Talk about Newsnight

Ethical Man - Justin Rowlatt

When is a sprout not a sprout?

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 11 Dec 06, 11:26 AM

sprout203.jpgWhen is a sprout not a sprout? The answer appears to be when it comes in my family’s organic box. Take a look at the picture and then read the blurb that came with this week’s cache of vegetables.

“There is a new vegetable in town: the oh-so-cool sprout top. It’s the brassica du jour, found on the menu of quite a few fashionable eateries in England. It will be gracing some of you with its exclusive presence this week and is quite simply the vegetable to be eating this season!”

The missive from Abel and Cole goes on to distinguish the sprout top - “the sweet and tender tip of the Brussels sprout plant” - from the actual sprouts which apparently come from lower down the stalk of the same plant.

I’m sure that whoever writes the company’s weekly newsletter had their tongue at least partially in their cheek as they wrote this eulogy to the country’s least-loved vegetable. But I am not going to risk a fashion faux pas with the family’s Christmas fare, so Ned, the Newsnight Turkey, will be garnished with only the very finest organic sprout tops.

Yum, yum.

I can’t blame Abel and Cole for trying to make the much-maligned sprout seem a little, well, sexier. I quite like the things (wherever on the stalk they come from) but my wife Bee is not so keen. My suggestion of "sprout au gratin" for tonight’s dinner did not go down well.

But I am going to have to start getting very inventive with my veg come January because that’s when I begin my new diet. And grating a bit of cheese on top is not going to be option because – as some of you will already know – I am going vegan for a month.

Right at the start of the Ethical Man experiment I asked for suggestions of “devilishly difficult tasks”. I’ve been studiously ignoring the torrent of emails from viewers who insist that the only truly ethical diet is meat and dairy free. Unfortunately my producer Sara hasn’t. She says the time has come to check out their claims.

sprout203b.jpgI’ve got a feeling this is going to be the toughest challenges yet – tougher than stopping flying or giving up the car. I mentioned my worries to my friend Trish, one of the finest cooks I know. She has very kindly prepared a special vegan cookbook for me in a ring binder, and to get me started she’s put in a dozen of her favourite vegan dishes.

I challenge even the most blood-thirsty carnivore not to be tempted by Trish’s Butternut Squash Pilaff with Fruit and Nuts, her Red Curry with Cashews or her warming Winter Soup.

So here’s a deal for you. I’ll tell you how to make one of Trish’s top treats if you’ll send me your absolute favourite vegan recipe. If I get just one great meal from twenty of you then my meat and dairy free month will be a breeze. And not only that, I’ll have something to cook for Trish to pay back for her favour.

So here goes…

Trish’s Butternut Squash Pilaff with Fruit and Nuts

(serves 2)

600g butternut squash (approx 1 small one)
pinch of saffron (optional)
500ml hot vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 fresh sage leaves
50g Brazil nuts, halved lengthways
200g mixed basmati and wild rice
50g semi-dried cherries
handful of fresh chives

Cut the squash in half and discard the seeds. Peel, then cut the flesh into bite-sized chunks. Add the saffron to the hot stock and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the sage leaves, Brazil nuts and rice and fry for a further 2-3 minutes to coat in the oil. Stir in the squash, cherries and saffron stock, then season and bring to the boil. Stir well, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice and squash are tender.

Reserve three chives and snip the remainder into the pilaff. Stir well, then taste and add more seasoning if necessary. Pile the pilaff onto a platter or serving dish and serve garnished with reserved chives.

cow203152.jpgAnd while you are stirring your pilaff reflect on this: a cow burps and farts hundreds of litres of methane every day. Apparently a really bilious beast can produce an astonishing 500 litres of the stuff.

Methane, as every would-be ethical man or woman will surely know, is 23 times as powerful a global warming gas as carbon dioxide. Which makes this country’s two million-strong herd a major source of greenhouse gases. Indeed, our bovine buddies are reckoned to account for 3% of the UK total, according to one estimate.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:15 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • STC wrote:

We received sprout tops in our organic veg box, from Flights of Herefordshire, last winter and successfully used them in stir-fries in place of various varieties of Chinese cabbage. My partner, who hates sprouts, ate them quite happily as they didn't have the slight bitterness which the sprouts themselves often contain.

  • 2.
  • At 01:17 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Simon Jeffs wrote:

Right - easiest vegan recipe in the world. I call it "Vegan thing", but its really a bean and pasta stew.


1 small onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 med. cougette, sliced
4oz mushrooms, chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, cubed
1 tbs oil
1 tin baked beans
1/2 tsp veg. stock powder,
1 tsp curry powder
2oz sultanas
1 tsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tbs lemon juice
5 ozs dried pasta (no egg!) shapes (spirals are good)
2 pints boiling water


Sling pasta in boiling water, cook till al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 pint cooking water.

Heat oil. Add veg, stew till tender. Add beans plus all other ingredients (except lemon juice). Mix in pasta. Add as much cooking water to get desired thickness (from sold to a bit sloppy - it's up to you). Simmer five minutes. Add lemon juice and season to taste. Serve in bowl with lots of crusty bread. Feeds 2.

  • 3.
  • At 01:23 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jo wrote:

Good luck with the vegan month! I have been vegan now for 6 years (vege for 10 before that). I found the first 3 days were the worst! thought I might die from the cravings! But I haven't had any cravings since, so that can't be bad. One of my fave dishes is a dead easy, and nutritious 'throw it in the pan' sort of recipe. It doesn't have a name!!! The smoked tofu is a lot nicer than the plain stuff!

1 Pack smoked tofu-chopped (cauldron is organic).
2 peppers-any colour-chopped
1 onion-chopped
1 tin tomatoes

Fry the onion until soft. Throw in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 20 mins. Done! Serve with anything really-boiled spuds and a nice salad is good! Its also good cold.

  • 4.
  • At 01:26 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Here's one that always goes down well with my meat eating friends: vegan "sausage" rolls. It's easy too. It requires one pack of frozen puff pastry (Jus-rol I think it's called) and one sachet of Sos-mix (available at health food shops). Method: make up sos-mix as per instructions on packet (adding extra herbs to taste). Roll thawed pastry. Put sos-mix in pastry and cook at 190ish until golden brown.

  • 5.
  • At 01:28 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Dorothy Rothschild wrote:

Check out the blog Vegan Lunch Box. The blog writer, Jennifer, made daily school lunches for her son - all adorable, all vegan. She no longer does daily lunch posts, but still posts regularly. And she recently published a recipe book.

I don't know whether all of the specifically vegan products Jennifer discusses can be found in the UK (i.e. vegan equivalents for mayo and tuna), but no doubt some substitutions are possible.

I'm vegetarian rather than vegan, but that this blog makes being vegan look like fun. Though it's probably more fun if you have a cool mom who makes great lunches for you!

  • 6.
  • At 01:37 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Here is my recipe for vegan Chillie which is very tasty and hearty. This recipe provides a generous meal for 4 people.

2 tins (800g) of chopped tomatoes
2 tins (800g) of kidney beans
1 jar (300g) of tomato puree
300g of meat-substitute (quorn, tofu, veggie mince, chopped peppers)
6 cloves of garlic
2 red chillies
1/2 a glass of port
2 teaspoonfuls of tabasco sauce
1/2 a teasponnful of salt.

Put the chopped tomatoes in a saucepan and heat until they begin to simmer. Crush or finely chop the garlic and chillies and add them along with the meat-substitute, port, salt and tabasco. Cover and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Drain the beans and add them and the tomato puree. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Serve on a bed of rice or a jacket potato. For those not sticking strictly to a vegan diet, garnish with a generous dollop of sour cream or greek yoghurt (lower in fat).

  • 7.
  • At 01:40 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Robert Nanninga wrote:

When I went vegan I ate only fruit for three days, as a way for cleansing my palate. Avocado with mango salsa is still one of my favorite entrees.

  • 8.
  • At 01:47 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Dorothy Rothschild wrote:

Hmmm, the link didn't come through. The Vegan Lunch Box blog is at:

  • 9.
  • At 01:52 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

How about eating food only from organic farms that don't rely on animal manure to fertilise their crops, now there is a real vegan challenge.

  • 10.
  • At 02:02 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Bird wrote:

Delicious and very simple:


Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1/2 pound dry brown lentils
1 cup long grain rice (brown ok)
3 - 4 large onions
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, pepper and cumin to taste


Use a four quart pan. Boil lentils and rice in two quarts of filtered water.
Heat oil in pan and add cumin powder.
Chop onions and begin sauteing in the olive oil with the cumin powder; saute until completely browned (really and truly brown).
Cook the lentils and rice until the mixture is dry.
Pour the onion mixture over the lentils and rice and let the oil seep down through the mixture.
Try not to stuff yourself.

Serves: 4-10.

Preparation time: 1 1/2 hr.

  • 11.
  • At 02:22 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Anna wrote:

Simplest Vegan Soup

1 butternut squash
1 red onion

Roast both (no reason why couldnt roast some garlic too)

put in blender with pinch dried chillis (to taste) and some veg stock. Whizz - eat!

  • 12.
  • At 02:25 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Ceec wrote:

I was vegan for 10 years and got some great receipes from a book called "Simply Vegan" by David Scott. He just collects receipes from around the world which happen to be vegan, rather than doing revolting things with tofu. There are some really delicious meals in there. Meanwhile, here's my favourite salad:

Romaine lettuce
Cooked broccoli
Tasty tomatoes (e.g. on the vine, or cherry tomatoes)
Kidney beans (from can, get the salt/sugar ones, not the plain version)
White wine vinegar
Good olive oil
Salt and pepper

Just chop it up, bung it all together in a bowl, and pour on vinegar and oil to taste. Make sure you add salt and pepper.

It takes no time at all and is lovely - also looks great.

I am a strict veggie and my advice is to eat what you normally have, but adapt it slightly to allow for a different protein source (rather than making some horribly lentil stew thing that no sane person would eat and that your body will probably react to!) For example you can make a parsley sauce instead of a cheese sauce - use olive spread and soya milk to make the white sauce base - and have that on roast veggies where other people are having a sunday roast. You can also make a great veggie pasta dish with a mushroom and onion puree mix in canneloni, baked in a white sauce, topped with roasted pine nuts for flavour and texture.

One of my favourite meals, especially for lunch, is a large stuffed pitta with lots of humus and salad. Make the salad interesting - perhaps keep lots of tubs prepared in your fridge, such as grated carrot with raisins and poppy seeds, green salad with alfalfa sprouts, tomato and onion slices, or couscous with pine nuts - and then use them to stuff pitta or to go as a garnish with whatever else you eat. The seeds and nuts will help with the protein without being too much at once for your digestion, or terribly alien to your tastebuds!

Some things such as soya milk (cheap supermarket unsweetened rather than the posh stuff) are quite ok for cooking, but it's a bit of an aquired taste so if you're only doing it for a month, you might be better off getting used to coffee and teas which are nicer black, rather than struggling with substitutes, unless you actually like them.

If you get the impression that all vegans are freaks, and try to eat what I call "freak food" it will probably be a much less pleasant experience for you and those around you...! Just take what you normally like, and adapt it.

Good luck!

  • 14.
  • At 02:31 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Bryan wrote:

What the hell has going Vegan got to do with ethics? I am sorry but you may think you are being ethical by not flying or giving up your car, but since the dawn of time man has survived and flourished on his ability to hunt and eat meat(cooked by the way on carbon producing fires). This has nothing to do with ethics but everything to do with pandering to an element of society in so much denial of its history and evolution as to be laughable. May I point out that your Vegan 'friend' would be dead if she tried to exist only on the vegetables occuring naturally this time of year in England so she is not that ethical after all - her Vegan sanctimony pales into insignificance you realise the cost of the flights and shipping that bring in the ingredients for all her meals - or do we conveniently forget that ?

  • 15.
  • At 02:38 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Amelia wrote:

Hearty Vegan Pasta sauce with Ziti:

Olive Oil or Canola oil
1 box ziti (or whatever pasta you like, so long as it's vegan)
4-5 carrots
.5L (or so) tomato puree
4-5 onions
1-3 cloves garlic, depending on your taste
1 tbsp dried or fresh thyme
1 C (or more) TVP (textured vegetable protein) you can buy this at most health food stores.
salt and pepper to taste.

Dice up the onions (you want 1cm square pieces approx) and peel the carrots. Once the carrots are peeled, instead of chopping them, peel them down to nothing, so you get a bowl of fresh carrot peelings (they cook faster).

Get a nice deep saucepan good and hot. put a few tbsp on oil into it, and put the carrots and onions into it. Add the garlic cloves (cut up). let everything cook down until slightly browned (about 10-15 mins depending on your stove). Add the tomato puree. Add the thyme, and stir the whole thing a bunch - let it get hot again (the puree will be colder than the onions and carrots when you add it). Add some pepper and some salt to taste. Add the cup of TVP and stir a bunch. TVP reconstitutes in water, so if the sauce is really thick, add a little bit of water to get the TVP to mositen up. Let the whole thing simmer for 15 minutes. While you're doing this, cook the pasta according to the direction on the box. Top the pasta with sauce and enjoy!

  • 16.
  • At 02:46 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

Glad to see the number of vegan/veggies on the rise - more meat for the rest of us :)

Humans are a meat eating species and I remain unconvinced that all the essential vitamens / minerals can be obtained from other on meat / dairy sources.

Have tried tofu once in Hong Kong - a bit like chewing one of those white erasers you can get - tastless & rubbery, regardless of what flavour is added.

  • 17.
  • At 03:01 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Katherine wrote:

I think many would agree that the days of sustainable hunting and gathering are far gone. Today our food is mass produced at the cost of not only our envoronment but also the world economy, human rights and our own health. The arguement that it is natural to eat meat is a desprate attempt to justify something you know is wrong. Also as a side note fires create solid carbon in the form of ash which is healthy and sustainable, not carbon dioxide the greenhouse gas.

  • 18.
  • At 03:06 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Ian Thompson wrote:

Vegan - It's easy, especially these days, even the supermarkets label particular products as suitable for vegans now. Remember to try and combine Beans or pulses with grains or nuts - this provides a balance of amino acids that make up their proteins. It's still easy - simple examples are dahl and rice, Beans and rice, rice and peas, beans on toast even. Of course have them in sauces and with other veg for interest.
It's kept me healthy and fit these past 20 years.

Incidentally, It's my belief that Quorn products are not vegan as the fungus is grown using dairy milk products.

Some Asian restaurants may fry tofu in egg before adding to the dish.

Desserts can be most problematic. However supermarkets and Health food shops also sell Vegan Ice creams (more choice of flavours in the specialists) Raspberry ripple is the best.

Cherry Surprise

1 pack frozen Puff Pastry
1 tin Cherry Pie Filling
1 tub Vanilla Vegan Ice Cream
Icing Sugar to dust.

Thaw pastry and roll to 2 strips 10x30cm. Bake on a greased (with vegan marg) tray in oven, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Once cool, spread one pastry strip with Cherry filling.
Top with slabs of Ice Cream.
Top with remaining pastry strip and dust with the icing sugar, or more filling!
Serves 4-6, prep: 20 Mins + cooling time

I had a gorgeous Pear Tarte Tatin on Saturday, thanks Lorna.

You won't need luck, just be adventurous!

  • 19.
  • At 03:20 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Stephen wrote:

Fires not producing carbon dioxide - now that would be an achievement! All our concerns about global warming solved in one discovery....

  • 20.
  • At 03:22 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Gail Q-B wrote:

Loads of options for vegan dinners: I like bean chilli, spicy veg couscous with chickpeas and pine nuts, winter veg stew with dumplings (using vegetarian suet obviously !), tofu with tomato, ginger and fresh coriander, stir fry with satay sauce, etc etc.

Squash risotto is always good - use onions and butternut squash with proper risotto rice (I like arborio) and season it with saffron and black pepper, or try sage if you haven't any saffron. Use some dry white wine as well as veg stock in the cooking. Serve it with some chopped fresh parsley stirred through and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. If you're eating with non-vegans you could serve them some greek yogurt and maybe some grated cheese to add to their plates. I usually put this with roasted chicken for my boyfriend.

Best of luck with your vegan month.

  • 21.
  • At 03:24 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

What is 'ethical', as opposed to self-righteous, about veganism?

  • 22.
  • At 03:30 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Zaferina wrote:

I don't see the point of labeling individuals style of eating, its limiting for the sake of it! Just try all diets and pick the bits that make you feel the best. That maybe 75% Vegan, 90% Vegetarian or whatever.
I tried this a year ago and if you approach it from a creative angle it can be alot of fun. Porridge with water was never an option but with half water and half fruit juice! Now your talking! It gives the oats a bit of colour and you don't need to add sugar or honey as its already sweet. I liked Apple & Mango juice. Yum.

  • 23.
  • At 03:32 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Tatiana wrote:

Many indian meals are vegan if you substitue ghee for vegetable oil.

I suggest you treat yourself to a mixed vegetable curry (made by mixing curry paste with tinned tomatoes and/or coconut milk) a few side dishes of saag aloo, (spinach and potatoes) channa dhal, (chick peas) etc and some rice.

You can also make a great cardamon rice pudding with soya milk instead of cow milk - its delicious and its much healthier for you.

Eating vegan is the most natural and energising diet you can give your body, after a month you will feel fantastic!

January is a rough time of year for colds and flu - if you get sick during your vegan month then try a "Kitcheri" instead of the standard chicken soup. Kitcheri is an ayurvedic recipe for balancing your body and mind.

My recipe is:
vegetable oil
teaspoon of mustard seeds
teaspoon of cumin seeds
teaspoon of ground coriander
teaspoon of turmeric

Large handful Mung dhal, soaked over night at least but you can leave them till they start sprouting.

2 x large handfuls Basmati rice, rinsed well and drained.

Various chopped vegetables
Grated fresh ginger

Plenty of water.

Fry the spices in some oil for a few mintues, add the mung bean, rice and water, stir well and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 20 mins, add some chopped vegetables, simmer for another 20 mins adding more water as needed (you want it to be a sort of soup consistency) and then serve with grated ginger and some fresh coriander leaves on top.

  • 24.
  • At 03:35 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Lee wrote:

Spanish Vegan Stew.

1 packet smoked tofu
2 cans drained butter beans.
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tin chopped tomato's
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked ideally)
1 pint good vegetable stock.

Cook off onions, garlic in lots of good quality olive oil, add tomatos, bring to boil whilst adding glass of red wine. Simmer very gently & add tofu cubed. Meanwhile drain butter beans and place in large casserole dish, sprinkle with the paprika then add all the tofu/onion etc. Pour on stock & cook in oven covered for 30 mins then a further 30 mins uncovered. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley!

I might even try being a vegan myself!

  • 25.
  • At 03:35 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jake wrote:

I can understand people having a vegan diet, be it for health reasons or because they simply don't like the taste of dairy/meat products... having said that i cannot for the life of me understand why eating meat or dairy products could be considered unethical. To eat meat is natural and healthy thing, as is eating vegetables and dairy products.
The Neanderthals died out in the last ice age because the only ate meat, we survived because we eat both vegetable and meat in our diets. to say it is wrong to eat either/any substance goes against our own evolutionary lessons, anyone who does say eating meat is wrong had best understand mother nature is pretty hard to beat in a debate, and it may take some time... say another 5 million years?

  • 26.
  • At 03:40 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Antoine Giusti wrote:

How about sicilian caponata?

This recipie sounds about right:

but I usually use aceto balsamico and don't forget the fresh balck pepper and basilicum. Eat it on bread, pasta, rice or just by itself.

Its always the first thing to go at parties and I always have some in the freezer

  • 27.
  • At 03:50 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Amit wrote:

Paul wrote:
Humans are a meat eating species and I remain unconvinced that all the essential vitamins / minerals can be obtained from other on meat / dairy sources.
I think a completely vegetarian diet is capable of providing all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that a human body needs. There's plenty of research that proves it. In fact, a mostly vegetarian diet is much healthier than eating a meat-based diet, as long as you don't think French fries is one of your veggie servings/day :)

Just because we humans evolved as omnivores does not mean we can't think about how our food is produced and the effects on environment and health, and make a conscious decision based on that. After all, we also have the ability to think. The method of food production has radically changed over the past 50 years.

If you want to delve into evolution, then humans are also hunters-gatherers, but I never see any of the meat-eaters propose we all start doing just that.

Someone who wrote about eating organic food that is produced hundreds of miles away is right on. An excellent book to read is Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma". Gives you much food for thought (pardon the pun) no matter what you eat.


  • 28.
  • At 03:55 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Sarah Clark wrote:

Mushroom Pie

1/2 lb mushrooms - quartered (the firm, white kind)
1 carrot - diced
1/2 onion - coarsly chopped
1 green pepper - coarsly chopped
veg OXO
heaped tsp cornflour
1/2 cup water
1pk shortcrust pastry

fry the onions, carrots & green pepper to soften, quarter the mushrooms & add to the pan & stir-fry for ~3 minutes.
Add the OXO, water & cornflour and simmer until the liquid coats the veg. Leave to cool.

Roll out the pastry to line and cover a 9" pie dish. Fill with the veg mixture, cover and seal.

Bake for ~1hr 20mins at 190C or until top is golden.

  • 29.
  • At 03:56 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

Thanks Robert for your guilt-projection.

Self-righteous? Ethical man invited our suggestions, we didn't proselytise.
Ethical - How many forests are cleared every year, for crops to feed cattle. Only 20% max ends up as tissue rather than just sustaining the metabolism. Efficient? - not!
It also denies food to those that could do with it (politcal reasons aside!)

Just because our species can digest meat doesn't mean we should. We used to pillage and butcher our way across continents, but don't now.

We choose not to, whilst it's not necessary.

Similarly, I choose not to eat meat and dairy, whilst it's not necessary.
That's my choice, my decision.
Robert et al., did I say you should do the same as me? No, reach your own decision, accept any consequences and live with it.

  • 30.
  • At 03:57 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jack wrote:

Delicious red wine sauce, goes with anything-stick it on pasta, or as a stuffing for veg, or on puff pastry, or as a pizza base, or in filo parcels

gently fry up an ONION or 2 in olive oil with some GARLIC and PEPPERS (or what ever other chopped veg you fancy) then add a little TOMATOE PUREE.

to this add a can of CHOPPED TOMATOES, together with a teaspoon full of SUGAR and seasoning (a little SALT and fesh ground black PEPPER, together with some grated NUTMEG and BAY LEAVES).Cook for a little while.

Next add about a glass or so (don't be stingy) of RED WINE (doesn't have to be nice stuff) and then turn down the heat and let reduce.

Lastly add (ideally fresh) BASIL, OREGANO about 5 minutes before serving.

  • 31.
  • At 03:58 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Gordon wrote:

The only fully paid up long term Vegan I ever knew looked extremely ill despite his alleged healthy diet.

  • 32.
  • At 04:05 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • J. Watson wrote:

I heartily second the recommendation for Vegan Lunch Box. Also, one of the best vegetarian resources (including vegan) is aptly named the Vegetarian Resource Group, at:

Good luck!

  • 33.
  • At 04:29 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Gaz wrote:

For those that are making comments about why meat eating is unethical, I would suggest that you do some investigation into how much of our meat is farmed. Although eating meat may or may not be unethical depending on your point of view, I find it hard to believe that many people would argue that factory/battery farming could be considered ethical.

  • 34.
  • At 04:30 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Keith wrote:

You'll put people off being 'ethical' consumers if you put it within the context of veganism. I like meat every now and then and won't be made to feel guilty about it.

At any rate, your clothes were made on machines running on coal and oil derived from dead dinosaurs. And it's not a nice time of year to be naked...

  • 35.
  • At 04:39 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Natalie wrote:

Alpro yoghurts.
I know, not a recipe, but a really nice alternative to a yoghurt and may keep you sane on the desert front when you get sick of fruit.

  • 36.
  • At 04:40 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • nick walters wrote:

Going vegan is one thing , but would it be possible to go vegan using only local seasonal produce? I've never tried it myself (confirmed carnivore, but have been through vegie periods) but I'd imagine your intake of imported fruit, veg, and nuts will go up as you try to make your dairy and meat free diet more interesting. So, can you go vegan and keep your food miles down at the same time.....

  • 37.
  • At 04:46 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • jamie wrote:

Grind cashew nuts into a paste using one of those old hand powered mince meat makers that clamp onto the table edge.
Add a little lemon juice and water.
Use as you would do with double cream on any dessert.Beware! It is addictive!

  • 38.
  • At 04:52 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

The suggestions for vegan recipes with pastry have to be home made with margarine, as most shop bought pastry will contain butter.

My recommendation for vegan food is vegetarian sushi. Kappa Maki (cucumber roll) is quite easy to make (but it's a little annoying to have to find the seaweed and sushi vinegar), and tastes great. It's easy to find when you eat out too.

