Alien on Toast... it's what you think you'd asked for when you tell people you're vegan. This blog is dedicated to all things vegan from someone who lives in a pretty non-vegan world! Stay tuned for food, beauty products/makeup, recipes or restaurant/product reviews.... along with a healthy smattering of bad food photography, half eaten leftovers and bad puns.
Simon wrote an update post a couple of weeks ago almost - and I'm a bad blogger, so it's only going up now. Sorry babe. Everyone else, hope you enjoy :)
Veganuary Update 2
So it’s been a few days since I last guest blogged for Sarah
and I thought I would come back with some updates, after 11 days of being Vegan.
It’s quite a long post as we’ve done quite a bit over the last week. I’ll start
with standard food and at the end, put a piece about the Basingstoke Vegan fair.
If we look back after the first week I was back at work last week which
means back to a routine, but also a change to the way I eat at work. Gone are the morning
croissants with a latte and in is the porridge (apple or Blueberry) in a
thermos (made by the wonderful AOT) and coffee made from grounds in an aero
press or cafetière. I’ve also been adding some vegan pretzel bites to my porridge, with
peanut butter (which were taken as a snack but they work with the porridge too).
Lunch time comes and again instead of the Chicken Salad baguette with bottled
water I had been having, it’s now Tofurky salad sandwiches / wraps - so we’re
saving on buying food and I’m not seeing any problems with the Vegan alternatives.
There was one lunch time when it was a left over Pasta Salad from the evening
before (which tasted better the next day), but on the whole it will be the
Tofurky Salad Sandwiches.
On to the evening meals and as we now meal plan here are a
highlight of the meals from this week:
Monday: Pasta Salad (I ended up not eating it as I was
Tuesday: Frankie and Benny’s (not something we’d planned but
we got back late so ordered some Vegan options, more on that later)
Wednesday: Mushroom and Gardein Beef Stew with Mash
Thursday: Plant Pioneers Vegan Steaks with veg and potatoes
Friday: Local takeaway of vegan burger (accidentally vegan
Saturday: Vegetable Dhansak and Mushroom Rice
So the pasta salad I had for lunch on Tuesday and it was
lovely, confirmed by AOT that it tasted so much better the day after it had
been made. The Frankie and Benny’s was solely to see what their new vegan menu
was like, I shared sides with AOT of Mushroom Ravioli, Loaded Skins and Cheezy Garlic
Bread, Sal had a Pasta Rigatoni Ragu. The sides were OK but a bit
uninspired but AOT highly rated the Rigatoni. (Sal's note: the ravioli was REALLY good too!)
Why so much leafage, F&Bs?? Below is after I shoved all that fricken rocket aside. Better!!
This chocolate raspberry cake was BOMB, even though we got delivery and it was cold. I reckon this would have been even better hot!
The Mushroom and Gardein Beef Stew was delicious only let
down by the Gardein*.
*Note: for readers of this blog in the US, Gardein is not
common in the UK and AOT had only had them before, when eating at the Wynn in
Las Vegas. The UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s had some imported last year
(which they stopped selling suddenly when Gardein decided to stop distributing
to the UK). Sal's note: they only brought in a few items and none were as good as the stuff I tried in the US. I did like the fishy fillets though! I think there's just too many competitive products in the UK that are cheaper!
AOT has mentioned on Instagram before how disappointed she
was with the Gardein chicken style tenders and sadly the beef pieces were the
same, breaded and the biggest let down of the stew, as they were bland and slightly
Sainsbury’s own brand Plant Pioneers Vegan Steaks: we had
these with some veg and they cooked really well and had the texture of a steak
and the taste of a Birdseye Steak House Grill (1980’s mass processed beef
product). Not tasting like a steak but getting closer texture wise. I would
advise people in the UK to buy (Plant Pioneers is Sainsbury's veg*n brand)
we’re trying the breakfast patties next week.
Friday was the accidental vegan burger a local takeaway do.
