Clean, green and in my (washing) machine!

I always try, with everything I buy, to get the most “green”, most eco-friendly version there is. In my first year of being vegan, I have been trying even harder to be green, just because I am so much more aware of the need for it now. Laundry detergent has always made me feel bad when I pick it up in the grocery store – I just feel guilty that it’s going into the water, but it’s one of those products which has become something we really rely on, and the idea of an “alternative” just brings back images of the stone age. Detergent is convenient, relatively cheap and pretty essential.

So when I was offered the chance to try Planet Pure’s new certified organic laundry liquid – I jumped at the chance. For a while now I have been looking for a reliable, non-toxic replacement for my every day laundry liquid – but having grown so accustomed to liquids that wash clothes so well, I was worried I would have to settle for something a little “second rate”. How wrong I was! (and what a relief!).

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Planet Pure who have been around since 1999 believe that humans may live in harmony with nature and the environment without exploiting and destroying it. Perfect, me too!! The company use only sustainable components in their products with ingredients such as tea saponin, soapwort, and soapnut which are extracted through a careful process with pure mountain water from the Pfänder region in western Austria. Even better for us eco geeks, their products are easily broken down 100% by nature; the detergents even break down as much as 98% within some hours!

Planet Pure kindly sent me a 510ml bottle of their Fresh Lavender, certified organic, laundry liquid, along with a 50ml bottle of Fresh Orange stain remover (you can buy them both here). The laundry liquid bottle is partially transparent and on first glance, the liquid is a sort of brownish orangey colour. It would be easy to be put off by this but it goes to show you should never judge a book by it’s cover. As soon as I opened the lid, the smell was amazing! I love lavender anyway, but this was like putting your head in a lavender bush! Absolutely wonderful! In my opinion, we have grown too used to things being artificially coloured and thinking that is the “norm”. There is nothing at all wrong with something in it’s natural form and I for one massively prefer it. No chemicals – phew!

I was not disappointed by the liquid’s performance either. As you can see from the picture above, I have been using it regularly since it arrived and it has been brilliant. In fact, the stain remover managed to lift a particularly tricky stain caused by a spoonful of baked beans escaping me! One thing which was a noticeable difference between this product and my usual supermarket brand was that it did not froth up as much. Planet Pure have explained to me that they made a conscious choice to leave out the chemical foam enhancers that most supermarket brands use, as they do not have a cleaning effect per se, and just give the illusion that the product is effective (those sneaky big name brands! Who knew!). Using a lot less foam, in turn helps to save water during the rinsing process. Eco geniuses!

The way I see it, if there is a product which does a great job and doesn’t damage the environment, what could be better? This is something we should all aspire to in all aspects of our lives. I have not got a bad word to say about Planet Pure Laundry Liquid, and I am very much looking forward to making it part of my regular shop!

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.

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“Parmesan” Perfection with Good Carma

Flavour Fusion RRP £4.95 + P&P from Good Carma [available in some UK stockists already] – See more here.

I have been looking for a good vegan substitute for parmesan for a long time – so when the Vegan Lifestyle Association approached me to review a new dairy free, parmesan style cheese alternative, it really was a no brainer! Good Carma, is the brainchild of Charlotte Bates, a passionate vegan who started the company in the summer of 2013 in honour of her mother who died from bowel cancer earlier that year. Charlotte has produced a range of cheese style alternative products called Flavour Fusion, and I for one could not be more excited! The products are made to be suitable for dairy free, wheat free and gluten free diets and include just a few carefully selected ingredients including Himalayan Pink Salt which is packed with over 80 minerals, nutritional yeast (which has added vitamin B12 (a vitamin fairly tough to come by on a vegan diet) and almonds, which amongst their other benefits, are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.

As soon as the box arrived I could practically smell the lasagne I was going to make with it’s perfectly crisp topping (having done without cheese topping on lasagne for far too long!). The packaging design is sleek and eye catching, with colours representing each of the three colours currently available: Original, Chilli and Garlic.