  • 39.
  • At 04:53 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Sue wrote:

I would recommend Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman - the chocolate cake recipe is my favourite. Visit healthfood shops for lots of easy to use alternatives to meat and dairy – much more interesting than trying to eat vegan from what’s on offer in supermarkets.
Bryan was worried about the environmental cost of shipping in vegan food but it takes far more grain and soya to feed animals for slaughter than to feed us directly.
Cooking vegan is easier than cooking with meat and dairy and you don’t need to feel deprived. Enjoy!

  • 40.
  • At 05:17 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Marc Jones wrote:

I'm sure you wouldn't accept this mail with a blatant plug but if you travel down Wimbledon Broadway to the Tandoori there (good enough hint?!) they do a mean sprout bhaji. I kid you not - it's fantastic!

  • 41.
  • At 05:25 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Vegan! I can't help thinking when ethics and meat eating are mixed that the next campaign of man will be to intervene in the wild and stop lions catching their own dinner only to give them a plate of vegetables.

  • 42.
  • At 05:30 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jon Green wrote:

A word to the militant meat-fans...

Yes, humans have been meat-eaters since the origin of our species, but there's now a difference. Six and a half billion or so's worth of difference. Things were a lot different when there were only a few hundred thousand of us.

The planet simply can't provide enough meat to feed its human population, at least not sustainably, and that's ignoring population growth. There's no getting around it, people are going to have to tame their hunger for meat, making it an addition to an otherwise vegetarian or vegan diet, or eliminating it completely.

Granted, as with just about all other diets, some ingredients are going to clock up a load of food-miles, but if you're sensible, you source your veg locally (i.e. not from supermarkets) where available, and pick pre-packed food, when you get it, that hasn't been overpackaged or mucked around with too much.

  • 43.
  • At 05:33 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jon. R wrote:

Going vegan will indeed be tough. I would rather saw my leg off.

I find it ironic that you point out that the methane emitted from cows may be an issue for global warming, however you make no reference to the similarly terrifying quantities of methane you will be producing in once you start on the lentil, soya and bean dominated diet of the average vegan.

falafel, hummous, onion bhaji, veg samosa, chana massala (with veg oil, not ghee), baked beans on toast, scrambled tofu (more of an acquired taste) etc etc easy peasy, cheap and tasty.

Your picture is most definitely a spout, since it is a closed button. I
grow brussels sprouts, and the tops are more like miniature cabbages -
bigger and usually slightly open.

For a vegan recipe, I suggest that you look at Indian cuisine. Much of
this is vegetarian, plenty is vegan and all of it tastes interesting. You can cook a mixture of
yellow lentils with rice, combined with various spices, which is more
interesting than either rice or lentils. Vegetable currys can come in
many different flavours, and by varying the spice mix as well as the
vegetables, you get variety (which is the problem with a vegan diet). Make up your own spice mixtures.
For a change, try a combination of spices which is heavy on ginger rather than chilli,
or use a lot of cardamom in one and not another. Use coconut milk rather
than yoghurt as the liquid of the curry. Make a dry curry rather than
always just wet ones. And use bread for some currys rather than rice.

Gorge on yummy fresh fruit. Treat yourself to a melon or a pineapple.

Think of strong flavours - tomato, garlic, sweet and sour (sugar and
vinegar - both impeccably vegan).

Oh, by the way, I think that baked beans on toast is vegan!

And of course, as G K Chesterton has pointed out, ALL alcoholic drink is
vegan (apart from dubious things with cream in).

From a carnivore

  • 46.
  • At 05:49 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jill wrote:

I am already vegetarian and I was going to stop drinking cow's milk due to the methane argument and other reasons. However if one takes into consideration the amount of carbon dioxide released by shipping over your soya milk, is there really a difference in comparison to the methane?
Either way you lose, unless you stop drinking milk which is obviously extremely detrimental to your health.

  • 47.
  • At 05:52 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Helen wrote:

So, are you also giving up leather shoes, belts, hats, gloves? Will you be paddling (not flying!) south for Winter? And no stamps, or anything made from/using glue? What about your medicines - Diabetic? Forget any treatments tested/developed using animals! Hmmm, you're in for more of a challenge than how to make tofu tasty - Good luck!

  • 48.
  • At 06:18 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • CLM wrote:

AS a borderline vegetarian, it makes sense to me to be prudent with animals' lives and not chow down on two steaks a day. However, I view veganism as a bit extreme. What is unethical about living side-by-side with animals in a mutually beneficial way? I will not defend the way the majority of our food is manufactured, but there are plenty of ways (albeit, more expensive ways) to support humane dairy operations. Look for produce from small local farmers who don't use hormones and anti-biotics and who let their animals range freely. There's no need to completely eschew our relationships with domesticated animals; in fact, it would be irresponsible on our part. After all, if we eliminate a need for cows and chickens, do you think they will make it in the wild after thousands of years of cohabitation with humans? No way.

  • 49.
  • At 06:28 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Russell Long wrote:

For every animal you don't eat, Justin, I'm going to eat three.

  • 50.
  • At 06:29 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • ziggy stardust wrote:

Some of the most boring people I have ever met have been vegan, and sanctimonious to boot.

But not all the food is dull.

Roast vegetable couscous

Vegetables for roasting - e.g. aubergines, red peppers, tomatoes.
500g Couscous
Olive oil
Fresh coriander

Chop the onions, garlic and vegetables and roast them in a hot oven with olive oil and seasoning until soft a little bit blackened - 30 to 45 mins.
Put couscous in a heat-proof bowl or saucepan.
Put juice and rind of the lemon and a few strands of saffron in 500ml of boiling water.
Pour the water over the couscous. After 15 mins fork through the couscous to separate the grains.
Pour over some olive oil.
Add the roasted vegetables to the couscous and stir through.
Chop the coriander and sprinkle over the top.
Season and serve.

  • 51.
  • At 06:33 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

Don't vegans smell funny? It's an important consideration.

  • 52.
  • At 06:41 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Fruitbat wrote:

Well it you want to be "ethical" then the diet is a good way to start. Organic and fairtrade is good but combined with LOCAL and VEGAN its even better.

Being vegan is partly about mindset - if you start this month thinking it is going to be awful and preparing yourself to miss cheese then chances are your reports are going to be very negative. It is very important to read around the subject so that you dont just eat the same things as before minus the non-vegan bits of it because then you will feel hungry, miss your "usual" fare and of course you will be malnourished if you did it long-term. Finally - a dramatic diet change such as going vegan means you have to be adventurous - explore Indian, South African, Carribean, and Japanese cuisine which are very adaptable to vegan diets - and more importantly explore those non-supermarket ingredients such as flavoured tofu and sausages (Redwoods), as well as less common grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, millet etc (though non-egg pasta, couscous and rice are also good vegan staples) and yes think of your beans, nuts, seeds and lentils!

And vegans can eat cake too so here is a gateau foret noire recipe:
*240g self-raising flour
*150g sugar
*3 heaped Tbsp cocoa powder
*225 mL chocolate soy milk
*100 mL oil
* 1Tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
*50g vegan pargarine (Pure or Soma maragarines in supermarkets and healtfood shops)
*chopped walnuts
*cherries (glace cherries if vegan watch out for lactic acid which may not be)

To serve:
1 carton Soyatoo cream (vegan chantilly cream)
1 carton Taifin plain silken tofu
1 bar Green & Black;s cooking chocolate
dessicated coconut
glace cherries
strawberries, raspberries or cherries (if not in season, organic tinner berries in juice available)

Preheat oven to 150*C
Grease cake tin

Mix flour, cocoa, walnuts, cherries and 1 tsp bicarb (optional if flour is SR) in a big bowl.
In a blender, chocolate soy milk, oil, margarine, sugar
Pour wet mix into dry mix and mix until smooth. Transfer to cake tin and straight into oven for approx 25mins possibly more depending on oven and cake tin.

When cake is cooled - cut in half and spread soyatoo and sliced strawberries or raspberries or cherries (available in jars). Sandwich together. Melt chocolate (add chocolate if not keen on really strong chocolate)and blend it into cold silken tofu and spread over cake thickly. Sprinkle coconut over the top and decorate with walnuts and cherries.

Here's my favourite vegan recipe, chick pea and sweet potato chilli:

1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
At least one red and one green chilli
Half a teaspoon of crushed chilli (unless you can get decent fresh hot ones near you)
A teaspoon of cumin
A good handful of coriander
Two or three good sized tomatoes
A pint of vegetable stock (home made if you're showing off)
Can of chick peas (or dried equivalent, soaked overnight and cooked through).
One medium sweet potato

Peel and chop the sweet potato into one inch cubes. Steam or simmer for ten minutes.

Finely chop and fry the onion, garlic and chillis in a generous splash of oil in a good sized saucepan until the onion is transparent. Add the cumin and fry for a couple more minutes. Finely chop the tomatoes and add to the frying mixture. Finely chop the coriander and add to the mix. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add about half of the vegetable stock and let cook for another five minutes. At this point you can quickly liquidise the base with a hand blender if you wish. This is a good base for lots of things.

Add enough of the chick peas to not overwhelm the sauce. I normally use a bit less than a can for two. Simmer for five minutes or so, then add the chunks of sweet potato. Continue simmering for ten minutes or until the potato is tender. Serve with rice, or tortillas.

Technically I suppose it's not ethical as the sweet potatoes certainly didn't grow in Norfolk, well, not as far as I know, and I presume the chillis and the chick peas aren't grown on proud Scottish hill farms either, but on the other hand, they weren't flown in on a Lear Jet for your private consumption.
Swings and roundabouts really.

How can going vegan be ethical if you stay in the UK?

The product of the UK's most valued rural environments, moors, fields with ancient hedges, and the like, is meat and dairy. Vegan diets seem to use loads of imported foods - rice, soya, and fruit that not only isn't grown here - but can't be. So think of all the food miles!

Anyway, who would want a UK without sheep on the moors and cattle in the meadows? For that to continue we must be prepared to eat them. Come on - do your ethical duty and tuck in!

  • 55.
  • At 07:32 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • formica wrote:

Good luck, Ethical Man! I hope that you take this opportunity to explore some foods that you wouldn't usually try and to have some fun. I wish I could share my own recipes with you, but I generally work with cookbooks. I do highly recommend any cookbook or recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, especially if you find yourself craving desserts. She also has recipes online at the Post-Punk Kitchen ( She is American, though, which could cause some conversion issues.

Regarding the issue of how veganism is related to ethics, the Ethical Man is specifically concerned with reducing his ecological footprint and contribution to global warming, and veganism does just that. A vegan diet requires less resources (water, land, energy) and creates less pollution and waste than does an omnivorous diet.

In a more general sense, I would have thought that reducing one’s contribution to the pain and death of living creatures would be seen nearly universally as an ethical course of action. What humans have done for the past millennia has no bearing on that; as we know, people throughout history have engaged in practices that we now regard as unethical or even highly immoral. As we learn more about the results of our actions, become aware of our options, and begin to have more respect for the lives and well-being of those who are different from us, our views of what is and is not ethical change. Because those of us in the modern Western world do not have to eat animal products to survive, some of us ask ourselves whether we can justify doing what we do to animals for the mere sake of our taste buds or habits. Some decide we can’t, and we become vegetarian or vegan.

  • 56.
  • At 08:07 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • BangorRick wrote:


Handbags at dawn between the vegans and the carnivores with us (semi) veggies in the middle.

As Ethics are "a set of moral principles" (OED) then they can be applied to any aspect of life, be it as here vegans or carnivores, in order to reach high standards in that field. They are not solely owned by one set.

Could someone please explain to me how substitute icecream / yoghurt etc is vegan, as surely you must have used real milk from a real cow to find out what it tastes like, before creating a substitute. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

  • 57.
  • At 08:13 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Becca wrote:

AMAZING Vegan Brownies

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup oil - preferably vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)


Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, cocoa, baking powder)
Mix wet ingredients (water, oil, vanilla)
Mix together, 50 strokes, or until well blended. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.

Spread mixture into a greased 13x9" pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted and come out clean.


Veggie & Dumpling Soup

Soup base:

1 leek, cut into rounds (white part only, or 1" of greens if they look good)
1 onion, chopped
4 small carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, halved, then chopped (to make them smaller)
1/4 t thyme (dry, or bunch fresh)
1/4 t parsley (dry, or bunch fresh)
1 bay leaf
veggie oil (couple Tbs, enough to saute' in)


2c flour
1 t salt
1.5 t celery salt
4T melted margerine or oil
1/2 cup water (in place of 2 beaten eggs, if you want the vegetarian version)
6 T (or 1/4c + 2 T) "milk"

Heat oil, add onion,leek, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley and cook on a low setting for 10-12m until soft and transluscent. bring up the heat to med or med-hi and add the rest of the veggies. Stir occasionally until carrots are done or mostly done.

Add 8 cups water (2 quarts), dash salt. Cover and bring to a boil.

While water is working up to a boil, put the dumplings together:

Knead on lightly floured surface for 1 min. Let dough rest 5 min. Roll out to 1/8" thickness and cut into 2 x 1" strips (or whatever size you find easy to work with, though they'll take longer to cook if they are bigger).

Drop into boiling broth, cover and simmer 20-35 min. (the non-egg version needed to cook longer than my original version, but I'm also high altitude. Taste for done-ness~ They'll seem mealy if they're not done yet. When done they are sort of like thick noodles or a biscuit or something. Yummy and hearty) If in doubt, let them sit another 5 minutes and taste again.

This is a WONDERFUL, hearty meal for a sick person, especially. The veggie version of chicken noodle soup. Great winter soup meal.

You could always do the stock in the crock pot, then transfer to the stove and make the dumplings when you are about ready to eat. But, know that the veggies will get super soft this way.


Enchilada Dip

4 cups (2 cans) black beans
enchilada sauce can
16oz can corn
small can green chiles
1 cup salsa
chili powder (2T)
cumin (2t)
cilantro (2t)
tortilla chips
(Tofutti) "sour cream" (optional)

Heat oil in large-ish sauce pan, add DRAINED beans. Mash beans up and refry (just heat through and mix in extra oil as needed until it is "refried beans" consistancy). Add enchilada sauce, corn, green chiles, and spices. Heat through. Pour into bowl, top with salsa. Tofutti "sour cream" on the side. Any leftovers, can mix through and reheat as needed.

You could put this in tortillas if you wanted, but we did it as a dip with chips. HEARTY and tasty


Just a couple of the ones I like to make up~ Those brownies are amazing! Better than any "regular" brownie I ever made, I'm sending the recipe to everyone, regardless of food preference.

Good luck on your journey!

  • 58.
  • At 08:27 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Malk Williams wrote:

Your producer is *making* you go vegan for a month?

You poor sod.

Still, at least the tin-pot tyrantette is giving you till after Christmas! My (vegan) sister's top tip for surviving the senseless masochism that is veganism would appear to be going to Indian restaurants a lot. You will find your enforced dietary flagellation well catered for there.

  • 59.
  • At 08:27 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Charley wrote:

Someone asked what veganism has to do with ethics: a vegan diet uses up fewer of the planet's resources to produce, such as water (both that is fed to animals and that is used for growing animal feed), land and crops - around 34% of the world's grain is fed to animals, we could feed a lot more people and use the energy a lot more efficiently by eating the crops directly. It also avoids the pollution caused by animal methane emissions and the run-off from manure pits that can get into rivers and harm river wildlife.

It also does not involve keeping animals in the appalling conditions found in many large-scale 'factory' farms, which is justified by the industry by saying "but we need to keep animals in these conditions otherwise we can't keep up with the demand for meat". Does it not occur to anyone that maybe we should demand less meat? It also does not involve creating millions of living creatures to make them spend their lives suffering and then killing them to satisfy the tastebuds and appetites of humans.

And as for the food miles point: do omnivores really eat fewer foods that are imported from other countries than vegans do? If not, then it is still the case that a vegan diet causes less environmental harm.

  • 60.
  • At 08:34 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Mike Civil wrote:

Quote:"Ethical - How many forests are cleared every year, for crops to feed cattle."

I've no axe to grind either way but this statement seems odd. You could just as likely say "How many forests are cleared every year, for crops to feed humans". There are some real environmental concerns over soya production at the moment driven, in part, by the developed worlds increasing demand for it.

When it comes down to it there are so many mouths to feed that there are environmental issues regardless of what you stuff in them!

  • 61.
  • At 08:42 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jessica wrote:

Good for you to be open-minded enough to give veganism a try! My husband and I decided a year ago to go vegan and have found that, done responsibly, it is a very healthy diet that has made us both feel much better. Migraine headaches I'd been getting regularly since age 9 were reuced to only two in the last year - as opposed to the one or two a month I had been enjoying for years. Best cookbook I've found is called Vegan Planet. Try the Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas with some sliced avocado on top. Really wonderful.
As for desserts, I've just taken my old recipes and used vegan ingredients to substitute. Rather than eggs try ground up flaxseeds (a good source of omega-3 which you need) blended with water. Or firm tofu tossed in a blender. 4 oz. tofu blended is equal to 2 eggs. You can also use applesauce or bananas as binders in recipes to replace some of the fat from butter.
Good luck. Even if you only take a few of your weekly meals and make them vegan you're making a big difference in the impact you have on the planet.
Those who would rather eat meat, to each their own. Kindly leave us to our decadent and delicious vegan food without judging us as smelly whack-jobs and we'll leave you to your steak, eggs, and heart disease. Okay? Seems fair enough.

  • 62.
  • At 08:44 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Nigel wrote:

In reply to Bryan's tirade against veganism (and vegetarianism), it is probably one of the most ethical things you can do. For one, cows fart an extreme amount of polluting gases into the atmosphere - less cows, less farted pollution. Then there's land usage - 5 hectares of land is needed to grow food for cattle for each person who eats a meat based diet, where as if the animal was by-passed, the same 5 hectares could grow enough wheat to feed at least 12 people. And then there's the amount of water it takes to water all that grain, not to mention the animals themselves. This is water that is cleaned, treated and a general unefficiant use of energy. There are other arguements but I think you get the point. Just because something is traditional doesn't make it right!

  • 63.
  • At 08:46 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Tad wrote:

Ethically I can see what you are trying to do, reduce harm to animals, thats grand.
However veganism or vegatarianism is not, as some have tried to claim, more envirionmentally sustainable, and most certainly not eco friendly.
Mixed farms (livestock and crops) are by far more eco friendly as they have a natural cycle of nutrients on them, as opposed to crop only farms which require more intensive off farm inputs (whether that be as commercial fertiliser or buying 'organic manure').
Also mixed farms tend to have a much higher proportion of wild animals: birds, insects,and mammals,beneficial and nonbeneficial, on them than monocultures.
So the question becomes: is it more ethical to save a cow or save a farmland bird species, for example, on the brink of extinction in this country??

  • 64.
  • At 09:14 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Micahel Nunn and John Burkinshaw wrote:

Dear Justin

Having only met our first vegan when we moved to Lancaster four years ago, we have developed a little portfolio of vegan recipes. Here is our guests' favourite:

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Fry 2 medium sliced onions in olive (or any other) oil till translucent, then add a pound of chunkily-chopped mushrooms. You can add sliced red or green pepper to the pan too.

Meanwhile boil up a pound or so of potatoes and, when cooked, mash them and mix some chopped almonds or cashew nuts in with them. This gives the pie's topping an interesting texture.

Put the mushrooms onions etc in a casserole dish, cover with red or white wine and tomato puree, season to taste, and scoop on the mash and nuts mix.

Bake without a lid on the casserole for an hour in a medium oven.


Best wishes,
Michael and John

  • 65.
  • At 09:24 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Matthew wrote:

Of course, there is the debate about whether the plant hormones in Soya (everyone's favourite non-animal protein source) are actually harmful:,,1828158,00.html

I wouldn't want to suggest anything either way, but perhaps it bears further scrutiny from our Ethical Man - before he ends up growing breasts by accident.

  • 66.
  • At 09:27 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

A very simple vegan recipe? I'm not vegan - nor am I vegetarian - but I love vegetarian food.

It'll require a bit of shopping beforehand, but all ingredients keep a long time and are well worth having in the house: vegan stirfry.

(It also takes about 5 minutes.)

Vegetables (I'm afraid I just buy a stirfry pack from the supermarket - mushroom for preference).
Udon noodles (Japanese supermarket, although I've noticed some mainstream supermarkets selling them now).
Good soy sauce (I buy it in litre bottles from my local Asian supermarket but it's easy enough to buy Kikkoman from the supermarket).
Good chili sauce (ditto on the Asian supermarket).
Miso paste (try a Japanese supermarket).

Heat some oil in a wok. Add garlic. Shortly afterwards, add the veg. Give it a minute, then add the soy sauce and a squirt of the chili sauce.

Add the noodles a minute later and let the whole thing simmer down for a couple of minutes. Then finally, add a teaspoon of miso paste and stir it around well to make sure it dissolves properly and thickens the sauce.


What's particularly nice about using Udon noodles is that they have a very meaty texture, so for those who still have a mental expectation of meat, it makes a suitable substitute.

  • 67.
  • At 09:33 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Ron Gerard wrote:

A delicious starter is melon and mango salad topped with tuscan cheese - which could easily, though it is not as tangy, be replaced with a soya alternative. Cubes of the fruits on some rocket with the 'cheese' crumbled on top.

  • 68.
  • At 10:06 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Mary James wrote:

Sprout tops? That's nothing new in Lincolnshire, we've been eating them for years and years.

  • 69.
  • At 10:45 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Note that South AMerican forests are being destroyed to grow soy beans, derivatives of which are in many foods including chocolate, as well as tofu. So, it's difficult to argue that veganism is more ethical than alternatives if it includes eating lots of soy.

Puddings shouldn't just be about fruit - it's possible to make rice pudding and custard with soy milk and chocolate mouse with chick peas. check out some yoga diet recipes (though they do sometimes contain dairy, you can substitute.) You can also heat up ground almonds with water and sugar, and you have a delicious sweet.

check out the raw food diet, which has fabulous recipes.

Some people have mentioned TVP, textured protein. This can hardly be called health food, but may well help you cope without meat. If you manage to find a chinese vegetarian restaurant, they often have "fish" and "pork" etc which even meat-eaters find tasty.

And good luck. This is likely to be the hardest month of your life!

  • 70.
  • At 10:52 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Chandra Halma wrote:

I'm president of the vegetarian club at the University of Hawaii, I've been a vegan for three years, and I just hosted a successful vegan bake sale. You asked for dinner recipes but you must try this tasty chocolate chip cookie recipe (remember being vegan isn't just about eating vegetables, but your favorite sweets as well):
2.5 cups white or wheat pastry flour
1 teaspon baking soda
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
3/4 cup white vegan sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 teaspoons of egg replacer
1 package semi-sweet choc. chips
Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside mixture. Beat margarine with sugars and one teaspoon of vanilla extract until creamy in one large bowl. Add egg replacer and beat. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded tablespoons onto an UNGREASED cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for five minutes.
Just remember that becoming vegan is more of mental process than physical and actually it is the most "green" action one can take. You are reducing your carbon emissions a lot more by eating a vegan diet than not flying on a plane or driving a car. If you need more on the environmental benefits or any other benefits of veganism, feel free to contact me. I have many sources.

  • 71.
  • At 11:12 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • James Coils wrote:

Well, you're not going to want to remain a Vegan eating faff. Seriously, why do non-Vegans assume that we herbivores want excessively spiced blandness, served with a side dish of miserable nuts, some green leafy nonsense, and great big serving of 'we don't eat much meat ourselves, actually..?' I like the hundreds of meat free, but meat-like products, because I actually used to like the taste and texture of meat. Get yourself some Vegan sausages (Fry's brand, Braii variety if you can find them) slap them under the grill, get the hash browns, mushrooms, toast and tomatoes all going, and tuck in to a cooked breakfast, Vegan style. Then, for lunch, get some fake Tuna Pate from Redwood, or maybe even Cheezly Cheddar, combine it with some green leafy faff and some sliced toms, combine the lot in a half baguette, and bingo, a sandwich you'd not even notice was ethical. For Dinner, order a curry from your local take away, just remember to ask them to make it without ghee, milk or cream (Rogan Josh is generally easy to make without these) served with garlic mushroom rice, and a Paratha (not fried in ghee) Just take 5 mins to quiz the chef, and explain why, and you'll have a Vegan take-away without any hassle. I've been Vegan for 18 years, and I eat food that makes meatheads drool, and ask why they can't have the Vegan option. There are Vegans out there who love the stereotype foods, who chant and meditate whenever possible, and who exude an air of inner peace that makes you want to stick their incense where the sun don't shine, but those of us who are still normal people, this just isn't what Veganism is all about. I don't eat animal foods for ethical reasons, end of. Any happy side effcts are just that, and are welcome, however, if turning green and growing roots was a side effect, I'd be saying 'find me a comfy pot, and keep the dog away from me!'

