Plant-Based Pause No 37: Buy As Local As Possible

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.’ – Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

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‘Locavore’ is a word that is beginning to be heard more and more. A locavore is someone who eats local, seasonal food. If you’re making the transition to living plant-based, you will naturally find your inner locavore. 99% of the fresh produce I buy at home is British. I’d love to tell you that 100% of my shopping comes from local sources, but I have to make a compromise between my ethics and making sure I get all the nutrients I need. I’m very lucky in the neighbourhood where I live in Cardiff, Wales. We have local farmers markets every week where we can buy fresh vegetables, bread and the occasional treat such as vegan cakes and falafel. I also get a lot of my food fresh from the community garden where I volunteer, and trade produce with friends who have their own allotments.

When I tell people that I try to eat only British produce, as close to the source as possible, they look at me like I’m crazy. They tell me my meals must be boring, and it must be hard to live like that. Actually, the opposite is true. Before living plant-based, I tended to stick to the same few meals on rotation because it was convenient. Now, I simply buy whatever is seasonal at that time of year and find a recipe that suits what I’ve bought. Shopping is much easier because I just look for the British labels or choose from the huge selection at the farmers market, and my diet is now much more varied because I’m trying ingredients that I would not have done otherwise.

Buying local also helps us to revert back to small scale, organic farming. This is massively important for the future of the planet, and also makes our food sources much more sustainable. Eating organic has received a lot of mixed press over the years, but when you learn the facts about chemical farming it really is a no-brainer to choose organic. At the moment it may be slightly more expensive on your weekly shop, but in the long term the price we are paying is far, far worse. Modern, chemical, mass farming has been described as the biggest case of genocide this planet has ever seen. We are literally making ourselves extinct.

Even if you choose to eat meat, buying it from small-scale organic farms is the much friendlier way to do it. ‘Silent Spring’, by Rachel Carson, was published in 1962. The real-life accounts of the effects of chemical farming read like a horror story. From children dying on farms within hours of touching farm equipment to whole species of insects and animals disappearing. The full affects of chemicals can only be seen after a few generations. In the case of some small insects, this is a relatively short period of time. However, for us as humans, we will not see the true consequences of our actions for many years yet.

It is not just the direct affect of chemicals to us that we have to worry about. Neoricotinoid chemicals in pesticides are believed to harm bees. Without the bees to pollinate crops, we cannot grow anything.

 

Plant-Based Pause No 35: Why Living Plant-Based is Better for the Planet

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Pollution is a symbol of design failure.’ – William McDonough

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So far in these plant-based pauses I’ve talked a lot about how eating plant-based is better for your personal health, but did you also know that ditching the animal products is also much better for the planet? This week, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learnt during my research into plant-based living. Rather than me rant on too much, though, I think I’ll just let the facts speak for themselves.

By eating plant-based, you reduce your carbon footprint by a third. Livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions (more than the entire transport sector put together). Animal protein requires 11 times more fossil energy to produce than plant protein. Cows’ milk is 5 times more carbon intensive to produce than an equivalent soya drink.

A hectare of vegetable based foods produces five times as much food as the same area devoted to animal protein production. And, if we all went plant-based we wouldn’t even need as much land for the vegetables. 45% of worldwide grain production and approximately 66% of soya is fed to livestock in the form of animal feed. It takes an average 16 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of beef.

Animals require 10 times more water than plants to produce the same amount of protein. It takes no less than 4000 litres of water to produce a single steak. Factory farming wastes so much water that you can save as much water by not eating a pound of beef as you can by not showering for almost six months.

Animals raised for food in the US produce more manure than people. This manure is not treated and is stored in lagoons or sprayed onto crops. As it decomposes, urine and manure from farm animals releases hazardous gases into the atmosphere. Manure from factory farming operations contains pollutants such as antibiotics, pathogens, heavy metals, nitrogen and phosphorous which enter into the environment and threaten water quality.

Years the world’s known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centred diet: 13
Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260

Plant-Based Pause No 34: It’s Not Just What You Eat

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.’ – Tim Duncan

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Living plant-based is first and foremost about the food you put in your body. Really tasty, vegan, whole food at that. However, the more I learn about living plant-based, the more I find out about products and services that are just unethical for us to use. I’ve always been partly aware of this. Back when I was a normal vegetarian, I stopped buying anything made from products that an animal would have to die for. I didn’t see the point in not eating animals if I was only going to wear their skin. However, the past couple of years have opened my mind and taught me so much about the horrific treatment of animals in lots of industries.