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I wasted no time in making my lasagne and was excited to make it for my family too, who are meat eaters but open to everything vegan. I decided to use the garlic flavour as I thought it would compliment the meal well. When I had layered up my other vegan ingredients (egg free pasta, “free from” sauces and egg free soya mince, all readily available in most supermarkets), I opened up the shaker style pot and the product same out very easily, spreading very nicely over my lasagne.

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I cooked the meal for around 40 minutes at 200c and when I removed it from the oven, just as I had hoped, the Flavour Fusion had crisped up the top layer very nicely, making it a lovely golden brown.

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The taste certainly wasn’t overpowering – my family are not big garlic eaters so they would have had something to say if it was! It tasted perfect, just like the parmesan toppings I would have had prior to becoming vegan. The meal was a real hit with everyone and everyone agreed there really was no difference – no one would have known it wasn’t parmesan. A yummy, guilt free meal #success!

I am thrilled to now have a product I can use just like a parmesan and not have to “miss out” when meals call for it. What’s more, it has a 6 month shelf life and can be stored at room temperature. I feel that this is what I would class as a “no excuse” product, with the knowledge we now have about the dairy industry and it’s brutality, not to mention the health implications  of dairy foods, what reason is there not to use an alternative when companies such as Good Carma are now making it so easy for us? I challenge any non vegans out there to say otherwise!

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Flavour Fusion is stocked at selected retailers, but perhaps the easiest way to get this product in your life is to check out their online store.

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. For more information please see https://veganlifestyleassoc.com/directory-entries/goodcarma-foods/ I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.

Meet the new non-meat called “Mheat”!!

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Mheat Original RRP £3.75 + P&P from Sgaia Foods [available in some UK stockists already] – See more at: https://veganlifestyleassoc.com/5873-2/#sthash.pFAiMpLA.dpuf

I was beside myself with glee when my package of “Mheat” arrived. “Mheat”? I hear you cry…don’t you mean “meat”, well no, no I don’t! “Mheat” is a brand new plant based product, created by genius Italian couple Hilary and Alberto of Sgaia Foods, who moved to the UK in 2011. Hilary and Alberto are well aware that most people see plant-based products as being “free from” everything – including pleasure, and set about creating a product which in their own words is deliciously “full-of”! Full of natural ingredients, full of nutrients, full of taste and full of originality.

Us vegans are frequently up against it when it comes to battling opinions which believe that to be vegan is to give up a lot of pleasures and cultural norms. Sgaia Foods are here to change all that with the first product in their Italian, plant-based range – Mheat. Mheat is a plant based take on the very popular, originally Asian food: seitan. Seitan which is a food made with the gluten extracted from wheat. This is even better – it’s virtually fat-free and made of protein – now I for one know that anything virtually fat free at this time of year is a very good idea for me, to compensate for the fat-FULL party season!

The box is beautifully branded, and the product itself is vacuum packed which gives it a very professional finish. For those who like their plant-based alternatives to look as “meaty” as possible, this certainly does. Infact, I would challenge anyone to notice it was anything other than meat. I loved the fact that the product came with a suggested recipe card in the box. I decided for this reason, to go ahead and make the suggested recipe – Mheat and Mushrooms Alla Piastra.

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When I opened the pack, the Mheat was soft-ish in texture and smelled lovely right away. Mheat is ready to eat right from the pack, so I took a taste before I started cooking. It tasted lovely and I could definitely imagine it in a sandwich or on a salad – in fact, I saved a small amount for that reason!

Once I started cooking the Mheat in olive oil and soy sauce, it gradually browned off, just as meat would and smelled delicious!

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I knew it was ready when it firmed up a little and I then added onions, peppers and mushrooms – by this point everyone in my house wanted to know what I was cooking (and I am the only vegan so I was happy to let them know!).

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I decided to serve my Mheat with savoury rice and I have to say, it was genuinely one of the most scrumptious meals I have had in ages – and so simple to cook! The taste is rich and fulfilling and definitely has an Asian twist to it. I am thrilled that Mheat is starting to make an appearance in the UK and will definitely be seeking it out as a regular addition to my weekly shop!

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This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. For more information please see  https://veganlifestyleassoc.com/directory-entries/mheat-sgaia-foods/ I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.