Very Vegan- What’s It All About?

 

Here at Portlebay we are particularly proud of our vegan products, and understand the importance of these in a world where veganism is a increasingly popular lifestyle choice.  Currently three out of our six flavours are vegan friendly, these being the delicious Chilli & Lime,  Sweet & Salty and Lightly Sea Salted. Unfortunately some of our wonderful popcorn relies on ingredients such as milk (our seasonal flavours; Cinnamon swirl 1st October- 31st March and Lemon Sherbet 1st April-30th September) and bacon (in  our Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup), however even these flavours are carefully hand-popped using completely natural ingredients and as always no palm oil!

For those of you who are completely new to the vegan world, veganism can be defined as the decision to abstain from the use of animal products and the belief in excluding all forms of exploitation or harm to animals for the use of food, clothing or any other purpose.

People choose to become vegan for many different reasons including dieting, compassion, health and environmental reasons. We decided to interview some young and vibrant vegans who go by the names of Elena, Imogen, Emmy and Naomi, to learn a bit more about the world of veganism and how it affects them on a day-to-day basis.

Each of these four lovely ladies are at a different stage of their vegan journey and are happy to give us a little insight into their vegan lives:

Emmy– A year and a half into the journey!

image2

Elena– One month into the journey!

image1

Imogen- 6 months into the journey!

34688039_1853906427963819_6456085446530170880_n

Naomi- 10 months into the journey!

35886269_10216727463125931_2892340614756564992_n

____________________________________________________

1. What Are The Main Struggles You Face With Being Vegan? 

Naomi: Definitely the lack of choices when going out to eat!

Elena: I’d say sometimes helping people understand why I’ve made this choice is difficult, particularly with older generations.

Imogen: Alcohol is a huge struggle. A lot are filtered through fish bladders, so finding vegan ones at the bar is difficult unless your vegan alcohol knowledge is faultless. Also, I hate how products can be marketed as vegan just as an excuse for it to be priced ridiculously.

Emmy: The main struggles I face being vegan is to know what’s vegan when you travel, especially abroad. Many places don’t cater for vegans, or don’t make it easy to identify which products are vegan or not. But I think many places in the UK are becoming increasingly better at this, and you can find some vegan options both from the shop ‘on the go’, or in restaurants. Also, I find it really annoying how almost all product have some sort of milk-powder or dried egg, even though there shouldn’t be a reason for it.

2. What Do You Tend To Look For With Vegan Friendly Products? 

Imogen: I look for fresh ingredients that are written in plain English (not chemistry compounds), no preservatives or artificial additives, it being organic is a bonus, it has to be dairy-free of course, and depending on the product I might see if it’s recyclable and what the brand’s ethics are, oh and the protein content.

Elena: Ingredients that I recognise and aren’t just full of loads of long weird chemical compound sounding names are a must. Otherwise I feel I’m back to square one. And yeah, it has to be macro-nutrient. The fact that Portlebay use natural ingredients as well as being vegan is a great bonus to me!

Emmy:  I look for ingredients and nutritional value in vegan products, and try to avoid stuff which has palm oil, high levels of saturated fats and sugar. I also try to find food with high protein levels, and fewer ingredients.

3. What Made You Decide to Become Vegan?  

Elena: I disagree with the meat and dairy industries ethically, the meat industry is one of the biggest contributors to the planet’s pollution problem, I don’t believe humans need animal-based products and in fact believe they are detrimental to our health. I just want to eat food that I know is good for me and leaves me feeling guilt free. This is a recent decision for me so I’m still learning and am transitioning my products and clothes slowly.

Imogen: environmental reasons, ethical reasons of course, so many of our British farm animals and homeless cats and dogs are put down it makes me so angry! Also, weight management and religious reasons too (the Hindu holy book, The Bhagavad Gita, states to not harm any living things which is interpreted by some Hindus as going vegan whilst others opt for vegetarianism). I also feel so much more energised on a vegan diet. I just like making sure what I put in my body is healthy and wholesome it makes all the difference mentally too.

