I once saw a fridge magnet, which read:
“Don’t dismiss the little things, as in the end, you will realise these were the big things.”
Not that I’m a fan of bloody fridge magnets (they should be consigned to Room 101, in my view), but the message stayed with me.
At the weekend, I realised how true it was. So forgive me if I ramble a little today, but that’s where I’m at, and maybe it will help you when you’re having a down day.
More specifically, if you’re in the UK and struggle to do a varied shop while sticking to vegan and organic, I might just have found a semi-solution for you – no matter where in the UK you are!
For various reasons, I’ve been at a bit of a low ebb recently, and I’ve been downward spiralling in free-fall for a few months now. An unopened box of anti-depressants stare at me every time I open the cupboard over my kettle in the kitchen, but so far, I have remained resolute and refused point-blank to succumb.
Doing almost the same thing every day, in the same order, is not good for anyone – that’s a given. But lately, that’s how things have been. The self-imposed tennis ban isn’t helping, either. I’m now on my fourth apparently-miracle solution for tennis elbow after 5 weeks off court and more than two months in pain. I’m having a baby hit later on today, so we shall see if there is any truth in the hype.
Last week, I only managed 3 minutes’ play with a kids’ racket and a sponge ball before if hurt, so I’m determined to improve on that, at least.
And yes, I have doubled my dose of B12. And the 5-HTP is looking to be next.
So a weekend in London with my friend, Andrew, was just what I needed: a change of scenery, different things to do, great company, and one particularly unexpected layer of icing on the cake, which I’ll explain in a moment.
We were trying to find somewhere we could go for Sunday brunch, and Andrew suggested Planet Organic, in Muswell Hill, one of 6 branches (all in London, of course).
Not only does this place serve amazing vegan and non-vegan food, juices and wheatgrass in its little café, but its shelves are stacked high with gazillions of organic products, from shampoos to sausages.
And that was when I really thought I had died and gone to heaven. Someone had switched the light on!
Poor Andrew was probably bored to tears waiting outside for me, but I pored over every inch of shelving and crammed my basket full of things which as far as I know are impossible to come by in Leicestershire.
And what’s more, I did it with a huge, non-stop smile on my face. Sure, my elbow was not at all happy with the extra weight in my suitcase as I grappled with the Underground afterwards, but it was a price worth paying.
Here’s my horde! It came to just over £60, which I didn’t think was that bad. And I’ll tell you what else: it was EQUALLY as pleasurable as buying a new pair of shoes.
But I didn’t just shop with me in mind; I selected a few weird and wonderful things just so I could report back to you lot. And that’s what I shall be doing in the coming weeks.
The last time I had a food shopping experience like this was when I was in Florida, where there are Whole Foods everywhere.
Planet Organic is the main rival to this chain, and judging by the number of people eating and shopping there on a Sunday sunny lunchtime, it’s already in huge demand.
Sure, we have two micro-shops in Leicester, selling a very limited range of vegan stuff, but to be able to wander around a normal-sized supermarket with so much choice, knowing that everything is organic, is beyond words.
I LOVE food shopping; I just wish I was able to do it like this more often. Instead, I have to visit several places, most of which have a fairly limited organic range, and if it’s not organic, I don’t buy it.
And sometimes, that can make for a fairly monotonous diet.
There even seems to be a shortage of organic lemons at the moment, and I go through at least one lemon a day. Ditto cucumbers. I’ve tried to find out why, but no one can give me a definitive answer.
In short, organic vegan shopping can be an arduous task, and sometimes ridiculously time-consuming. But no more. Why?
Because these guys deliver across the UK!!!!!!! As long as your order is £50 or more, delivery is gratis.
Orders less than this are a flat rate of £3.95. Not bad, eh?
Only thing is that at the moment, this service does not include fresh items, such as veg, fruit or chilled things. Bummer. But it’s still a step in the right direction and one which I intend to take full advantage of.
From now on, I’m going to make a note of everything I struggle to buy organic locally, make a list, and then do one shop for it all every now and then.
When I got home last night, I wasn’t sure what to try first. I was like the proverbial kid at Christmas. So I went for two different Tofurky sausages I’d bought: chick’n and apple, and Polish style. AMAZEBALLS! Grilled for about 10 minutes, they were perfect with my salad, to which I’d also added broccoli sprouts and China radish sprouts, bought fresh on my little spree. (NB: they do contain wheat).
If you’re vegan, or just want to cut down on your meat intake, you have to try these. Tofurky is an American brand which has only just landed over here. They also do sliced “meats”, but that’s not really my thing.
On the train home, I drank my Birch Water, made by a company called Tapped. Yes, the concept behind this water is probably just that, but I was curious. (the little blue and white can in the middle of my shopping spree photo, above).
The idea is that during winter, birch trees store certain vitamins and minerals in their roots. When it’s Spring, the water is filtered up through the trunk, along with the goodies. The tree is then “tapped”, and bingo: you have your birch water, which along with other nutrients, gives you 15% of your required daily manganese intake.
I’m not sure how much of an empty gimmick this is, or how the birch behaves different to other trees, but it was a new experience, at least.
It tasted fairly innocuous, like water, only slightly bitter. But far more interesting than a bottle of bog-standard mineral water.
Today’s culinary adventure? Fresh turmeric root, added to my green juice (anti-inflammatory, so another thing to help the old elbow) I’ll let you know.