EVENT: Fitness and Wellbeing at Bowhouse

Getting along to a brand new Fitness and Wellbeing event at Fife’s Bowhouse is a great way to start the New Year as you mean to go on

Taking place on Saturday, 19 January and bridging the gap between fitness and healthy eating, this is Bowhouse’s first Fitness and Wellbeing event.

Packed with activities and inspiration and more than 10 different classes to take part in, as well as healthy food demonstrations and a selection of healthy street food stalls, the event promises to be the ultimate start to 2019.

Based on Balcaskie Estate near St Monans, Bowhouse is Fife’s innovative makers hub, bringing people closer to a healthier understanding of the food they eat.

Alongside the food and drink producers based at Bowhouse is Fit to the Core, a fitness studio offering a range of classes with tailored training, nutritional coaching and more.

At the new Fitness and Wellbeing event, the Fit to the Core team will be running a taster of its regular programme, including spinning classes, Pilates and aerial Pilates, a fun take on the balance workout which suspends parts of your body from the ceiling in mounted hammocks in a fun mash-up of Pilates and aerial skills.

More down to earth but no less challenging, the line-up of other fitness activities includes CrossFit classes and demonstrations from Functional Fitness St Andrews, Boxercise, Metafit and Zumba.

And, if you’re feeling the chill this January, St Andrews Hot House Yoga’s classes might be the remedy. With a focus on breathing, each class is a total body workout, as well as a great way to reduce stress and improve sleep.

Hot House Yoga specialises in practising in the heat, which includes benefits such as detoxifying the body through sweating and allowing the muscles to stretch further.

Once you’ve got your breath back , you can enjoy a taste of some delicious and nutritious food. Healthy street food stalls include Milly’s Kitchen from Cupar, which will be serving a hearty menu of deli-style dishes. and Good Food Good Feelings with on-the-go vegan treats.

If you’re looking to boost your own healthy food repertoire, there will be a full programme of demonstrations from Scottish chefs and food and drink insiders. This will include a chance to learn how to make your own protein balls and find out more about healthy fat loss.

Learn to make your own protein balls

Since it first opened its doors in 2017, Bowhouse has grown to become one of the major food and drink developments in Scotland, quickly placing itself at the centre of national conversation about all aspects of the national diet.

You can reach Bowhouse by bus to nearby St Monans or take advantage of its ample parking and drive. It’s only 90 minutes from Edinburgh and under an hour away from Dundee.

Or why not really get into the spirit of the event and walk or cycle your way along the Fife Coastal Path, which runs close by?

Fitness and Wellbeing at Bowhouse will open its doors at 9am and run classes from 10am till 4pm on Saturday, 19 January. Get tickets here


App launches to help Brits go vegan

The Vegan Society has launched the UK’s first app to help people go vegan.

It has released its free VeGuide app for Android and iOS devices after research showed half of Brits would consider becoming vegan with the right support.

The launch also helps to mark The Vegan Society’s 74th anniversary this World Vegan Month (November).

The app offers an introduction to a vegan lifestyle via a combination of interactive content, which includes shopping, nutrition and recipe information.

It helps users deal with issues such as giving up cheese or struggling to find vegan products by covering the basics of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle over 30 days.

With 95% of people aged 16-34 owning a smartphone in 2018 in the UK, it’s hoped the app will appeal to the younger, more tech-savvy audience.

Danielle Saunders, Digital Content Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “We are so excited to launch an app we developed specifically with the vegan-curious in mind.

“VeGuide has been designed to provide a platform that’s more suited to the younger audience, which our research showed are the most likely age group to have an interest in veganism.

“We feel the development of VeGuide marks a new phase for The Vegan Society and a new way of embracing veganism for the general public.”

The Society’s research found that awareness of what veganism stands for is spreading among the British public, with 22% of respondents knowing more about it now than they ever did growing up.

The charity has worked with celebrities, dietitians and vegan experts to bring together all the advice VeGuide users are able to benefit from.

The video content is presented by prominent vegan YouTubers RaeLikesFroot and Jay Brave who act as personal guides, exploring the most common stumbling blocks to going vegan.

Budding vegans will be encouraged to stay on track with facts and motivational quotes, specifically tailored to the reasons why they said wanted to take the plunge.

The app, which has UK and US versions, also includes quizzes and a rewards programme for products registered with the Vegan Trademark.

Most vegan pledges are email-based such as those people take as a New Year’s resolution, making VeGuide is the first app of its kind.

A Vegan Society survey this year found the number of vegans in Great Britain had quadrupled in the past four years from 150,000 to 600,000.

World Vegan Day and Month commemorate the founding of The Vegan Society and celebrate how far the vegan movement has come.

VeGuide is now available to download for free on Google Play and the App Store.


How to avoid deficiencies on a plant-based diet

This World Vegan Month, BetterYou expains how to maintain energy levels on a plant-based diet 

According to The Vegan Society, there are currently 600,000 vegans in the UK – equating to 1.16% of the population – with a further 28% identifying as ‘meat reducers’.

As admirable as that may be, following a vegan or plant-based diet can have a significant impact on nutrient levels within the body and increase the likelihood of deficiencies.

More specifically, those following a plant-based diet are more at risk of reduced B12 levels and iron deficiency, says natural health company BetterYou.

Iron is a vital component of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to transport it throughout the body. A lack of iron within the body can cause tiredness and fatigue, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.

The most absorbable form of iron, heme iron, is primarily derived from meat products – meaning vegetarians and vegans must find iron from other sources.

Another form of iron, known as nonheme iron, can be found in cereals, beans and some vegetables but, according to BetterYou, this has notoriously poor absorption levels.


“The soaring rise in popularity of vegan and plant-based diets is one of the key factors behind why more and more people are finding themselves nutrient deficient,” says Greg Weatherhead, who is a nutritional expert at BetterYou.

“While it does have its advantages such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, removing food groups from your diet can also remove essential nutrients.”

As with iron, meaningful levels of vitamin B12 are largely found in meat products.

Vitamin B12 helps the body’s ability to reduce the onset of fatigue and increases concentration levels as well as contributing to normal homocysteine metabolism.

B12 is generally not present in plant foods, there are fortified breakfast cereals available, however this vitamin is notoriously difficult to absorb in the gut. At most, only 1 per cent of our dietary intake will be absorbed by the body.

“It can be difficult for those on vegan diets to obtain adequate levels of essential nutrients from natural sources alone, so supplementing is the best way to ensure good health,” says Greg.

To support World Vegan Month, natural health company BetterYou has launched a brand-new Vegan Energy Bundle to help maintain health and contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

The bundle, which is Vegetarian Society and Vegan Approved, contains Iron and Boost B12 Oral Sprays.

Containing 100% vegan friendly formulations, the sprays are specially designed to be absorbed into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system.

An oral spray is an effective and convenient method of supplementation compared to traditional tablets and capsules by elevating nutrient levels and delivering nutrients into the bloodstream via the soft tissue within the mouth avoiding the digestive system.

The Vegan Energy Bundle, including Iron Oral Spray and Boost B12 Oral Spray, is available online at BetterYou.


Plant-based milks – what are they good for?

We thought today’s (Wednesday, 22 August) World Plant Milk Day was a great excuse to taste test some of the growing variety of non-dairy milk drinks we’ve seen popping up in our health food shops and supermarkets – so that’s exactly what we did.

We chose a variety of different dairy alternatives, including Hazelnut, Oat, Hemp, and Coconut Milk-based drinks and pitted them against each other in our tea, coffee and cereal and cooking and ranked them in order of diversity. This is what we found:

  1. Our favourite by far was the unsweetened coconut milk-based drink, which was less sweet than the others and didn’t alter the taste of our tea, coffee or cereal.koko unswe For this, we chose Koko Dairy-Free Unsweetened + Calcium Chilled Milk Alternative, whose main ingredients are filtered water and coconut milk, with added calcium and vitamins B12 and D2. To thoroughly check out the brand, we also tried the New Koko Dairy-Free Peach and Passionfruit Alternative, which is soya and dairy-free with vitamins B12 and D2 and non-dairy yoghurt culture S.Thermophilus and L.Bulgaricus and tastes great!

2. Our second favourite was the Oat drink, for which we chose Alpro Oat Original Longlife Milk Alternative. Again, the taste was subtle in tea and coffee and palatable in cereal. Other alternatives in the range include Almond, Coconut, Rice and Soya and Alpro offers some great recipes over on the website.

3. Third was Alpro’s Hazelnut Original drink, whose flavour we found very intense and altered the taste of our tea. Our favourite way to consume it is to have it as a standalone drink given its strong, nutty flavour. It’s 100% plant-based and virtually lactose-free, with added vitamins D, E and B12, which can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

4. The drink we ranked fourth is Good Hemp Ambient Milk Original from Braham & Murray which we found incredibly sweet. For pouring over cereal and in smoothies and tea, we recommend the unsweetened version. Both are great sources of omega-3 and calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth.


Eco living

Five very good reasons to try a plant-based diet

According to research carried out earlier this year by The Vegan Society, the number of vegans living in the UK has more than doubled from 276,000 in 2016 to 600,000 in 2018.

But why are so many people turning to plant-based and why now?

Reason #1 – it’s better for animals 

Dominika Piasecka, spokeswoman for The Vegan Society, explains: “Most people go vegan because they see animals as sentient living beings who deserve to live their lives free from exploitation and suffering – and we reject the notion of animals being seen as commodities. Being vegan simply means living in line with the ethics so many of us already hold in our hearts.”


Reason #2 – it’s better for the environment 

“Veganism is also a great lifestyle choice for those concerned about the environment and the health-conscious,” says Dominika. “It’s much more efficient to consume crops directly rather than feed them to farmed animals and then eat the animals.”


Reason #3 – it’s better for your health 

Find out how a meat and dairy lifestyle could be contributing to rising numbers of diabetes and cancer in the docu-film What The Health? and find out how a plant-based diet could actually help reverse some of our ailments and illnesses.

“Vegans also tend to eat more fruit and vegetables, which are among the healthiest foods out there – contributing to good health,” says Dominika.


Reason #4 – it’s easier than you think 

“Some people may think being vegan is difficult but as with any lifestyle change, it simply takes some time getting used to it,” points out Dominika. “The biggest challenge is simply deciding to give vegan eating a go! After a few weeks, it will feel as natural as anything and you will start experiencing amazing benefits.”

The Vegan Roadshow organised by Vegan Oureach Scotland

Reason #5 – there’s lots of support out there 

“The Vegan Society works to inspire people to become vegan, as well as support existing vegans. We want to make vegan living easy and accessible to everyone.

“Our website information on all aspects of veganism and we campaign on a number of issues, including vegan advocacy and vegan food provision in public canteens.

“Some people go vegan overnight but for others it’s a longer journey comprising a number of steps. There’s support at hand on every corner – not least from The Vegan Society. Sign up for free to our 30-day Vegan Pledge to receive daily emails full of information, advice and delicious recipes.

“Having that support and encouragement really helps to ease into vegan living. Join local vegan groups on Facebook, go to vegan fairs, chat to people and share tips.

“In terms of cooking, Google any dish you like with the word ‘vegan’ in front of it and you’ll find some of the most amazing, mouth-watering recipes. There are vegan alternatives to pretty much everything now, allowing you to ‘veganise’ your old favourite dishes with ease. Experimenting with vegan food is now easier than ever and there are a whole host of recipes and ideas at your fingertips.”

Maple Mac and Cheese
Vegan Maple Mac & Cheese

You also find lots of vegan recipes (including Christmas dinner) and order a free guide to Going Vegan from Animal Aid. You’ll also find lots of food for thought at Vegan Outreach Scotland.