Featured

Top 5 Vegan Supermarket Cheeses

Say Cheese. Probably the item that people struggle the most to leave behind, when transitioning to a plant-based diet. Why is that? What is it that is so tantalising about the coagulation of milk protein into a rectangle, a wheel or a triangle?

I have been asking myself the question for 4 years. While I’m still figuring it out, I am sampling every vegan cheese there is, to find a product I can roll with (too cheesy?). Don’t fret though, as it turns out that MANY amazing and affordable products do exist. You just have to know where to look. And that’s where FGGV comes to your rescue.

This is my TOP 5 SUPERMARKET-AVAILABLE CHEESE ALTERNATIVES. And no joke, I actually had to grate them down (daym, I’m good), because there were so many. Shocking, I know. But welcome to the future!

Caveat – none of these cheeses taste EXACTLY like their dairy counterpart. But I think that’s okay. I don’t need it to taste exactly the same as the fermented breast milk of a bovine mammal. 😉

Same system as usual:

  • BEST FOR
  • FOUND IN
  • MACRONUTRIENTS  
  • PRICE

LET’S DO THIS. 

Applewood Vegan – Smoky Cheese Alternative

Cheeseappledwoodbackground

I had been waiting in anticipation, for Applewood to bring out a vegan version of one of my former go-to cheeses – the smoked cheddar. Then finally in September 2019, dreams came true. It hit the shelves and my mouth, almost simultaneously. I couldn’t actually wait to get home to try it, so ripped the packet open then and there, Fantastic Mr Fox style. I guzzled it down like it was in short supply. “You don’t understand how long I’ve been waiting”, I told horrified onlookers.

This exercise confirmed that it can be eaten straight from the fridge: morning, day, night. Indoors or outdoors. Public or private. Whoever said that eating cheese at night gives you cheesemares, clearly never tried vegan smoked cheese right before bed.

Having now gotten used to its existence in our world, my current preference with this fella is to eat it on toast, with a drizzle of soy sauce and black pepper. It’s so smoky and melts like an absolute champ under the grill. @applewood_cheese, you have outdone yourselves. Praised be.

BEST FOR: Grilled cheese on toast

FOUND IN: ASDA

Nutrition table blank applewood

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

CheeseDaiyabackground

This can be found in most Sainsbury’s, if you know where to look. It’s never on the shelf I expect. This is a pre-grated NOTzarella offering from Daiya. I have tried it in a few ways – on top of a pasta bake, on toast, for white sauce, but I find it is best on pizza, because it can STRETCH! That’s a bold claim, but hey, don’t ask me, ask @daiyafoods how they do it. DaiYAAAMMM.

It is a coconutty-type flavour, but isn’t overpowering. Don’t be surprised if you shout Mozza-HELLYEAH’ when you try it.

BEST FOR: Pizza

FOUND IN: Sainsbury’s (in that weird fridge at the end of the aisle, that has loads of random free-from products thrown in together).

Nutrition table blank daiya

Sheese Creamy Garlic & Herb

CheeseSheesebackground

If you picked this up by accident, there is basically NO WAY you would know this was a vegan product (other than the large writing saying ‘100% DAIRY FREE’, of course). I would love to get a blind taste test set up, for my non-vegan mates. I would bet money they couldn’t tell the difference between this, and it’s dairy-filled asshole of a cousin: the garlic & herb Philadelphia cheese.

Perfect as a spread on a bagel with any toppings, but I could just as easily eat this plain with a spoon, on horribly dry crackers, or lick it off _________ (you decide, I won’t judge). It’s that good. YES, SHEESE!

BEST FOR: Cream Sheese Bagel

FOUND IN: Waitrose

@buteislandfoods

Nutrition table Sheese

VioLife Greek White Block

Cheeseviolifebackground

Okay, now this was a shock entry into the top 5. @VioLife_foods is a good starting point for vegan cheese novices. The standard slices can be quite plasticky in texture, but work for a quick cheese and pickle sandwich. However, this is a different guy altogether. It’s thick, creamy and tangy (yes, I did just say that). I did make the mistake of trying to grill it though, and it turned into a sauce rather than becoming crispy as I was expecting. But hey, now you know, so you won’t make this crucial and rather sad error.

