uk eco blog

Tell Me A Secret

uk eco blog

Hello!  How’s your Wednesday going?  For fun, I fancy doing something a bit different today: I thought we could have a chat!

Sometimes when you write a blog it can feel like you are just talking to your computer, and you can forget there are actual people like yourselves out there reading and following along.  I couldn’t help but think the other day that it would be really nice to open things up and have a chat, and encourage you to chat amongst each other too.

I’m curious to know what green achievements of yours are you most proud of?  Have you grown your own food?  Started cycling to work?  Became a full time vegan or vegetarian?  Something else?  I’m all ears!  We really should be shouting more about the things we do, and sharing it in the comments might inspire someone else to give it a go!

I’m also curious to know what green things maybe aren’t going so well for you, and that maybe you need help with, or you’ve had to concede isn’t for you?  Maybe I can help or a Moral Fibres reader can help?

To start the conversation, for me, in terms of what I’m proud of, well, our allotment is doing great this year.  Really great.  We have loads of apples, tomatoes, plums, and peas about to ripen.  We’ve had a bumper crop of rhubarb.  I don’t get over there as much as I’d like but once the girls are a little older I hope to be able to help out a lot more, but it’s so exciting to see everything coming along.

In terms of things that aren’t going so well, I’m sure I have mentioned before that the thing I really really REALLY struggle with is giving up cheese.  I’ve found a vegan milk substitute that doesn’t curdle, but cheese is a whole other ballgame.  Especially halloumi and mozzarella.  I do love a bit of pizza (we have pizza night every Friday), and having tried homemade vegan pizza it just wasn’t the same.  I’ve cut down my dairy intake (I have red pepper hummous sandwiches packed for my lunch today!) and I feel disappointed that I can’t kick the cheese habit.  I’ve tried vegan cheese (or Gary as it was called a little while ago) and just felt disappointment.  Any tips?

x

22 comments

  1. My tip is to stop looking for something that tastes like dairy cheese, most non-dairy alternatives are simply not the same thing and never will be. Once you let that idea go you’ll find a non-dairy cheese you love (or at least like). As with anything, time and perseverance is essential.

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  2. Whilst I’m nowhere near being vegan or vegetarian (sorry!), I LOVE reading your blog. It inspires me to try and be a ‘better’ me and I do take on board a lot of your ideas e.g. dressing ethically and making my own house cleaning products. So what I’m most proud of is the fact that I’ve changed and am still changing. Keep inspiring and encouraging us to make a difference, however small 😀

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  3. I have been vegetarian for over 20 years now and its a way of life. I only use natural cleaning products and make up/toiletries and love making my own bath bombs. Half our garden has been turned into a vegetable/fruit growing area and the tomatoes and beetroot have been particulary good. I also love having a flower garden which encourages the bees and butterflies and i don’t use any nasty chemicals in the garden including slug pellets which makes veggie growing a bit hit and miss but we still get enough to get by and its nice to know that the thrushes and hedgehogs aren’t at any risk of being poisoned.Its always great reading your blog and knowing there are other like minded people about.

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  4. Love reading your blog, as other comments have said it inspires me to do a little better in my everyday life. I’ve been vegetarian for many years and I’m now trying to incorporate more vegan ways to life, but I have two small children and it’s not so easy! I struggle to give up eggs and cheese as i eat them a lot. Just started using your tips and advice for green cleaning, loving the vinegar and soda crystals.😀

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  5. First time comment, it’s nice to say hello!

    I agree with Sophie. I do still eat cheese very occasionally but I’ve really cut back & found that tahini and/ or nutritional yeast hit the spot for me most of the time. Also just discovered the whole “chick pea “tuna”” thing, yummm. I’d like to try cashew cheese on pizza, any experience? I’ll finally have the excuse to buy a good blender/ chopper if it’s good :-) I tried replacing halloumi & paneer with tofu but (here’s my secret, no secret in this house, tofu really makes me fart 😳).

    Things I’m proud of: really committing to making ethical wardrobe choices wherever possible & generally feeling much better informed about where to buy clothes, what fabrics to choose etc (have always been a bit of an eBay fiend so that was a good base).

    Things I’m struggling with: reducing plastic packaging. So hard to reach the level of life organisation to plan it all!

    Thanks for all your hard work on the blog Wendy :-)

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  6. I’ve been veggie for a while now. Like Sophie who commented, above, I wouldn’t try to find a cheese substitute. We do eat dairy, but we use less than before. Have you tried recipes using nutritional yeast? Helen mentions eggs; they are such a good source of nutrients that I’d carry on, but make sure you buy certified organic.

    My cycling to work habit is now embedded in the summer months (hoorah!) but in term-time, it’s more difficult to do regularly, as I drive my daughter to school in the mornings. Once she is in 6th form, this will be something I can do more regularly.

    What I’m really happy with is how little ‘waste to landfill’ we now produce. We recycle far more than we throw away (including any tetrapaks we buy). Cellophane is the last bastion of waste that I’d like to eliminate; I hope our (online) supermarket supplier will deal with this at some point.

