My Urgent Plea

Recently on social media I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend towards some people transitioning, this is my urgent plea to all my vegan brothers and sisters. We all want the best for the animals, please, hear me out:

For some, going vegan was easy. Overnight, I hard transitioned and I cut out all animal products bar eggs*, however, my self-styled ‘Vegganism’ wasn’t as hard as it could have been. I hadn’t eaten pork for almost six months and I’d avoided dairy where I could, except cheese, I love(d) that. So it wasn’t that I’d gone from some kind of ‘Im-A-Lion-Epic-Mealtime-Protein-Bro’ straight into hardcore vegan but it was still a swift transition.
*I gave up eggs a month later and have been vegan since 2/2/16.

I see that it takes some people much longer and this really gets to some people. I understand their logic, they’ve seen the light but can’t bring themselves to change, so this annoys them. It makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense to me is the pressure that this must be an overnight transition. For some it has to be, they see the effects of their actions and can’t spend a day longer without change.

However, whereas many of us are lucky to know other vegans, to be able to make our choices with only ourselves in mind, to have a well-founded knowledge base to back up our ethical points of view or the luxury of living in a city like London. Check out London’s new Vegan Fried Chicken shop here. Many people don’t have those benefits. Some may have considered veganism without actually understanding the true horrors of animal agriculture. Some may have a partner or parent who refuses to support and makes it even harder, often belittling their stance and providing unhelpful ‘protein tho’ type arguments.

There are some genuinely hard parts about going vegan. We can first mention the addictive qualities of cheese and meat (different chemicals within can stimulate the CNS -similar to caffeine. Others can activate opioid receptors in your body). I can attest that even two months into being Vegan I suddenly had a craving for a Cheeseburger (TM MCDONALDS Please Don’t Sue) that I wouldn’t even have been able to eat. Luckily I found an awesome Cashew Carbonara photo on Instagram and worked out a recipe.

Another important issue is that many people are not skipping around merrily with bundles of self-confidence. As we all know there are lots of people who love nothing more than to share photos of meat or tell you what’s currently in their oven (Really, Mark? You have a whole beef joint in the oven at 2:15AM on a Tuesday? Really?) or tag you in their posts. That’s only on social media. Many people receive abuse from colleagues, family and ‘friends’, whether it’s supposed to be light-hearted or not, this may be enough to slow or even deter some people from veganism. Note: I’m not insinuating most people would or should be, just that it has to be considered. I have a whole folder of vegan memes if anyone needs some or check out Vegan Sidekick! ?

My third point is that many people don’t know how to cook. Seriously. I know more people than I can count whose culinary expertise stop shortly after beans on toast. Cooking can be a daunting process for a novice, now add in a list of ingredients most of which you’ve never seen before and a few you can’t even pronounce (A Pak-who? How do I know if this is curly kale or regular?) and you end up eating chips, Linda McCartney sausages and a Hummus wrap from Co-op. This unhealthy balanced diet will be a key factor in people giving up veganism because there ‘are less options’ or ‘they always felt tired’.

This is why I started this blog. I want to help educate people, to teach them about nutrition and the basics of cooking. It’s so easy and so much fun! Even if you think you don’t have time, I guarantee you will. Proper diet gives you amazing energy levels and a mental clarity that you will reap dividends from. Check out my world famous Coconut&Chickpea Curry.

We have a duty to offer our help and support to people trying to do the right thing.  So please, next time you see a struggling new vegan, semi-vegan, pescatarian – whoever, please tell them there is a support network available or even post your favourite recipe.

You might just be the difference.

 

Coconut & Chickpea Curry

Hey everyone! In my last post, I wrote about what I ate and promised you the recipe for my delicious coconut and chickpea curry. Well, here it is!

