I've lived a vegan lifestyle for a very long time, long enough to remember when 'Gary' had to be made and not bought (some of you old timers will remember 'Gary'), and long enough to accept that not everyone understands veganism or wants to.
What I still find bemusing though is the look of disgust or the horror some folks feel when they notice the food we sell is vegan, it's all made from plants so I quite understand what's horrific or disgusting. Actually when setting up The Tree Rooms, we toyed with only using 'plant based' as a descriptor for our food, so that some customers weren't put off by the word vegan, but being vegan ourselves, it felt appropriate to shout it from the rooftops that we are, because we are proud of what we make and of what we represent. It may be a bold statement, but our bakes are so good, you would never know they're made any differently from traditional recipes, in-fact, I would go as far as bold as saying that they taste better!!
I do think there is a misunderstanding about what being vegan is, and The Vegan Society's definition is one that I like to refer to as it perfectly describes how I live my life, although it's personal for everyone.
"Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."
Many of our customers probably don't follow a vegan lifestyle or a plant based diet, it's not something we ask them, but the one thing all of our customers agree on is how amazing our bakes taste, and that is what keeps them coming back for more, time and time again.
So, thinking of some of the things that I have overheard or read, I thought it might be fun to dispel some of the misunderstandings and hopefully give you all the reassurance that food made without animal products is for absolutely everyone:
No 1. All vegan food is health food
Well, it can be. Just as any diet can be solely made up of very healthy foods that are devoid of processed sugar, excess fats etc.
Do we use sugar and fats? Yes. Will you be missing anything by eating our bakes? No.
Our bakes are made with taste in mind, and whilst they do not include any animal products or by products, they are so tasty and full of flavour that you wouldn't know the difference.
No 2. You need to be vegan to eat vegan food
Absolutely not. You'll find that most people eat vegan/plant based foods every day without even noticing it. Think of bread, chips, vegetables, beans on toast, fruit, rice, cereals, Oreos, Biscoff biscuits/spread, crisps...... the list goes on and on.
It's about finding food you enjoy and available to you, and if you can make kinder, more compassionate choices, why wouldn't you?
No 3. It's a trendy fad
The term 'Vegan' was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, a British woodworker, however we can't ignore that the practice of veganism has been around for a lot longer, spanning thousands of years and deeply rooted in ancient cultures around the world.
Increasingly in popularity year on year, the number of people choosing to live a vegan lifestyle or reduce their consumption of animal based products doesn't look like it's going to slow down, in fact with more available options of food, clothes, consumables etc. it can only be seen to increase. According to research organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and The National Centre for Food Science Research (NatCen) the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014-2019, click this link for further details and findings, https://www.vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics/worldwide
The art of eating and enjoying delicious food has been around forever and here at The Tree Rooms, we will continue to honour the practice of both ancient traditions.
No 4. It's expensive
Yes and no! Yes, if you want to buy lots of processed, pre-packaged and high end brands. No, if you keep it simple and include lots of wholefoods and fresh veggies. It all depends on your personal tastes, budget and availability of food/ingredients. I use lots of flavour in my kitchen so with a little sprinkle of this and a dash of that, even the most bland food (yes, i'm talking about tofu) can be transformed into a taste sensation.
Personally we try and keep our production costs to a minimum and seek out the most economical and sustainable packaging for our bakes. Everything we produce is hand made and on a small scale, so we can't compete with the commercial bakeries that have larger scale production, however we always seek to give value for money in the quality and taste of our products.
Hopefully regardless of the lifestyle you lead you won't be put off by what's 'not' in our bakes and instead curious to see what all the fuss is about and try something new in the process, we promise you won't be disappointed and your taste buds will thank you for it - and if you want to put us to the test, here's a link to get your bakes and tantalise those taste buds www.thetreerooms.co.uk/shop
All comments & discussions are welcome, but please keep it kind - Thanks for reading, Sam