The following article was published by the Daily Express on Feb 23rd 2015. Thought it was worth sharing as is always interesting to hear other people’s stories, how they came to veganism, what they struggle with, what their advice is etc…
Healthy living guru Angela Liddon explains how giving up animal products helped her overcome an eating disorder
Veganism is a big trend for 2015. Beyoncé announced recently that she is launching a vegan food delivery service and she is just one of many celebrities who have decided to cut animal products out of their diet completely.
For healthy living guru Angela Liddon however, going vegan wasn’t just a celebrity fad. Instead she says that after years of suffering from an eating disorder, it gave her life back to her.
Angela’s problems started when she was just 11.
“When I hit puberty, I started to get curves and gained a bit of weight. I felt I wasn’t thin enough like the girls in fashion magazines so I started to diet,” she explains.
Starving herself for days on end, then binge eating, Angela, now 32, fixated on how much fat she was eating and the amount of exercise she could do.
“Even though I was very thin my body image was worse than ever. I thought that by losing the weight I would accept myself more but found I only became more critical of how I looked. It was a vicious circle,” she says.
It wasn’t until Angela was in her mid-20s that she decided enough was enough. “I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I lacked energy in my day-to-day life and I desperately wanted to change,” she says.
“My eating disorder also negatively impacted on my relationships as it made me insecure, moody and withdrawn. I knew something needed to give if I was going to have healthy relationships in my life and most of all learn how to accept myself.”
After hearing about how healthy a vegan diet can be she decided to try it out for herself. Soon, she was hooked.
“Eating a balanced plant-based diet gave me so much energy straight away,” she says. “I felt happier, balanced and like I could accomplish so much more. It was a revelation.”
Inspired by her new lease of life Angela, who lives in Ontario, Canada, decided to start a blog to share her struggles with food and how going vegan had turned her life around.
After its launch in 2008 she was inundated with messages from readers. “I was amazed and humbled by all the people who wrote saying that my blog changed their life,” she says.
During the past six years she has created more than 600 vegan recipes and built up six million regular readers. Now, as she launches her first cookbook, Angela says she hopes her journey eating her way back to health will continue to inspire others to go vegan too.
The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, published March 4, (Penguin, £16.25) is available from amazon.co.uk
FIVE GOLDEN FOOD RULES
1 MAKE TIME
Set aside time each weekend to prepare food for the week ahead. Roast a couple of pans of seasonal vegetables, soak and cook chickpeas and prep kale and homemade dressing for salads. This will make throwing together weeknight meals much easier.
2 DON’T WORRY ABOUT OTHERS
If you want to make changes, do so for you and you alone. Don’t let outside opinions put you off. You never know, if you feel good, look healthy and your skin’s glowing others may want to do it too.
3 SWEAT EVERY DAY
You’ll feel your best if you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It can be as simple as walking outdoors but make sure whatever it is you enjoy doing it. Mix it up to keep it interesting. Try indoor cycling classes, brisk hill walking on the treadmill, weights and hiking.
4 EAT BREAKFAST
Skipping breakfast is never a good idea as you’ll end up starving by lunch and over-eating. If you want something light have a green protein smoothie or a bowl of vegan overnight oats.
5 MAKE ROOM FOR TREATS
Depriving yourself will only make you want something more. Therefore include room for desserts and treats in your diet, in moderation of course.
Try a raw chocolate pudding made with blended banana, avocado, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt topped with roasted hazelnuts and whipped coconut cream. It’s easy to make and, while sweet, it’s full of goodness.
SMART SWAPS TO BOOST YOUR DIET
Ditch: COW’S MILK
Try: Almond milk. Choose the unsweetened kind and use it where you would normally use cow’s milk.
Ditch: DAIRY CREAM
Try: Full-fat coconut cream. You can whip it just like you would regular dairy cream. It’s great in desserts, puddings, soup and more.
Try: Virgin coconut oil. You can use coconut oil in just about everything from raw desserts to baked goods to stir-fries.
Heart-healthy, it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. However if you’re not a fan of the flavour you can use refined coconut oil.
Try: Lentil-walnut taco “meat”. A mixture of toasted walnuts, lentils, chilli powder, garlic, olive oil, cumin and salt.
Ditch: DAIRY SOUR CREAM
Try: Cashew sour cream. Blend soaked cashews, water lemon juice, cider vinegar and seasoning until smooth.
Have just watched this feature length documentary on veganism and would highly recommend it to everyone, vegan or not.
It examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan.