Recipe - Coconut chickpea curry
Double portion with paratha and brown rice

Ingredients (serves 3)

Tomato, 6 vine.
Onion, 1 large.
Garlic, 1 large clove.
Tumeric, 1/2tbsp.
Cumin, 1/2tbsp.
Curry Powder (this is the basic method), 1tbsp.
Broccoli, 1/2 floret.
Carrots, 2 chopped evenly.
Kale, 1 handful.
Chickpeas, 1 can (~400g cooked if not using can).
Coconut cream/milk, 1 small or 1/2 large can (I prefer using a small can of the cream for a thicker sauce).
Vegetable stock/boullion.
Hot sauce (optional).

Method

    1. First up, find yourself a big pan. I use the Pyrex Slow Cook Casserole Pan (link to Amazon) as it allows me to make several portions at once.
    2. Next, you want to heat up the pan with no oil. Whilst it’s heating slice up your tomatoes into 4s or 6s, and dice the onion and garlic. When the pan is hot add the turmeric and cumin and dry fry.
    3. Add the coconut oil to the pan once the spices are fragrant. Allow the oil to heat up before adding the chopped veg, stirring occasionally until browned (5-7mins should do it).
    4. As the tomatoes begin to droop a little, add the stock, cover and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. You should see the tomatoes begin to lose their shape.
    5. Take your hand blender/Salter Nutri-Pro(you can do it in batches) and blend up to create an even consistency sauce. Pour it back into the pan and add the coconut cream, curry powder and optional hot sauce. (This is dependent on the curry powder you used too, don’t give in to peer pressure in regards to spiciness, your cooking, your choice! ? )
    6. Add in the carrots and broccoli (chopped into pieces smaller than a golf ball!) pop on the lid and simmer for 10 mins. As it is on the verge of softening add in the kale and chickpeas. Recover. Leave for another 5 minutes.
    7. Serve with your choice of side. I like mine so the veg still has a crunch and the kale is not soggy, however, feel free to alter the timings based on your preferences.
    8. Serve to all your friends, enjoy, bask in their awe. Take Instagram photos and tag @tommleach or #LeanVegan so I can check out your culinary creations! As always, any questions, head over to the Facebook page!

Vegan Bulking

Hey there! Thanks for coming back, or for joining if this is your first time… Either way, let’s do a quick recap. Right now I’m doing a pretty extreme bulking regime, which includes eating a tonne of wholesome, quality food and some intense workouts.

Long story short, to gain weight you have to consume more calories than you expend. You don’t need to take any PT exams to know that, right?! The more active your lifestyle and the more intense exercise you complete, the more you expend. That being said, my daily goal is around ~3,000Kcal, however, if I do a reasonable gym session (usually 5 times a week) it gets closer to 4,000Kcal. Now, a Vegan diet is generally quite light in calories, so I thought I’d share my diet with you. As I said before, this is a pretty extreme option and it doesn’t focus so much on leanness but more on swift results.

24-Hour Bulking Sample

I usually sleep from anywhere from 2am-3am and wake up around 9-10am. So breakfast gets served as quickly as possible (no fasted cardio in this bulking plan), I also skip a coffee here. If I drink it, it’ll be later in the day – maybe 1pm.

Lean Vegan Bulking Breakfast
Eagle-eyed readers may spot I shop at Tesco, yup, the Esso-partnered company. Sorry.

So, here is my breakfast. Almost too much porridge, with loads of Oatly (I love this brand and generally pay extra for it over others), a minimum of 1tablespoon of peanut butter and a healthy sprinkling of chia seeds. I often change my breakfast routine but this one has stuck with me recently, it’s really simple and nutritious. If you’re counting the ‘protein tho,bros’ you can add 21 points. We also have outrageous levels of fiber, antioxidants and some good old Omega-3&6 in there too. Breakfast DONE!

An uncharacteristically light lunch.
An uncharacteristically light lunch.

I wasn’t going to include today in the 24-hour sample, but then I figured what better way to show you my diet than when things go wrong? Our hob stopped working so I settled for soup and Kallo rice cakes. If you have never tried Kallo’s products they are great, they even do a Vegan chocolate thing, although I’ve never tried it.

Two bananas to finish off and get us to an acceptable calorie intake, too. I picked lentil soup because not only are lentils are a great source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They’re especially rich in dietary fiber, protein and iron. I fear there may actually be higher levels of sodium than the value listed.
Note: I did actually have a smoothie 30mins after this and you can find that in the Snacks section.