Naomi: You guys put that perfectly, I’m literally exactly the same!

Emmy: I became vegetarian first for environmental reasons, but then got more engaged with ethical and animal welfare arguments, as well as the health benefits of a vegan diet.

4.What Do You Wish People That Aren’t Vegan Knew About The Vegan Lifestyle? 

Naomi:  People always assume it’s really expensive and you don’t get your ‘protein’ when actually there is so much more protein in beans, nuts and vegetables than there is in meat. A lot of people don’t realise the cruelty that happens behind closed doors especially in the dairy industry, I had no idea until I actually properly researched it! I feel like if everyone knew what meat and dairy products were actually made from and the process in which they are made a lot more people would become vegan, also people just don’t hear about the possible side effects of eating meat such as cancers, bowel problems and weight gain.

Elena: It doesn’t have to be some massive deal when you decide to be vegan and with a bit of research it’s not too difficult!

Imogen:  I wish people knew that it’s not hard to transition when you realise what you were taking wasn’t yours to begin with! So many places are now expanding their vegan range so it’s not as hard to find alternatives. It took me five attempts to become vegan but you get there in the end! Also, nutrients are easy to find in non-meat sources. Omega 3, commonly known for residing in cod liver, is actually in a whole range of things like Chia Seeds for example.

Emmy:  I wish people knew that it is not hard to get enough protein, and it doesn’t need to be more expensive to eat a vegan diet. Also, I wish people understood that when you truly believe in the reasons why one has chosen to become vegan, it’s not hard to avoid animal products.

5. How Has Being Vegan Affected Your Overall Lifestyle? 

Imogen: I’ve been looking after myself better as a result, going to the gym more because I feel great and energised and I am always coming up with new meals in the kitchen now. When I go out for food I am always discovering new flavours and I love that. I’m a little greener now too! Recycling more, growing fruits and veggies, being wary of our declining bee population and that sort of thing.

Naomi: I was vegetarian for four years and then became vegan in September 2018 and have lost over a stone! I also have less spots, my hair is way less greasy, I feel more energised and mentally I’m so much happier as well- so there are just loads of health benefits!

Elena:  I feel more lean already, I feel excited to carry on discovering new foods and am more mindful about what I put into my body and the way my actions affect the environment.

Emmy:  I’ve become more interested in nutrition, changed my cooking habits and experiment more with different ingredients. I probably have become much more aware of environmental sustainability, and may end up preaching ethical consumerism unintentionally at times. Other than that I wouldn’t say it has changed my lifestyle.

6. What Advice Would You Offer To Anyone Wanting To Convert To Vegan? 

Imogen: Listen to your body – you don’t need to go cold turkey vegan right away! Start by reducing meat and dairy and then eliminate over time, I found my body was initially not coping with the sudden change too well so that’s why it took five attempts for me! You shouldn’t do it just because its deemed an Instagram trend, do it for you and never stop educating yourself, get in the kitchen more and browse the web! There are so many vegan recipes out there to begin transitioning!

Elena:  Just don’t be too harsh on yourself, if you slip up just learn from it and don’t quit. Also don’t do it for anyone but yourself, consider it a self investment.

Emmy:  My best advice would probably be to educate oneself about the impacts of animal products on your health and the environment. Watch a few documentaries, read some articles and get familiar with your own reasons for changing your eating habits. Also, I’ve got lots of inspiration from vegan Instagram accounts as well. And lastly, not to be to hard on oneself. As I don’t think everyone has to be vegan for the world to become a better place, as long as everyone raises their awareness of issues related to animal products, and cut down their consumption of these.

Naomi:  My advice would be that any change is going to help, especially for the environment, even cutting down slowly, for instance, having one less meal with meat in a week and slowly making it less and less. Or have a list of companies that test on animals so you know that what you’re buying is cruelty free! Also just experiment with different food especially alternatives like milk, I had to try loads until I found one that I actually like!

