Friday, 28 October 2011

Plamil dairy free alternative to milk chocolate review

Guess who ate the rest of it?

One of the toughest things to get used to when you go dairy free (for animal welfare or health reasons) is not eating milk chocolate. Now I love dark chocolate, but sometimes I get cravings for milk chocolate.

Up until now I've fought them, but then I happened across this amazing alternative to milk chocolate and once I started eating it I couldn't stop.

This is by far the best vegan, dairy free alternative to milk chocolate I’ve tasted. It’s smooth and there’s no aftertaste.

As well as being milk free, this chocolate its –
Nut free
Made using sustainable energy

It does contains Soya, which I'm told some people can be left feeling bloated after they eat it.

This 45g bar cost me almost a pound from Holland and Barrett.

Be warned – this chocolate is higher in calories compared to normal milk chocolate but a small piece goes a long way.

KEEP AWAY FROM DOGS AS THIS CHOCOLATE AS A VERY HIGH COCOA CONTENT. But dogs should never be allowed to eat human chocolate anyway as it can kill them.

For details of the Plamil range visit their website.

Plamil are a UK company, but for a list of stockists go this page and schroll further down. It lists stockists in Australia, Germany, France and Holland. Sadly, at the time of printing they don't have a stockist in America, but online vegetarian/vegan stores may stock it.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Greatest Guide to Living Cruelty Free: Burberry's fur confession

Burberry's fur confession

Sadly, there are several big name brands who think using fur is acceptable. British firm Burberry are one of them.

Most people can see the beauty in animals keeping their own fur. Burberry think you should wear it.
Photo is courtesy of PETA

This is the email Ithat was sent to them on behalf after I signed and online petition -

Subject: Stop selling Fur


i understand that your stores are selling many fur or fur-trimmed items, made with real fur. We are sure that if you knew what goes on behind the scenes in the fur industry, you would not want these cruel products to be a part of your collection.

Millions of animals, including rabbits, raccoons, and foxes, are painfully trapped in steel-jaw leg hold traps each year. Those who don't freeze or starve are usually beaten to death or suffocated when the trapper arrives hours or days later. Animals held captive on fur farms spend their short lives crowded in wire cages where they suffer from inadequate water, disease, parasites, and stress. The animals are killed by anal electrocution, poisoning, or suffocation. Those who don't die immediately are skinned alive.

In 1998, 94 percent of the people who responded to a survey in Cosmopolitan magazine said animals should not be killed for their fur. People assume that a scrap of fur on the collar is fake and I assure you that many would be appalled to learn that it is real. I trust that you cannot, in good conscience, support this unnecessary torture inflicted upon millions of animals each year.

I hope you will decide to eliminate all fur from your stores after considering this information. Thank you for your time and attention.


Jennifer Thomson
Millport, United Kingdom

This is the reply I got from Burberry. Note the way they claim their fur is humane and refer to fur as 'natural hide.' This is to make people think its the same as leather and to distance what they sell from fur.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your feedback regarding Burberry's use of natural hides.

By way of background, Burberry is an international luxury brand producing apparel and accessories with a distinct British sensibility for over 150 years. As a company with a strong outerwear heritage, there has been, and will continue to be, occasions where consumer tastes demand the use of natural hides.

Burberry will not use natural hides if there is any concern that it has been produced using unacceptable treatment of animals. We source natural hides very carefully, safeguarding the correct ethical standards and traceability. Specifically, we source fur from furriers who are well known for upholding high standards of ethical treatment of animals and share our concerns about animal welfare.

Burberry believes in the accurate labelling of all garments containing fur, to clearly inform consumers about the product prior to their purchase. As a result Burberry is a signatory to the US government's Truth In Fur Labelling Act.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us on this subject and giving us the opportunity to reply.

Kind regards,

Burberry Customer Service

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3402 1444

Sunday, 16 October 2011

TV chef says no difference from eating pork and eating puppies

Comments from TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall were published this week where he said that there was no difference between eating pork and eating puppies.

Views seemed to be mixed. Most people were appalled at the notion of eating dogs and couldn’t believe someone from a dog loving nation like the UK could even dare suggest such a thing.

Some, including vegetarians and vegans, thought that he had a point.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years and a vegan for less than a year, so what I’m about to say is my opinion. I speak for myself, not for anyone else.

I thought that what HFW said was sick. Coming from a man who likes to eat road kill (I don’t scrape up any dead animals I find and shove them into a baking tin, I bury them – I’m funny like that) and who has also ate curried fruit bat in the past, this is not a call for people to re-examine their consciences where eating animals is concerned.

If a vegetarian or vegan had said what he said they’d have been highlighting the hypocrisy of people who eat some animals but wouldn’t eat others. Their message would be that every animal has the right to indulge in their normal behaviours and to not be farmed and killed. Therefore there would be no difference between eating pig and eating puppy.

