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    5 Things I’ve Learnt After Being Vegetarian For Two Years

    Two years! In February 2015 I thought I’d challenge myself and try two weeks vegetarian. Two weeks just to see what it would be like. It was easy… And here I am, two years later without having touched a piece of meat since!

    VegetarianTwoYEars

    It was weird because once those two weeks were up, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy any meat. I’d been craving chicken during the first week (so my timehop twitter updates told me) but I guess I got over that. So basically a little mini resolution changed my life, and I’d say for the better. Not just because I’m not eating meat any more (I won’t start preaching, don’t worry) but because my diet had a complete revamp. I had to look for more foods, find new recipes and try new things.

    I was never adventurous with my food. I mean, I wouldn’t even eat any cooked vegetables until I went to college/university… That was probably one of the things stopping me from turning vegetarian sooner (that, and people) because I just wasn’t sure what I would eat! Turns out vegetarians can eat a lot of foods, and it’s really not as difficult as you’d imagine.

    So what have I learnt after being vegetarian for the past two years?

    + Eating out at restaurants/pubs really isn’t that difficult.
    There’s always something to eat. Yes there may not always be great choices, but it’s not as difficult as everyone seems to think it is. It seems to be coming more and more normal for a place to have a good few vegetarian/vegan friendly meals.

    + People will still ask you about protein.
    It’s true, no one cares about macros or what you’re eating unless you say you’re vegetarian or vegan. Then they’re all of a sudden interested in your protein intake. I do still get this, I don’t imagine it’ll ever stop.

    + It’s getting more widely accepted.
    And by that, I mean that there’s just more acknowledgement and less judgement. I come across way may people who are vegetarian now and those that aren’t don’t really care about me being vegetarian. Mention the word vegan though and well, that’s a completely different matter. I don’t know why but people love to hate vegans. (This is of course just my experience with both things… I guess others will come into more criticism and vice versa)

    + I like a lot of foods that I never thought I would.
    Beans, lentils, houmous, chickpeas, broccoli, courgette, quinoa and almond milk – to name a few. I wouldn’t have tried beans or lentils (I really hate baked beans) before turning vegetarian, but a girl has got to get protein from somewhere and these are perfect solutions. I’ve also tried like a million veggie burgers made from a variety of ingredients including beans, lentils, sweet potato and other veg. The list is endless with burgers – there are so many combinations.

    + Despite what people seem to think, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
    “Do you never crave…” “Do you not miss…” Nope. I don’t miss chicken. I can’t really remember completely what it tastes like to be perfectly honest. I never liked bacon so I’ve been able to easily live without it for 24 years. People seem to think vegetarian diets are super restrictive, but I mean, I just don’t eat meat. There are SO many other foods out there. Of course there are certain things like sweets, gravy, crisps etc that have ingredients from meat/animals in there that I don’t eat but basically the point is – there is always an alternative to everything.

    I can’t imagine ever going back to eating meat. It doesn’t feel right for me any more. Have you ever tried?

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    Food, Lifestyle

    5 Things Learnt Whilst Foraging For Berries

    Last year I posted about going to one of those Pick Your Own farms, and picking berries. I always tell myself that I should just grab some from our local fields, woodlands and the like, because there’s actually tons about. On every run I pass dozens of blackberry and raspberry bushes – I even pass some on my way to work every Weds/Thurs – and I’m always tempted to grab one. Well, I finally did it.

    5 Things Learnt Whilst Foraging For Berries | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    As I was walking home from the gym yesterday, it was 26 degrees out and I was basically just day dreaming about food. The footpath that I use has plenty of blackberry bushes running along it and I decided that it was time. Time to go foraging. I dug into my bag, pulled out my water bottle and emptied the water out. The only container I had on me – it would have to do. So without further ado, here are 5 things learnt whilst foraging for berries:

    5 Things Learnt Whilst Foraging For Berries | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 All the best ones are completely out of reach

    They say to pick the higher berries when foraging in the wild as there’s always the chance that a furry animal has done its business on the lowest. Makes sense, right? Well I definitely stuck to the higher ones. Those I could reach. I found plenty, but it was still heartbreaking to see some really juicy looking berries just out of my reach. Next time: take a tall person.

