Friday, 22 February 2013


Following the week-long shut-down and occupation of EDF’s West Burton gas-fired power station last October by campaign group 'No Dash for Gas', EDF has launched a civil claim for damages against the group and associated activists for costs the company claims to have incurred – a figure it puts at £5 million.
Should the claim succeed, several of the campaigners face losing their homes, and all could face bankruptcy or be forced to pay a percentage of their salaries to EDF for decades to come. The amount of the claim represents just 0.3% of EDF's annual UK profits, which rose by 7.5% this year to £1.7 billion.
This is the first time an energy company has attempted such a claim, and campaigners say it represents the opening of a new front against peaceful direct action protesters. If successful, it could have a chilling effect on other groups – such as UK Uncut and Greenpeace – who use civil disobedience to challenge social and environmental problems.
Freedom of speech and peaceful protest allows you the right to express how you feel about this to EDF and in support of those people who represented all of us but may lose everything as a result.  Tell them what you think -!/edfenergy
This is David and Goliath and we need to tell them that little David is not happy. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Milk of Human Weirdness

A few times now I have overhead conversations (either personally or in the media) where people were expressing their disgust about adult humans consuming human milk.  I'm sure you have even seen a comedy sketch at some point where milk stored in a fridge turned out not to be the cows milk someone thought it was.  I know I have.  Howls of disgust and laughter ensue.  Well, the joke is lost on me.  That is because the joke is why anyone would find the consumption of human milk, the very thing you were nurtured on as a child, the very thing that has been 'developed' by mother nature herself for human needs, to be more disgusting than drinking the milk of another completely different mammal.  How the hell did that happen and why can presumably intelligent beings not see the irony?  Maybe it's all that cows milk they consume degrading their brain cells.

The whole weirdness thing aside from that, there is also the ignorance of most people about how the moo juice gets from cow to cup of tea.  I understood that slavery had thankfully been abolished back in 1833 but consider the fortunes of a dairy cow.  She is kept in a constant loop of pregnancy and upon giving birth, she is then separated from her baby at great emotional stress so that the resulting milk can be transferred to the needs of the human.  If the calf is unfortunate enough to be male, he is deemed to be surplus to requirements and well, let's just say if you drink milk, you are not truly supporting a vegetarian lifestyle.

Environmentally it's a nightmare too.  Anything involving livestock production is.  It's an intensive process from the deforestation involved just to clear land for growing feed right up to the plastic bottles of milk you pick up off the supermarket shelf.  It contributes at least 200 million tons of CO2 per year.

Then there's the health.  400 million pus cells per litre anyone?  That's what is legally allowed.  How about the whole thing about you have to drink milk to get your calcium?  Well around 70% of the world's population get calcium from plant based sources well enough. What about the fact that osteoporosis occurs more in countries that consume the most amount of cows milk?  Hmm, is that coincidence?

To be honest the whole idea of consuming the milk of another mammal is completely alien to me but the interesting fact is why am I made to feel like an alien for thinking the only milk that should be consumed by humans is human milk?

Still think it's natural?  Check this out and make sure you watch it all - and there is plenty more information about the benefits (to you, the environment and other sentient beings) on the Viva site too.

Samphire Brasserie in Plymouth

So excited to go and visit these guys soon and we wish them all the luck and love with their new venture!

Yum scrum - check out their Spring menu.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Clean Living

Many non veggies and non vegans already struggle with the concept and seeming complexities of a vegan diet; what do you eat and how do you survive, etc?  So once you've had that long conversation to assure them that really it isn't that complicated and difficult, you don't have the heart or the will to tell them about all the other aspects of vegan living beyond the food.  To tell them about the wines and beers, the clothing, the shoes, the cosmetics, the cleaning products and the choices of medical charities would no doubt send them in to a tail spin!  Ease them in gently I say but for all those non vegans out there reading this, seriously it really isn't as difficult as it sounds.  It just becomes second nature and opens up your mind to many different aspects of clean living that go beyond just food.

Take soap for instance.  My choice in soaps doesn't just come down to whether it is vegan or not but whether it contains any horrible chemicals and that is something that everybody should be looking out for regardless of their ethical stance.  Most soaps contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).  Would you go into the local car wash and stand there butt naked and let yourself be washed like a car?  Probably not I imagine, but the naked thing and the aggressive washing rollers aside, you might as well if you use soap with SLS in it as it is also used in car washes and even in mechanical garages to degrease car engines.  It is an industrial degreaser that is cheap to use hence the inclusion in many personal cleaning products.  It's what makes your hair squeaky clean and it is what infuses into your hot open pores and into your body every time you wash with it.  It dissolves your natural skin oils and it's nasty stuff.  Just type 'SLS in soaps' into a search engine and investigate for yourself if you don't believe me.  Ever wondered why hairdressers suffer with really bad skin on their hands?