I made vegan Greek kebabs, and this ‘cheese’ really took it to the next level. This is a full-on coconut base though, so if you don’t like coconut, here’s a tip: don’t buy this product. You won’t like it. No amount of fermenting and coagulating can disguise this level of coconut, to someone who sees it more as cocoNOT.

BEST FOR: Kebab or salad

FOUND IN: Tesco

Nutrition table blank violife

Follow Your Heart – PepperJack Slices

Cheesefollowyourheartpepper

Ooohhhhhbabythishasgotapunchtoit, that I very much enjoy. Follow your Heart is a darling of a brand, with so many products, it was hard to choose just one to highlight. Their big hitter is probably Vegenaise, and they are lesser known for their cheeses, but shouldn’t be.

It was a toss-up between @followyourheart Pepperjack & Smoked Gouda, both of which are stellar products. BUT, the Pepperjack tips it for me. You can find the Smoked Gouda on the PLANT burger at Honest – many people won’t believe you when you tell them it’s vegan. I believe you.

You can eat Pepperjack on its own, but I like it in sandwiches, atop a Beyond Burger or as a shoulder to cry on. It has that slightly unexpected and feisty kick, like a young but zealous ninja, that I just keep coming back for, time and time again.

BEST FOR: Sandwiches, on top of burgerz or for emotional support.

FOUND IN: Ocado or Planet Organic

Nutrition table blank pepperjack

And now for the pièce de résistance… The Master Table.

Here I have coagulated (good one), all 5 VEGAN SUPERMARKET CHEESES into a handy comparison chart. Here you quickly get to see which is FREE FROM what, has the LOWEST CARBS, HIGHEST FAT or is the most expensive. It’s all here baby!

Master table CHEESE

That’s it from me, for cheese… for now.

FGGV x 

Featured

Top 5 Vegan Sausages

This is some really sauSAGE advice. 

I have been on a sausage-fuelled mission to try and test VEGAN SUPERMARKET-AVAILABLE options, to attempt to find the best for our money. I have had some disappointments (haven’t we all), but equally some great surprises. I have done it, so you don’t have to. Of course, this is all my own opinion, but with these Top 5, you are bound to find one you fancy. I have employed the help of a non-vegan taste tester to confirm the legitimacy of my claims. We’ll call them Dr. X.  I aim to convince them to go vegan by the end of this blog series. 

I have given each a recommendation of what they are best for; listed the macronutrients; suitability for freezing AND price, so that you can get what you need to know, at a glance.

Just BTW: I was born on a dairy farm (love you, Dad :), and now I’m a vegan. Stick that sausage in your mouth and eat it.  

 

LET’S DO THIS.

Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages

 

All hail Queen Linda! Still on her pedestal, and in my opinion is yet to be beaten. These are so realistic in terms of flavour, it’s almost scary. The texture, although different to sausage meat is decent, and as they are frozen, they don’t have that slimy sausage feeling before you cook them. A Linda sandwich is the ultimate comfort food when you are tired, and can’t be bothered to cook, which for me is on the regs. My only complaint is that 6 sausages is nowhere near enough. I’m sure the recommended serving size is probably two, but I have been known to blast through a whole packet in one sitting. You laugh now, and think that you wouldn’t be capable of such an act. I like you. I used to be like you too. See if you can look at yourself in the mirror, after it happens to you for the first time. I could, and I liked what I saw. In fact I’m still looking in the mirror now, and my expression is one of deep satisfaction. No sausage shame here!I would also like to highlight, that out of all the sausages listed here, these have the lowest carbs but highest protein (Keto Vegans say, YEAAH? YEAAAH!), with a whopping 15.5g protein per 2 sausages! How on earth does Linda do it? Some kind of wizardry I say. Paul McCartney needs to go meat-free every day, not just on Monday’s.

