One year, one day: The End?

Hello – me again!
Haven’t seen you in a while.

Yesterday I should have been celebrating my year anniversary of being a vegetarian, except… I’m no longer a veggie. About six weeks ago, I started eating meat again. Some of you knew it wouldn’t last, other veggie bloggers are likely to be disappointed and most people I know are absolutely delighted that I’m a little less fussy again.

Thought I’d answer some of the questions that have been popping up:

Why did you stop being a vegetarian?
There are a few reasons.  I’m a vegetarian who wasn’t eating any vegetables. Hopefully I’ll start cooking soon, but my diet consisted of some form of a carb with some form of cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not clever, not healthy and certainly not good for the hips. Quelle horreur!

When I became veggie, I had no particular reason for making the change. If you don’t have a reason for making a choice, it can be difficult to stick to it. Eating animals sounds gross and it is. I’m completely against the way many animals are treated in slaughterhouses. However, I was still eating A LOT of dairy products. The dairy industry is just as bad, if not worse than the meat industry – so I can’t preach about one and ignore the other. Looks like the vegans have got it right.

Remember when I declared that I would always carry a cow? I was right, I’m still carrying the cow and walking in one two – so until I get my mitts on some Stella McCartney, my fashion choices didn’t suit the veggie ideal either.

What did you break your vegetarianism with?
I’m not proud, but six McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Is this the end of The Silly Asparagus?
I hope not. I’m not going to start posting pictures of meaty meals on here, but it’s a great space to warble on about life. I’ll still keep an eye out for veggie related news and restaurants. I still think I’ll return to vegetarianism – I just need to start eating a better variety of foods first.

If you’ve got anymore questions then keep them coming.

In other news, I went to Budapest recently. If you’re thinking of a city break I would definitely recommend it. Look out for my city guide, coming soon.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus x

Hungary bacelet

Day 217: Manna

Hello my darlings.

What began as a blog about becoming a vegetarian has slowly morphed into a place where I share so many different aspects of the life of The Silly Asparagus. Soon, I want to tell you about non-veggie related things, such as work experience and graduation. So today, I want to make this post about the veggies.

On Friday, I ate at my first vegetarian restaurant. And wow, was it impressive. I thought I would review it and encourage you all to go.

Where: Manna. Vegetarian Restaurant. 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, London, NW3 3AJ.

First, I’ll talk you through the food. I’ll then tell you all the little details you should know. I went to the restaurant with Mr. Carnivore. I promise I wasn’t eating two dishes per course! Most of the dishes are also suitable for vegans. I’ll add a ‘(v)’ to the dish name if it is vegan-friendly. Apologies that the images aren’t great, but I only had my low-battery phone on me. The food looks a lot more appetising in reality…

To begin…

Organic Hummus and Bread (v)
Considering I have been veggie for over seven months, it may be hard to believe that this was my first experience of hummus. It was really, really good and the bread was fresher than fresh.

Starters… 

Savoury Basil Pancakes (v)
‘A tangy gram and basil pancake filled with a tamari and garlic smoky bean curd, mushrooms and garden peas.’ These were very soft and very delicious.

Basil and Cashew Cheese Croquettes (v)
‘Basil and cashew cheese croquettes served on a bed of watercress and pea sprouts, with homemade chilli jam’. Amazing, especially the chilli jam.

Mains… Mr. Carnivore and The Silly Asparagus both opted for the specials, which you won’t find on the menu.

Pasta in a creamy white wine sauce, with cherry tomatoes and broccoli.

Spinach, courgette and garlic pie. Accompanied by a pea puree.

A side of seasonal mash and gravy (v).

 Dessert…

Lemon Cheesecake (v)
‘Lemon cheesecake, served with stem ginger vegan ice cream’. The cheesecake was delicious, but it was the ice cream that stole the show. The ginger flavouring was so prominent and spicy. It seemed that some smart taste technology had been used to create it.

What you need to know…
  • It isn’t cheap. If you’re eating on a smaller budget, try elsewhere. The meal above, for two diners, cost just under £80. I feel it was worth every penny. However, a can of (organic) coke will set you back £3.
  • This is a vegetarian restaurant. They do not serve any meat at all.
  • The choice is brilliant and the dishes contain so much detail. Because of this, meat-eaters should not be put off. Try it!
  • So many of the dishes are suitable for vegans. There is also a great gluten-free variety.
  • BOOK! The restaurant is extremely popular. Unless you make reservations in advance, you are unlikely to get a table here.
Talk to you soon.
With Love,
The Silly Asparagus

Day 129: Dairy Débâcle

Hello darling.

If you haven’t guessed from the title, this post is about dairy.  Last summer, whilst on a diet, my skin became quite bad.  Through a process of elimination, I realised that it was milk and certain cheese that angered my face.  After cutting out these products, my skin showed an instant improvement.

My findings were strengthened in Elle UK.  The April issue of Elle features a brilliant article about dairy products, ‘Truth About Dairy’. There are so many quotes I would love to share with you, but that will have to wait until I get my copy back — I left it at university and Elle May is now gracing the shelves.

What the article outlines are the reasons that cow’s milk is unsuitable for humans.  I am not a scientist, but the general gist is that a lot of humans do not have enough of the enzyme, lactase.  Lactase is needed to breakdown lactose (the sugar found in dairy).  Approximately 70% of people show some degree of lactose intolerance (it does not have to be severe).

Since January, my diet has not been particularly healthy.  It is time to replace my love of bagels for breakfast, with Weetabix again.  Ah, but what to pour over them asked Goldilocks?

Soya milk? Too typical.

Rice milk? Too high in carbohydrates.

Almond milk? Just right!