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  7. This might sound like a right cop out but two positives for me are
    1. Accepting things that at the moment I cannot change and instead to focus on what I can do
    2. Not getting upset when I see comments that are negative about things that make a huge difference in my life.
    Let me explain as this links to the difficulties that I have.
    In April I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and am pretty much house bound. As a result of the illness I have lost a lot of weight; enter struggle number 1 I don’t currently fit into ethical brands and due to being unable to get to stores I cannot buy second hand (ebay is not an option). This means the FF tends to be my only option so I focus on what I can do buying less, sticking to natural fibres where possible, wearing things as much as possible and washing with care.
    Struggle number 2 because I buy everything online packaging!
    Struggle number 3 which links to positive number 2, I have found it very hard in the past to not get upset and feel excluded from the ‘green’ community when they make comments about certain items being for ‘lazy people’ or ‘wasteful’ when those items might make the world of difference. An example of this is sometimes washing and drying my hair can be really hard and exhausting in the summer I can let it air dry but in the cooler months I don’t like sitting for hours with wet hair. I have been thinking about getting either a hood dryer or a hair dryer stand for the times when I cannot hold a hair dryer up myself (either that or chopping off all my hair which a bed bound friend has done) yet these are items that I have seen people in the ‘green’ community comment on as being only for lazy people and that these items shouldn’t exist. Instead of getting upset I am trying to be grateful for the person who shared things like this because by making those comments it shows that they have never had to struggle with these issues and therefore enjoys good health, they don’t mean it personally they just have different life experiences to me.

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  8. I’m proud that I’ve been a vegetarian for a year and 8 months. Considering I come from a carnivore family and I’m a fussy eater I thought I’d never be able to do it! Now I could never go back. I’m also happy that I’m shifting towards getting all my clothes second hand from ebay (inspired by you!) or charity shops. I hope to reduce my shopping for clothes entirely at some point soon and be satisfied with the wardrobe I have.

    My attempts to give up cheese have been pretty epic failures. I tried to give it up for lent but maybe lasted a week at most. I do never drink milk now though, only Oat milk for me! I also struggle to minimise my plastic use, I’ve stopped using plastic shopping bags but its the packaging I can’t seem to avoid! Also as a household we’re not great at not having food waste. At least we compost it now but that’s something I need to work on!

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  9. Things that I find work well for me, keeping clothes for a long time (I think I’ve had some for about 20 years), or buying second hand, eating seasonally – it’s led us to discover squash, celeriac and cavolo nero. The only fruit or veg that I buy that aren’t grown in the uk are bananas (but at least fair trade) and the occasional lemon. Not flying also simples, as is not using single use bottles.

    I’m struggling to go completely veggie – most of the time it’s ok (we don’t buy meat or fish at home) eating out is the issue, particularly at conferences as I’m not a huge cheese fan (unless it’s cooked). We don’t eat out often, but even going out for lunch can be difficult as the veggie options are very limited. Plastic is also a big problem- we reuse the little bags for veggies insupermarkets and actively avoid a lot of the things wrapped in plastic but it’s impossible to go completely free as much as I’d like.

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  10. My struggle is packaging (in fact, I have a half-written blog post about it sitting in my drafts folder); the vast majority of our rubbish goes in the recycling these days but the film from the top of plastic punnets plus all those single-use toddler snack packets add up. I’m actively looking for alternatives that don’t involve me having to bake six days a week!

    On the bright side, we don’t use chemicals around the house and we hardly ever use disposable baby wipes. We don’t have a car which obviously has environmental benefits but also means we can’t get to all those inaccessible indoor entertainments, soft play etc – we’ve accidentally become the family whose kid mostly plays in nature.

    I’ve been vegetarian for so long (25 years – can that be right?!) that it doesn’t feel like an achievement any more; I’ve cut down on dairy a lot but I’m not quite ready to take the vegan leap yet!

    Love this idea for a post, by the way – the responses are so interesting!

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    • I hear you on the packaging front Sarah! Especially toddler snack packets! I try to be good and pack snacks I’ve made up, like raisins, or chopped fruit, or crackers/bread sticks, but ultimately fail some times. In those circumstances, when I’m on the bus I always feel a single use snack packet is better than a very very angry toddler!

      And yes, I have loved the responses! So interesting!!

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  11. I hear you about cheese. It sounds like you’re close to being vegan though! Have you tried the new vegan cheese in Pizza Express, or the vegan cheese in Zizzi’s? They use a cashew cheese which is quite mozzarella-like. The Zizzi’s version is a brand which can be bought, I can’t remember which but will look it up.
    I’d been almost vegan for a few years before I became completely so but it was milk chocolate and yogurt that were sticking points (but I’ve found substitutes that I’ve ended up preferring, e.g Alpro fruit yogurts and many brands of chocolate), but it took a while.

    I need to look at our household cleaning products- some are eco-friendly but there is much room for improvement. Also, packaging. We have a clothes dryer too. I use it very little in summer but it’s used far too much in the winter.

    My biggest change has been clothing over the years- I love the companies you mention on your blog. That’s where I heard about Lost Shapes and we have a good T-shirt collection which is my boys’s summer uniform! There is so much choice now for vegan, consciously produced clothing and shoes (even if it does mean waiting for sales) and I really like that we get to have this choice and range yet it is not overwhelming. It feels good to know where to shop. Plus it negates the need for the High Street and my boys don’t like shopping. So going to the shopping centre can mean Caffe Nero (or similar) is the central point with a nice soya cappuccino!

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    • It’s a work in progress Bea! I haven’t but I feel a trip to Pizza Express or Zizi’s (or maybe both for quality control purposes!!) is on the cards! It’s encouraging to hear that it took you a few years to make the leap to full-time vegan! I feel there is hope!!

      Aww, I love Lost Shapes – their stuff is such good quality. Glad I could introduce you to them!

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  12. Hi. Love reading you blog. It inspires me.
    I am lucky that I am able to grow some of the vegetables, although I don’t like it on my own – slugs and snails loves it too :-)
    I have recently purchased PO ZU shoes which are organic and recyclable and I am super excited to wear them.
    I am proud of getting together my stainless steel army incl. my flask, cups, straws, razor… as well as reusable bags and my awesome crocheted bag that supports turtles in the oceans.
    Teaching about environment others, in my job.
    The main think above it all is staying positive. Be happy with every little thing that makes a deal for me and that encourages me to be better – in my way. Not being upset or discouraged by other’s opinion and remaining myself that “One person can make a difference.”

    Reply
  13. Hi. Love reading your blog. It inspires me.
    I am lucky that I am able to grow some of the vegetables, although I don’t like it on my own – slugs and snails loves it too :-)
    I have recently purchased PO ZU shoes which are organic and recyclable and I am super excited to wear them.
    I am proud of getting together my stainless steel army incl. my flask, cups, straws, razor… as well as reusable bags and my awesome crocheted bag that supports turtles in the oceans.
    Teaching about environment others, in my job.
    The main think above it all is staying positive. Be happy with every little thing that makes a deal for me and that encourages me to be better – in my way. Not being upset or discouraged by other’s opinion and remaining myself that “One person can make a difference.”

    Reply
  14. I love your blog. You have helped me in so many ways, inspired and helped me buy my new rucksack the other day which has been on the cards for month but wanted to make sure I got it right.
    I went veggie last year and slowly transitioning to fully vegan. My parents are farmers so it’s been hard. Wanted to be veggie at age 4. Now 35. I struggle with cheese and chocolate but at the moment my little boy has gone off cheese so that helps.
    Household cleaning products have been changed, I recycle seriously now, my eyes are wide open. Thank you for the blog – it’s one email I love to open.

    Reply
    • Aww, thanks for your kind words Karen! Great job on going veggie and now vegan! I love that you wanted to be veggie at four, I was a full on meat eater at four and hadn’t even thought about the animal/meat thing! I hear you on the cheese and chocolate front! I can’t help with the cheese thing but I think the trick is finding some really nice dark chocolate. I know when I have some dark chocolate in the house I find myself less likely to reach for milk chocolate at the shop. Cake though, that’s another matter I am still working on…

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  15. I have recently found your blog and am new to sustainable living. I am having a ‘no-buy’ new clothes this year and so far have sewn my own and scoured the charity shops for items I can refashion. I am really interested in slow fashion, but am sad at the high prices of eco clothing. I have ramped up our household recycling, but could do much much better!

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  16. Hey. I struggle with cheese and dairy in general too but while I have been veggie for twenty odd years I don’t want to be vegan but rather cut down on my consumption of dairy. I found the Oatly milk you were talking about a wee while back and am going to give that a go and have moved my smoothies to coconut milk bases. The allotment progress sounds awesome.
    My biggest change I think has been moving to trying to make my own clothes. I just find that has been the biggest thing to slow my clothing consumption. I’m still not quite there with using organic and more ethical fabrics but that’s a work in progress.
    I think it is plastic I struggle with most. I have only had two cups of coffee that were in disposable cups this year – that was my new year challenge. Now it is a routine to always have one of my cups with me. Baby steps and I will get there. I just have to be more organised! Also I would like to cycle again after having to give up due to severe balance issues.
    I love your blog and always really enjoy reading it, always inspiring.

    Steph

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  17. Sorry bit late to the game! As an on/off vegan (on this time for good methinks!) my advice would be to avoid cuisine that involves cheese. One day in the future a vegan cheese pizza will probably be quite nice but right now if you’re trying to cut dairy out cheese substitutes will just make you sad. I’d instead go for fab ethnic cuisines that don’t involve dairy. How about a Friday curry night instead? Focussing on what you can eat- Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai etc is more constructive than stressing about food that won’t taste the same. I avoid dairy substitutes apart from the occasional vegan pizza at Ask. Hope this helps!!

    Reply

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