Helping The Earth, One Meat Alternative At A Time

You might be thinking “well I’m not vegetarian or vegan, so I’m just going to…scroll past”. That doesn’t matter! We’re all extremely aware of the Earth and her poor wellbeing after everything humans have done to this planet. I know Greta Thunberg should have definitely drilled that into you.

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As we are all attempting to recycle more, stop using straws and use less carbon emissions, decreasing our meat and dairy intake is also a huge help. Farmed meat causes deforestation and uses fertiliser which produces greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention battery farms and animals being purposely bred and pumped full of hormones, until they’re practically not animals anymore – just so we can enjoy some chicken nuggets? 

I’m not saying you need to feel guilty every time you smell bacon or deeply need a hangover burger from Maggie May’s. However, even just having some meatless or dairy days is already doing some good! If you can’t imagine giving up your Sunday roast and cheese, then don’t! You don’t have to sacrifice everything, and understandably, meat is a huge part of certain cultures – but doing something is better than doing nothing.

A common misunderstanding is that being vegetarian or vegan means you live on the same diet as your pet rabbit, which is absolutely not the case.

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I have always loved my fruit and veg, and even as a meat-eater, I found that I actually spent nearly half my week eating vegetarian or vegan, without even meaning to. I’ve only been an official vegetarian for 9 weeks now, and it’s been great! Yes there’s been some moments where I’ve had to have a stern talking to with drunk me (though many vegetarians admit to cheating for a McDonalds or kebab after a night out). However, one thing that’s hugely helped me is ‘fake meat’ or meat-alternatives. Not only are they tasty, some scarily meat-like (am I just being fed meat and lied to? Unsure) and providing me with protein that I’m losing due to the absence of meat in my diet, but they’re available to buy almost everywhere.

Here, I’m sharing some of my favourites.

  1. Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! The Smoky ‘Jack’ Quarter Pounder

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The Smoky 'Jack' Quarter Pounder These are part of the new Love Your Veg range from @sainsburys . The burgers are smokey mushroom and jackfruit vegan burgers. They had a really good flavour and texture to them. ✅ Unfortunately I had to share with my wife. 🤔 @skinnylager is a vegan larger so the perfect accompaniment to the burgers and only 89 calories so I didn't feel too guilty having one at lunch. . . Full disclosure: I was given the burgers as a #SainsburysTastemakers and I was also given a case of Skinny lager . . ➡️ follow @silverback_grillers_bbq . . #burger #burgers #veganburger #veganbbq #vegetarian #veggieburger #veganuary #vegbbq #jackfruit #food #foodie #foodpic #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #SainsburysTastemaker #bbhc #SainsburysTastemakers #thebiteshot #thebiteshotbookclub @thebiteshot #MattInwoodMasterclass

A post shared by Tim Donald (@silverback_grillers_bbq) on

Look at them. Don’t they look deliciously like any real beef burger? As this person is a meat-eater (gathered from 5 minutes of stalking this account), these jackfruit burgers are in pretty high respect. Honestly, when I first tried them, if you’d told me they were real meat I would have believed you. Jackfruit is this magical fruit that when cooked, has the same texture as meat, frequently used to make pulled ‘pork’. At 160 calories, even if you normally eat beef burgers but want the same taste and texture, but are trying to cut down on calories, fats, and more importantly – meat – these are perfect.

 

2.  Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages

Honestly, they’re wonderful. I still enjoy a good fry-up, or have even cooked these the night before to make a sausage sandwich for my lunch in uni or work the next day.

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They also come in red onion & rosemary and there’s chorizo & red pepper sausages too. These sausages are perfect, and so quick and easy to cook without stinking up the whole house with sausage smoke from the frying pan. You can get these in Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Iceland.

 

3. Vivera Veggie Chicken Pieces

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These might look plain and boring, but these plant chicken pieces are perfect as a chicken replacement in almost anything. I made a ‘chicken’ fajitas with them last week, tasted just as good! You can buy seasoned versions of this, but I got the plain ones as I wanted to use one packet for more than one meal and so, I can season them with the appropriate spices for the dish. Vivera do a whole range of vegetarian and vegan foods, including kebab, meatballs, steak, goujons and more. So far, I’ve only tried this product, but I’d love to try more!

Even if you’re slowly easing yourself into vegetarianism, just want to swap out some of your meat during the week, or are already vegetarian and need more meat-alternative options – I recommend these to start with! I appreciate that it’s not everyone’s ‘thing’, but if you want to do a little more to help our planet out, PLEASE consider it. Not only for your own health benefits, but for Mother Earth.

