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vegan

So, in case you haven't noticed, whole food and plant-based diets have become somewhat of a trend over the past few years

From smashed avocados to açai bowls, Instagram feeds are overflowing with delicious recipes that put our sub-standard culinary skills to shame.

With so many dishes to choose from, it can be hard to keep up with the latest foodie trends. However, there is one dish that looks like it could be sticking around – sweet potato toast.

This vegan breakfast alternative has been doing the rounds on social for about a year now, but incase you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Pieces of thinly sliced sweet potato, toasted to perfection and loaded with ingredients of your choice.

 

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It's a quick, simple and healthy alternative to bread, and with a endless array of toppings to choose from, the possibilities are endless.

The Insta-worty dish can be enjoyed sweet or savoury and we have a funny feeling we may have found out new go-to breakfast.

Alyssia Sheikh from the Mind Over Munch YouTube channel has some really tasty versions to try:

Feature Image: Instagram 

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Being a vegetarian or even – god forbid! – a vegan is thankfully getting easier in Ireland, but there are still a few niggling little annoyances that those committed to the cause have to endure. 

1. Strangely concerned strangers

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When you tell people you're a veggie, they suddenly get really, really concerned about your protein levels. Note to meat eaters: vegetarianism does not make you shrivel up from lack of protein. 

And anytime you get sick? "You're probably not getting enough protein!"

2. The great bacon debate

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Hearing "but bacon though!" every other time you tell people you're a vegetarian.

3. Wanting to be vegan…

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But not quite having the will power to give up cheese and eggs yet. Maybe one day. Maybe.

4. People never understanding why you cant eat jellies

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Having to explain what gelatin is and where it comes from every time someone breaks out a bag of Haribo isn't fun. 

5. Barbecues

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Not that we usually get the weather for them, but these meat feasts inevitably roll around every summer, and for vegetarians the BYOB usually means bring your own burgers. Of the veggie variety. 

6. Tapas

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Sharing tapas with a table of meat eaters never works out well. They two or three token vegetarian tapas get snapped up as sides for the meat dishes and you inevitable leave hungry. And you still had to split the bill equally. 

7. It's a phase

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Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents will probably use this phase to describe your new found vegetarianism at some point or another.

Even after a decade or two. 

8. "So what DO you eat?"

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Everything that meat eaters do. Sans meat. 

9. People thinking you're out to convert them

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This is not the church of chick pea curries and chicken-less nuggets. There is no Quorn Quran. 

10. Overly relying on carbs

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When making the first foray into vegetarianism, things can seem pretty simple. Pizza, pasta, noodles, bread and their equally carb-laden cohorts are the initial go-to foods. 

Luckily vegetarianism is an excuse to experiment with new foods, so turning a beige palette into a rainbow doesn't take long. 

11. Excessive label reading

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Fortunately at least half of all supermarket items are vegetarian these days.

Unfortunately at least half of that half are mysteriously not marked with the comforting green V label veggies are reliant on, leading to excessive label reading and quick scientific equations (via google) to figure out if the triglycerides in those biscuits are derived from animal fats. 

12. Tofu troubles

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Unless you have been specifically trained in the art of preparing and cooking tofu, it can be a bit of a bother.

Seriously. how long does tofu need to marinate? Does anyone know?  

13. Having notions

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Even if you hail from the glittering metropolis that is Dublin city, being opposed to eating meat can still be placed in the "notions" category. 

It's up there with drinking almond milk, preferring ciabatta to good old fashioned Brennans and wearing hats for fashion as opposed to function. 

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David and Steven Flynn know a thing or two about healthy eating and with the summer basically already here, we kinda need a bit of help to feel good in our skimpy festival clothes… 

As they were celebrating the 5 years of The Food Academy, a programme designed to help small businesses getting their products on SuperValu shelves, the famous twins answered our questions, from their ultimate tip to get that beach bod to why they want to step away from the vegan labelling. 

 

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What is the dish that your children always ask you to cook?