    #2 You will come across many creepy crawlies

    Bees, wasps, spiders, daddy long legs… Yep, I saw them all whilst gathering these berries. I spotted a HUGE garden spider, and well, it’s safe to say I avoided that area completely once I’d seen it. Very nearly stuck my hand right through the spider web! I’ve linked a photo because I know some people are scared of spiders and I didn’t want to upset anyone! Can’t remember the last time I saw one this big. I’m personally not really bothered by bugs, but if you are you may want to stick to shop bought berries… (Or, as I would recommened – take someone who isn’t afraid!) Next time: be more aware.

    5 Things Learnt Whilst Foraging For Berries | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #3 They’re not lying when they say it’s best to wear long sleeves/trousers/gloves

    I didn’t have any of these. Thankfully, I only got nettled on one finger (that stung for hours afterwards!) but I also managed to get a thorn stuck in my finger too. I didn’t crawl too much into the actual bushes, but I would have done if I had clothing that covered me properly. Next time: wear more.

    #4 Take an appropriate box to collect your berries in

    Yeah so as this was an impromptu foraging session, all I had was two water bottles on me. I just had to make do with those. You’re only supposed to take around 1/3 of the plant, and avoid any that haven’t got many fruits. I managed to fill a bottle with blackberries from a few different plants and areas, but there were so many more I could have taken. Next time: take some tupperware!

    Raspberries

    #5 People will stare

    Yep. I collected most of the blackberries from bushes along an off road path so that was fine. The rest were found on the roadside, as were the raspberries. Plenty of people in cars having a good look at me as they drove past. I had a couple of dog walkers look at me with confused faces, kids also with confused faces, old people telling me to watch the sticky out branches didn’t scratch my ‘lovely arms’. Just ignore them and carry on picking – you’re the one getting rewarded with juicy fruits after all! Next time: eh, do the same – keep on picking.

    5 Things Learnt Whilst Foraging For Berries | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    5 Things Learnt Whilst Foraging For Berries | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Is there anything better than going for walk in the sunshine and picking fresh fruit? Gives me all kinds of nature-feels. Pouring down with rain on Monday, 26 degrees on Tuesday… Let’s hope the rest of the week stays hot! (Or take me to a hot country, pretty please.)

    Have you ever foraged for berries? (Miles cheaper than those pick your own farms!)

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    Currently Tasting, Food

    Currently Tasting #2

    I’ve tried quite a few new things since I wrote my last Currrently Tasting – not all good haha! I have to admit, this one isn’t really a very healthy one overall, but hey new foods! There’s a bit of a mixture here, but they do mostly all relate to healthy eating… Or getting protein in. If you have any suggestions of things I should try, please let me know! I need to broaden my diet.

    Tofu & Protein Cookies

    Cauldron Tofu & Protein cookies

    Tofu: not completely sold on it. I fried this with some veg and noddles in a teriyaki sauce, and maybe I cooked it too much (probably) but I didn’t really like the texture. The taste too was weird – like, really woody/soil like. It doesn’t make sense, but I can’t think of how else to describe it!

    Protein cookies: Another disappointment. I got the White Choc Macadamia and Choc Caramel Chunk from The Protein Works and I just expected a little more. They actually tasted really powdery and sort of like sweet. The dark chocolate one definitely tasted of chocolate, but I couldn’t get past the powdery taste. I had a couple of bites of each one and that was enough! I feel like I should add that the proportions in the photo are not correct… The cookies really weren’t that huge compared to the tofu box – it’s just two photos badly placed together.

    Weight Watchers Dessert

    Weight watchers desserts*

    I was sent a couple of vouchers for these, and I was actually really looking forward to trying them. I’m not a massive ice cream fan to be honest, but my mum and auntie are and I knew they’d love to help me try these! Weight Watchers desserts boast a low calorie and low fat recipe, which makes these feel a little healthier. The sundaes are worth 3 pro points on weight watchers, and the swirl pots 2. For me, to have something that’s a little healthier but still a treat makes these worth a buy even if you’re not following the diet.

    Toffee & Honeycomb Sundaes

    I had a bite of this one, but my mum and auntie both had the full sundaes. I thought it was really creamy, and the toffee sauce and honeycomb pieces added a nice chewiness – I really liked the small honeycomb bits! My mum said that you wouldn’t think it was low fat and a healthier ice cream dessert. Her only downside was that there wasn’t enough! (Not sure it’d be as weight watchers friendly with more haha!)

