No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday 27 November 2023


(Quick link to my donations page, click here: Wonderful )

Thanks for stopping by my blog.👍

I've done all my actual ultras - as opposed to my virtual ones - through
They are a wonderful company who cannot do too much for you. Highly recommended. Well, I shall be doing 4 events with them next year, so...🙂

Here I try and detail all my ultra adventures - don't always succeed, as I'm not the most disciplined bloke in the world - both for my own amusement, and for anyone who is interested. I do ultra marathons for two reasons - one because they're bloody good fun, and, more importantly, they are also a means of fundraising for charities which are dear to my heart, and benefit the animals. 

I appreciate that times are hard - but these are also difficult times for charities, as I'm sure you'll appreciate. Through my ultras, I'm fundraising for Viva! who have been very active rescuing animals from Ukraine - and have an animal sanctuary in Poland. They also do sterling work exposing the horrors of animal abuse in farms and slaughterhouses. Here's a link for anyone who is in a position to donate, Wonderful * (whose services are completely free). Many, many thanks for the awesome support my efforts are receiving! And the animals thank you, also.
*If you have any trouble with this link, please email me at paulwyoud(at)

You can obtain these, and other animal rights leaflets as well, from Everyday Activism. Check out their site, they're all free of charge.

I have several people to whom I look for inspiration - and I found most of these on Rich Roll's podcast. Rich Roll himself, of course, is one of my heroes, being a vegan ultra runner and ironman extraordinaire. Through his podcasts I've been introduced to a whole range of endurance athletes and positive thinkers. David Goggins and Fiona Oakes, stand out - two of the most inspirational athletes around today.

Thursday 28 September 2023


Walking around Taunton the other day, I was stopped by a woman who said, "Excuse me, are you Paul Youd? " She turned out to be a student I'd known about 20 years ago - and she told me that I'd inspired her to get into teaching breadmaking! She'd taken the City and Guilds Teaching Adults course and had been teaching bread making classes for about 10 years. Needless to say I was thrilled to hear this.

Then, this morning, I heard that world famous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter was considering retiring. But she said that, tucked away in her head are something like 60 symphonies, plus countless other classical works - and she'd like to pass on all that musical knowledge in retirement.

This struck a chord with me! I taught breadmaking from 1993 until 2020, and I've got countless bread recipes and methods tucked away in my head. Which I'd like to pass on - by means of this post, and also the numerous other recipes that are on this blog. And if I could inspire someone to begin teaching breadmaking - that would be awesome!

Given the present-day cost of living crisis, I've given up using the oven to bake my bread - instead I bake my bread in a large, dry frying pan, which I cover, creating a sort of Dutch oven. I also keep back a portion of dough in the fridge, which I then add to my next batch, so it's sort of sourdough-ish. On occasion, if I'm organised and have the time, I won't use any dried yeast, but generally I use half a teaspoon of dried yeast to hurry the process along.

Starting from scratch:
For the first batch of bread, use 750g of flour; 525g water; 1 teaspoon dried yeast, half a teaspoon sugar and a small splash of olive oil. Mix into a dough as specified, then weigh off 850g of dough for the bread you’re about to make, and place the residue in a sealed container (I use an ice cream tub - but, remove the ice cream first! 😉)
This will stay happily in your fridge until you want to make another batch of bread.

From then on:

500g breadmaking flour - I use Doves organic wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon salt ( instead of the usual 1 tsp - this is a tasty flour which doesn't need all that much salt)
1/2 teaspoon of dried yeast (+half a tsp sugar), or a heaped teaspoon of fresh - leave this out if you're going for the sourdough version
350ml lukewarm water
1 dessertspoon olive oil (I generally just add a small splash - not keen on oily spoons!)