Pancakes! We make them every Saturday morning. My daughter Elsie is 7 and she can make them. They are dairy-free pancakes that are much higher in fibre than the regular ones. I’m happy for them to eat them because they are really good for them. It’s a great recipe and we serve it with this healthier Nutella that we make ourselves – it’s got 60% hazelnut. 

What is their favourite treat?

They are like all kids, they like sugar! They will take any form of sweets or chocolates. When they are with me they have kombucha which is a fermented tea that is very good for the digestion and the immune system, or else they might have a treat from our cafe, which would have a high fibre content.

 

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Do you believe that eating a vegan diet is sustainable for everyone?

I don’t think the message is about being vegan or vegetarian, I think it’s about eating more fruits and vegs. I think people get caught up thinking “I need to be a vegan or a vegetarian” but I really think it’s back to basics. We all want to be happy, healthy, wholesome humans and every leading science says you that eating more fruits and vegs makes your body healthier and therefore much more likely to be happier. I think the vegan label puts people off because it is too black and white. At the end of the day we are all going to die and what’s important is to be as healthy and happy as we can while we are here. 

What was your favourite dish growing up?

Porridge was always my favourite. We would add bran flakes on top, we kept it very simple. Mam would never allow us to have sugary cereals like Coco Pops as kids.

What about your favourite treat?

On Friday night, Dad would come home from work and bring back a selection of chocolate bars as treats. I think my favourites were the caramel ones.

Has cooking always been a family affair for you guys?

No it really wasn’t! As kids, we saw food as fuel, our mam is one of the few people who eats to live, it was never a pleasure for her so it wasn’t until we changed our own diet that we really got into food. It’s good to see that for our kids now, they find it normal for their fathers to be extraordinary passionate about food, always be cooking and always be around food. They find it normal to be going to market and experiment with baking breads and making their own chocolate bars or kombucha, that's just life for them. 

What measures should the government take to people eat better and healthier on a daily basis? 

We need to go back to basics, to get more people involved into growing fruits and vegs. When kids are involved with growing it or spending time in a farm, it’s just going to get to the root of things. We were asked before what we’d do if we were in charge and Steven said it would be great if, when they leave school, every person could spend a year working on an organic farm because then you’d immediately know where your food came from. It would create an association with nature and the soil and then we’d have a different food culture in Ireland. 

What dish do you particularly enjoy cooking at the moment?

Personally I’m very into mushrooms, I am experimenting growing oyster mushrooms. I am also experimenting a lot with fermentation, making kimchi and kombucha. A recent study said that by 2020 Korean women will be living until 90 years of age. They’ll be the longest living women in the world and one of the factors is that they eat so much fermented food, so I am big into that at the moment. We have a large section about fermentation in our last book, we are passionate about it. 

How important is it for you to eat local and seasonally?

Obviously there is the ideal and the reality. For me, I really strive to eat organic and eat as local as I can but then I do realise that I live in Ireland and we are not the best at growing vegetables in this country, we are much better at growing animals and producing dairy. It’s not to beat ourselves up but just to try and eat more fruits and veg in whatever form it is. The more it should be local, seasonal and organic but if you get too caught up on it or stressed about it you might just end up eating burgers and chips all the time.

What are your tips to shed a few pounds before the summer holidays?

One of the best thing you can do is up your fibre intake. 8 out of 10 Irish people don’t get enough fibre. Fibre is so important for weight loss because your stomach is made of density receptors and fibre fills you up. It’s low in calories and you only get them in fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Eating more of those foods will fill you up and therefore you will eat less; it’s sustainable way of losing weight.

I hate cooking. How do I make sure I can eat healthily?

We have a range of great dinners in SuperValu! We got recipe books for people to cook but if they don't want to cook we have products available all around Ireland so we are trying our best to get people to eat healthier. 

Do you think it’s getting easier to find healthy food everywhere?