  • 72.
  • At 11:15 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Chandra Halma wrote:

In response to the above comments written about humans being "natural meat-eaters", this is false because our bodies are not anatomically designed to eat meat and Darwin himself said that since we have been an agriculturally based society for thousands of years, our body has evolved away from being omnivorous to herbivorous. Humans have the ability to eat meat but this doesn't mean they are meant to eat meat. Elephants have the ability to be omnivorous as well but they are an herbivore by nature. Like Elephants humans have poor night vision, they can't run fast, they don't have sharp teeth, they sweat through their pores, their intestines are 10-12 times the length of the body, and they have to cook meat to eat it without getting sick. If humans were a true carnivores or omnivores they would be able to catch the prey without tools, eat the prey raw, and quickly digest it in a short intestinal track without cooking it and usually without getting sick. Perhaps humans were omnivorous in hunter-gatherer times, but nowadays the body is more suited to eating plant-based food. Some will probably use the animal-protein argument to counter this argument, but animal protein is unhealthy for the body. Animals protein acifies the bones and damages the kidneys. One should question why Sweden and the United States has the highest rates of Osteoporosis in the world. It's because women excessively consume dairy products because they are brainwashed by the media that this is prevention for osteoporosis, but the high content of animal protein causes them to pee out the calcium that they have consumed and not to mention that they are overworking their kidney's by consuming so much protein.

  • 73.
  • At 12:02 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Stephen Watson wrote:

Well, Ziggy, that's interesting as some of the most boring people I have ever met have been meat eaters, and sanctimonious to boot.

There is an ethical dimension to pretty much all human activity, including our food.

I'm vegetarian and have been since 1985 - I made that choice not because I believe that eating animals is wrong, per se, but because the conditions in which most animals 'live' to supply society's gargantuan appetite for cheap meat is so appalling I could no longer be part of it. Also, it's such an inefficient method of turning sunlight into human food when so many more people can be fed directly from plants instead of via conversion to flesh. Finally, every other animal (AFAIK) that eats another animal kills it itself - I suspect that few, if any, meat eaters here do that!

Saying that we've always eaten meat etc. etc. ignores the fact that there is no way on earth (literally) to support 6.5 billion people eating meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner as we seem to regard as 'our right' to do. Our ancestors, even 150 years ago, would have regarded meat as a treat to be savoured not something to be eaten all day every day.

  • 74.
  • At 12:02 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • VeganIan wrote:

Non-Dairy substitutes - We know they are suitable alternatives, because the Vegan Ministry test them out on those brought in for questioning by the Vegan Police.
Also the Corps of Stealth Vegans are out there promoting vegan food for mass consumption. We watch you, we live among you! VM

The Vegan Cookbook - Alan Wakeman and Gordon Baskerville - Top notch gastronomy

Use vegan batter (Soya milk, Flour, 1tbsp Soya flour instead of egg) to make deep-fried aubergine slices.

  • 75.
  • At 01:10 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Peter Clarke wrote:

That Butternut squash recipe (and most of those posted in reply) are hardly "ethical".

Butternut squash, Brazil nuts, rice? I doubt you will easily find those sourced in UK, the air miles will be enormous, and you'll struggle to get them even "fair-trade".

And thank goodness the saffron is optional - its so intensive to produce that you've exploited dozens of people just for that pinch!

It just goes to show that while you can "pick & choose" from ethical ideas, being completely ethical is much harder - why didn't your friend give you the recipes electronically rather than printing them out and putting them in a binder?

Lets see you try your vegitarianism for a month only using food you can source locally - now that would be a true challenge.

  • 76.
  • At 01:39 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Ellie B. wrote:

I have a jar of ghee,and it says it is vegan, thank you very much. I don't know where they got that idea, seeing as vegans aren't supposed to eat/wear anything from an animal, some even take it as far as insects. (What is the deal with not eating honey?) The point is, the jar of ghee says that ghee is vegan. And I am more likely to believe the jar than those picky eaters out there. I've had friends who were vegan, and that didn't last long - the main thing that drove them away were the vegans themselves. It's mostly a ploy for attention, started by more obnoxious attention-getters, like PETA. I agree with not wearing leather, or fur. The fur industry has severely damaged the environment globally, and it's just not good to the animal. But not wearing WOOL!? Have any of these people SEEN a domestic sheep? If I were a sheep, trust me, I'd WANT that wool off, come summer. Many of these sheep are 'trained', and not frightened at all by the sheering process. At any rate, they become accustomed to it, and it's MUCH better and healthier for the sheep. And if any vegan wants to get into a big hullabaloo about domesticated animals, well, it's plain ol' evolution. Those animals adapted to humans, as we adapted to them. It's mutualism (commonly called symbiosis). Speaking of domesticated animals, the cow. The cow is controversial - it's the 'methane scourge'. One of the most popular 'environmental' fighting points for vegans/vegetarians. Yeah, a cow produces methane, and it smells. Cow country is not pleasant. But ever wonder what makes that smelly odour every time a human lets one rip? It's the SAME smelly chemical - methane. It would be a FAR better environmental step for you to research your food. Where was it grown, how was it produced, did the people who made it get a living wage? If your food was produced/grown locally, you are in the environmental clear. The average food item you buy travels over 8,000 km? That's a lot of carbon dioxide. If it was produced/grown locally without harmful chemicals, there's your good environmental citizen sticker. If it was farmed by people able to support themselves by harvesting/growing/producing your food, made and grown as close as possible to you, and doesn't use chemicals which damage the environment and endanger vital species? Then WOW, do I complement you. But if you go and whine about how poisonous meat is, and how sheep need to be let free, and no one should eat honey because it's mean to the bees and overall destroys the planet? Come on, get real people.

And in regards to the last post, yes, people CAN eat meat raw, without getting sick. It's called SUSHI, or sashimi (without rice). While sushi is generally considered to be fish, there are dishes served with raw beef. I have yet to hear of raw chicken or pork, but I believe that those meats MUST be cooked. Beef and fish on the other hand, are able to be eaten raw. And since #73 is so hyped on evolution, here's something for them to chew on. Our closest relatives, chimps, bonobos, orangutans, baboons, etc.? They use tools. Rocks, sticks, anything that will work. We just have some more gadgets to our namesake. They also eat meat when they can catch it - baboons are quite the specialized ape. I will allow that we probably do overeat the meat - our canine size can attest to that, but neither are our molars or the rest of our teeth shaped to say that we are specialised to consume ONLY plant matter. We are, as evolutionary sense would point out, opportunistic eaters. We eat what we can get, when we can get it, in the broadest sense possible.

You can argue your facts, say our teeth say one thing, our bones say another, our digestive system, brain function, eyes, ears, abilities, endurance, evolution can say a multitude of things about humans as a species. But none of it matters unless you have your facts right, and the fact is, the vegans just don't. They might be righteous, but they aren't right.

  • 77.
  • At 02:36 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Carolyn wrote:

I have many friends who are vegetarian and vegan, and I can understand the different reasons to choose that lifestyle. I also think that organic fruits and vegetables are better for the environment, however, as an animal science major at a university and someone who works on a dairy farm, I do not choose to eat organic animal products. This is because I like to take the best care of animals I can (I don't have children- I have calves!) and I think that sometimes this warrants antibiotics or other medications that are not allowed if I farm organically. I realize many readers are not meat-eaters, so this tid-bit isn't really applicable, but I thought I'd share.

Also, in regards to some of the above comments, I would like to put forth that drinking milk does not cause osteoporosis. The calcium and vitamin D in milk can most certainly be helpful, but most calcium deposition occurs during childhood, so drinking lots of milk in adulthood cannot necessarily reverse a lack of calcium which occurred years earlier.

Milk can also be beneficial in other ways. I read on the BBC News a while back an article about full-fat dairy products improving the respiratory health and reducing athsma rates of children!

  • 78.
  • At 02:43 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Suzanne wrote:

Here is a black bean dish we just had tonight for dinner:

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained.
3/4 large jar of salsa (whatever variety you prefer)
1 tablespoon lime juice (or to taste)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves minced garlic
black pepper and olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a pot. Heat over medium stove, stirring occasionally, until warm. Serve over steamed rice. Yum!

  • 79.
  • At 03:43 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Shar wrote:

I'm having a wee giggle over the handbags being bashed about!

I'm vegan due to allergies, and now on an even more seriously restricted diet (no chocolate WAH!!!) as my new baby has reflux.

So, you'd imagine a vegan mum would be skinny - nope sorry, I've got a good lot of weight to spare if anyone would like some!
And you'd think NO baby could be raised well with a mum who only eats vegan food.... he's 2.5 mths old, and is the size and weight of a six month old already (and only 8.5lbs born too).
So.. it can't be that unhealthy eh? Maybe we are designed to eat meat, but I'm allergic to it, so I'm obviously not designed to eat it, and I have the best iron stores my midwife has seen in ages. So I am sure you will neither starve, or suffer any ill effects from eating vegan.

But I digress, my current favourite food is a variation on hummus.

Put some chickpeas in a pot, cover with boiling water to twice their depth, go away and forget about them for at least an hour.
Drain, rinse, cover with more boiling water to twice their depth, bring to boil, reduce to low simmer, go away, and forget about them for a few hours. (They should smush easily when pressed with a fork)
(alternatively cook them in a slowcooker for around 4 hours)

Drain, throw in salt and oil and any other flavourings you like, and wizz well - spread on crusty bread with lettuce and tomato.

  • 80.
  • At 03:49 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Dylan wrote:

Good luck with the vegan trial. My advice is to get yourself a rice cooker (if you haven't one already). Then every time you cook rice add lentils at a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1. Use the classic red lentils with the white rices like Basmati and Jasmine and use the Puy lentils, sometimes called French Lentils, with brown rice. If you don't mind a bit of crunch, Red Matilda or "Black" lentils can be cooked with Brown rice.

This simple Pilaf can be used with any curry, stew or salad and is also robust enough, esp the brown rice version, to provide the base for a full blown pilaf with whatever nuts, fruit, vegies and spices you desire.

With the right care it can also form the basis of a fine risotto, though the purists will revolt.


  • 81.
  • At 04:06 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Rachael wrote:

Good on you for having a go. My family went vegetarian / vegan for a large part of my childhood. While it took some getting used to, there are some really nice recipes out there! You just have to remain open-minded...

(Hint: ignore those who are saying things along the line of "revolting things with tofu" and "horribly lentil stew thing that no sane person would eat"... There are two recipes that I still cook now -- in my meat-eating flat -- and they rely on these so-called foul things...)

Check out Alison Holst (and son) "Meals without Meat"... Yum!

  • 82.
  • At 07:09 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Gaia wrote:

A Recipe and a thought...



1 meduim eggplant
1/2 onion (red, yellow, white)
2+ cloves garlic
3/4 cup rice (cooked) white or brown
3/4 cup assorted veggies (corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, peppers, whatever)
1/4 cup asssorted nuts coarsely chopped and roasted
olive oil
seasoning to taste
(this can go in almost any direction...)


Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and hollow out the flesh from the skin keeping ~1/8- 1/4 inch intact. Press the eggplant flesh lightly salted between layers of paper towels while prepping other items. Very finely chop the onion and garlic, and lightly sautee in olive oil. Add the veggies, and sautee until tender. Remove the pan from heat while you dice the eggplant,, and add this to the pan and continue cooking until tender. Season to taste. Remove mix to a large bowl, and add the nuts and rice, and stir together. Divide the mix between the two shells, and bake @ 250 degrees for 20-25 min until warm through.

Seasoning Variations:

cumin, corriander, parsley

tomatoes, basil, oregano

Use your imagination. Vegitarians can add cheese to match the seasoning... Yum... Cheese

Now the thought...
I think that the debate over the ethics of what we consume is a mark of the ease and luxury of our lives. In my personal experience when one is well off, and has choices to make one considers the ethics of what one eats. When one is hungry, one simply eats.

  • 83.
  • At 09:04 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Warren Alexander wrote:

There is no such thing as vegan, or for that matter vegetarian "cuisine". It is nothing more than a punishment diet.

  • 84.
  • At 09:29 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Ky wrote:

I was vegan for a while too and still sometimes make this one. It's especially nice with plain pearl-grain rice that's been flavoured with fenugreek.


1 Kg potatoes
Tube of tomato puree
2 Cloves garlic
1 Red onion
Chilli powder
Fennel seeds
Fresh Coriander leaf
Toasted sesame oil

Cut the potatoes into 1" cubes.
Bring a pan of water to a fast rolling boil.
Drop the potatoes into the water and leave for 8-10 minutes, so that the cubes become fluffy on the outside but remain relatively firm.
Once they're done - drain to dry.

Chop the onion and the garlic finely.

Grind the fennel seeds and mix with a tablespoon of the chilli powder.

Bring a wok or tampa up to heat so that it smokes without any oil in.
Add roughly 4 tablespoons of the oil.
Add the potatoes and keep them moving.

Squeeze the tube of tomato puree into a bowl with about 50ml of water, add and mix the chilli and ground fennel seeds.

When most of the edges of the potatoes are browning, add the chopped onion and garlic to the wok/tampa.

Chop the coriander leaf finely.

As soon as the onion and garlic show signs of toasting, add the spiced tomato puree.

Turn the heat down and keep the mixture moving.

Add the chopped coriander leaf and serve.

Que approveche.

  • 85.
  • At 09:39 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Dan wrote:

* Warren Alexander wrote:

There is no such thing as vegan, or for that matter vegetarian "cuisine". It is nothing more than a punishment diet."

I can assure you that vegetarian food contains many more subtleties of taste and texture than you're average meat-eating diet. I was a meat-eater for 23 years and have been vegetarian for the last 5, I'm much healthier now, and have a far better developed sense of taste than before. You've clearly never had properly prepared veggie food!

  • 86.
  • At 09:49 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • FoodGloriousFood wrote:

Reading all these posts makes me want to go and fry up a nice rare ribeye steak... seriously, some people prefer meat, some vegetables. I eat far more meat than veg, I'm tall, slim and healthy, my Body Mass Index is 20 (just right), I have two healthy children and an active life, plus I'm rarely ill. I think some people are just better able to cope with a meat-rich diet than others. So no apologies from me for continuing to do what works for me, and if that sounds selfish, well are you going to change your life to make mine better?

  • 87.
  • At 09:51 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Re. the soya food miles issue. It's already been pointed out that much of the world's grain production goes to feed livestock. Around 80-90% of the world's soya production goes to feed livestock. In the UK, much of this has to be imported. It's a complete fallacy that cows are just raised on grazing land that is fit for nothing else - if a fallacy that the meat industry would have you believe.

I'm going to continue to eat my soya as a primary food. Any biologist will tell you that eating further down the food chain is more efficient.

A vegan consumes around 100kg of grain a year. A meat eater consumes around 300 kg of grain a year. Perhaps Justin would like to see how many vegans could be fed on the amount of grain the UK feeds to livestock every year. (Hint: the figures can be found on the National Statistics web site!)

Now, I know this is a bit disingenuous, as much of the world's starvation comes not from a lack of food in the world, but from bad distribution, but it might make a useful point.

Having been happily vegan for around 14 years, I can assure you that it's not a punshiment diet. I eat a lot of Indian cuisine, and haven't repeated a meal in weeks, if not months. And I don't fart nearly as much as a cow!

  • 88.
  • At 09:51 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • David McG wrote:

Whilst I have my own opinions on the ethicality of veganism (being a rampant omnivore), there are some very easy and tasty vegan recipies.

The simplest I know is pea soup

1kg bag frozen peas
1L veg stock
Season to taste

bring to the boil and simmer together for 5 mins, blitz in a blender.

Vegans can add soy milk, veggies can add cream.

Et voila, very tasty pea soup

  • 89.
  • At 09:54 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Anthony wrote:

I think the best thing to do for people who don't eat meat and animal products is to return them evolutionarily to where all humans would be if we hadn't...

Since we're predators our eyes are on the front of our head so those that reject meat should have their's moved to the side to let them spot predators as they graze.

Also meat protein is the reason that ourt brains have grown to the size and complexity that they are. Hence why dolphins, dogs, cats and humans are cleverer than cows, sheep and chickens...

So if you want to be truly ethical you should lobotomise yourself to remove all the advantages that your ansestors gave you by eating meat.

Just a thought for those who think meat doesn't have it's advantages!

  • 90.
  • At 09:57 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Sion Hughes wrote:

Sprouts make me laugh. Chefs keep coming up with weird and wonderful recipes for the blasted things, all of which seem designed to disguise the fact that there is a sprout at the core of it all.
All this 'caramelised sprouts in a cranberry jus with grated parmesan' nonsense just confirms that they are nothing more than fun-size cabbages and not fit for human consumption.
If they were any good we'd eat them plain.

  • 91.
  • At 10:01 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

I agree that most meat eating is unethical. The mass produced, antibiotic-stuffed flesh churned out by fast food joints is just plain wrong. But a content animal treated with respect during its life, killed humanely and cooked properly using every part of its body for food, stock, hide, fertiliser, etc. is a perfectly ethical thing to do. If you use an animal, you owe it that respect. Too many people forget that their meat was once an animal.

As to the "carnivores killing their own meat" arguement, how many vegans grow their own soya/rice/lentils?

Remember he's trying to be ethical man, not healthy or happy, or even sensible man.

Best of luck Justin.

  • 92.
  • At 10:10 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Kekouan wrote:

"ALL alcoholic drink is

Sorry, not so. Most wine is filtered through bit of animals after fermentaion (bones, bits of fish, etc)

and before you say I'm wrong, lookie here.

oh, I'm not veggie or vegan, I just know my stuff ;)

  • 93.
  • At 10:11 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Earthmother wrote:

Have any of you saying eating meat is ethical seen how the animals are kept and slaughtered?
I am a vegan and it is because I object to the way the animals are intensively farmed, they live in terrible conditions and the slaughter conditions are horrific.
Have you seen what happens in the dairy industry? I suggest you check out all about how we get our meat these days.

  • 94.
  • At 10:25 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Rhona wrote:


There is a recipe in Jane Sen's book (More Healing Foods) for brussel sprouts with lime and pine nuts which is gorgeous. Iam not a total veggie or even vegan but I can quite cheerfully eat the foods in that book forever.

If you are thinking about going vegan for a while I would really recommend buying a copy to give you inspiration for incredibly tasty food.


  • 95.
  • At 10:42 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Cat Hutchinson wrote:

Congrats on going Vegan for a week
I've been Vegetarian now for 7 years.
(i'm 19) A lot of people make points that its 'unnatural' and 'unhealthy' but as long as you get the right mixture of things and take mulit vitamins to replace anything your definatly missing then you'll be alrite.
I dont have any Vegan recipies to post i just have lots of good wishes and good luck to wish you.

  • 96.
  • At 10:46 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Brad Cordell wrote:

Refreshing to hear so many varied opinions, even if some of them are quite poorly founded.

Surely the most ethical diet would be one which is 'sustainably' produced?

I am vegetarian only because it is next to impossible to source meat that has been reared locally and cruelty free. I would eat meat if I could raise and kill it myself and know that no suffering has been involved in it's production.

To those bashing vegans - a dairy cow statistic for you - the amount of milk produced per cow per day is now around 8 times greater than in the 1940s.

Thats thanks to the steroids, chemically 'enhanced' feed and keeping them from 'wasting' energy by stopping them moving.

And at any one moment two in five dairy cows are medically lame, not to mention the number of production diseases as they are so called.

  • 97.
  • At 10:49 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Nik wrote:

A short question on the methane thing and cows.

Wild ungulates (buffalo, bison, deer, wildebeeste, etc) also produce methane. Before the advent of the white man the USA had 60 000 000 bison. Why is the wild beasts' methane not bad for the greenhouse effect? Do domestic animals produce a different kind of methane?


  • 98.
  • At 10:54 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Rhona wrote:

(I'm not the same Rhona as above btw!)

Easiest vegan recipe I know (I'm not vegan but lactose intollerant so eat alot of vegan recipes as I know there will be no hidden whey etc):-

Roasted veggies with couscous & harissa dressing:-

Chop up red & green peppers, 1 sweet potato, onion, butternut squash, and trow into an oven tray with lashings of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper and cook for about 1 hour.
Put half a cup of couscous into a bowl. Mix about 150mls of boiling water with a veg stock cub and a pinch of saffron and pour over the couscous, cover with a plate and leave for 5 mins, then stir with a fork.
To make the dressing, mix in an empty jar with a lid a tablespoon of honey, a tbsp harissa paste, a clove of garlic and chopped mint. Give it a good shake.
To serve, dish out the couscous into bowls, put veggies on top, sprinkle with a few chopped peanuts or almonds and drizzle the dressing over the top.

  • 99.
  • At 10:55 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Rosina wrote:

I have read all these post and am confused. It is said that cows contribute to the greenhouse effect by the methane they give off. If the Vegan’s are saying that by not eating meat we are cutting down on the need for grazing animals to eat, the methane production will decrease. What will become of these animals? The nature of our society is that if it has no function or use it is undesirable therefore eliminated. Are these people advocating the elimination of domestic grazing animals because they are undesirable?
Surely this would be the same for any herbivore. As it is what they eat and the way they digest it that produces the methane. Carrying this thought on, then all the grazing animals of the world from Koala’s to Cariboo, Panda’s to Buffalo produce methane. Should they also be eliminated as undesirable and harmful to the ozone layer? I think the conversationalists would then have something to say.
I am also confused by one post that said to but food from farms that do not use animal manure. I am no scientist but I always thought that grazing animal manure was best because it contains mostly undigested grass and natural nutrients that the animal doesn’t want. Therefore making it basically chopped greens. That would make it organic I would have thought.
The questions about leather and glue also comes into my thought process but they are by-products of animals so if they were all gone there would be not by-product so that’s the end of that question.
Somebody mentioned ‘bees and honey’ as being non-vegan. I do not understand either. Bees make the honey to line the hive. When the hive is full they swarm to make a new one. (I might be simplifying it). Beekeepers collect the honey to keep the swarm in the hive. The fruit and agriculture farmers need the bees to pollinate the crops. If the bees swarmed off they would and could go miles away and build a new hive in a loft garage/shed anywhere. Then the pest controller comes along and kills them because the house owner doesn’t want them. I love honey in fact I buy it from my village hive.
I do not argue anybodies right to do as they want. As a smoker and a driver I am picked on by enough people to know that everybody has a right to their own opinions. That is the whole point everybody is an individual and a mind of their own. Their way of life may not be the same as the person next door but both parties’ have a way of living that is right for them. I have an allergy to tomatoes, my mother in law grows them but she never forces them on to me and I don’t tell her not to grow them. Why should other views and way of behaving be pushed at people?
There is enough bigotry in the world. If I feel strongly about anything I ask questions and find out the facts before making my decision. Perhaps that what these posts are doing answering questions but they sound more like preaching.
One last thought when I eat sprouts (sprout ‘tops’ used to be the green leaves.) or beans I produce methane. Makes me scared for my future…… am I undesirable… families noses say ‘yes’.

  • 100.
  • At 10:57 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Sue wrote:

A month going vegan is probably not a bad thing, but I would not recommend it as a long-term lifestyle. Studies have shown that vegans hold up, bone density-wise, until their 60s, and then bone density drops off precipitously compared to either vegetarians or omnivores. Basically, whatever they're ingesting to replace calcium just doesn't work as well as milk.
The anti-dairy lobby spreads a lot of disinformation and downright fables about milk (10m globules of pus per glass and so forth - what utter tosh!). Dairy products are some of the most healthy things you can ingest, bar none. Personally, I will never give up cheese!

  • 101.
  • At 11:27 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Nicole Jacob wrote:

You've had so many posts I'm keeping my recipe suggestion simple. It's also cheap, delicious and can be enjoyed by fanatics of all kinds...

Apple crumble
6oz flour
3oz fat (it's easy to get hold of vegan alternatives to butter)
2oz sugar (demerara is tasty and if you want to be especially smug you can buy fairtrade)
6 or 7 granny smith type apples

Peel, core and slice the apples into an ovenproof dish. Add the fat as blobs to the flour and rub together to make crumblike. Stir in the sugar and put mixture on top of the apples. Bake in a medium hot oven for 30-45mins, until the apples are as cooked as you want them. For variations use different fruit, add oats or ginger or cinnamon to the topping.
You probably won't have any trouble being vegan at home but good luck with eating out, especially trying to find vegan sandwiches.

  • 102.
  • At 11:32 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Mary wrote:

If my boss made me eat sprouts, I think I'd be looking for a new job.

  • 103.
  • At 11:38 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

Will you please carefully investigate and document exactly how you:

1) get sufficient calcium

2) get sufficient vitamin B12

Both the vegan society and the vegetarian society state "The current nutritional consensus is that no plant foods can be relied on as a safe source of vitamin B12."

It is, of course, perfectly satisfactory to use supplements to get the necessary.

Please note that the way the majority of the world's vegans eat sufficient B12 is documented on the Vegetarian Society; but be warned that some will find it unpleasant.

  • 104.
  • At 11:42 AM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Jed wrote:

Re: Message 6 .
I thought Quorn contained egg so wouldn't be considered Vegan .

Hey, who said you cant have cheese?

Try vegan cheese, its available from all good (and some bad) health food shops.