This is the absolute BOSS-age:

  • Low price
  • Suitable for Keto
  • High in protein
  • SO tasty

BEST FOR: Sausage sandwiches or dipping in the vegan mayo jar (that’s a thing).

FOUND IN: Morrison’s, Tesco, Sainsbury’s

PRICE PER SAUSAGE: £0.33

@lindamccartneyfoods

Nutrition table blank with space for fat LINDA

Richmond Meat-Free Sausages

 

These have a very strange and disconcerting texture when raw. They feel like what a jellyfish looks like it would feel like, which I would know if they weren’t always trying to sting me. I’ve tried to make friends with jellyfish on a few occasions, and I think I need to enhance my communication skills. Last time I ended up getting stung on the arse. True story. Must have been sending mixed signals. Next time maybe I’ll offer them a Richmond’s. 

HOWEVER, and it is a big however, when cooked, these sausages are nothing like jellyfish, in terms of texture or appearance. INFACT, they are delicious. The hype from other vegans for Richmond’s was REAL. But I never know if I can trust the hype. I was so pleasantly surprised. I cooked them in the oven, as I’ve got a habit of burning things in the pan. The outside became nice and crispy, and the texture inside was spot-on. The taste is very realistic, almost disturbingly so. They get extra points from me for being Irish, and using their ‘own Irish recipe’.  This can be found lurking in the actual meat fridge, which may be off-putting to vegans, but I think could work as a good tactic for unassuming meat-eaters who may not notice the difference (insert evil laugh here).

BEST FOR: Bangers & Mash, and making friends with jellyfish (to be confirmed).

FOUND IN: Tesco 

PRICE PER SAUSAGE: £0.31

@richmond_foods

Nutrition table blank with space for fat RICHMOND

Plant Pioneers – Caramelised Onion Shroomdogs

 

These are probably the closest in feel and texture to a meat sausage (that is corroborated by Dr X.). When it comes to summer BBQ’s for vegans, the struggle is real. I’ve watched on, teary-eyed, as my bean burgers have disintegrated and fallen through the grill onto the coals to their hellish demise. To much hilarity for non-vegan onlookers. You need something firm and sturdy to avoid that kind of embarrassment (I’m not gonna say it, but you’re thinking it ;). Shroomdogs are pushing the sausage boundaries, in terms of meaty similarity. It’s weird, but also useful for transitioning meat-eaters. People always ask me why I eat things that are like meat, but aren’t meat. Why wouldn’t I just eat meat? Well, why would people who play shooting computer games, not just go out and shoot people? Because that would make them murderers…

Anyway, back to the Shroomdogs (love that name, btw). The casing is very similar to actual sauz’s, and the way they crisp up in the oven is just right. I like this flavour, as the caramelised onion gives it an extra boost. These are quite high in carbs, but seeing as I’m a carb junkie, I would say it’s worth it. But, I’ll let you decide.

BEST FOR: BBQ (without the embarrassment).

FOUND IN: Sainsbury’s

PRICE PER SAUSAGE: £0.42

@sainsburys

Nutrition table blank with space for fat SHROOMDOGS

Meatless Farm Co. Meat-free Sausages

 

Ahhh the Meatless Farm. I’m a bit of a über fan of this brand. Each product I taste, I’m stunned by the texture & flavour and how uncannily they have replicated actual meat. I very much enjoy these sausages. They are quite short in stature but are densely packed and have an intriguing texture. And that’s also what she said, but moving right along, they’re almost more like a kind of mince cylinder. The flavour is absolutely delicious, and I’m happy to see one brand being totally allergen free! I have listed the full set of ingredients below, as I barely believed it myself. They are also very high in protein due to being made from peas. So when people ask me where I get my protein, I tell them: ‘Bitch, peas’.

