by Dani Thompson
Hey everyone, it’s Dani, hope you’re all well.
So other than modelling and acting, I also run my own vegan blog. The Vegan Vamp, named partly in tribute to my favourite cartoon vegan vampire – Count Duckula and also a play on the glamour and the horror aspects of my career.
I spent most of my childhood vegetarian and then after I left school I became pescatarian – until I developed an allergy to fish, they started giving me hives, it wasn’t pretty and around this time a lot of vegan documentaries were being released, What The Health, Forks Over Knives etc and a friend of mine watched one and went vegan on the spot so being as eating fish was getting a little bit silly for me I decided to join him and haven’t looked back. For him it was more about the health aspects as he was a former professional sportsman but for me it was for the animals.
So I’ve been vegan for almost 4 years now and I’m not one of those preachy vegans, nobody likes those, nobody likes being lectured on what they should and shouldn’t do or what they should or shouldn’t eat, my dog isn’t vegan, I’m not that extreme but I have felt so much better in myself, better on the inside, I think being vegan and knowing you’re not contributing to harming animals in any way is good for the soul.
Being vegan is definitely better for your health if you do it properly although I’ve actually managed to put on weight because I keep testing out all the new vegan junk food products on the market for the blog and social media pages – only a few lbs though, oops.
Vegan Diet Myth Busting
Being vegan is expensive.
A lot of people think that being vegan is expensive and yes if you’re buying expensive meat substitutes and ready made vegan meals, I guess it could be although no more that meat and ready made meaty meals. BUT if you cook yourself with fresh ingredients, even if you buy organic, vegetables, lentils and tofu are never going to cost that much. (tip: buy tofu from oriental supermarkets, it’s so much cheaper).
Being vegan is difficult.
It’s not, not anymore. Years ago when I was vegetarian it was difficult, there were hardly any vegetarian products on the market, even veggie burgers and sausages which are everywhere now were non existent and as far as restaurants, you would have one option if you were lucky but these days there are fully vegan products everywhere, all the major supermarkets have brought out their own ranges and the products are being released so quickly that I’m actually struggling to test them all and pretty much every restaurant now has vegan options and there are vegan restaurants popping up everywhere!
You won’t get enough protein.
Next time you see a gorilla, ask it where it gets its protein. One of the strongest most muscular mammals on the planet survives entirely on greens!
Initially I started the blog due to the amount of recipe requests I was getting after posting pictures of my meals on social media and it was solely a recipe site but being vegan is so much more than just food, it’s a lifestyle, it’s what you wear, what make up and cosmetic brands you use, what products you use to clean your house with so I decided to branch out and make it a fully holistic vegan lifestyle blog.
I’m not going to lie, when I first went vegan, I missed cheese massively and dippy eggs with soldiers for breakfast (I’ve since perfected the vegan yolk though, recipe is on The Vegan Vamp) but for the most part, you don’t have to forfeit your favourite meals if you go vegan, you just have to learn to substitute ingredients.
I love experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with new recipes and I want to share one of my recipes with you.
1 tin jackfruit (make sure you buy the one in salt water or brine, not syrup, you can find it in most supermarkets now, usually with the tinned fruit but also cheaper in oriental supermarkets)
1 tin mixed beans (you can go traditional and just use kidney beans if you like)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Vegemite (Aussie roots, you can use marmite instead to give the beefy chilli flavour)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chilli powder (or more if you’re a chilli fiend like me)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
Pinch of Salt
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for around 5 minutes or until the onion starts to become transparent.
Add the tinned tomatoes and stir in the vegemite or equivalent.
Stir in the cayenne pepper, chilli powder, cumin, paprika and coriander.
Add the jackfruit, breaking it up with your hands as you put it in.
Bring to the boil.
Salt to taste.
Turn down heat and simmer with lid on for around 30 minutes.
I served with rice this time but sometimes I like to mix it up and serve with spaghetti instead, it’s also the perfect filling for a jacket potato!
Let me know how you get on!
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