If you're planning on giving Veganuary a go this year, you're in good company: More than 800,000 people gave up animal products for the first time in 2019, according new research commissioned by Veganuary, a campaign that aims to encourage people to go vegan at the beginning of the year (according to Independent)
How did Veganism begin?
To continue on the theme of the history of veganism, here are a few interesting facts.
Curious facts about veganism:
One of the first officially known vegans was in fact none other than Percy Shelley, the famous English Romantic poet himself. He publicly refused to eat eggs and diary on ethical grounds in the early 1800’s.
The first vegan cookery book was published in 1849 - “Kitchen Philosophy for Vegetarians” by Willian Horsell. Remember, the early vegetarians were sometimes actually vegans. This cookery book contains no eggs or diary, so is in fact vegan.
Bearing in mind that the Vegan Society was founded during WW2, and food was rationed, Donald Watson (the secretary of the Vegan Society) wrote to the Ministry to request a change in the rations for vegans. Vegetarians were given an extra egg and 50 g extra cheese per week instead of meat. But this was no good to vegans who didn’t eat cheese or eggs! He requested dried fruit and lentils instead, but his request was denied.
A major issue for vegans at the time was how to substitute cow’s milk. They made their own nut milks but it was time consuming and not always easy to get hold of nuts. This led to the creation of the Plantmilk Society in 1956, its purpose was to research and produce commercial plant milk. It took nearly 10 years of research and around £20,000 of investment before it began the production of soy milk. The Plantmilk Society became a limited company called Plantmilk ltd, later on changing its name to Plamil Foods. The company still exists today, producing exclusively vegan food in their own factory in Folkstone, Kent. So next time you buy soy milk think of how much work went into developing it all those years ago!
In 1986 the word ‘vegan’ was included in the Oxford English Dictionary! The definition goes like this: a person who on principle abstains from all food of animal origin: a strict vegetarian. Hmm, a bit confusing I would say…
In 1975 the Vegan Society was invited to contribute a film about veganism to the BBC’s Open Door. This was a series of community broadcast programmes. The film was broadcast in 1976 and called A Better Future for All Life. After the broadcast the Society received 300 phone calls and 9,000 letters! This film was shown for many years as part of the Society’s outreach work. Eventually the film became dated, and another film was made to mark the society’s 50th anniversary, Truth or Diary.
Along with the film, the World Vegan Day was held on 1st of November 1994. Eventually this became World Vegan Month. The Vegan trademark – officially announced on 27th of February 1990, has to date more than 18,000 products licensed to use the Vegan Trademark. 75% of the products come from companies based outside the UK, mainly Germany.
Wishing you all Happy Veganuary!
Easy Vegan Stir Fry
Now time for some food! As you might have already noticed I am not a gourmet chef. I cook nourishing everyday type of food, that both me and my kids will eat. There are plenty of gourmet recipes out there, if that’s what you are looking for. I am a single mum, and I don’t have time to run around the shops looking for some rare ingredient. Give me some peppers and broccoli! Here is a very simple stir fry. It’s not Chinese or Thai, or anything specific, just a quick and easy dish. You can eat it with rice, noodles or even spaghetti if you want. I made it with flat rice noodles, not only are they gluten free, but also very tasty.
1 red onion,
chopped 2 cloves of garlic,
crushed 2 bell peppers,
chopped 4-5 broccoli florets,
chopped 2-3 leaves cavolo nero,
chopped sweetcorn (only because my daughter loves it!) approx. half a cup frozen or tinned
1 whole pack of tofu (396 g), marinated (see below)
Soya sauce or tamari (tamari is gluten free, soya sauce isn’t)
Olive oil for frying
Start with the tofu: take it out, put it on a chopping board with a plate on top and something heavy on top of that. Leave it for 10-15 min. This squeezes out the excess water. You don’t have to do this, but it will absorb the soya sauce better and be less soggy when frying. Now chop up the tofu into cubes, put it into a large bowl, and pour over ca 1-2 tbsp soya sauce. You will notice it getting absorbed really quickly. Leave it in the bowl while you start preparing the vegetables for the stir fry. If you have a wok pan or a stir fry pan, now is the time to use it. Otherwise a frying pan is fine. Heat up a bit of oil, chop up and fry the onion on low heat, adding the crushed garlic. Fry for 5 min, then add all the vegetables. If you are using frozen sweetcorn, you might want to boil it and shake off as much water as you can before adding it. Fry for 10-15 min until cooked but not overcooked.
While the vegetables are cooking, put the tofu in a separate frying pan with a bit of oil, and fry on medium heat. If it looks soggy, don’t worry it will soon dry out. Fry for 10 min or so, until brown and dry.
Now cook the rice or noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Once everything is cooked, make a bed of rice or noodles, put the vegetables on top and last add the tofu. You might want to add more soya sauce for taste.
You can get Organic Vegan cooking ingriedints from Planet Organic , Waitrose & Partners or even your nearset Aldi store!
Yamini Baars, massage therapist, mother of 2, and passionate about healthy conscious eating
More blogs from Yamini:
How can we have a sustainable Christmas?
1st of November - World Vegan Day!
What are the differences between vegan and vegetarian? 1st of October - World Vegetarian Day
Check out our latest Vegan products voucher codes and deals
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