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Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

I don’t know if it has happened to you before but I sometimes feel like I am the only vegan in the village. Eating a vegan diet does make you the minority, although the number of us are on the increase, so there are things you need to accept.

  • people don’t always understand you
  • people think you only eat lettuce and carrots
  • you may be weird to some people
  • some people assume you are judging them OR that they’re making you feel uncomfortable eating meat near you
  • some genuinely don’t know how to cater for you
  • don’t expect to be catered for at parties and don’t take offence!!

As a result of this you have to be confident in what you’re doing, happy with what you’re doing and always be prepared.

Here are some quick tips to help you feel comfortable in party situations:

  • eat before you go: you wont offend anyone at the party because chances are there’s not much substantial you will be able to eat there. Eating before hand ensures you wont be hungry there so you wont get “hangry” and want to leave. You want to be happy and comfortable there so make sure you’re well fed before hand.
  • take something with you:  super easy tip. Take food with you! Share you’re food with others, it will make you blend in and people will appreciate the gift 🙂
  • don’t make comments about there being no vegan food available: in a room full of numerous “normal” eating people, you can’t expect that on top of catering for all them people that they’re going to go that extra mile for you. They have spent a lot of time and effort into preparing the party so don’t mention you’re vegan and there’s nothing to eat, simply say you’re not hungry or “no thank you” to non-vegan offerings.
  • find any vegan food you can and take it before it goes: there’s a chance that there will be a cheese board with fresh or dried fruits. Take some and pop them on your plate before they all go. Bread is normally available and if you’re lucky some salads or veggie sticks. More times than none there will be vegan options but get them on your plate at the beginning of the party, just incase they run out by the time you’re hungry.
  • don’t worry about it: at the end of the day you’re not there for the food, you’re there for the party. Enjoy the party and be social. Social environments don’t always have to revolve around food and if they do just make sure you’re prepared.

I hope these few, quick tips help you for when you feel like the only vegan in the village 🙂

 

 

Tips for Travelling South America

Tips for Travelling South America

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Tips for Travelling South America.

I spent just over three months travelling South America and there were a few things I wish I had known before going out there, and things I did know but chose not to listen to. Now I have been and experienced it myself I realise I was stupid not to have taken note and am now offering advice that I ignored, plus some extra bits I wish I had known before hand. Please don’t do what I did and ignore this, it’s all important and it will save you a lot of stress, money and time in doing so.

Enjoy your trip and stay safe.

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Yellow fever/ Vaccinations: One of my biggest, most recommended pieces of advice is to get your yellow fever injection! Don’t do what I did and leave your injection to the last week. Your yellow fever injection is only valid 10 days after you have had it done and for a few countries in Central and South America it is essential for you to have it to get in to the country. If you don’t have a valid certificate with you (this is provided when you get your injection) you will be refused entry into the country and sent on a return flight home (this happened to a girl when I was there!!). So go to your Pharmacist (Boots do it) or local Travel Clinic and get all medications and injections you need; way in advance!!

Learn Spanish: This was advice I heard from everyone before leaving for South America and did I listen? Nope! Should I have listened? Yes! In South America the people do not speak English; I promise you. If you want to get around, use public transport, order food, get directions, book a room etc (which of course, you will) then you need to speak Spanish. Even if you know a few basics, it will help you out A LOT! Get yourself a dictionary, phrase book, some phone apps and/ or take some classes. It will definitely be worth it.

Get a money belt: these are fantastic for keeping your valuables safe. Pop it under your clothes and keep your money, cards and passport in it. These are great for when on public transport and if you fall asleep especially. They are hidden and no one can access them apart from you.

Keep your valuables on you: when on public transport always have your valuable on you, i.e. not in your main backpack that is in storage. Keep a padlock on your day pack and keep all items you don’t want stolen in here. Keep it close to you and always take it with you, everywhere you go.

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Carry minimal items on you: this is really important, especially when in big cities or going to the beach for example. When you are out and about you don’t want to stand out and you don’t want to look rich. Leave your valuables in a safe in your hotel/ hostel and only carry the necessary items with you. Don’t wear nice jewellery because that will make you a target and if you’re going to the beach only bring essential items with you. The last thing you want is to have you camera stolen or any of your important possessions.

Be prepared for all weather: the weather can change a lot in South America, not only in the day but between countries. Come prepared for wind, rain, sunshine and ice. Wooly hats, warm gloves, hiking shoes, flip flops, rain coats, jumpers, bikinis; the lot. It’s annoying but you will need them all!

Bring a Go Pro or Waterproof camera: I didn’t bring one and I wish I had. My DSLR was fantastic but when it’s raining or if you visit waterfalls, lakes etc, a waterproof camera would be ideal.

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Bring a dry bag: As noted above, I didn’t have a waterproof camera but I did have a dry bag. This came in handy as I could keep my phone, camera and other valuables in it when on the water / or near water and I didn’t have to worry about anything getting damaged.

Get a decent day backpack: very helpful and useful. A decent day bag about 25ltr is ideal. You will be carrying a lot of items around with you for safety and convenience so a decent and large day pack is essential. Think about sun cream, waterproofs, camera, water bottle, food, change of clothes etc. Also handy for shorter trips you will do as you can leave your main bag in storage and just take your day pack with you!