There is a massive shift in demand, many people are moving towards veganism and getting much more interested in healthy food so as a result companies are catching on and investing in healthier products. In supermarkets, coffee shops, even in Starbucks you can now find almond lattes! Next month we are going to start selling products in the UK with Waitrose and they didn't want any vegetarian products, then only wanted vegan because they see it as a huge growth area in customer demand. 

You became famous through social media. What’s your relationship with these platforms nowadays?

Our message is to get people to eat more fruits and vegs and to try and inspire people to live a healthier, happier life. Social media are incredible platforms to help us share this message. We use our accounts as business accounts, we don’t share anything personal, but we find it so useful. Two weeks ago, for the launch of our new book we organised a public swim rise – we swim in the sea every morning – and we invited everyone, we told them to meet us at 5.15am on Sunday May 6th and about 700 people showed up. The power of social media is incredible in bringing people together, building a tribe and trying to inspire people.

 

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What is your proudest achievement in your career so far?

It’s the sense of community. In Greystones, where we live, being able to walk down the street and know so many people because we have been in business in the heart of the town for so long, and the messages we get from people on social media every day, thanking us for our books and our products because we have helped making them feel healthier, or people following us on Instagram stories telling us they felt depressed and watching our stories makes them feel better, all these things make me feel so proud. 

Your new book “Recipes for Happiness” is just out, what’s next for you guys?

So as I said the expansion on the UK market is coming up soon, we have spent two and a half years working on it, we were invited to be a part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube to work closely with him in the UK. We have shot 400 recipe videos and as a result of that, on YouTube you get direct feedback about what people like and what they are looking for. We have learnt so much with the process about how to make food really accessible for people and we have put that in our book, so we feel it’s our best book yet. Our work for the next six months will be to get in as many people’s hands as possible because we really think it’s a great tool to help people eat healthier and be happier. 
 

Since the programme’s inception in 2013, Food Academy graduates, supported by their Local Enterprise Offices, have sold €78 million worth of produce in SuperValu stores and the 329 suppliers involved have grown to provide approximately 1,500 jobs.

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Farmers in the UK claim they fear for their well-being after receiving death threats from abusive vegan activists.

The Telegraph reports that meat industry groups have made contact with anti-terrorism police to discuss how to manage the growing problem, which is said to have become more intense over the last few months.

Norman Bagley, of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, said: “The activists over the past 18 months have become much more violent.”

"We've had situations of activists lying down in front of lorries, holding their children up to pig wagons, which is irresponsible whichever way you look at it."

According to the paper, many farmers have reported feeling "distressed" after activists broke into their yards to film their animals during the night.

Alison Waugh, a trainee farmer in Northumberland accused some animal-rights campaigners of "overstepping the mark". 

"When you're being called murderers and rapists, that is overstepping the mark, for fairly obvious reasons," she said.

Lead activist Joey Carbstron, who denies being an extremist, says there is “no evidence” to suggest farmers are being threatened.

Speaking to The Independent, he insisted that farmers were "playing the victim".

“The farmers are playing the victim in this scenario, they are completely disregarding the fact that they have animals on the land that are being sent to the slaughterhouse,” he told The Independent.

“I bet the pigs can’t sleep at night either in their overcrowded conditions, after their piglets have been forcibly removed and facing death inside a gas chamber.”

Veganism has seen an unprecedented growth in popularity over the past few years, and those figures are only expected to rise throughout the coming years.

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It looks like veganism and vegetarianism are about to be a lot more common than they already are.

With veganism topping the charts as the biggest upcoming food trend of 2018, it's no wonder that people are easing themselves into the healthy and cruelty-free lifestyle by trying their hand at vegetarianism and flexitarianism. 

According to Just Eat, the demand for vegetarian options has risen by a 'ridiculous' 987pc. 

With meatless Monday's and education on the source of our food products becoming increasingly popular, it's no wonder the demand has risen.

Demand for healthy choices also grew by 94pc in 2017, and gluten free options increased by 72pc, according to Hospitality Ireland.

