There are many questions about how we can play our part by living and becoming more conscious ethically as well as living sustainably.

By following a plant-based regime, this can benefit your health as well as ethics and sustainability. One way that has been proven to reduce our carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products.

The reality is that meat and dairy farming contribute to global warming, polluting, deforestation, land degradation and loss of native species (do we all remember last years ‘banned’ Iceland Christmas Campaign showing the production of palm oil which had devastating impacts on tropical forests as well as on wildlife, especially the devastating impact on the critically endangered Orangutan (approx. 25 Orangutans die every day)!

Adopting a varied vegan diet, however, produces less emissions and uses about third of the land and three times less water!

If you have yet to change over to a 100% plant-based vegan diet, there are so many ways to try out this way of eating without going ‘cold-turkey’ overnight.

  • #meatfreemonday is a worldwide social media campaign that helps promote eating plant-based every Monday. This is a great way to introduce yourself as well as your family and friends to a plant-based way of eating starting with just one day a week. There are lots of inspirational pictures and recipes to help you along this journey and always ‘tag’ #meatfreemonday with your new tried out recipes!
  • We all eat fruits and vegetables daily in whatever ‘regime’ we follow so what better way than to start getting experimental with new ingredients. We live in such a multi-cultural world and there are so many recipes from around the world online that you can search for, find what takes your fancy and start trying out new recipes with new world ingredients. Virtuoso Foods has a Middle-Eastern heritage and we love sharing delicious recipes for you to try at home so click here to access our FREE RECIPES library!
  • The Vegan Society’s website is a great resource for ideas, information and recipes as is VEGANUARY!
  • Nowadays nearly ALL chef’s offer vegan recipes so we can’t complain we don’t have enough inspiration and resources available to us. As a chef myself, I too check out what other chefs are doing and find some new ideas and inspirations myself, with a few of my favourite chefs being Otto Lenghi who cooks all things vegetarian (however all recipes can be modified to become ‘vegan’ and Jamie Oliver who has created some truly delicious vegan recipes. When I am in London, my favourite restaurant that always gets a visit is The Gate, offering all things vegetarian and vegan and the desserts ~ oh boy, fabulous!
  • Join your local Facebook Vegan group where you will have access to other vegans, information about upcoming vegan events, places to eat locally that are vegan as well as to connect with other vegans and become a part of their community.

There is another side to living sustainably and ethically and that is reducing or even omitting food that contains palm oil (check all your food ingredients for this and as mentioned above, most sourcing of palm oil is not carried out ethically), packaging (always look for green and recycled package and NOT PLASTIC), reduce or indeed omit enjoying processed foods (not good for health, expensive and contains some truly disastrous ingredients).

In regards to packaging, over the last few months, when most of us have experienced lock down due to Covid in some shape or form, I have noticed a huge increase in my packaging waste in my recycle bags. Yes, pretty much all I buy is recyclable however everything comes wrapped up hence creating lots of packaging. Some ways around this are:

  1. Find your local ‘Re-fill’ centres and take your own containers to stock up on dried goods, fresh goods and cleaning goods. This is great in reducing waste as well as a) reducing waste in your local community b) supporting local and independent businesses
  2. Order fruit and vegetables from a local farmer where all their goods are responsibly sourced, ideally local and organic where possible. In the last few months, I have subscribed to Seasons Fruit & Vegetables, who are local to me and offer more than just fruit and vegetables (delicious sourdough). There are similar companies in most towns so check out what your town offers you.
  3. Everyone seems to LOVE sourdough bread and it has, in the past months/couple of years become somewhat ‘fashionable’. I know that during our last world lockdown, which started back at the end of March 2020, one of the main baking goals was to make and bake your own sourdough (I didn’t quite get round to it) and chose to enjoy this bread, in its many different varieties from a local company called Companions. They are more than a business and are a charity that support their local community and work with ex-offenders by re-introducing them back into the community and giving them a safe place to work. Over the last couple of weeks, they have even introduced a delivery service – who could ask for more!

So with all this in mind there is no excuse to not experiment with more vegan foods at home. We truly are lucky to live in such times where so much is available to us (variety, community, resources, local businesses etc).

fresh fruit and veg

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