DSC_0499Most of us Brits assume, as I always did, that leather comes from cows. This is generally true of quality leather that is produced in the UK, however other leather that is sold here can come from horses, sheep, lambs, goats, pigs and even cats and dogs. So, when you buy that bargain pair of shoes, you can’t be sure of which creature they started off in life as. To me personally, a living being is a living being. We all have souls, and it is just as terrible to wear a cow’s skin as it is to wear the skin of any animal, humans included. But I bet people would be shocked to hear that they may be wearing cat or dog on their feet. I can just imagine the uproar, especially after the comedy of the horse meat scandal last year. And if you don’t care about the animals, consider this. Tanneries use dangerous substances like mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and cyanide-based oils and dyes to stop decomposition. These dangerous substances are suspected of causing leukaemia, with instances of the disease being up to five times greater than normal in residential areas near tanneries.

So, what about wool? That’s ethical right? I mean, it’s helping the sheep by shearing them. Unfortunately, no. I’ve PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAnever actually worn wool because I’ve been allergic to it since birth, but if I wasn’t I would still restrain from using it and I now avoid buying gifts that are made from wool also. The sheep that we see in the fields today are not ‘natural’ sheep. Just like us humans bred cows to produce more milk and beef, and chickens to lay more eggs, sheep were selectively bred to produce more wool. So, they go from having too much wool that causes them to suffer in hot weather to being susceptible to the cold and wet after they are sheared. Can you imagine someone giving you an extra thick, woolly coat to keep you warm and then snatching it back from you all of a sudden and leaving you exposed to the elements? Sheep are also not specifically bred to just produce wool. After just 4-6 months they are killed to be sold for meat. The wool is sometimes pulled from their dead bodies in the slaughterhouse. It’s very rare that a sheep will die of old age. Lanolin is a by-product of the wool/meat industry. It is a natural grease that is removed before the wool is processed, and is used as a base in cosmetics, lotions and ointments. If you’re not sure whether the products you use contain lanolin or other animal ingredients, switch to vegan alternatives. It’s a lot easier than googling the list of very scientific ingredients you find on the side of tubs and bottles, believe me.

Palm oil is a common ingredient in foods such as ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate, cereals, breakfast bars, cake mixes, doughnuts, crisps, frozen meals and baby formula. Nearly 90% of it comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, where rainforests are stripped bare. The habitats of the Sumatran orang-utan, Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros are in grave danger. A lot of the work is also carried out by child labourers.

I could go on and on about products that use animal ingredients, or threaten the lives of both humans and other species. I’ll be honest, I’m far from perfect. I try to use plant-based products wherever possible. I use Ecover washing up liquid and laundry detergent at home (added bonus – I no longer have allergic reactions when I put on clean clothes or do the washing up), I buy cleaning products from The Co-operative (no animal products used) and I have started to replace all my make-up and cosmetics with vegan alternatives. But, I still choose to buy the odd product that isn’t necessarily vegan and I have a couple of items made from leather and felt that were given to me as gifts.

I had no idea that making the decision to go plant-based a few years ago, or even choosing to become vegetarian over 20 years ago, would have such a profound effect on my life. I’m glad that I did make those changes in my life, though, and I am constantly learning about how I can become a better citizen of this Earth.

 

Plant-Based Pause No 33: Make a Pledge

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.’ – Ruth Harrison

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It’s easy for us to make promises to ourselves and then come up with lots of excuses why we can’t keep them. It’s harder to break those promises if you’ve told someone else that you’re going to do it.

In 2013 I pledged to reduce the packaging waste that I produce. More specifically, I promised to use fewer take-out cups. I invested in re-usable cups and began taking my flask to work. Over the course of the year, I threw only about 5 cups into the bin. Considering I was previously buying a take-put coffee almost everyday at work, this was a huge reduction. As a bonus, it’s also saved me a lot of money. This year, I’ve continued to reduce my waste and I’ve also vowed to be more ethical with my choices when donating to charity. This may sound harsh, but after learning that a lot of charities here in the UK waste money on unnecessary animal testing that provides absolutely no benefit to their cause I realised I’m better donating my money elsewhere. Besides, promoting the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle does more to help people in the long term.