I very much enjoyed my first encounter with almond milk today.  It’s slightly sweeter than cow’s milk, which is great because I no longer need to cover my Weetabix in sugar (The Silly Asparagus has a very sweet tooth).

Almond milk is suitable for vegans and high in antioxidants.  Other benefits include being lower in fat and calories than semi-skimmed milk.

If you are anything like Mother Asparagus, you will start defending cow’s milk.  What about calcium? Almond matches semi-skimmed to the milligram when it comes to calcium.  Foods like sesame seeds and nuts contain more calcium than cow’s milk.  Okay, B12? Eggs contain more B12 than cow’s milk.  If you are a peschatarian, clams and mackerel are extremely high in B12.  Protein?  Pumpkin, squash, nuts and cheese are just some of the products that have higher protein levels than milk.  For Vitamin C, think peppers, broccoli, kiwi and orange.

I have not even reached the ethical questions that surround the treatment of animals in the dairy industry.  I won’t discuss ethics now.  However, I remember vegan tutor (learn more about him here: https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/day-4-im-spartacus/) shuddering over dairy, stating that “The dairy industry is even crueller than the meat industry”.

Well, I hope that has given you some food for thought.  Time to get back to my Weetabix.

The Silly Asparagus

Day 6: Christmas shopping

I woke up at 12am this morning and my head was spinning with all things ‘veggie’ as I tried to get back to sleep.  I want to start tackling the big issues such as animal welfare and the ecological impacts.  However, I do not want to do it in an ignorant way.  I need to do some more research before throwing facts at you.  I start getting really passionate about particular aspects of being a vegetarian, but then realise that my lifestyle contradicts it in some way.  I appreciate that I am over-thinking all of this, and frustrating my readers — ‘Collette, get a grip’ comes to mind.  This is important to me though and I want to be thorough.  Once I ‘get a grip’, writing this blog will be simple.  Today is not the day, and I am going to take the easy route on this lazy Sunday: shopping!

If you are not one of those keen (green)beans that has not only finished their Christmas shopping, but wrapped it too, consider this silly asparagus as your personal shopper.  Here are some guilt-free gifts (minus some of the price tags) for you to peruse at your leisure…

The Body Shop is a fail-proof choice.  Their gift sets start from just £6 (perfect as a secret santa present) and go up to £25.  All of their products smell heavenly.  The Body Shop takes pride in sourcing their ingredients responsibly and has always said no to animal testing.  http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/_en/_gb/index.aspx

Medium mango gift box -- around £25

Suitable for fashionable carnivores, vegetarians and eco-warriors… Stella McCartney.  I will talk about Stella (and the vegetarian / vegan McCartney clan) later on in my blog.  In the meantime, here are a few lust-worthy pieces…

'Falabella' faux leather foldover tote, around £700

Pembridge wallet (bio cotton), around £360

 Melissa is the place to look for quirky, plastic, shoes.  I’ve had quite a few pairs of Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes.  They are comfy, eco-friendly AND scented like bubblegum.

Fuchsia Flocked Skyscrapers, Vivienne Westwood for Melissa, around £128

 www.fashion-conscience.com is a great website for clothes, bags and gifts.  Here are some highlights for the boys…

Fair trade NV London Calcutta Messenger, around £155

Econation recycled cork ipod case, around £12

Branch chunky knit, around £90

Miscellaneous goodies…

Recipe book: The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer, around £9.99

Econation DIY speakers, around £15

Enjoy your shopping!

With love,

the shopping asparagus.

Day 4: “I’m Spartacus”

Yesterday, I would have made Stanley Kubrick proud.  I managed to turn my English seminar in to a vegetarian version of the famous Spartacus scene.

A conversation with a friend, about my new-found vegetarianism, was overheard by another girl in my class.  It so happens that she has vegetarian parents and has always been one herself.  My seminar tutor came in from a break and wanted to know what we were discussing.  Guess what?  He revealed that he is a vegan!  He asked the class about their eating habits, cue the “I’m Spartacus” moment.  In a room of eleven people, there were two vegans, three vegetarians and a partridge in a pear tree.  Oops, Christmas is on the brain, I’ll try that again: two vegans, three vegetarians and an ‘ex-vegetarian’.  The ‘ex-vegetarian’ was a veggie for three years before returning to her meat-eating ways.  She couldn’t find her reasons for being a vegetarian and stopped.

Our tutor became a vegan at the age of 18, because of political reasons (I will cover these in a later post).  The carnivores of the class tried to use bacon as an argument, describing the mouth-watering smell and taste.  The basic idea seemed to be that a life without bacon was not a life worth living.  However, vegan tutor (he does have a real name) came to the rescue.  Apparently, being a vegan has made him a fantastic cook.  He can not saunter in to a  supermarket and pick up any old thing.  He has to put effort in to his cooking.  Vegan tutor feels that Jack’s meaty lasagna (yes, I have a classmate who combines 400g of mince with 400g of bacon to create his lasagna!)  would be no match for his delicious vegan chocolate cake.

Vegan tutor will not eat honey, because the bees are not wild (wild honey could be an exception).  He researches the jeans he buys to ensure that the factories they are made in do not use animal fat in the process.  However, he admits to having two vices: the first is Guinness (suitable for vegetarians, but not vegans).  The second is smoking (which is tested on animals).

What this has confirmed for me is that there are no strict guidelines or rules that I have to follow to be a vegetarian.  I do not eat any meat, fish or gelatin(e) / rennet products, therefore I am a vegetarian.  Sure, everyone will have their own views on what makes a vegetarian a vegetarian or a vegan a vegan.  As I learn more, I can adapt my lifestyle in the ways I deem fit. 

I would just like to thank those who have been supportive and have been providing me with great advice.  I really appreciate it. 

Sunday’s post should be a good ‘un as I try to tackle fashion.

With love,

the simply silly asparagus.