Sunday, 20 December 2009

Seasons greetings

Hi there lovely veggie people!

Well we're drawing to the end of 2009 and it's been an eventful few months for the veg-heads. We've progressed from a small google sites group that lay silent for a year to a very active group of people who in the last 3 months have held vegan stalls, had nights out and helped Northern Ireland's veg-heads meet and make new friends. We are a hub of activity, not only here on the blogspot but on facebook too. We have 42 members on facebook at time of writing. Not bad progress for 3 months as an official group, eh?

So we're going to take a little break over the holiday season and will return refreshed and ready in 2010 with more events and activities for the veg-heads of Northern Ireland to get involved with. In the meantime, here's a brief update of our recent events:

6th December: Vegan stall at the Black Market at the Black Box bar. We made £30 in donations (after our own donation to the Black Box) and were very warmly received by everyone who dropped by. We had lots of lovely vegan treats to give away, kindly donated by our awesome members and by Eatwell health food shop on the Lisburn Road, and we managed to give a few leaflets and stickers away too. And on top of that we had a visit from Julia, the co-ordinator of the Donegal Vegan group who was in Belfast for the day and dropped in to say hello. :)

12th December: We had our first, of what will hopefully be many, xmas night out, starting with a lovely meal in Archana and ending with lovely alcohol in Laverys. Good times.

That's all for now folks. Hope you enjoy the holiday season and have a great new year. See you in 2010!

Vegan hugs.


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Event-Black Market Stall - 6th December @ the Black Box

The Belfast Veg-Heads will be hosting a stall this Sunday, the 6th December from 12pm-5pm at the Black Market in the Black Box, 18-22 Hill Street, Belfast (in the Cathedral Quarter - check out google maps for directions if you don't know where to go).

We will be handing out lots of vegan sweet and savoury snacks (though unfortunately we won't be able to offer the spiced cider as previously hoped because of licensing laws!), and we will also have a range of information leaflets to hand out as well. We will also have a sign -up sheet so that you can join our mailing list if you haven't already done so.

If you're free on Sunday then please try to pop in and say hello and get some yummy vegan food.

We'll look forward to seeing you there!

(Vegan hugs)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

2nd Meeting - 26th November

Date: Thursday 26th November
Time: 7.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Clements coffee house, Botanic Avenue, Belfast

Agenda: Discuss plans for our vegan stall at the Black Market in the Black Box on 6th December. Discuss possibility of handing out veggie leaflets in city centre/continental market. Discuss other upcoming veggie events.

Hope all the Veg-Heads can make it. See you then!!

((Vegan Hugs))

Friday, 13 November 2009

Up-Coming Events 2009/2010

Monday November 16th :
Queen's University Vegetarian and Vegan Society are hosting a stall for Vegan month in the foyer of the Student's Union (on University Road opposite Queen's University) from 11am-3pm. If anyone can spare an hour to help out, or would like to donate some vegan treats or leaflets, then please come down. Even if you can't help out on the stall come down and visit us anyway. The Belfast Veg-Heads will be helping out!

Sunday December 6th:
The Belfast Veg-Heads will be hosting a stall all about veganism at the Black Market in the Black Box on Hill Street (in the Cathedral Quarter). We will hopefully be handing out some leaflets, serving up some vegan spiced cider and other vegan christmassy treats, and we may have some other goodies on offer too. More details to follow in due course.

January/February 2010:
The Veg-Heads are planning on having an event to raise awareness of veganism in Belfast. This will be an evening of creativity, including poetry, art, and some music from local singer-songwriters and DJs. Date and venue are yet to be confirmed so more details will hopefully appear on the blogspot and facebook pages in the New Year.

That's all for now folks! :)

Living the Vegan Life on a Shoestring

By Petrina

Switching to a vegan diet is extremely easy, as anyone who has already made the change will attest to. However, being vegan is not all about what we can and cannot eat; it also means abstaining from using animal derived products and products that have been tested on animals. This includes everything from the clothes we wear and the skincare products we use, to the cleaning products and detergents we use in our homes. I found this aspect of becoming vegan the most daunting and indeed, I put off calling myself vegan –preferring the label strict vegetarian - for nearly a year because I thought that as a student on a limited budget I could not possibly afford to change all my make-up, skincare products, toiletries, perfume etc to those that are suitable for vegans. A quick check on websites like the vegan store and the animal free shopper online will certainly produce a list of cruelty-free products but many of them are very expensive to buy and must be bought online, and therefore, they don’t make the switch from non-vegan to vegan brands an easy task. So I feared I was destined to remain a ‘strict vegetarian’ until I graduated and got a full-time job which could finance my expensive vegan lifestyle.

But, for all vegans in my boat who have to live on a budget for whatever reason, I have found a few money-saving tips that I am going to share with you now. * Drum roll please *

1.) Need to buy deodorant, moisturiser, facial wash, shower gel and other skincare products? Then try the Simple skincare range. You can get Simple products in any UK pharmacy, and many local shops too, and their whole range is available on the high street at Boots, Superdrug, Gordons and other big brand chemists. The Simple handwash costs around £1.39, and you can get facial washes, moisturisers, facemasks etc for around £3-4, which is cheaper than many of the other big brand skincare products on the market. Most Simple products state that they contain no animal derived ingredients, but just to make sure they were suitable for vegans I emailed them directly and they confirmed that they also do not test on animals and that their products are vegan. In addition, their vegan products are listed in the Vegan Society’s Animal-free shopper guide (See for more info). There are a few exceptions where beeswax or honey have been used, however, and Simple list those products on their website (See for more info).