By telling people around me about my pledges, I’m constantly reminded to keep on track. Believe me, people will soon let you know if you make a slip-up.

There are lots of on-line resources to help you make a pledge. Plate to Planet is a great site where you can pledge to go meat free. They’ll even email you to check how you’re getting on. Meat Free Mondays, promoted by the McCartney family, is for those who aren’t ready to go completely plant-based just yet. By pledging to not eat meat for just one day a week, you can make a huge difference to your health and the planet.

Plant-Based Pause No 21: You’ll Run Out of Cupboard Space in Your Kitchen

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.’ – Henry Ford

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The subject I am going to talk about today is something that I was unaware of until it was brought to my attention by a fellow plant-based blogger. A while back, Somer over at Vedged Out wrote a post about the downsides of living vegan. The article literally had me laughing out loud, a rare occurrence for me (honestly, ask my friends). One of Somer’s observations about us plant-based vegetarians is that we buy so many kitchen utensils, many of which you’ve never heard of before, and yet we always need more. In the past two years I have bought two blenders (one handheld and a big one), a juicer and I even had a tofu press imported from America. There’s also an imposing mountain of tuppaware containers in my kitchen that threaten to avalanche every time I open the cupboard door. All these gadgets and utensils are lovingly used on a regular basis (living plant-based means that you cook a lot more), but yet I can’t help thinking that I could also do with a food processor (before I completely burn out the blender). My incredibly small kitchen is stopping me from purchasing any more utensils at the moment, and moving to a bigger house for this reason alone seems a little extreme. I’m sure, though, that in the future I will own lots more gadgets that I am currently unaware of the existence of.

Plant-Based Pause No 20: My Favourite Sources for Recipes

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘All glory comes from daring to begin.’ – Eugene F. Ware

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I’ve talked a lot about preparing and cooking your own plant-based food in recent posts, but where do you start? Removing the meat from your meals can be daunting if it’s always covered a large part of you plate. Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that you are resigned to a life of just eating bowls of steamed vegetables. There are lots of great vegan and plant-based recipe books out there, just search on Amazon and you’ll find hundreds of choices. If you don’t want to commit to buying that recipe book just yet, there are lots of resources available online. Below is a list of my favourite sources for new recipes. Most of them have sign-up options, so you don’t even have to search. Just follow them and the recipes will come to your inbox. You’ll be spoilt for choice!

Forks Over Knives – The Mothership for all plant-based enthusiasts. Be the first to find out about plant-based news and pick up some great, seasonal (depending on where you are in the world, you might have to keep them until it’s the right season where you are) recipes. Forks Over Knives also stock a range of recipe books. It’s a great one-stop-shop for all things plant-based.
Vedged Out – Somer’s blog was one of the first that I read when I converted to a plant-based diet. As a mother, her recipes are also kid-friendly and super easy to prepare.
Running on Vegan – Alison manages to educate me on a weekly basis. Her experiences protesting for animal rights are really thought-provoking, and her handy recipes are great for using up that left-over veg that’s been hanging around in the bottom of the fridge.
Forks and Beans – If anyone ever tells you that living plant-based and gluten-free means that you can’t enjoy cakes and treats, send them straight over to Cara’s site. She bakes amazing creations for every holiday imaginable, and more just for the sake of it. If you’re missing your childhood favourites, Forks and Beans is the place to head.
Product websites such as Provamel (if you use soya products) and Groovy Food. Whenever you buy anything, check the packaging for a website and get online.

Plant-Based Pause No 19: Don’t be an Unhealthy Vegan

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.’ – Japanese Proverb

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When I shop in my local supermarket, there are two things that confuse me. The first is that the gluten-free section is in the middle of the bakery department. To any supermarket designers that may be reading this – if you are allergic to gluten, it’s really annoying to have to smell freshly baked bread that you cannot eat when you’re trying to do your shopping. The second thing is that the vegetarian and vegan section is not labelled as such. Instead, it is included in the ‘Healthy Eating’ aisle. This is based on the assumption that all vegan and vegetarian food is healthy, but that’s not the case. Granted, in most meals removing the animal protein will make it healthier, but it is very easy to be an unhealthy vegan.

