If I don't have time to make my lunch before I go to work, it's really convenient to be able to grab a can of something out of the cupboard before I leave the house, so I can just heat it up in work and have some bread to go with it. I'd normally take a nice salad or some leftovers from the previous evening's meal, but when it's cold outside and I've not planned ahead I'll go with one of these lovely soups from Aldi (the tomato and pepper one is totally gorgeous!) or a can of vegetable ravioli from Branston (no egg in the pasta and no cheese in the filling!) which I recently discovered in Tesco. It makes me happy to see that a lot of supermarkets nowadays (especially Aldi) have separate sections on their labels to list ingredients which consumers may be allergic to or be avoiding in their diets (i.e. "Contains: wheat, gluten, egg, dairy, soya"). It does make shopping a little easier if you can see immediately that an item contains something obviously non-vegan instead of having to trawl through the whole list of ingredients.
The Ravioli is ok, nothing brilliant, but when you've been a vegan for a while sometimes you do crave stodgy, hot, instant food from a can and wish you could have it... well, now you can (no pun intended!):
... and you have NO IDEA how long and hard I searched to find a vegan cuppa soup. Lidl have these babies with croutons in, they are only 37 calories a packet as well! I was very glad of these throughout the winter if I was feeling a little peckish and cold at work:
You would be surprised at how many things nowadays contain milk proteins, it really doesn't make any sense and even the boyfriend (who never really paid much attention to ingredients before he met me) is often in shock at some of the unnecessary things that go into certain foods. It makes me chuckle now when he goes off into little rants such as "I can't believe it said 'Chicken from EU and Brazil' on it!!!" and "Why the hell does it have milk powder in it when you have to use milk to make it anyway??!", hehe. Just goes to show how you should always cook from scratch and use organic foods wherever possible. I'm impressed by Aldi in Ireland to be honest, sourcing all its foods for its "Specially Selected" range from within Ireland. I think we are lucky to be living in this country in that respect, as farming here seems to be a lot more ethical than the rest of Europe, even the U.K. We are growing our own vegetables this year. Our garden is only small - the same size as any other Dublin suburbian estate garden - but we figured it would be a lot nicer (and cheaper) to grow our own basic fruit and veg than try and make it look pretty with a lot of useless flowers.
I know that this is a vegan blog, but whenever I can, I will promote compassionate farming. I think that instead of trying to encourage people to stop eating meat and dairy altogether, people could make more of a difference to the world by campaigning for the ethical treatment of animals and to veer more in the direction of organic farming. My boyfriend is an omnivore so I've also been encouraging him to buy all his meat products and eggs from the local butchers. He gets an amazing (and varied) deal for €20, all the meat is fully traceable and organic, and it's much better quality and value than getting it at any supermarket. People tend to think that local butchers are more expensive than a supermarket, but that is actually not the case. If only more people thought about where their meat and dairy products came from!