food, travel

Dublin: Three Veggie Places to Eat

So this is a little departure from my usual content. I’ve been in Dublin, Ireland all week so haven’t been able to crack on with some of my environmental plans at home. However while I’m here, I figured I’d scout out a handful of  veggie places. Perhaps if any of you guys get a chance to visit, you can give them a try as well!

Umi Falafel

Status: Full Veggie, plenty Vegan

Prices: Super reasonable – €10-15 for meal and drinks

Specialities: Falafel, wraps, superfood salads and fresh-pressed juice.

Visited on the second day of our holiday, this was the first fully vegetarian restaurant we came to. Since Dublin is a city, my friend and I found ourselves well-provided with dairy-free coffees and almost every restaurant had at least two or three different vegetarian options.

We each enjoyed a fresh-pressed juice called the Zingy Booster made from orange, apple and ginger. The falafel was clearly handmade and everything tasted clean and fresh. I had a salad of green lentils, chickpeas, sundried tomatoes and roast peppers. It was delicious and fantastically filling after a day of exploring the city. We were both so full when it came time to leave, but still got some fantastic Baklava to take away!

A paper bag from Irish restaurant Umi Falafel and two portions of baklava in takeaway containers
Mucked up a bit here as we didn’t have any reusable containers to hand. We will however be repurposing those takeaway boxes!

 

Cornucopia

Status: Full Veggie, plenty Vegan

Prices: Again, very reasonable – €10-15 for meal and drinks

Specialities: Wholefood veggie mains with choice of salads, homemade cakes and desserts as well as iced tea and pressed juice made on-premises.

Whereas Umi Falafel had a super modern feel to it, the Georgian dining room at Cornucopia paired with the cafeteria serving style made it a lovely place to sit down for lunch after my friend and I visited the IMMA.  The portions are very hearty, generous and any main comes with two portions of salad of your choosing.

We went for enchiladas which also came with great quality vegan cheese grated on top! This was nice to see as many restaurants tend to omit the inclusion of cheese or meat substitutes altogether and focus on cooking with simply veggies, grains and fruit. It made the meal feel a bit more specialist and thought through – like we were really being catered for. The enchiladas had a black bean and mushroom filling as well as a rich, roasted pepper and tomato sauce. Incredible! And there were so many other options, with everything clearly labelled as veggie, vegan or gluten free.

A hearty vegan enchilada on a plate with chickpea and spinach salads
Another plus was that Cornucopia use recyclable paper straws as standard and wrapped our flapjacks to-go in brown paper rather than a plastic box.

 

Govinda’s 

Status: Full veggie, some vegan

Price: Reasonable – around €10 for a large plate of food and water provided

Specialities: Indian cuisine, including curries and soup.

Govinda’s restaurants are located in several major cities including Swansea, London and Dublin. I had never had the chance to visit one before so was really happy that we did so on this trip! Govinda’s restaurants as far as I understand it are associated with various Krishna temples and run by volunteers and members of the faith.

We visited the Govinda’s on Augier Street, which served a range of traditional Indian style foods in another cafeteria-type setting. You could choose from either a small or large plate which was then piled high with everything which was on offer which was all vegetarian. Most Hare Krishnas are vegetarian as a matter of faith and the sharing of food also plays a part in their beliefs. The Hare Krishna Food for Life charity is the world’s largest vegetarian non-profit, with volunteers providing up to 2 million meals a day to the homeless and disadvantaged.

I believe the restaurants are intended to support the local Krishna temples as well as local charities, so use fixed pricing rather than the “Pay what you Can” model that some similar organisations use.

The portions were generous and the food was very tasty. Although having a little of everything may not have been ideal for vegans, the volunteer who served us was very lovely and I’m sure would have been willing to omit the dairy dishes. The standouts to me were the vegetable rice and some incredible paneer in a rich tomato sauce. I could have eaten a plate of that all on it’s own!

A photo of a vegetarian meal alongside a glass of water. The meal consists of various curries and vegetable rice.
Having a little of everything was actually really lovely and led me to try things I normally wouldn’t. Lucky for me, it was all delicious!

 

So that was our culinary tour through Dublin! I can’t recommend it enough as a place to visit – the weather is sometimes woeful but the people are so warm, funny and fantastic and the city is so full of beauty and history that you’ll probably consider moving there. I certainly did!

I know it wasn’t terribly far to travel, but it was a great trip. Let me know if you’d like to see more posts like these as I continue my adventures!