2.) Not a fan of Simple’s products? Then try Superdrug’s own brand products. Again, not all of Superdrug’s products are animal-free so do check the label on the back. They will state very clearly if a product is suitable for vegans. Their range of products include body sprays and deodorants for men and women for under £1, a range of handwash products that cost around 70p, shower gels and bath crèmes for around £1, a range of their own brand skincare products, such as the Natural High collection, which includes day cream with SPF 15, night cream, eye brightening cream and facial wipes, all for under £5. They also have a range of vegan body lotions and hand creams, again all costing around £1, and they even have their own hair colouring products, which are also vegan. In addition, they regularly have special offers on brands like Original Source shower gel, which is vegan, and can often be bought for around £1 too.

3.) Not able to get to a Superdrug store? Then try the Co-operative. The Co-op is one of the few big brand supermarkets in the UK, which lists every one of their own brand products as vegan or vegetarian so you know exactly where you stand when you shop with them. Like Superdrug, they have a range of their own toiletries, which have all been BUAV approved, are not tested on animals and do not contain any animal derived products and are listed with the ‘V’ sign for vegan. These include deodorants for men and women, body spray, shower gels, shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving foams for men and women, and many other products. These products usually cost in and around £1 as well so again, you can get everything you need relatively cheaply, and certainly much cheaper than if you were to buy the same type of products online. In addition, the Co-op has its own brand of washing-up liquid, washing powder, air freshener, fabric softener, anti-bacterial wipes, multi-surface cleaner, bleach and many other household products, which are also BUAV approved, vegan and cheap to buy.

4.) Need perfumes, fragrances, bath salts or other items to make you feel that little bit special? Then try your local Lush store or check out the Lush website at All their products are vegetarian and now most of them are also vegan and endorsed by the Vegan Society. They have some beautiful fragrances such as their Karma and Vanillary atomisers, both sold for between £20-£25. Lush have also recently bought over the company ‘B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful’, who have a vast array of fragrances and skincare products, which are also vegan.

5.) Need make-up? Then try either Lavera or Lily Lolo. You can probably find at least one of these brands on sale in your local health store (for example, in Belfast, Eatwell health store on the Lisburn Road sells Lavera make-up), but if not, then check out their websites at and Lily Lolo’s foundation and cover-up powders are amazing and very reasonably priced (only £7 for the cover-up powder), and the company also sells synthetic brushes for applying foundation, blusher, concealer, finishing powder and eye make-up to replace those brushes you would buy in most high street stores, which are often made from animal hair.

So there you have it. While I would certainly recommend visiting your local health store to buy products if you can since the money you spend there will go directly to supporting that local business, and most of their products will probably be much healthier for your skin and the environment as they won’t contain as many chemicals, sometimes it just won’t be feasible, and in that case hopefully you will find the guide above useful. Being vegan doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and it means that while you feel good on the inside for choosing a way of life that is ethical, healthy and environmentally-friendly, you can also continue to look and feel good on the outside.

Happy shopping, and Vegan Hugs! J

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Best vegan/veg places in Belfast

1. Eatwell Foods: 413 Lisburn Rd
Belfast, BT9 7EW, United Kingdom
+44 28 90664362


This Health food shop and vegan Deli is one of the many places I love on the Lisburn road in Belfast. Even the layout of the shop as you walk in is very welcoming and relaxed.
The selection of health food and vegan food is wonderful and the Deli food is alway delicious, and for the not so health concerned vegan/vege of us out there they have wide selections of dairy free chocs and sweets and many allergy free foods for people with this concern, i.e. tasty wheat free bread etc..
They also stock several dairy free Ice-creams which are MMmmm, great for veggin out with a DVD on occasion.
The two owners are very helpful and friendly which is always nice too. No one wants an annoying person in their humble little health store ;)

I can't fault Eatwell foods it is a vegans/vege haven :)


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

any recipes?

As anyone got some interesting recipes? if I make any yummy vegan food I'll post recipe and pic, if you have one post me the ingredients to , don't worry I'll say it was all yours and write your names on the posts :) x

some yummy soup cus I've got a cold and I'm in the mood for some

Mexican Black Bean Soup with Tomato Salsa
Serves 4

Shake those maracas, baby!

  • 250g/9oz/1¼ cups dried black beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½tsp cumin seeds
  • ½tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • juice ½ lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put beans into a large pan with enough water to cover by about 5cm/2in. Bring to boil, boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and leave to stand for 1 hour.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to boil.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce and simmer gently, covered, until beans are very tender – 1-1½ hours.
  4. Add cumin, ground coriander and oregano. Cook for a further 30 minutes. Remove and discard parsley stems and bay leaf.
  5. Purée about half beans in a food processor or blender. Put purée back into pan. If very thick, add a little water to get to consistency you like.
  6. Reheat gently, add lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tomato Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • juice ½ lemon
  1. Make salsa by mixing together all ingredients.
  2. Season and put into a small bowl.
  3. Ladle soup into bowls and let people spoon salsa on top of soup themselves.

Well Hello :)

Hi all fellow veg heads :) this blog was set up for The Belfast Vegan and Vegetarian society, I used to use a google group page but a lot of people found that hard to get into so I thought a blog spot and a face book page for the group would be much better so here we are, the facebook link is ( or just find me on face book ie BlackRat and look for my groups and join :0)
Basically I am a local contact for The vegan society and I am here to answer any vegan questions for people in Northern Ireland (not just Belfast) and I have also set up a group for other Vegan and vegetarians to meet up within Northern Ireland (but I am based in Belfast hence the name of the group) to go for drinks,meals, organise events and stalls etc, or just swap info and make new friends with like minded ideals :)

Please feel free to come and join the group and join the chats here.

((vegan hugs))