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Gary Lineker.jpgIn a post that appeared on Facebook over the weekend, but which now seems to have disappeared, Walkers crisps confirmed they can no longer guarantee ANY of their crisps will be suitable for vegetarians.

At the end of last month they confirmed they were adding real meat to their crisps, including Smoky Bacon and Chicken, prompting a massive backlash among the UK's 3 million Vegetarian and Vegans, as well as religious groups, via social media.

Walkers said that the decision was taken to give the crisps a more 'authentic' flavour and to source meat from local farms. It decided to promote the change in direction in a new advertising campaign entitled 'A Great Taste of Home', featuring Gary Lineker on a tractor (see image on right). From now on, around 0.12% of a bag of smoky bacon will contain pork.

Writing on Walkers' Facebook wall Clive Nicholson said: "You started your massive ad campaign to inform the general public that you are adding dead animal to your products, the day after a report was published that linked the consumption of processed meat products with premature death. I would like to wish you the very best of luck at this years bad timing awards."

Added Laura Robinson: "Walkers, there is nothing exciting about contributing to the misery and slaughter of animals, the alienation of any of your customers who don't eat meat and the CONTAMINATION of your ENTIRE RANGE due to cross-contamination (something you continue to refuse to guarantee against). This is quite possibly the biggest PR DISASTER of a lifetime."

So far Walkers has refused to to rule out the possibility that their other flavoured crisps may be cross contaminated with meat as they use the same barrels to add the flavour to all the crisps. In 2007 Mars was forced to do a U Turn over the use of animal extracts in its Mars and Snickers bars following a backlash from Vegetarians. It remains to be seen whether Walkers will follow suit.

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Why we should stop eating meat on Mondays

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Many meat eaters will tell you that they could never give up meat, not even for a day, not even for the animals that are treated horribly in order to end up on a plate near you and me. But vegetarianism, though a big part of it is, is not all about being kind to animals. It is also about choosing a more sustainable future and potentially improving your health in the process.

A 2006 report found that the livestock industry was responsible for more harmful gases than the transport industry. So it goes without saying that consuming meat in the quantities we do is not sustainable in the long run. Adopting a different attitude towards diets and health, educating people about the fact that we don't need 'meat and two veg' every single day in order to survive is crucial for a better and brighter future.

One small, yet effective, way of doing this is to stop eating meat on Mondays. Luckily, as it is becoming less 'alternative' to be meat free, people are ncreasingly changing their habits - even the meat eaters.

One of the biggest campaigners behind the Meat Free Mondays movement is Sir Paul McCartney - he started the campaign together with his late wife Linda in 2009 and she went on to create a vegetarian food company - who has spoken out numerous times about the importance of eating less meat.

Speaking to The Huffington Post, McCartney said: ""It's becoming more and more clear that one of the most effective things any individual can do to help the environment is to eat less meat."

The ex-Beatle continued: "I've been a vegetarian for a long time now and over the years I've seen how the attitudes have changed around the world, so I'm not surprised when I see new research that shows more and more people are increasingly adopting 'meat free eating'. It's great to see more and more choice with some brilliant creative dishes in restaurants, cafés and supermarkets. There is definitely now an overall greater acceptance of being vegetarian."

But even though we now know more about the benefits of a less meat heavy diet, it is good with a reminder once in a while. And don't you worry; this is exactly what McCartney has in mind. In a new ad, an animation, Linda can be seen surrounded by quirky animal personas and her family as Elvis Costello reminds us all of the values and ethos of Linda McCartney.

Check it out here:

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Dubbed 'Switch The Fish', Sainsbury's new CSR initiative launches today 25 January in an attempt to change consumer attitudes towards sustainable fish by offering shoppers a free, sustainable alternative when they try to buy the most popular types of fish.

The sustainability push will see the supermarket give away seven tonnes of sustainable fish including lemon sole, mussels, Cornish sardines and coley fillets as an alternative to cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns.

