17 October 2018

Veganism

Vegan fried "chicken" at "Make No Bones"
Our favourite son returned to Sheffield at the weekend. He had a good rest and caught up with some old friends but this morning he took an early train  back to London - specifically for interviews with "The Evening Standard" and "The Metro".

On Monday, we went for lunch in a trendy, post-industrial unit by The River Don. It is home to the "Make No Bones" vegan cafe which arguably has the best 100% vegan menu in Sheffield.

Now I am not a vegan myself but I am not averse to eating vegan meals. After all fruit is vegan and so are vegetables. To enjoy vegan dishes, you do not have to be a card-carrying member of The Vegan Society. It's okay to dabble. The vegan police will not get you.

Ian ordered a Moving Mountains B12 Classic Burger with french fries and fried "chicken" made from seitan. I went for the California Salad - roast tender stem broccoli and butternut squash salad with pomegranate seeds, avocado, quinoa, pistachio nuts, spring onion, poppy seeds and fresh herbs with an avocado and lemon dressing. It was gorgeous - the best salad I have had all year - so many tastes, colours and textures.

Of course I also sampled the french fries and fried "chicken" with its barbecue dip. Also delightful.
My California Salad
There has been a lot of talk recently in the news media about the need to reduce meat consumption for sound environmental reasons. Far too much land and energy is required to produce the meat products we find in our supermarkets. In addition, farm animals create vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane.

Our ancestors did not expect meat to figure in just about every meal they ate. Only refrigeration has made that possible. The majority of people of the past customarily ate vegan meals. Meat was an infrequent treat , usually consumed within hours of the animal's slaughter. We should not be surprised that when the contents of bog people's stomachs are examined they are found to be almost exclusively plant-based.

In May of this year  an article in "The Guardian" said this:-

Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet.

The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

There's certainly a lot to be said for veganism.
Moving Mountains B12 Classic Burger

28 comments:

  1. With one vegan and one vegetarian in this house, I'm making most meals vegan for the sake of simplicity and because I really want to live an environmentally friendly life.
    Liam treated me to a Vietnamese style vegan meal on Monday snd I think I might have liked the soy based fake pork more than pork.
    I'll be serving a vegan morning tea at work for world vegan day and I think Liam is really proud of that (or maybe just invested)
    Your salad sounds amazing

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    1. So many people in the western world are reconsidering their eating habits. I think it is a good thing even though I am an omnivore.

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  2. Well, The Guardian and all the rest of the so-called "experts" can go and take a leap.

    I will continue drinking milk...cows' milk, and I shall continue eating cheese...made from cows' milk, sheep and goats, at my choosing at any given time.

    I don't eat meat every day...whether it be red meat or white meat. I have no intentions of giving either up entirely. Fish is regularly on my list of foods. I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables...always have done. As well as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils etc., and raw nuts.

    Why call something "chicken" when, in fact, it is not chicken? Call it what it is. It seems hypocritical to do otherwise.

    I had chicken schnitzels for lunch on Monday...of the poultry kind. It would be about two weeks since I've had any red meat, but I intend making a stir-fry for myself tomorrow...using beef.

    Perhaps, I'm a carniveggiefruito.

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    1. I know I'm a bit nutty so that goes without saying, really...and doesn't need going into my title! :)

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    2. Some people's hackles rise when the word "vegan" raises its head. My brother in France was just on the phone saying he didn't believe in veganism when he was in the middle of preparing a beetroot salad that will contain no meat or dairy ingredients! We all eat vegan food.

      As for the vegan fried "chicken", many vegans who used to eat meat dishes will sometimes look for meat substitutes - perhaps for slightly nostalgic reasons. That fried "chicken" was delicious with a meaty inner texture caused by the clever use of seitan which I only learnt about this year.

      Like you I am an omnivore. I don't see that changing any time soon.

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  3. Gregg and I were vegetarians (but not vegans) for several years when we were first married. I didn't have much trouble with it, since I like almost all foods, but it was more difficult for Gregg since he's far pickier than me. We made it work, though. And to this day, even though we eat meat again, I still have a few go-to veggie meals that I like to serve. My favorite is a 3 bean chili packed with vegetables. I always make a big pot full of it that lasts for several days. We love it!

    And your salad sounds so good! I love big varied salads like that!

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    1. It's nice not to have meat from time to time so I am glad you have hung on to some of your vegetarian recipes. Your three bean chilli sounds great.

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  4. And you haven't even touched on the cruelty to farmed animals aspect of a meat-based diet. Another good reason to eat less meat. Having said that, I am still an omnivore also, although we have cut back on our consumption. My precarious GI system precludes most nuts and seeds and any more than minimal beans. I should try some seitan products again. Our daughter used to be vegan, then vegetarian, but is trying to eat some animal protein to counter anemia. I greatly admire anyone who can go fully vegan/vegetarian.

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    1. Cruelty to farm animals and the use of antibiotics and growth enhancing food supplements. There are many reasons why folk should seriously consider what they eat.

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  5. I can't argue with any of that. I'm not vegan either but I do lean vegetarian. I think dairy would be my biggest challenge -- I love milk and cheese.

