Generally I do not like labels, as I think they can pigeonhole people and ideas, but last night I found myself describing my diet as flexitarian, which is generally taken to mean a vegetarian who sometimes eats meat. I think that many vegetarians, rightly so, are annoyed by this definition, as by default if you eat meat you are not vegetarian. Although I enjoy meat, I identify as a meat (and animal product) reducer and can quite happily live on a high raw vegan diet for days on end, but at the moment I am not going to go there full time.
Few can seriously dispute the hugely positive environmental impact that would come from reducing our consumption of animal products; the huge growth of the Meatless Monday campaign encouraging individuals not to eat meat on a Monday for the sake of their health and the planet is very good news for all. By regarding meat as a treat and reducing consumption animal welfare standards should also be raised as demand drops.
Whilst many are currently following the 5:2 diet, I have realised that for some time I have been following my own version, where I eat a raw vegan diet for 2 days a week. It works well for me, the night of a raw vegan day I generally sleep soundly and then leap out of bed in the morning, alert and refreshed; as someone who suffers from terrible insomnia this is an amazing bonus.
I have blogged about green smoothies before, but my regular breakfast smoothie has just been lifted by the arrival of the new Vitamix. This amazing machine blends like no other; pulverizing woody stems and frozen fruit in to a silky smooth velvety liquid in seconds. You can even make hot soup as the motor is so powerful, the friction from the blades will heat if the machine is left to run for a few minutes.
This smoothie contains your 5 a day in one glass, the beetroot gives a stunning colour and a delicious earthy note. Do not be put off by the kale here, you really cannot taste it, if the thought of kale for breakfast is too much just swap in a handful of spinach.
Recipe: Beetroot & Berry Green Smoothie
Makes 1 large glass
1 small glass apple juice
1 frozen banana (peel and chop before freezing)
1 tbs linseed or flax seeds
1/2 medium beetroot
Handful frozen berries
Place all the ingredients into the jug of a Vitamix or high powered blender and whizz until smooth.
For the last few weeks I have been using delicious Cawston apple juice in my smoothies, I especially like the apple and rhubarb, and apple and ginger varieties, both have enough flavour to still be tasted with whatever else goes in, they also make a refreshing drink on their own, or with some sparkling water.
I am also a huge fan of Nakd Bars – delicious raw whole food vegan fruit and nut based bars in a range of flavours. Last night I went to the launch of their new rhubarb and custard (tastes just like the sweets but is good for you) and the caffe mocha (packed with coffee and chocolate – also delish) bars. We then had a go at making our own bars – using a base of date paste – we went for a banoffee pie bar, adding cashews, banana and chocolate chips and toffee flavour to the dates, it has to be said that the homemade efforts do look a little unfortunate, but nevertheless were delicious and I want Nakd to add a banoffee pie bar to their range. (At this point I do need to apologise to Fleur for tweeting on her account last night).
With no bananas, or berries in the freezer this morning for my breakfast smoothie, I managed to make a very good one with the Cawston apple juice, home made Nakd bar and a handful of kale in the Vitamix, a useful short cut for when the freezer is devoid of fruit.
Many thanks to Vitamix for my machine (many more recipes to come), Cawston Press and Natural Balance Foods who make Nakd bars for samples and invitations.