Justin King, chief executive at Sainsbury's, said: "Sainsbury's is committed to fishing responsibly and helping change UK fish-eating habits. We know our customers care about responsibly sourced food and this is a great opportunity for them to try some alternative British fish for free."

As part of the initiative, Sainsbury's also partnering with the Fishermen's Mission charity, and for three weeks from today 5p from every pack of sustainable fish will be donated to the charity.

So if you fancy a free fish dinner tonight, check out your local Sainsbury's... Just don't pick the mackerel.

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British PM David Cameron might be gearing up to address the question of 'to EU or not to EU' and potentially promise a referendum in 2017. But that's not the only thing on his plate this morning.

Today, Wednesday 23 January, a major new campaign called Enough Food for Everyone IF will call on David Cameron to use his presidency of the forthcoming G8 summit to take a lead on world hunger, which kills two million every year.

IF's research estimates that by 2025, 937 million young people's life chances will be permanently damaged by childhood hunger, and the malnutrition will cost developing countries £78billion each year in lost economic output by 2030. That said, IF also notes that by tackling the four big IFs - on land, aid, tax and good governance - there can easily be enough food for everyone.

100 charities, aid organisations and faith groups, including Unicef, Save the Children, Oxfam, Cafod, Action Aid and Christian Aid, have formed the largest coalition of the aid world since Make Poverty History in 2005, and the campaign is backed by a host of famous faces, such as actors Bill Nighy, Keeley Hawes and Bonnie Wright, musician Baaba Maal, athletes Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson and England rugby legend Matt Dawson.

The IF campaign launches tonight at Somerset House in London and will see its architecture brought to life with a 3D projection on its walls that tells the story behind the campaign: that there is enough food for everyone but not everyone gets enough food. The spectacle will also incorporate live tweets from the public - join the campaign on @EnoughFoodIF - including a message from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Enough Food for Everyone IF events will be held across the country tonight in London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Northern Ireland and more than 20 other towns and cities. For details go to www.enoughfoodif.org.

mackerel-flickr-creative-commons-46137.jpgFor a seafood enthusiast it is sad to wake up to the news that mackerel has now been bumped off the list of fish that are suitable to eat.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has downgraded the mackerel, saying that international arguments about quotas mean it is no longer a sustainable choice. Of course you don't need to cut mackerel out of your diet completely, but only choose it occasionally.

So which type of fish should you eat instead? To ensure you are choosing the sustainable option, make sure you read the labels of where the fish has been caught before ending up in your local supermarket. To help you make a more sustainable choice, here are some of the types of fish that feature on the MCS's 'good list':

- Pollock (Alaska or Walleye) from the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea or Aleutlan Islands

- Anchovies from the Bay of Biscay

- Cod (Atlantic) from the North East Arctic, East Baltic or Iceland - not off the Norwegian coast!

- Haddock from the North East Arctic, North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat.

- Herring or sild from the Bothnian Sea and Iceland

- Monkfish

- Red Mullet

- Salmon from the Pacific (all species, Alaska) and Atlantic that has been farmed and organic certified.

- Sardines from Cornwall

- Sole (Dover/Common) from the North Sea and East Channel, Celtic Sea and West Channel.

For more information about sustainable seafood check out the Good Fish Guide.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons / 46137

Becoming vegetarian - a beginner's guide

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beginners-guide-vegetarianism.jpgDid you start the new year as a vegetarian? Whether it's due to being appalled of the way animals are treated or because you've realised that a highly carnivorous diet so many of us follow is not sustainable in the long run, going vegetarian can be a fantastic experience - as long as you make sure you get the nutrients you need.

To ensure you get the best advice possible, we spoke to nutritional therapist and hebalist at the Nutri Centre, Elouise Bauskis, to find out how to get the essential nutrients in an all vegetarian diet.

