Sunday, 8 December 2013

Uwe Heidschötter - The Meaning of Life

I came across this beautifully drawn comic on Tumblr and just had to share it over here because it involves my two favourite things (illustration and veganism) but also my least favourite thing (cruelty to innocent beings). The stark use of black and lack of dialogue gives the comic an ominous feel whilst hinting at the way farmed animals are 'silenced' and hidden from the public consciousness. This comic is exactly the kind of thing the vegan movement needs: intelligent, thought-provoking imagery that provides information clearly and without propaganda tactics.
If you'd like to find out more about the egg industry click here. If this comic explains it enough then please go vegan.

Monday, 4 November 2013


As a vegan, and a vegetarian previously, I have ended up in many heated debates about my food and lifestyle choices. Most of the time it begins with a question as to why I’m vegan, to which I simply reply that I think it’s wrong to hurt animals. General discussion ensues; I talk of the cruelties of the meat and dairy industries while the other person becomes increasingly defensive of their actions. Phrases like “But we evolved to eat meat” and “I only buy humanely sourced, organic meat anyway” are thrown around, eventually devolving into “You vegans think you’re so much better than everyone else” and a plethora of other personal insults. I have been described as militant, preachy, irrational amongst other things despite approaching the topic calmly and with facts and figures to back myself up.

Rather than reacting appropriately to the information being given, the non-vegan reacts to the debate itself, which becomes increasingly aggressive. They become defensive when they realize their lifelong values are being questioned and desperately attempt to justify their actions. When these attempts are debunked by simple logic or nutritional information the last resort is to insult vegans personally, in an attempt to discredit veganism and further justify their position. This kind of backlash is a perfect example of how meat-eaters can sometimes perceive vegans as a threat – a threat to their comfortable lifestyles and blissful ignorance. However rather than shooting the messenger, perhaps this kind of anger needs to be directed at the unethical industries that cause the discussion in the first place.

Friday, 1 November 2013

It's World Vegan Day!

To celebrate World Vegan Day, which kickstarts World Vegan Month, I'm offering my Vegan For A Day booklet as a free download! Inside you'll find some of the recipes included on this blog plus ideas for other meals if you're new to vegan food. I became vegan during World Vegan Month two years ago, maybe this year you'll do the same.

Click here to download Vegan For A Day.

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Spotless Leopard - Review

Two weeks ago at the East Midlands Vegan Festival I had the pleasure of tasting all kinds of delightful vegan food from a wide variety of stalls. But my favourite sample of the entire day actually came from a van: The Spotless Leopard, a vegan catering van normally based in Bristol. Their menu typically includes a good selection of savoury food including vegetable tarts, seitan sandwiches and veggie burgers, all at affordable prices. And if you fancy something sweet then I would highly recommend trying one of the mostly raw cheesecakes on offer.

I went for the Spiced Peanut Butter Cashew Cheesecake - pretty much all of my favourite ingredients in one dessert. The filling was light and delicate with a very creamy texture which contrasted perfectly with the chunkier, nutty base. The addition of spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon added a touch of autumn while the whipped coconut cream topping was luxurious but not excessive. One thing I loved about this dish was that it wasn't overly sweet, instead making the most of different textures and flavour combinations. The company also offer a pumpkin version of this dessert which I can't wait to try.

The advantage of using a van is that The Spotless Leopard can bring vegan food to different locations, mainly in the South West but also further afield. You can find out where the van will be visiting next by clicking here. If catering vans aren't your thing, you can still try the delicious food at The Spotless Leopard's vegan pop-up restaurant in Bristol on the 6th of December, which you can find out more about here.

Like The Spotless Leopard on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Banksy - 'Sirens of the Lambs'

I've learnt a lot about Banksy since moving to Bristol where the population seems to be divided between adoration and bitterness for the world-famous street artist. But then it's hardly surprising since controversy is integral to much of Banksy's work. Most recently he has been sparking conversation through his New York residency where he has produced work in his trademark stencil technique alongside several moving installations. One of these, 'Sirens of the Lambs', took to the streets of New York's meatpacking district on October 11th before touring the city for two more weeks.
A video, posted on the artist's website, Better Out Than In, shows a truck containing squeaking animal puppets and labelled 'Farm Fresh Meats' driving around, as well as reactions from members of the public. As a vegan, I'm always interested to see how people react when confronted with questions about their food choices and this video displays some common examples. A child runs away in horror like many people do when confronted with animal slaughter videos. Others try to touch the cuddly animals without fully understanding the context, like those who coo over farmed animals in fields without considering their inevitable and impending deaths. The butchers are shown to be laughing at it while plenty of passers-by just ignore it. There are also a handful of people who watch with sympathy and perhaps despair.
The choice of puppets is interesting; they reflect sentimentality, something which is often exploited by animal rights campaigns (find example) whilst also referring to childhood and the destruction of innocence. Even the physical nature of the puppets is important, suggesting that real animals have been reduced to nothing more than products to be manipulated by humans. The puppeteers have total control over these animals, ‘bringing them to life’ as such, which reflects industrial breeding and the idea of animals as commodities. This point is particularly interesting with regards to veganism because one of the core principles is that animals are not ours to use or exploit in any way.

