Is anyone still with me?
I had a week of two halves.
First was good - the BBC edamame bean falafels are really good. Rick Stein's eggs in coconut raised my eyebrows on reading the recipe - not a good sign. It was, well, a bit odd and missed a sharp ingredient to tone down the coconut. Also made a veggie burrito thing which was fab.
Lunch out was again a disappointment. I forced myself past some menu temptations to have a halloumi burger. For reasons I can't imagine they'd battered and deep fried the cheese. To make it (much) worse they'd used the same oil as for all the fish, so the whole thing was infused with an oily fishy taste.
Second half of the week is a train wreck. I'm in hospital for hip replacement so use of disposable plastics is through the roof and I'm eating fish, meat,eggs and protein generally. On the upside my travel miles will be zero for 6 weeks when I get home!
How are you getting on?
Still going pretty well. I think I may have gone meat free for the past week (but maybe a pork sandwich in there) but still lots of cheese and eggs. Diet is pretty samey and need to start trying some new recipes to keep me excited.
I consciously decided not to do a big trip at the weekend to avoid fuel.
I have also just taken delivery of a load of eco toiletries. Main thing was to change to an eco toothpaste but stocked up on soap bars (I gave up shower gels a while ago), am going to try a new type of deodorant and also got some charcoal dental floss.
Yes - I found that too. Solution so far has been to sit down with stack of recipe books and some of the internet recipe sites and plan a full week. I have to do this when I'm hungry! I then get the supermarket to deliver and work my way through. I'm also writing on the recipes marks out of 5 (and bookmarking the internet ones in 5 folders; I know, I know). That's forced quite a bit of diversity. I'm still at the stage of one or two meaty recipes a week though ... And they still feel like treats, which tells me my tastes have not really shifted across yet.
I think I need to be firm with myself until a new habit is cemented.
> Charcoal dental floss
That's a very odd idea!
Does anyone have much success with tofu? I seem to never get either texture of flavour.
> I have also just taken delivery of a load of eco toiletries. Main thing was to change to an eco toothpaste but stocked up on soap bars (I gave up shower gels a while ago), am going to try a new type of deodorant and also got some charcoal dental floss.
Good shout on the toiletries. We are pretty much completely plastic free in the bathroom now. There is just one bottle of nasty spray stuff for cleaning grout and other awkard corners where you can't get an old toothbursh into. Other than that, I use tooth tabs rather than toothpaste, bamboo toothbrush, solid bars of shampoo etc and deoderant cream in a glass jar. I think it may be the area of the house with the most alternatives.
We have had a few more ready meals than usual this week due to me working a lot and my husband studying for an exam, so not quite as good as usual. However, one of the surprises was that my husband picked up some vegan pizzas in the reduced section (no fake cheese etc, just lots of flavour in the veg and oil etc on it) and they were surprisingly good. I probably wouldn't eat them all the time, but a nice wee occasional meal.
I've managed to stick totally to vegie breakfasts and lunches during the week. Had a bacon sarnie to kill the Sunday hangover though!
I tried soy milk in a brew. Nopenopenope
I'm hopeful that I can stick to this consistently enough that its habit forming.
> Does anyone have much success with tofu? I seem to never get either texture of flavour.
Not until I followed the instructions here: https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/02/vegan-experience-crispy-tofu-worth-eating-recipe.html
Both methods (cooking as steaks and stir-frying with sauce) totally work.
This recipe is amazing. Loved by affirmed tofu-haters: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/black-pepper-tofu-a-shop
Re: tofu. Try buying from a Chinese supermarket where you can get different hardnesses of the stuff. Also I experimented with smoked tofu the other day which was interesting.
Oooh, teeth/dental tabs. I've not heard of these before but will definitely be investing when I have got through my new purchase of toothpaste.
Most of my household cleaning products are now refillable in a shop over the road. The one thing I am struggling with though is toilet cleaner. The eco one I use just isn't as good as bleach.
Sounds like a good week. What did you have instead?