Elouise explained: "A vegetarian diet can be good for many people, and it's especially recommended to those who are 'acidic' or 'inflammatory'. A vegetarian diet can help to 'alkalise' the body which in turn has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body's chemistry. Acidity and inflammation provide the environment which encourages many Western disease states such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer."

But in order to reap the benefits of a vegetarian diet, eliminating meat and/or fish, you must inform and educate yourself on why and how you will replace this in your diet. Here are Elouise's top tips on eating well and getting the nutrients you need as a vegetarian.

The importance of the 3 P's: Protein, Pulses and Phytic

PROTEIN is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of every cell in the body! When following a vegetarian diet, you need to know how to obtain good protein from your food. Combining pulses with wholegrains will provide you with a complete amino acid profile that is an alternative to animal protein.

Consume PULSES every day! These include lentils, peas and all kinds of beans (soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, white beans, adzuki, and pinto). These are packed with protein and complex carbohydrates including plenty of fibre, calcium, iron, vitamins and precious minerals.

Pulses contain anti-nutrient factors including PHYTIC acid that prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients the food contains. Sprouting, soaking or souring reduces anti-nutrients. It is ideal to soak pulses (overnight at least for beans) in order to reduce the phytic acid. By reducing phytic acid, you can more than double your body's absorption of key minerals, as well as aiding digestion and often improving the taste. Any soaking is better than no soaking! Drain and rinse well.

Remember to mix it up!

Don't make the mistake and eat a lot of beige food, such as pasta and bread. Good wholegrains to combine with pulses include millet, oats, rice, and buckwheat. Quinoa (pronounced 'keenwah') and amaranth are excellent to use in place of rice or cous cous. They are actually seeds not grains, and are high in protein, minerals and nutrients, whilst being gently alkalising as well!

You need to consume a wide variety of foods daily in order to provide yourself with all of the vitamins, minerals & phytonutrients necessary for optimum functioning. Consume a rainbow of variety of fruit and vegetables per day, ideally between 8-12 servings. Include some raw food daily as this is full of enzyme activity!

If consuming soy, it's ideal that you have fermented soy in the form of tempeh and miso. The traditional way to consume soy is the best way!

Where is the protein?

Look at every meal you are going to eat and ask yourself, 'where is the protein?' and make sure the meal contains it. Also ask yourself, 'where is the good fats?' Good sources are from flaxseed, hemp, chia, coconut, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Eggs (free-range and organic only) are an excellent source of protein, that can be enjoyed on a daily basis. Other protein sources include houmous, tahini, nut butters and 'milks', nuts & seeds (unsalted and unroasted to preserve the beneficial omega oils).

Vital vitamin B12

You need to be acutely aware of your Vitamin B12 intake (or lack-of with a vegetarian diet) and just how crucial B12 is for the proper functioning of the nerves, the energy release from food and the production of red blood cells. It is essential to supplement this in order to avoid B12 deficiency, which can take years to occur, but then by the time you are presenting with deficiency signs, the damage may have already been done! The best form of B12 is the Methylcobalamin form, which is much more absorbable and usable than the Cyanocobalamin form.

Limit your intake of processed food

We're not big fans of processed foods and try to avoid them as much as we can. Besides cooking from scratch is so much more fun! When moving on to a veggie lifestyle, it's advisable to avoid processed vegetarian foods as much as possible. Elouise explains: "Imagine ALL of the processing these foods have gone through in order to create them! Check the list of ingredients to see how long it is - the more ingredients, the worse the processing generally."

Powder power

Include good quality protein powders in your diet as a way to enhance your protein intake. Excellent for breakfast, add some flaxseed oil and lecithin granules to make it a more balanced meal.

nutricentre-mitoguard.jpgSuperfoods to the rescue!

Consume daily some green superfoods such as Spirulina, chlorella, blue green algae, Barley grass and Wheat grass. These are foods that 'flood' the body with easily absorbable and usable nutrients. They are gently cleansing, alkalising and detoxifying. Start slowly and build up your dosage over time.