Food scandals, climate change, lifestyle diseases and ethical concerns move more and more people to reconsider eating animals and animal products. From butcher to vegan chef, from factory farmer to farm sanctuary owner – Live and Let Live tells the stories of six individuals who decided to stop consuming animal products for different reasons and shows the impact the decision has had on their lives.
Philosophers such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Gary Francione join scientists T. Colin Campbell and Jonathan Balcombe and many others to shed light on the ethical, health and environmental perspectives of veganism.
Through these stories, Live and Let Live showcases the evolution of veganism from its origins in London 1944 to one of the fastest growing lifestyles worldwide, with more and more people realising what’s on their plates matters to animals, the environment and ultimately – themselves.
And it has a lovely soundtrack too…
This article was published in The Guardian last week – good news for vegans!
Susannah Constantine has caused outrage by posting a picture of her ten-year-old daughter Cece proudly clutching a dead duck and with her face smeared with blood to mark her first kill.
I’ve been reading all the various reactions from people and mostly the debate has developed into whether or not you should be honest with your children about where meat comes from. And this is missing the point entirely.
1. How much of the meat that you eat on a daily basis was killed on a country estate by posh people for ‘sport’? The odd pheasant casserole possibly if you’re in the 1% of the country that takes part in these country pursuits but otherwise basically none of it. So if ‘education’ is really what this is all about then you would presumably be as keen to take your kids around a slaughterhouse, a factory farm or a chicken shed? No I thought not… The reality is slightly less palatable isn’t it?
2. Of course you should be honest with your children about where meat comes from – but not if you’re feeding them totally incorrect information. Not if your moral compass is completely out of whack. I was told from a very young age where meat comes from (I was raised on a small farm) but I never witnessed it. The closest I came was when mum insisted we stay inside whilst dad strangled all the chickens that had stopped laying eggs so were now ‘surplus to requirements’. Funnily enough, my parents weren’t shuffling us into ringside seats for this barbaric spectacle. Alongside my education of where meat comes from I was also told that these animals were put here to feed us – that that was their purpose, their raison d’etre. I was told that we needed meat to survive and that is was an entirely natural process. What total nonsense!
3. I was certainly not told the whole truth. How most animals in the world are kept in horrific concentration camp conditions for their entire lives before being needlessly slaughtered at a dismally tender age. I wasn’t told what happens to every single male chick born to the egg industry – minced alive at less than a day old by thousands. I wasn’t told what happens to the dairy calves that aren’t wanted for veal – killed within the first week as ‘by-product’ of the dairy industry. And I certainly wasn’t told that I could live a perfectly happy, healthy, compassionate life without ever having to eat, wear or use any animal products ever again.
So if the person guiding you through life’s moral maze is a member of the third reich and is telling you that it’s ok to gas someone because they are Jewish it’s probably not the kind of education I’d be wanting for my kids and its certainly not a defense to say that at least their being honest!
A child is incredibly easily influenced by what their parents say, as we all are by people in positions of authority to us, which is how otherwise decent human beings throughout history have been coerced into doing horrific things under the misguided guise of ‘doing the right thing’.
Teaching children that it’s ok to kill animals for sport or food is not okay in my book. It’s wrong, it’s confusing, it’s deeply irresponsible and it’s dangerous. If we want to raise the next generation of children to be compassionate, free thinking, rational individuals then we need to start being honest about how inexcusable it is in this day and age to consume any animal products of any kind.
We’ve just returned from 2 weeks in Uganda.
We had no idea whether we’d be able to continue being vegan or not and so were pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually pretty easy. We were staying in an area called Masaka which is a large sprawling town 140 km from Kampala.
Cooking and eating revolves around the weekly food market that descends on the town every Friday and Saturday. Local farmers bring their produce in large wheelbarrows to sell and the streets are literally groaning with fresh fruit, veg and spices. Every stall looks identical and is selling identical produce at identical prices so I have no idea how people decide who to buy their week’s bounty from! But there are plenty to choose from.
What’s available is obviously entirely seasonal but there seemed to be plenty on offer in October. Potatos of various varieties, colours and textures, avocados the size of pineapples, passion fruit, jack fruit, sweet potatos, tomatos, green beans of all kinds, pineapples galore, mangos, aubergines, chillies, bananas and plantain absolutely everywhere, oranges, lemons, limes, paw paws – absolutely plenty to keep you satisfied!
Avoiding meat was very easy as meat is such a luxury that it is actually quite difficult to come by. The meat that was available was hanging very uninvitingly in the sun from large butchers hooks, dripping blood and still covered in fat, gristle and patches of skin.
