My Diet Is Better Than Yours!

The only types of labels I like are the ones that are plastered around my kitchen reminding my husband exactly where to put each pot, pan, utensil or ingredient. The OCD side of my persona enjoys nothing more than looking in my cupboards and seeing everything in its place – perfectly organised, nothing out of the ordinary. Ironically – this is the exact reason that I hate the labels we put on each other. They aren’t harmless guidelines (my husband would argue the same about our kitchen system) they are parameters – unyielding, unforgiving and often untrue. And nowadays I see it more than ever when it comes down to what we eat.

From Daniel Vitalis.com

I Am Not Vegan

I thought I was vegan for a year and a half – apparently I was not (and never will be) a “proper” vegan. I actually experienced anger from a lot of vegans (some of them good friends) about the way my improper vegan lifestyle was damaging to the overall cause. I did not consume meat or dairy. I did not eat store bought eggs. I did however eat eggs from my parent’s hobby farm where no chicken was or will ever be killed. This – to my surprise – enraged people. In my view I was being true to the cause; I was not contributing to the negative treatment of any animals, nor environmental degradation related to food production, nor the exploitation of local/indigenous people (apart from my mum when I would force her to make me Pavlova). But I received a lot of criticism from people that I would not have expected it from. I was told that I was not as good a person as my properly vegan counterparts. I suspect that these people were trying to change my opinion/stance/behaviour but all it did was completely alienate me from a really beautiful philosophy.

What happens when you criticise someone…

See while I was looking down the end of a pointed finger (they were yelling down at me from a far superior plane of spiritual connectedness) all I could look at was their fridge. Highly packaged foods with little nutritional value. Non-organic fruit and vegetables, which have more miles attached to them than Richard Branson. Genetically modified soy. Carbon heavy plane tickets. How on earth could this person be judging me when they are committing all sorts of environmental sins? And there we have it! As soon as you tout yourself to be the Messiah of all things holy you turn a massive looking glass onto every decision you have ever made in your life. You immediately push people on the back foot while they grapple for their self-defence can of pepper spray.

Forgetting the labels and accepting each other  

In my mind I am doing all that I can. I do not support industries that I do not agree with. I do support those that I do. Such as oyster farming – it improves water quality, provides local people with non-destructive employment, and many studies prove that they do not feel pain. But in the end what I believe (and if you agree with it) does not matter. Omnivore, locavore, vegan, fruitarian, organic devotee, self-sufficient. They could all spend their entire lives criticising different aspects of their consumptive habits or they could look at all the positives of their collective diets. If people have made the conscious decision to alter their food habits for the better then they should be praised rather than demonised about the specifics. Call me vanilla or defeatist if you will but I feel that positive reinforcement beats punishment and shame every time.

What everyone should do

In my opinion there are only three things that every single person should do;

  1. Everyone should endeavour to be as informed as possible about any industry or impact that they contribute to. If you don’t agree with it – don’t contribute to it.
  2. Don’t judge. Everyone has different opinions, timelines and motivations to change.
  3. Lead by a great, happy, kind example! People gravitate towards good energy.

I am really sorry if this has come across as a rant or as if I do not like or believe in the Vegan cause. I very much do and I still apply a lot of these philosophies to my life. I just started to notice a lot of really wonderful people that are all committed to a better world, bickering over the idiosyncrasies of their respective diets. That has just been my personal experience and my motivation behind the article. I just hated that people said that I was not a supporter of animal rights because I eat oysters. Humans are like onions dammit – we have layers!!!

Steve Irwin ate meat and did a hell of a lot for this planet. Ellen DeGeneres is vegan and does a hell of a lot for this planet. Saddam Hussein ate meat and Adolf Hitler was vegetarian and I guess it’s safe to say that they have both done a hell of a lot to the planet as well. Let’s focus on the good in people hey?

Please feel more than free to leave comments. Are you a food snob? Have you been shamed about your diet? Do you think it is a good tactic to incite change? I ‘d be really interested.

DIY Coconut and Cucumber Cleanser

My quest to eradicate plastic and other nonsense single-use items continues. Far and away the hardest area of my life to do this in would be my make-up bag. While I would love to throw it all to the wind and live a pure existence without mascara and face-paint, I cannot. Not only am I too vain but I fear that I would be fired for always looking tired and/or sick. Damn you blonde eyelashes! Anyway, I digress. My point is… that I have started to focus on anything that I can cut out rather than lamenting what I can’t. I have found that anything to do with the care of skin and hair is pretty easily replaceable. First stop… cleanser. (My second stop was a DIY herbal toner which you can find here!)

I get a weekly organic delivery box and because we went away over the weekend there were some Lebanese cucumbers left looking a little limp. A passionate hater of all things wasteful I decided to experiment. The cleanser I made was so easy to make and is absolutely beautiful to use. Put it in the fridge for a really refreshing cleanse.

It is so nice to know that you don’t need to use harsh chemical that you can’t pronounce to clean your face. They don’t do damage to the environment, they don’t have excessive and wasteful packaging and you get to essentially rub food on your face – which is always fun.

Ingredients

1 x Cup of Cucumber Juice (4 x lebanese or 2 x green)

1 x Cup of Coconut Milk (organic if you have it)

1 x tablespoon of Agave or honey (if you are vegan use Agave Nectar)

Why these ingredients?

Cucumber juice – is an astringent and helps purify your skin.

Coconut Milk – hydrates and moisturises – as well as feeling bloody nice!

Honey / Agave Nectar (vegan) – antibacterial which makes it great to prevent acne and other spots

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Food Processor / blender / or juicer
  • Muslin or cheesecloth to sieve the cucumber. If you don’t have them on hand then get creative… I keep old stockings around the place (for cleaning and use in the garden) so I just slipped that over the bowl and used it instead. Working perfectly fine..
Upcycled ingenuity

Method

Steps 1 through 5 are if you do not have a fancy fruit-juicer (mine died).

1. Peel the cucumbers

2. Process the cucumbers in a food processor until smoothish

3. Pour crushed cucumbers through a strainer into a mixing bowl or jug

4. Squeeze out as much juice as possible.

5. Bam. You have beautiful cucumber juice!

6. Add the honey or agave, coconut milk and cucumber juice together

7. Whisk to make a smooth liquid

8. Pour into a used jar and keep in the fridge.

Application

  1. Wash your face with warm water
  2. Apply cleanser to a cloth
  3. Wipe over face and neck
  4. Rinse with warm water / cloth

Top Tip

When rinsing your face make sure you do so in a bowl so that you save all the water from draining away. Because you are using completely natural ingredients it is grey water safe. You can use the excess for your garden, herbs or veggie patches!

DIY Ginger Tea

Vegan – Vegetarian – Gluten Free – Quick

Time-  15minutes 
Serves as many as you like!

There is something very satisfying about brewing your own tea and it can be a really love end to a dinner party – especially in a vintage teacup and saucer.  Even better, there can be massive health benefits from brewing from scratch as well! Ginger is not only absolutely choc-a-block full of antioxidants but it also sooths sore throats, KO’s any fluey bugs and is great for indigestion. I use cabbage a lot in cooking and salads which is great – apart from the bloating factor. I have started having this tea after every cabbage-centric meal and it seriously does wonders for your belly.  The great thing about this tea is that there are so many variations (hot and cold) that you can try out. Give it a whirl…

 Ingredients

  • Water – 1 cup per person
  • Fresh Ginger Root – about 6cms per person
  • (Optional Variations listed below)

Method for Easy Peasy Ginger Teasy 

  • Boil kettle with 1 cup of water per person
  • Remove ginger skin and grate. 1 tablespoon per person
  • Put grated ginger into a teapot (or microwave safe jug) and pour boiling water over it.
  • Allow to steep for at least five minutes. I left mine for ten and it was amazing… the longer you leave it the stronger it tastes.
  • Add any variations you  can think of (some suggestions below)
  • Pour into a delightful little cup – preferably with a floral design on it
  • Enjoy!

Variations

This is only limited by your imagination. Ginger is a versatile flavour that can be paired with so many different ingredients. Here are some of my faves;

  • Squeeze Lime or lemon in at the end for a tart tangy tea
  • Add some Agave Nectar, Stevia or Honey for a sweeter tea
  • Grate nutmeg while it is steeping and squeeze some orange into it at the end
  • Add a cinnamon quill for a spicy sip
  • You can also cool it and use it in summer punches or as a mixer
  • Bruise some fresh mint leaves. I used these fresh chocolate mint leaves from my garden…