'The results from this year are a good insight into the future consumer trends and while convenience will continue to be key for consumers next year and beyond, we know that they are increasingly looking for more diverse, healthy, gluten free and plant based Vegan options,' Just Eat Marketing Director, Edel Kinane told The Buzz.

33pc of all Just Eat Restaurant Partners now provide vegan and vegetarian options on their menus to make it all the easier to ditch meat for good. 

'Already proven to be a major hit in 2017 with the increased availability and variety of vegetarian and vegan meal options in restaurants, diners are slowly embracing animal-free diets as a health-conscious effort,'said  International Taste Solution in their 2018 trend chart. 

It's good news all round for those of planning to go vegan or veggie for 2018. 

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Veganism is on the rise, as consumers eschew eggs, dairy and meat in favour of ethical dietary substitutes. 

The lifestyle has been named on many of the food trend lists for 2018 and has seen a sharp uptick in those transitioning to it this year. 

As a result, hundreds, if not thousands, of new vegans will be sitting down to Christmas dinner at dining tables all over Ireland come December 25. 

For many, the concept of sitting down with a table full of non-vegans who are about to consume a turkey may be daunting, but there are a number of small changes to the menu that can be made to ensure that everything but the main meat dish is suitable to eat. 

If you cook the dinner yourself, happy days, you can make these changes yourself, but luckily they are so simple that perhaps your host, pal or parent will glady adapt the recipe if you ask nicely. 

First up, lets look at the roasties. Most people use goose fat to coat their roast potatoes to get that divine crispiness, but vegetable oil, coconut oil, or olive oil will do the job just as well. 

Soya or sunflower butter is just as creamy and flavourful as dairy butter, so whack a dollop of that into the mash or over the vegetables. 

If milk is added to bread sauce, white sauce or mash, a non-dairy version like coconut or soya does the job just as well. 

Turkey gravy can be swapped for veggie gravy, and many condiments like cranberry sauce and mustard are already vegan if you check the label. 

If soup is your starter of choice, you're in luck, all the best soups can be made vegan by swapping out dairy milk for soya.

Opt for cream of vegetable (with Alpro cream) or butternut squash for a hearty starter. 

The one thing that cannot be made vegan is the meat dish, obviously, so here's where all those alternative brands come in. 

There are loads of faux turkey roasts on the market from the likes of Tofurkey and Quorn Meatless Turk'y Roast, so if you don't want to miss out, these are great options. 

If you're not into replacement fake meats, Holland & Barrett have a delicious stuffed butternut squash recipe

Another tip is to bring or bake a vegan dessert for the entire table to enjoy. 

That way, if someone else is cooking your meal for you, you're not relying on them to source or cook a vegan dessert as well.

You also get to witness people's curiosity about a vegan cake or Christmas cookie turn to delight when they realise that cruelty-free tastes just as good if not better than butter or milk based desserts. 

Navigating the festive season has frankly never been easier thanks to the plethora of new vegan alternatives on the market, and who knows, maybe next year there will be even more vegans around your Christmas table. 

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The vegan boom is well under way, with vegan options making their way out of speciality health stores and into major supermarkets and corner stores. 

Veganism is on the rise, as consumers eschew eggs, dairy and meat in favour of mycoprotein and coconut-based substitutes. 

The lifestyle has been named on many of the food trend lists for 2018, as the food industry responds to the demands for more mainstream options sans animal by-products. 

For those not in the know, a vegan diet eliminates all animal-based items from the menu – so that's no eggs, dairy, honey or meat. 

Instead, the vegan concept focuses on running a healthy body on a cruelty-free and sustainable plant-based diet. 

'Brands should also expect to feel more pressure to develop vegan options,' says Toronto-based food agency THP.

While veganism was already on the rise in 2017, the food industry should see a further increase in interest in the vegan lifestyle, judging by the frequency of the appearance of veganism on these trend lists. 

