Watch. Read. Eat. Vegan
by Emma Noack
Veganism is more that just what you eat. It becomes a way of life. To me it is about making conscious choices and knowing what I am spending those dollars on and what the ethical, environmental and health impacts those choices are having. Over the next few months I will write some posts about things that interest me as a vegan. These posts don’t have an agenda to convert everyone into vegans, but rather I’m just interested in putting some ideas out there about the choices we all make and creating a discussion about what impact they have and why we make the choices we do. I guess I just want to give you, quite literally, some food for thought.
Watch: Step one: watch Bag It! This documentary explains not only the environmental effect plastic has on the planet, but also the health risks (both mental and physical) that plastic has on us as individuals.
Read: After watching Bag It! you may need to visit Trash Is For Tossers to put into practice everything you have just learned. I recommend taking small steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed. By making small changes in your life to create less waste and use less plastic you can minimise the waste you contribute to our oceans and minimise your own exposure to plastic. My top three tips to creating less waste are:
- Carry a spare tote bag with you everywhere. It comes in handy so often and prevents you needing to get yet another plastic bag.
- Carrying your own plastic free water bottle, like this Klean Kanteen one around with you to stay hydrated. This choice means less plastic bottle waste, and it also may encourage you to drink more water, and possibly chose water over other less healthy options.
- Visiting grocery stores that have bulk foods available (such as Friends of the Earth, Source Bulk Foods and Terra Madre in Melbourne) and bring your own bags and jars to put the foods in. This is an efficient way to decrease packaging waste (and it’s actually a cheaper way to shop and the foods tend to be healthier options). Buy your pasta, grains, nuts, tea and more this way and save on plastic and money.
Eat: Just one meal a week OR day that is vegetarian or vegan is a way of having an effect. Voting with your dollar and spending money on less animal based products is a way to tell companies and the planet that more ethical and less wasteful commodities are in demand and important to you as a consumer. Either pop into Smith and Deli for a delicious ‘Foghorn Legless’ sandwich and a delicious desert or make this pasta (adapted from Minimalist Baker) below:
Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
- 3 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 250g quinoa or spelt pasta (or any pasta you prefer)
- Olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 8 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 3-4 Tbsp spelt flour
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (Pure Harvest and Nutty Bruce are tow of the better ones available)
- A large handful of spinach
- ¼ cup of Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- Preheat oven to 200C and toss tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Place cut side up on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. Then set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta. When done, drain, cover and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large pan over medium-low heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the garlic and shallot. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir frequently, cooking for 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Stir in 3-4 Tbsp flour and mix with a whisk. Once combined, slowly whisk in the almond milk a little at a time so clumps don’t form. Add another healthy pinch of salt and black pepper, bring to a simmer and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (Optional: You can also add a few shakes of vegan parmesan for extra flavor at this time if you wish.)
- Once the sauce is to your desired thickness add spinach and olives then add pasta and roasted tomatoes and stir.
- Serve immediately and garnish with extra black pepper, fresh basil and/or vegan parmesan cheese.