Hello, my name is Caroline Turner and I’m joining the Can I Eat It team as a vegan product reviewer. I’ll be referred to on the site as Vegan Caroline.
I’ve been a vegan for 7 years. I didn’t set out intending to become a vegan, in fact it was something I drifted into over a period of about two years when I was experimenting with my diet to try to help alleviate some health problems. The research I did led me to eating foodstuffs which naturally formed part of a healthy vegan diet and soon my daily backache had gone! Eating a vegan diet means that I avoid all animal products so as well as meat and fish that means no eggs, butter, cream, cows, sheep or goats milk, yoghurt or honey and no baking ingredients containing things like gelatine, shellac or beeswax. I mainly follow a healthy, balanced diet but I love a bit of vegan junk food too.
When I first started out I found the Vegan Society and vegan food blogs really helpful resources. I now write my own vegan food blog called Tea and Sympatico and I also run a vegan baking and social group called the Cake Liberation Front. With Cake Liberation Front we aim to smash the stereotypes around vegan baking. Vegan cuisine has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years with many more choices available in the shops and when eating out. There are even things available now that were once thought unveganisable such as marshmallows, meringue and egg yolk! Vegan cakes are also a lot easier and quicker to make than non vegan ones as there’s no separating eggs or creaming butter.
It’s not just vegans choosing vegan friendly options either. After buying things for me to eat my friends and family now regularly buy the same products for themselves. In my workplace where there were originally 4% of us ordering non-dairy milk for our tea and coffee and now there’s about a quarter of the workforce. We get through a case of soya milk a week!
Being vegan is not about depriving yourself. There’s loads of products that you can eat. With some investigative label checking it’s possible to find a whole range of ‘accidentally vegan’ products ranging from well known biscuit brands to meat flavour crisps! You can still indulge in a full English fry up or a roast dinner. In fact I’d say I probably eat a much wider range of foodstuffs than I ever have and it’s exciting to see more products that are suitable for vegans coming onto the market all the time.
My passion is vegan baking so after years of having to beg friends to bring it back from holidays in the states I’m delighted to see tins of Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin appearing in UK supermarkets. To get the best from your tinned pumpkin you need to pair it with other ingredients. Although it’s a vegetable it’s most at home in sweet baked goods where it’s texture blends in well. Dark chocolate and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are particularly good so look for recipes with these in. I use a pumpkin and chocolate chip muffin recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance which never fails to impress people.
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Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
This is a really versatile baking ingredient. Try it in pumpkin breads, muffins, cookies, pies – even milkshakes. Tasted by Vegan Caroline