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Maya McCloskey is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @maya_papaya30 and Instagram: @maya_mcc

From the table to the top

When I think about what I want to be when I grow up (I say ‘when’, but it’s about time I admit – I am grown) I don’t exactly know what it is I want to be, but it’s safe to say that if I was as successful as Sophia Amoruso, I’d feel pretty good about myself. Or better yet, who’s seen the Devil Wears Prada? I’d settle for being Miranda Priestly. But at the moment my life is a lot more like Andy’s before she got the really good bangs and the jeans that made her go from a 2 to a 10.

When I snap myself back to reality, catch myself on and accept that bopping about New York in Louboutins is a bit farfetched… I can take some little bit of comfort in the fact that some of the most successful business women in the world, turned their kitchen tables into booming brands and became leaders in their industry.

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Huda Kattan: Founder of cosmetics line ‘Huda Beauty’

The Huda Beauty story began when Kattan followed her lifelong passion of beauty and enrolled in a makeup training course in LA, resulting in gaining a massive clientele including Eva Longoria, Nicole Richie and even members of the royal family. She then set up her blog, HUDABEAUTY.COM in 2010.

So how did blogging result in Huda producing some of the best make up in the industry? Basically, she never liked any of the eyelashes she was using on clients. She was constantly cutting them up or stacking different styles on top of each other to reach the desired look. It was then that her sister, Mona, who had the light bulb moment. Why not create your OWN lashes? So she did. They launched at a Sephora store in Dubai Mall in 2013 and sold out the same day.

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From that very day the Huda Beauty brand has grew and grew, resulting in Huda being approached by investors, having been offered $1.5m for a 60% share in the firm in 2014 – which was turned down as Huda had her own vision for the company that she didn’t want anyone or anything to interfere with,

“I was so afraid of losing the magic of Huda Beauty if we took investment,”

During an explosive growth period, Huda Beauty literally couldn’t keep up with demand. Orders grew and grew, so much so that they didn’t have enough products to distribute, and they couldn’t even increase production as they didn’t have enough money to hire more staff. So it was in 2017 that Huda Beauty partnered with TSG Consumer Partners investment firm,

“It was truly a long process in finding the right partner for us because we wanted to partner with a company that really understood our company’s vision… but it has honestly been such an amazing partnership and they’ve allowed the brand to flourish.”

Huda Beauty is now the number one Beauty Instagram account with over 26 million followers, the 61st most followed person on Instagram.

Ella Mills: Food Author and Entrepreneur under the brand ‘Deliciously Ella’

The Deliciously Ella story began in 2012 whilst Ella was in University and had just been diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. In the simplest of terms, she had digestive issues and chronic fatigue and was fed up with her medication not having any positive effects. This resulted in her hitting rock bottom both mentally and physically. Not really what any university student needs.

So she took it upon herself to find other ways to manage her condition and soon realized it heavily depended on her diet and lifestyle, in which she had to massively change. Although there were a few problems:

“1. I couldn’t cook.

2. I had no idea about plant-based food

3. I had lost all of my sense of drive and passion”

(honestly Ella, SAME)

So… she decided to combat this and used a blog as a way to keep track of her culinary efforts and people LOVED IT. Hits began to grow and her audience wanted more. She soon began hosting cookery classes and “supper parties”. Her blog successes resulted in publishing opportunities, with the first Deliciously Ella cookery book being published in 2015, becoming the best-selling debut cookbook ever in the UK.

She then met her husband Matt and it was a true culinary love story. They joined forces by using her creativity and his business mind to open the first Deliciously Ella Deli in Seymour Place, London. This lead to the launch of the Deliciously Ella food range including energy balls, granolas and frozen meals that are sold in over 6,000 stores in the UK including popular food stores Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Holland & Barrett

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Sophia Christina Amoruso: Founder of ‘Nasty gal’

From an online eBay store to the CEO of one of the fastest growing companies, Sophia Christina Amoruso has had her fair share of success… so much so that she was named one of the richest self-made women in the world by Forbes in 2016. Sophia’s success story started at the age 22, when she started an online eBay store selling vintage clothing and other items, which she named “Nasty Gal Vintage”. She handled the whole thing herself, from buying the products, writing product descriptions and taking pictures of the products to share with her customers. Two years later she moved the store off eBay onto its very own website, rebranding as “Nasty Gal”

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This was just the beginning of Nasty Gal’s growth. Each year it grew and grew from opening its headquarters in LA in 2010, reaching $24 million revenue in 2011 (11,200% three-year growth rate) to opening their first brick and mortar store in 2014 in the famous LA Melrose Avenue.

