National Vegetarian Week

Hi Everybody,

This week is National Vegetarian Week in the United Kingdom. To mark the occasion we thought it might be fun and useful to post a kind of food plan-cum-diary to help inspire others to take the challenge and try a meat-free week, or even one meal. Each day we will [do our very best] to publish a new blog post, with 3 meal ideas and 2 snacks, including one recipe. Fair warning however, we don’t use cookbooks and add our ingredients mostly by eye/taste, so you’ll have to guesstimate with any you choose to try, to see what works best for you and yours. Feel free to comment on any/all of the posts, and let us know how your experiment goes. We hope you enjoy!

We also encourage you to check out the National Vegetarian Week website for more tips, tricks, stories and inspiration.

All the best, stay tuned!

The Paws
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Bamboo: Beauty or Beast?

Welcome to the first edition of Spotlight, the blog series where we shine some light on the truth about the things touted as good for us or the planet. This time we will be focusing on bamboo.

Background and Basics

Bamboo is a type of grass with over 1200 species found across the world. In the plant world it is rather special, and able to boast a whole host of impressive statistics.

  • The largest species of bamboos typically reach 30m in height, while the smallest mature at just 0.1m.
  • The widest bamboos can exceed 0.2m in diameter.
  • Bamboo boasts astonishing biomass generation. The fastest bamboos can grow up to 0.91m in height in just a single day.
  • The tallest recorded species of bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) can exceed 50m in height!
  • Through sequestration – that’s using carbon in the air as an energy source – Bamboo can produce 35% more oxygen than trees.

In addition, bamboo is loaded with amazing properties.

  • It regrows itself to the extent that the same bamboo can be harvested every 3-5 years, depending on source, and bamboo species.
  • It’s remarkably hardy, surviving the atomic blast at Hiroshima better than any of the other plants and animals.
  • Due to its complex root structure, bamboo can be used to fight soil erosion.
  • Bamboo can grow  sufficiently well to be commercially viable without pesticides or fertiliser.
  • Its high growth rate and prodigious root network make it a natural cleaner for diluting the concentration of nutrients in certain landscapes, or purifying land from chemicals and certain toxins.

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Vegan, what now?

Welcome Reader,

Today’s post is aimed at anybody who is thinking of trying veganism, and to those who have made the decision, but are just starting out. It won’t be full of technical information, or loaded with peer-reviewed articles. Just some questions to consider, and a few options.

Regardless of what non-vegans might think, there are a tonne of food options for vegans. We think it seems pretty obvious that the more you like what you eat, the more likely you’ll be able to stay vegan, and enjoy it. So one of the most important questions to ask yourself before you get into vegan food, is what kind of diet do you have now?

  • Ready meal junkie – If you’re too busy to cook or have no interest in food beyond the microwave, don’t worry, there are lots of vegan versions out there, both those aimed at vegans, and those that are vegan by happy accident. Health shops tend to stock a bigger range than supermarkets, but all the big 4 sell them. Cooking for vegans offer a decent list of products here in case you struggle to spot vegan food on the shelves yourself.
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Top Tip Tuesday: Eco-shopping

Welcome to Top Tip Tuesday. Here are today’s tips for making your shopping trip a bit more friendly.

  • Buy bulk – it may seem obvious but it’s true, bulk is best, provided you can use all your goodies before the expiry date.
    • Kind to your wallet – Higher volume usually means cheaper prices. If you fully embrace bulk buy, it can save you fuel, and even time. And you know how the saying goes, time is money.
    • Kind to the planet – As well as all of the above, smart bulk buying (bigger packs, not more small packs) is more economical in transport, so the carbon footprint is lighter. Similarly, bigger packs actually use less packaging per kilogram, so you’re helping to cut down on waste, reducing the pressure on recycling, and giving natural resources like trees a bit of a break.
  • BYOB – yep, bring your own bags. Charges for disposable bags are becoming more common, but that brings the danger of a new trap
    • – thinking the charge is good because it might be going towards charitable causes (like the UK) and therefore continuing to use disposable bags,

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