    Chocolate Honeycomb Swirl

    Really chocolatey and creamy! For me this was the perfect portion. It definitely felt moreish, but I was also satisfied afterwards. The chocolate swirl in the middle of the ice cream was really rich, and it also had those chewy honeycomb pieces mixed in. I really liked the honeycomb…

    Toffee Fudge Swirl

    Ooh now this one had a really strong flavour! The toffee was rich and creamy, and definitely felt like an indulgence. For me a few spoonfuls was plenty, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth for ice cream treats you’ll love this one. I’m more of a savoury or fruity person to be honest with my desserts!

    Weight Watchers Dessert Trio

    Pringles

    Limited edition Pringles

    Okay so yeah, these are an unhealthy snack. No denying that! But I couldn’t resist when I saw the flavours, and just had to try them. The Spicy Chilli Samba ones have a real kick to them! My lips were tingling! They’re full of flavour though, and not the kind of spice that gets rid of all other tastes and senses. I feel like these really need a salsa or guac dip to go with them – I couldn’t just eat half a pack like I can with the BBQ flavour. The Brazilian Salsa ones though… Now brace yourselves here! They taste like dominos pizza. Not even kidding. Even my brother was amazed. Kind of sweet, definitely tomato-y with a little bit of a twang in there. Heaven in a tube. Definitely recommend these flavours – they’d go really well together mixed in a bowl.

    So that’s what I’m currently tasting… Have you tried anything new lately?

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    Food, Lifestyle

    10 Annoying Things Vegetarians Hear Everyday

    So I’ve been vegetarian for a year and a half now (how has it been that long?!) and I’ve come across many reactions, questions and curiosity in that time… I figured I’d write a quick list of some of the daft and annoying things I’ve heard in this time! For the record – if you eat meat, that’s fine. Your choice, I’m not here to preach. It’s supposed to be funny ;)

    10 Annoying Things Vegetarians Have to Deal With

    #1 But where do you get your protein?

    Why is it that no one cares about protein until you say you’re vegetarian/vegan? Do you know how many big/strong animals are herbivores? Plenty. I get my protein, do not worry.

    10 Annoying Things Vegetarians Have to Deal With

    #2 What about bacon?

    And why is everyone obsessed with bacon? I never liked it anyway so no, I don’t miss it.

    #3 So do you eat fish?

    Fish are animals. So no, I don’t eat fish.

    10 Annoying Things Vegetarians Have to Deal With

    #4 What do you eat then?

    Everything that isn’t meat? (Hint: most existing foods)

    #5 There would be too many animals if we didn’t eat them.

    Well I mean, considering these animals are bred to be eaten, we know that’s not true. Cows, sheep, pigs and chickens would not take over the world.

    #6 I’d get bored of eating salad all the time.

    Yeah, me too. That’s why I don’t eat salad all the time.

    10 Annoying Things Vegetarians Have to Deal With

    #7 You can treat yourself sometimes you know.

    Dad, having some meat is not ‘treating’ myself. I don’t want to eat it.

    #8 Get some meat on your bones! No wonder you’re so skinny!

    Ugh no. I mean I have actually lost weight since cutting out meat, but I’ve always been slim. And I hate being called skinny. It just sounds unhealthy.

    #9 You don’t know what you’re missing…

    Well actually I have eaten meat before, and I know what I’m missing. Not much at all.

    #10 But why?

    Because I don’t like the thought and I never was a big meat-eater. Why does it matter?

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    Currently Tasting, Food

    Currently Tasting #1

    I really enjoy doing my Currently Loving posts, and after receiving a few new foods lately (and finding some myself!) I figured it would be interesting to start a ‘Currently Tasting’ series, where I post my first impressions on foods I’m trying. I’m always on the hunt for new snacks and it gives me a good excuse, right? Will include proper food too – not always junk food. (Junk food that is slightly healthier though ;) ha!) I just bought myself some marinated tofu pieces… Never tried tofu before so that’ll be interesting! Will update in the next few weeks on that one.