Luckily there are alternatives out there.  One of my favourites is One Village Sandalwood soap.  It's vegan, it's nice, it lasts a long time (and no I'm not a soap dodger!) and it is in partnership with a social project at the Palam Rural Centre in Southern India.  So it's all good really.  Make your life uncomplicated, ethical, vegan, clean and smelling nice and give it a go!  I can guarantee it is a lot less complicated and dangerous than standing in a car wash.

   One Village
   Sandalwood soap   

   One Village
   Sandalwood soap   

Another Letter to Cook Vegetarian Magazine

I received my March edition of CookVeg magazine recently which included a separate free 'vegan'  guide that I had been told about in my previous correspondence with the editor  -

I had really been looking forward to receiving this but was hugely disappointed with its content.  I felt another letter to give feedback was in order.

Hi Fae,

After our previous email correspondence in regards to featuring more vegan recipes/content, I waited with great anticipation for the release of Your Guide to Dairy Free in March's edition of CookVeg.  I have to be honest and say that I was really quite disappointed.  It's message was confused in that it was titled  'dairy free' but made reference to being a guide for those giving up animal by-products (vegan).  Some of the recipes then went on to feature Greek Yogurt, butter and eggs. Was it a vegan guide or just a dairy free guide because it really was neither fully.

I also found some of the recipes obvious (e.g. beans on toast, big breakfast, veggie sausage sandwich) or uninspiring (that is the worst version of Scrambled Tofu I have ever seen!).  I think current vegans may have found its use limiting and those considering veganism, confusing and uninspiring.

Whilst I applaud your efforts I think you are still a way off of labelling CookVeg as the UK's leading vegan magazine.  That said, even though it may not seem it from my comments, I still appreciate your willingness to include such a guide and in recognising this growing sector of the food market.

Hope you don't mind my feedback!

Many thanks


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Some Like it Hot and Healthy!

In my previous post about Chai oats ( I touched upon the health benefits of certain spices.  When you get guidance about the importance of certain foods in your diet (5-a-day, vitamin and mineral charts,etc) there is never really any mention of herbs and spices so I wanted to expand on this a little more here.  The fact also remains that Phil is very fond of his chili hits so I knew it wouldn't be too long before we included chili in one of our posts!

Herbs and spices are not only extremely important in adding flavour to our food but it seems they are the hidden heroes.  They are some of the most potent sources of antioxidants.  Often people are extremely keen to grab for the nearest pill or supplement to sort out health issues but what about looking to add more of the natural and readily available benefits of herbs, spices and other flavourings in the first place? 

Take simple onions and garlic for instance, which luckily many people do naturally include when cooking; they both help the body produce gluthathione, a powerful antioxidant and the main detoxifier of the body.  If you don't cook from 'scratch' often and you rely on pre-made conveniences then maybe you are missing out on the good stuff more than you think.

Then there's chili.  Phil adores it and I like it to a certain degree.  I never really understood how something that burns your mouth and can make you perspire profusely could be good for you but research has shown chili to have surprising health benefits.  Actually it isn't that surprising that it can help clear congestion but it has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels, boost circulation and thin blood.  Chillies contain capsiacin, which is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with the inflammatory process. The greater the capsiacin content, the hotter the chili.  Capsiacin can also provide pain relief, and there is currently a lot of research into this aspect of chili, with the use of creams to help the pain of rheumatoid  arthritis.  I even found research that indicated that chili can help prevent and treat prostate and gastric cancers. No doubt this is just scratching the surface of the benefits of this amazing little plant, as is the case with many other offerings that Mother Nature has naturally provided for us.  It is also no coincidance that chili is added to a lot of food from the tropics, as it is anti bacterial and helps the food keep for longer in the warm tropical climate.

There are so many different varieties of chili to explore too.  Like fine wines they each have their own regional qualities; from the smoky heat of mexican chipotle, to the intense heat of cayenne, to the game of "pot luck" played with spanish Padron peppers, where their lovely mild taste can lull you into a false sense of security as you bite into the 1 in 20 peppers that are really quite hot!  Some may 'blow your head off' but some of the less hot ones can have their own unique subtle flavour revelations to discover and enjoy.  We've only recently started to explore this area more and shall be looking forward to growing and eating varieties we've never tried before over the coming months (watch this space).

Our journey in chili exploration will probably begin at the Dartmoor Chilli Farm in neighbouring Devon. They farm naturally and holistically without the use of herbicides or pesticides and use the bio dynamic cycle to grow their plants.  Sounds like the right place to start our 'health kick'!