#WhatVegansEat: The Vegfest Edition
So, since I took the #WhatVegansEat challange last year, I have been thinking long and hard about what I eat and my health. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to be vegan. I won’t go into a lecture about why, but I decided to go to this year’s Vegfest at the Olympia in Kensington to get some inspiration and a much needed kick up the arse to not necessarily eat vegan, but certainly to eat more healthily.
It was awesome. Live bands, cookery demonstrations, free samples of EVERYTHING, and just general foodie madness. It was great not just for vegans, but for anyone that cares about food. I tried to get a good look at everything that was there over the course of the day, and here are my top picks.
1) Deliciously Ella
This is a cookbook that my mum has been swearing by for a little while, so as soon as I saw one of the stalls selling it I knew I had to get it. I’ve had a look, and the recipes are quick, simple, and they look tasty as hell. I’ve already tried her recipe for Banana Ice cream (yes, vegan) and it’s amazing that something can be so creamy and delicious and yet so good for you. The only problem with it is that some of the recipes call for ingredients that might be a bit more difficult to get hold of, and you need a good blender or food processor for a lot of them (which as a poor student I do not). But it’s a great little healthy cookbook nonetheless.
2) Harper’s Bizarre Candles
It might be bizarre to think of a candle as vegan, but when you think about it, many are made using beeswax. These are ethical soy wax candles from sustainable sources, never tested on animals, and each one is handmade. They smell brilliant, and are more reasonably priced than many high street brands. My favorite thing about the company is the uniqueness of the scents. From “I love you but you smell” and “snuggly blanket” to “thunder & lightning”, each one is special and smells great. They also do a bargain bucket of their experimental scents for a discounted price. Here is their website.
(My beloved Beach Daisy)
This is a Spanish company, so actually getting hold of their products is slightly more difficult. However, the concept is great. VitaSnack make great little packs of fruit and vegetable crisps. Their purple carrot flavour is particularly awesome, but they do everything from pineapple to pumpkin to beetroot. They recommend that you use them in cocktails, on salads, or just as a snack on their own. If you don’t fancy ordering them all the way from Spain (they are slightly pricey) then you can make your own with a vegetable peeler, a bit of olive oil, and a roasting tin. If you make enough for the week then you can put them in little sandwich bags for safekeeping. Their website is here.
Neek are only six months old as a company, but I hope that they have a bright future. They have a select range of vegan lipsticks (which have no beeswax or cochineal or whale blubber or anything in), which are not tested on animals. My favourite colour was called “Friday On My Mind” and was a lovely subtle red. You can find them here.
5) Animal Aid
Animal Aid is a charity that exposes animal cruelty and campaigns for fairer treatment of animals. The really useful thing about them is their little booklets. I love this one called “Meat Free: feed four for under a fiver.” I know I was struggling to cook vegan cheaply when I was doing the #WhatVegansEat challenge, and this booklet is absolutely brilliant. Their online shop is also worth checking out here.
6) Follow Your Heart
This company do vegan alternatives of foods that otherwise you could not have. Vegannaise, vegan cheese, vegan dressings, etc etc. They were handing out tiny cheese toasties on the day, and unlike most vegan cheese, this one actually melted! It also tasted so creamy and delicious. I heard multiple people around me saying that they couldn’t tell the difference between this and real cheese, so I know it wasn’t just me! Their website is here.
7) Paradise Unbakery
This is a bakery with a difference; it specialises in raw vegan deliciousness. You know that everything that comes from here is going to be much better for you than a McFlurry. They do catering to order, with an online shop coming soon. I tried their “raw-tella” cheesecake on the day (hazelnut and chocolate), and it was freaking delicious. It was difficult to believe that it was raw, let alone vegan. You’ll find them here.
8) Vegetarian Living
This is a great little magazine, and they were offering discounted subscriptions on the day. They also do an online version which is available on the iPhone on the Newsstand app, and they also have their own app. It’s packed full of recipe ideas, general lifestyle articles and interviews, and it’s a really interesting read.
9) Peace and Parsnips
This is a great book. It’s by a guy called Lee Watson who lives on an organic farm in North Wales. He did a cookery demonstration on the day of a south Indian Curry (which even made kale taste good, who’d have thunk?). Here it is:
The thing I like about this cookbook is that the ingredients are much more easily obtainable from normal shops or local greengrocers than in Ella’s book. Lee Watson advocates fresh organic fruit and veg, preferably in season, and just general healthiness and good things. His website is here, and you can follow Lee on twitter @lee_the_vegan.
10) Natural World Nut Butters
Nutella addicts, this one is for you. Natural World sell a variety of spreads made from nuts, and when you compare the ingredient list of one of these little pots to that of Nutella, it makes you realise that actually so much less sugar and processing is needed to get a great taste than we had thought. The Hazelnut and Carob spread (although more expensive) is a hell of a lot healthier for you. They also do great almond and pistachio based spreads too, and if you’re into crunchy peanut butters (yum) then this is the place for you. Website here.
Been inspired to try something new? Let us know @EatMoreCakeUK.