Full ingreds list:

Water, Pea Protein (18%), Rapeseed Oil, Shea Oil, Thickener: Methyl Cellulose, Seasoning (Spices (White Pepper, Nutmeg, Coriander), Onion Powder, Sage, Antioxidant: Ascorbic Acid, Sunflower Oil), Coconut Oil, Pea Fibre, Potato Fibre, Potato Starch, Rice Protein, Natural Flavourings, Salt, Vegetable and Fruit Extracts (Beetroot, Radish, Tomato), Yeast Extract, Acidity Regulator: Ascorbic Acid, Caramelised Carrot Concentrate, Sage, Coriander, Nutmeg, Carrot Concentrate, Sausages filled into Sodium Alginate Casings.

BEST FOR: Hotdogs (don’t scrimp on the mustard and crispy onions).

FOUND IN: Sainsbury’s

PRICE PER SAUSAGE: £0.42

@meatlessfarm

Nutrition table blank with space for fat MEATLESS FARM

Heck – Vegan Breakfast Sausages

SausagesHeckbackground

 

A surprise hit! Heck yes. They are luminously green and therefore made me presume they would taste too healthy (that’s the salad-avoidant vegan part of me coming out). However, they were Heckin’ tasty. A really interesting combination of ingredients. Just listed on the front cover we have: mushroom, carrot and tomato with parsley & sage. The herbs really Heck it all off, and I like the fact that you can tell you are eating vegetables, rather than a faux-meat. It feels somehow like they have combined the whole fry-up into one Hecker of a sausage. How the Heck do they make them taste so good. 

BEST FOR: HECKfast (you guessed it!)

FOUND IN: Asda

PRICE PER SAUSAGE: £0.42

@heckveggie

Nutrition table blank with space for fat HECK

Now for the holy grail – the Master Table…

This compares all 5 sausages brands, like for like, to give a quick overview. If you need to know who has the highest protein per 100g, you got it. Lowest carbs, you know it. Allergens? It’s. All. Here.

Master table with extra rows Sausage

That’s all for now folks. Check back here soon for the next in the series.

FGGV x

Featured

Lasagn-YAHH Recipe

Lasagn-YAHHHH!

When I think of my mum’s cooking, this absolute boy of a lasagne is what starts running through my mind. When I think of it, I am literally salivating. I am using literally correctly here, and do not mean figuratively or metaphorically. I mean actual saliva running down my chin. It’s pretty awkward. I’m almost certain this was originally a recipe from good ol’ Delia Smith, which has been adjusted over the years and now fully VEGANISED by yours truly. 

But, what’s so goddamn special about a freakin’ lasagne, I hear you ask? Well. That’s the thing. This is a LASAGNE, but not how you know it (at least I don’t think it’s how you know it, and if it is, soz, byeee).  

First of all, there’s no meat – that much was probably obvious from a blog called FarmGirlGoesVegan. But yeah, just putting it out there. MEAT-FREE. But secondly, it’s not a mince/tomato base. It’s a dreamy, creamy, white sauce base with the perfect combo of broccoli, sweetcorn, onion & garlic. Are you with me? I think that you’re with me, and if you’re not, I’m going to keep going anyway. 

I am making it my mission while in Northern Ireland over lockdown, to veganise these fond faves and see how the vegan verjs compare to my memories. 

LET’S DO THIS. 

Lasagne kicking-offffff

INGREDS LIST:

3 oz Plain Flour

3 oz Plant-Based Butter (I used Flora Buttery 100% Plant-Based)

1 Small Tin Sweetcorn

1 Whole Head of Broccoli 

1 Whole Head Cauliflower

2 Medium Carrots

200g Closed Cup Mushrooms 

1 Large Onion  

2 Cloves Garlic 

1 Pint Vegetable Stock

½ Pint Plant Milk (I used Unsweetened Soya)

Vegan Pasta Sheets (I get these from the Free From range at any supermarket)

Salt, Pepper, Mixed herbs

Nutritional Yeast to sprinkle on top

Check that Nooch on top!