Look away if you’re a male for this next one…

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Always carry tampons/ sanitary towels in your hand luggage: You will be out and about a lot on your trip and will probably be on a lot of public transport for many hours (think of them night busses). The last thing you want is to have you’re tampons/ sanitary towels in your backpack stored away and then nature calls. I don’t need to say much more about this but just be prepared…

Use buses over taxis when possible: Buses in South America, especially the big cities like Rio, Quito and Lima, buses are a lot cheaper than Taxis. Buses are also a lot safer and in some cities they are a lot quicker also as they have their own road (like a tram). You will save a lot of money this way.

 

Those are some of my top tips. Don’t be afraid or put off, it’s an incredible and diverse country. You will love it, just be smart, be confident and enjoy each moment.

Eating Vegan on a budget

Eating Vegan on a budget

I think that there is a misconception that eating vegan is expensive because we eat so much fruit, which I do for sure, but it really isn’t expensive. Eating vegan may even save you money, it has for me and there are many tips and tricks to eating vegan on a budget that I am going to share here with you 🙂

Tips:

  • Buy in bulk: I always do a bulk shop, have my cupboards full and then just top up when I need to. buying odd bits here and there can be a lot more costly!
  • Shop online: I buy in bulk my “health foods” online at buywholefoodsonline.co.uk. They also have their store through Amazon so it’s worth a look, or just explore online and most things you will find a LOT cheaper than your conventional Health Food stores.
  • Shop at local farmers markets: I wish I could shop like this all the time but unfortunately I can’t. However if you are fortunate enough then this is a fantastic way to save money, support local farmers and eat organically too!
  • Shop at Lidl or Aldi: Lidl and Aldi are perfect for fresh fruits and vegetables and canned beans, lentils, chopped tomatoes and pasatta. They’re cheaper than the supermarkets and taste just as good as branded products too.
  • Buy cheaper fruits and vegetables: apples and bananas for example are a lot cheaper than papaya and mango. Carrots and potatoes are also cheaper than squashes and asparagus. They’re cheaper but also still greatly nutritious and delicious.
  • Buy frozen vegetables: these are frozen right at when they’re picked and the goodness is stored within the veg as it’s frozen so they’re actually more nutritious than that carrot that’s been sat in the fridge for 2 weeks. They’re also super quick and easy to cook with too which is also a favourite of mine!
  • Buy in season: fruit and vegetables in season are always super cheap compared to out of season fruits so buy these! In season nectarines will cost you 69p a punnet, out of season can cost you almost £4 a punnet; so stick to in season produce!
  • Buy own brands: staples such as rice, pasta and potatoes etc will taste just the same as over priced branded products so stick to the basics!
  • Buy dried herbs and spices: don’t spend lots of money on fresh ingredients if you can’t afford to. Staple spices and herbs are great for quick, easy and still delicious recipes.
  • Make a shopping list: I know it is easily done but walking nito the supermarket without a list means we usually end up going crazy and buy tons of food we do not need, so qrite a list before you go and stick to it.
  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry: Obvious one here but I have to say it. Going shopping when you’re hungry is a no no because we can to buy the whole store and spend way more than we need to. Eat first people 🙂
  • Freeze left overs or have them the next day: No one likes waste. Any leftovers save for the next day, put in a tuppawear, freeze them until a rainy day, or even if its a small amount of food that wont make a meal keep hold of it and add it into tomorrows meal. i.e. got a small amount of rice and beans left? Add it into tomorrows lunch or dinner.
Eat your carbs

Eat your carbs

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Eat your carbs!!

Yes, you heard right. If you want to become vegan and stay on this lifestyle then you mustn’t be afraid of carbohydrates! It may take you a while to get used to but good carbohydrates will be your saviour and they will keep you happy and healthy. Carbohydrates “ignite the fat burning flame”, i.e. to burn fat you need carbohydrates in the body. This was a quote and one of the most valuable points I took from my nutrition classes.

People go from diet to diet and cutting carbs seem to be top of the list all of the time; ever wonder why the diet doesn’t work for very long? It’s because the body is under carbed, starving and under nourished so craves carbohydrates. If we keep our tummies full of good carbs then you won’t need to go reaching for the sugary doughnuts and chocolate bars (i.e. bad carbs)!

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A few benefits of good carbs:

  • The body’s main source of energy!!
  • High in fibre to keep you full, energized, and stools regular.
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Low glycaemic index: stabilizing blood sugars and insulin production
  • Provides body with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes.
  • Promotes long term weight loss and weight management
  • Stimulates metabolism and promotes fat loss (“ignites the fat burning flame”)

Dangers of cutting carbs:

  • Low energy
  • Body uses protein and fat for energy instead
  • Reduced fibre intake resulting in constipation and blocked digestive system
  • Replacing carbs with meat and dairy products increases saturated fat intake leading to high cholesterol and heart disease
  • Using stored fat for energy results in Ketosis, resulting in: weakness, headaches, dehydration and irritability

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To keep you healthy ensure that you eat plenty of the following list of Good Carbs:

  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Pastas
  • Bread (wholegrain, rye, brown sourdough)
  • Lots and lots of fruit! (perfect for on the run and fast food options)
  • Frozen fruits (think smoothies and porridge)
  • Green leafy vegetables (the best and queens of good carbs)
  • Whole vegetables in general
  • Dates (deliciously sweet and high calorie to keep you full and satisfied – essential!)

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Eat until you are full! Good carbohydrates will be the bulk of your meals and do not skip them because you will feel extremely hungry, under satisfied and unhappy. Yay to feeling good!