So which supplements are recommended?

BioCare's Vitasorb B12, £4.85 for 15ml liquid
Purple Balance's raw protein powder powders, from £8
MitoGuard from Biocare, £29.95 for a month's supply

All products are available from The Nutri Centre stores nationwide and online at www.nutricentre.com.

There you have it. Your beginner's guide to vegetarianism. Anything you would like to add? Leave us a comment below.

Image: www.nutricentre.com

After revelations earlier this week that several UK supermarkets have been selling burgers containing horse DNA to ignorant customers for what could be years, people have been expressing their disgust and horror on Twitter and Facebook.

If you're a vegetarian you're of course safe from having unknowingly digested horse DNA. Besides to many of you meat is meat, regardless of animal, and shouldn't be eaten full stop. You're now allowed to laugh in the face of the ignorant that have failed to read the label and are now filled with disgust of having eaten Black Beauty and all her mates. In fact, you can get up on your high horse. We allow it.

We're not all vegetarians here at Hippyshopper. Some of us are selective carnivores, meaning we do read the labels and buy quality meat that actually looks like meat. No Tesco value burgers in sight! So we're not actually so upset about the fact that these burgers contained horse meat, up to 29% in the case of Tesco's value range. What shocks us the most is that people have been and still are buying these ridiculously cheep burgers. In our opinion, if you choose to eat meat you should pay a fair price for it. No once living animal should EVER be sold at such low prices.

But if you've found your way here because you're worried about what you've been eating lately and want to explore the world of organic and vegetarian burgers, we thought we'd help you on your quest. Here are some of our top vegetarian and organic burger choices.

food-waste-nick-saltmarsh.jpgWe should be ashamed of ourselves. Despite being aware of the problems of both world hunger and obesity, we (or rather those we have trusted to lead us) continuously fail to come up with solutions that would help divide food more evenly worldwide and create a better place for all.

Sadly doesn't seem to be getting any better any time soon. A new UK-based report claims that as much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up in the bin each year, with the biggest culprits being Europe and the US.

According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the waste is being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness. The study also found that here in the UK up to 30% of vegetables are not harvested because of their physical appearance. Here millions of people are going hungry every day, yet perfectly edible produce is discarded because it isn't pretty enough.

Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers."

Isn't it time that we take a good look at our own habits and make changes where possible? In the developed countries we need to cut back on ridiculous consumer behaviour that sees us buy more than we need (mostly due to tempting 2-for-1 offers) and accept that, as with humans, not all food is or needs to be 'perfect' when it comes to appearance. A carrot is a carrot, whether it is wonky or not! If supermarkets are throwing out edible food because they by law cannot sell them because it is past its sell by date, I'm sure many people, especially now in these tough economic times, would be happy to take it off their hands.

Image: Flickr / Creative Commons / Nick Saltmarsh.

12 tips to help you waste less food this Christmas

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Did you know that an astonishing 74 million mince pies are thrown away every Christmas? That's more mince pies than there are people in the UK. I personally don't like the things so don't buy them, but it is a shame that so much food - not only mince pies - is wasted during the holidays.

Every Christmas, British consumers throw away an estimated 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings, according to research. Think about how many hungry people that could feed...

We're great believers that with a few tricks and a little thought, people could easily reduce their food waste - and not only for Christmas.

But it is the holidays and if you've bought lots of yummy food for the family to enjoy, here are 12 top tips to help you waste less this Christmas from Love Food Hate Waste and Unilever.

1. Left with too much stilton cheese once the festivities are over? Did you know that it freezes well and last for ages in the freezer? Defrost it in the New Year for the cheese board, a quiche or soup.

2. Cooked meat like turkey and ham can be frozen so if on Boxing Day you have lots left over, pop it in the freezer and then thaw it in the fridge when you fancy making a casserole, curry, stew or ham, turkey and leek pie.