10 STEPS TO FOOD HEAVEN:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 for fan oven)
  2. Chop broccoli, cauliflower & carrots into small pieces and put into steamer or boil until tender.
  3. Meanwhile finely chop onion, garlic & mushrooms, melt butter in saucepan and use to fry the onion, garlic & mushrooms until soft.
  4. Add flour to the pan and mix thoroughly until it forms a kind of paste. 
  5. Gradually add stock while stirring continuously.
  6. Gradually add plant milk & keep stirring (it should form a nice thick sauce)
  7. Add in your steamed vegetables and stir until they are fully coated in sauce.
  8. Season with salt, pepper & mixed herbs. 
  9. Then use a casserole dish and layer the saucy veg mixture, followed by pasta, then sauce and so on, ending on a layer of the saucy veg mixture. 
  10. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast & bake in the oven for 30 mins.
OH YEAHHHHHH

This is a lovely hearty winter meal and can be served with peas, potatoes, whatever you like really. But obv, if you’re in Ireland, it’s prob gonna be potatoes (more than one type – chips & mash for example).

Tuck in & ENJOY!

Would love to hear if you try this recipe & how you find it. Tag me on Instagram @FarmGirlGoesVegan.

Peace,

FarmGirl x

Featured

Top 5 Vegan Supermarket Chocolates

I have tried and failed many times to give up sugar. The main reason I fail every time is due to the copious amounts of vegan chocolate hitting the supermarket aisles (or possibly the addictive nature of the substance itself, who’s to say?). It’s my kryptonite. Everywhere I turn there’s a new vegan chocolate bar throwing itself off the shelf and into my basket without me asking it to. I don’t even WANT to eat them, but someone has to stop them from falling and hurting themselves. And so here we are. Or here I am. You probably have a perfectly adequate amount of self-restraint.

I get to the till and say to the cashier, ‘I don’t know how all these got in there’. They look at me with a knowing smile, and I think you don’t actually know, but this is better than any milk chocolate you will ever eat, and even if I tell you now, you wouldn’t believe it, and will think of me as one of those fanatic vegans’. And you would be right. When I leave this store I will be fanatically indulging myself with some of the best chocolate money can buy, and I refuse to regret it. Not one single square.

Whether it’s truffles, biggggg old bars of choc or bitesize treats, there is a full range of options. I feel it is my responsibility to share the information I have gathered, with you. It’s only fair that you know what’s out there, so you too can become a fanatic, chocolate guzzling vegan. If that isn’t what you want, maybe it’s best you stop reading now. Continue at your own risk.

This time:

  • MACRONUTRIENTS
  • FOUND IN
  • PRICE
  • NO ‘BEST FOR’, as the answer would always be the same. EATING.

LET US PROCEED.

BOOJA BOOJA HAZELNUT CRUNCH TRUFFLES

ChocolateBoojabackground

Now, I’m not trying to suggest that I have discovered Booja Booja as a new brand. They have been around since 1999 (regretfully I only discovered them a mere 17 years later). But ultimately, they are some of the most delectable truffles in existence, vegan or not. Melt in the mouth, deep dark chocolate that is so rich. They come in in a box of 9 ordinarily, but they have quite recently released the 2-Pac(k) (RIP) which is pictured. It comes in 3 flavours – Hazelnut Crunch, Almond Salted Caramel & Fine de Champagne. Having @BoojaBooja in an ‘indulgence-on-the-go’ format is a life changer for me. Now, I can be known to have a packet of my Boos (can I call you that?), in my pocket at all times. Best to keep an emergency supply. You never know when (you or anyone else around you) might need them. My non-vegan taste tester mate, Dr. X, is an absolute Boos hound. So that’s it confirmed. Boos are life.

FOUND IN: Planet Organic

Nutrition table blank Booja Booja

GALAXY VEGAN CARAMELISED HAZELNUT

ChocolateGalaxybackground

I FEEL LIKE WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOREVER FOR THIS TO HAPPEN, AND NOW IT’S HERE AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO FOCUS MY ENERGY ON ANYMORE. I FEEL LOST. I have been preparing for at least three years to re-enact the weirdly sexual @GalaxyUK advert of old. ‘Why have cotton, when you can have silk?’ AKA ‘why have morals when you can have milk?’. I was preparing to stroke the golden packaging of the chocolate, nay, even the chocolate itself, before popping entire segments into my mouth without chewing – how does she do that? It’s raining everywhere except in her mouth, or maybe also in her mouth. ANYWAY.

