28 Jul 2015

Awesome Vegan Smoothie-Making, Travelling & Gardening Tips - A Busy Vegan Musician Tells All

When you spend a lot of time on the road or in the sky, travelling from city to city, you're going to need to eat a lot of filling, nutritious food to keep your energy levels up. Unfortunately, if your travels are full of adventures, you won't have much time to slave in front of an oven all day. If you're travelling on a budget, you also probably won't have much money to spend on eating out. Thankfully, Emaline Delapaix - a vegan musician who spends a lot of time on the road - has graciously offered some super useful tips on how to eat vegan cheaply and easily while travelling, along with a wealth of other info on life as a vegan musician - including smoothie-making and gardening tips!

Read ahead to find out more.

1. How long have you been vegan? What inspired you to make the decision?

I've been properly vegan since 2011. I was vegetarian for many years, close to vegan but it took me a while to educate myself that being vegetarian didn't really help animals and I needed to go vegan to make a real change. I had this feeling inside me for many years before becoming vegan that using animals for food/products was really wrong and when I left Australia I started to find out the truth and knew veganism would be my path.

2. I see that you spend a lot of time travelling - is it difficult to find good vegan food while on the road? What food do you eat while travelling?

Depends where. North America is pretty good, as is most of Germany but of course in the smaller places it's tough so I try to carry a lot of fresh fruit, veg and nuts with me as back up.

3. Has being vegan inspired any of the songs you write?

Veganism has opened my eyes to the world and made me more emotional so sure it has inspired some of my writing, in particular Seal Song about the slaughter of baby seals in Canada.

4. You mentioned that you're an avid gardener. I love gardening too, and so do many of my readers. Do you have any vegan gardening tips or suggestions?

I am still learning and making some mistakes as I can only grow in pots where I am but it's really good to do a lot of reading and try different ways of doing things when you're just starting so you have some back up plants if some die. I've been growing a lot from kitchen scraps in glass jars and little pots and grew my first potatoes from scraps a month ago which were delicious. I've also been enjoying raspberries and Swiss chard recently. Watering is important, sometimes when on tour it's been hard to keep up with that.

5. What are three of your favourite raw vegan smoothie recipes? 

6. What are your favourite vegan dinner recipes?

I make pretty simple things and prefer to make salad when I am home to counteract a lot of cooked or more processed foods I usually have when on tour. One of my favourite salads:

Chickpeas, mint, baby Swiss chard, peach, tomatoes, cucumber, cayenne pepper, salt, walnut oil with white balsamic and a squeeze of lime.

7. Where can we find out more about your music?

Official website: www.emalinedelapaix.com
Official store: www.emalinedelapaix.bandcamp.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/emalinedelapaixmusic 

22 Jul 2015

How to Easily Transition from Vegetarian to Vegan

The idea of transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism can seem daunting, especially if you have only recently switched to vegetarianism. In reality, it's easy. If you do it the right way, it can be one of the simplest and yet most rewarding changes you ever make. There are so many vegan alternatives for animal products available these days, all helping to make your transition much easier.

I became vegetarian at six years old and became vegan at age eighteen. For most of my life, I couldn't imagine being vegan. I didn't know much about it, and it seemed so difficult. No ice-cream? No chocolate? No cake? No cookies? No cheese? What a horrible life that must be! 

How naive I was! I had no idea about the abundance of vegan ice-creams, chocolates, cakes, cheese and cookies available. I couldn't fathom how these foods could taste delicious without milk or eggs.

What's awesome is that since becoming vegan - which wasn't that long ago, only three years - the amount of vegan food available at the supermarket has grown exponentially. I can walk five minutes to my local supermarket and find all sorts of animal product alternatives - vegan cheese, cake mix, biscuits, meats (everything from herb sausages to pepperoni), cookies, chocolate, yoghurt, ice-cream... the list goes on. Five years ago, this wouldn't have been possible. Awareness of veganism certainly has grown in leaps and bounds over recent years, bringing an abundance of cruelty-free food along with it. It's fantastic.

So I was wrong about vegan food. It isn't boring. It isn't lacking in nutrition. For most people, it isn't difficult to find. For the majority of vegetarians, the transition from vegetarianism to veganism should be a smooth and delicious one. It certainly was for me!