3. Sick of Christmas pudding? Try turning it into a tasty strudel.

4. Loads of sprouts leftover? Use them with leftover roast or boiled potatoes to make bubble and squeak. Simply chop or fry together in a pan with some butter.

5. Bought too much mincemeat? Heat a small amount in a pan and spoon over ice-cream for an alternative Christmas pudding.

6. Use up Satsumas with this quick pudding. Peel and place the whole fruits in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon, spoon over a tablespoon of Cointreau or whisky and sprinkle with soft brown sugar. Cover and bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for 40 minutes serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream.

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7. Control your portions and minimise your food waste when cooking Christmas dinner with this simple formula. Adult (140g turkey + 2 tablespoons carrots + 2 florets cauliflower + 4 brussels sprouts + 1 parsnip), child (100g turkey + 1 tablespoon carrots + 1 floret cauliflower + 4 brussels sprouts + 1/2 parsnip). Simply multiply it by the number of people you are hosting:

8. Get ahead of the food preparation by preparing roast potatoes and parsnips. Just parboil them, cover them in fat and freeze them. Once frozen, pack them into freezer bags, seal, label and return to the freezer.

9. Leftover fruitcake you don't know what to do with? Add a spot of mayonnaise, custard and Flora, along with a sprinkling of sugar, to make a delicious fruity bread pudding.

10. Collect sandwich crusts in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Once you've got enough, whizz them in a food processor and use them for making the Christmas bread sauce or keep for toppings.

11. Make these spicy nuts out of any half opened packets of nuts. Take a mixture of Brazil nuts, almonds, pecans and put them in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over ½ tsp each of cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper and 2 tsp caster sugar. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake for 15 min. Cool before storing in air tight jars or tupperware containers. They will keep fresh in a screw top jar until the big day.

12. Have a rummage around your kitchen cupboards; you might be surprised that you can make free foodie gifts from packets of sea salt and sugar. To make spicy salt, add a few dried chillies, red peppercorns and star anise to the sea salt and put into a nice jar and decorate with ribbons. For spicy sugar, add cinnamon sticks to a jar of coffee sugar and dress up in a pretty jar.

With the average Christmas food bill said to land on £169 per household, it is time to cut down on the waste and be a more sensible shopper.

And if you find that you have bought too much food this holiday, why not donate anything that can be used to your local charity. We're sure they'd appreciate it.

Images via Love Food Hate Waste.

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If you're a vegetarian or vegan yourself, you'll probably already know which beers to serve come Christmas Day. But if you're a selective carnivore hosting a dinner party and find yourself catering for vegans and vegetarians, you might want to brush up on which types of ales and bitters can or cannot be had.

First things first, the key ingredient that will tell you whether a beer is suitable for your animal loving friend is finings. A funny old word, finings are used to clarify beer by pulling yeast sediment to the bottom of the cask. Historically, various substances such as egg whites, blood, milk and fish swim bladder have been used as finings. Some producers still make use of these today, but nowadays finings are usually made from isinglass, an extract from the swim bladder of the sturgeon fish.

Many brewers will produce bottle-conditioned beers without finding the beers, so can generally be considered OK. But not all have the accreditations that say they are vegetarian and vegan friendly, so make sure you read the label carefully when shopping.

And note that honey beers may be vegetarian but vegans will not drink it as it contains and animal product - honey.

You can find an extensive list of which UK brewers produce suitable beers over on CAMRA's website, which include Little Valley Brewery, Cropton Brewery and Atlantic Brewery.

Which is your favourite vegan/vegetarian beer?

[Image: Little Valley Brewery]

squash_soup_450px.jpgIt might not be as cold right now as it was a few weeks ago, but winter is very much the time to cosy up indoors with homemade soup - and why not make your own bread while you're at it!

Here's a recipe for a roasted, curried squash soup that we'll certain be comforting on cold winter evenings. And there's even a recipe for bread, in case you're looking to impress someone.

