Ranger Things: 40ish Days Vegan

Veganism, as many of you will know is avoiding all traces of animal products in foods and in your lifestyle, meaning no eggs, milk or leather products. SO NO CHOCOLATE! Yet for some reason I was determined to experience that torture and live as a vegan for Lent and thanks to peer pressure I am sharing my experience.


The rules sounded easy but within first couple days I realised everything I was used to eating contained some trace of egg or milk. I was tired because I wasn’t eating enough proper food and I had to find substitutes in vitamins and calcium tablets etc. It wasn’t going well.

After spending hours procrastinating by looking at recipes on Google and downloading vegan cookbooks, I realised the food that looked the best was made up of the most stupid ingredients. Like seriously what is egg emulsifier? Do supermarkets sell Liquid Aminos? And I am convinced now that Lucuma ice-cream doesn’t exist.

Even if you find these ridiculously rare fruits, vegetables and substitutes, they cost a freaking bomb. Legit, you’ve got to take out an extra student loan to get your shopping from Ocado. (Personally, I feel that being a vegan should entitle you to have a higher maintenance loans. Just saying.) I was definitely making eating ethically way too hard for myself.

Then the Lord answered my prayers. An angel in the form of Lucy Watson came to me in the form of a cookbook leaving me somewhat enlightened as I discovered that Oreos, Bourbon Biscuits, Popcorn and Heinz Ketchup were vegan friendly. The book became my bible, but her suggested ingredients were still a little out of my price range (after all I do not have an SW3 postcode).


I began to delve further in my research becoming more and more passionate about my little project. I read a similar blog to this, where a girl in America explained to me that loads of foods were vegan friendly but couldn’t have the explicit label because they were made in a factory that handled other meat or dairy products, and may have come into brief contact etc.


Relief. I could eat some of my favourite foods again, with the obvious exceptions.

It was in the relief I discovered the Vegan Society, where they had cheap easy recipes that even I couldn’t go wrong with; vegan lasagne, fajitas, cauliflower steaks, couscous, Thai curry etc.

Vegan Soc

I purchased the essentials: sunflower oil, butter, almond butter, Linda McCartney vegan sausages, dairy free cheese, salt and vinegar twirls, rich tea fingers, a variety of fruit and vegetables, garlic bread, almond milk, wholemeal bread and, the Holy Grail, HOUMOUS!!! I was good to go!

It felt good to eat ethically and I physically felt better. After overcoming the shock that I could no longer eat my weight in chocolate digestives, I had ended up removing all processed and unnatural sugars from my diet.

Best of all, I was eating so that no animals were being harmed or mistreated in any way.

This all went swimmingly until I returned home for the Easter Hols.

Now normally meal times in my house are a right faff. Mum is pretty much the fussiest eater in the modern world, my sister is celiac and I was a vegetarian, meaning for a normal dinner time 3 different meals would need preparing. Safe to say Mum was not impressed by my new decision.

I go back to working full time when I home, meaning the majority of my meals are at work. Work is a small pub close by where the vegan diet isn’t exactly catered for and when I announced this to my colleagues, you would have thought I had told them that I had contracted cholera. So basically by diet there turned in jacket potato with beans.

Nevertheless, I made it through to the 39th day, and nearly the 40th until I practically had Ben and Jerry’s shoved down my throat.

Anyway my experiment ended just in time for me to begin devouring Easter eggs. Whilst it’s safe to say I enjoyed my vegan experience, I will not be following it so religiously. I intend to eat more vegan food, and think more carefully about where the food I’m eating comes from, but I miss wearing my Docs and eating quorn scotch eggs too much to maintain it.

Babe the Sheep-pig approves of this message!

*If anyone has found anything in this article or wants to find out more information on how veganism is healthy and environmentally friendly, or has any general questions about veganism the listen up. John Ellis, a representative of the Vegan Society from Country Durham, will be delivering a talk and open Q&A session on Wednesday 2nd May, so keep your eyes peeled for details.*

Is your favorite soda a Nazi? (No, but this is pretty interesting!)