I grew up eating processed food. I don’t blame my parents, at the time they didn’t know it was bad for me. We were all swept up in the convenience food revolution. Now, I eat a mainly healthy, plant-based, whole food diet. I do allow myself the occasional processed snack, but it is very rare. Unfortunately, many vegans still want the convenience lifestyle. And food production companies are more than happy to oblige. That ‘Healthy Eating’ section in my local supermarket is crammed full of highly processed vegan alternatives to cheese, meats, chocolate and cakes. It’s important to remember that although it’s labelled as healthy and it’s vegan, it can still be junk food. I always live by the rule that if I don’t know what the ingredients on the pack are, and particularly if I can’t pronounce them, I probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Preparing and cooking whole food from scratch sounds like a chore, but I assure you that it can easily fit into your daily routine. You don’t need to buy packs of processed soya products to get your protein fix – spinach, mushrooms, beans, oatmeal (beware – contains gluten). wholewheat pasta, corn and potatoes are all great sources. Besides, vegan food is generally a lot quicker to prepare than meat-based meals and the ingredients are certainly a lot easier to handle. A lot of them can even be eaten raw. So, when you think about it, vegan food was really the original convenience food.

 

Plant-Based Pause No 18: A lot of People Will Get the Terms ‘Plant-based Vegetarian’ and ‘Tree-hugging Hippy’ Confused

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Let fear be a counselor and not a jailer.’ – Anthony Robbins

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Firstly, I want to explain the title of this post. I mean no offence to tree-hugging hippies, I’m just not one. A common assumption I get is that veganism is purely about animal rights. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want any living being to suffer unnecessarily and animal rights is a very important cause to me, but it’s far from my top reason for living plant-based. I truly believe that all living souls on this earth are born equal whether human or not. I appreciate that is a controversial statement to deal with for a lot of people. I can’t help but think, though, that I could have just as easily been born into the body of a cow or a fish, and I would have been pissed off at the egotistically allegedly superior species trying to kill me for his dinner. The current state of affairs has led to an extreme, screwed-up world where we have genetically modified and farmed many species to the extent that we are dangerously endangering our own evolution. Having said that I personally also believe that we need to use animals to some extent to ensure our own existence. For example, you need cows to grow organic vegetables. More specifically, you need the fertiliser that comes from the cow. Unfortunately, 50% of cows that are born are male, and males cannot be kept together because they’ll fight (I’ve also seen this in male humans when working in bars 🙂 ). Therefore, male calves have to be killed because there is nothing else we can do with them. Chas Griffin explains this theory a lot better in his book ‘Scenes from a Smallholding’, but I hope you get the point.

There are many reasons why people choose to go meat-free – health, to help with fitness, ethics, environmental reasons, they just don’t like meat. I heard of one man who’d worked in a slaughter house and couldn’t face eating animals after that. Judging people based on assumptions is a bad human habit, one I’ve been guilty of myself in the past. Just because someone classes themselves as vegan or plant-based, it does not necessarily mean you should attribute other labels to them. When we turn vegan, we don’t have to sign a contract promising to recycle everything we use, never drive a petrol car again and adopt every stray animal we come across.

Some reactions I’ve had to telling people I’m vegetarian include:
‘Do you know anyone who’s died from CJD?’ – No, I don’t, but I’d been vegetarian long before the Mad Cow Disease outbreak in the UK. Besides, I ate meat in the 80s, so if I’ve got CJD then turning vegetarian wouldn’t make any difference and I won’t know if I’ve contracted it until at least 2015 due to the incubation period.
‘But I saw you preparing meat sandwiches when you worked in Subway.’ – Yes, I didn’t have to eat the sandwich, but I did have to pay my rent.
‘You killed that wasp!’ – If the wasp annoys me, I’ll swat it. It’s the wasp’s own stupid fault, and I’m not a Buddhist. Likewise, if my survival depended on killing an animal for food or in defence, I wouldn’t hesitate. Unless it was a big, dangerous animal like a hippo. Then I’d probably run and hide.

To anyone who is reading this, whatever your diet and lifestyle choices, please don’t make assumptions about people. We all know that it’s really annoying. Instead, politely ask questions if you are interested in their motives. And to those who are being asked the questions, be patient and answer kindly.

Plant-Based Pause No 14: Eat More!