Redwoods are probably the best.

Anything meat and dairy you can get vegan versions for these days...

I would wish you luck, but going vegan is a piece of vegan cake.

Merry Xmas!


  • 106.
  • At 12:05 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Jules wrote:

My favourite vegan recipes are as follows
I haven't included temperatures, times or amounts because it depends on how many you are cooking for, what you like and how well cooked you like it, but you get the idea.

Roast some Butternut squash, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion and garlic with plenty of olive oil in the oven until soft and slightly caramelised. Make up some risotto rice and roughly mash the vegetables and stir them in, adding black pepper, lemon juice and perhaps some soy sauce to taste.

Or fry onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, add a tin of tomatoes, and reduce down until the mixture is thickened slightly, stir in cooked long grain rice and some roasted pine nuts at a proportion that suits you and stuff this mixture into peppers, reserving a little of the mixture for later - taking the tops off the peppers and taking out the seeds holds in more moisture than slicing sideways. Place the peppers upright in a dish or pan, seal the tops with tomato puree and some dried herbs. Add some water, or better still wine to the left over mixture, making a thick soup and pour around the peppers. Cover the dish and cook in the oven until the peppers are just soft. Use the reduced and now very strong sauce in the bottom of the dish as a ketchup.

Yes these ingredients will clock up some air miles, and no I'm not a veggie or vegan but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a break from meat or fish once in a while. From a personal point of view if you really want to reduce the amount of miles food travels, know exactly where it comes from, what it is grown in and ensure it tastes and does you good then grow it yourself, then when you do dip into food that has travelled miles you can feel you have done your bit.

Sorry to add more but for a start somebody suggested that Chickens are vegetarian, which they are not. Protein is added to chicken food in the form of soya which replaces the protein that chickens would more naturally get in the wild from bugs, grubs, slugs, snails and worms - they have even been known to eat mice. The 'Natural' vegetarian diet is nothing more than one that is enfoced on the chicken by humans who think they know best, or try to compensate for less than ideal conditions, and that includes free range flocks on pasture, chickens ideally need a bit of woodland for the insects. I do grow 80% of my own veg. and fruit, keep chickens, go fishing and will happily eat a rabbit or pigeon that strays within my sights and particularly my veg. patch. Probably the ultimate crime of mine is that I use a 4x4, but then I couldn't get out of our drive if I didn't.

  • 107.
  • At 12:08 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Morag Friel wrote:

As someone who tries (and fails daily) to live more sustainably I am often struck by the accusation of being 'sanctimonious' or 'self righteous' levelled at anyone who declares themselves to be vegetarian/vegan or who promotes a possible solution to ethical or environmental issues. The most 'self righteous' and 'sanctimonious' seem to me to be those self appointed defenders of the status quo who lambaste anyone who sticks their head above the parapet. Yes I know I am part of the problem too and no, I don't have the one perfect answer, but I am making a conscious effort to lighten my jackboot print on the earth. Before you heap vitriol on others ask yourself this; what will you tell your grandchildren when they ask what you did to try and stave off the environmental mess they inherited?

Ps Check out the link below for a recent report from the UN FAO which says that livestock are responsible for more CO2 output than transport.

  • 108.
  • At 12:08 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Lizzie wrote:

I saw the most amazing mug on Friday, it said 'Vegans are attention seekers' on the front and had a whole rant about kitten blood and bacon on the back. I have been vegan for three years before anyone gets offended :) I may be easily amused.

hum, I make some, probably remarkably unhealthy, vegan 'cheesecake' by crushing some biscuits, mixing them with melted marg, putting that in the bottom of a cake tin, stick that in the fridge. get out some soya replacement cream cheese (Tofutti stuff from the health food shop) and some nice dark vegan chocolate (or vegan jelly crystals) mix up melted chocolate (or jelly crystals in minimum amount of water for them to dissolve) and mix in the Tofutti. Chuck that on top of the biscuit base, chill (it should set pretty quickly)

its probably bad for the environment, all that pre-packaged processed-ness, its most likely bad for your waistline, but it don't half taste good. - good luck with going vegan I can imagine that if its not something you are compelled to do it may be hard.

  • 109.
  • At 12:20 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Tim wrote:

As a vegan myself, i know that being vegan at home is pretty easy, and cooking tasty meals is no different to cooking any meal (just leave out the dead animals) however, what do you take as a packed lunch? Sandwhich fillings require a little creativity when the cheese and pickle option is a "no-no". So how about this:

Nice thick granary bread, sliced avocado, softened sun dried tomatos, lots of pine nuts, fresh basil, vegan mayo (available from most health shops and indeed some major supermarkets) and some nice salad leaves. If you do this at home, try lightly toasting the bread, or using ciabatta drizzled with olive oil and lightly toasted. If your taking this out with you, a light drizzle of lime juice on the avocado (before you put it in the sandwhich) will stop it discolouring on warm days. It's fine either way though.

Very yum indeed! Happy eating.

  • 110.
  • At 12:23 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Pauline wrote:

Dairy products give me eczema so I have stopped using anything made with milk. I soon got used to black tea and coffee but I cannot stand the taste of the dairy free spreads available in the shops and I found that, without fat, I did not enjoy my favourite snack of thick Marmite on toast. I have now discovered that neutral tasting coconut oil works perfectly with Marmite and every other topping I have tried on my toast. It is expensive though.

  • 111.
  • At 12:45 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Jonathan Shields wrote:

As a committed and thoroughly unrepentant meat eater I must object to the implication that anyone not eating a meat free diet is "unethical."

I simply do not share the same system of ethics as vegans (i.e the one that places the rights of animals
higher than those of people....)

If you dont want to eat meat then by all means dont but dont try and say that part of the solution to global warming is a vegan diet. We should try and reduce the number of livestock miles of course but to argue that we must all become vegans is a crass attempt to convert others to the warped belief system of a small minority.

  • 112.
  • At 12:58 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Bird wrote:

I have been vegetarian for 22 years, I'm EXTREMELY healthy and fit. My husband on the other hand is a carnivore and also EXTREMELY healthy and fit.


I do cook meat for my husband, I try and purchase locally produced meat (less transportation) I get to know the farmers - ask them about their animals, they will be happy to tell you.

I also only give him meat once a day at the most. The reason why environmentalists say there is too much methane, too many animals etc etc, is that humans consume TOO MUCH meat. In the past humans may have eaten meat once a day, they may have eaten it once a week but certainly not for every meal.

My husband loves my veggie meals because I use herbs (grown in my own garden) to liven dishes up....although if you use fresh locally grown veggies they have plenty more flavour than the supermarket ones that were picked too early and transported from god knows where.

I won't eat meat, I don't think my digestive system would accept meat any more and would probably make me ill.

I do not force my beliefs on anyone, but as a vegetarian I would like meat eaters to stop giving me their opinion too, it's MY CHOICE as meat eating is yours.

By the way, if you think vegans are unhealthy, take a look at this website:

It IS possible to be a vegan and healthy, you just need to educate yourself.

  • 113.
  • At 01:23 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

RE. the question of calcium and B12.

Calcium is present in more than adequate quantities in plant foods. Leafy greens are a god bet (you don't have to stick to Brussels sprouts, though - try all the ones in the market, or hit the Indian grocers and stock up on fenugreek leaf and coriander!) In fact, as a result of good vegan diets not containing excessive protein (which strips calcium from bones) calcium-related diseases such as osteoporosis are less common among vegans than among non-vegans (including vegetarians - the problem being the excess protein in milk).

Most westerners eat up to 50% too much protein as a proportion of energy gained from food. Vegan protein intakes are closer to the theoretical ideal. Again, there are studies showing lower incidence of several protein-related diseases among vegans (excessive protein damages the kidneys, for a start). To bring this back to ethics, a vegan diet of course leads to lower pressure on the health services.

Calcium is also found in tofu, but don't eat it plain - marinade it, fry it, saute it, look for dried beancurd in the Chinese grocers. Plain beancurd is awful.

The references are kicking about upstairs somewhere if Justin wants them.

On B12, this is slightly more complicated. B12 is not made by animals. If it was, we wouldn't have a need for it in our diet, because we'd make it ourselves in our own bodies. In fact, it's denatured by overheating, but if you'd prefer to continue to eat raw meat, that is of course up to you. B12 is made by yeast and some bacteria. Until we "developed" our over-hygienic kitchens humans probably got a lot of B12 from eating bacteria directly. Non-western humans probably still do.

So, you can get your B12 from eating undercooked, half-rotten meat, often infected by faeces from the slaughterhouse or by eating such foods as yeast extract. Other supplements are wholly unnecessary if you get a varied, balanced vegan diet.

My GP, on finding I was vegan, commented that he didn't expect to have to refer me to hospital for heart disease.

But remember, we're turning from ethics to practicalities. Hopefully it's an ethical move to ensure that a new vegan gets a healthy, balanced diet. I can see Justin reading a lot of ingredient labels, but remember it gets easier once you get the hang of it.

Oh, Redwood does not make the best vegan cheese substitute. The best comes from Scheese, a company based on the Isle of Bute. In my less than humble opinion, of course.

  • 114.
  • At 01:27 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Here's a high calcium, high iron meal for all the family:

This is my vegan version of a classic Punjabi dish, METHI MUTTER MALAI. I made this last week. It's a rich, creamy, delicately spiced dish, loaded with iron and magnesium, and tastes really good! You need your wits about you if you're also cooking roti, but it's worth it.

Methi is fenugreek, in this case fenugreek leaf. It can be found in Indian grocers. You need about 350 gms for this recipe (one bunch from my Indian grocer).

Strip the tender leaves and smaller stems from the tougher stems of the fenugreek leaf. Discard the tougher stems. Wash and salt the leaves, keep aside for 15 min and then squeeze out the water. (If you don't do this, it's slightly bitter.)

Puree four tomatoes and keep aside.

Saute one onion (the original recipe does not call for it to be sauteed, but I'm not keen on boiled onion!) and grind to a paste with a green chilli, a 25mm (1 inch) chunk of ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp cashews and 2 tsp poppy seeds. I used a blender, but you might find you need a little bit of water. Keep aside.

Lightly roast 2 small sticks of cinnamon, 4 cloves, 2 green cardamoms, 8 peppercorns and 1 tsp cumin seeds. Grind to a powder.

Boil a couple of hundred grams of green peas (mutter, in Hindi) (I used frozen ones as fresh peas are hard to find at this time of year, and usually are imported from half way round the planet!). Strain. Keep aside.

Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the methi leaves and cook gently for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, add 1 tbsp mustard oil and saute 1 medium onion until brown . Add the onion paste and saute for a minute. Add the tomato puree and the dry masala and saute over a moderate heat until the oil leaves the mixure and the mixture starts to leave the side of the pan.

Add the peas, the fenugreek leaves, 200ml soya milk, a pinch of brown sugar and a little salt (to taste) and cook for a few minutes.

There's no real secret to making good roti, but I have learned a few tricks, so mine are getting better - slowly.

The first thing you need is the right flour. Rotis and other Indian breads are mostly made with a high-gluten wheat. A friend and I did once try to make them using a mix of plain and strong bread flour, but it wasn't a success. Look for brown (synonymous with wholemeal, for once!) chapatti flour, sometimes simply called atta.

Slowly mix flour with water to produce a dry dough. You can add a bit of salt as well, but I usually don't. Knead the dough until when you press it, the dough springs out slightly. This means you have stretched the gluten.

Cover and leave aside for 30 minutes.

Knead a bit more while heating a steel or cast iron tava or a heavy-bottomed non-nonstick frying pan. Divide the dough and roll into balls, then flatten slightly with your fingertips to make a round about half a centimeter thick. Dip in flour and roll out with a rolling pin (Indian kitchens actually contain a round rolling board for this purpose). If you know what you're doing you can get the roti to rotate as you roll it, but I still can't do this.

Stretch the rolled roti with your fingertips as far as possible without tearing it. Toss onto the hot tava and start to cook while you prepare the next roti. Once the roti is starting to turn brown, flip it over and cook it on the other side.

Most tavas are slightly concave, and are designed for use originally on an open fire, but they do well on gas. Electrical hobs like the one I have are less successful. A Punjabi friend in Glasgow taught me a trick to deal with this. You move the edge of the roti towards the edge of the pan and press down firmly on the edge that's now in the middle of the tava with a damp cloth (I use a teacloth) until the edge cooks properly. Move the edge of the roti round so the edges all cook properly, turning it over again if you have to.

A good roti has no burned patches, but puffs up in places (better yet, the whole roti puffs up, but I've only ever seen this once or twice, so don't expect to get it right the first time). If you have gas or are cooking on a campfire you can briefly hold the roti over an open flame to get it to puff up.


This is a Gujarati recipe, tweaked slightly to reduce the heat, but you can add more chilli if you like. It's vegan in the original.

75gms Chana Dal
75gms toovar dal
75gms green mung dal (all these can be found in the Indian grocers)
1 tsp cumin seed
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 chilli (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 onion (chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped) (or to taste)
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tomato (chopped)
1/2 tsp turmeric
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbsp mustard oil
Fresh coriander to garnish.

Wash and cook the dals together. I use a pressure cooker (one whistle).

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin, cloves, bay, chilli and hing. Fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until the onion starts to brown.

Add the tomato and turmeric and stir well, cooking until the oil separates from the mix and it starts to separate from the side of the pan.

Add the dals and 250ml of water.

Add the lemon juice and salt and simmer for 10 min. Serve garnished with the chopped coriander.

It can be made up an hour or two in advance, or even the previous night, and reheated. Actually, I think it tastes better like that.

Sprouts. Pah!

  • 115.
  • At 01:32 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Victoria wrote:

Will you not be making the world worse by producing more C02 from all those beans?

  • 116.
  • At 01:34 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Reefer wrote:

Favourite vegan recipe

Take one small vegan
Drop into vat of salted, simmering water.
Serve with a light salad

  • 117.
  • At 01:39 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Arianna wrote:

I am a vegetarian (almost vegan by accident as dairy is not very good for me) and absolutely love sprouts... I find them very tasty and versatile and good as either side or main dish--curry with lentils is one of my favourites!
As regards your challenge, I can safely say--fear not!! If you put some attention in your food selection and preparation you will enjoy your new diet!!

  • 118.
  • At 02:00 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:


Yes, I do worry about the CO2 (and, more pertinently, the methane). I balance this by thinking about the amount of methane that livestock, especially cows, produce.

Actually, my biggest worry is the imported beans and spices and airfreighted fenugreek leaf.

  • 119.
  • At 02:01 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Demiveg wrote:

A very interesting debate, I have enjoyed reading everyone's point of view.

Here's a hint for tofu - the 'silken' or plain tofu you buy in the chiller cabinet. I always find it a bit slimy texture-wise, but if you freeze it and then defrost it, it becomes spongy and more chewy.

Good luck!

I've been veggie since 1980 and am leaning towards veganism as I find the food so tasty.

I don't think you'll have any problem being a vegan - except when you eat out. Most restaurants can't even cater for vegetarians properly, never mind vegans.

Good luck with your experiment. I would recommend an on-line purchase from Redwoods and stock up with Pure (butter sub), Swedish Glace (ice cream)and Marigold vegan stock powder. Easy peasy.

  • 121.
  • At 02:43 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Rosamund Raha wrote:

Just add a glug of tamari soya sause to any vegan recipe, I guarantee it makes everything delicious. Otherwise use yeast extract.

  • 122.
  • At 03:01 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Reefer's recipe (117) is a good one. It's well known that vegans taste better.

Can I say that on the BBC web site?

Debbie: I suspect Justin lives in London. London is infested with vegan-friendly resaurants:

  • 123.
  • At 03:05 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Jane wrote:

I’ve been vegan for nearly 10 years and don’t find it a problem at all. I think it’s great that you’re going to give being vegan a go - hopefully you'll be surprised at what good food you can eat! The environmental impact of food in generaly is huge, (have a look at the SEEDA footprinting report - - which shows that 25% of our footprint comes from food). Going vegan is one way to help reduce your impact (combined with buying local, organic food where possible!)

I think that the point a lot of the other commentators are missing is that although it can be considered “natural” to eat meat, we were never designed to consume the huge quantities of meat that is now the norm. This has only been possible as a result of intensive farming. Therefore I would urge you, after the end of this experiment, if you go back to meat-eating to really try and cut down on your meat consumption, and only eat organically reared meat.

On that note – here’s a really tasty quick and easy vegan recipe.
1 tin of chickpeas
1 tbsp oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 inch piece root ginger (grated)
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 fresh tomato (chopped or 1 small tin of tomatoes)
a pinch of garam masala
lump of creamed coconut

1. Heat a deep saucepan or a medium sized wok and add the oil followed by the onions and garlic.
2. Fry the mixture till the onions are caramelised. Then add the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powders. Mix for a minute and tip in the tomatoes. Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken.
3. Add 1/4 cup of water and tip in the chickpeas and mix. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the ginger, garam masala & cocount. Cook for another minute.
4. Serve with pitta or plain basmati rice, and with popadoms and chutney.

  • 124.
  • At 03:21 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Liz Wyman wrote:

I was vegetarian for 20 years and have been vegan for about 4 months. At home, I have cooked and eaten some of the best food I've ever had since I went vegan.

Most of the recipes I use are from books and subject to copyright - but if I can recommend one book then it would be Amanda Grant "The joy of vegan cookery". It doesn't rely on any substitutes for meat or dairy and is full of easy recipes. It's very easy to cook vegan curries (thai or indian), pasta dishes, soups - it just needs a bit of thought.

For anyone who doesn't think you can get gourmet vegan cuisine, have a look at this restaurant in San Francisco:
We even ate there and didn't realise everything on the menu was vegan!

Regarding nutrition - I'm quite prepared to bet that I get just as much of any essential nutrient as a "normal" omnivore - because I think about my meals and plan them properly to ensure that I do.

I hope you have a good month. If you try and rely on fake products you probably will not (some of them are very good but they do not compare favourably to the real thing, especially cheese). I'm sure that whatever happens you will come out of it with a healthier diet and a number of recipes that you will turn to whatever you decide to eat in the future.

  • 125.
  • At 03:47 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Sam wrote:

As far as Vegan grub goes, I always prefer the ones that don't taste too "healthy". So, here's my take on a dish known affectionately as "Punk Stew". All the nutrients you need in a comfort food shaped bowl, and enough to feed a whole family!

First up, get 8 or so new potatoes, a carrot and some broccoli chopped up and on the boil.

Then, in a big pot, start frying an onion, a courgette, some mushrooms and a pepper.

After about 10 minutes, when your boiling veg should have softened up a bit, add a good amount (about half a bag) of TVP (textured vegetable protein) mince to the boiling pan. The TVP will soak up a lot of the water your veg has been boiling in, taking the nutrients with it so they're not wasted.

Next up, chuck the boiling stuff and a whole tin of baked beans in with the frying stuff and simmer for a while.

To taste, add some gravy granules to soak up the rest of the water, lob in a heaped teaspoon of Marmite (for a beefier taste) and add some chopped nuts for texture. I also tend to give a squeeze of brown sauce and a squeeze of red sauce.

  • 126.
  • At 04:28 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Caroline, Southend, UK wrote:

No doubt vegan food can be terrible, & occassionally bland, but one of the most satisfing things about food is the feel in the mouth - & you have to eat something deliciously oily when you get a major meat craving.

I eat meat now but spend all my teens as vegetarian, & can recommend having a few vegetable samosas in the fridge for moments when you think only a bacon sarnie will do!

Boil a few potatoes, cube down,
Saute in plenty of olive oil with peas, a few peanuts(or cashews or what ever you have)
swede is good too, & add plenty of onion or leek.
generous spoonful of garam masala or curry powder,
Pile on to squares of fine rolled pastry. (Plain flour brought to a paste with olive oil)
Fold in to samosa shapes & deep fry in vegetable oil.
They freeze very well & make an excellent & very satisfying snack, as long as you dont stint on the oil in the filling.

Pasta e Fagioli

Used dried beans if you prefer, but soak them overnight first.

2 cans pulses (any sort: kidney, cannellini, flageolets or haricot)
2 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot or a 1/4 - 1/2 an onion, chopped
1 carton or a can of chopped tomatoes
vegan stock cube or 1 tablespoon of Marigold veg stock powder
1 1/2 cups boiling water
large handful of chopped herbs - oregano, rosemary, marjoran and thyme are nice
200gms small pasta, like Conchigliette (tiny shell pasta)
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, fry the shallot or onion in the olive oil until the onion is soft. Drain about half the water from the beans and add to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and the stock cube and boiling water. Add the chopped herbs and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or more or until the beans are tender. Longer is better as some beans can remain hard. Watch it carefully as the water can easily cook away and you run the risk of burning the soup. Add additional water if required. 15 minutes before the end, add the pasta (and a little more water if necessary). When the pasta is cooked, serve with fresh or grilled polenta. I like to make a double batch of soft polenta to serve the first time, then let it harden and slice and grill it for the next day’s serving. The second day is always the best!

Of course, not being vegetarian myself, I usually make this with pancetta. ;-)

  • 128.
  • At 04:35 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:


TVP?? Please, we're trying to give a good impression here!

  • 129.
  • At 04:36 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Surely we should eat more meat to control the number of cows! To leave the population unchecked would surely lead to an environmental catastrophy.

Unless of course a widespread cull is used and that doesn't sound too ethical does it!!

  • 130.
  • At 04:49 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Paul & Carol Thornton wrote:

Hi Justin,
We have a cookbook full of vegan recipes, prepared for a Green Party meal series by us.
It is a word file and we'd gladly send it to you if we could find somewhere to attach it to!
Our elder daughter is vegan and survives quite happily on the Isle of Man so you don't have to be in the metropolis.

  • 131.
  • At 06:32 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Julie Salter wrote:

If humans are a meat eating species (as one poster has written above) why is it that 99.999% of human beings would find it impossible to chase and catch a wild boar, a sheep, or a rabbit, in a natural landscape (i.e. one without hedges or fences), and would also find it impossible to kill the said animal with their bare teeth and hands, and would also find it abhorrent to rip apart the animal's flesh with their teeth and hands. Why, if 'eating meat is natural', would the majority of people on earth view such a person as a psychopath? What sort of person doesn't find the killing of animals horrible and evil? A psychopath, that's who. That's why eating animal products is unnatural. That's also why those who eat animal products suffer from constipation, which is completely unnatural, and also why they suffer far more from cancer and other illnesses, than vegans. How is it natural for only humans to drink milk after they are out of babyhood, and how is it natural for only humans to drink the milk of another animal? How sick is that?

Vegan food is soooo delicious you will have a great month:)

I'll give you the recipe for what I am eating right now. If I can tear myself away from it for long enough to type this lol.

a cup of basmati rice, washed
a cup and half of water

1 large or 2 small sweet potatos.
a chunk of ginger
cayenne pepper
olive oil

put the rice on to cook in the water
cut up the sweet potatos
place in baking tray
sprinkle lavishly with cayenne pepper
chop the ginger and scatter it over
pour olive oil over the whole lot - be generous
cook for 15 minutes at 200 C
once the rice is cooked pour the sweet potatoes over the rice and enjoy

  • 133.
  • At 08:56 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Einstein didn't eat meat either wrote:

Easiest vegan recipe?

Tin of baked beans - gently heated in pan.

Slice or two of bread - slightly cooked in toaster.

Top one with the other....

Someone mentioned that those on meat-free diets are a small minority. Minority they may be, but it aint small - 3 million people in the UK - that's 1 in 20 people..!

  • 134.
  • At 09:38 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • marion johnson wrote:

We eat organically grown food,we recycle,we use energy efficient light bulbs etc etc.But we do eat meat.My family are on a free from wheat,dairy,eggs,citrus,cocnut,tree nut and peanut diet due to fatal allergic reactions.I would be overwhelmed with delight if someone out there would like to try our diet and lifestyle in order to save human lives.I doubt anyone has the nerve to try.All celeb chefs i lay down thr challenge!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 135.
  • At 09:43 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Shilpa wrote:

leek and potato soup

1 stock cube
1 leek
1 small onion/shallot
some garlic, to taste.
rice milk.
lemon juice
2 potatoes

fry leek, onion, garlic til brown and softened, very slowly. add stock and potatoes. cook til all falls apart. add lemon juice rice milk and cornflour. bring to boil. take off heat and liquidise.

sunflower oil
2 tsp mild curry paste
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
4 tbsp red split lentils
300ml stock
400ml can coconut milk
175g frozen peas

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok, stir in the curry paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes and lentils and stir to coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
Tip in the peas, bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes. Season to taste before serving.

contrary to popular belief organic dairy isn't expolitative, an in fact a truly vegan diet isn't healthy for vast swathes of hte population. 4 amino acids can onlyy be found in annimal products, we need those 4 amino acids. a well reared cow/goat/ewe isn't explotied byuut in favct is well looked after.

  • 136.
  • At 09:44 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Nicola wrote:

"May I point out that your Vegan 'friend' would be dead if she tried to exist only on the vegetables occuring naturally this time of year"'re an idiot if you believe that vegans only eat vegetables.