The current global climate is one of outrage and public shaming, with some of our favorite celebrities and our least favorite presidents being involved in and accused of shocking scandals. But at least sipping your favourite soft drink provides an innocent retreat from the harsh realities of the real world, right? Wrong!

(I am being facetious, please read the rest of the article before you decide to boycott the Coca Cola company.)

Coca-Cola was invented by a confederate civil war veteran in 1886. Dr S John Pemberton created the coca leaf infused drink as an alternative to the morphine he had become addicted to. In respect to the popular myth about the drink, the coca leaf is used in making cocaine but the drink itself never contained actual cocaine. The drink spread across the US and by the 1920s the drink been popularised in many European countries, including Germany.

A Coca-Cola subsidiary was run in Germany by Max Keith and the drink had been popular prior to Nazi rule in the country. Throughout the Nazi campaign Coca-Cola retained German business by associating itself with aspects of German life, including the anti-Semitic aspects. Coca-Cola was one of the three main sponsors of the 1936 Berlin Olympics where banners were flown featuring the company logo alongside a swastika. And more shockingly Keith ordered a mass Seig-Heil in honor of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday at Coca-Cola Germany’s 10th anniversary.

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When the US entered World War II in 1941 all American companies were required to stop business with Germany, while on the other side of the pond the German government threatened to capture any enemy owned businesses. Due to this and difficulties contacting the main Coca-Cola branch in Georgia, the US based Coca-Cola company was forced to cut ties with Keith and stop supplying the German factory with supplies including the secret 7X Coca-Cola flavoring.

Unable to produce Coca-Cola itself Keith needed a new alternative beverage to market to the German people that could be produced in Germany itself. Thus Fanta (derived from the German word fantasie) was created. It quickly became well-liked, by 1943 sales had reached nearly 3 million cases per year. It was especially popular due to the lack of other choices at the time. Fanta was drunk by itself but it was also used as a sweetener in cooking and baking due to severe sugar rationing.


Fanta production stopped at the end of WWII but the drink was reintroduced in 1955 in Italy. They made this Fanta with a completely new recipe and Fanta today is largely different to its Nazi namesake. Due to limitations from wartime rationing the drink had to be made out of leftovers from other food industries, namely fruit shaving, apple fibers, beet sugar and whey from cheese making. In 2015 for its 75th anniversary Coca-Cola released a classic wartime version of the drink but facing backlash hastily pulled it from the shelves and put out a statement saying Fanta “Has no association with Hitler or the Nazi Party”. I’m sure Fanta Klassik tasted nothing like the orange flavored drink you can find behind the bar in central.

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I don’t mean to make this sound like Fanta and Coca-Cola are a menace because of their history. Indeed, other companies have had similar war time deals and in the 1990s Pepsi used to trade with the USSR. Given that the soviet rubles were practically worthless outside of the USSR they bartered with the US using vodka or Soviet war ships in return for soda. The pepsi company briefly owned a fairly large navy including 17 submarines and three warships. Surprisingly, the company never used these ships to declare war on Coca-Cola instead selling them for scrap.

As the pepsi company worked with the USSR, Keith must have worked with the Nazis to create, produce and sell Fanta as “You could not do business inside of Nazi Germany unless you collaborated with them”. However, Keith was never an official member of the Nazi party and his allegiances lied solely with Coca-Cola and not with Hitler. He was simply doing what he could to keep his business alive. So dedicated was Keith, it is rumored that when American troops liberated Germany from the Nazi reign Keith was found in a half-bombed factory still bottling Fanta.

TL;DR Fanta was invented in Nazi Germany but not by Nazi’s and even if it had been, today’s has been completely recreated and only shares the same name so there is no need to fret about racist soda.