    HIPPEAS CHICKPEA CRISPS

    Currently Tasting #1 | HIPPEAS | lifeofkitty.co.uk
    First up – Hippeas*. Made from organic chickpeas, these crisps are vegan, gluten free and a good source of fibre and protein. I didn’t really know what to expect with these, but I was definitely pleased after my first bite! I received four flavours: sweet’n’smokin, in herbs we trust, pepper power and far out fajita. They’re pretty much just massive wotsits, but obviously healthier. They are pretty crunchy though, and don’t melt in your mouth so much. You wouldn’t know they were made from chickpeas. I wouldn’t feel guilty snacking on these every day!

    Thoughts on the Hippeas flavours

    When you open the packets, the smell of the Hippeas is really strong. My favourites were the sweet’n’smokin ones. Can’t beat a bit of BBQ flavouring, right? The far out fajita almost hurt my eyes when I opened it. I was worried because the chilli was so damn strong, but when tasting it was actually quite mellow. Definitely had that bit of spice, but not spicy enough to burn your taste buds and rid of any chance of tasting anything else for the rest of the day. Pepper power packed a little peppery punch. They were also a little salty. Possibly a little too peppery for me to eat the full bag at once, but would be great for sharing snack bowls. I would say the same for the in herbs we trust flavour too. They had a really herby smell, and a savoury taste – it was nice, yet a little strange. I know crisps are generally savoury, but I would say the flavours range from sweet to savoury in the order I’ve mentioned them. The good thing is that whilst the smells are really strong, the actual tastes are not overpowering at all.

    I found that the Hippeas were pretty filling as a snack, and it’s likely due to the fact that these flavours all have 2.8g or 2.9g of protein in them, which for crisps is really good! They also have minimal sugars and minimal fat so you know, definitely a guilt free snack! I will definitely pick more up.

    LOVINGEARTH RAW ORGANIC CHOCOLATE

    Currently Tasting #1 | lovingearth raw chocolate | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Currently Tasting #1 | lovingearth raw chocolate | lifeofkitty.co.uk
    Lovingearth raw organic chocolate* – they’re vegan, cane sugar free, GMO free, gluten free, soy free and dairy free. What more could you ask for eh?

    These chocolate bars are completely raw – uncooked and unprocessed – meaning all the natural goodness in the cacao beans stays intact. If you could ever have healthy chocolate, raw is the way to go. I’ve never really tried any raw chocolate, and I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate. I can eat it, and will occasionally choose it but then Dairy Milk… Anyway, the fact that these are vegan really appeal to me because I am trying to cut down on my dairy.

    Thoughts on the Lovingearth chocolate flavours

    First impressions? So creamy, oh so creamy. It’s hard to believe that these don’t have any milk in them. The texture is exactly like regular chocolate, though I would say a lot smoother and more melt-in-the-mouth than other big brands of milk chocolate.

    Okay, I have to admit that I really did not like the Creamy flavour. It’s described as coconut mylk chocolate with 47% cacao. I’m not a fan of coconut, at all. This bar was definitely the creamiest, and I mean I only didn’t like it because the main flavour was coconut. Mandarin and Gubinge was edible for me, but this one is still made from coconut mylk (and 46% cacao) so that taste was still quite strong. The mandarin did power through though, and I think you’d love it if you enjoy chocolate orange. My favourite was definitely Raspberry. This one is cashew mylk chocolate with 44% cacao, so obviously didn’t have the coconut taste. The raspberry wasn’t overpowering, yet still strong enough to give the raw chocolate that sweeter bite.

    As a raw chocolate with no dairy in the ingredients, I was super impressed with the overall flavour of the chocolate and just how melty and smooth it was. There are quite a few different flavours on the website, so I’d definitely be interested in trying more. For me personally, the ones with coconut mylk are not the ones to go for, but if you do like coconut you’ll love these!

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    Food, Lifestyle

    Healthy Choices: Bioglan Superfoods*

    As I’ve restarted a new fitness regime, I’ve also been trying to eat better. Not easy. The fizzy pop has been cut right down – in fact, I’ve only had it once in the past 12 days – and I’ve been trying to cut down on chocolate. I just need to sort my actual meals out tbh. Anyway, sometimes it’s different to get all the vitamins, fruit and veg that you need and this is where Bioglan Superfoods come in.

