not up to scratch. Food made in factories by machines just seems wrong, for a start, there is no love there. Our food needs bags of love and home made is best. We know it’s difficult in the busy modern world, but its something to aim for and most of all, enjoy!
We both found that when you begin to give up or lower the foods that are doing us no good (we all instinctively know what these are and you’re not going to like me for saying this…..but) – fatty nibbles, alcohol, caffeine, sugar etc, cravings gradually slip away and we feel lighter and energy levels rise. Our bodies need good, clean, easy to digest fuel. Namely, plant based food. Foods that make you shine!
WHERE’S THE FUN IN IT?!
A friend of mine said to me “Where’s the fun in it?!” refering to a healthy diet. I can assure you, there is still plenty of fun in the Beach House, just minus the lamb chops. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be stuffy and rigid, there are endless recipes that are absolutely delicious and an incredible palate of ingredients and flavours to play with. It does take a little change of the palate and a new approach to the way that you eat and subsequently live, but after a short while it becomes perfectly normal. Your palate becomes more sensitive, with less exposure to rich and overly seasoned foods and you can enjoy the subtle flavours of ingredients and simpler foods.
NO PURITANS PLEASE
This is not a puritanical vegan blog, we will never preach from an upturned potato crate. This is a good vibes vegan blog! We ate meat for years ourselves. We have found that all vegans get there in different ways. We do however feel that there is a collective shift taking place, there is more and more awareness about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. We are amazed and excited to see society changing in that way. Most of us are realising that plants have to take a larger role in our diets, not just for our own sake, but to attempt to reverse the damage that we are doing to the earth.
VEGAN FOR ALL!
We try to make our dishes appeal to all tastes and most of our carnivorous friends love dinners at the Beach House (even my Dad, who has gone from a greens hater to Kale’s number one fan). You’ll find our recipes are packed with flavour and nutrients and we love a good plate of food, so the portions are always hearty and satisfying. Our food is cooked from the heart, it’s real (good for the) soul food!
If you interested in learning more about a vegan/ vegetarian lifestyle, please see the ‘links’ section which is full of interesting veggie related blogs and sites or leave a comment beneath a post or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d love to hear from you.
And some interesting and informative vegan websites based in the UK:
Veganism makes the world a better place for us all, one forkful at a time.
Lee + Jane