'Already proven to be a major hit in 2017 with the increased availability and variety of vegetarian and vegan meal options in restaurants, diners are slowly embracing animal-free diets as a health-conscious effort,' says  International Taste Solution, after placing veganism third on their food trend list. 

More and more, people are choosing to fulfil their protein and nutritional needs without animal-derived products.

'The demand for high-protein foods continues, and with more of us choosing a flexitarian diet it’s no wonder there’s such a buzz around new plant-based proteins,' according to UK supermarket chain Waitrose.

'Whether with pulses, shoots, grains, seeds, soy or even algae, everyone from tiny start-up companies to big brands is looking for clever new ways to add a protein punch.'

Flexitarianism, a key food trend in 2017, is also set to see a spike in 2018.

This method of eating involves eating a mostly, but not strictly, vegan or vegetarian diet, such as being veggie all week and then indulging in a dairy and meat-based meal on the weekends. 

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A successful fashion blogger, Holly White decided to go fully plant-based with her diet about 3 years ago. 

She believes that going vegan is one the best decisions she has ever made, saying:

'It’s been a busy 3 years researching recipes but swipe right to see some of my absolute favourite vegan authors and books that have helped me transition and never look back or miss anything.'

 

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'In fact I think I eat much tastier food nowadays,' she explained on her blog recently.

Holly was in the SHEmazing! HQ today cooking three of her favourite vegan recipes. 

You can watch the live video on our Facebook page and find all of these delicious recipes:

Butternut squash, tofu and chickpea curry

Ingredients

For the paste:

  • 3 red chillies
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • a handful coriander stalks
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 lime zest 
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves

For th​e curry:

  • ​​​​​​400g tofu
  • Soy sauce/or tamari if you want gluten free
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Olive or coconut oil
  • 300g butternut squash, chopped into chunks
  • 1 courgette, chopped into chunks
  • 1 tin/400g chickpeas
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 packet/130g baby corn
  • 60g broccoli
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Coriander to garnish
  • Brown rice to serve

Preparation

1. Place all the paste ingredients into a food processor and blitz until everything is finely chopped.

2. Cut the tofu into bite size chunks and leave to marinade in the soy or tamari sauce. Set aside.

3. In a large pan, heat the oil and lightly fry two tablespoons of the paste. The rest can be stored in the fridge in a sealed jar.

4. Fry the onion and the butternut squash for a few minutes to soften before adding the broccoli and courgette.

5. Add 1 cup of boiling water with stock cube and leave to simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

6. When the stock has reduced and the veg are soft, add the tofu and chickpeas and coconut milk.

7. Simmer for a further 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

8. Serve with bowls of steaming brown rice and topped with fresh coriander.

 

Roasted cauliflower

"I first had something similar to this in a restaurant and I couldn't get over how tasty it was was. I set out to create something similar at home and honestly I was so surprised how easy it was.

This is the most perfect side dish and is quick enough to have during the week and but also special enough to have at a dinner party. I love it with some tofu, a green salad and lots of hummus."
 

Ingredients

  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Mixed seeds

Preparation

1. Heat the oven to 180°C.

2. Wash the cauliflower and remove the outer leaves.

3. Break up the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I do this by hand.

4. In a bowl mix the spices and olive oil evenly and then add the cauliflower. Using either a spoon or your hands to coat the cauliflower in the spices as evenly as possible.

5. Place onto a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes, tossing the cauliflower halfway through to make sure it cooks evenly and doesn't burn.

6. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper to your preference and add some mixed seeds for a bit of extra texture. I used flax seeds but pumpkin or sesame would also work well.

7. This can be served hot or cold and holds well in the fridge for up to three days.

 

Raw chocolate mousse

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados
  • 3 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • A pinch of sea salt 
  • 100ml plant-based milk

Preparation

1. Blend all ingredients in a nutribullet or blender until smooth. 

2. Scoop into bowls for serving and chill for 30 minutes to firm up. 

3. Top with raw cacao nibs, flaked almonds or berries and enjoy! 

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It's World Vegan Day, and veganism is on the rise.