15 Reasons Why Being A Vegetarian Is The Best!

I wasn’t born a vegetarian and yes that means I choose not to eat meat. That’s not to say I’m offended by you eating meat in front of me, however just like you may love bacon or fried chicken, I love vegetables: especially when they’re turned into guacamole or hummus. As with everything there are certain negatives to living in a majority meat eating world such as limited options at McDonalds and having no choice other than to order a cheeseburger without the burger happy meal after a night out. Nevertheless, being a vegetarian is probably the best choice I made. There isn’t the suffering that people expect and I’ve managed to summarise 15 main reasons as to why being a vegetarian is the best. No hate for this please, I’m not trying to convert you all to vegetarianism, just giving you some friendly food for thought.

Now, before you start throwing Big Macs at me, just know that with this article I aim not to coerce you into any change in diet and the reading I have done to summarise these points is something you all should do before you consider becoming vegetarian.

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  1. You save the lives of innocent animals: This is a no brainer. Obviously being a vegetarian means I’m not contributing to the 6 million cattle, 10 million pigs, 14.5 million sheep and lambs, 80 million fish and 950 million birds that are slaughtered for human consumption (from which large proportions of the meat are disregarded for not being of a high enough quality).
  2. It can be healthier: Vegetarianism can have many health benefits, as it may provide a healthy diet that can lead to a longer lifespan. Vegetables are healthy, duh!
  3. Improved endurance: Eating more vegetables can also improve energy and endurance levels, due to the natural sugars and vitamins, which can further improve concentration – just ask Mo!Mo Farah blog
  4. Making friends: Another great thing about being a vegetarian is the instant bond you have when meeting other vegetarians who share your lifestyle and understand the importance of quorn scotch eggs and cocktail sausages…which is the next best thing.
  5. As a vegetarian you have an insight into how good quorn scotch eggs are, which is something our carnivore friends just don’t understand (I recommend you all try them).
  6. Reducing world hunger: On a more serious note, being a vegetarian could potentially be the first step to reducing world hunger, with around 40,000 children starving to death daily. Statistics from the Department of Agriculture have shown that 1 acre of fertile land can produce 20,000lb of potatoes; when this land is used to produce cattle feed it produces less than 165lb of edible cow flesh.
  7. Cooking is safer: If your cooking ability is anything like mine then cooking meat is potentially dangerous. At least if I’m vegetarian I don’t have to worry about any form of food poisoning or cross-contamination from raw or undercooked meat.
  8. Fresh restaurant food: Whilst most restaurants are well catered for vegetarians, the food often takes more time to prepare and can’t be botched up like many meat based meals are – trust me burgers and steaks from pubs are not as fresh as they seem and are sometimes cooked in microwave convectors for convenience.
  9. Becoming a better cook: Your culinary skills are forced to improve when you’re a vegetarian as making meals isn’t as easy as it used to be. So, even though your diet may begin with cheesy bean pasta, you are opened up to new foods and before you know it you’re creating spinach and wensleydale stuffed sweet jacket potatoes, with caramelised onion and falafel topping.
  10. You know all the best places to eat: We do. We know all the quirky places by us that sell our favourite foods and they are so so so good. If any tofu lover finds themselves in Birmingham go to Not Dogs without the meat in the Bullring, you will not regret it.

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  1. More ups: Apparently eating red meat could lead to a lower blood flow, which could be a minute contributing factor to some cases of erectile dysfunction. I must admit that even I find this correlation to be a bit over simplified.
  2. Avoid toxic food contaminants: I’m just putting it out there, but I didn’t have to worry about my mouldy turkey tasting of bleach.
  3. Lower carbon footprint: The United Nations said in its 2006 report that livestock generate more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. So if a vegetarian diet can reduce this, surely it’s worth it.
  4. Washing up: Meat often releases lots of grease onto plates and pots so by avoiding them you make washing up easier.
  5. The best thing about being a vegetarian is saying that you’re a vegetarian: what better way to start a conversation.