Guest Article by Michelle D’Arcy Jewell

Not Just Food

Going vegan isn’t just about changing your diet. There are lots of other aspects you need to think about too. A lot of toiletries contain animal products and some are produced by companies that still test on animals. It might be a good time to consider ditching mass produced items that are full of chemicals, for natural alternatives.

This doesn’t mean you have to make them yourself, there are lots of small companies that make lovely vegan natural toiletries that are better for your skin, better for the environment and kind to the animals.

It might also be a time to consider how much you need all the lotions and potions you are using. We are led to believe that we need to use all of these products when it might be worth considering how much you really do. Do you really need to be washing your hair every day with harsh shampoos and conditioners? What about all the different creams for hands, face and body? If you make sure you are well dehydrated and eating well, your skin will look more beautiful without needing creams, and if you do still need them consider using ones in glass jars that can be reused.

There are lots of lovely vegan businesses selling natural alternatives that are well worth trying, or you can pop into a zero waste shop to find out alternative products with less packaging. Have a look in the directory for products near you.

Using up Left Overs

It is really important that we do our best not to waste food.  As well as ensuring that you use up all the fruit and vegetables in your house before they are inedible (even if this can result is some ‘interesting’ meals) you can also find a variety of projects around the county where left over food from supermarkets is handed out to the public to make sure it is used. 

Check out Shrewsbury Food Hub, the Telford based Food Share Project and more in the Directory.

This week I went to Holy Trinity Church in Wrockwardine Wood who are open every weekday from 9-11.30 handing out left over supermarket food.  This week they had lots of parsnips so I made this lovely soup.

Parsnip and Rosemary Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6 large parsnips
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp vegan stock powder
  • fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Method:

Chop the potatoes and parsnips and boil in a pan for 10 mins with the fresh rosemary.  After the have cooked drain out the water.  Chop the onion and In another pan heat a small amount of oil and gently fry it. Once it starts to go transparent add the potatoes and parsnips and the garlic (minced) until they start to colour.  Then cover in boiling water and add the stock powder.  Bring to the boil, stirring well. Turn the heat off and leave to cool slightly before blending up. You may want to add some more water here depending on how thick you like your soup.  Serve with a garnish of fresh rosemary.

Getting Support for Going Vegan

Changing your whole lifestyle can seem daunting. I would recommend that you make the changes with your whole household, as this can make things much easier as you can support each other and remind each other why you are doing it.

However, it isn’t always the case that the whole household wants to make that change, and you might want to seek help elsewhere. You might want to join the Shropshire Veggies and Vegans group which support local vegans on their journey.  The Facebook group is a great way to get support from other vegans, and they also meet up which is a great way to find new vegan friends and learn where the best local places to get vegan food are. You can also pop into The Vegan Hub where our staff are always happy to answer your questions and you will never be made to feel you need to buy something in order to get advice.

Guest article by Michelle D’Arcy Jewell

Michelle D’Arcy Jewell runs the The Vegan Hub, a vegan shop in The Parade in Shrewsbury selling groceries and gifts. She also runs the Shropshire Veggies and Vegans group.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot