Thursday, 28 February 2019

AD. My Marks and Spencers Plant Kitchen Review*. My Thoughts On Veganism & The Growing Trend For Plant Based Foods and Vegan Alternatives.


*Post in collaboration with Marks and Spencers, AD as it contains gifted items.* 

Hey there, so today I am back with a food review. But not any ordinary food review, oh no, I am here today with a review of Marks and Spencer's latest vegan food offering: Plant Kitchen! Launched back in January, Marks and Spencers have out done themselves with a grand total of 60 food items being available for all of our vegan desires. 

There is everything from lunch pots, to sandwiches and wraps, to a vegan mac and cheese, dirty fries and lasagna to cauliflower popcorn and a jackfruit pizza. With so much on offer there is bound to be something for everyone, even the fussiest of vegans! 

I was very kindly gifted a good assortment of the Plant Kitchen goodies to try and I have not been disappointed yet! 

Taken from the website, Marks and Spencer describe Plant Kitchen as follows: 

"Whether you’re going veggie, avoiding meat and dairy, or simply enjoy incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet, our new Plant Kitchen range makes every day delicious. The dishes span on-the-go sandwiches and grain bowls, hearty quick-fix suppers, and our amazing no-beef burger, plus staples like substitute mince and nut milks. Whatever you fancy, all of our Plant Kitchen dishes have been developed with a ‘flavour first’ mentality at their heart: think vegan bolognese enriched with miso for an intense depth of flavour, or pizza topped with jackfruit for a smokey taste and rich texture. Discover more about the range below, and pop in store to try it yourself!"


Having played with being vegan last January, but not fully committed I tried Veganuary again this year and found it to be easier than ever. I am not sure if this is because suddenly veganism seems to have gained in popularity over the last 12 months or that I was finally in a place where I could safely, easily and comfortably give up dairy and fish completely and take up a totally vegan lifestyle. (I was pesectarian for 12 months prior to this) 

Having the support of the Facebook group definitely helped me A LOT this year if I was struggling I could simply pop in a message and instantly there would be a whole stream of comments with encouraging and supportive words or a tasty vegan alternative to what I was craving/missing! Without this group I definitely would not have been able to make the switch that easily and I still use it today because, after all, what fun is there in finding jackfruit and nutritional yeast in Aldi if you don't share it with hundreds of other vegans who all completely understand your delight and amazement?!!? I tell you this is a gold mine of information for anyone thinking about going vegan so if you're in the mindset of wanting a bit more information and help on your journey then I can highly recommend it to you! 

Marks and Spencers have always been at the forefront of food innovation and offering up what the people want (or might not think that they want). They were the first supermarket to offer up a ready meal for people to enjoy at home way back in 1973 - you may remember me taking you through the history in my last post featuring their Gastropub range. 

Back then I still hadn't given up dairy or fish completely but was definitely off eggs and meat for good. I was wanting to kick dairy when I tried Veganuary and wondered if I could live without fish too. Turns out I don't need any animal product/by-product in my life at all and my skin for one has never looked better! 

To be able to walk into my local M&S store and see the blue of the Plant Kitchen Range makes me so happy. It also helps to make it identifiable to anyone in the store so that you don't waste precious minutes wandering around lost looking for the sad and forlorn vegetarian section. As vegans we spend almost twice as long shopping as the average omni so to have this marked so clearly will undoubtedly help to speed us up! 

 




Having such a wide range of ready meals available to us means whatever situation we're in we'll be able to find something to best suit us. From the lunch pots designed for office worker to the hearty Lasagna and Beetroot Burgers for a filling dinner, there's bound to be something for everyone and although these meals shouldn't replace a more balanced one made at home, they are perfect when you're short on time but want big flavour. 

Don't think that these meals are short on flavour just because they're vegan and they 'can't contain anything real', these dishes are hearty af and fill up even the biggest of appetites! 

Served alone or with a big side helping of vegetables/salad they can help you keep up your daily nutritional needs without suffering a deficiency. They have all been nutritionally analysed to be just as balanced as a non-vegan ready meal would be! 


Why should you suffer with drab, tasteless, hard to find, sad looking salad just because you've decided to live your life without the need for animal products? I remember a few years ago that the only vegetarian offering available anywhere would be a very sad looking salad or a mushroom risotto if you were lucky! Or perhaps a stuffed pepper if they were feeling particularly adventurous! 

The sheer amount of vegan food available nowadays is honestly mind blowing, 2019 definitely seems like the year of the vegan what with Greggs bringing out a vegan sausage roll (and keeping it!), Pizza Hut trialing (and then keeping!) a vegan pizza - who now have a whole vegan menu to satisfy our cravings!, Pizza Express expanding their pizza and pasta range, Ben & Jerry's offering us a dairy free version of their ice cream, not to mention the list of foods which are 'accidentally vegan!' I mean come on!! Whoever thought that going vegan to lose weight is seriously misguided!

We are in such a better place now, with food, clothing, home-ware and even cleaning products going vegan that we can at least do our bit for the planet before we eventually destroy her for good. It's a sad state of affairs when a vegan diet - once thought of as a sickly alternative - is now thought to be the best way forward to preventing habitat loss. Try as you might with no plastic bags, shorter showers, reusable coffee cups, electric cars and giving up TV, the number one cause for all of this is agriculture. Shocking I know. 

But think about it, how much water does it take to grow a plant compared to raising and maintaining an animal on that plant?? The sheer amount of habitat which is lost to make way for soya, not for humans (which btw, could feed an entire third world country!) but for the animals which we then eat. If that's not maddening then I don't know what is. Why not cut out the middle man and eat the plants INSTEAD of the animals yeah? 

The more you look into the meat, dairy and egg industries the more you'll want to give them up. I was ignorant for a very long time but having educated myself I can now say that they're some of the worst. How anyone can tuck into KFC knowing that day old male chicks have been put through a grinder simply because they don't lay eggs and still think it's OK is beyond me. 

Anyway, I'll try not to go too deep on the vegan issues today but it is hard once you know the truth about the farming industry as a whole! I'll just say that you need to open your eyes, hearts and minds to an alternative way of life because carrying on this way is going to do us no good at all! 



I'll leave you with my thoughts on the new Plant Kitchen Range available at an Marks and Spencers near you. 

I absolutely loved everything I tried, the Cauliflower Popcorn was a revelation because it's one of my least favourite veggies, I shall definitely be having that again soon. The Beetroot Burgers were a delight and filled that 'I need a hearty burger' hole, the Dirty Fries were exceedingly dirty and were described as 'like a lasagna but with fries instead of pasta', the Margarita Pizza was the perfect antidote to the 'I miss cheese' scenario and the Plant Kitchen Lasagna was absolutely delicious and had me thinking 'how the heck did they make this sauce vegan?'. 

I really want to try more from the range and see what goodies Marks and Spencers bring out for us vegans! There's even word they're coming out with a vegan footwear range later this year.....so watch this space and way to go M&S! 

Have you tried or heard of the Plant Kitchen Range before? Are you a vegan or interested in living life plant based? Let me know in the comments below! 

Love, Sarah
xoxoxoxoxoxoxo





*Contains PR samples but as usual all photos and opinions my own
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