 ____________________________________________________
So, we hope this discussion of the vegan world has answered a few questions and maybe even made you consider your life-style choices. We, for one, can’t wait to tuck into one of our delicious vegan friendly flavours!
For more information about veganism visit: https://www.vegansociety.com/

Super Easy Sweet Potato Cacao Brownies

The delightful Sarah, of the blog Mummy Fuel, whipped up this delicious recipe for Sweet Potato Cacao Brownies, that are both gluten and flour free! It’s a super easy and super scrumptious combo, the perfect homemade treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup steamed then mashed sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scoop cacao protein powder
  • 1 scoop raw cacao
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp choc shot
  • Dash almond milk
  •  25g pack of Portlebay PopcornSweet & Salty

Method:

  • Mix all but the popcorn together in a large bowl.
  • Pop the mixture in the oven and bake for 30 mins on 180C.
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes.
  • Sprinkle with Portlebay Popcorn and enjoy!

If you enjoyed this tasty brownie why not have a peak at our Mocha Popcorn Rocky Road recipe too!

Introducing Pretty Local

We are delighted to introduce you to one of our very wonderful stockist, Pretty Local. Based just down the road from us in Kingsbridge, in sunny Devon, you can find the lovely Andrea and the Pretty Local HQ!

Pretty Local provides the option to have your weekly shop delivered right to your door with minimum food miles. The company offers everything from fresh seafood and meat, to fruit, veg, freshly cut flowers and all your cupboard essentials; all from a selection of trusted producers located in South Devon.

So why did Andrea start Pretty Local? “There is an abundance of wonderful food being grown, harvested or caught within a few miles of my home, but no easy way to buy it all at once. I created Pretty Local to provide a one-stop shop supporting the fabulous producers, farmers, fishermen and growers on our doorstep and bringing their produce closer to our community.” Says Andrea – and we utterly adore this idea!

Whilst living in the USA, Andrea unfortunately fell ill with Lyme disease. With no medical care, she decided that eating better would be her road to recovery. Sugar, processed foods, gluten and dairy were all eliminated from Andrea’s diet, as she focused on being healthier. This highlighted, to Andrea, the importance of sourcing her food. However, when she returned to Devon, the local produce she was looking for just wasn’t that easy to get a hold of…until now. Pretty Local became the solution to our’s, your’s and Andrea’s food sourcing struggle and we think it’s pretty amazing!

Pretty Local currently deliver to locations within the South Hams, but not to worry if you aren’t quite in the delivery territory, Pretty Local also have multiple collection points for you to pick up your delicious goodies! Have a peek here for further delivery and collection info!

Marvellous Raspberry Mug Cake

Meet Jess; a self confessed foodie, keen blogger, health enthusiast and creator of the Marvellous Raspberry Mug Cake. Known as Jessicalilylou on Instagram, Jess frequently shares a wide range of recipes and very, very yummy meals on her blog and social channels- Make sure you have a gander at her other magnificent creations!

Making The Marvellous Raspberry Mug cake:

You will need:

  • 4 tbsp of gluten free flour
  • 1 flaxseed egg (ground flaxseed and warm water)
  • 2tbsp of milk
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • Crushed Portlebay Popcorn

Method (in one simple step!):

Mix all the ingredients together and place in the microwave for three minutes! Once you hear that magic PING-  you are free to enjoy your Marvellous Raspberry Mug Cake !

If you enjoyed this tasty but oh so simple recipe have a look at the recipe for Cinnamon Swirl and Blush Granola Cookies.

Almond Butter & Dark Chocolate Popcorn Bars

Like the sound of these Almond Butter & Dark Chocolate Popcorn Bars? Give a big thanks to Emma! Emma is the creator of the nutrition and recipe blog Essentially Emma. Currently studying a Master’s in Human Nutrition, Emma has become very interested in food and how our bodies work and so decided to create her own blog, as a place to record her tasty recipes and all that she learns about nutrition and health. We have to admit it makes for a great read and we certainly have learnt some new things!