Despite her evident success, Sophia’s journey was not smooth sailing as she called herself a “young, naïve founder.” Sophia stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal in 2015, after admitting “she felt incompatible with the demands of being a CEO”. Soon after, Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy, resulting in Boohoo Group purchasing the brand for a whopping $20m.

Although it was the end of Sophia’s Nasty Gal journey, it was not the end of her. After stepping down as CEO, Sophia had time to reflect and wants to pass on the wisdom and hard-learned lessons. You gotta learn from your mistake, am I right? She used her own experience to help others and founded GirlBoss Media in 2017, named after her best selling memoir #GirlBoss.

“Girlboss is a community of strong, curious, and ambitious women redefining success on our own terms. We are here to inform, entertain, and inspire action through the content and experiences we create. We are unapologetic in our beliefs and values of supporting girls and women who are chasing dreams both big and small.”

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So yeah, as much as our biggest career goals may seem totally out of reach – if there’s anything that the twenty-first century constantly teaches us, it’s that business opportunities are literally at our fingertips. It only takes a blog or vlog to build a public persona, Instagram to forge a brand, and eBay to have a proper business from home. It’s not impossible and our idols prove that. I wouldn’t suggest giving up the day job…  but don’t give up on the dream either. After all, the expert at anything was once a beginner.

Catherine Maguire is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

Why being a part-timer is OK

After watching a recent episode of Dragon’s Den I couldn’t help but sit and think about a comment Deborah Meaden gave to the final contestant. Durham-based Peter Smith pitched his idea of a liquor, tiger nut milk and chocolate company. Albeit a strange combination of products, he had quite an interesting idea and just needed a bit of help with streamlining his portfolio. Whilst I would love to be a multi-millionaire investor on Dragon’s Den, sadly my opinion on the product isn’t really valuable. However, one thing struck me from his encounter that I can’t seem to shake. Following his pitch, Deborah asked the punter if he was vegan himself and questioned why he created this alternative milk. After he admitted to being a full-time vegetarian and vegan ‘sometimes’ Meaden went on to joke about her 1-2 hour period of being vegan daily. Although I’m sure the dragon didn’t mean the joke to sound as condescending as it did… well, it still did?

How can we expect people to make a change when every little change gets criticised?

Believe me, I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t eat a steak or ban yourself from ordering a Boojum or Bao or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. I am a meat eater and I highly doubt I’ll ever not be. What I am trying to say is that cutting back on meat or dairy, even if it’s just 1 meal that day, WILL make a huge amount of difference. According to National UK Food statistics the average person in 2016/17 consumed 193g of chicken per week. This amounts to a colossal amount when you take into account the number of people on this earth. To put this into perspective, if the average person reduced their consumption to 170g per week (that’s only 23g- less than a quarter of the average portion) this would save over 42 million grams of chicken. In Northern Ireland alone!!

What we don’t need are people speaking disapprovingly to people who are trying to make a change.

It’s hard because I can understand where people are coming from. It’s hard to listen to someone singing their own praises about going all-vegan (acai bowls, tofu, flax seeds- the lot) when in reality they’re wearing leather Nike shoes in 75% of their Instagram posts. However, they’re probably doing more than me, and maybe you too?

When did nutrition become all or nothing? We need to end the stigma with vegetarianism and veganism and whatever else-ism. Why should they be criticised for not being at 100% when the critic is only at 15%?

In early 2018 the global environmental health company issued a final warning about climate change. Imagine we were told the world could deteriorate before our children grow up? Well, here’s the fact- we kind of have been told that? And no one seems to be listening.

https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

Here’s a few tips on how I (a long-time lover of milk and meat) made some small changes in my diet and in day-to-day life to limit my global impact;

1) Try out an alternative milk

It’s definitely worth trying out some flavours because they’re an acquired taste but breakfast is an easy way to cut meat or dairy out of your diet for 1 meal. Swapping out cow’s milk for soya milk also means consuming the same level of calcium and protein, while also reducing calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

2) Save the 5ps and get a reusable shopper bag

Understandably this is something easily forgotten but bags really do  seriously damage the environment due to the quantity produced. Surprisingly they also contain animal fat which is used as a slipping agent to reduce friction in the material. Check out Amazon for cheap, durable alternatives or even purchase a bag holder so any previously-purchased bags can be re-used.

3) If you want to cut back- stop making meat the main focal point of all your meals 

Instead of choosing a meat and then choosing your sides of veggies and carbs- make the entire dish the focal point. Try out stirfrys, pastas, chilli or stew with more emphasis on the other elements of the dish perhaps even substituting the meat for mushrooms, tofu, lentils or beans.

4) Try out meatless Monday

Check out the website below explaining how different countries around the world use this international campaign to reduce meat consumption.
https://www.meatlessmonday.com/the-global-movement/

5) Be adventurous with your cooking

Check out these vegetarian and vegan recipes (or the other thousand on Google) for some inspiration.

Vegan chai-spiced chocolate chip cookies http://recipe-chai-spiced-chocolate-chip-cookies

6) Cut out plastic water bottles

I’ll hold my hand up and say I’m so bad for this. I find reusable coffee cups and Love Island water bottles dirty and hard to wash, however, cutting out plastic bottles is a simple way to adopt a more sustainable approach. Invest a bit more, the environment will thank you.

While I believe cutting back on your consumption of animal produce can and will help the environment, we can’t ignore the environmental impact of alternative productions. Check out this article from BBC to find out the impact all foods have on the environment. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46459714). 

Animal products are hard to escape from, there’s traces in your car tyres, nail polish, shoes, perfume, beer, sweets and even certain types of toothpaste- so why does vegetarianism have to be a permanent nutritional change when it could just be a cut-back?

Anyway, hypocritically I’m going to get a Nando’s once I finish this post. Why? Because I did my bit this week. I did what I could to help the environment and I’m happy for that to be part-time because I think that’s OK and it’s helpful. And no individual (even a dragon) should tell anyone that’s not OK or not helpful, because it is.

Lauren Wilson is a third-year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently undertaking a year’s placement at Belfast City Council. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurennxwilsonn/

Ronald to the Rescue

Ronald to the Rescue

When you think of the name “Ronald McDonald”, what springs to mind? A clown who is just as creepy looking as he is infamous? The “Joe Camel” of fast food? I wouldn’t say that glorious imagery sprung to mind when I used to hear the name myself, but maybe after reading this post you will have a new-found respect for it.

We’ve all been to a McDonald’s at some point in our lives, and I’m guessing that most of us would recognise this logo which is found on the charity boxes placed at every till point.

Duchess of Cambridge to visit Ronald McDonald House

This logo represents the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RHMC), which are based right here in Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK, Ireland, and all over the world.

I tend to throw change into charity boxes on tills when I buy things, but as much as I do that I never really think about the charity I’ve just donated to after I walk out the door. I also always tend to think of big global and dominant brands as being somewhat selfish. For example, after finding out that Starbucks Ireland only payed 45 euros in tax last year, I tend to think twice before I invest in one of their seasonal lattes.

I’ve recently learnt that not only do McDonald’s and their franchisees allow the placement of RHMC collection boxes at each till point, the company also donates money from its own sales. In 2016, they added an extra one million pounds donation from sales to the existing three million that had been collected in the UK that year.

RHMC pride McDonald’s as an “essential, valuable and sustaining partner” and McDonald’s even provide office space to the charity in their Head Quarters around the world, along with general and administrative support, HR, payroll, organisation support and ICT and computer systems.

RHMC globally has been McDonald’s charity of choice since its founding in 1989 and provides hope and respite to families during challenging times of life. The thing that inspired me to read more into McDonald’s corporate philanthropy and the RHMC, was a tweet by an individual who was personally affected by the works of the charity and was highly praising them.

So, there you go, Ronald McDonald will continue to look creepy but hey! He’s a good guy. And McDonald’s may be swimming in profits and sitting comfortably on the Forbes’ list of “Most Valuable Global Brands”, but their philanthropic measures should not go un-noticed.

McDonald’s says its mascot Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile as reports of creepy clown sightings sweep communities across the globe.

 

Rachel Reilly is a second year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelreilly98

Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Female Figure

On Friday the 27th of January, KFC tweeted a video to advertise their new “Smoky Mountain BBQ” chicken. KFC’s advertising campaigns are renown to star their legendary mascot Colonel Sanders – however, in this recent video the star of the show is a female Colonel.

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Image result for kfcThe role of Colonel Sanders was taken up by Reba McEntire, a successful country singer from the United States. She appears in the video as the Colonel and as herself in the audience. McEntire’s Colonel celebrity predecessors include Rob Lowe, Billy Zane and Ray Liotta. In fact, this is the first time that KFC has had a woman as the primary protagonist of a campaign.
The new campaign has sparked an array of mixed reviews. Many find that KFC’s choice is empowering for women, whilst others find it upsetting that McEntire had to take up male features to be accepted as the Colonel – why could she not play a female Colonel?