Serves 4

For the soup:

- 6 tablespoons of Udo's Choice Ultimate Oil Blend
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- 50g sunflower seeds
- 25g sesame seeds
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 25g butter
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons medium curry powder
- 1 litre of stock (homemade if possible)
- Salt and pepper to taste

For the bread:

- 125g wholemeal spelt flour
- 125g gluten free bread flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 15g yeast
- 1 tablespoon Udo's Choice Beyond Greens Powder
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (first cold pressed)
- 400ml warm water

Method:

The soup: Liquidise the seeds and Udo's Oil together, and then put to one side. Wash the squash and halve it, place in a hot oven on a baking tray, cover with a little olive oil and roast until soft.

When cool, deseed and chop in large pieces but leave the skin on! Sweat the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 25 grams of butter until translucent. Add the curry powder and cook for 3 minutes. Add the squash, cover with stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste. Liquidise and pour into separate bowls. Drizzle with the oil seed mix. Garnish with a pansy and rose geranium leaf!

The Bread: Oil one pound bread tin. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl; make a well in the centre. Add the egg, olive oil and water. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into the tin. Cover and place in a warm place for 30 minutes. Put in a hot oven, at gas mark 6, 180°C for 50 minutes.

Leave to cool and serve - happy cooking!

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One of the things that make us get into a festive mood here at Hippyshopper are mince pies. The tiniest mention of this traditional British sweet treat reminds us that Christmas is just around the corner and it's ok to start listening to those festive tunes and make some mulled wine.

In the weeks before Christmas the supermarkets will be filled with them, but how can you make delicious and vegetarian friendly mince pies at home? Here's a recipe courtesy of Honestly Healthy to help you do just that!

Vegetarian friendly mince pies

Serves 6 - 8

Filling

1/2 cup of dried blueberry
1/2 cup of dried sugar free cranberry
1 cup of sultanas
1 orange rind and half its juice
1 lemon rind
1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg
1 tsp of cinnamon
3 tbsp of agave

Pastry

1/2 cup of rice flour
1/4 cup of chick pea flour (gram)
1/4 cup of corn flour
4 tbsp of coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup of vegan Butter (Vitagquell)
1 tbsp xantham Gum
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

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Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celsius.

For the pastry; cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together both flours, xantham gum and salt.

Now combine the content of both bowls and mix together with your fingers to form dough. Knead for a minute and then roll into a ball and wrap in cling film, leave this in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling; combine all the ingredients and put them in the food processor or blender, pulse the ingredients until it is a rough consistency.

Layout your muffin tray and line with a little of the vegan butter.

Roll the pastry on a rice-floured surface until 3mm thick. Then using a cutter, stamp out rounds and re-roll the trimmings to get 14. Use the cut outs to line the base of the tins.

Dollop 1 tbsp of mincemeat on each pastry cut out (don't overfill as it will bubble out in the oven) then with a star shaped cutter cut out 14 stars (or any shapes you would like!) and place over the top of the mincemeat pushing the edges of the stars down to the bottom pastry rim.

Put the mince pies into the oven, after 15 minutes take the mince pies out of the oven and leave to cool.

Once cool dust the mince pies with rice flour.

Honestly Healthy is a partnership between gourmet vegetarian chef, Natasha Corrett and Harley Street nutritionist, Vicki Edgson. Its aim is to provide healthy, balanced and delicious vegetarian meals to those wishing to pursue a healthier lifestyle. As well as the Honestly Healthy range of fresh and dried foods.

Recipe idea: Beetroot, pear and feta salad

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beetroot_pear_feta_salad_udos_choice.jpgWe're big fans of both beetroot and Feta cheese here at Hippyshopper HQ, so we couldn't help but share this recipe with you.

It might not be the most wintery of dishes, but If you're looking for food-inspiration this lunchtime, why not serve a Beetroot, Pear and Feta Salad?