Sláinte!

~ Lois

Featured Photo by Diogo Palhais on Unsplash – An incredible photo of Temple Bar, where we stayed!

A pair of girls legs in pyjamas, covered in a pile of colourfully wrapped toilet paper
52 Acts, Eco-Friendly Alternatives

4. Eco-friendly Toilet Paper

I think that one of the best ways to make positive moves for the environment is not to always look for huge changes or grand gestures, but to examine your most everyday items and actions and the impact they can have. Whether it’s in terms of packaging, carbon footprint or materials used, it is always helpful to think about what we do or  have, and how we can improve on it.

Most people can’t organise a mass litter-pick or plant a tree every day but we can all make smarter choices when it comes to buying things.

A lot of people will say that we cannot consume our way to a better environment and I agree. However I also believe that there is wisdom and power in voting with your feet.

There are certain things that we all have to buy: food, clothes, toiletries and so on. If it’s something you ultimately need to purchase and consume, then making the most ethical decision truly does make a difference! You support environmentally-conscious businesses whilst walking your money right away from the ones that would do harm. Being zero waste isn’t about acquiring the right ‘kit’, but about making better choices the more you learn and as opportunities present themselves.

So, having used up my festive Tesco loo roll with gold reindeer printed on it (it was on offer – don’t ask) I decided it was time to examine where my toilet paper could be doing more and think I found a good replacement with Who Gives a Crap.

A box filled with toilet paper wrapped in colourful paper by Who Gives a Crap.

I ordered a great big bulk box of 48, as well as 12 boxes of forest-friendly tissues to boot. I’m sure most of us already know the good points about buying in bulk and the fact that I bought what probably amounts to half a year’s supply did alleviate some of the guilt I felt about having it delivered by courier; as opposed to picking it up on my weekly shop. As these rolls aren’t available in shops however, this is currently the only buying option.

So what made me choose them? I’ll cut it down to three main points.

  • Packaging – The rolls are minimally packaged and entirely plastic free. They come wrapped in colourful, recyclable paper to prevent any water damage or other problems that could strike during transit. From my research, most if not all other eco-friendly brands in the UK still wrap their goods in non-recyclable plastic film. The outer box did have those long, plastic ties wrapped around to secure it but I still feel the packaging overall was kept to a minimum and was almost all recyclable.
  • Source – The rolls themselves are crafted from either recycled paper or bamboo, making them sustainable and forest friendly.
  • Ethics – Aside from the recycled rolls and minimal packaging, the company also donates 50% of their profits to improve sanitation and build toilets in the developing world – where diarrhoea can still be a death sentence for some. They are partnered with WaterAid, a wonderful organisation who provide safe drinking water, hand-washing facilities and better sanitation as well.*

Supporting worthy causes with something I would buy anyway? Yes please!

My first order arrived the other day (to my parents’ house which caused some serious confusion, especially with the company name printed on the side of the box) and I can testify that the loo roll itself is fantastically soft and good quality. Some recycled rolls I have used in the past have had a definite ‘papery’ feel to them, but Who Gives a Crap rolls are as good as the website (and several other bloggers) have said.

A large pryamid of colourful, Who Gives a Crap toilet paper

They are advertised on the site as double-length so I can see them lasting a long time, especially with how many I purchased and the price point is only a little higher than a regular supermarket brand (at 18.8p per 100 sheets to 15.0p). Factoring in the fact that 50% of that money will go to a charitable cause and the toilet paper itself is free from any harmful dyes, chemicals and is forest friendly, I think that additional 3.8p is well worth spending!

Also, you can have a lot of fun stacking and messing about with rolls when they arrive, which of course I did! I’m very happy with my purchase, the speed of the shipping (easily arrived within a week) and the company as a whole. I’m very happy to finally be supporting them!

A Sailor Moon pop figure posed on a mountain of toilet paper

Thanks again for reading, guys! If anybody has any other ideas for everyday ethical swaps, I’d love to hear them. I’ll be in Dublin for the week, so may not have another ’52 Acts’ post, but my friend and I are planning to visit some great Vegan restaurants in the area so maybe we’ll have a post about that instead – we shall see!

~ Lois

*Depending on when you are reading this, if you make a donation to WaterAid before the 31st January 2018 and are a UK National, the government have pledged to match what they raise before that time up to £5 million! I’ve done it – and would love it if you would too!