I had finished a long day and AOT had been to the gym so we got that and had an
early night. It was good I didn’t get the same problems I do with meat and felt
a lot better afterwards - as opposed to the bleurgggghhhhhh factor you usually
get from junk food after eating it.
Saturday Fresh baked accidentally vegan croissants for
breakfast. Lunch we shared a Goodfellas stone baked spicy salsa pizza (nice for
a store bought frozen pizza and better than the falafel one. We had AOT’s
parents visiting in the evening, so we all had a Vegetable Dhansak (spicy but
nice) with some Chapattis and Mushroom Rice.
Overall, I have been finding since starting the vegan lifestyle, that I
have more energy and clarity, so I am hoping this will continue. I’ve also had
less back pain, which is helping me and making me more mobile!
So that’s pretty
much a round up of this weeks events there will be a second post (and a video) soon on the
Basingstoke Vegan fair which will be from AOT and myself.
Phew! That was a long one. But if you read it all, I hope you enjoyed hearing about how Simon is doing so far. How are you doing if you are a fellow Veganuary-er?
Hey all, Sal here. Before today's post, I posted a Youtube video! For the first time in almost 2 years and I'm a bit nervous about it. But it's a taste test of some of the things Simon is about to mention. I'd love if you'd go check it out and give it a like / comment.
Hi all, Simon here again! So it’s day three of Veganuary and
I thought I would check in with you all as to how it is going. So before I get
into the main overview, here are the main points:
1. As my food choices are now more limited, I have been
snacking less which can only be a good thing.
2. As it is Veganuary I tried the KFC Vegan burger (more on
3. Shopping takes more time, as there’s more planning
involved, which in turn means I am more invested in my food choices.
4. Also Greggs and Subway have been introducing vegan
options for Veganuary which I’ve tried (more on that below).
The first day went well and the meal out wasn’t bad; I ate from
the vegan menu and went for the vegan burger. Although the meat substitute was
a little dry, I was able to use tomato sauce (or ketchup) to make it more
Day two: so I got distracted with other stuff and had no
breakfast or morning tea, which meant that by two o’clock, I was absolutely
starving; at this point I tried a vegan pizza from Pizza Express. Tasted nice
but the cheese substitute was almost a sauce, which meant that the integrity (or
lack of) was unexpected. To sum up it was tasty but messy to eat.
For the evening meal @sal_on_toast and I tried the KFC Vegan
burger. At the time I was willing to give it 8/10 as opposed to SOT’s 6/10, but
after trying the Subway and Greggs alternatives, it’s dropped to a 5/10. The
main problem is that it was too dry! I dread to think what it would have been
like without the vegan mayonnaise.
pic clearly pilfered from KFC!
Day three: I woke up and had tea and hot Sainsbury’s
cornflakes with Oatly Barista (no sign of non vegan stuff in the cornflakes)
and some tea with Oatly again. Now while Oatly Barista works well in coffee and
cereal, it doesn’t do so well in the Tea department, as such some Soya Milk has
been drafted in for Tea usage. Moving on, Lunch was an interesting affair as
SOT wanted to try the new Gregg’s Vegan Steak Bake and the New Subway Vegan
Meatball sub. Now there is footage of this that will be uploaded to Sal’s
youtube channel later with me doing a fake voice (think of John Shuttleworth’s
Clive or Morecambe and Wise’s song “Boom Ooh Ya ta ta ta ta”) here, but I’ll
give you the brief overview now.
Greggs Vegan Steak Bake - Tastes exactly the same as the
normal Steak Bake. I actually asked SOT during the video if she was sure it was
vegan (spoiler it was). Very nice! Would buy again if I needed food on the go.
pic clearly pilfered from Gregg's!
Greggs Doughnut - A Doughnut with icing on, a bit dry and
uninspiring so one I would only get if I was outside a Greggs and had an urgent
need for sugar.
Subway Vegan Meatball Sub: Excellent, similar meatballs in
taste and texture to the Sainsbury’s vegan meatballs and are a bit dry but
there is so much marinara sauce it isn’t an issue.
pic clearly pilfered from Subway!