It is not the puppets that I find most disturbing about this installation, but the haunting sound of the ‘sirens’. The shrill, loud noise clearly helps draw attention to the piece - perhaps the sounds made by real animals in this district have simply become part of the everyday cacophony. It's almost like a cry for help, alarming the world of farmed animals desperate struggle.

As with all of Banksy’s work this piece is intended to create a reaction, generate conversation and to allow people to question what society tells us. The question now is how do vegan campaigners successfully do the same thing?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Tofu Scramble

This is one of my favourite meals that I've discovered since being vegan. I was never a big fan of scrambled eggs but I LOVE scrambled tofu, probably because it is so versatile and the spices help give it real flavour, rather than just tasting eggy. You can mix up the vegetables and make this into a fabulous breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

New products!

I've been busy working on some new designs to be printed on tote bags (what better way to make a statement!) for the East Midlands Vegan Festival where I will be having a stall to sell some illustrated goodies! I'll be selling pocket mirrors, badges, zines, recipe books and of course these bags.

If you can't make it down to the festival I'll be opening my Etsy shop in mid-October where you'll be able to purchase all of the products I have available!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Real Foods Review

The lovely folks at asked me to review a couple of their new products so here it is, my first blog review! Both products are gluten-free porridges from Alara, a Scottish company who pride themselves on their organic status and traditional stone-milling process. Alara produce a range of cereals that are suitable for coeliacs and affordably priced, without compromising on their environmental status. Almost all of the cereals in the range are vegan too, with the exception of Crunchy Oats Granola which contains honey. Additionally their packaging is beautifully designed, giving a good indication of the quality and organic nature of the products.

First up is their luxurious porridge, a mix of rice, millet, buckwheat and golden linseeds. This porridge is particularly good for those with coeliac disease as well as sensitivity to oats because of its use of alternative grains. This also gives the porridge a much creamier texture than regular oats, however it requires a little more liquid to get the porridge to the right consistency. The addition of the linseeds is a lovely touch, adding texture and a slightly nutty taste whilst also bumping up the nutritional content with iron and omega 3. Similarly, millet and buckwheat are both high in iron and calcium as well as other essential vitamins and minerals so this is an excellent breakfast for vegans or anyone trying to eat a balanced diet. I served mine with Koko dairy-free milk for a hint of coconut along with a sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon - delicious! Despite being marketed as a luxury product, at £2.60 for 500g this porridge is within the average price range for gluten-free cereals but with the added advantage of being 100% organic, which normally increases the price. This makes it great value for money so I would definitely recommend this for everyday breakfasts.

Up next is the traditional Scottish oats. Even before cooking it is clear that these oats are high quality - they are large, thick grains with a soft golden colour - and it is difficult to tell them apart from non-gluten-free oats. This makes them wonderful for porridge (try them with hazelnut milk and a handful of chopped dates) but also for baking. Using these in flapjacks, oatmeal cookies or on top of an apple crumble is surely a great way to get the health benefits of oats whilst indulging in something sweet. The price of these oats is considerably higher than the luxurious porridge, £3.95 for 500g, so perhaps better suited to baking or those with a higher budget.

Overall these products were both tasty and nutritious which in my books (and the bear's) is:

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cool Cat Smoothie

A suitably summery recipe for all ages. Trying out a more child-friendly approach in my illustrative work - hope you like it!

Friday, 28 June 2013

East Midlands Vegan Festival

My friends over at VOLE are organising the East Midlands Vegan Festival 2013 and asked me to do the logo and fliers!  It was decided that animals and the environment should be the focus as these are the most compelling reasons to become vegan, whilst the cupcakes reference Ruth's wonderful baking and the "normal" foods vegans can enjoy.  Graphic design is not my forte but it's good to have a challenge and help the vegan cause at the same time.  I certainly had a lot of fun doing it and can't wait to produce recipe leaflets for visitors to take away.  You can find out more about the event here.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Easy Chilli

Hello and welcome to The Illustrated Vegan, a blog combining the two main passions of a twenty one year old punk.  Here you'll find all sorts of information about veganism, from food to fashion, all delightfully decorated to make it all the more appealing.  And what better way to launch the blog with my most fail safe vegan recipe: chilli - yum!