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    1. Eggs. I love 'em - fried, poached, scrambled, boiled, coddled, in my cakes and of course in my Yorkshire puddings. I could not be a full blown vegan but I intend to eat more vegan meals. I guess I am becoming a flexitarian.

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  6. I have a granddaughter that is vegan but the rest of us are meat eaters. I've never been crazy about meat but my husband loves to grill meat on the bar-b-que. I have managed however to get him to eat vegan once a week and that was a major accomplishment!

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    1. If everybody did that it would be a brilliant - like turning the tide. Vegan can be delicious.

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  7. The tide is turning, it would seem. And for all the excellent reasons you state and more, In the last ten years I have gone from one ('Meatless Monday') day off to around four days off, and feeling the better for it. However in the last 7 months my son has adopted the hugely meaty Keto diet and lost 45kg. (to be fair, possibly because of the no sugar, almost zero carbohydrate part.) So there you go.

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    1. Sons frequently rebel. It used to be that they smoked grass or got drunk. Now they're eating meat! Hopefully it has just been a phase to get his weight down.

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  8. Meat today is pretty tasteless. It is company produced meat. the animals eat very green grass, hay or grains.

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    1. Meat is big business. When I was a child, my father bought a young pig and for a year we fed it up. It lived in a shed in the corner of our garden and then the butcher came to kill it. Eating Sheila was strange but it wasn't big business.

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  9. Years back we as a family were vegetarian, I cooked some lovely meals although the kids didn't always think so. When they mentioned the various meals that they ate the other kids just said yuc, but my kids were healthy and didn't know any other way. Gradually though as they got older we as a family strayed back to meat eating and now that its just the two of us its too much bother to make those delicious meals, too much chopping and sauteing involved, I haven't the patience now.
    Tom and I did attempt the vegan diet after our London based Grandson said that we should give it a go but our heart wasn't in it. Now, if I could have someone come in each day and concoct a lovely vegan meal I'm sure I would enjoy it. lol
    By the way, I think I would suit the Dame Edna Everage type glasses, ha ha.
    Briony
    x

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    1. You could still aim to have one vegan or vegetarian day a week... if not for you then for the planet. I am glad that you were not offended by my Dame Edna suggestion! As you would add... lol!

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  10. I have never been a huge eater of meat and have at times (my one-time partner was a non-meat eater) eaten little or no meat. I am academically a vegan however in reality I suspect for the remainder of my life I shall be a flexatarian.

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    1. If everyone reduced their weekly meat intake it would help our planet and help to put the brakes on global warming.

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  11. You'll rarely find anything meaty in my fridge, and at the various canteens of my clients where I eat on working days, I never eat meat as I simply do not trust the quality of the meat when it is served in such large numbers of meals.
    On weekends, OK and I like to have meat or sausages, and I admit I love a good bacon buttie.
    On the whole, I think meat should cost a lot more money than it does, and that would possibly recude the mass consumption (and production!) more than all ethical and environmental arguments.
    Near where OK lives is a vegan restaurant. Neither of us is vegan or vegetarian, but we like to eat there and are rarely disappointed (their desserts are not quite as nice).
    Giving up cheese, yoghurt and milk would be really hard for me.

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    1. If more people moved in your direction - reducing meat consumption - the planet would surely benefit. Are you suggesting that meat should have a special tax connected to it?

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    2. Not a special tax, just a selling price that would reflect its real production cost under conditions that make the animals' lives less miserable.

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  12. I have always thought it ridiculous that vegans/vegetarians eat food that is " dressed up" to look like various meats ( and called chicken/pork/sausage etc). You have partly answered in your reply to Lee, but I still don't see the point. Be happy and proud to not eat meat if that is your way, and just let your food look like veg ! I eat a variety of food and probably only have red meat about once a week.
    I heard a " joke" the other day.........How do you know someone is a vegan? ....They will tell you ! Sorry ! (I don't know any vegans..except for your Ian of course !)

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    1. I have also had those thoughts about vegan "meats". It's almost as if some vegans are admitting that they miss meat!

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  13. Your meals look delicious & the colors really do make it look like it would be a dive in pleasurable meal.

    I too have dabbled being a committed vegetarian for many years which came about after an experience of delivering a yearling beef cow to an abatoir which I found very confronting
    Eventually, I felt my vegetarian preference being chief cook in our family was mean after one Christmas when our celebratory dinner was a roasted nut loaf (very time consuming to make) with roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce... hubby stole the dog's chop I had grilling - he reckoned he could not cope without meat any more and to be fair he is a hard working carpenter so needed substantial meals including meat if desired.
    So we agreed to be self sustaining with our own supply of organically raised chickens, rabbits and lamb/hogget. It is very hard to put down an animal for your own consumption but as we have a small farm we consider it is important to know & be responsible for how the animal is treated and what it has been fed as well as how it is dispatched without fear.
    Many of the organic farmers in our district actually encourage people who buy their produce online to see where & how their food source is raised during its life by its tag number and that they have sound principals when dispatched and processed.

    Probably a bit off subject but I think it could well be a factor in some peoples decision to become vegetarian/vegan is live export of sheep and cattle which we abhor and is a big issue here in Australia since a program was aired about the appalling conditions of sheep dying from heat exhaustion and shocking conditions on board a ship.

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