How was your January?

Minor Figures oat milk

I try not to commit to those new year resolutions that only last for January, and often can't decide how I feel about things like "Dry January" or "Veganuary", is it anything more than a marketing ploy? 

 I asked one of my favourite vegans, Tom, 17, what influenced his decision to become vegan:

When discussing why I first went vegan, I found that people always seemed to find it “too difficult” or “confusing” or need an overwhelming reason to be a vegan out of obligation. While I do understand the reason people may perceive veganism like that, and while I do believe that people have a moral obligation to go vegan, I won’t get into those things now. I’m here to talk about why I went vegan.

The reason, unlike what many would think, was simple. I like animals. I don’t want to hurt them. And once I had found out that contributing to the dairy and egg industry was doing just that (I was already vegetarian at the time for a similar reason) I felt the weight of my actions and just… Stopped (Sorry, this is a remarkably uninteresting case. Go watch Gary Yourofsky’s* speech if you want a more in depth look into the vegan mindset, he explains it pretty well)
Tom is one of the reasons I decided to stock these Suma Organic Baked Beans which are Vegan Society approved.

In STORES we always have a wide range of vegan foods, purely because we should eat a diverse range of plant based foods to make up any healthy diet.  However I do have some favourite vegan finds:

My addiction to coffee has lead me to try a number of different dairy alternatives and Minor Figures Organic Oat Milk is my favourite so far.  Oat Milk has proven to be one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly plant milks. Production of Oat Milk demands less water usage than that of cow’s milk and most alternative milks. Don't get me started on Almond Milk my friends, having spent many years in California, I am biased against it on exactly the basis of it's water consumption.

Many factors contribute to a smaller carbon footprint when compared plant milk and cow’s milk. A single cup of coffee using cow’s milk has roughly double the CO2e than a cup of coffee with a dairy free alternative like oat milk. Or of course you can drink your coffee black.

To be honest, I still have milk in my morning coffee and then often drink it black for the rest of the day or with oat milk.  I find that I use Oat Milk for all my other breakfast foods, smoothies, porridge, granola & cereal and actually I can tolerate it in tea, while my husband can't abide oat milk in tea but finds it perfectly fine in coffee.

Finding ethical swaps that fit into your life is often a work in progress, and persisting until you find what works for you is what is important.  You don't have to be perfect.  Just start the process of considering what is best for not just you, but the planet and your community as a whole, it is not something for a single month, but is an ongoing and ever evolving commitment.


Smoothie Sachets

healthy smoothies for kids

With schools closed again, and home schooling back on the agenda, I wanted to recommend one of my favourite products for kids at Little Hadham Stores - Alex's Smoothie Sachets. I mean, they are not only for kids, but I buy in bulk and put them in jars on my children's "snack shelf", so they can help themselves.

If you have a smoothie maker, they are an easy way to get extra goodness into you and your children. Each packet will make either one really big smoothie (a pint glass) or two regular sized smoothies. All you need to add is a banana (we sometimes also add a handful of frozen fruit) and 
milk, or your favourite dairy free alternative.

I love them as a quick breakfast, that the kids are happy to sort out by themselves, as elevenses or an afternoon snack. Una and Louis enjoy the process of making them.  And although we do do dairy, I've discovered I prefer them with the Minor Figures Oat Milk that I stock at LHStores, something about the slight sweetness of the oat milk I think. 

Alex's passion for healthy eating and organic food extends over two decades. From her Masters degree, where she studied organic farm families, to growing her own food, to spending most of her formative years on a farm. She has brought organic and locally grown food to people’s plates for a long time.

Alex has created smoothie recipes that are tasty, packed with whole foods (nuts, seeds) and have no gimmicks or fillers. She offers probiotics as an option with all of the smoothie sachets, for an extra boost to your gut health (another passion of ours).  

While we are not qualified to make any health claims about the smoothies, all the 
ingredients are good for you, certified organic, full of protein and a host of other macro and micro nutrients. Nutritional information is readily available online, so feel free to google them for a more well rounded picture of what you are drinking. The five flavours are:-

The Coffee One: cocoa, cashews NUTS, golden linseed, coffee

The Spiced One: cinnamon, turmeric, golden linseed, pumpkin seeds

The Peanut Butter One: peanut butter powder (NUTS), Golden linseed, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, oats

The Green One: Greens plus superfood powder, oats, chia seeds, sunflower seeds (This one is a powerhouse so you might want to add a teaspoon of honey)

The Energy One: “the perfect energiser” a naturally caffeinated Yerba Mate superfood powder (34 nutrient dense berries, herbs and greens), oats, chia seeds, sunflower seeds

healthy smoothies for lockdown lunches

The idea for Alex's smoothie sachets came to her through her friend Laura who had injured her leg and was gifted smoothie mixes from another friend, Lucy, to support her healing. Laura knows Alex's passion for great food, supporting people’s healthy eating journeys, and from there the spark was ignited. 

Alex says; "Another blessing from this journey has been my kids‘ love of my smoothies. I believe in kids eating good whole foods, but I am not opposed to hiding good ingredients from them until they are big enough to accept these, sometimes, less palatable tastes (ie greens plus powder, one of the nutritional powerhouses in my smoothies)." 

The smoothie sachets are available to order from LHSTORES and we can also mail these out to you - Royal Mail, 1st class - if you are too far away to pick up.  Alex says: "I hope you find these sachets an easy and tasty way to boost your health and your snacking pleasure."

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Welcome 2021...

Like most of us I welcomed in the new year with particular enthusiasm.  I mean, what is there to say about the s*#t storm that was 2020.  So instead here are three, slightly disperate, things that make me hopeful for 2021:

I am not going to add to the many trillions of words already used to write about the chaos of last year, I don't think I have anything unique to say.  But I wanted to share a link to this article from the NY Times on Dr Ugur Sahin and Dr Özlem Türeci, the couple who founded BioNTech.  This is not a comment on the vaccine but on the scientists, about whom there is much that gives me hope.

christmas cake

I made my first Christmas Cake for at least 15 years this Christmas.  I bulk bought the organic ingredients from my wholesaler and split it with a group of friends and customers that were baking their own cakes too.  I will be more organised and hopefully there will be an even bigger group of us to share the cost and minimise the packaging this year.  I love this post from my old homeopath Caroline Gaskin where she explains why Christmas cake for brekkie is a GOOD THING!


It may not seem likely that a book on fungi would be the best book I've read all year (I'm counting 2020 as the year not 2021!) but Entangled Life - How Fungi Make Our World, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures.* is just brilliant.  On almost every page there is something that I did not know and have to read out aloud to my family.  It's eloquently written, stunningly informative and it is truly making me think differently about everything from gardening, to evolution, to what it is to be an individual, and I am only on the Chapter 4. 

* This is an affiliate link to the, an online bookshop with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops, details of which are below. believe that bookshops are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our high streets and communities.

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