We just use vinegar. You can clean most stuff with that. We don't use any chemicals at all on most surfaces, we use e-clothes which only need water.
Handy having a refill place nearby. We don't, so I buy a 20l drum of washing up liquid and refill the wee sink top bottle myself
Best of luck with the op.
If you're interested in reducing/offsetting your impact on the climate there's a search engine called ecosia that uses 80% of its profits to plant trees, it's worth swapping to.
Try citric acid crystals dissolved in water with a bit of ordinary kitchen/bathroom cleaner mixed in too (preferably a refill of environmentally friendly stuff. Just as good as bleach.
We are lucky as we have 3 shops on the high street which sell citric acid crystals by weight or on a small cardboard box.
Oooh. Recipes. Excellent - thank you
Good luck with the op.
No meat for breakfast (incl eggs) this week so far, same with lunches, first meat this week was last nights dinner (and that was pre-made stuff from the freezer), but have also not used a car since Saturday, and then it was a journey for three people, rest of time I've been cycling to get around - small steps but steps none the less.
Just booked a car ferry instead of flights - does that count?
Have you tried switching to a UK grown oil rather than coconut? As far as I've read, cold pressed rapeseed oil is very similar and you'll likely find a fairly local source for minimal carbon miles.
These are the ones I get on with best. The Lush ones were the nicest texture but don't have fluoride. Of the fluoride ones, these are the best I have tried
Absolutely. The whole point of the thread is peer support for changes that aren't that easy for everyone. I still eat meat, but much less and it'll continue to go down. Ditto flights. I'm sure I'll fly again, but more infrequently. The only one I'm well on with us not owning masses of stuff or replacing it unnecessarily
> Have you tried switching to a UK grown oil rather than coconut? As far as I've read, cold pressed rapeseed oil is very similar and you'll likely find a fairly local source for minimal carbon miles.
I don't think cold pressed rape us remotely the same taste as coconut! But yes, trying to reduce food miles...although that priority is cutting out flown food. Tins shipped on megatankers have low carbon footprint compared with flight. UK sourced obviously better still.
Actually, the main mode of transportation would be a v useful label item.
I'm a bit of a cheat in here already being veggie (mostly vegan eating) but it's a cool interesting thread! And I love tofu so had to reply haha!
My advice with tofu is try a few brands, extra firm I think is the best and marinate it. Tofoooo is a good one can get it in Tesco. And taifun is lovely and comes in loads of flavours, the smoked with nuts and seeds is my favourite! I also now use the tofoooo or cauldron brand to make scrambled tofu ( crumble into the pan by hand, add some nutritional yeast (cheesy flavour , looks like fish food but is amazing), small amount of apple cider vinegar, splash of some kind of milk and a little bit of tumeric some salt and pepper and fry off a bit. Sometimes I add tamari too) Now I can't stomach scrambled egg and actually prefer this! Can add some veggies too peas always good for a bit more protein!
It's all about trial and error, on its own it doesn't taste of anything but get the texture you like and flavour it well and it's amazing! Low fat, high protein and can be used for loads of different things!
Well I've been waiting since last year for the hostas to come up in the garden (not our garden...) so I could eat them. Last night was the night. I snipped off 10 leaves, sliced thinly, and sauteed in oil with garlic (a bit too much!), some oregano, splashes of soy sauce and some chilli - and ate it with the rest of the fryup. It was pretty good - apart from my poor selection of spices! (too much garlic and too much chilli) I'll definitely be eating it again, as there's tons of them outside.
I saw this video as well last night, and am well impressed that he's managed to grow/forage all of his food within 10 months of starting to garden. He does have the advantage of a subtropical climate, but to still manage the feat within 10 months is fantastic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdNan4akhgo&
On the weekend went climbing at a 'desert' crag (drove there, instead of the popular flying to Indian creek or Red rocks). I'm unsure if I've made the right decision by driving a few times out to the North 'deserts' here, or if I'd have been better just taking 2 weeks off and flying down to Utah without any of the driving here. I should've calculated this before making my decision...