Beetroot, Pear & Feta Salad

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of Udo's Choice Ultimate Oil Blend

4 good-sized beetroots (scrubbed, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks)

3 ripe pears (peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks)

Juice of ½ a lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g Feta cheese

A small bunch of fresh mint

To make the dressing:

Blend the Udo's Oil and lemon juice together.

Mix the beetroot and pear matchsticks in the oil dressing and season with some salt and pepper. Taste to check flavour.

To serve:

Place the salad on a big platter, crumble over the feta, and sprinkle over the mint leaves.


Read more about Udo's oils here.

When the cold weather sets in it can be easy to forget those healthy eating habits of summer days (no-one's going to see you in a bikini any time soon so there's no need for the strict diet regime right?). Instead of reaching for those tempting buttery croissants, why not opt for a classic winter breakfast: porridge.

If you don't want to spend a fortune in your local cafe each morning, here are some of the British organic porridges which can be found in a supermarket near you. Sweeten it up with berry compote, chopped nuts or stewed fruits, or add cinnamon or plain old honey.

rudehealth_morningglory.pngRude Health 'Morning Glory' Porridge
A great combination of smooth oatmeal, jumbo oats, barley, rye and quinoa flakes, this porridge has sesame, pumpkin and poppy seeds added. All ingredients are wild and not refined, only natural sweet ingredients, and sustainably produced fruits, nuts and seeds. We think Goldilocks would approve.







pimhill_porridge_oats-png-1.pngPimhill Farm Porridge Oats
Made from oats grown on one of the first organic farms in the country, now run by the third generation of the Mayall family, all of the products are grown in Shropshire without any artificial fertilisers or chemicals. And anyone who recommends to 'add a dash of whisky' to porridge on cold winter mornings are great in our books!







duchy-original-organic-oat-barley-porridge.jpgDuchy Originals Organic Porridge
Duchy Originals was launched in 1990 by HRH The Prince of Wales but their story starts earlier - back in the early 1980s The Prince moved to the Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire, and began the process of converting the Duchy Home Farm, which is part of the estate, to an entirely organic agricultural system. The oats and barely porridge is a great addition to your morning routine.




jordans-organic-porridge.jpgJordans Organic Porridge
Founded by nature loving, brothers Bill and David, one who also was in a rock band once, the brand is committed to the making the British countryside more sustainable. Full of wholegrain goodness, with no artifical flavourings, colourings and preservatives your brekkie table will shine with porridge from Jordans.







pertwood_organic_farm_porridge_oats_pack_2009.jpgPertwood Porridge Oats
Carefully grown and milled to ensure that every box is full of premium wholegrain jumbo oat flakes this is a seriously healthy breakfast option from the fields of south-west Britain. This award-winning organic farm is now one of the largest organic farms in the country.

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My coffee-loving heart sank as I read the predictions that climate change could damage production of coffee in the future.

A recently published article in the academic journal Plos One by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK and the Environment and Coffee Fores Forum (ECFF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, concluded that climate change could drastically reduce the areas that are suitable for wild Arabica coffee crops before the end of the century.

Researchers looked at how wild Arabica could be affected based on three scenarios of carbon emission in the future. The worst-case outcome was a 99.7% reduction by 2080, which would lead to coffee being more exclusive than diamonds...

So why is this happening? Due to coming from a very limited genetic stock, the Arabica crops are assumed to be less able to cope with climate change and other threats such as diseases and pests. Some will argue that this is a natural course of events and part of Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' mantra, but - as with pandas - human actions are behind the changes to the environment that has led to this.

Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, said: "The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect. However, the objective of the study was not to provide scaremonger predictions for the demise of Arabica in the wild.

"The scale of the predictions is certainly cause for concern, but should be seen more as a baseline, from which we can more fully assess what actions are required."
Well Mr Davis. We are scared. Very scared. We love our java too much!

[Image source]

Thumbnail via Flickr by Puuiki Beach, creative commons

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