Want to make these delicious Almond Butter & Dark Chocolate Popcorn Bars? Keep reading…

Ingredients:

3 bags of Portlebay Popcorn (I used the Sweet & Salty flavour)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit

1/2 cup almonds, roasted and roughly chopped

1/3 cup mixed seeds

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup almond butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp coconut oil

25g dark chocolate

Method:

  1. If you need to toast your almonds, preheat the oven to 180c/350f. Arrange the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and roughly chop.
  2. Grease (I use coconut oil) and line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Add the popcorn, oats, chopped almonds, raisins and seeds to a large mixing bowl, mix lightly to combine.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla extract and honey over low heat until the coconut oil is melted and the ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Pour the honey mixture over the popcorn mixture and stir gently until the popcorn mixture is evenly coated in the honey mixture and the nuts, seeds and raisins are evenly interspersed.
  6. Add the mixture in to the tin and using the back of a spatula (or your hand!) press it down gently so that it fills the tin and is fairly compressed – otherwise the bars will fall apart and we don’t want that!

7. Place the tin in a fridge and refrigerate for an hour.

8. If you would like to add a chocolate drizzle, I mean who wouldn’t, melt the dark chocolate. Microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second intervals, stirring and checking in-between until the chocolate is melted and smooth (usually 2-3min). To melt on the hob, heat a pan of water to a strong simmer and float a bowl containing the chocolate on top of the water until melted (the official pan for this is called a bain marie).

9. Using a fork, drizzle the melted chocolate over the mixture in the tin. Once you have drizzled to your heart’s desire, return the pan to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

10. Remove the tin from the fridge and using the edges of the paper, pull the bar mixture out of the tin. It should be nice and chilled and a solid block, if not, let it cool in the fridge for a bit longer.

11. With a large, sharp knife, cut the block in to 12 bars and enjoy!

Note: These bars keep best in a tupperware in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Emma also has a fabulous Instagram page full of very yummy meals and recipes, go have a look here!

If you liked this recipe, also have a peak at our Banana Oat Pancakes recipe!

Mental Health Awareness Week: About Amy

As this week is Mental Health Awareness week, we have an amazing blog post to share with you, written by Amy, the author of the blog ‘Surviving Now Thriving‘. Amy has had a very incredible and inspiring journey that she has shared with us and we think she is truly spectacular! YOU GO GIRL!

photo-20-03-2018-09-04-05-e1521537045311.jpg

Who am I?

Popcorn addict, Plant-powered, Positive, Passionate Psychology graduate – think that pretty much sums me up (I do love a good bit of alliteration).

I maybe should have started with my actual name, but that’s not half as fun – I’m Amy (not Surviving as I laugh about being called) and I started blogging on Instagram last year at www.instagram.com/survivingnowthriving.

From numerous failed suicide attempts to now living every moment as if it’s my last, I created my blog to inspire others to do the same. Struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, depression, anxiety, acne, trichotillomania, and a make-up addiction, I know that my past struggles put me in a unique position to truly be able to help those currently struggling. And that is exactly why I do it. Because I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the torture that I did. My past does not define me, but it has certainly shaped me into the warrior of a woman I am today.

My blogging is extremely diverse covering a whole range of topics, but one of my main passions is mental health. I actually think it is becoming more normal to have suffered or to currently be suffering from some form of mental illness than not. Therefore, it’s of vital importance that we talk about it! In my experience, openness encourages openness. From sharing my story, this has inspired so many others to tell their own and also to seek help. In addition, it assists in improving awareness and understanding, and also to decrease the stigma around mental health that still prevails.

I could write a book (and I actually have been asked to) on my advice on recovering from mental illnesses. But the truth is, everyone is different. Mental health is not a one-size fits all approach, and what works for one will be highly detrimental to another. I have experienced this first-hand in that reccommendations from mental health professionals have made me a lot worse. For example, last year, in the roots of my depression and anxiety, I was told that I had two options – take anti-depressants or go into hospital. Otherwise, I couldn’t expect to get any better. And that was traumatising for me to hear at such a vulnerable time of my life, because I didn’t want to do either. I ended up sectioned in a mental health hospital against my will. I had been hiding away from the world for almost half a year and was forced into this place where I would have to be around so many people. It was a mixed ward too which meant there were guys asking me questions, and the last thing I wanted to do or felt comfortable with was talking to anyone.  Thankfully, I was discharged after 2 weeks and was able to make a full recovery all by myself.