> Does anyone have much success with tofu? I seem to never get either texture of flavour.
I haven't really started this properly yet, just been dipping my toes in with some veg-only recipes. My plan is from today to only buy meat from a proper butchers. Not so much because it will be better (just a welcome side effect), but because it will prevent me idly browsing the supermarket meat shelves. The hope is that by making meat slightly less convenient veggie meals will become the default.
One thing I have always struggled with is getting sufficient umami flavours into veggie dishes. Soy sauce goes a long way if you can handle the salt, and certain veggies such as aubergines (coming into season soon-ish) are good, but I would love to hear the panel's suggestions.
More elbow grease needed with the toilet brush.
I agree about umami. It's what I really wanted in the first weeks of a largely veg diet.... and what I really enjoy when I have meat. Almost a craving. I find a lot of veg recipies feel a little on the sweet side - like the coconut milk one I had this week. So far I've used soy or marmite but both are salty. Worcester sauce seems less salty and has depth. Mushrooms especially Portobellos seem good and also have CV good chewiness.
It's one of my reasons for trying some tofu recipes shortly too.
Other than that, I'm hoping a slow weaning will change my palate. But at the moment I do disproportionately look forward to meat night. However it's now only once or twice a week and I've not had a full on red meat meal in almost a month, even in hospital.
Oh, really dark Savoy cabbage fried with a dash of sherry vinegar and teaspoon of black treacle is pretty nice.
I've been making lots of these sorts of changes over the last year or two and it definitely gets easier as your habits change. As girlymonkey says, bathroom stuff is a pretty simple change, though you do have to stick with the solid bar shampoos for a bit whilst your hair gets used to them.
I'm eating very little meat these days (maybe once or twice or month, and only if someone else is cooking for me) and I eat much less dairy but have not cut that out completely.
I do think just consuming less stuff is the biggest change we can all make. I'm in the process of moving house and had a removals firm round to quote. They said in a house the size of mine (3 beds) it is normal for there to be 5 or more TVs which just seems ridiculous to me. If that is a normal level of consumption for an average family, no wonder we're in such a mess.
The house move means my nearest place to do shopping will be a small town with independent food stores, food co-op and a market. I will be able to ditch the supermarket and shop locally which will be brilliant.
I have adopted the motto "It is Vain to do with More what can be done with Less" to guide me in a QRP lifestyle
> As girlymonkey says, bathroom stuff is a pretty simple change, though you do have to stick with the solid bar shampoos for a bit whilst your hair gets used to them.
I must have been lucky because I didn't notice the difference at all with my hair. I'm pretty lazy with hair though, so maybe I'm just unobservant about it!! lol
> They said in a house the size of mine (3 beds) it is normal for there to be 5 or more TVs which just seems ridiculous to me. If that is a normal level of consumption for an average family, no wonder we're in such a mess.
That is crazy! However, I suspect in my house we have higher than average number of bikes, ropes, harnesses, running kit, helmets.... and so it goes on!! Whether these things are worse than the 5 TVs that we don't have, I don't know!
> > As girlymonkey says, bathroom stuff is a pretty simple change, though you do have to stick with the solid bar shampoos for a bit whilst your hair gets used to them.
> I must have been lucky because I didn't notice the difference at all with my hair. I'm pretty lazy with hair though, so maybe I'm just unobservant about it!! lol
I address this by having very little of it!
> > They said in a house the size of mine (3 beds) it is normal for there to be 5 or more TVs which just seems ridiculous to me. If that is a normal level of consumption for an average family, no wonder we're in such a mess.
Yup - and mobile phone obsolescence is obscene
> That is crazy! However, I suspect in my house we have higher than average number of bikes, ropes, harnesses, running kit, helmets.... and so it goes on!! Whether these things are worse than the 5 TVs that we don't have, I don't know!