"Simon wrote:

Surely we should eat more meat to control the number of cows! To leave the population unchecked would surely lead to an environmental catastrophy."

No, it wouldn't. Without the demand for meat, cows wouldn't be artificially inseminated & bred for food.

  • 137.
  • At 10:51 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Graham Miller wrote:

Here's a challenge for Ethical Man. Spend a month eating only food whose provence you know. Make sure you only shop at farmers markets or reputable butchers for your meat, so you can be sure it was raised well before slaughter. Likewise, forage and eat only British produce, again as locally produced as possible. Read a couple of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's books to get the idea...

  • 138.
  • At 11:04 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • DL wrote:


For the rest of the meals; enjoy - quite a few people mange without meat - so try someting new - Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, Singaporean, Thai...Beats rosbeef any day!

  • 139.
  • At 11:16 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • lou lou wrote:

God this debate is all so middle class.

  • 140.
  • At 12:13 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Marcus wrote:

So much ignorance displayed here by those forced (likely for the first time) to consider the implications and ethics of veganism.

Soya production (and all it entails) is for livestock in the main. Humans consume a tiny proportion. Meat production is a wildly inefficient form of nutrition no matter how you attempt to dress it up.

A common guiltily self-defensive attack on display is "There'd be no cows! Would you set them free to die in the wild? Not very ethical!" The whole point is that the cows only exist because of humans in the first place. Thus their fate and impacts all rest in human hands. Unlike say wild buffalo who exist for evolutionary reasons and of course should be left to their own devices.

So the vegan solution to farm animals is simply not breeding any more. It's not a matter releasing them to starve, get run over on motorways or even killing off those cursed, unhealthy, farm-bred genetic lines that have already been brought into existence as stock. Non-existence is no more of a death than the human that never was in an unfertilised ovulation or ejaculation.

Nor would wild living predators be a problem as per veganism. Such weak logic. Lions act on instinct, not making needless damaging choices that they have the ability to be aware of.

In short and in the context of this discussion a vegan diet for all the food mile faults everybody (omnivores included) incur has been proven to be a greater shift ecologically than switching from a combustion engine to a hybrid car:

  • 141.
  • At 01:10 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • John Sut wrote:

What you want at this time of year is a nice shepherds pie. I cooked this for a hard-core vegan once and she loved it. Sadly, I don't see her any more, but I still cook this now and again.

Potatoes - boil 'em and mash 'em (don't put butter in though!)
1 onion (I use red ones)
3 of those great big breakfast mushrooms, sliced
2 cups green peas
a red chilli
3 cloves garlic
some vegan marge
3 small cups red wine
1 tsp. basil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 T balsamic vinegar

Fry onions in a large pan. Lower heat and add garlic and stir for about a minute. Add the margerine and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add wine and 1/2 cup water (or you can use vegetable stock). Stir in tomato paste and simmer for about 15 minutes. The mixture should reduce to a thick constituency. Stir in basil and balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat.

Put in a big oven dish, scoop the mash on top, make a nice smiley face in the mash, then put in the oven at gas mark 4 for 15 mins. Brown under the grill after if need be. Serve it with a salad and more red wine.

This tastes great. There's loads of nice vegan food - meatless curries are generally vegan, try stir fries with marinated tofu, it's not that hard! I'm not vegan, but i try it for a month at a time every year.


Watch our for crawly things in your sprouts and other veg box stuff like broadbeans. I had these broadbeans a while ago and they were all covered in tiny little light brown dots (not very noticeable) - I just thought that they were minor blemishes and nearly cooked them as part of a roast dinner for friends that were coming round. However, at the last minute I cut open one of the dots and to my horror found it contained a live grub! About half of the the dots had these grubs in. The dots must have been the tiny holes that they made when burrowing in before they grew all fat inside. So be vigilant!

Well anyway, I hope that hasn't put you off all these nice recipies :-)

My favourite food is Moutabal (Aubergine Dip) - serve with any flat bread of choice.

2 Aubergines
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil ( a tablespoon is enough)
Tahini (Sesame seed paste)( 1 teaspoon)
Salt to taste

(1)Cut the aubergines in half
(2)Roast under the grill until the flesh is soft and the skin is charred
(3) Sccop out the flesh
(4) Place in blender with garlic, olive oil, tahini & salt to taste
(5) Whizz

That's it!

  • 144.
  • At 08:40 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tony Hart wrote:

"Before you heap vitriol on others ask yourself this; what will you tell your grandchildren when they ask what you did to try and stave off the environmental mess they inherited?"

I'll tell them I followed thier parents round the house, switching off lights & closing doors, & sent them to school on the bus in spite of thier pleading to be driven!

Here are two delicious recipes that have been tried and tested on hundreds of people!

Courgette and Red Pepper Quiche and Carrot Cake

  • 146.
  • At 09:36 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • brendan o'connor wrote:

Since Plastics are made from oil and oil is made from dinosaur are you going to avoid using plastic as this is still using animal products albeit rather old animal product?

  • 147.
  • At 09:38 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Rosamund Raha wrote:


It’s Cruelty-free
Factory-farmed animals have a capacity to form friendships and experience both pleasure and misery. Yet most of these animals are selectively bred for high flesh, milk and egg yield and spend their short lives indoors in cramped, filthy conditions where they cannot move around or perform any of their natural behaviours. A vegan diet ensures that your food is cruelty-free.

It’s Better for the Environment
Humans use much less land and water if they eat crops directly rather than through the intermediary of an animal. This is because farmed animals consume much more protein than they produce: most of the protein from their vegetable feeds is used for the animals’ bodily functions and not converted to meat, eggs or milk. More water and land is therefore needed to grow crops for farmed animals to eat, leading to deforestation, water scarcity, soil erosion and increased pesticide use. The average vegan’s ecological footprint is much smaller than the average meat-eater’s!

It’s Delicious
Vegans eat mouth watering food from all over the world. From India vegetable curries and dhals, from the far East tofu stir fries, from Italy pastas and salads, from Turkey hummus and babaganoush and from Mexico beans and tortillas.

It’s a Healthy Option
A balanced vegan diet contains much less cholesterol and saturated fat than a non-vegan diet and helps avoid unhealthy weight gain; increasingly nutritionists are presenting veganism as a healthy option.

Sport: Carl Lewes, Sally Eastall (Olympics marathon runner).
Film and TV: Martin Shaw, Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix, Wendy Turner-Webster, Woody Harrelson.

Musicians/poets: Benjamin Zephaniah, Moby, Bryan Adams, Chrissie Hynde

  • 148.
  • At 09:53 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • George Kendall wrote:

I'm not a vegan, but I love the idea of these Ethical Man challenges.
Some are annoyed because they think being vegan is no more ethical than eating meat, but the idea is to examine veganism, not preach it.
Newsnight obviously wants to start a light-hearted debate, and I'm already enjoying it.

  • 149.
  • At 10:33 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Jackie wrote:

Each to their own. Not a hugely avid carnivore but not prepared to give it up either. One puzzling point, however: is Puff Pastry vegan? correct me if I'm wrong, but if it's made with butter...?

  • 150.
  • At 10:45 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Richard Twine wrote:

It's interesting to read the angsty fear of meat eaters offended by the very idea of veganism. As a scientist I can assure you that the issue of whether vegetarian or vegan diets are nutritionally sufficient has been keenly debated, with the conclusion being that they are. All food advice is to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and fibre, and to cut out saturated fat associated with most meats. Meat is very definately constructed as a cultural and psychological need(especially for some men), but it is in no way a physical need. In recent years the proportion of meat consumed in China and India has increased dramatically, with Western encouragment. This will have significant deleterious effects for both human health and environmental health.

  • 151.
  • At 11:43 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • David Bell wrote:

I have no problem with you going Vegan to see what it is like. But I have a problem with it being ethical.

I only know of 4 vegans and they seem to delight in travelling miles in there not so new cars to go to the right types of shops which import from who knows where the right sort of food. I would imagine the carbon usage of the planes and cars negates any ethical side to living the vegan life.

One couple have a child who has been vegan from birth and his teeth are all pitted. I hate to think what his bones are like. Healthy yes, organic yes, veggie if it floats your boat, but Vegan, "Really are our bodies designed for this?"

The results so far dont add up for me!

  • 152.
  • At 11:44 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Susanna Matthan wrote:

My health turned around when I gave up all dairy products. I have lost weight, have not has a single episode of tonsillitis and we don't get colds anymore. Most sniffles just disappear after a false start!

Ice cream was my downfall, but there's loads to choose from without dairy.

Banana Ice Cream (totally vegan)

Blend frozen bananas with nut milk (just nuts blended with water), soya milk or fruit juice. Freeze if not serving immediately. Top with yummy sauces, sprinkled with nuts etc.

Loads more of these available from

Susanna in Lincolnshire
PS We have some amazing veg round here - brassicas galore!

You should be prepared for terrible headaches when you turn vegetarian as the toxins leave your body.Whatever you do,dont think of becoming fructarian.I tried it for ten days and had to be rushed to hospital with chronic malnutrition and the nurses weren't remotely sympathetic.

  • 154.
  • At 11:52 AM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In message 114 Niall Leighton replies to message 104 about the difficulty that vegans have about getting sufficient B12 and calcium.

He makes unquantified assertions about some vegetables having "more than adequate calcium". Regrettably he omits to address the important question: how much calcium can one *reasonably* expect to get from the vegetables in a sensible diet.

He specifically mentions brussel sprouts. Each sprout contains 8mg of calcium, so a pregnant woman would have to eat 100 sprouts every day to get their RNA. (Source: USDA National Nutrient Database)

100 sprouts per day? Does anyone think that is practical? Please produce an answer that stands up to more than 30 seconds research!

Regrettably the rest of his response about B12 is so off-the-wall it is not credible. The statements made are not even supported by the Vegan or Vegetarian Societies!

A few minutes research at the Vegetarian Society or Vegan Society websites will find the answer as to who most of the world's vegans obtain their B12. As a further hint, search for "Iranian", since that happens to be the population that was studied and measured.

I will be delighted for someone to demonstrate to me how a *practical* vegan diet can *measurably* supply adequate calcium and B12.

Responses such as message 114 do no credit to the vegan cause.

  • 155.
  • At 12:04 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In message 115 Niall Leighton wrote:

"Here's a high calcium, high iron meal for all the family:"

It sounds delicious, but just how much calcium does it actually provide in a portion?

Mr Leighton can easily prove his assertion that it is "high calcium" simply by using the "USDA National Nutrient Database" to determine the quantity in each ingredient and hence the quantity in each portion.

That is a simple procedure that can be used to demonstrate that is possible to get sufficient calcium from a vegan diet. Without such proof, Mr Leighton's assertions are weak and unconvincing (and probably wrong, regrettably).

  • 156.
  • At 12:13 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

Mr Richard Twine states

"It's interesting to read the angsty fear of meat eaters offended by the very idea of veganism. As a scientist I can assure you that the issue of whether vegetarian or vegan diets are nutritionally sufficient has been keenly debated, with the conclusion being that they are."

Q1: what sort of scientist is he? Only nutritional scientists are appropriately qualified. I wouldn't respect a nutritionist's opinions about high-energy physics, nor would I respect a physicist's opinions about nutrition!

Q2: why does Mr Twine believe that, since it contradicts the Vegetarian Society's considered statements, viz:

"The only reliable unfortified sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy products and eggs. There has been considerable research into possible plant food sources of B12. Fermented soya products, seaweeds and algae have all been proposed as possible sources of B12. However, analysis of fermented soya products, including tempeh, miso, shoyu and tamari, found no significant B12.

Spirulina, an algae available as a dietary supplement in tablet form, and nori, a seaweed, have both appeared to contain significant amounts of B12 after analysis. However, it is thought that this is due to the presence of compounds structurally similar to B12, known as B12 analogues. These cannot be utilised to satisfy dietary needs. Assay methods used to detect B12 are unable to differentiate between B12 and it's analogues, Analysis of possible B12 sources may give false positive results due to the presence of these analogues.

Researchers have suggested that supposed B12 supplements such as spirulina may in fact increase the risk of B12 deficiency disease, as the B12 analogues can compete with B12 and inhibit metabolism.

The current nutritional consensus is that no plant foods can be relied on as a safe source of vitamin B12. "

Here are two delicious recipes that have been tried and tested on hundreds of people! with links and

  • 158.
  • At 12:41 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • brian wrote:

How's this for quick and easy

Buy a tin of Chilli Beans (available cheaply at all supermarkets)

Heat it up in a saucepan and when warm stir in a large dessert spoon of cruchy peanut butter.

Serve with boiled rice or put it into baked potatoes

Think of it as 'Chilli non Carne'

  • 159.
  • At 01:25 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • j wrote:

I should start by saying I don't eat ethically - I am very lazy, am not willing to give up chocolate and even if I could motivate myself enough I wouldn't be able to afford it.

I think the only truely ethical food is that which you know exactly where it was created ie grown or bred and slaughtered. It is not ethical to eat soya and tofu that has to be processed in a factory, flown to the UK and then driven hundreds of miles to a supermarket. It is ethical to eat eggs from hens you know are well treated and are within environmentally friendly transport distance.

I don't know whether this will ever be possible in a country like Britain that has so many people crammed into a small space, but maybe if we all made the effort to do a little bit the situation will slowly improve. After all who would have thought 20 years ago that so much organic/free range food would be available.

  • 160.
  • At 01:34 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Jonathan Shields wrote:

Anyone ever wondered why most people cant take environmentalism seriously?

The almost buttock-clenching smugness of the vegan contingent on this website should provide an instant answer.

I do not wish to eat TVP, Tofu, endless chickpea-related dishes or any other "tasty" substitute for meat.

I wish to eat meat, but I would like good meat i.e that which has been reared locally, has good provenance and hasnt been fed a load of cr*p.
I wish it was easier to get hold of meat like this.
Perhaps trying to do that would be a more interesting experiment that "can I be vegan for a month".

Anyone can be vegan for a month, its just a question of "Why would I want to" in my opinion.

I have no qualms about killing animals as long as they are put to good use. I would kill them myself as one person has suggested we meat eaters dont have the nerve to, but as I live in a suburban flat the opportunity for impromptu abbatoir facilities seems limited. I have caught and killed plenty of fish for the table myself with a very clear conscience.

If you wish to be a vegan good luck to you but lets not have all these bogus claims about it being an essential part of what we need to do to protect the environment.

If we were all willing to pay more for meat the whole meat industry would be much more environmentally sound.

  • 161.
  • At 01:54 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Karen wrote:

Matt - Port isn't generally vegetarian, let alone vegan as geletine is used in the fining process. Beware of other wines too as isinglass, egg albumen and geletine can be used in manufacture.
Good luck Justin. Smoked Tofu and tinned tomatoes are your friends.

  • 162.
  • At 01:55 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Carl wrote:

There have been some very interesting comments on here from all sides of the augments around vegan v vegetarian v carnivores.
Although I am a carnivore I have many friends who are vegetarian and also some vegan, we have over the years had some forthright and interesting conversations around the topics covered in the posts above. All of them have come to accept my way of life and most now support me. I am not sure I fit into any of the conventional eating habit classifications as I only eat wild meat that either I or someone I know personally have hunted and prepared for the table. Therefore the augments around animal husbandry don’t really apply in my particular case as the rabbits / pigeon / deer etc I eat have had no human intervention in their life and when killed were in their own environment I had no inclination it was coming, otherwise I wouldn’t be eating it.
From the above it should be obvious that I don’t eat meat for every meal as this would be unsustainable. Also with this being wild meat it has a far greater flavour than any mass produced meat I have ever eaten and as the land I hunt on is all organic then my family and myself aren’t picking up any pesticides or chemical fertilisers.
I am a passionate believer that if you eat meat then you should be willing to take an animal from living creature to table ready. I have respect for the views of vegans and vegetarians who chose not to eat meat because they don’t like the idea of animals losing their lives. To me the most bizarre attitude is the one from carnivores in denial who see meat as something that comes in cellophane wrappers from supermarkets and has no connection to animals

  • 163.
  • At 01:55 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

re. 155 and 156

Did I mention sprouts in any more than passing?

I don't have time to start doing complex calculations about the precise levels of various minerals in the meal outlined above. Perhaps later, or perhaps Tom can do the calculations and prove me wrong.

That said, calcium is found in useful quantities in green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts (found in the meal above). Due to the lower level of protein intake in average vegan diets the calcium is better absorbed and better retained.

To give some figures, (see Langley, Vegan Nutrition, 1995 which is the one I have handy) I have results from 10 pooled studies. The UK recommended intake for protein as a proportion of total energy is 9%. The WHO recommendation is 10%. The pooled results gave protein intakes for vegans at 10.9%, vegetarians at 12.7% and omnivores at 13.7%. The average British protein intake is 15% of total energy (the 50% excess I mentioned above).

There is no evidence of greater levels of calcium defiency among vegans as compared to the general population (Langley, p106).

Walsh (Plant Based Nutrition and Health, 2003), also discusses calcium in more detail, and goes into the inherent problem of the notion that increased calcium intake equals more calcium available to the body. Calcium availability, he explains, is related to lowered protein and sodium intake and increased potassium and calcium intake. Walsh does not discuss the results of studies on vegans, but does give some idea of the change in calcium balance per gram of protein. Chicken, fish and eggs all put the body into negative calcium balance. He concludes that "a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and legumes and low in salt provides the best path back to (sic) good calcium balance and healthy bones."

Iron is found in whole grains, pulses and green vegetables (also found in substantial quantities in the meal above!). Vegans (again, see Langley) have iron intakes around double the recommended intake. Plant sources or iron are less biologically available than animal sources. On the other hand a high intake of vitamin C (vegans typically have a vitamin C intake around 3-4 times the recommended level) lead to the fact that "iron deficiency is no more common [among vegans] than in the general population" (Langley, p115).

Walsh also discusses iron and reaches the same conclusions. He goes on to add that vegans, while having no disadvantage in terms of anaemia, tend to have lower iron stores. High iron stores are associated with diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer (pp124-5). He concludes by saying that "individuals following a plant-based diet rich in vitamin C from fruit and vegetables may have the best of both worlds in terms of adequate but not excessive iron stores".

According to Walsh (p40) "all vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria, whether obtained from fortified foods, supplements, meat, milk or eggs." He goes on to explain that the B12 used for fortified foods uses selected non-GM bacteria and is highly absorbable and is "recommended for everyone (sic) over 50 to ensure a reliable supply."

As I mentioned above, the use of yeast-extract based foods (yeast extract, nutritional yeast flakes etc) are a perfectly viable source of B-complex vitamins, including B12.

Sources of B12 among our primate relatives, and (separately) among many non-Westerners really don't bear too much thinking about.

The body's use of B12 (in DNA synthesis) involves a complex methylation reaction (see Walsh on the preceeding pages to that cited), involving Vitamin B6, folate, Methionine and so on, so much of the data relating to ascertaining how individuals use B12 is gained from studying the results of defiency. Vitamin B12 levels among vegans tend to be lower than among either vegetarians or omnivores, but defiency does not appear to be a great deal more common than among non-vegans. As a result of lower saturated fat intakes, the incidence of heart disease (one of the markers of low B12 and high levels of homocystein that result) is around 0.74 that or meat eaters (Walsh, p39). He admits that more B12 could cut this figure further.

In summary, both Langley and Walsh (both nutritional scientists) explain how a practical vegan diet measurably supply iron, calcium and B12, not to mention other vitamins, minerals and sources of energy.

  • 164.
  • At 01:59 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

J - 160

I think we've pretty well been over this. Besides the ethics of keeping sentient creatures for food, you haven't tackled where the food for these hens comes from. The inefficiencies in feeding grain to livestock are well studied. Much of this is imported.

There are some really delicious sounding recipes here - whatever some of these crotchety carnivores say.

I think a lot of us meat eaters get very complacent about the food they eat. We just toss a few sausages into a pan and call that cooking.

I’m looking forward to trying out a few of these but I do still have a few nagging worries about my month as a vegan:

First off, what is the best butter substitute? I don’t want to give up dairy products to find myself dining on trans-fats.

Second, what do I put in my coffee in the morning? Some veggie friends told me that Soya curdles.

And lastly the big one: chocolate. Is carob really the best that I can expect?

  • 166.
  • At 02:12 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • juliet wrote:

I find that freezing tofu and defrosting it before use (you have to squeeze out the water) makes it much more palatable as it gets a sponge-like texture and soaks up flavours better.

You can use tofu to replace Quorn or mince in bolognese - just grate it (mouli grater or food processor are easiest). I fry off an onion in olive oil with some garlic, add passata and throw in the tofu. Stir it up and it's done in about 15 mins. My veggie kids love it and I certainly couldn't tell the difference from the Quorn sauce I make normally (daughter is allergic to eggs so can't have Quorn)

Also, with regard to the suggestion about Alpro deserts above, the best ones by far are the "chocolate" ones. Really delicious!

  • 167.
  • At 02:17 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In message 158 Clare (from wrote:

"Here are two delicious recipes that have been tried and tested on hundreds of people! "

I'm sure the recipes are delicious. In fact I'm leaving for a holiday in a predominantly vegan part of the world (Kerala and Tamil Nadu), and I'm really looking forward to the delicious food there.

But I won't close my eyes to reality... I will also see how the majority of the population there get adequate dietary vitamin B12: it will be patted on their house walls, drying in the sun. (Source: The Vegetarian Society).

What is *your* source of B12 in *your* diet? Verifiable numbers please, not wooly "lots/enough/rich" assertions!

As the Vegan Society says, "In over 60 years of vegan experimentation only B12 fortified foods and B12 supplements have proven themselves as reliable sources of B12, capable of supporting optimal health." and "Every case of B12 deficiency in a vegan infant or an ill informed adult is a tragedy and brings veganism into disrepute."

(Supplements are a perfectly acceptable source, but you can't simultaneously claim that the vegan diet is nutritionally complete)

Anyway, off for some delicious food that also happens to be vegan...

  • 168.
  • At 02:26 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • jonathan wrote:

It is absurd to equate being green with vegan/vegatarian. For example, would a rabbit snared in a nearby field be less reen than a soya based product, grown half a world away on a former rain-forest? So it is about buying local sustainable food, not avoiding meat.

So by claiming vegetarianism to be green, what is going on? Veggies are trying to hijack an unrelated popular band wagon.

Green living isn't about buying a list of political and moral views, it is only about living sustainably. If pressure groups try to hijack the movement, they will do immense damage to it.

  • 169.
  • At 02:33 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • helen schofield wrote:

Spinach and Chick Pea Curry

1 tin tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
1/2 inch ginger
Frozen spinach (sorry, not very good at amounts, about a bowful?)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp chilli powder
1 veg stock cube
salt to taste

Fry onion, garlic and ginger, then add rest of ingredients and simmer for about 10-15 mins.

Sorry this is all a bit vague, but that's one of the best things about being veggie is that it's really hard to kill yourself by undercooking stuff. It's an adapted recipe (which is why I'm a bit slack on amounts) but it's really delicious and very easy to make.

Hope you enjoy it


  • 170.
  • At 02:34 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • John wrote:

Erm, after reading the comments I am minded to remind folk that what an individual does or does not eat is their personal preference, and not a reason to criticise them. I was vegan for a while and found that

a) eating vegan was easy (however be careful of your choice of soya milk - some tastes good in tea, some certainly does not). Indian foods can be adapted with ease (good for a curry freak like me), and lots of the meat substitutes are tasty and hassle-free.

b) All the meat eaters I knew decided that they needed an essay on why I was doing it, plus then tried to catch me out with inconsistences dating back decades (you wore leather boots once, etc). Odd.

  • 171.
  • At 02:43 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Ward wrote:

It surprises me that so many people have replied with comments along the lines of "i'm a carnivore who's had a vegitarian streak" or "humans are carnivores therefore this is just plain wrong". Firstly, I hate it when people try to dictate what I should and shouldn't be eating and secondly (and I think more importantly), surely humans are omnivorous. Do these people not eat any fruit of veg.....

  • 172.
  • At 03:31 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Hi Justin (166)

Ok, some practicalities. At the risk of doing advertising...

There are a range of vegan margerines on the market that do not contain transfats. I use one based on sunflower oil made by a company called Pure (20 grams gives 100% of your B12 RDA - it's where I get a lot of mine from), but if you hit the local wholefoods or organic shop you can find vegan margerines made by Granose or other health food companies.

For bread in the morning, you could try doing it the way they do in parts of the Mediterranean and use olive oil.

The problem with soya milk curdling in coffee is well known. It's reputed to be a mixture of heat and acid, but I don't know for sure. I find that my CafeDirect 5065 instant doesn't curdle if I put the soya milk in before I add the water. Heating the milk before mixing it with the coffee also helps. Better quality, more acidic roasts do seem to be more prone to curdling. It doesn't actually spoil the coffee, but it doesn't look very good! You could also try rice milk. If your budget feels up to it, mixing chocolate soya milk with your coffee is rich and delicious. The kids will love it.