Why vegetarians should switch to veganism

At first, vegetarianism can seem like enough. I mean, it's fairly obvious that eating meat causes animal suffering. Most people know about the horrors of slaughterhouses. Many people, however, don't know about the extra suffering hidden under the surface, the suffering that isn't so obvious - all caused by the dairy and egg industries.

As a young vegetarian, I didn't really understand why vegans existed. I figured it was a health fad. I couldn't see how taking milk from cows and eggs from chickens could possibly harm them - you don't have to kill a chicken to take her eggs, I thought, so what's wrong with eating them?

There is a great deal wrong with eating eggs, and drinking milk is just as bad. The level of suffering caused by the egg and dairy industries is just about on par with the meat industry. I won't go into too much detail here - there are plenty of sites that offer this information already (here, here) - but, in essence, the dairy and egg industries kill cows and chickens by the millions (after letting them suffer for their entire short lives).

If you want to stop animal suffering and promote animal rights, going vegan is the best way to do it. Vegetarianism is definitely a good step forward, but there is always more we can do to help. We should be striving to do our very best. And veganism is simple and easy, so why not make the switch?

Replacing cheese, milk and eggs in a vegan diet

One thing always seems to get in the way when people try to switch to a vegan diet: cheese. A lot of people crave it and end up switching back to vegetarianism. There's a reason for this: cheese is addictive! There's an ingredient in cheese called casein. When casein is digested, a protein fragment known as casomorphin is produced. Casomorphin has properties similar to opioids, which can be highly addictive and cause withdrawals. That's why withdrawal symptoms are experienced by people trying to cut out cheese! (Source, source)

I don't recall suffering any cheese withdrawals after switching to veganism, but I did miss the flavour. I no longer do. I eat cheese substitutes from time to time, sprinkled on pasta or other hot meats, but I certainly don't garnish every meal with cheese like I used to. I can quite happily go without it. In fact, the smell of cheese is very off-putting to me now, along with the smell of milk and eggs (well, I've always hated the smell of eggs). Cheese substitutes are nice to have around, but I don't feel like I need them.

You can make delicious vegan cheese from nuts and spices

I also used to be a big milk-drinker - especially flavoured milk. Banana milk was almost a daily staple in my vegetarian diet, despite how bloated and nauseous it often made me feel. Since dropping dairy, I rarely feel those effects.

If you're looking to drop cheese, milk, eggs, and other animal products from your diet, here's a table that can help you find alternatives:


Faux/Processed Vegan Alternative

Natural/Homemade Vegan Alternative

Vegan Cheese – Chao, Daiya, Sheeze, Notzarella, etc.

Homemade vegan cheese using nuts – cashew cheese, almond parmesan
Egg replacer powder – Orgran, Ener-G, etc.

To replace one egg:

1 TBSP ground flax seed + 2 ½ TBSP water

1 TBSP chia seed + 1/3 cup water

½ banana, mashed

¼ cup of applesauce


Almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc.

Easy-to-make homemade plant-based milks such as almond, oat

Vegan honey – “Bee Free Honee”, etc.

Agave nectar, maple syrup

Vegan yoghurt – So Delicious, Trader Joe’s, Alpro, Kingland, Co Yo, etc.

Homemade yoghurt

Vegan ice-cream – So Delicious, So Good, Almond Dream, etc.

Frozen bananas, blended

With all these alternatives readily available, making the switch from vegetarian to vegan shouldn't be difficult at all. Once your body has moved past the brief "withdrawal" stage that you may experience, you will feel wonderful; and eventually, the mere thought of eating animal products will make you sick. You won't crave it anymore, and you'll feel better for it.

If you're looking for specific recipes, search online! You'll find an abundance of information all over the internet. I'm not a great cook myself, so I can't provide you with any awesome recipes, but there are many vegan food blogs out there that will help. Here's a few popular sites to get you started: link, link.

Of course, you don't have to replace any of these products if you don't feel like it. You could just go without, as many vegans do. Plain fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and seeds are more than enough for many people.

Make the switch today

If you're a vegetarian looking to become vegan, hopefully this post has helped you. If you're vegan already, and have vegetarian friends (I know many of us do) this post may help them out - why not share it with them?

I definitely haven't regretted making the change from vegetarian to vegan. Honestly, it's the best decision I've ever made in my life. It opened my eyes to so many new foods, new people, and the blogging community. It really has changed my life for the better. If you love animals and don't want them to suffer, and if you love to eat delicious, healthy food, I encourage you to make the switch to veganism. If you do it right, you'll never look back.