But, if a meat eater like HFW makes a comment like that it’s as if he’s advocating extending the range of animals people eat. Why not when people already eat pigs?   

The other reason his comments were objectionable was because he was saying, ‘hey, if you eat meat, you should be willing to eat any animal whether it’s a piglet or a puppy.

Take aside the fact that dogs have the status as pets in most Western societies, do we really need someone advocating that when so many new animals are already being eating in the West? Animals like kangaroo, squirrel and shark?

That’s on top of the ones people eat that many people would find morally objectionable like horse (they eat horsemeat in Belgium and Germany and many other countries), monkey (in 2002 there were reports of monkey meat being sold in the UK) and cats (in certain Swiss cultures they eat cat meat).

We need there to be some animals people won't eat. There has to be a limit, because when there isn’t people will start eating anything.

Footnote - I've been very surprised after going on various message boards and groups to see that many vegans and vegetarians agree with HFW's comments. Everyone is entitled to their opinion (just as I am) but to people who genuinely believe that eating a puppy is the same as eating pork, I would ask this question - would you protest against/boycott a butchers or supermarket for selling puppy meat? If the answer is yes (as I hope it would be) why do you not do the same when stores sell pork?

Whether we like it not, certain animals like dogs are given a higher status in our society than ours and its just as well they are because then they'd be farmed and eaten too.

And that's how veggiegirl2011 see it.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Things to consider when giving up milk

Following on from the last post on why I'm giving up milk, I thought it might be a good idea to write about this because its always good to be prepared.

Note - the tips given will also be useful to those who are lactose intolerant. Symptoms include bloating and stomach discomfort after consuming dairy.

Sesame seeds are full of calcium

1.If you used milk containing foods to get your calcium, make sure you get calcium from other sources.
Good sources include green leafy veg like broccoli (high in iron too), cabbage, spinach (note that spinach although it is a good source of calcium it contains a chemical that may stop your body from absorbing calcium 0 to prevent this have something that's high in vitamin C, say like a glass of orange juice), almonds (they have more calcium than any other nut and contain fibre), figs (they have a high amount of calcium and are very nutritous), kale (contains more clacium per ounce than milk) and sesame seeds (don't be fooled by their size as these littlte seeds are a wonderful source of calcium, iron, magnesium and those all important B vitamins).

2.If you like margarine or butter on things like toast, pancakes, scones and cornbread, there are dairy free spreads available.
Try your local health food store or supermarket. There are different varieties.
Tip - try different spreads like preserves, jam, peanut butter, melted or sqashed down banana, marmalade etc... There are so many things you can spread on your bread.

3.If you can't stand the taste of black tea or coffee, check out milk replacers, often called cremer or creamer or coffee\tea whitener.
My favourite is SoyGo, a Soy cremer that comes in individual sachets so you can carry it around with you for work or visiting friends and relatives. To read more about it, see my previous post about Milk Replacers.
Tip - you need to give it a good stir, let it settle then stir again, but in my opinion it's the best milk replacer for tea and coffee on the market. I've tried quite a few.

4.Remember, dairy free chocolate is readily available.
It's plain chocolate or dark chocolate. Check the label.

5.The most common way we used milk in our house when I was growing up, was in our cereal.
The good news is that you can replace cow's milk with other kinds of milk. Rice milk, Soy/soya milk, almond milk and even coconut milk can be used.

6. Dairy free ice cream can taste amazing.
There are more and more ranges coming out all the time. My personal fave is Swedish Glace. It tastes amazing. See my review here.
Tip - try out the chocolate version of any non-dairy/dairy-free ice cream first as its usually the best.

Sadly, Swedish Glace now off my shopping list as well known animal torturers Unilever buy the company.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Lees, Lees, no more crushed beetles if you please

Do you want this little guy in your candy?

Watch out for crushed up cochineal beetles in your yoghurt, drinks and sweets. Lees of Scotland, have carmine in their Raspberry coconut ice - and they're not the only company with this unneccessary nasty in their candy.

This red/pinky colorant is a big hit unless you're a wee beetle minding your own business until someone grabs you and boils you alive and then smashes your head in.

Why don't these companies tell us the truth and list crushed beetles in their ingredients?

Probably because they know we wouldn't buy them.

Some transparency please by manufacturers. Is it too much to ask?

And that's how veggiegirl2011 sees it.

Tip - Carmine can also be labelled as cochineal, Crimson Lake and natural red. It's often in sweets and candies that are labelled as having natural colorants although there's nothing natural about what happens to those beetles.

Tip - Cochineal can also be present in cosmetics like blusher.

For more on this food nasty, visit here, here, here and here.