On a related note, using soya milk on cereal isn't a great move. Many vegans I know use fruit juice instead. I'm told this is a Swedish method, but don't know the truth of it. Either way, it tastes good.

You don't have to give up chocolate. At one time I would have recommended Green and Blacks, who do several forms of vegan-friendly chocolate, but they are now owned by Cadbury. My local Oxfam shop sells the well-named Divine brand, and I've recently discovered a more than passable vegan white chocolate made by Organica. Raid the health foods shops. These are organic, fair trade and many are vegan (check labels). They tend to be dark chocolate rather than rip-offs of the milky fat bars made by the big corporations. There are some made by Plamil, but they're not up to the same standard, although they are popular with those with a sweeter tooth. Carob is horrible.


  • 173.
  • At 03:43 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Tom (168)

The main sources of B12 in my diet come from margerine (50% of RDA per 10 gram serving, or 2 sandwiches a day to give you the lot) and yeast extract (good mixed with soups, stews and pasta dishes at the end of the cooking process, since B12 is destroyed by heating, or spread on toast or used in a hundred other ways): 60% of RDA per 4 gram serving. There are also traces in other prepared foods, but I admit not eating a lot of those.

Why, where do you get your B12 from? Please don't tell me you undercook your meat! Verifiable quantities, as before, please.

  • 174.
  • At 04:48 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Sammy wrote:

It is a shame that this debate has attracted so many small minded and quite frankly ignorant people. I think that this debate has really demonstrated the lengths to which people will go to defend their immoral behaviour.

As has been mentioned by others here, just because we, as sentient beings CAN do things doesnt mean we should.

The discussion here isnt really about the scientific aspects of whether being vegan are justified, it is quite clear that this argument has already been won, just from the few posts here.

The discussion is whether people are willing to use the unique ability that we humans have of being able to think for ourselves and make ethically just decisions based on this. Unfortunatly people are all to willing to feign ignorance when it comes to these sorts of issues. Even ignoring hard scientific data. Perhaps it is a psychological thing?if people pretend enough it becomes true and helps to reduce that pesky cognitive dissonance.

I have been vegetarian for 8 years and have been considering becoming vegan for many of those years. This blog has helped me to finally put aside my greed and do the (ethically and morally) right thing.

  • 175.
  • At 04:49 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 164 Niall Leighton wrote:

"Did I mention sprouts in any more than passing?"

Your choice as an example; don't complain if someone actually examines the validity of your statement!

"I don't have time to start doing complex calculations about the precise levels of various minerals in the meal outlined above. Perhaps later, or perhaps Tom can do the calculations and prove me wrong."

Wrong. If you make an assertion then it is up to you to be able to support your assertion. If you can't support your assertion, then don't make it in the first place. Your position implies that if I assert the moon is made of green cheese, then it is reasonable for me to expect you to disprove it! Oh, come on.

Heavily snipped bits and comments follow ...

"That said, calcium is found in useful quantities in green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts (found in the meal above)."

How useful? 1%, 2% 10% of RDA?

"There is no evidence of greater levels of calcium defiency among vegans as compared to the general population (Langley, p106)."

That, of course, is a very weak statement which doesn't say there isn't any deficiency.

You make many points about other aspects of the vegan diet (e.g iron) that may well be true but which are irrelevant w.r.t. calcium. "Attempted proof by word count" isn't very effective, although it is revealing.

"As I mentioned above, the use of yeast-extract based foods (yeast extract, nutritional yeast flakes etc) are a perfectly viable source of B-complex vitamins, including B12."

Yes, just so. But a "natural" "non-supplemented" vegan diet isn't viable w.r.t. B12 (in developed countries).

"Sources of B12 among our primate relatives, and (separately) among many non-Westerners really don't bear too much thinking about."

They should be thought about. It is important and relevant quantitative evidence that really does illuminate some important questions and answers.

"In summary, both Langley and Walsh (both nutritional scientists) explain how a practical vegan diet measurably supply iron, calcium and B12, not to mention other vitamins, minerals and sources of energy."

Measurements please. Preferably the information should be easily available and unbiassed, e.g. the USDA Nutrient Database. "Proof by unavailable book" is far less convincing!

What do you think of the Vegan Society's position on B12? Why don't you agree with it?

  • 176.
  • At 04:50 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 164 Niall Leighton wrote:

"Did I mention sprouts in any more than passing?"

Your choice as an example; don't complain if someone actually examines the validity of your statement!

"I don't have time to start doing complex calculations about the precise levels of various minerals in the meal outlined above. Perhaps later, or perhaps Tom can do the calculations and prove me wrong."

Wrong. If you make an assertion then it is up to you to be able to support your assertion. If you can't support your assertion, then don't make it in the first place. Your position implies that if I assert the moon is made of green cheese, then it is reasonable for me to expect you to disprove it! Oh, come on.

Heavily snipped bits and comments follow ...

"That said, calcium is found in useful quantities in green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts (found in the meal above)."

How useful? 1%, 2% 10% of RDA?

"There is no evidence of greater levels of calcium defiency among vegans as compared to the general population (Langley, p106)."

That, of course, is a very weak statement which doesn't say there isn't any deficiency.

You make many points about other aspects of the vegan diet (e.g iron) that may well be true but which are irrelevant w.r.t. calcium. "Attempted proof by word count" isn't very effective, although it is revealing.

"As I mentioned above, the use of yeast-extract based foods (yeast extract, nutritional yeast flakes etc) are a perfectly viable source of B-complex vitamins, including B12."

Yes, just so. But a "natural" "non-supplemented" vegan diet isn't viable w.r.t. B12 (in developed countries).

"Sources of B12 among our primate relatives, and (separately) among many non-Westerners really don't bear too much thinking about."

They should be thought about. It is important and relevant quantitative evidence that really does illuminate some important questions and answers.

"In summary, both Langley and Walsh (both nutritional scientists) explain how a practical vegan diet measurably supply iron, calcium and B12, not to mention other vitamins, minerals and sources of energy."

Measurements please. Preferably the information should be easily available and unbiassed, e.g. the USDA Nutrient Database. "Proof by unavailable book" is far less convincing!

What do you think of the Vegan Society's position on B12? Why don't you agree with it?

  • 177.
  • At 04:50 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Sammy wrote:

It is a shame that this debate has attracted so many small minded and quite frankly ignorant people. I think that this debate has really demonstrated the lengths to which people will go to defend their immoral behaviour.

As has been mentioned by others here, just because we, as sentient beings CAN do things doesnt mean we should.

The discussion here isnt really about the scientific aspects of whether being vegan are justified, it is quite clear that this argument has already been won, just from the few posts here.

The discussion is whether people are willing to use the unique ability that we humans have of being able to think for ourselves and make ethically just decisions based on this. Unfortunatly people are all to willing to feign ignorance when it comes to these sorts of issues. Even ignoring hard scientific data. Perhaps it is a psychological thing?if people pretend enough it becomes true and helps to reduce that pesky cognitive dissonance.

I have been vegetarian for 8 years and have been considering becoming vegan for many of those years. This blog has helped me to finally put aside my greed and do the (ethically and morally) right thing.

  • 178.
  • At 04:58 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 164 Niall Leighton wrote:

"Did I mention sprouts in any more than passing?"

Your choice as an example; don't complain if someone actually examines the validity of your statement!

"I don't have time to start doing complex calculations about the precise levels of various minerals in the meal outlined above. Perhaps later, or perhaps Tom can do the calculations and prove me wrong."

Wrong. If you make an assertion then it is up to you to be able to support your assertion. If you can't support your assertion, then don't make it in the first place. Your position implies that if I assert the moon is made of green cheese, then it is reasonable for me to expect you to disprove it! Oh, come on.

Heavily snipped bits and comments follow ...

"That said, calcium is found in useful quantities in green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts (found in the meal above)."

How useful? 1%, 2% 10% of RDA?

"There is no evidence of greater levels of calcium defiency among vegans as compared to the general population (Langley, p106)."

That, of course, is a very weak statement which doesn't say there isn't any deficiency.

You make many points about other aspects of the vegan diet (e.g iron) that may well be true but which are irrelevant w.r.t. calcium. "Attempted proof by word count" isn't very effective, although it is revealing.

"As I mentioned above, the use of yeast-extract based foods (yeast extract, nutritional yeast flakes etc) are a perfectly viable source of B-complex vitamins, including B12."

Yes, just so. But a "natural" "non-supplemented" vegan diet isn't viable w.r.t. B12 (in developed countries).

"Sources of B12 among our primate relatives, and (separately) among many non-Westerners really don't bear too much thinking about."

They should be thought about. It is important and relevant quantitative evidence that really does illuminate some important questions and answers.

"In summary, both Langley and Walsh (both nutritional scientists) explain how a practical vegan diet measurably supply iron, calcium and B12, not to mention other vitamins, minerals and sources of energy."

Measurements please. Preferably the information should be easily available and unbiassed, e.g. the USDA Nutrient Database. "Proof by unavailable book" is far less convincing!

What do you think of the Vegan Society's position on B12? Why don't you agree with it?

  • 179.
  • At 05:30 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • William Blower wrote:

Don't expect your friends to accept a dinner invitation! Good Luck!

  • 180.
  • At 05:37 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Louise wrote:

Beans on toast. Food of the gods in under 5 mins, and vegan without even trying.

  • 181.
  • At 05:37 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • ant wrote:

The Vegetarian Society suggests that a Vegan may want to supplement their Vitamin B12 intake as no reliable sources can be counted on from plant foods. However, it is easy to obtain these supplements in the form of fortified products such as margarines and breakfast cereals - you may already be getting enough of the vitamin without realising it.

A dietician friend of mine suggests that the average vegetarian/vegan is much more aware of their own diet and the need to obtain the recommended vitamins, that their diets are generally much healthier than others. A case in point was a recently pregnant (veggie) friend - her iron levels far exceeded those of the midwife!

  • 182.
  • At 05:55 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Lucy wrote:

Chandra Halma,

Try telling the French that humans can't eat raw meat...!

  • 183.
  • At 06:26 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Tom (175)

I mentioned sprouts twice - mainly because that is the example Justin gave in his blog. On one occasion it was to point out that you don't have to stick to sprouts (a self-evident statement) and on the second occasion to deliberately scotch the idea of eating them in the first place.

I gave you two references. I gave you references so that you could look them up and check them. All the research is based on human studies. They give measurements. I'm not going to quote the whole book. It's plagiarism, just for a start. The internet, as a source of data, is notoriously unreliable.

The USDA database contains studies going back many years. For instance, with all the breeding that's been done over the past few decades on chickens, along with feeding changes, the amount of fat in chickens has risen considerably. It's no longer the "low fat meat" it once was.

But I'm sure you can look up the contents of the USDA database for wholegrains, mung beans and so on for yourself. In any case, the amount of any nutrient depends on how much of the foods containing it that you eat.

However, I've done some calculations based on the meal outlined above. Remember, this is one meal out of 3, and remember this says nothing about bioavailability, and only calculates the consumption of 150gms whole wheat flour, 75gms of mung beans, 33gms of cashews and 100gms of peas. The USDA has never heard of fenugreek leaf. However, leafy greens typically contain large amounts of calcium. Kale, for instance, contains 100mg calcium in 67gms of leaf. You could probably add another 100gms of calcium for the 80gms of fenugreek leaf in one third of the vegetable dish above. It does NOT include the rest of the meal. The first figure gives the absolute quantity, the second the percentage of the UK RNI.

Iron: 15.47mg or 178% (for males only, but it is also higher than the RNI for adult females)
Calcium: 221mg or 32%
Magnesium: 377mg or 158%

Secondly, it's clear that simply counting the values of RNI is meaningless when it comes to diet, where the bioavailability of one nutrient may depend on half a dozen others (as is the case with Vitamin B12).

I am not and never have been a member of the Vegan Society. Their positions are less relevant to me than the scientific research, summarised in, among other places, the references I've given you. Broadly, the Vegan Society position makes a certain amount of sense.

I still don't know where you get your B12 from, and how much (allowing me to check and quantify, please). Please enlighten me.

  • 184.
  • At 06:36 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Lawrence Toms wrote:

If you are fond of gratin, but want a cheap vegan alternative to cheese (actual vegan cheese is relatively expensive, and to my mind doesn't taste like cheese 'proper') I suggest grating those blocks of creamed coconut you can buy - kept in the fridge is best, or they go too soft for grating.

I lived a whole year at university on cardomum pilau rice topped with 'clovey' boiled tinned tomatoes and grated coconut on top - and, because of all the cloves I was eating all my bodily fluids, without exception, smelt clovey - in effect I was sweating out my own deodorant.

Don't know why I stopped really - might have the same tomorrow for old times' sake.

  • 185.
  • At 06:49 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Marcus wrote:

Tom: B12 isn't available in dietary vegan forms not through fault of the diet as much as the dearth of nutrients and life remaining in soil and plants these days. It is however easily available in supplements such as tablets, yeasts, injections, fortified soya milk, margarines etc.

Jonathan: its all very well using that "better to catch a wild animal then import x, y and z" nonsense. Do you only eat wild caught flesh and do you think its a sustainable way of feeding six billion (and forever rising) humans?

No it isn't, so the most environemtnatlly sustainable option for all is veganism.

There isn't even the space for organic/free range farming to meet the demands. This elitist niche market is simply a smokescreen. The market demand for flesh insists upon factory farms with animals confined to smallest areas possible for maximum profit, drugs for infections in the insanitary conditions etc.

  • 186.
  • At 09:34 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Toni wrote:

The best thing that's ever happened to me is me turning vegan 11 years ago. It is an eye opening and tasty thing to do. Here's a simple (side)salad recipe:

1 avocado (diced)
1 apple (diced)
a bunch of water cress
french dressing

mix it all together and enjoy your cruelty free salad!

  • 187.
  • At 11:20 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 186 Marcus wrote:

"Tom: B12 isn't available in dietary vegan forms not through fault of the diet as much as the dearth of nutrients and life remaining in soil and plants these days. "

Absolute nonsense. There is no reliable source of B12 in the foodstuffs that vegans are allowed to eat. Full Stop.

However, if you are implying that animal excreta used as fertiliser can end up on the outside of foodstuffs, and that it might supply sufficient B12 then you do have a point (albeit a different point to the one you were making). But please reconcile that with a typical vegans desire to have fewer cows and sheep and pigs!

"It is however easily available in supplements such as tablets, yeasts, injections, fortified soya milk, margarines etc."

Very true, important, and sufficient. But relying on those sources indicates that the vegan diet is not a complete diet.

  • 188.
  • At 11:24 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • heather wrote:

amazingly, here is one of my most fav here is what you do to the brussel sprouts (top of the stalk, bottom or other)

in large frying pan:

add liberal amounts of olive oil and vegetable stock paste (not the liquid stuff but the veggie stock that comes in a jar)

make a cup or two of strong veggie stock

prepare your b-sprouts by pulling off the outer leaves, washing them and chopping them in half.

saute them in the veggie paste and olive oil recipe until they are quite browned on the outside and then pour a cup or two of the veggie stock and let the liquid boil down until the b-sprouts are glazed and soft but not mushy

serve over peppered rice with finely chopped fresh onions/peppers.

  • 189.
  • At 11:27 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • James Coils wrote:

When you see these comments from the meathead sheeple,(oooh, the flock says eat meat, baaaaa!) can you really tolerate being a meathead yourself any longer?

  • 190.
  • At 11:29 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 182 ant wrote:

"A dietician friend of mine suggests that the average vegetarian/vegan is much more aware of their own diet and the need to obtain the recommended vitamins,..."

I'm sure there's truth to that. However, a significant proportion of vegans actively deny the issues around B12 and calcium even when presented with the evidence and invited to produce their own evidence. That subset of vegans endanger themselves (OK, that's their problem) and their children and acquaintances (which isn't OK).

" ...that their diets are generally much healthier than others."

You're just as incapacitated by B12/calcium deficiency as you are by heart attacks! Going vegan can, if the diet's limitations aren't understood, merely result in swapping one hazard for another!

" A case in point was a recently pregnant (veggie) friend - her iron levels far exceeded those of the midwife!"

No doubt that's true, but who has claimed iron is a problem for vegans?

  • 191.
  • At 10:09 AM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:


I think some posts here point up many of the problems that vegans face when explaining their position.

For instance, it's been explained where vegans can get B12 without resorting to supplements (personally, I regard yeast extract and margerine as ingredients rather than supplements, but maybe I'm just fooling myself), but there is still an insistence that: "Absolute nonsense. There is no reliable source of B12 in the foodstuffs that vegans are allowed to eat. Full Stop." (Tom Gardner, post 188, after it's been explained otherwise).

Humans have been eating and drinking fermented foods for thousands of years (incidentally, two pints of draught beer a day will also give you your B12 RNI but note that many British beers aren't vegan, although most German beers are as they have proper rules about what can be used in brewing!), and I really dont't see where the substantive difference lies between one fermented product and another (beyond the quality of the beer, of course!).

For the record, I don't use supplements, which I think exist only for those who are ill or can't/won't cook!

I think this points up two problems. One is denial that, in the face of all the evidence, a well-thought-out vegan diet can be a healthy, enjoyable one. I know I look forward to mealtimes. A bad vegan diet can be quite the opposite, but you could say the same about those who "toss a couple of sausages in the pan and call that cooking." (Justin, post 166)

Although, knowing what goes into most sausages, I'm sure they're getting at least some B12. I'm sticking to my yeast extract.

The second is that some people take great delight in winding up those have different views from themselves, especially when those being wound up are not blantantly mainstream. I see this a lot. I read psychology at university, and in terms of group processes it makes a lot of sense, but I wish they had better things to do with their time.

  • 192.
  • At 10:32 AM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Rose wrote:

Here's a recipe for Bulgur Pavan Salad, it comes from a yogic cookery book in which all the recipes balance one particular part of your energy. The Bulgur Wheat is the key as it opens the heart apparently. Cookery is the most basic form of alchemy and if you cook with a positive mind the food you serve your family will be infused with that energy too. It goes great as a side salad to baked potatoes.

4 handfuls of bulgur wheat
An orange pepper
2 tomatoes
14 black olives
handful of chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
swirl of olive oil
swirl of tamari soy sauce
1 clove of garlic crushed

* Soak the bulgur wheat in boiling water in a bowl - water covering the bulgur wheat and half it's depth again, until softish.
* Dice the pepper & tomatoes quite small.
* quarter the olives (and stone them if they came with stones!)
* Mix the vegetables, olives, garlic, chopped parsley and lemon juice in a bowl with your hands.
*When the bulgur wheat is done add tat and mix with your hands again. Then swirl on the oil and tamari and serve and enjoy!

p.s post # 191

I am a pregnant vegetarien & when my blood tests came back recently my iron levels exceeded expected levels too.
I drink soya milk and don't like eggs so the only dairy I consume is a little cheese. The meals I cook are pretty much all vegan and my boyfriend and I could not be healthier....he regularly lifts weights in the gym and is a 16 stone powerhouse! Not eating meat, fish or dairy doesn't seem to affect his performance in the gym which I find interesting as wieghtlifters tend to wax lyrical about needing eggs, fish & meat in their diets.
Good luck with the diet, it's worth it!

  • 193.
  • At 10:54 AM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

I think its not so much an ethical issue as it is a moral one. Any way you look at it I believe its not right to kill for pleasure. We CAN survive without eating meet so its down to the individual person to make a moral decision. Everyone is different

Been a Vege for 19 years for moral reasons. Still crave the odd bacon buttie but know that for me, tis wrong.... :-)

  • 194.
  • At 12:05 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Bill wrote:

Note: I've no ax to grind for either side in this 'debate'...just a biochemist's perspective.

@Justin, post 166
Trans fats (the digestion of which leave indigestible hydrocarbon chain fragments in your fatty tissue) are an essentially unavoidable artifact of the process of hydrogenating unsaturated fats. From a trans fats perspective, it's always better for one's health to ingest fats in their naturally occurring form. (Margarines and vegetable ghee violate this principle.)

Realistically, if you want to use solid or semisolid fats in cooking, you need to choose between those that occur naturally but are not vegetarian/vegan (butter, lard), those that occur naturally and are vegan but still have lots of saturated fat (e.g., palm oil), or those that are vegan but contain trans fats.

@Niall, post 192

I'm not sure what part of "Brewer's and nutritional yeasts do not contain B12 unless they are fortified with it" ( you don't understand.

Or what part of "The only reliable unfortified sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy products and eggs" (

Don't get me wrong, i applaud anyone's decision to go vegan (as long as it omits the smugness and proselytizing that converts often fall prey to). But there are trade-offs inherent in making any sort of dietary decision, and there's no reason to sacrifice accuracy and sugar-coat what those trade-offs involve.

  • 195.
  • At 01:33 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Bill (195)

My information that *all* B12 comes from yeast and bacteria comes from texts written by nutritional scientists, based on peer-reviewed science, not the kind of unreliable stuff that comes off the internet. I do not consider what comes off someone's web site to be much better than opinion, if that.

Have you ever wondered why universities and academic journals discourage the use of internet references?

I quote from one of those nutritional scientists: "All vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria, whether it is obtained from fortified foods, supplements, meat, milk or eggs. B12 for use in supplements and fortified foods is produced by fermentation (similar to beer making) using carefully selected bacteria which have not been genetially modified." (Stephen Walsh, Plant Based Nutrition and Health, 2003, page 40.)

Note, *all* B12 is produced by bacteria. What part of this don't you understand? Now, B12 is also produced by some yeasts, and my resident biochemist never hesitates to remind me that yeasts are not bacteria, although they share some common features, and the results in terms of B12 are the same.

Since animals do not produce B12, where do you think the B12 in animal foods comes from?

Duh. Bacteria!!! George Bush could work that out.

Logical conclusion, based on the scientific data, not some unsupported statement off the internet, you can obtain your B12 from:
1) bacteria-infected milk, meat or eggs (that's "rotten" in the vernacular) or
2) the products of sterile vat-fermentation in fortified foods or supplements.
3) underwashed root vegetables (the way it's commonly done in developing countries)
4) eating faeces (like some of our non-human primate cousins)

Perhaps you can see why I'm sticking to my fortified margerine and yeast extract.

Gill Langley, (in Vegan Nutrition, 1995, admittedly a little out of date) discusses incidence of actual clinical defiency among vegans. It's rare, (fifteen reported cased from 1980 to 1995) often attribted to lack of intrinsic factors required to absorb it or to disorders of the alimentary canal. Comparable incidence of clinical defiency among non-vegans is not discussed.

  • 196.
  • At 01:34 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Hazel Eracleous wrote:

Plump, healthy, active vegan over here and an excellent cook to boot.

Home made pesto

all these pasta sauces can be made vegan easily.

Grilled aubergine, fresh tomato, basil and vegan melting cheese in a toasted ciabatta.

Lemon, poppyseed and turmeric pilaf
Faux beef stroganoff
A fry up with scarmbled tofu instead of eggs
Butterscotch sweet potatoes
Kale with lemon and garlic
Thai or indian curries

The list goes on and on... you can improvise almost any meat dish to a vegan one. If I couldn't, I would have struggled as a vegan. But I don't.

A little imagination and flexibility go a long way.

  • 197.
  • At 02:01 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • rensmith wrote:

Although I am a wall-sitter on the meat/ veggie/ vegan question I have a point that those relying on our "hunter-gatherer" history for a justification of meat-eating might consider.
Studies of these types of societies have shown that they are sustained by the gathering part of their diets - some anthropologists go so far as to insist on renaming them "gatherer-hunters".
So if you want to revert to a "natural" way it seems a diet which is predominantly vegan, with occasional animal products would be the way to go.

  • 198.
  • At 02:39 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Theo de Bray wrote:

Sprouts? Do what italians do, squeeze a little lemon juice over them, as it it seems to get rid of the bitterness & makes them taste amost sweet. Try it, you'll never look down your nose at sprouts again.

  • 199.
  • At 04:13 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • VeganIan wrote:

Tom and Niall - Handbags at dawn...
But seriously, we could really do with your skills at the Vegan Police - 'good cop, bad cop' works really well on our detainees.
You wouldn't believe the number of fully paid up members of Vegan Police we have out there, ready to inform on every infraction of the Vegan-code. Most of these aren't vegan let alone vegetarian, either.

Justin - Most vegan margarines don't use trans fats these days, so don't worry about any imminent health problems.
You'll need to get into the habit of label reading, especially when it says 'improved' recipe! And pay attention to what you are reading, don't skim. 'Chickpea and Mushroom soup' is NOT the same as 'Chicken and Mushroom soup'. Yes, I myself have spent time being corrected by the Vegan Ministry.

Also, on margarines, some contain whey products and caseinates (milk protein) so not vegan - 'Pure' are vegan and they even do an organic version too. Most are B12 fortified, so, this needn't concern you as most humans have a 2 year + store (fat soluable vitamin). This should last you through the 1 month experiment.