But maybe depicting her as the classic male Colonel was a somewhat of a wise move by KFC. Maybe this is just the first step of a complete mascot evolution. If this is the case, then maybe other brands will follow this set trend of KFC and who knows, by the end of 2018 we could be experiencing a range of new and evolved logos and mascots. Maybe a Burger QUEEN, an AUNT Ben – or who knows, maybe Julius Pringles will swap that moustache for a nice set of eyelash extensions.

 

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Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwzoDS3zL_4

Rachel Reilly is a second year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelreilly98

How to lose 7lbs in 10 days

How to lose 7lbs in 10 days

A few weeks ago a personal trainer named Tara Grimes, who is also a brand ambassador for Spar NI, asked would I trial her new “10 day kick-start” program. It was the second week of university, so my final ever ‘Freshers’ week had taken its toll on me. I was also recently back from Thailand (which meant eating out four times a day, and drinking beer from noon to night) and had put on the ‘placement pounds’… as sitting at a desk from 9-5 without eating some sort of chocolate is basically impossible. So I thought, sure why not?!

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I play Gaelic football so train regularly, although my eating isn’t great and has never been. I eat out regularly and can’t go a day without bread! So when I read what the program consisted of, the Sunday night before I started it, I was really doubting myself.

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On Monday 16th October I started the program. It was a calorie deficient program where you were only allowed 1400 calories daily. I know, it sounds terrible! On the first day for breakfast I had scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes and spinach WITHOUT bread and it was surprisingly lovely. Lunch consisted of a tuna salad and dinner was chicken and vegetables. The first day was awful as I found it so hard to not snack (especially when storm Ophelia was battering outside and everyone in my house was drinking hot chocolate).

On the first day I was also required to do a HIIT session, which is a high intensity interval training session where you do certain exercises and repeat them in sets of four, whilst taking a thirty second break in-between. I am not joking when I say, I could not walk for two days after. I hadn’t done proper training like this in months so this was definitely a shock to the system!

Days two-five continued on like this which a very regular routine of breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack when it allowed for it on the plan. It was extremely difficult, especially being a student in Belfast when there is temptation everywhere. In saying that the meals were great with lots of options and choice to cater for everyone’s taste. There were ten different breakfasts, lunches and dinners however I found my favourites and stuck to them. The turkey mince curry was one of my favourites. There was also carbs on the program which was ideal!!

On the kick-start program, no alcohol was permitted. Not to sound like an alcoholic or anything, but I did my first ever sober night out in Belfast on day two, and it was fine – although there are only so many glasses of water you can drink!

Day six rolled around and I thought, I will weigh myself that morning to see if this is working at all. I could not believe it. I had lost four pounds in basically five days!! The HIIT session that morning was surprisingly easier than normal as weighing myself was the best motivation to keep going strong.

Tara wanted someone in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s to trial the program to see if it actually worked before she officially launched it to the public. We had a private Facebook group where we all posted in pictures of our food, any questions we had and really motivated each other throughout the process. Around day 6/7 other women had weighed themselves and also lost in and around 5 pounds too. So clearly, the “kickstart” program definitely works. The private Facebook group now has over 300 people all supporting each other.

By the time day ten had come around, I felt like I wasn’t as hungry in-between meals and that my body had started to get used to the normal routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner without eating any crap. On the tenth day I really couldn’t believe it when I had lost a total of 7 pounds. It is a crazy amount to loose in ten days but I never felt like I was totally starving myself, as the portions Tara planned were huge! It was an amazing feeling and clearly visible as my clothes were fitting better. I had tried a formal dress on two weeks before I started the program, which didn’t zip up. After the ten days it zipped and fitted perfectly!

Two sober nights out, no take-aways and no coffee was extremely hard. In saying that there are no juices, no powders or pills, it is just good food! However, when you realise that 10 days is only a third of a month, a small percentage of your year and a tiny part of your life – it is so worth it!

Tara has now launched her ten day “Kickstart program” on her website and the sales are rocketing! For the launch period she has a brilliant deal were you can buy the program for only £14 instead of £28. Get it here at https://taragrimesfitness.com/product/10-day-kickstart/

I can vouch for it – It is truly AMAZING!

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Helen McAleer is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn on linkedin.com/in/helen-mcaleer-6b1221b4 and on Twitter: @Helen_McAleer30