Once the sole territory of surfing Aussie Insta babes and hemp-wearing free thinkers, veganism has infiltrated the diet and lifestyles of the masses.

Recognised as a heart healthy and sustainable diet, going plant based is gaining popularity in Ireland. 

 

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According to data from Deliveroo, orders for vegan food in Ireland have increased by 137pc in Ireland in the past year. 

While you may assume Dublin would be the vegan hot spot, it's actually a west coast county which takes the crown. 

Galway is hailed as being the vegan capital, leading the pack when it comes to plant-based eating. 

 

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'Deliveroo customers clearly love to order vegan food, with orders more than doubling this year,' said Deliveroo's Joe Groves.

'Galway is leading this trend with more vegan orders made than any other city in Ireland.'

The most popular vegan order on Deliveroo is the majestic Vegan Burger from TGO Falafel Bar in Galway.

This is followed by the Spiced Dish of the Day with Rice from Cornucopia in Dublin, the Vegetable Spring Roll from Malay Kitchen in Cork, and the Super Green Smoothie from Cocu in Dublin.

These are just ahead of another Galway order, the Rock My Beets Wrap, also from TGO Falafel Bar, Galway. 

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We're often told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we believe it. 

We'd all love to have a healthier breakfast, but most days we're lucky if we manage to gulp down a coffee and snatch a slice of toast out of the toaster on our way out the door. (Bonus points if you drop the toast in a puddle while running for the bus.)

One vegan Instagrammer is putting us all to shame with her version of the now classic smoothie bowl. 

Smoothie bowls have become more and more popular over the years, and every healthy lifestyle enthusiast worth their salt has been meticulously arranging chia seeds and slicing strawberries to create picturesque pools of pureed fruit for months now. 

While we can rustle up a pretty decent looking one on the weekends, ours are nothing compared to Rachel Lorton. 

Rachel has been posting her delicious and very Instagrammable bowls since 2015, so the Texan native was definitely a trailblazer when it came to this foodie trend. 

Rachel also has her very own cookbook full of vegan recipes for those who want to embark on a plant-based lifestyle. 

We're seriously contemplating getting up 20 minutes earlier to make a few of these beautiful bowls: 

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So, while a lot people who choose to follow a vegan diet are generally satisfied with the plant-based food products available to them, most will admit there are a few things they miss.

Sure, there are a number of alternatives on offer – vegan cheese, yogurt, and even chicken, to name just a few.

But there is one food product plant-based enthusiasts have not been able to replicate – until now.

Four clever food science students from the University of Udine in Italy have created a product that looks, feels and tastes exactly like a hard-boiled egg.

According to Food Navigator, it's made from a selection of legume plants (such as beans, pulses and peas), vegetable oils, a gelling agent and vegan salt.

The 'egg' is packed with protein, but unlike the real thing, it's completely cholesterol-free.

The university is reportedly in talks with companies who might be interested in manufacturing the product, meaning it could be hitting our shelves sooner rather than later.

What a time to be alive!

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It's true what they say, you really do eat with your eyes first, and thanks to a thriving foodie scene and tons of Instagram inspiration, fabulous food presentation is no longer confined to 5-star kitchens.

Give us a few sprigs of coriander and a squeezey bottle full of pesto and even we could give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money.

It can't be that difficult, right?

Wrong.

Meet Jose, a 16-year-old vegan foodie who has one simple motto – “Life is too short to eat boring food.”

The innovative teen shares his stunning pastel creations with his 460k+ followers on his Instagram page, @naturally.jo – and honestly, these vegan treats and breakfasts need to be seen to be believed.

Jose also takes and edits each photograph himself, meaning he's already 10x times more talented than any of us were at that age.

From dreamy smoothies to perfectly symmetrical raw cheesecake, a scroll @naturally.jo really is a treat for the senses.

Just take a look:

 

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