Hmm. I need to think if we can manage with fewer cars. Or none - you can get a lot of taxis for the annual cost of ownership
Glass milk bottles from the milkman is my new thing. It's a winner tbh.
Oh, and get well soon!
The car is the big thing I still need to address. I'll be buying an electric or hybrid when my current car gets too expensive to maintain anymore.
Cheers. I'm going to try these and the citric acid (thanks also to Paul) - not at the same time though;)
Can't beat a good quality miso paste like clearspring sell. Put in a cup with hot water reminds me of drinking oxtail soup as a child.
> Glass milk bottles from the milkman is my new thing. It's a winner tbh.
Does he drive an electric milk float like they used to?
I'm waiting for the second hand electric vans to come down to my (very low!) price bracket. I try not to drive if my destination is within or close by our town. When I do drive, it is a nasty diesel guzzling van. Interestingly, electric vans are not crazy money compared to their diesel equivelents, they just haven't been around for long enough yet to reach my end of the market!
> Does he drive an electric milk float like they used to?
Is he called Eric?
> Does he drive an electric milk float like they used to?
Seems to rock up in a transit around 2am. So not perfect I guess. I don't think milk floats work too well in Devon due to the infrastructure.
> Is he called Eric?
He may well be the fastest milkman in the West(country).
Making your own ghee from local butter would be closer to coconut in creaminess but still not quite the same.
Shipping miles are definitely better. I've tried to use that as justification for keeping bananas (which I love) on my allowed food list but they've become a miniscule part of my diet.
On the phone obsolescence thing, we are getting much better now. I bought a OnePlus 3T about 3 years ago now, I figure I'll get another 1-2 before it needs replacing. Trick 1 is to go sim-only so you don't get tempted by upgrades, trick 2 is to clean out your charging port with a pin every couple of months.
> I agree about umami. It's what I really wanted in the first weeks of a largely veg diet.... and what I really enjoy when I have meat. Almost a craving. I find a lot of veg recipies feel a little on the sweet side - like the coconut milk one I had this week.
Yeah I find the sweetness of e.g sweet potatoes, squash needs to be balanced by something, and at the moment my go-to solutions are bacon and cheese.
> Oh, really dark Savoy cabbage fried with a dash of sherry vinegar and teaspoon of black treacle is pretty nice.
That does sound really good, I am always on the lookout for ways to make cabbage not awful. Had rather hoped it had reached the end of its season but it turns out...
Idk if vegetarian was your aim, but I'm sad to report that Worcestershire sauce isn't - it's made from fermented anchovies.
However, I offer an alternative solution to the Imani conundrum: Marmite. A spoonful in stews, bean chili, or the like adds the necessary brown and tasty elements.
Hope everyone is enjoying their new lifestyles - I've been vegetarian for about 2.5 years now, and it's now at the point where I can't imagine going back, and don't miss it.
Last few days working back from yesterday. Lots of late nights in work so struggled....but actually writing it down not so bad in retrospect. Shop veggie sandwiches are a disappointment but struggle timewise to prepare veggie lunches. On the plus, though the evening meals we've prepared have been eaten on consecutive nights, they have been good.
Dinner: Omlette with asparagus from farm next door. Lunch: Cheese and tomato homemade sandwich
Dinner: Spinach and ricotta tortellini with pesto. Lunch: shop feta and beetroot shop sandwich
Dinner: veggie chilli, no lentils or quorn, just veg chopped quite small with baked potato. Great. Lunch: salad, bread and butter
Dinner: veggie chilli with rice. Lunch: cheese and rivita and fruit
Dinner: potato and spinach curry with fenugreek leaf. Lunch: coffee and cake and bananas (was fencing over lunch grabbing snacks here and there)
Dinner: potato and spinach curry with fenugreek leaf. Lunch: shop goats cheese and beetroot sandwich
Dinner: left over homemade tom yum soup (without fish products!). Lunch: shop falafel sandwich
Vegetarian burgers? What to get
Sainsbury's own-brand quinoa, sweet potato, and lentil burgers are pretty good, as is most of the rest of that range.