Dairy is relatively hard to come by also. We didn’t see any cheese for sale in Masaka. You can get it in supermarkets in Kampala but it’s very expensive so presumably is imported in. We got long life soya milk in Kampala so we didn’t have to drink cow’s milk. Vegetable butter is easy to get so that’s not a problem. When eating out there was almost always a vegan curry option but I confess we had the occasional non-vegan pizza when we were all curried out!
I was interested to know how people would react to our being vegans and was surprised to find that everyone was very accepting and understanding of it. As soon as we explained that we don’t eat any animal products people just nodded and seemed to understand. Which just goes to show that you should never underestimate people.
So it turns out that lobsters, octopus, prawns, crabs, squid etc probably do feel pain. This article was recently published in the New Scientist and suggests that all of these animals not only feel pain but some of them feel it more acutely than humans do.
But do people care? Will everyone who read the latest evidence in the New Scientist or all of you reading this blog post now, finish reading this and then vow to stop eating these animals? No, most won’t according to what history shows us. Not until the vegan movement gathers a lot more momentum and swells to much bigger numbers. Why not? I don’t understand why otherwise kind, caring, compassionate people don’t change their behaviour once they’ve discovered that that behaviour causes pain and suffering to innocent sentient animals. We’re not talking about political allegiance or tastes in music or something that is inconsequential in terms of pain and suffering. We are talking about a global genocide that is causing billions of animals every year to endure immense abuse, pain and suffering. Is that how incapable we are of thinking for ourselves, of acting upon proven facts, of swimming against the tide, of challenging the status quo? It makes me feel so sad and angry and disappointed. But more than that it baffles me. I’m not any more compassionate than anyone else. I don’t love animals any more than anyone else? I don’t enjoy seeing an animal suffer any more or less than anyone else I doubt. We all have the same reaction when we see an animal in pain – we empathise enormously and will do everything we can to stop it’s suffering. So why the massive blind spot when it comes to eating animals and animal products? Is it ignorance? It is fear? I think we all know deep down that the process by which meat gets to our plates cannot be a wholly pleasant one. But somehow we deem it worthwhile for the pleasure of taste and the fear of change. So we do everything we can to remain ignorant and hide behind pathetic justifications such as ‘but we’ve always eaten meat’ (and? we’ve also always enslaved other people and raped and pillaged our way around the world – it doesn’t mean it’s okay!) and ‘we need it for protein’ (no you do NOT).
The second I discovered what happens to the billions of male chicks born each year I vowed to never eat eggs again. As soon as I discovered that I didn’t need to eat meat of any kind in order to eat a healthy, full and balanced diet I vowed to never be responsible for the slaughter of another pig, cow, duck, chicken, sheep, lamb or chicken. I just the same way as when I discovered how foie gras was made I vowed never to eat it again. As soon as I discovered what veal was I vowed never again to eat it. As soon as i discovered the life cycle of a dairy cow I vowed to never eat dairy again. As soon as I discovered the human rights abuses committed by Primark I vowed never to shop there again. As soon as I discovered the environmental ruin that Nestle is causing around the world I vowed never to buy their products again. Why doesn’t everyone else. Ignorance is a good enough answer if you really didn’t know. But once you do know – what excuse do you have to continue to perpetuate the problem?
I’m bored of being polite and saying oh well some people don’t want to offend others or stand out from the crowd or be the objects of ridicule. It’s not good enough. Do better. We all need to be better. How can we pretend to preach the values of right and wrong to our children if we ourselves are knowingly perpetrating these cruel acts of needless violence and suffering day in and day out. Enough.
Please stop eating and exploiting animals. No more excuses.
I had one of those amusing slash infuriating moments recently that all vegans and veggies have to put up with often. I was sat eating my lunch (steamed kale, spinach, chickpeas and broccoli with a tahini and lemon dressing) whilst a colleague ate hers (mozzarella and bacon Panini with a packet of crisps). Over the course of our lunch she tried to explain to me why she thinks veganism is a bad idea. Her reasoning:
1. It’s too expensive
2. It’s dangerous to cut out entire food groups from your diet
3. It’s an unnatural diet and not one that we are designed to eat
Hmmm…. I sat there looking from my plate to her plate and back again and wondered how she could not see the irony and complete nonsense of what she was saying. There was I, a committed vegan for nearly 2 years, eating a plateful of the most nutritious, tasty, cheap, locally grown, organic whole food whilst she sat across from me eating a plateful of high cholesterol, high fat, unhealthy, expensive, factory farmed, deep fried, highly processed rubbish!