Policing for Purity - VM

  • 200.
  • At 04:16 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Eve wrote:

Good heavens, what a fuss some people are making. I've been vegan for ten years: it's perfectly easy, and my friends and family are always saying that I have the healthiest and most exciting diet of anyone they know. I get my fruit and veg from an organic box scheme, and most of the produce is local. Vegans are not dropping of vitamin deficiencies as some would have you believe, but the cancer and heart disease rates are far lower, and it adds about eight years to your life expectancy. It takes a while to get used to it, for instance changing brands of margarine or finding a Thai curry paste that doesn't include fish, and my main advice there is that the more processed the food, the higher the chance that it will have animal ingredients. There are plenty of excellent vegan cookbooks around, and even more vegetarian cookbooks which are largely vegan, such as Jaffrey's "Eastern Vegetarian Cooking". I cook Mediterranean, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and indeed from anywhere that is fond of vegetables, although I have also successfully veganised recipes such as lasagne (vegemince for the tomato sauce, soya milk and various seasonings for the bechamel sauce).

Here's a soup I invented which I'm rather fond of:


• 2-3 onions
• 3-4 carrots
• 1 small or ½ large leek
• ½ pumpkin *or* 1 butternut squash
• 50g red lentils (more also nice)
• 2 – 2½ l stock *or* half stock, half soya milk *or* mostly stock and some coconut milk
• saffron, clove (keynotes); cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric
• 2 bay leaves
• 1” ginger
• extra virgin olive oil

1. Chop all the vegetables.
2. Fry the spices and ginger in the olive oil, then add the carrots and onions.
3. Sauté for a little, then add the pumpkin, leek and bay leaves.
4. Sauté for a while longer, then add the lentils and stock and cook until the lentils have dissolved.
5. Remove bay leaves, blend and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Soya milk curdles on reheating, so best not used if going to freeze.
Be careful not to over-season.

I created this next recipe for my stepfather, who adores old-fashioned puddings. It tastes like normal bread and butter pudding.


• 300 g firm tofu
• 4 Tbsp soya yoghurt
• 300 ml soya milk
• 2 or 3 drops orange oil
• 1 Tbsp maple syrup
• 4 Tbsp sugar plus 2 or 3 Tbsp brown sugar for sprinkling on top
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp allspice
• couple of shakes nutmeg
• 9 slices bread, or however many fit the dish (note: use a fairly soft bread)
• margarine
• 50 g sultanas
• optional: orange juice to replace part of the soya milk
• optional: replace the orange oil with the zest of 1 lemon or orange

This seems to work fairly well without yoghurt, probably used a little more soya milk.

This recipe is very flexible, so use whatever you fancy for the tofu custard, as long as you keep it a fairly thin custard, sweeten it and add a few things to make the flavour interesting. The basics are:

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees F.
2) Make up tofu custard and blend.
3) "Butter" the bread on one side and cut it into halves or diagonal quarters.
4) Grease a rectangular baking dish with margarine.
5) Layer as follows: line dish with buttered bread (margarine side upwards), sprinkle with sultanas, pour tofu custard over the top. Repeat twice more. Make sure, at least with the top layer, that the bread is competely covered by the custard.
6) Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 40-45 min until slightly golden. Serve hot or cold.

Obviously you tailor the number of slices of bread, and number of layers, to the size of the dish. My dish is 19cm x 30cm x 6cm. If yours is a lot bigger than that, you may need two packets of tofu.

There's a fabulous sticky toffee pudding at

  • 201.
  • At 04:22 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

Thanks Theo

As a confirmed sprout-hater (after my sister once found half a worm in one!) I'll give that a try.

  • 202.
  • At 04:50 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Emily Chappelle wrote:

I must admit to being embarrassed by some of the recipes on this blog. Many of them are quite dull. Can I suggest you look at for some ideas, including yummy puddings!

  • 203.
  • At 05:13 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Eve wrote:

In answer to your latest questions, here is what I've found.

1. "Pure" margarine is excellent: delicious, healthy and has coped with any uses I've come up with for it. I prefer the soya version. It's cheap and readily available in supermarkets.

2. Yes, soya milk tends to curdle in coffee if you just throw it in in the usual way. It's fine if you warm the soya milk first. I just shove the mug in the microwave for a minute with a lid on it. I hear that rice milk doesn't curdle. I prefer rice milk for hot chocolate (get the Green & Black stuff; for some reason, soya milk tastes odd in it) and soya milk for everything else. If you don't use much milk, you can get multi-packs of the 250 ml cartons cheaply at

3. Chocolate choice is limited, but there's still enough left that I have to exercise willpower in supermarkets. It's mostly dark chocolate, and anything fairly-traded or health-food-shoppy is more likely to be suitable. Green & Black do some really lovely chocolate. If you want milkier-tasting chocolate, try some of the specialist vegan ones such as Plamil, although I've never really got into them. If you do want to try lots of vegan sweets, go to, where there's a huge range of stuff, though the customer service is iffy.

  • 204.
  • At 05:47 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Martin Treadwell wrote:

Rice & peas is the greatest vegan meal ever. Foods that just happen to be vegan are always better than foods that have been 'veganised'. Finely chop an onion and soften in a little vegetable oil in a saucepan. De-seed and finely chop a red chilli and add to the pan. Then add 400g of rice, a can of coconut milk and a can of peas & beans (Dunn's River Caribbean peas & beans are my favourite - containing red kidney beans, black-eye beans and gungo peas). Stir in 400ml of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Yum! I normally have it with jerk chicken, but that's not very vegan so you can use tofu instead. Use a jar of jerk seasoning - it's better if you marinade for 24 hours. Many vegetables are great jerked up too - especially sweet potatoes, mushrooms and even green beans. I haven't tried jerk sprouts yet, but they'd probably be delicious too.

  • 205.
  • At 06:22 AM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • patrick wrote:

Try slicing the brussels sprouts and frying them lightly in groundnut or other light oil for two minutes. This got my brussels hating brood to request seconds.I couldn't believe the change in flavour myself..Delicious!!

  • 206.
  • At 06:23 AM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • KL wrote:

Do as I do - don't invite anyone who is so picky and ungrateful for food that is put in front of them...

  • 207.
  • At 06:52 AM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Mark Slater wrote:

"Brussel tops" have been around for years and so far as I can tell are the last bits you can get off the plant once the brussels have gone - it's the top of the plant, bit like a big open brussel but sweeter in flavour - they're cheap and we love them. Go to any market and you'll find them, trendy ? Well I remeber my mum and gran eating these - we bought them because they were cheap - failed brussels basically 8-)

  • 208.
  • At 11:16 AM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

Eat meat!

  • 209.
  • At 12:44 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • lyn chow wrote:

my parents cooked brussel sprouts with a soy and oyster sauce (chinese influence) and they tasted great. always add sugar to balance the bitterness of the sprouts

  • 210.
  • At 01:25 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Kate Corwyn wrote:

How sad that you have turned your back on some of the most varied and itneresting flavours in the world and restricted yourself to a very limited range of foods. Please take care, a vegan diet is deficient in several essential nutrients.

  • 211.
  • At 01:28 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Bob Pritchard wrote:

While not quite as strident as our friend who reckoned that you were pandering to vegans or whatever he said, I agree with his main point in wondering what this has to do with being environmentally friendly. Just looking at the recipe you posted I can't remember going past many fields growing butternut squashes in my part of the UK on a regular basis. Can't recall walking into any brazil nut trees either (or do they grow as plants - should have paid more attention in biology lessons). And as for saffron - well, I don't often see sacks of that being shipped from the countryside...

A vegan lifestyle is all well and good if that's what people want to do but it seems a bit much to try and follow one if the effect of it is almost certainly going to mean increasing food miles for a lot fo the products consumed.

  • 212.
  • At 02:23 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

I reflect when peeling potatoes or preparing other veg that it is the death of a thousand cuts for the item concerned. At least animals die quickly when they are slaughtered!

  • 213.
  • At 02:55 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Nigel Harper wrote:

I have been vegetarian for over 15 years. My diet is principally vegan although I will eat free range eggs. I became vegetarian on health and compassionate grounds and not ethical grounds.

I support the many comments made about the environmental cost in producing the food we eat - be it meat, fruit or vegetables. Just because we can afford to have it flown half-way round the world does not make it ethical.

It is possible to follow a vegan diet by using locally produced products you just have to work at it. Not so long ago the abundance of the harvest was dried, bottled or preserved for use during the winter months when fresh produce was scarce. Don't forget also that well into the 20th century most of the population only had meat or fish once or twice a week.

What is required is a better understanding of how the food we eat is produced and its cost to the environment. Only then can we make informed decisions on having an ethical diet.

  • 214.
  • At 03:11 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Vegan steak and chips can't be beaten, although vegan roast turkey and roast potatoes comes a close second.

  • 215.
  • At 04:09 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Clair wrote:

Banana bread

Here's a banana bread/cake. Eat it hot with soya yoghurt/cream or cold by itself.
1lb peeled bananas
2oz walnuts (any nut will do)
4oz sultanas (or raisins/apricots)
4 fl oz (100ml) oil (eg sunflower)
3 oz rolled oats
5 oz wholewheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon all spice (or just cinnamon)

Set oven to gas mark 5 (190 degrees C). Mash banana to soft pulp, add nuts, fruit and oil and mix. Add oats, flour, baking powder and spice. Combine till soft and moist. Pour into well greased loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins or an inserted fork comes out clean. Wait 10 minutes before turning out.

Most of the ingredients are imported so if you can afford it buy them fair trade or organic.

  • 216.
  • At 04:22 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Al wrote:

I'm neither up nor down about vegans or veggies. I enjoy meat and don't feel any guilt about doing so.

I respect a vegan or veggie if they believe in why they eat what they eat and don't want to push it on to me. Likewise i expect them to respect my right to eat meat.

Where I do have a problem is when people jump on the latest trendy eating fad because everyone else is doing it and some media article tells them it's the greatest thing since sliced mince (meat or veggie* - delete as applicable).

For the vegan/veggies out there at least you have the knowledge that when you go out for a meal, or shop wherever you shop, you can be fairly certain that you are going to get what you want.

As a sufferer from Coeliac Disease I'm consigned to a gluten free diet. I've become quite good at reading a label and knowing if it's gluten free or not. Fortunately food labelling is improving, certainly in the UK, and it's not nearly as hit or miss as it was 5 yrs ago. Eating out however can be a nightmare. Many waiters/waitresses in good restuarants just look at you blankly if you ask if x or y is gluten free or not. Always easier to ask to speak to the chef.

Anyway, whatever you eat - enjoy.

Merry Christmas.

  • 217.
  • At 04:36 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Mike Clarke wrote:

I'm not vegan or vegie, but my sister and some of my friends are. One very simple thing I do is Chick peas in a pesto sauce, often with fresh basil leaves. Another simple dish is to grate celariac and mix in a mustard and honey vinaigrette (mayo also works but I assume no eggs for you). My final suggestion is to get a bread maker and since you have children try making chocolate flavoured bread (unless you object to killing yeast that is).

  • 218.
  • At 05:05 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Derek wrote:

You are what you eat all you vegetables and beefcakes out there so let's respect each others lifestyles and not create more aggresion in an already aggresive world.

  • 219.
  • At 07:15 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Rosemary wrote:

Haven't had time to read all the posts yet so this may be a repeat but I should point out that Quorn is not a vegan product. It contains (mostly battery as they can't source enough free range) egg white, according to the very nice Quorn rep who answered my queries.

  • 220.
  • At 08:58 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • nandi wrote:

Hi Justin,
here is my fave vegan recipe, it comes from a book called "the new vegetarian"...
Charred aubergine and coconut curry

1 aubergine
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 red onion
1 red pepper
250g sweet potato
1 courgette
400g tin chick peas
250ml coconut milk
salt to taste

spice paste:
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tbs coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds (~10 pods)
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
5cm fresh ginger grated
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp tumeric
1-2 chillies
1 tomato cut in quarters
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar

To make paste:
Dry toast spice seeds in frying pan, transfer to blender with rest of ingredients and 6 tbs of water and grid to a smooth paste.

Roast aubergine directly over flame until charred and softened (~15 min) or in oven for ~40 min. Discard skin but leave some for flavour.

Heat oil in pan and add onion, cook ‘till softened, add spice paste stir for 2 min to release aromas add pepper, sweet potato, courgette and chickpeas, cover and cook stirring occasionally for 10 min. Add tomatoes and 250ml water, bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for about 20 min.

Put the aubergine in a blender add coconut milk and whiz up to a coarse puree. Add to pan and bring backl to simmer, add salt if necessary. Cook for 10 min then remove from heat, cover and let stand for at least 30 min.

p.s GK Chesterton may have said all alcohol is vegetarian (post 46) but I think some may dispute that point, some wines are "clarified" using isinglass which comes from the fish swim bladder (I think) and some beers are clarified using animal products too...

  • 221.
  • At 09:28 PM on 15 Dec 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Spaghetti non-bolognese

1 onion,1 clove of garlic chopped, fry in olive oil till soft.

Add 1 chopped pepper, handfull of frozen peas, 1 nugget of frozen chopped spinach, simmer till spinach has broken up.

Add mug full of soya mince (frozen or dried(rehydrate first)), tin of chopped plum tomatoes, a little paprika, squeeze of tomatoe puree, pinch of chilli powder(vary to taste), pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, season with freshly ground mediterranean herbs(Oregano, basil, marjoram, parsley, sage, thyme), stir, simmer for 10-20 minutes.

Serve on a bed of spaghetti(non egg) Add a drizzel of olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, sprinkle of dairyfree parmesan (Parmazano) or Engevita, a sprig of fresh parsley and a glass of wine (make sure its vegan, a lot of wines are filtered using issinglass, egg albumin or gelatin).

Usually serves 1-2 hungry people.

Never felt better.
Good health!!

  • 222.
  • At 10:10 AM on 16 Dec 2006,
  • gill wrote:

Try stir-frying sprouts rather than boiling them.

Slice the sprouts 'north to south', into pieces about 50mm thick.

Heat a small amount of oil, preferably in a wok. Add a chopped red chilli and a teaspoon of cummin seeds. Then add the sliced sprouts and stir fry, so they become coated with the spices, for about two minutes. Keep them moving, so they don't burn. The sprouts should still be slightly crunchy.

  • 223.
  • At 11:30 AM on 16 Dec 2006,
  • Joseph Peace wrote:

As a vegan of 15 years I find some of the comments about the fact that we're supposed to eat meat rather amusing. If you can catch an animal, look it in the eye, kill it, skin it and then eat it then fair enough I'm happy with you eating it but our factory farming methods and the way meat is sold nowadays removes the horrific production process from the consumer. If you put a load of hungry meat eaters in a situation where they had to choose between a live rabbit and a nut roast, I wonder how many could slit the rabbits throat?

  • 224.
  • At 12:21 AM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • dan wrote:

I am a vegan of five years and have no complaints.

I hope that Justin can see through a lot of the baiting above from the corpse eaters. He asked for recipes and, along with that, he received a lot of (unwarranted) invective against veggies. There is some informed opinion above but there is also a lot of gibberish - e.g. the mocking of tofu. Tofu is, of course, bland in itself: it's meant to be. The whole point of tofu is that it takes the flavour of that which it is added to (if prepared properly). It's not meant to be eaten 'raw' anymore than, say, cornflakes are.

I also hope that Justin thinks beyond the remit of environmentalism to explore the symbolic nature of 'meat'. This is a burgeoning field in social studies. Recommended reading would be

Adams - Neither Man nor Beast.
Fiddes - Meat: A Natural Symbol
Dunayer - Language and Liberation.
Wolfe - Zoontologies

The sociologist Patrick Berger, a noted voice in today's left, wrote an essay in the 80's about the disappearence of animals: both literally (in terms of extinction) and symbolically (as animals are expelled from a domestic context, they become reified by the fuction we force upon them - as 'meat', etc).

Also recommended would be

animal, go vegan texas, and go vegan with Bob Linden provide lots of downloadable audio about veganism.

Justin must keep an open mind. For example, if a meal you've cooked is bland it is as much a condemnation of your culinary skills as it is veganism. I am suggesting that a month can only provide an insight into veganism - most vegans I know took a lot longer to find their feet.

  • 225.
  • At 03:38 AM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • James Utley wrote:

Oil (crude oil that is) is a product of the break down of organic matter under a set range of conditions (~100>150degrees C). Most of the organic source for Oil is in fact algae and or plant material. "Animal" derived organic material is extremely insignificant, just imagine how much of the forest floor is made up from dead "animals".

I am a geologist.

I am an omnivore. Anyone who describes themselves as a carnivore is likely to be exagerating. I for one love my vegetables etc.... But at the same time drink milk, eat cheese, and usually consume my veggies with some meat.

I look for low food miles, free range eggs and so on.

One animal which is worth "farming" for certain is the sheep. The reason why you see them on windswept moores/hillsides is that crops cannot practically be grown there. The sheep roam free being dipped and shawn for their own good. And to boot only spend VERY limited time indoors. You cannot use the argument for growing wheat instead of sheep, in mountainous/harsh environments.

As with anything a balance is needed.

Anyway a VEGAN RECIPE(I have it with meat, as a sauce):

Fry 2 med onions (european), in olive oil or vegetable oil.
Add 2Kg of tomatos (as local as you can get, but not necessarily Brittish, as we need to heat the tom's for them to grow over here)
Add courgettes (chopped)
Add herbs and garlic to taste
Stir in tomato puree and a glug of red wine.
Simmer til all is soft and yummy.

I have had this with jacket potatoes and pasta (not at the same time!). Ofcourse you can add protein in mushroom form or similar.

At a push all ingredients can be grown within the UK, even the wine. Although as of yet I have only found Olive oil and tom' puree from abroad, and I like it as it adds flavour and thickens the sauce.

I tend to buy all I an from within Europe, for economic, ethical and food mile reasons.

Also to those vegetarians/vegans who use photographic film. All the films that I am aware of use animal extracts for the backing of the emulsion, feel free to correct me on that if it has changed though.

Have fun whatever you eat, home cooking rules!

James :D

  • 226.
  • At 11:48 AM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Niall Leighton wrote:

I agree with James about low food miles. With global climate change a growing threat, I agree this is important.

However, his point about sheep is flawed. The sheep that are farmed for wool are tied in to the meat industry. They are so inbred that genetic disorders are endemic - for instance, many are prone to severe skin lesions that attract blowflies (look of for them when you're on the hills next summer).

They're not shorn for their own good: they're shorn for the farmers' good. Those that are sold for meat are not kept on the hills indefinitely - they are "finished" (a scary euphemism) on lowland pasture that often could be used for other things.

  • 227.
  • At 01:18 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Anne Griffin wrote:

To those who say we've been eating meat for thousands of years. A long time ago the animals we used for our meat roamed free and were hunted. Now there are factory farms which lots of animals are raised without adequate room for comfort. Sows spend their lives in stalls, battery hens don't have enough room to spread their wings. Their journey to the slaughterhouse can be very long. They are not given food, water, heating or cooling or enough room to sit or lie down.
I turned vegetarian 17 years ago and have had two unsuccessful attempts at turning vegan. I do eat a lot of vegan food as my husband can't eat dairy.

  • 228.
  • At 01:50 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Kelly wrote:

Stock up on vegan 'junk food' - meat substitutes from VegiDeli (great sausages, can be eaten cold), Frys, Redwoods, Poloni (from the freezer section) - from health food shops, Planet Organic or Fresh and Wild - plus Provamel vegan mayonnaise, and Cheezly cheeses (mature cheddar is best). You'll also be able to find great fresh soups in the organic supermarkets if you want to be healthy, and ready-marinated tofu. Sweetened soya milk tastes better than non-sweetened.

Watch out for things like caseinates, lecithin (can be soya, can be dairy), lactic acid (ditto), whey powder, albumin (annoyingly found in many vege-burgers). Ghee can be either vegetable or butter derived, so you'd need to ask. Nan bread has milk in it, but chapatis, roti and paratha are OK (unless the paratha has butter on it). Ditto pilau rice.

Red Veg does vegan/ vegetarian fast food - i.e. burgers and fries - there's one in Brighton and one in Soho. Chinese often use egg noodles - or put egg in with their vege-Singapore noodles, so you need to ask. Udon noodles / ramen in noodle bars and Wagamama are fine, and Thai restaurants are great.

You're better off cooking Italian at home, where you can used dried pasta, without egg. A very simple recipe would be spaghetti al olio - dried spaghetti or linguine, some good olive oil, garlic, chilli - and maybe some toasted pine nuts, or some sundried tomatoes, or olives, or capers. Another easy option is to stir-fy some cashews and some chunky vegetables - courgettes, carrots, aubergine, mushrooms, baby sweetcorn - mix in some Thai curry paste (make sure it doesn't have fish paste in it) and a tin of coconut milk, and serve with steamed rice or noodles. You can also use butternut squash, tofu, pak choi, french beans - whatever you have in stock.

At the risk of conforming to stereotype, lentils on toast is great - just stir-fry some red lentils till they change colour, then boil until mushy and soft. Add some Cheezly, or soya margarine, and some vegemite/ Marmite for flavour, and some seasoning. Serve on toast! Vegemite and Marmite are a good source of B12, so I often put them on toast with beans, lentils, 'cheese', mushrooms, or in a fried mushroom sandwich with vegan mayonnaise. (Also tastes good with raw mushrooms if you want to be healthy!). Vegemite/ Marmite are also good on jacket potatoes, with soya margarine and beans or mushrooms or sweetcorn...

The Co-op does some vegan wines. Some are just vegetarian, they use egg in the fining process instead of isinglass, but this is marked on the label.

Good luck with it!

Greetings Justin,

Good luck with the vegan month. In case you haven't seen this already, take a lok at a new study by the UN which says that animal emissions may be very much more serious in terms of climate chjange than previously thought - more significant perhaps than transport. See:

Quitting meat is a no-brainer. I've not eaten anything with a face for nearly 20 years. Best decision I ever made. Going Vegan on the other hand, while undoubtedly virtuous, is harder. Good luck

  • 230.
  • At 06:05 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • James Utley wrote:

I must admit to Niall Leighton that I was thinking of the seemingly idyllic sheep farming of parts of Wales, Derbyshire and the Lake District. And cannot of course comment on all sheep farming practices.

I'll repeat that the information on the official Vegan website about vitamin B12 is very interesting reading, even to an omnivore.

Enjoy life.

  • 231.
  • At 06:46 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Sophie wrote:

for a quick but satisfying alternative to scrambled eggs, i like scrambled tofu (eg Morinaga Firm Tofu). drain the tofu, then just heat up the whole block in a non stick pan and scramble as you go, adding as much soy sauce as you fancy. Spread over toast, & enjoy.
I cannot rate higher 'Green Gastronomy' by Colin Spencer: veganism need not be about denial and bean stews.

To be ethically vegan you'll have to eat locally. So that's a lot of sprouts!
Thank goodness global warming is allowing raspberries to be available in the UK at the moment!

Amazing vegetable soup with everything in you can find grown locally including some store cupboard dried beans and vegan stock.
Soak dried bean mix as per instructions
Chop all veg, fry onions and leeks briefly until slightly translucent. Add extra chopped veggies (leeks, potatoes, carrots, etc)
Add bean mix. Add stock.
Cook until done. Blitz half and reheat.
Serve with a huge dollop of pickled red cabbage in the middle of the dish.

This is yummy and very warming which in theory is what you want in December.

Of course a non-veggie would add some lamb at the onion frying stage and serve with a hunk of bread spread thickly with butter.

Enjoy your vegan month!


  • 233.
  • At 11:20 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Cath W wrote:

I've been vegan for 12 years and my favourite food is still chips. Big chunks of (organic) spuds fried to perfection in veggie oil. Marvellous. Keep the tofu for Oriental dishes and get down to the Co-op for your wine. Green and Black's Cherry Chocolate is great for afters. You'll be fine. If you get stuck then check out Benjamin Zephaniah's poems. Good luck!

  • 234.
  • At 11:39 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Claptrap1 wrote:

I have ben reading the vitamin debate with amusement, having been on both sides of the fence. I have found my compromise by staying vegetarian: I still eat milk and eggs (though I have had enough of omelettes for the rest of my life, but that's another story).

People have pointed out how yeast extract has B12 in it, but what about sauerkraut? It is very tasty and can be eaten in larger quantities. I often use it as a pie filling with cheese (so no recipie here). It is also easy to make, especially from cabbage in season. Other vegetables can also fermented but often the need a bit of help, with a little of saurkraut juice, perhaps. There is a traditional rye bread in Finland, of which the dough is fermented before baking. This bread has softer taste than the German variety. Many of the Englishmen Who have tasted it, said it would sell well in this country. I don't know if it is due to Finns eating rye bread or the fermented dough, but the country has the "lowest rate of colonic cancer in the world" according to one website.

