Starbucks have started the year off with a bang by responding to the overwhelming demand for vegan and plant based options at its coffeehouses across the globe.

The coffeehouse giant reported a boom in demand for plant-based milk options throughout 2017, and they have reacted by adding oat milk to its list of dairy-free options.

Oat milk in coffee is SO delicious, it’s creamy and rich and always my go-to milk for coffee and cereal! (shoutout Oatly Barista!)

In addition to the oat milk update, Starbucks have also excitingly added more vegan options to their food line too. From January we can now get our hands on the brand new BBQ Vegan Wrap with Jackfruit and Slaw, featuring a whole wheat seeded wrap filled with carrot and sweet corn purée, jackfruit, spinach, and slaw.

It’s so great to see high street brands branching out from falafel and experimenting with mock meats and a variety of vegetables.

For breakfast, Starbucks have added a Vegan Five Grain Oatmeal Pot, an oat porridge made with coconut cream and soy milk, golden linseeds, and red and wild rice, spiced with cinnamon, which sounds warming and delicious.

And if all of that sounds too healthy for you, they have also introduced a Vegan Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Bar topped with nuts and edamame.

These movements support Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson’s initiative to increase the company’s sales by tapping into the plant-based market. It’s the place to be.

What do you think? Will you be trying the new range?

 

 

Today I’m super excited to welcome Naomi Carpenter from With Love Naomi, to share her vegan experiences when it comes to working out and getting enough dreaded protein! Naomi is body & butt goals, so keep reading to find out how to strike the ideal vegan balance when working out and building muscle, all from plants!

I feel I’m a bit of a lazy vegan if I’m honest… only in the sense that I kinda decided one day that I was going to do it and that was that, plain sailing from there on! It was great from the start, I still eat a lot of the things I ate before and even lost weight! (Although that doesn’t last too long guys… you soon discover exactly how to find vegan junk food!) I hadn’t consumed milk in almost 2 years anyway as I didn’t ever really like it and I’ve never been a fan of eggs/cheese so after becoming vegetarian and cutting meat out anyway it felt like the next natural step!

However, one of the things I was worried about when becoming a vegan was how it would affect me in the gym. For the last few years I’ve been pretty into training, building muscle and shaping my body so I was worried I may not be able to lift as heavy or train as hard BUT to be honest it was the complete opposite! I’ve smashed most of my PB’s and had more energy and more confidence than ever. Which safe to say I was buzzing about. I felt in the best shape of my life with ACTUAL CONFIDENCE on holiday for the first time ever! (not that the sheer amount of food I ate on the all-inclusive didn’t swiftly change that… not sorry)

In 24 years and 8 months of being alive no one had ever asked me where I got my protein from… Not going to lie I had thought people were joking when they said they had been asked that but It’s coming up to only my 5th month of being vegan and I must have been asked 83746 times… So, I started to panic like “Wait… Where do I get my protein from…?!”

But guys, there are so many things that contain complete proteins without having to even look very far, so there’s no need to panic! I’ve always been a canny chef but you literally don’t even need to be. Quickest, easiest way to consume protein? Beans. Like literally a tin of beans. You can have them with almost every meal. I’m not saying go home and buy Tesco out of Heinz but at least you know that’s an easy, fuss free option!

I have so many friends coming to me now asking for advice and they are always so surprised when I start listening off all of the things they would normally eat or that think they couldn’t have that are vegan (my favourite ones to say being crumpets and bagels lol) Plus there are SO MANY places whacking out their own vegan menu which makes me unbelievably excited (so put down that tin of beans and get the ‘Happy Cow’ app downloaded and get your little herbivore ass out to try ‘em!) I’m lucky I live in Newcastle because there are so many vegan places now, I’ve had Sunday dinner with soy Yorkshires, pancakes and with bacon (fake bacon of course) burgers coming out of my ears, hot dogs… I could literally go on for hours about all of the delicious food I still eat.

You get a feeling of pure delight when you find out there’s a vegan option of something you’ve been craving! (yes, I am talking about ben and jerry’s chocolate brownie ice cream…)

At the end of the day it’s all about what works for you and what you want to change first! There are so many blogs/Instagram pages/YouTube channels that are full of free, helpful (tasty) advice. I went from pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan within a few months and for me that was the best decision I ever made and now it’s just habit!

There’s so much support out there to help you if you’re stuck. For me it’s been a lovely positive journey so far. The only advice I can give is to bare in mind that not everyone will understand your decisions or be on board with what you are doing/going through on your journey but that’s also fine! Don’t be afraid to explain how and why or even feel like you have to, you do you.