These are ridiculously good replicas of the original Galaxy, which I did used to consume in abundance. I could definitely take down a 360g bar, easy. I realise that my past is starting to sound like I spent a lot of time eating, and that would be correct. Don’t be fooled though, I still do. Just the vegan versions.

All 3 of these are so creamy – Caramelised Hazelnut, Caramel & Sea Salt and Smooth Orange. And NOW even the inimitable Cookie Crumble has been veganised. Idontknowhowitspossible, but the fact that it is possible gets me going – why not get rid of the non-vegan versj’s altogether? The free from fellas taste exactly the same. It’s impressive. The only thing I’m not so impressed by, is the price. This is £3.15 for 100gs. YIKES. For a ‘high street’ brand that’s a LOT. I’m hoping with time, that will be brought down as it becomes more readily available, and OBV more popular.

FOUND IN: Tesco (in the free from section)

Nutrition table blank galaxy

MOO FREE – FREE FROM CHOCOLATE

ChocolateMoofreebackground

Let me hear you say Moo Free, MOO FREE. This brand was an early discovery for me in my vegan journey, and boy was I glad to discover it. In basically every supermarket, you can find at least one bar from the @moo_free_chocolates range hiding out in the Free From section. Hiding, I would imagine, from the dairy-containing bullies in the standard confectionary aisle. Hiding, only because it’s hard for the dairy chocolates to accept that there’s a new kid on the block, that not only tastes better than them, but doesn’t make it’s purchaser feel guilty. I understand their shame. Moo Free understands it too. Hence keeping at least two aisles away. It’s not only that, but purchasing Moo Free has been clinically proven (by me in my non-existent clinic) to cause the purchaser a feeling of lightness and joy, never experienced by those purchasing from the dairy-ridden chocolate aisles.

My favourites, pictured, are the Bunny Comb and the Original Bar. But for the purposes of this blog I will stick with the Original Bar. It’s a very good alternative for milk chocolate, and quite addictive. If you are just looking for a classic, milk chocolate replica, this is your guy. If you listen hard enough, you might even hear it mooing to you from the comfort of your home. Not saying you will, but you might. If you do, it’s time to get down the shops. 

FOUND IN: MOOrrison’s

Nutrition table blank Moo free

NOMO Caramel & Sea Salt

Chocolatenomobackground

NO MORE MISSING OUT, is the tagline of Free From brand, Nomo. I had been hearing whisperings on social media about a new brand, that you just HAD to try. I couldn’t find one for the longest time, and then, Holland & Barrett (long may you provide) delivered the goods. The first one I tried is the one pictured, Caramel & Sea Salt Choc bar. OOOOOOHHHH yes I love it.

I’m always drawn to the salty chocolates. Do you think that’s because I was raised near the sea? I do. Salt runs through my blood, and in my eyes, and down my throat when I do that thing of trying to be a human bodyboard, but mess it up and end up tumbling to the shore with my head underwater. Instead of gracefully above it like a dolphin showing off. I always imagine myself to be graceful, somewhat like a happy dolphin, but I think there is mounting evidence to suggest quite the opposite.

ANYWAY. Nomo is delightful. All flavours. But if you have to choose, choose the caramel & sea salt, and think of me, and the Irish sea, and maybe awkward dancing. @Nomochocolate is Free from dairy, gluten, egg and nuts and 100% vegan so everyone can enjoy. So is the sea.