But how did you do it?

Well, mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is. Both myself and my family had accepted that I was going to be this way forever. Locked away in my home, never seeing anyone ever again. I decided to fight, and here I am writing this now, living and THRIVING.

Here’s 10 simple tips on how to thrive:

  1. Love yourself like your life depends on it.
  2. Boring but important – nutrition – Food affects your mood so nourishing your body is a massive help.
  3. Move your body in a way that you enjoy, and also make sure to rest.
  4. Surround yourself with good people ONLY, and cut the rest – choose radiators over drains.
  5. Find what you’re passionate about, follow your dreams and never stop until they become your reality.
  6. Write down what you’re grateful for every single day.
  7. Never stop learning.
  8. Learn from the past, live for the present, and believe in the future.
  9. Train your mind to focus on the positives in everything.
  10. Spend time visualising your life exactly the way you want it to be, and watch it materialise (this sounds crackers I know, but I have manifested A LOT through doing this).

If you are currently struggling with your mental health, I want you to know that you are not alone. Be gentle with yourself and know that you can get through this. You can get through anything. Never give up. And remember, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. A life filled with technicolour is awaiting you.

If you enjoyed this, have a read of our Give Yourself a Break, You’re Doing the Best You Can!’ post too!

Health Benefits of Popcorn!

If you are a lover of popcorn like us, then this blog post will bring a little bit of extra joy to your day! Here are some wonderful health benefits of munching on popcorn for you to enjoy! Go on, grab a bag of popcorn to nibble on whilst you’re reading!

1. Fibre, Fibre, Fibre!

The American Chemical Society (ACS), recently discovered that popcorn is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Fibre is found in grain, which can significantly help to lower cholesterol levels, as well as help to control blood sugar levels. Fibre is also great for digestion and can keep bowl movements working properly and functioning on a regular basis!- Keep eating that popcorn!

Dr Joe Vinson from the University of Scranton, recognised that the average person only consumes half a serving of whole grains a day and that popcorn can provide more than 70% of our daily intake of whole grain. The answer to our whole grain shortage- POPCORN- yay!

2.  Antioxidants

The American Chemical Society also reported that popcorn has more of the healthy antioxidants, ‘polyphenols’, than many fruit and veg!- We wouldn’t suggest swapping fruit and veg for popcorn but it is a pretty crazy fact!

3. Calories

Whilst many snacks are calorific, popcorn is actually low in calories!- YES! Our Portlebay Popcorn has roughly 115 calories (115-120) per 25g bags/ per serving and so is a great snack if you are being careful with calories!

Also, as Matt Dustin recognised, if you are watching what you eat, popcorn can be a great snack to add into your diet, as foods that are high in fibre take longer for our bodies to digest and so keep you fuller for longer! -That’s a handy tip!

4. Gluten- Free!

Popcorn is also completely gluten free and so those that struggle to digest gluten can happily indulge in popcorn! Just be sure to check the other ingredients that are often added to the popcorn, as some ingredients that are added for flavour can in some cases contain gluten. Our Portlebay range is completely gluten-free, so all six flavours are Coeliac friendly!

References:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120325173008.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2012/march/popcorn-the-snack-with-even-higher-antioxidants-levels-than-fruits-and-vegetables.html

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=zf_tDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=matt+dustin+Foods+that+are+higher+in+fiber+will+take+longer+to+digest+and+will+generally+keep+you+full+longer&source=bl&ots=VvEOQwV9sI&sig=-QL-50arbGE5IxdC6zP427s_CNk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi26ou4ve7ZAhVlAsAKHetDA1YQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=matt%20dustin%20Foods%20that%20are%20higher%20in%20fiber%20will%20take%20longer%20to%20digest%20and%20will%20generally%20keep%20you%20full%20longer&f=false