13 Jul 2015

Growing Up, I Thought Dairy Was the Only Source of Calcium

As a child, I thought dairy was the only reliable source of calcium available for humans past infancy.

I've now realised just how sad that is.

The dairy industry is an absolute giant in the world of advertising. I can name several dairy campaigns just off the top of my head - "Got Milk?", A2 Milk (lactose-free milk that isn't meant to cause "tummy problems" in children - I'll elaborate more on this campaign later on), Fairlife's "more calcium, more protein" campaign... the list goes on. Many dairy campaigns label dairy as a necessary food for strong bones and teeth. Many dairy campaigns also come labelled with pictures of smiling, happy cows surrounded by luscious green fields. Unfortunately, this isn't reality. It's far from it.

As all vegans probably know, milk production causes immense suffering for dairy cows and their offspring. If you didn't know, the male children of dairy cows are almost always stolen from their mothers and disposed of soon after birth. In most cases, they will be killed or sent away to be made into veal or beef. This is because male calves are useless in the dairy industry, and spending money to keep them alive would result in a loss of profits. Female calves will generally end up in the same horrific situation as their mothers - forcefully impregnated and made to give birth again and again in order to keep producing milk. After three or four years, when they have passed their "use-by-date", these dairy cows will also be slaughtered. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

"As all vegans probably know, milk production causes immense suffering for dairy cows and their offspring."

I've seen many dairy advertisements over the years. In school, we were encouraged to drink cow's milk. It's commonly offered in school canteens. A lot of dairy advertisements target young children and parents, highlighting how calcium is needed to maintain strong bones and teeth. This, of course, is true; but these ads play out as if cow's milk is the only reliable source of calcium. Other, similar advertisements target older people, insisting that increased dairy consumption will prevent osteoporosis.

It's upsetting that so much misinformation is spread around, especially when it's aimed at children. As a child, I firmly believed that I needed to drink milk, and I certainly wasn't the only one who felt that way. Many people believe that dairy is a necessary part of a balanced diet - a belief set in stone by an abundance of misinformation.

The health benefits of dairy are debatable. Some say it's great for you, others say it should be avoided at all costs. Some say it prevents osteoporosis, some say it causes osteoporosis. It's hard to know who to believe. We can, at the very least, infer that cow's milk isn't actually meant for human consumption - it's cow's milk after all, and human babies are supposed to be weaned off milk soon after infancy. Mammals produce milk to feed their young - cows do it, goats do it, and humans do it. Human milk is intended for human babies, just as cow milk is intended for cow babies. It's a simple concept to grasp, but for some reason, cow's milk has made its way into the average human diet.

The dairy industry is hell for cows. I won't go into too much detail about dairy production here, but the succinct reality here - dairy production nearly always results in death. I didn't realise this when I was a vegetarian (most news sources won't reveal this information) but now, after a lot of research, I know. I know I don't need to drink milk anymore. I know I don't need it for calcium. There are so many options out there - drinking a mother cow's milk (or any other animal product, for that matter) is completely unnecessary.

There are many calcium-rich alternatives to cow's milk that are healthy and tasty. Best of all - plant milk production doesn't require stealing from a mother who needs it to feed her babies! The list is extensive: soy, almond, rice, oat, coconut and hemp milk are some popular plant-based varieties. Soy milk, for example, contains 25mg of calcium per 100 grams. 

"There are many calcium-rich alternatives to cow's milk that are healthy and tasty. Best of all - plant milk production doesn't require stealing from a mother who needs it to feed her babies!"

If you're not interested in milk alternatives, there are many other ways to get calcium from plants. Dark leafy vegetables are a very popular and reliable source of calcium. Spinach, for example, contains 99mg of calcium per 100 grams; while kale contains 150mg per 100 grams (25mg more than cow's milk). Broccoli contains 43mg per 100 grams and sun-dried tomatoes contain 110mg. With a recommended daily calcium intake of 1000mg/day (for the average adult), it's easy to get everything you need from a few servings of vegetables.

It's a shame that dairy is seen as necessary part of our diets by so many people. At least now we have access to the right information. While dairy is a great source of calcium, it's definitely not the only option out there, and it's also not the best option out there. If you care about the well-being of cows, it's best to ditch dairy and fill your diet with some delicious, calcium-filled veggies!