FOUND IN: Holland & Barrett, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, The VeganKind Supermarket

Nutrition table blank Nomo

RHYTHM 108 – Sweet ‘N’ Salty Almond

ChocolateRhythm108background

This was a surprise discovery. Found lingering in the shelves that flank the queue for the tills in Sainsbury’s. These shelves are normally designed to tempt you into purchasing something you don’t need. Which I fall foul to, regularly. I know what they are doing, and yet I still fall for it. Nearly every time. But on this particular occasion, I left the shop feeling smug, and like I had beaten them at their own game. @Rhythm108 are a chocolatier based in the Swiss Mountains, and they know what’s UP.

At the ‘shelf of temptation’ as I affectionately call it, Sainsbury’s stock 3 different bars from Rhythm 108. Hazelnut Praline, Super Coconut & Sweet ‘n’ Salty Almond. All three are glorious, but my favourite is the ALMOND. I have introduced SO many colleagues to these and the feedback is resoundingly similar – you cannot tell that this is vegan chocolate. They often say things like ‘I thought it was going to have that weird vegan vibe, where it tastes all healthy and stuff. But it doesn’t’. These bars are genuinely delicious and I’m not sure how it is achieved. They are gluten free, vegan, organic and have less sugar than your average choccy bar. Apparently, they take 3 days to make. Those 3 days are fully worth it for the results.

I found the 3 pack in a larger Sainsbury’s, but it’s dangerous to buy 3, as you will eat 3 and probably in sub 5 minutes.

FOUND IN: Sainsbury’s (on the shelf of temptation)

Nutrition table blank rhythm 108

AND NOW… you guessed it! THE MASTER TABLE.

Want to know what on earth these chocolates are made of, if it ain’t dairy? Sure thing. What about a comparison per 100gs of the top level MACROS. Done. Even price, as you will find it in the shops. Yes, lad.

Master table-Recovered chocolate

Don’t know about you but I’m now drooling at the thought of eating these chocolates. I might leave you here and go and buy them all. And probably eat them one by one in quick succession. Don’t judge me.

See you back here for the next in the series.

FGGV x

The BEAR-necessities

Vitamins is such a hot topic and debate amongst the vegan and non-vegan community alike. Mostly the perceived lack of them in a vegan diet. I completely disagree with this as long as you eat well but I also think it’s important to supplement, whatever you eat. It is completely possible to be unhealthy and lacking in essential vitamins and nutrients on both a non-vegan and vegan diet. The age-old phrase, ‘you are what you eat’ still applies.

Due to modern farming methods (whether plant or animal-based) a lot of the nutritional benefits are stripped away from food. Especially in intensive farming, and let’s face it, most products now, unless you can afford totally local and totally organic (a massive luxury if you can), have been ‘intensively’ produced.

Therefore it makes sense to have your back covered. 

I have spent a long time searching for a vitamin tablet that ticks a few requirement areas shown below: 

1. Were at minimum vegetarian

You may or may not be surprised to see how many vitamin products, especially those marketed at children, have gelatine or other animal products in them. Let’s be clear, gelatine is the crushed up and boiled down bones and connective tissues of animals. Ordinarily cows or pigs. But how is that ordinary? I find it increasingly unnerving to see that substance formed into the shape of human babies (Jelly babies), or sweet little Percy the pig, or even, or more specifically on the vitamin front, marketed using the Nation’s favourite Mr Men and Little Miss.

 

Image result for percy pig and palsImage result for jelly babiesImage result for haliborange mr men

But that’s an aside. The main point being- most children’s gummy vitamins have gelatine or some sort of animal derivative in them.

Here’s an example list of children’s vitamins that contain these products (not exhaustive): 

HalibOrange – Mr Men & Little Miss (as pictured above) – Bovine Gelatine (aka cows)  

HalibOrange – Omega 3 & Multi- vitamins – gelatine, fish oil and carmine (crushed up beetles)

HalibOrange – Calcium & Vitamin D – gelatine & Carmine

Bassetts Vitamins – multi vitamin pastilles (the full age range) – Bovine Gelatine 

Alive! Children’s soft jell multi-vitamin – beeswax 

Holland & Barrett ‘Healthy Kids’ Multi-vitamins – Bovine Gelatine 

Bioglan ‘Smart Kids’ Vita Gummies Healthy Tummies – Bovine Gelatine 

Bioglan ‘Smart Kids’ Vita Gummies Healthy Eyes – Bovine Gelatine 

This was what I found when going to Holland & Barrett or other health food stores. Most of the standard and cheaper products contained these items and only very few were vegetarian, let alone vegan.

