The MetMUnch Vegan Foodie By Nikita Star

Being Vegan in Manchester

I’m Nikita and I’m a second year Nutritional Sciences student at Manchester Met. Yes, my love for food is so real, that I’m studying it!

Since being a baby, my mum tells me stories of my excessive sweet tooth, and not much has changed, well except I transitioned to a vegan diet in 2013. To be honest, this only grew my passion for food. At the time, veganism was no way near as big as it is now and so it forced me to learn how to cook. Fast forward a few years and eating out or ordering a vegan takeaway has never been easier.

The vegan movement continuous to grow and Britain alone has seen a 360% increase in Vegans over the last 10 years (Quinn, 2016), with figures of over half a million Brits being vegan (The Vegan Society, n.d.). Furthermore, in 2017, statistics revealed 28% of Brits reduced their meat intake within 6 months and 49% are interested in doing so (Mintel, 2017) for ethical and health reasons. Meat alternatives are on the incline with 50% of Brits purchasing meat-free products (Mintel, 2017) and this year a whopping 168,500 people signed up for the Veganuary pledge for reasons including animal welfare, health and the environment (Veganuary, 2018).
Vegan Nikita

Figure 1: Veganuary (2018) Statistics

Manchester is the place to be for vegan grub, with more vegan options appearing on menus and new vegan restaurants popping up all over the city. This isn’t surprising, Manchester has always been ahead of the game being the birthplace of the Vegetarian Society.

So, I dedicate this blog series to all the delicious vegan food Manchester has to offer. I would like to point out some of my photos are of mediocre quality; I had no idea I would end up sharing my food adventures. If you’re new to Manchester, new to Veganism, or just want to increase your palette, stay tuned to find out where is good to get Manchester vegan grub.

References

Mintel (2017) 28% of Brits have cut back their meat consumption over the last six months. Mintel. [Online] [Accessed on 22 February 2018] http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/28-of-brits-have-cut-back-their-meat-consumption-over-the-last-six-months.

Quinn, S. (2016) Number of vegans in Britain rises by 360% in 10 years. The Telegraph. [Online] [Accessed on 22 February 2018] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/number-of-vegans-in-britain-rises-by-360-in-10-years/.

The Vegan Society (n.d.) Key facts. The Vegan Society. [Online] [Accessed on 22 February 2018] https://www.vegansociety.com/about-us/further-information/key-facts.

Veganuary (2018) A Record-Breaking Veganuary 2018. Veganuary.com. [Online] [Accessed on 22 February 2018] https://veganuary.com/blog/a-record-breaking-veganuary-2018/.

This Is How We Stew It – Lindsay Seccombe

There I stand staring into my cupboards, dreaming of having some money so that could eat out tonight when I think to myself, you’re a nutrition student, you’re supposed to cook tasty, healthy meals.

Now what can I make!? I look to my right and there I see my trusty companion, my slow cooker.

If you don’t have a slow cooker already, then I advise you to buy one. As a university student cooking for yourself, you will only need a small 1.5 litre one for as little as £7! – Absolutely Stewpendous (I seriously love puns…)

I enjoy cooking many meals in my slow cooker, as I can throw all my ingredients into the pot and carry on with my day rather than standing over a hot stove. Because to be honest… I don’t have time for that!

This recipe can be altered in spiciness depending on how daring your taste buds are, personally I prefer mine fairly mild. I suppose this recipe is a mix between a curry and a stew, due to the spice involved.

So here we go…

Ingredients (Serves 2 – Costs £0.44p per serving) – wow!

  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Tin Mixed Beans in Chilli Sauce
  • 1 tsp Medium Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Mixed Herbs
  • 50g Lentils

(Optional extras include – peppers, onions, chickpeas or whatever else needs using up in your cupboards) – which would change the cost slightly.

So, as I said earlier, there isn’t much method involved as all ingredients can be added straight to the slow cooker except for the lentils.

The lentils need to be added to 250ml water and cooked in a pan on the hob for 25 minutes before being added to the slow cooker. Leave the slow cooker to do its job on a ‘high’ heat setting for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

The stew can be served on its own or with a hefty scoop of rice or potatoes!

Serve and ENJOY!

Check out MetMUnch for more savvy student tips over at metmunch.com, on Instagram and Twitter at @metmunch.

Gluten: Friend or Foe? – by Molly Hanson

The gluten-free diet: Possibly the biggest diet trend of the 21st century, there are copious amounts of gluten free products available to purchase these days making it accessible to all. For those that cannot tolerate gluten, this accessibility means that their social life and eating habits are less impeded than ever before and preparation for a meal out is rarely necessary.

But is going gluten free beneficial for everyone?

When the gluten-free diet is necessary:

Gluten, which is a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye, can have a dangerous effect on certain individuals.

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For those with coeliac disease as little bit of gluten can have irreversible effects. The consumption of gluten triggers an immune response which damages the lining of the small intestine causing the microvilli (finger-like projections) to be damaged and become flat, which inhibits absorption of nutrients, and can result in malabsorption.

This response causes the symptoms associated with Coeliac Disease such as excessive wind, change in stool frequency and consistency, stomach pain and bloating. In serious un-treated cases coeliacs can develop villious atrophy where the microvilli totally disappear. These symptoms increase the risk for other health conditions such as anaemia and osteoporosis due to insufficient Iron and/or Calcium absorption. In this case a strict gluten-free diet is necessary and will improve the health of the individual dramatically.

There is also a condition that causes similar symptoms; non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. However, the consumption of gluten does not result in an auto-immune response and there is no intestinal damage. Having said that the symptoms can be as painful and debilitating as those with coeliac disease suffer and a gluten free diet can also be necessary to improve health.

When the gluten-free diet is used incorrectly:

Following the gluten free diet with no gluten related health condition? Perhaps a friend suggested going gluten free because ‘it’s better for you’, or perhaps you read an article online or in the newspaper based on anecdotal reports, suggesting that the gluten free diet can help you to; lose weight, boost energy, treat autism or generally feel healthier.

pointing-finger-1922074_1280Following the diet erroneously can result in more harm than good. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggested that the omission of gluten may result in reduced consumption of a variety of beneficial wholegrains, which may affect cardiovascular health. In conclusion the promotion of a gluten-free diet among people without coeliac disease (or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity) should not be encouraged.

If you think you are suffering with either of the two conditions above, do not cut gluten out of your diet without Medical advice and make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

For more advice, visit Coeliac UK at https://www.coeliac.org.uk/home/.

Blueberry and Lemon Oatmeal Cookies – Rachel Davies

Anyone that knows me will know that I am obsessed with Pinterest. I could spend hours on there (and to be honest with you, quite often I do!).  I get so many ideas for baking from it and although they don’t always work – they give me chance to play with and adapt recipes.

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Recently I found a recipe for blueberry oatmeal cookies at https://www.asaucykitchen.com/oatmeal-blueberry-cookies/

It’s a good recipe but I’ve added lemon to it, which in my option makes it even better! In the last few months I have done a lot of baking with blueberry and lemon – I’ve done cupcakes, cakes, pavlova and of course these cookies!

Here’s my amended recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup soften coconut oil or butter (104 grams) – I used butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (110 grams)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 egg

1 cup gluten free all purpose flour (140 grams) gluten free flour can be expensive so you can use regular plain flour

1 1/4 cups rolled oats (106 grams)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (100 grams)

1 Lemon (using the zest and the juice)

Instructions

First…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix softened coconut oil (or butter) and brown sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla, then beat again for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  2. Add the flour, oats, mixture, baking soda, and salt to the mixing bowl with everything else. Mix until combined.
  3. Slowly fold in the blueberries with a wooden spoon. Add the juice and zest of the lemon.

Then…

  1. Cover & refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm the dough. (This is especially important if you use coconut oil so the cookies don’t spread too much.) Drop round balls of cookie dough onto a lined/greased cookie sheet. Push the balls down slightly.
  2. Bake for 10-13 minutes at 180°C or until edges just begin to turn golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on baking sheet so that they can firm up a bit. Transfer to a wire rack to allow cookies to cool completely.

 

Enjoy baking them! Tweet @MetMunch or tag us @metmunch in your Instagram photos to let us see how you get on!

 

Salad season is here – Cennet Tezgel

It’s time to ditch the soups, salad season is upon us and what a perfect way to get in your 5 a day. The thought of salads may seem boring to you though right?

That’s where we go wrong, salads can still be delicious and energising foods without being associated to being on a “diet”. We can spice up our salad, add different vegetables and even add fruit to be adventurous and exotic.

Why eat salads on a nutrition point of view? Vegetables in salads have a good source of insoluble fibre which will help keep a healthy digestive tract, adding extra sources of fibre such as nuts, seeds and beans to our salads known as soluble fibre can help to keep out blood sugar levels balanced along side a healthy living diet and lifestyle.

Salad vegetables such as spinach, a dark vibrant colour adds in the nutritional profile packed with vitamin A & C, as well as adding in iron and fibre.

Tomatoes a popular salad ingredient adds vitamin C and fibre. Fibre aids in achieving a healthy weight, as well as keeping a healthy digestive system, with vitamin C is a treatment for the common cold, boosts the immune system as well maintaining a healthy skin, and healing of skin which may be vital during the hot summer days.

But why not be adventurous instead of the normal day to day salads? I have a few recipes to share to get your salads looking instagramable, summer vibrant and full of colour that will make your food choices this summer extra healthy and happy.

Here are my top four favourite ingredients/recipes for a salad this summer, if you decide to be adventurous try them out and tag a picture in Instagram with @metmunch we love to see your food pictures.

  1. Roasted Aubergines

An easy vegetarian recipe, that can pack your salad with summer flavours. Aubergines are a source of dietary fibre, B1 & B6 and also adding in as a source of potassium.

  1. Mint

A perfect additional to a bit of flavour to your salads, a perfect summer taste. A good idea is courgette, feta and mint salad. or you can add to your basic salad vegetables with a apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. Mint is perfect to grow in your own garden, much sustainable and organic, additionally on a health side mint is known to be promote digestion, and good for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome to relieve symptoms.

  1. Pomegranate

There’s nothing wrong with adding fruit to our salads, it gives it that refreshing taste whilst adding extra vitamins, nutrients and increasing our 5-a-day recommendation. With its sweetness and pleasantly bitter taste it gives it that fresh feeling, along with a superior visual presentation to our salads by adding colour and shine. Pomegranates are known to have anti-inflammatory effects and is a source of antioxidants. A great recipe to try is a goat’s cheese salads with a pomegranate dressing. The dressing is simple to make, with using the juice and seeds of one large pomegranate, 4tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1.5tbsp of red wine vinegar, 1tsp of honey, and a touch of salt and pepper to finish. Exotic and beautifully flavoured.

  1. Asparagus

Last but of course not least we have asparagus a perfect addition to your summer salads. Not only are they delicious but very healthy, with only 20 calories per 100 grams and 0g of saturated fats it is one top a nutritionists list for ‘superfoods’. Asparagus has good sources of fibre, folate and vitamins A, C, E and extremely high in vitamin K; Vitamin K is important for strong bones and blood clotting, additionally antioxidants to help repair from free radicals in our body. Know you know that not only asparagus is the food to get a good amount of vitamins from a recipe that I would recommend is asparagus & halloumi salad (or tofu for a substitute).

A simple recipe that just requires asparagus, halloumi, fennel, red onion, and virgin olive oil to finish. After cooking the asparagus until tender, add it to cold water to refresh before adding into your salad, the fennel and onion should be trimmed and finely sliced and combined with the cooked halloumi and asparagus before adding in oil with a squeeze of oranges juice for the finish.

I hope you like the sound of a few of these recipes or added ingredients for your summer salads, don’t forget to tag in @metmunch to show us your creations of the recipes or any new recommendations for us to take on board. Thank you for reading.

 

Don’t waste food, preserve it!

Ok, so issues regarding food waste aren’t exactly brand new information for most people in the UK, especially since research published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that the UK created around 10 million tonnes of waste food in 2016, a staggering 60% of which could have been avoided. This has an estimated value of over £17 billion a year, and is associated with around 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Food waste

However, here at MetMUnch, we have been having some thoughts…

Now, this is a little old school, but when a food is nearing the end of shelf life it can still be really useful, so how about making it into something else?

Strawberries a little mushy? Make them into a jam.

Got more cabbage than you can eat? Give kimchi a go.

Whatever you do, DON’T THROW IT!!

What started as a way of keeping food from the bountiful autumn harvest through cold winters is still a good way to keep food, as well as being able to imbue it with all manner of tasty flavours and textures.

But this is just the start…canning, drying, salting and preserving– all this and more is open in the wonderful world of fermented foods!

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The science of preserving

They say the making of food is half-art and half-science. Well, the science is certainly clear to see whenever we preserve our foods.

There are so many methods open to us to keep our food at its best, and all which work on a few basic scientific mechanisms. Here are some examples:

  • Salting – By using salt to draw out the water we dehydrate the food and make it inhospitable to microbes, which would either spoil it or hurt us. Examples of salting include Sauerkraut or salt cod.
  • Vinegar – On a similar theme we can add vinegar, which changes the pH (<4.6), making it too acidic for microbes to grow. Examples include traditional favourites like a pickled onion or egg.
  • Use of ‘good bacteria’ – Competition is a good thing, so if we can get a harmless strain of microbe to proliferate & consume the resources in a food it leaves no room for the ‘bad bacteria’. This tool is often used in conjunction with salting, for example in the traditional Korean dish kimchi, which uses lactic acid bacteria.
  • Anti-microbial agents – It sounds a bit technical but some foods like spices contain natural chemicals that discourage microbial growth. While these are not often enough on their own they provide a great back-up line of defence when combined with one of the other methods. Cinnamon, clove and mustard all have this property.

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These are just a few of the methods of preserving which have an incredible number of variations and combinations to add flavour, texture and safety to our foods. The less you waste food, the more money you will save too! Have a go at home!

Check out MetMUnch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more food, health and sustainability inspiration!

Spill The Beans #2: Food Tips From An MMU Student

Welcome to the second in our series of student food tips.

MetMUnch know it can be tricky to strike a good balance between your studies, money and feeding yourself what you need to shine.

The start of the academic year is an exciting and chaotic time, but it can also be the perfect chance to form new habits – which will hopefully leave you with a healthy body, brain and bank balance.

With this is mind, we decided to speak to some of nutrition’s future superstars to spill the beans on their food habits, tips and tricks! 

In this issue of Spill The Beans MetMUncher Sam Harrison spoke to third year Nutritional Sciences student, Cennet.

Hi, Cennet! What do you love about food?

Cennet – Hey! I love how food can bring social circles together. Whether its foodie lovers on social media or family get togethers. From a nutritionist standpoint – I love how food can heal our body and give us energy to enable us to achieve our best.
Continue reading

Spill The Beans: 7 Food Tips From An MMU Student

MetMUnch know it can be tricky to strike a good balance between your studies, money and feeding yourself what you need to shine.

The start of the academic year is an exciting and chaotic time, but it can also be the perfect chance to form new habits – which will hopefully leave you with a healthy body, brain and bank balance.

With this is mind, we decided to speak to some of nutrition’s future superstars to spill the beans on their food habits, tips and tricks! 

In the first issue of Spill The Beans we speak to second year Nutritional Sciences student, Kate.

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Hi Kate! What do you love about food?

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Kate – Hi! I love how food can bring people together and can also be at the foot of a big debate. One of the best things about food is exploring the many different ingredients and seeing different cultures, recipes and how diverse meals can be.

 How do you fuel yourself before a day at uni?

I absolutely love Scottish oat porridge – I normally have skimmed milk and change up the toppings from banana to berries with a splash of agave nectar. I love the way you can change porridge to anything you like, it is never boring and also keeps me full until lunch time. Not only is it nutritious, but it also contains beta-glucans which help to lower cholesterol.

 What’s your go-to healthy snack when at uni?

I love Aldi’s ‘Foodie Market’ range, they have cheap and nutritious snacks that always keep me going between lectures. Their range consists of fruit and nut collections, a range of seed pots, healthy flapjacks and even baked crisp breads.

 What WILL we find in your fridge?

