Yumbles contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to try some of the range of vegan products they sell on their website. Well, of course I did but I wasn’t expecting such a huge variety to choose from.
Not that long ago, the word ‘hemp’ conjured images of beige bags, dodgy jumpers and spliffs. These days, hemp is getting trendy, especially since the recent popularity of CBD products. I have never knowingly bought a hemp product (which is 100% true as, although I frequently bought acid, speed and coke in my younger days, dope gave me a headache and sent me to sleep so I pretty much avoided it where I could) so, when Good Hemp asked me if I wanted to try some of their products, I thought I’d make a rare foray into trendiness and said yes.
I drank cactus liqueur in Gozo once. Actually, it was more than once because after the barman poured us our first shot, he kept the shots coming all night. I only mention this because that is the only time I’ve done anything with a cactus other than have it sitting spikily around the house while hoping remembering to water it once a year is enough to make it not die. Although, reading through Erbology’s info on nopal cactus, and how popular it is in Mexico, a vague recollection of eating a cactus quesadilla in a Mexican restaurant somewhere near Charing Cross is forming in my mind. Still, let’s just say my experience with eating or drinking cactus is limited.
Ah, gin. I’ve never been much of a gin-lover. In fact, I always hated gin. The first time I tried it was in a club in Liverpool (Planet X, to be specific) and I thought it smelt like paraffin. I’m not sure if I thought it also tasted like paraffin as I don’t remember getting as far as tasting it. Anyway, apart from it smelling like paraffin and therefore probably tasting like it too, I always thought gin was solely for drinking in scalding-hot baths in an effort to bring on a miscarriage to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy and not actually for, you know, drinking.
I used to be a Cadbury’s Whole Nut kind of girl. In my younger, thinner days, I’d think nothing of eating a massive bar of it over an evening because health and weight didn’t really feature in my life back then, with my diet being based on cigarettes, alcohol and delivery pizza. Now that I’m a *cough* glowing beacon of health and vitality *cough* and can’t remember the last time I had any kind of Cadbury’s – Whole Nut or otherwise – eschewing those purple-packaged products and their ilk for something more refined (i.e. not full of shit). These days I much prefer a satisfying couple of squares of good quality vegan dark chocolate as opposed to a massive bar of sugary milky stuff. Which is just as well, as I am no longer in my younger, thinner days and can no longer eat an unholy amount of crap without any repercussions.
I didn’t think I had a particularly sweet tooth. Not until I stopped drinking alcohol, anyway, and now my diet consists mostly of ice cream and chocolate. Then The Vegan Candy Co sent me half a kilo of their vegan pick ‘n’ mix and now my diet consists mostly of ice cream, chocolate and vegan pick ‘n’ mix. I thought 500g of sweets would last me until Christmas, at least. I’m not sure it even lasted until the weekend and I didn’t even get it until the previous Thursday. It was soooooooooooo good, I kept grabbing handfuls of it and happily chewed and sucked in front of the telly all night. Sorry teeth.
Back in my alcohol-free beer review last April, I said I thought spinach would be better for a broken foot than alcohol (I know, I obviously have untapped potential as a doctor and should have gone to medical school) and so I was currently living an alcohol-free life. Well, guess what? I still am – almost six months later – and, according to my drinking app, that’s 120 bottles of wine I haven’t had, £755 saved and 73,100 calories not consumed in alcohol. Although a broken foot, coupled with being fed up with drinking anyway was the catalyst for my new-found sobriety, it’s also been massively helped by drinking alcohol-free or low-alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV) wine, beer and cider. As evidenced by mutterings on Facebook groups, a lot of people don’t agree with those who want to cut down on their alcohol intake by drinking alcohol-free beers, ciders and spirits instead but, frankly, they can piss off.
As I mentioned before, in an effort to try and minimise any weight gain and hopefully accelerate the healing process while I’m housebound with a gammy leg and can’t exercise, I’m off the alcohol (40 days so far, go me!) Although come the weekend the wine has been calling me from the little Tesco down the road, despite me being able to limp down there, I’ve ignored it and stuck to water. I got bored quickly with water though and started making my own drinks – I made lemon barley water, dandelion and burdock soda, lemon, ginger and mint lemonade, and ginger lemonade. I even bought swing-top glass bottles to store the drinks in. Despite these drinks being refreshing, tasty and healthy, they weren’t really doing it for me on a Saturday night so, when Wise Bartender offered to send me some alcohol-free drinks, I thought I’d give them a go.
Cider’s had a varied reputation over the years. For me, it was the first alcoholic drink I started drinking regularly (42p a half down The George in Wanstead in 1985 when I was 15 [ssh, don’t tell my mum]). After my early years of drinking sweet Woodpecker underage in the pub, I progressed onto what I thought were more sophisticated dry ciders such as Diamond White and Merrydown (okay, I only drank Merrydown to get hammered, like everyone else, but Diamond White and Merrydown came in glass bottles and not tins, so I thought they were posh). But apart from cider being the tipple of teenagers, other images conjured up by cider drinkers are:
After recently being deported to London from Kent while waiting for my house sale to go through, I’ve been living on Tesco Meal Deals for lunch (much better value than the Sainsbury’s one, in case you were wondering) and pizza for dinner. I’ve had the new vegan Giardiniera from Pizza Express (not as nice as the vegan pizzas in Zizzi, in my opinion), a tandoori paneer pizza at Mr Singh’s (an all-vegetarian pizza place that will also sub dairy cheese for vegan cheese but, trust me, it seriously mings. I’d just go without cheese if you’re vegan) but mostly I’ve been heating up frozen pizza and especially ones from Dr Oetker, such as their Spinaci Pizza which has made a comeback after originally being a limited edition pizza back in 2013.