Lean Vegan Bulking Dinner

So this was my Famous Spicy Chickpea & Coconut curry  but I broke it down so you could see the ingredients. The weird measurements are due to me making large batches and preparing portions earlier. This would usually be my post-gym meal and that’s why it’s so large, although 1000kcal meals are quite normal for me. We don’t really need to talk about all the amazing benefits of the individual veg in here, instead, I will talk about how to improve this. The paratha can be a little oily/fatty etc, you could change this for a chapatti or other substitute. Brown rice can be changed to Black rice which has slightly better nutritional profiles. I would prefer to use different chickpeas, although the profile listed here doesn’t highlight too much sodium, I still have an inherent dislike for canned items. It’s probably largely unfounded.

Lean Vegan Snacks
Please, only use the first four in a smoothie.

I generally buy frozen avocado halves (found at Tesco) because they are fantastic value for money and keep a lot better. Add in two bananas and a handful of blueberries. Usually I wouldn’t add yoghurt in as the smoothie is quite thick anyway, however, after my light lunch (which this was consumed shortly after) I opted for a few more calories, added a little more water and made a larger (just under 600ml) smoothie. I find this ratio is pretty perfect, it has a light hint of blueberries but it isn’t too sweet and has some great nutritional aspects. At 650Kcal it’s perfect for bulking up.
The five hash browns, beans and another Avo half (I didn’t add this on, whoops!) are because I was working late and I am a horrible greedy person.

 

So, there we go. Adding the extra peanut butter and Avo half we get to 4,000Kcal. For anyone following this blog, please, don’t try and jump in consuming this level of food if you usually eat 2300Kcal. Eat at a level that is right for you, exercise hard and your body will let you know when you need to eat. Obviously, if you’re bulking up you’ll need to eat slightly more often as you’re supplying your body with a slight excess. I understand that makes little sense and is super convoluted but if you have questions jump over to the Facebook page and just ask!

Let’s talk money!

So unless you’ve been living under a rock and/or you dropped your phone, tablet and laptop in the bath, you must have heard about the new £5 note containing Tallow (aka the new £5 note has animal products in it).

It’s been everywhere. In Newsfeeds, front pages of newspapers and a petition got over 100,000 signatures for something to be changed. That’s almost double what the fox hunting one got. In fact, even if you added all the signatures on the badger culling one, you’d still be short.

But there was only 23kg used over all the bank notes? Only 0.00007g per note. So, what’s the big deal?!

Here’s why it’s a big deal. The fact that only half a cow was used for all of the notes is largely irrelevant. The point is that using animal products, in such an unnecessary way, in something so every day as our smallest note, is a giant step backwards. This is why people have become so outraged at the decision to use it, and more importantly for there to be no mention until questioned.

Many people have commented they think this is a small victory and that instead of saving one cow there should be focuses on other movements. I completely agree. There should be this level of focus, outrage and virality (the real reason these petitions get their numbers boosted is the level of exposure it receives) for other causes. But does it have to be either or? Why can’t it be and? We are not limited to one cause at a time. We can fight many battles at once and that is the only way we will ever make a difference within our lifetime.

Also, this is by no means a ‘small victory’, the power of a minority has caused a huge stir and solutions are being looked at. This is a huge win and shows the power of protest. The Bank of England has had to take a step back and rethink its decision because of veganism (I also understand there was a similar outcry from vegetarians and some religious parties) if that doesn’t count as a big win and a boost to any activist, I don’t know what will.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Whos face would you put on a note?

So Love, Much comments.

Wow, guys! So this site isn’t even really functioning yet and already there were 3 comments waiting for me when I came to write this post! Thanks so much for taking the time to read it and sticking along for the journey!

For those of you that follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (both: tommleach) you’ll know that yesterday I went to the gym, and I nearly died. It turns out I hadn’t recovered as much as I thought I had and a few squats and calf extensions in, I was desperately looking around for a dude in a black hood holding a scythe.