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You will always find free-range eggs in my fridge, they are so versatile and can be made into a lunchtime snack or a beautiful cake as I love to bake. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, scrambled eggs on a wholemeal bread is my go-to after uni meal.

What WON’T we find in your fridge – and why?

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You definitely won’t find any ready-made meals within my fridge. I love cooking and always look forward to creating new delicious and exciting recipes.

 What three food essentials can you never do without?

mushrooms, skillet, pan, cooking, kitchen, chef, food, lunch, dinner

I could never go without mushrooms, I love the taste and always add them to dishes if I can. I also love tinned chickpeas – they are so versatile and scrumptious, making an excellent addition to curries and salads.

What is your best piece of advice for food shopping on a budget?

frozen, blackberries, raspberries, fruits, healthy, food, steam

When on a budget, frozen vegetables are a great way to get the essential nutrients without having to spend too much, they are often chopped too which is a bonus. Additionally, tinned fruits are great to get your 5-a-day when certain fruits are out of season, as fresh fruit is generally more expensive – but be careful of some in very sugary syrups!


There you have it, some wonderful tips and advice from a MetMUnch star! From cholesterol-lowering, versatile breakfasts to nutrient packed frozen veggies – thank you, Kate!

We’ll be back next week where we’ll ask another nutrition mastermind to Spill The Beans!

Want more foodie tips, tricks and nutritional advice? Find out more about our latest adventures in food at @MetMUnch on Twitter, Facebook, andInstagram.

And that’s not all! Want a free recipe book of our favourite meals? Sign up to MetMUnch’s monthly mailing list and get a free eCookbook of student-friendly recipes.

Spill The Beans interviews by Sam Harrison.

6 Nutrition Tips To Get You Through Exams

By Sam Harrison

As the end of the academic year approaches, the thought of long summer days and catching up with friends may well be on your mind. For most of us, we must first tackle those long library days of revision and then finally…exams! Now, without a doubt this period can be stressful and a little draining, but MetMUnch are here to provide you with some simple nutritional nuggets of information to help you on your way.

1. Breakfast Is King (Or Queen)

Photo by Mille Vardheim / instagram.com/norwegianbrunch

Now admittedly, it’s a cliché but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Your body has been fasting for the hours you’ve been asleep and requires a hearty breakfast to kick-start all its intricate functions.

A satisfying meal of scrambled or poached eggs on whole wheat bread gives a brilliant dose of protein and slow releasing carbohydrates. Eggs also contain a vitamin called Choline, which has been linked to better cognitive performance and protecting against memory loss (especially pertinent when revising).

 

2. Eat For Energy

To better aid the long hours of revision, your body should be providing the brain with a steady supply of glucose. Through aerobic respiration, glucose is the key source of energy within the body, and your muscles and brain (with that, your concentration) need it to thrive.

Foods with a low glycemic index rating such as sweet potatoes, quinoa or oats, release glucose into the blood stream gradually. This will increase concentration levels for longer periods (sadly, we can’t say the same for nachos or cookies).

 

3. Water Your Brain

keep hydrated

Water allows a large proportion of the chemical reactions to take place in our bodies, so the speed at which our body and brain functions is directly inhibited when we become dehydrated.

As mentioned earlier, after a period of sleep, we need to replenish certain things the body needs to operate optimally, and this includes water. Checking the colour of your urine is a strong indicator of hydration levels. The darker it is, the more water you need to drink. The NHS recommends we aim to drink around 1.2 litres of fluid a day, preferably water.

 

4. Move Your Body

Take a break from the books and get some exercise. Even a 30 minute walk can do wonders by boosting your concentration levels whilst naturally elevating your mood.

 

5. Plan, Plan, Plan

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The key to maintaining a healthy body and mind when revising is preparation. A little forward planning goes a long way to negating the risk of reaching for poor food choices which may hamper your revision.

Ten minutes spent planning your meals before you go food shopping will be worth it on results day!

 

6. Treat yourself!

Perhaps most importantly – set aside some time to enjoy your favourite foods or drinks in a guilt-free way. This will not only help to keep you motivated, but gives you something to look forward to at the end of a long week. I personally find the idea of pizza and cocktails especially motivating 🙂

Best of luck, everyone!