Roger Whiteside (CEO of Greggs) has recently given an
interview in which he mentioned he was vegan and convinced of the health
benefits of Veganism. If the Steak Bake is a sign of how seriously they take
Veganism, then it should be interesting to see what the future holds. Note to
anyone from Greggs who may see this: you need to get on the desserts / cakes /
doughnuts and Sandwiches. The Vegan Sausage Roll and Bake are excellent - the doughnut
was a disappointment. As for Sandwiches, surely a Quorn or Tofurky roll with
Salad wouldn’t be so tricky?
So if I were to rate them it would be:
- Last Place: KFC Vegan Burger. Five years ago this would
have been amazing, now it’s an “also ran”.
- Third Place: Gregg’s Doughnut. Sadly a disappointment,
after the vegan sausage roll and steak bake.
- Second Place: Subway Vegan Meatball Sub. Excellent sauce,
tasty meatballs - which are a bit dry but saved by the sauce and customisations
are available with the salad.
- First Place: Greggs Vegan Steak Bake. I honestly couldn’t
tell it was vegan. It tasted exactly as I remember them and with a perfect
texture. Perfect to grab on the go if you are hungry and in a rush.
How are you getting on Veganuary’ers? Let us know in the comments
or come chat on the socials (links at the top of the page).
Also, if you want a live taste test / review of these items,
check out my video, HERE.
Today I am celebrating 12 years of veganism and as I celebrate my
veganniversary, Mr Alien is starting Veganuary. YAY! I suspect a few of us
share a veganniversary and as someone about embark on Veganuary, I asked my
Mr Alien, AKA Simon, to say a few words about why he’s doing this.
Hi all, a bit of a different blog post today from Sal’s other half. As
I’m sure some of you know Sal married an omnivore and for the last five years
I’ve been quite happy with that…..well I say quite happy but I stopped eating
Pork, Lamb, Duck and fish as it didn’t seem right. Then last year I ended up in
hospital for a week, came out of hospital and had a recovery period of a few
months. I had found that dairy used to make me feel claggy in the throat, so I
experimented with different types and found that filtered milk didn’t make me
feel so claggy, so I moved to that. However, I still felt flat, lethargic and
had started to feel bad when I thought about the animals that were being used
in my food. So before Christmas, I had the following conversation with Sal:
ME: “you know, I think I am going to give Veganuary a try”.
Sal: “Really, or are you just saying that”
ME: “No I think I’m going to go for it”
Sal: “OK well think about it then”
So I did think about it and the more I looked into it and the benefits
it could have, the more it seemed the sensible decision to make. I even asked
comedian and Vegan, Michael Legge (@michaellegge on Twitter - if you’re not
following the Do The Right Thing Podcast you should; it’s brilliant) what he
would suggest, (not really expecting any answer at all let alone a serious
answer) but to his credit he suggested the following:
“Buy a decent flask, so when travelling you’ll have a readymade food
source from home, as the first few months will be finding out what will be
convenient for where you are and buy wet wipes.” *
(*I’m condensing and paraphrasing the tweets into one sentence!)
So here I am day 1 of Veganuary; I’ve had toast with peanut butter and
tea and coffee with no dairy in them (Oatly as the replacement). We have a meal
with in-laws later so I have found a pub with a vegan menu and we’re going
there and I’ll be spending the next couple of days using the book“Appetite for reduction” as a guide for vegan
meals to eat that are healthy as well.
I can’t guarantee I will stay vegan after January, but I am determined
to take it one day at a time and complete Veganuary. I strongly suspect that at
the end of it I may well be off meat completely, as I have been feeling that
way for a while now so let’s see where I am at the end of the month.
I guess this means I now have to share my booja booja chocolate with him? Shit.
Is anyone else doing Veganuary? if you are or if you are already vegan
and have some advice for Simon, let me know in the comments or come talk to me
on Instagram or Simon or I on Twitter (@SimonJamesEllis / @sal_on_toast)