Now I’m not saying you can’t eat a really healthy non-vegan diet because of course you can. But I’m saying it’s astounding how often people will completely ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to discussing the health benefits of veganism. They’ll start muttering on about vitamin B12, iron levels and zinc and dive straight into the nitty gritty of the possible nutritional shortfalls of a vegan diet if you don’t do it sensibly, whilst ignoring the fact that I’m there snacking on an apple and they’re on their fifth chocolate digestive…
I baked some tofu for the first time this week and can’t believe I’ve waited this long to try it. It’s entirely different to stir-fried tofu and the perfect thing for when you fancy a ‘meatier’ texture but don’t fancy mushrooms… For this recipe I used firm tofu and then pressed it for 15 mins to get as much moisture out as I could. Then I cut it into 1 inch cubes and marinated it for 2 hours in soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated fresh ginger, chilli paste, agave and minced garlic. I then baked it in a hot oven (200 degrees c) for 40 mins so it was really chewy and added it to some lightly steamed baby spinach and squeezed some fresh lemon over it.
Along side this I made a really vibrant tasty salad –
1 cup quinoa, black olives, red and yellow tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and torn basil.
Light but filling lunch. Super easy to make and extraordinarily nutritious!
You’re vegan? So where do you get your protein from?
Yet another study proving what a devastating effect the meat industry is having on climate change.
Producing nearly 15% of the Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions, the meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change. Slowly, very slowly, movements like Meatless Mondays and Vegan Before 6 have demonstrated the value, and deliciousness, of adopting a vegan diet, but a carnivorous diet is still seen as evidence of prosperity.
In 2009, researchers at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency calculated that global veganism would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by nearly 17%, methane emissions by 24%, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21% by 2050.
The researchers discovered that worldwide veganism, or even just worldwide vegetarianism, would achieve gains at a much lower cost that an energy intervention, like carbon taxes, for instance.
The study demonstrated tremendous value of a vegan or vegetarian diet in staving off climate change, but there are so many other benefits as well. Antibiotic resistance stemming from the meat consumed that has been pumped full of antibiotics would plummet. Pollution rates would drop significantly as factory farms, the biggest polluters in the meat industry, became a thing of the past. General human health and well-being would rise from a plant-based diet free from cholesterol and pharmaceuticals.
By 2050, the global population is predicted to reach a staggering 9 BILLION people. What are we going to do with all the cows currently taking up 25% of the Earth’s land area?
So I’ve just done a weekly food shop and thought I’d photograph it for you as people are always asking ‘what on earth do you eat all week’? So here it is…
So this was two trips – one to an independent greengrocers in Southfields for all the fruit and veg…
…and one to Wholefoods for everything else…
The fruit and veg cost £31 and includes some quite expensive imported goodies such as pineapple, avocados, limes etc.. and the Wholefoods shop came to £52 and includes some quite specialist expensive things like a big bag of Cocoa nibs (£14) to keep me in chocolate and banana soy milkshakes for the rest of my pregnancy! and Arrowroot for tonight’s frittata fiesta… posh crackers, posh chocolate, a sushi rolling mat, posh dressing, very posh crackers, elderflower cordial etc so this shop would normally have been more like £30. We then usually do an online shop at GoodnessDirect.com for all our toiletries and house cleaning kit, roughly every 3 months, and that comes to about £50. So that’s a monthly spend on everything of between £250 and £300 which for a greedy family of four I’d say is pretty good.
Before turning vegan, we shopped in Sainsburys and I could never keep the weekly shop to under £100 a week. Meat and cheese are expensive! And we hardly eat any processed food any more. We were always filling the trolley up with whatever was on offer in an attempt to spend les and the result was we ate far more, far less healthily, always shopped in supermarkets and spent more money.
Now, we shop in far more ethical sops, have massively reduced our carbon footprint as a family, buy far better quality food, way healthier food and spend less overall. And the whole shopping experience is a far nicer one too. I don’t miss battling through Sainsburys on a Saturday afternoon with screaming children hanging out of the trolley whilst I stuff breadsticks into them in a bid to keep them occupied whist I grab anything with a 2 for 1 sticker on it…
Now I’m on first name terms with my veg man and the kids help him fill up the bags whilst he teaches them the difference between yellow courgettes and Spanish courgettes and Wholefoods is basically like food porn for anyone who enjoys eating!