Many recepies can be adjusted to become vegan, for example pancakes don't HAVE to have eggs. But any pancakes' flavour greately improves from nettles. Fresh ones have a good amount of vitamin C but even dried nettle has clacium and magnesium in right propositions for humans and is rich in iron. (everyone here is capable of finding a book with the nutritional values of nettle) I simply buy loose nettle tea and add it to soups and bread. I donate blood regurlalry have never been turned away from because of low iron count.

The taste of soya milk varies a lot, same goes with tofu makes, so it is worth experimenting. You can buy concentrated soya milk to use as cream but there are other alternatives; you could try coconut puree with enough hot milk to get the texture right, and use that on fruit salads or sauces.

When I was vegan (and so were my children, who were as healthy as the next kid) ice cream didn't taste very nice and cheese tasted awful. Luckily, milk yoghurt was good, in fact it tasted better than any made of cow's milk. We still drink soyamilk as a treat, pity it is so expensive... Twenty years later, ice cream has improved and you can buy at least three different flavour custards - in normal supermarket! Only the cheese tastes as bad as ever and you cannot use it to substitute any recepies where cheese is heated.

  • 235.
  • At 12:46 AM on 18 Dec 2006,
  • Mariah Petty wrote:

Can anyone help me become vegan - blood test tells me to avoid as I am intolerant to wheat beans legume soy ( ie tofu which I like) blackcurrant orange sugar. Also intolerant to eggs and dairy. Not good on meat via taste but I do eat potatoes greens and fruit. I like sprouts cooked properly -think its perhaps the variety more than the sprout. Need the frost on them like parsnips. Sunday lunch conversation of youth - Father "Our George knows how to grow a good sprout. Mother "Yes and Ada (his wife) knows how to cook them" The veg varied over the seasons the con versation somehow didn't. I was dutifully taken to Aunt Ada to watch her cook Sunday lunch so I know to cook sprouts :-) Oatly is good with porridge.

  • 236.
  • At 02:07 AM on 18 Dec 2006,
  • Graeme wrote:

As a tasty alternative to a vegan diet, try meat. This is one of my favourite recipes:

Get cow. Kill cow. Heat up bits of cow. Eat.

You might not look so pale and any urges to drive a 2CV will fade fairly quickly.

  • 237.
  • At 08:17 AM on 18 Dec 2006,
  • Timothy Campbell wrote:

I'm told eating meat is unethical.
Eating dairy products is also unethical.
Eating a vegan diet is also unethical, but too a lesser degree.

It's clear to me therefore, that the only way to be ethical is for us all to stop eating entirely.

Mass suicide anyone? No?

Mariah - start by listing foods that you CAN and LIKE to eat. Vegans often take some supplements anyway - sure there are vegans who don't, but hey, it's not a competition.

  • 239.
  • At 03:47 PM on 18 Dec 2006,
  • ant wrote:

For No 236 - Graeme

When did you last go and get a cow and then kill it?

Did you enjoy the experience - what was it about the task that you particularly enjoyed?

If you're still to kill your first cow, please, come back and let us all know how it went.

'Intelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians later in life, a study says'.

- see the link from today's news..!

I'm starting a campaign to rename Brussels Sprouts 'Berlaymont Berries', after the HQ of the European Commission. Any takers?

  • 242.
  • At 07:56 PM on 19 Dec 2006,
  • veryblue2 wrote:

Hey Justin,

For day to day stuff get a copy of the animal free shopper from the Vegan Society:

or check out the online offering:

another good site for checking if an item is Vegan or not is:

an excellent guide with enough to keep you going for well more than a month is Viva's L-Plate Vegan:

for some great recipes try:

and if you still can't think of anything for dinner come and join us on the Vegan Forum:
and check out the recipes threads

  • 243.
  • At 09:10 PM on 19 Dec 2006,

Very unvegan I know but the only way my mother got me to try Sprouts was to cut one open at the bottom and insert a small piece of mince meat. When I ate it and tasted the meat I tried all the other sprouts on my plate. I've loved them ever since.

  • 244.
  • At 04:07 PM on 21 Dec 2006,
  • Sam wrote:

firstly I think it's great you are going vegan for a month, I've been vegan 3 years and am very healthy and happy.

My main advice is to try to plan your first few meals, and dont try and do anything massively fancy to begin with - remember that it isn't the case that you can't eat ANYTHING you are used to - anyone who says that just doesnt know where to look.

I thought a list of staple foods might be useful :

apples, pears, carrots, parsnips,potatoes,oranges,bananas, broccoli, spinach, avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes etc etc (lots of fruit and veg)

soya milk, or if you don't like it there's other 'milks' available like oat milk, rice milk, almond milk - its good with cereal

breakfast ceral (check ingredients) but things like porridge, corn flakes etc are usualy ok

dairy free margarine (most supermarkets do a dairy free version)

rice (alternate between white and brown), pasta (wholemeal tates just as good, is just as cheap), cous cous

bread (wholemeal if possible)

yeast extract (good for B vitamins)

houmous (nice in sandwiches, as a dip, with falafel)

nuts, seeds,beans

peanut butter

plenty of water!!

also Dark chcocolate is competely vegan (check ingredients 'plain' chocolate isn't always...your local health food store should have some nice variations) also non dairy ice cream is available and all my non vegan friends think its great...

things like egg free mayonnaise,and alternatives to cream cheese and ordinary cheese are available from most health food stores as are meat alternatives

finally some easy combinations I have if i can't be bothered to cook:

- pasta with a tomato based sauce, whch you can either make from scratch or a jar. From scratch a nice easy one is diced onions and garlic cooked for a few minutes in oil, add herbs, canned or fresh tomatoes, leave to cook until you get a nice sauce. Then add any vegetables you like
Another variation on this is to add vegemince and cook for a further few minutes (realeat does a good one) most supermarkets do their own brand version of vegetarian mince, look in the freezer compartment.

-scrambled tofu on toast...not as difficult or scary as it sounds. I love tofu but have to have it with plenty of flavour.

A good quick recipe for scrambled tofu is: a few cloves of garlic fried until soft, add some herbs (i like basil) salt or soy sauce, a little bit of yeast extract, and some spices can be nice, like cumin, and mix well, then crumble in the tofu (literally with your hands) and fry for a few minutes until a golden colour. Serve with toast...or anything you like.its a really nice sandwich filling too.

- baked potato with the above tofu filling, or with beans, or get some cream cheese alternative and serve with a salad

- Home made potato wedges, served with vege sausages and salad, houmous

another really easy and healthy one is rice and dhal:

cook the rice

cook some split red lentils (about a cup and a half) in plenty of water, add salt and spices.

separatley fry garlic (and optionally onion) until soft...then add to the cooked lentils. Serve with a salad.

Briam (Greek Aubergine Casserole)

A wonderfully soft, rich and smoky dish. The secret is ridiculous amounts of olive oil and long, slow cooking.

Serving 2

1 lge aubergine, sliced in ½ inch rounds
3 ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
salt and pepper and dried thyme
4 oz potatoes, in ½ inch slices
approx 100ml good quality olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree disolved in a small amount of boiling water

Pour a little olive oil into a casserole dish. Layer aubergine slices in the dish. Slosh on more olive oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onions and pinches of thyme here and there amongst all the layers.

Layer on the tomatoes, add more oil. add another layer of aubergine and more oil.

Then add the potatoes, a good dollop more oil, more salt and pepper.

Pour the tomato liquid (should be thick - less than half a cup) over the vegs. Plenty of liquid will come out of the aubergines while they cook.

Cover and bake, according to a sliding scale of cooking time versus temperature. An authentic briam should cook for at least 4 hous in a low oven, say gas mark 3-4. However, if like me, you seldom have the leisure to wait 4 hours for your dinner, it will cook well in 2 or maybe even 1½ hours on gas mark 7 or so. Either way, it needs no further attentions, so go off and walk the hills for a few hours while it cooks.

Eat with crusty bread, perhaps a green salad, some olives. And definitely a glass of red.

this and loads more vegan recipes available at

  • 246.
  • At 05:39 PM on 23 Dec 2006,
  • Nicola wrote:

In reply to Paul (Comment 9), I would like to say that my organic farm does not use animal manure to fertilise our veg! We have an organic farm (with farm shop) in Lincolnshire and although we have both livestock and vegetables which we use in rotation, it is not the animal manure which we use as a fertiliser. In fact, we often use seaweed extracts to fertilise our produce!

  • 247.
  • At 09:35 PM on 23 Dec 2006,
  • Becka wrote:

Good luck for the challenge. I went vegan a few months ago and feel SO much better already (as well as a lot smuger ;-))

Here's a quick mid week standby meal for those after work occasions when you need something hot, tasty and QUICK!

Vegan Laksa

Blitz an onion in a mini food processor along with 2 chillis, 1/2 inch grated giner, some kaffir lime leaves, 2 lemon grass sticks, a bunch of corriander and 6 cloves garlic. Fry off in a pan with some sunflower oil, add a tin of coconut milk, some thinly sliced veggies (carrots, mushrooms, cauli, brocolli etc), half a packet of of rice noodles and simmer for 5 mins or so. Add a sliced pack of bok choi and more corriander and serve garnished with peanuts. Yum yum! Quick, packed with nutrients, filling and VEGAN!

  • 248.
  • At 08:03 PM on 24 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 234 Claptrap1 wrote;

"People have pointed out how yeast extract has B12 in it, but what about sauerkraut? It is very tasty and can be eaten in larger quantities."

It is tasty, but it has ZERO B12 in it!
Why are so many proponents of veganism unable to do simple research to answer their own simple questions?

(That took me all of 30 seconds to determine by googling for one on the many USDA nutritional data search pages on the web).

  • 249.
  • At 10:21 AM on 26 Dec 2006,
  • Maisie Bowie wrote:

Brussells sprout is actually a hilarious misnomer.Anyone who has lived in the city knows it as a haven for carnivores,in which the EC flouts every rule that it imposes upon its member states.It is rare indeed to see anything Green there.Pasteurised and unpasteurised cheeses mingle promiscuously in every delicatessen window,and nobody bats an eye lid if a pregnant woman orders steak tartar-a potentially lethal mixture of raw egg and beef.Moules-frites is a lunchtime favourite and,should you feel the need of a sugar rush, cream Leonidas chocolates are sold from kiosks on every street corner,even in the fashionable Avenue Louise.In some brasseries you can still find lavatories in which an ashtray is thoughtfully affixed to the wall.
It was after one business trip too many that I invented the Virtuous Cocktail-just throw anything green into a blender and take pot luck-it may taste nasty but no doubt it will be doing some good.Sip slowly and feel very very smug.

  • 250.
  • At 07:14 PM on 26 Dec 2006,
  • J. Watson wrote:

Some hidden ingredients to watch out for:

gelatin in yoghurt, candy, marshmallow
bone char in sugar, wine
lanolin in hand/body lotion
lard, butter or whey in baked goods

Most commercial baked beans have lard or pork in them.

  • 251.
  • At 03:00 PM on 28 Dec 2006,
  • Emma Dona wrote:

Maisie,I also lived in Brussells.Horse meat is still considered a delicacy there so I was always cautious about what I ordered when out for a meal.In my street the meat shop was right next to the pet shop so I often wondered what I was getting in that little package.

  • 252.
  • At 11:37 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • James Coils wrote:

In response to Ellie B, Ghee, in the traditional sense, is clarified butter. There are Vegan friendly versions, which are usually made with hydrogenated vegetable oil, but, as with all things Vegan, read the label, and know your ingredients.

  • 253.
  • At 07:41 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • amy lynn wrote:

This recipe has served me well.

1 can of kidney beans
1 can of coconut milk
cumin, corriander, cinnamon, etc salt & pepper to taste

Drain the beans. Dump into a pan on low-heat, cook for 5-10 minutes. Pour in the can of coconut milk and wait until the mixture boils. Serve over couscous, rice, lentils, pasta, etc. Vegetables of any variety can be cooked with the kidney beans for additional flavors.

  • 254.
  • At 01:42 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jlin wrote:

Walnut Lentil Pate Recipe (Vegan)

Recipe is lifted directly from the Post Punk Kitchen. I make this all the time. No resemblance to pate other than an exaggerated resemblance of form. However, it's delicious!

1 cups French "puy" lentils
1 cup whole walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice if you want to strain the seeds)
sea salt

-Cook the lentils until soft. drain off the water. The rest of the cooking process will be easier of lentils are cooked thoroughly (reduces blender time).

-Fill 1/2 of your blender with the lentils. blend till smooth. fill 1/4 of the blender with walnuts. add one clove garlic, pre-pressed or chopped. blend till smooth, using the spatula to aid the mixing when necessary. also, if more liquid is needed, add some olive oil and/or lime juice transfer to stainless steel bowl. repeat with rest of ingredients.
note: you might not need to use all of the lentils or walnuts. measurements are approximate and to taste/texture.

- Add the olive oil and lime juice if you didn't already. mix with spatula. add sea salt in small increments and blend and taste until the dip has the desired saltiness.

If storing the dip, smooth the top surface with a spatula and add some more olive oil to seal the surface before adding top or plastic wrap.

  • 255.
  • At 10:17 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • laura wrote:

Does anybody know any recipes for shepard pie, if so could you reply as a comment.
thank you

  • 256.
  • At 02:58 PM on 13 Jan 2007,
  • doc bob wrote:

Hi Justin, I've got to applaud the whole ethical man series, although I've got to ask what did you do to the producer who put you up this? As they seem to take pleasure in making you suffer. On the subject of suffering I believe(although I hope that I am wrong 'cus you've suffered enough),that you will find your forray into veganism more painful than giving up the car. I don't believe that veganism or veggyism is the ethical high-ground. A balanced diet of meat and veg, produced locally and organically is the way forward, I believe. There has been a lot of chat on this post about the energy requirement needed to produce meat. Something along the lines of the field needed to produce meat for one person could feed a dozen or so veggies. well that all sounds cool, and probably would be for the first year or two. Then the soil would be in serious need of some fertilizer to replace the goodness removed from harvesting crops. Now the best organic fertilzer I know comes from the back-end of farm animals. To produce enough fertilizer to be useful you'd need an awful lot of livestock. If you are going to have livestock to produce manure it seems ethical to me to use them to their full potential, ie. eat them, use their skins and bones etc., net result-very little waste and a system that pretty much is self-sustaining. It was the way a lot of farming was carried out for centuries before WW2. Today's society has grown used to the ease of access to such a wide range of foodstuffs at such low prices that it has lost the ability to appreciate the value of the food it consumes.
In defense of cows and their flatulence(which has been used in the argument against producing livestock), I had to spend 3 months on tour in a van with a bunch of veggies and they easily produced enough gas in that van to give any self-respecting dairy herd a run for their money.
I cannot see why eating meat should be labelled unethical if it is done in an efficient and caring manner.
Best of luck with your month my friend and thank you for your efforts.

  • 257.
  • At 07:10 PM on 13 Jan 2007,
  • JanetheVegan wrote:

My favorite is:
1 package egg-free Udon noodles - cooked according to package instructions and then rinsed with cold water.
2 medium grated carrots
1 Daikon radish chopped into little bits
Mixture of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup Kotterin (mirin style sweet cooking seasoning), and several dashes of sesame oil.

Mix all ingredients together and voila! You have a vegan cold noodle dish...I've had it warm, which is good too...garnish with green onions, chives, chopped cucumbers...

  • 258.
  • At 12:11 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • trish wrote:

my only advice is don't eat fake meat like quorn of tofu. If you're being vegan, then do it properly.

Sausgaes and chips....

some pine nuts - a couple of tablespoon or so
2 onions, chopped
2 tins beans - i use borlotti and cannellini but it doesn't matter
thyme - fresh or dried

toast the pine nuts by dry-frying them for a few minutes
blit the onion, beans and thyme in the food procesor, mix in the nuts and enough oats to bind it.
make into sausage shapes. fry or bake.

cut come spuds into chunky chips. boil for a couple of mins, drain and give a shake to roughen the edges. cover with a little oil, salt and pepper. pop in a very hot oven for 20 mins or until cooked.

  • 259.
  • At 07:56 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Donna Downing wrote:

I find a fine sprinkling of Chinese all-spice is a very good replacement for bacon bits in salads-but don't over do it,not for the heavy handed.If you've been foraging,Dandelion leaves are also a good addition for the green minded.

  • 260.
  • At 11:55 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Colin Ruggerio. wrote:

I would be very careful about foraging for dandelions.They can easily be confused with nettles,with very unpleasant consequences.It is about as clever as trying to forage for berries without working out how to identify deadly nightshade

  • 261.
  • At 12:54 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Lorraine wrote:

Why do we not talk about over-population anymore? This is never in the news like it was in the 1970's when we had far less people. With less people in the world, there would be far more options as we'd have more land and not the need for so much livestock to safisfy the meat-eaters. Just because we can have numerous children, doesn't mean we have to...

  • 262.
  • At 10:44 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Mutton Curry wrote:

Vast ammounts of vitriol and smugness it seems. Anyway I am glad that you are trying out different 'ethical' stances - I was very disappointed at the beginning that the project appeared to conflate ethics and green-ness. Much more interesting to look at different conflicting ethical sub-cultures. Hence the debate kicking off about imported mangos vs. local meat.

Have fun being Vegan. But please get Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as one of your experts on the vegan segment - I suggest reading his 'River Cottage Meat Book' for a thoughtful discussion of the practicality and ethics of meat - from a nose to tail carnivore. And for the best way to cook them. Actually have one of your researchers read it - you won't manage a month without meat if you do.

While annoyed by some of the holier-than-thow vegans, the least impressive comments were those from meat eaters claiming it is hard to source good quality meat. That is the authentic whine of the ethically lazy. There are plenty of serious butchers (see Guild of Q Butchers), organic meat suppliers, and worst case, plenty of organic meat farms offering nationwide chilled or frozen delivery to the door.

I hope the Vegan's realise that you are only tasked to do this because to be good TV your challenges have to be somewhat extremist and thus at least a bit funny.

The problem is the fetishism of a single principle instead of a balanced but imperfect compromise. But sensible trade-offs aren't as funny as composting toilets.

  • 263.
  • At 01:40 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Will wrote:

For loads of great vegan menu ideas visit

On the site you'll find vegan menu plans, created by PETA's chefs that feature beautiful breakfasts, luscious lunches and delicious dinners. Even if you've never been able to boil water, you'll see that creating scrumptious vegan meals is anything but complicated. You'll also find suggestions for great ready-to-eat, store-bought meals and a list of favorite desserts.

So, strap on that apron, dust off the electric mixer, and find your long-lost frying pan because it's time to get cooking. Bon appétit!

  • 264.
  • At 06:05 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

For amazing vegan recipes this book will blow away any carnivore at a dinner party.

Complex however - good cooking skills required for most.

  • 265.
  • At 08:03 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Funny - i have a similar problem with big macs!

Try the Frosty Stew (from Baby and Child Vegetarian Recipes, by Carol Timperley) - the greatest ever stew!

You'll never bother eating meat stew again.

  • 266.
  • At 11:08 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Oriel wrote:

I noticed a few people commenting on soya production. You might like to do a bit of research on this. Green Peace estimates 80% of soya grown in the areas which were once South American rainforest are fed to livestock for human consumption. Don't forget that even in that 20% of human consumption most of the soya is used as 'fillers' in non-vegan food stuffs like sausages, burgers and confectionary. That's not all...starving children in India and China live along side high protein plant "cash crops" destine for the West to feed - yet again - our live stock. Even though 70% of UK arable land is used for farmed animals we STILL need to fed them more food and import most of this. Why? because animal rearing is extremely WASTEFUL they have even been called "reverse protein machines". Animals need to eat and drink - just like humans - simply to stay alive, to move, to breathe and most of what you fed them comes out in the form of manure.

In an area of land the size of 5 hectors we can feed 61 humans with soya (contains all 8 'essential' amino acids and is therefore a superior protein source) or two people with beef.

Talk about food miles, talk about wasteful, talk about ETHICS - don't take my word for it do some research for all our sakes!

  • 267.
  • At 11:52 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Emma wrote:

I've been vegan for over four years (veggie for three years before that) and love it! I'm healthy and happy, also I am slim without trying!
Well done for giving vegan food a try.
My favourites are Green and Black's chocolate, and Tofutti and Swedish Glace soya ice-creams.
I highly recommend Cocoadirect drinking chocolate or Green and Black's drinking chocolate made with Alpro Fresh Soya Milk (in the fridge in health food shops, or in the fresh milk section of the supermarket, the full not the diet version). Alpro Fresh is the nicest soya milk I've tried, second only to Bonsoy Japanese soya milk. The hot chocolate also tastes great made with almond milk which you can buy in Holland and Barratts.

  • 268.
  • At 11:49 PM on 31 Jan 2007,
  • Tom Gardner wrote:

In 234 Claptrap1 wrote:

"People have pointed out how yeast extract has B12 in it, but what about sauerkraut? "

Easy. Sauerkraut contains ZERO B12, unless it is added artificially.

And 1 teaspoon of "yeast extract spread" contains about 1.5% of the RDA. Would you fancy eating 60 teaspoons of yeast extract every day!

See http: //

Are you going to tell us what you had for breakfast this morning Justin? Now your month is over will the veganism still continue?

  • 270.
  • At 07:25 PM on 02 Feb 2007,
  • aBCDEFG wrote:

I know this may sound strange, but one of my biggest problems going veg, was that I craved the BBQ sauce and steak sauces. This may sound strange to some but I make veggie kabobs for the grill, with pineapple chunks, all marinated in bbq sauce. I use potato chunks, green pepper, mushroom, brocolli and so on. You can customize. Its AWESOME! Just be sure and clean the icky meat drippings off the grill or if you have good meat eating friends like I do, they clean a place on the grill just for you! ;)

  • 271.
  • At 09:57 AM on 05 Mar 2007,
  • xini wrote:

Would you drink human breast milk?

Most adults would run screaming at the thought, or at least shudder heartily.

So why would you believe that breast milk from another species, designed for baby cows, is a healthy or 'natural' thing to put in your body?

xini: so because adults are squeamish about human milk (why call it "human breast milk" - you don't say "cow udder milk", do you?) therefore milk isn't a "natural" thing to put into your body? Tell that to the Australian whose baby died of malnutrition after they stupidly fed it rice milk.

What I cannot understand about vegan diets is the endless reliance on fake meat products. Either just eat vegetables, or eat (organic) meat and fish for real.

And people that gorge on soy products - especially men - might want to Google their oestrogenic effects. Proto-humans before the discovery of hunting may well have been eating tubers and leaves and fruit in season, but they sure as hell weren't living off vast quantities of soybean curd.

  • 273.
  • At 08:33 PM on 06 Mar 2007,
  • Colin C. Venters wrote:

Omnivores should be more concerned about their soy intake than vegans. It is in 60% of all processed food, from cheese to ice cream, baby formula to biscuits -,,1828158,00.html.

As research by University College London suggests, early Europeans were unable to digest milk because the lactase gene was absent from the DNA -

A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report on Global Warming concluded that 'livestock production' was a major threat to environment. It was calculated that livestock generated more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent to ‘all’ transport in the ‘world’ and was also a major source of land and water degradation -

The days of cheap meat are coming to an end. I suggest that in addition to taxing car drivers, we should also should now be taxing meat eaters since they are responsible for even greater green house gas emissions!

  • 274.
  • At 09:10 PM on 06 Mar 2007,
  • Colin C. Venters wrote:

Research has shown that 1 litre of milk can contain up to 400 million pus (somatic) cells and may be legally sold for human consumption!

That means that one teaspoon of milk could contain 2 million pus cells!

MMMmmm...yummy! Enjoy your milk.

Not sure I truely agree. If you try to ensure that all tests, investigations and "pre-treatment" processes are carried out within one clinical setting - isn't that what we call a hospital? WBR LeoP

This article just goes to show that all that is required for people to lose weight is a sensible healthy diet and some regular exercise. Also the fact that the childrens parents had to be told that they were obese before they decided to take any action i WBR LeoP

  • 277.
  • At 11:16 AM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Not a vegan, nor will I ever be. However unless you buy your meat from a butchers you might as well be. The supermarket rubbish is bland beyond belief. I have to admit though that my favourite chilli recipe (my own for a veggie friend) is veggie:

Quorn "mince" - 2 packs
tin of chopped tomatoes
tin of "chilli kidney beans"
2 fresh green chillis - chopped
2 dried red chillis - chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion - chopped
1/2 green pepper - diced
50 - 100ml red wine (depending on taste)
3-4 blocks of REAL dark chocolate
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon oil (olive oil)

Heat oil
Fry onions/garlic/chillis until golden
Add quorn mince - fry for a couple of minutes
Add tinned tomatoes, puree, wine, pepper, chocolate, kidney beans
Cook for 20-30 mins.

I usually stuff tortillas with the chilli, sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 15 mins, and serve with loads of sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos. Not very healthy however if the chilli itself is served with steamed rice - just as tasty.

  • 278.
  • At 06:41 PM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • Amy wrote:

i found this article facinating and agree with most of it

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