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘We live in a society where pizza gets to your house before the police.’ – Anonymous

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Wait a minute, didn’t I tell you a few months ago that you can lose weight by eating plant-based? And now I’m telling you to eat more? That’s right, by living plant-based you can have your cake (or carrot) and eat it. With the exception of nuts, plant-based food is generally much lower calorie density than animal-based food, so you can eat lots and lots of it. As for the nuts, unless you gorge on cashew nuts three meals a day or nuts particularly make you pile on the pounds, I wouldn’t worry about it. Since I switched to a plant-based diet, my portions have doubled. Eating more good food also prevents me from being tempted to eat unhealthy snacks.

Be prepared for some shocked looks from omnivores. I have male, rugby playing friends who are three times the size of me and eat a lunch half the size. I quite often get asked ‘How can you eat so much?’.

When eating out in non-vegan restaurants or with omnivore friends, remember to ask for bigger portions. Omnivores will give you the same size portion as them but meat free. Or, even worse, exactly the same plate only minus the meat. Be prepared for smaller portions by carrying some healthy snacks with you. When I attend special functions like weddings, my handbag usually contains lip gloss, safety pins, cashew nuts and vegan energy bars.

Mini Plant-Based Pause: Hemp Milk

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A few weeks ago, as part of my plant-based series of posts, I told you about the problems with dairy and how you can replace it in your diet. As a follow-on to this, I had to tell you about my new favourite dairy milk alternative – hemp milk.

The story of me and non-dairy milk is a bit like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Each alternative I tried was too sweet, too difficult to use or I was allergic to it.

When I began my conversion to a plant-based diet, the first change I made was to start drinking soya milk. And I happily drank soya milk for two years. Unsweetened, it tasted nice enough to drink on it’s own, and could pretty much replace cows’ milk like-for-like in recipes. The only problem I had with soya milk is that, unless you heat it up first, it flocks when you add it to hot drinks. Apparently this is a common problem with non-dairy milks because of the temperature differences with plant-based foods. So why did I want to change my milk of choice if soya was working for me? Well, my brother was the first person to put a spanner in the works. Ever the one to find an argument against anything I choose to do in life, he loudly announced one day that his children weren’t allowed to drink soya milk because it contains too many ‘females hormones’. This wasn’t a complaint I’d heard about before, but in the interests of education (and beating my brother), I kept an open mind. Since then, the only reference I have come across about the side-effects of soya milk is in Rich Roll’s book ‘Finding Ultra’. He doesn’t drink soya milk either because it increases the levels of oestrogen in the body. Personally, I have never experienced any of the side-effects that Rich describes in his book. In fact, if anything my hormones have been a lot better balanced since I changed my diet. But, I thought I’d find an alternative and prove my critics wrong.

Unfortunately, due to my allergies, I’m unable to drink rice milk or oat milk. I did try rice milk once, but I thought it was way too sweet anyway.

Next up was almond milk. Obviously, this one is out for anyone who has problems with nuts. I’d heard people talking about almond milk and how tasty it is, and how it’s their treat of the month (almond milk is quite a bit more expensive than other milks). When I tried it for the first time, though, I have to say I wasn’t that impressed. I mean, it’s drinkable, but nothing amazing. And it flocks soooooo badly in hot drinks. It’s OK if you heat it separately, but when do I have time to do that at 6am when I’m half-asleep and trying to get ready for work? I tried to stick with the almond milk for a few weeks, but I was starting to think it would just be better to cut milk out of my diet altogether. Then came the revelation.

I’d heard of hemp milk mentioned in recipes and articles online, but never seen it in real life. Was is just a myth, a common typo or, even worse, one of those amazingly great vegan ingredients that isn’t available outside the US? Then, whilst shopping in my local health food store one day, I spotted a couple of blue Good Hemp cartons hiding on a bottom shelf. A quick read of the label, and I was more than impressed. Produced right here in the UK (yipee, it’s local too!), hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on earth and it captures a lot of CO2. It doesn’t need pesticides, and as well as being healthy it’s suitable for virtually everyone to drink. As if all that wouldn’t encourage me to use it anyway, it tastes lush (that’s Welsh for ‘good’) plus, and this is the best bit, IT DOESN’T FLOCK IN HOT DRINKS!!!!!! That’s right, you can use it exactly as you would dairy milk. So now, I walk straight past all the big displays of soya and almond milk in the shop and head straight for the blue cartons.