So today I decided to skip the gym, rest up, eat well and plan my week. Preparation is the absolute key to any kind of fitness goals you have. So that is my excuse for today but tomorrow will see me in the gym, rain or shine.

I have a couple more posts ready, that have a lot more content than me just rambling into the darkness. I also have a couple of recipes ready to post which I hope you will love! Please tweet or tag me in your photos if you do make the dishes, unless yours is better, in which case just sit and eat it quietly and do not post to any social media outlets. Just kidding, sort of.

As i mentioned before, we have had some comments on the blog already, so I’m going to start asking a Question of the Day, where you can answer either on the Facebook posts or down below each blog.

Question of the Day: What is your favourite way to eat Avocado?

Second the best!

So for those of you who have followed me on social media for a little while, you may know I used to weigh around 70kg, I had 8% body fat and had a pretty great body. I know I sound like a douche saying that, but I was proud of it. Anyway, I did my show for 10 weeks and it messed with my routine and eating patterns, as soon as it finished I got tonsillitis and now we are here.

I’ve lost 7kg. 7kg. Maybe most people celebrate that, but I’ve lost 7kg of mostly muscle. This makes me really pissed. But I like to see the good in a bad situation, when life gives you lemons, sell the lemons and buy something better, like avocado. Am I right?!

So now I’m here, weighing just over 60kg (a super lean 6% BF – less than my ideal though) and I am itching to get back into the gym. If you’re reading this I’ve published this post and headed to the gym, grabbing the bull by the horns and jumping back on the horse. I get those are two very different metaphors and also pretty odd choices for a vegan, but hey, sue me.

Here are the stats, of how my body currently looks. I’ll post them here, I’ll post some of my routines and in a few weeks, we will check the progress. If I still weigh the same as a large dog I’ll hang up my PT jacket and get a job in Starbucks. If I smash my goals, then like a phoenix I will rise from the flames and bask in the lean vegan goodness.

I’m aiming to do a 6-week course, I’ll be posting some of my diets so if you want to join me feel free, comment below, message me on Facebook, whatever you want. I’m going to try and organise a live cook-a-long too, but that is very much a work in progress. So stay tuned for that one!

Current Stats

Chest: 36”, Upper-Arm: 12”, Thigh: 19.5”, Waist: 30”, Forearm: 10.5”  Circumference across shoulders: 42”

Even writing these measurements is annoying me, the work we put into our bodies, the exercise regimes, the quality of the food we buy, the tasty, healthy meals we cook. It’s all useless if we don’t plan and end up falling back on old habits. That being said, here is my photo of the day! Thanks for reading, please share your feedback and follow the progress!

Get Lean

First the worst.

So, here it is! my first post on this site. I’ve finally gotten around to setting up the blog and the Facebook page, now we are ready to go! I’ve already started posting a few YouTube videos (I promise I will try to keep to some kind of uploading schedule there) but this is the real start of it all.

Now you’re probably wondering what it’s the start of… Well, it’s my goal to first, remove the stigma and negative connotations attached to Veganism (largely: weak, unhealthy, skinny etc) and replace them with strong, lean, radiant vegans. Second, I think it’s completely possible in the next 10 years for us to see a better than a 1 in 5 ratio of vegan:non-vegan.

On this blog, and the Facebook page, I will be sharing delicious vegan recipes, videos, exercises and tips and tricks to make you healthier and happier. You will become a shining light of vegan goodness or something.

Unfortunately, this blog will probably not be like many others, the ones with glass jars filled with blueberries, vegan yoghurt and homemade muesli, all photographed on an antique wooden table on a DSLR with a lens that costs more than my monthly rent.

What I am offering is an insight into my own journey and hopefully to help you on yours, whether you’re at the start or somewhere in the middle. So, I hope you stick around, read the blog, share the posts and help make everyone Go Vegan!

 

Edit: This was only posted a week ago and the feedback I’ve already received has been awesome. Thank you all for making my first blog a great one! Stay tuned for lots more updates, tips and miscellaneous fitness!

 

Get fit ethically.