2. Had everything we would need to supplement our diet (a plant-based diet)

Of course you can buy individual packets of vitamins to cover everything, but that is just not feasible in terms of cost and admin for a family. Imagine having to replace the different packets as they run out (not all of them have the same number of vitamins in each), it’s just a faff and one I am not willing to contend with. 

To supplement a vegan diet, I ideally wanted: 

B12

B6

D2

Folic acid

Selenium 

Iodine 

Omega 3 

To be clear, you could get all of these in abundance if you ate certain plant-based foods (I will do a separate post about this). But making sure you have got it all covered all the time is tough. The reason for these specific vitamins rather than a catch-all multi-vitamin is that we get many of the other ‘standard’ vitamins already in the foods and snacks we eat. I am just looking for those that are more difficult to get enough of every day. 

3. Was suitable for children

You always want to just make sure that what ever vitamins you buy are actually suitable for your child and their age group.

I didn’t want to have to mess around with one set of vitamins for our daughter who is 9, and then another set of vitamins for us. That could mean buying 2-3 different boxes of vitamins (to cover everything) per person! I wanted one that we could all take. Simplicity really is the key for me. Organisation is one of my strong points, but I have enough to think about with different clubs, dances classes, work functions, bills, school etc, without having to coordinate this in addition. 

4. That came in packaging that was at minimum recyclable if not biodegradable or compostable. 

So this is where things really get tough. Even if you manage to find a multi-vitamin that covers most of the requirements and is vegan (and there are a few that I discovered), the packaging is a massive issue for me. If I’m going to buy multiple packs of these vitamins per month per person, I am not comfortable with them being packaged in heavy plastic. Plastic that is ‘not collected by all local authorities’ or not recyclable at all. That is such a huge waste and not one I want to contribute to if there is an easier choice. 

So as it turns out, all of my requirements make quite a TALL order. What? I think my demands are reasonable. Why shouldn’t I have all that?! 

After months of research, the closest to meeting all my criteria were ‘Vegums’. Which came up after quite a bit of trawling on the web. 

Vegums close up

It’s a tiny teddy bear gummy, strawberry flavour which is ideal for me and the kid. The recommended dosage is one for kids (over 3 years old) per day and two for adults. They contain everything a vegan needs to boost their existing diet (caveat – they have a new version coming out with plant-based omega 3 so this is the only thing we supplement separately).

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 19.14.45

Ingredients:

B12

B6

D2

Folic acid

Selenium 

Iodine 

Vegums nutrition

Vegums also have a handy subscription option which gives you a 15% discount if you order monthly, meaning you never run out – they just keep showing up when you need them. Simply enter the amount of people taking them. For us it’s 2 adults and 1 child and then they calculate how many you need and the cost. When you subscribe you can also opt to not have the cardboard pot and just receive your deliveries in the cornstarch bags which is ideal. 

Cost:

I wouldn’t say they are cheap but as I see supplements as a necessity, I chose what I think is the best value for money. As outlined above, if I bought everything in separate vitamin tablets, not including the pain of trying to get a child to swallow 5 or 6 separate tablets, the cost would work out much higher per month. Plus the cost to the planet in terms of packaging would be quite large over our lifetimes. 

I have definitely posted about Vegums before but I am such a big fan. It makes life so much easier and takes the pressure off in terms of making sure we all get what we need. Also, they are totally delicious so our daughter never wants to miss her daily allowance. It has become part of her routine and ours. Always reminding each other – ‘have you had your vegum today?’. 

Disclaimer: this is not an ad. I am a regular customer of Vegums and buy them to ensure the health of my family. 

Vegums multiple

FarmGirl.