If you fancy doing something a bit more DIY, grilled/fried halloumi is a pretty good burger filling
> Sainsbury's own-brand quinoa, sweet potato, and lentil burgers are pretty good, as is most of the rest of that range.
> If you fancy doing something a bit more DIY, grilled/fried halloumi is a pretty good burger filling
I love doing halloumi on the BBQ, with peppers and courgette and onion, then putting it all in a bun with some kind of spicy sauce. So good.
> halloumi with some kind of spicy sauce.
To give it some actual flavour?
Just got home from work to a freshly cooked meal of roasted beetroot (beet and stems) with halloumi in coriander cumin with a raita and pearl barley. Was very yum. Highlight meal of the week so far.
And the beetroot reminded me of Meera Sodha's Fresh India veggie cookbook, which is great and we particularly likethe grand vegetable biriani, baked in a pastry crust. Recommended.
I think I'll buy that, did you guys go on courses to learn to make all that lovely sounding veggie stuff or get it all from books? And do all these recipes contain ingredients you can use in many different dishes? I hate wasting food.
Branched out from the cheese+bean jacket spud yesterday and got the veggie lasagne from the work canteen. Actually better than the meat one.
For recipes, BBC Good Food is pretty handy - lots of vegetarian and vegan stuff, and fairly straightforward. I also have a couple of books, but don't use them a huge amount, I tend to try and figure an idea out by myself.
Ingredients-wise, I tend to keep on hand:
- tinned cannellini, borlotti and butter beans, as well as canned tomatoes
- dried red lentils
- tomato puree,
And then buy fresh vegetables loose (and therefore only in the quantity I need for what I plan to cook)
I'm more than happy to post recipes if people are interested
That book looks great!
This lentil bolognese recipe is really good. Dead simple to make and very tasty.
Thanks for those tips, much appreciated.
I've had a few meaty days this week so not great. One was a takeaway curry on Monday night, that also became lunch on Tuesday, and I bought some chorizo to go with pasta on Wednesday. Otherwise it's been good here. I'm struggling to remember but I think we've had potato and asparagus rendang, portobello mushrooms stuffed with creamy stilton spinach with carrots and potato wedges, curried bubble and squeak, pasta and sauce and aloo gobi (2 nights). Reading back through that shows we eat a lot of curries but they're just so good for veggie food - the veg really are the stars of the meal!
Lunches have been good this week. I made a big pot of leek, potato and stilton soup on Monday and that made 5 portions. On Thursday I made roast sweet potato salad, so that's another few days of lunches sorted.
I'm doing a gluten free diet at the moment to test if it affects my psoriasis so meals are currently pretty potato/rice heavy. There would usually be a few more simple pasta dishes - one of our faves is pasta with broccoli, olive oil, chilli and garlic - but the really simple ones are not as tasty with GF pasta as the more saucy/flavourful options now.
Some veggie lasagnes are amazing. The River Cottage Veg Everyday book has a recipe for roasted squash and fennel lasagne that's absolutely mind-blowingly good. I've taken it to a pot luck supper type thing full of meat eaters and it was the first thing to run out!
I haven't eaten meat for many years, very rarely fly and was a wee bit complacent reading the first of these threads.
This was a sobering read though:
If I'm honest I think I knew, or at least suspected that already. I'd already cut farmed salmon out of my diet after getting a good look at a Scottish salmon farm at feeding time whilst sea kayaking last summer (it struck me as really quite grim, they're aquatic battery chickens pretty much).
But I think it's time to start taking the same approach to fish that other folk here are taking to meat. I'm not sure if I have the heart to drop it completely and go back to being a proper veggie (let alone vegan), but it's clearly time to cut right down, make it more of an occasional treat than a staple food and when I do occasionally buy it try to make sure it's good quality stuff from a sustainable source. (I no longer think an MSC label is good enough for that really.)
Best of luck with the hip replacement and post-surgery recovery Deadeye!
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