    Healthy Choices: Bioglan Superfoods | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Now I’m not a big fan of living and relying on supplements (I won’t say it, but there’s one brand all over FB that I really hate…) because really, the focus should be on a fully balanced diet and eating well. That said, I am definitely pro taking supplements. Thing is, sometimes life just gets too hectic and your diet is generally the thing that suffers. We can all relate to that right? So having something available to give you that extra kick is perfectly good with me. You can of course use these daily, but just using them every few days will give you those extra vitamins you’re missing out on. There’s a difference between utilising supplements, and relying on them!

    So I received a packet each of Spirulina, Supergreens Original and Supergreens Cacao Boost and a tub of Chia & Flax Seeds*. Spirulina is packed with vitamins, protein and contains B12 – very important for vegetarians and vegans especially. This is great for putting into smoothies, but you can also add it to juice and to baking! In a sweet smoothie, you can’t really taste it. Though it makes things green, and I wouldn’t try it alone (mixed with water) personally.

    Chia & Flax Seeds are another good protein source and full of good fats and fibre. These go well in a smoothie too, but I like to use them in salads and rice dishes. I forgot to take a photo of my lunch yesterday, but they definitely add a bit of bulk to a salad and help to fill you up!

    The Supergreens are basically an easy way to get all the recommended portions of fruit/veg per day in, as well as a bundle of other vitamins. I’ve never tried any of these before, and my main worry was how nice they would taste. They say to just add 10g to 200-300ml of water, so I tried them as they were. The Supergreens Original is supposed to be tropical flavoured. Initially, I just stirred the powder into my water, but it didn’t mix very well. Out came the shaker bottle, with one of those funny wire balls, and it mixed in a lot better. Tropical tasting? Actually, it was. Bit of a weird texture because I could still feel bits of powder but that’s probably me not mixing very well. It definitely still tasted of plants though. Not a horrible taste of plants, but a little strange.

    The Cacao version was very similar. I tried mixing this one in with almond milk to see if I could get a chocolate milkshake kind of taste. Definitely chocolatey – though not very strong – and with a bit of a plant aftertaste. I don’t think I could have had the cacao mixed with water. It was good though, and I had it before I started work for the evening. (Not as a meal replacement – as an added extra!)

    Healthy Choices: Bioglan Superfoods | Supergreens | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Healthy Choices: Bioglan Superfoods | Supergreens Chocolate | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the taste of these. I’m definitely going to keep on using them – now summer is here (sort of) it’s time to bring back the smoothies. Next on my list actually is to try banana ice cream… Hoping some cacao powder (and this supergreen one!) can offset the banana taste. We’ll see.

    Ever tried any of the Bioglan Superfoods?

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    Food

    Healthy snacking: My Favourite Bars

    I’m a snacker – always have been, always will be. I’ve been trying to find healthier options for snacking, and whilst I know there are better options out there, bars feel kind of like a treat to me. There’s just something ‘naughty’ feeling about them, even if they’re primarily made up from healthy foods. Here are some of the bars I’ve been enjoying lately!

    Favourite Snack Bars

    Trek Bars

    Okay so actually the berry flapjack is my favourite – I just ate it before I remembered to take this photo. I’ve tried both the Berry Burst and Cocoa Chaos protein bars and they’re pretty filling as a snack. The texture takes a little to get used to, but they’re easy to eat on the go. I’ve only tried the Morning Berry flapjack but it is just to die for. Soooo good. Both kinds of Trek bar boast 10g of protein and are gluten, wheat and dairy free. What more could you ask for?! They’re also £14.99/£15.95 for 16 bars online, so that’s not bad. I bought mine in Holland & Barrett when they were buy one get one half price though!

    Cliff Bars

    A recent discovery of mine. I mean, I’ve known about them for years, but never tried one until recently. I’m loving the Chocolate Chip one. With 9 grams of protein, these bars are also very filling and great on the go. I mostly eat this kind of thing when I need a quick breakfast. They also contain B6 and B12, so that’s always a plus right?

    Frutina Real Fruit Snack

    These are just 100% dried fruit. No added sugars, preservatives or other ingredients – just the fruit that each flavour is – and they’re free from wheat, dairy, nuts and gluten. Not really filling, but good for when you just need something quick to fill that void. And I’ve also just found a pack of 30 for £12.60 on Amazon… Not bad, not bad at all! I really like the taste of these – though the toughness did surprise me at first. I take these to work a lot.

    This is what ends up in my bag everytime I head into Holland & Barrett… Ever tried any?

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