With Love, Naomi x

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Top sources of vegan protein (just in case you’re worried!):

  • Lentil Flour
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tahini
  • Almonds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Oats
  • Tofu
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Pistachio Nuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Red Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Potato
  • Peas

A vegan diet is incredibly high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals (yep, even protein!), but it’s wise to do your research about supplements for optimum health, regardless of your diet.

For vegans a particular topic of discussion is B12. You may have heard of B12, but if you haven’t you’re in the right place!

What is B12? 

B12 is a vitamin made from bacteria in both water and soil – it is essential for brain health and development and very low B12 can cause anemia and nervous system damage.

B12 is required in smaller amounts than any other known vitamin. In fact, only ten micrograms of B12 spread over a day appears to supply as much as the body can use. Symptoms of B12 deficiency usually takes five years or more to develop in adults, however it can be easily avoided by taking a B12 supplement or fortified foods.

Why is B12 associated with a vegan diet?

B12 is the only vitamin that is not recognised as being reliably supplied from a varied wholefood, plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, together with exposure to sun.

As a result, a common misconception is that B12 is an animal derived vitamin, which is why those following a vegan lifestyle need to take a B12 supplement. However in fact the reason why B12 isn’t easily obtainable in a plant based diet is the way in which our fruits and vegetables are now grown, treated and sanitized prior to sale. Whereas cattle and livestock are fed B12 fortified foods to ensure the vitamin is present in a meat-eaters diet, as well as many herbivorous mammals who absorb B12 produced by bacteria in their own digestive system.

How can you get enough B12 in your diet?

Good news is there are lots of B12 supplements available, including tablets, capsules and also liquid form. In addition, Nutritional Yeast is a key cupboard ingredient used in many vegan recipes – this is also a great source of B12.

Everyone could benefit from taking a B12 supp, not just those following a vegan diet, because it can be tricky to absorb and is most effective in small doses. So get yourself down to your local health store and stock up on B12!

How to identify serious B12 Deficiency?

Clinical B12 deficiency can cause a range of serious health problems, such as anaemia or nervous system damage, loss of energy, tingling, numbness, reduced sensitivity to pain or pressure, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, hallucinations and personality changes. Often these symptoms develop gradually over several months to a year before being recognised as being due to B12 deficiency, however they are usually reversible when B12 is taken.

If you suspect a problem then go to your doctor and get a blood test, as many of these symptoms can be caused by problems other than B12 deficiency.

Make sure you’re getting your B12 kids!

This week it seems the whole internet has been absolutely pumped with the news that Tesco has launched a 20 item vegan range by the plant based wizard duo, Wicked Kitchen!! 

This is a huge development in the vegan community, and the food world in general! I’ve managed to try 5 items so far and it truly lives up to the hype.

The line has been designed as grab-and-go type meals, and includes items such as a Carrot Pastrami-Spiced Wrap, a Smashin’ Pumpkin Falafel Sandwich made with vegan harissa mayonnaise on tomato bread, a Moroccan-Inspired salad bowl with turmeric-infused bulgur, spiced beetroot, tangy pickled red cabbage, and roasted red pepper hummus, and Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with BBQ Mushrooms, just to name a few.

Heart eyes.

The full range is available across 600 locations and it addresses the ‘convenience food’ gap for plant based meals here in the UK. Cleverly the branding doesn’t focus heavily on it being vegan line (although it is of course labelled on the back as vegan!); this is a clever move as many people may choose the meals without realising, but for those of us who need to know it’s vegan, know!

The line also includes burritos, noodle bowls, and several heat-and-eat options, including two pizzas, the Caponata Sourdough Pizza and the BBQ Mushroom Sourdough Pizza. I’ve tried both. No regrets.

I’ve also been lucky enough to try the Mushroom Hoi Sin Wrap, the Spicy Frijoles Wrap and the Butternut Squash Mac & BBQ Mushrooms – all of which have been fresh, delicious and such a treat to be so readily available in a mainstream supermarket.

Wicked Kitchen is the creation of chef brothers Chad and Derek Sarno (Whole Foods Market former senior global executive chef) and their mission is to bring flavorful vegan food to retailers.

Derek Sarno said “It’s been an incredible journey and an honor partnering and working with Tesco. It’s the first step in creating real change. We now lead the world with the most delicious, chef-crafted, detail-oriented, affordable, innovative, and most convenient plant-based food range ever seen at a large retailer.”

According to some estimates, the plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.2 billion by 2020 and could make up one-third of the market by 2050. Especially here in the UK with the rise of the flexitarian diet, the Vegan Society notes that more than half of U.K adults are adopting “vegan-buying behavior” and the number of full-time vegans in the U.K. has grown fourfold in just the past ten years!!

This is incredible news and this is just the beginning for big brand launches in 2018.

WHO’S EXCITED?!!! Have you tried it yet? What’s your favourite item?