Stir the yeast (and sugar if using) into the liquid and leave for 5 minutes.
Measure the dry ingredients and place them in a large mixing bowl
Add the yeast liquid plus a modicum of olive oil
Mix together with either your hands or a table knife - if you're using your hand, I recommend you hold the bowl with one hand and mix with the other. That way you'll have a clean hand with which to answer the phone if it rings. 
Halfway through mixing, incorporate your dough from the fridge. This will look a bit gloopy, and smell rather odd, but it's fine, believe me! And there's no need to wash this out - you're going to put some dough back in it shortly.
Lift the side of the bowl whilst mixing - that way you can utilise a bit of gravity to help you
When it all comes together as a dough, lift it out onto the table and begin to knead. You may have to add a little extra flour or water to ensure you have a firm, manageable dough - a little tacky to the touch.
Knead by flattening the dough, then folding it over. I generally repeat this action around 50 times - I've found this is about the right number which ensures the ingredients are thoroughly mixed - important if you're incorporating some white flour in the mix, which many people do to give a lighter loaf.
When you're happy with your dough, weigh off the 850g of dough you are about to use, and place the rest of it - about 400g - back in the container and place it in the fridge until needed again. There is no need to wash this container. 
Now divide your dough in two, then each half into 5 pieces. Shape these into bun shapes, then flatten them out - with with your hand or with a rolling pin. How big you want these to spread out depends on how big your frying pan is. Mine is quite big, and I find that 5 will fit comfortably. You may need to sprinkle your rolls with a little flour to stop them sticking to your hand or the worktop. 
As you shape them, place them on a baking sheet covered with a floured piece of baking parchment to allow them to rise and cover with a dry tea towel.
Now you can either leave them to rise by themselves, or, like I do, place the baking sheet on top of your frying pan on a low heat.
Keep an eye on them, and when you can ascertain they are beginning to rise, you can put the first batch in the frying pan - they will continue to rise a little during the first part of the baking process.
Cover the frying pan to create the Dutch oven.
On a low heat, mine take about 6 minutes each side, but you'll need do a bit of trial error to see how long the rolls take in your set-up.
So, after 6 (or so) minutes, turn each roll over carefully, using a spatula.
Bake the second side for a further 6 minutes. Remember, it's always better to over bake your bread than underbake it.
Put the first batch on a cooling rack or tea towel and repeat with the second batch.
When you're satisfied they're all done, take a breadknife, split one of the rolls in two, add your spread of choice (mine is homemade marmalade) and savour the flavour of homemade bread, and revel in your success!
Any comments or questions, I'll gladly answer them!

Why use a frying pan and not the oven? My electric oven takes 10 minutes to warm up, and a loaf takes 40 minutes. The frying pan is on for a total of 24 minutes, roughly, and the cost is a fraction of using the oven.

The sourdough version:
This takes all day, so you can either: Make the dough the night before, place the residue back in the fridge and leave the bulk of the dough overnight. So, cover the dough with your upturned bowl and place a tea-towel over the top. 
Or: Start the process in the morning.
The procedure is exactly the same as above, from where the dough is divided into 10 pieces and shared into flat rolls - except these will be left to rise all day.

Freshly shaped - cover and leave all day

11 hours later - ready to be baked

A dough scraper/cutter - very useful for transferring the rolls into the frying pan

Freshly baked


Wednesday 19 April 2023


21st April 2023

Just in - turkey tail mushrooms prove effective against some cancers.

Why is there such a huge disparity in prostate cancer rates? For instance the incidence of clinically malignant prostate cancer is highest in African-Americans—some 30-fold greater than in Japanese men, and 120 times greater than seen in Chinese men in Shanghai. The reason has to do with lifestyle.

When I began intermittent fasting (something else I would recommend for optimum health), I did so because it was shown to reduce the level of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1) in the body: IGF-1 being a marker of cancer risk (the more IGF-1, the more risk of cancer growth). It turns out that a WFPB diet also lowers IGF-1. Cow’s milk, being designed to produce a 600lb calf in very short order, is packed with IGF-1. (It’s also, because cows are made to produce milk whilst pregnant, full of oestrogen and other unwanted hormones).

At the last count, I have four friends and family members suffering from cancer. Here I've tried to gather in one place, all the info I can find on the subject.

"Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and there is an urgent need for a new direction in battling this disease. That’s why the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has created materials specifically for cancer prevention and survival."

Dr Michael Greger, who runs, has many short videos on how diet influences cancer. 

Cancer and a WFPB diet. (Whenever I look at one of Dr Greger's videos, it's always worth checking out the comments section, there is a wealth of info in there - plus some inspirational stories!)

Fasting and cancer:

Protect your prostate from cancer

Effects of a low-fat, high-fiber diet and exercise program on breast cancer risk factors in vivo and tumor cell growth and apoptosis in vitro.

Stunning results from the largest diet/nutrition study ever: Cornell University: 

A healthy diet will slow and/or stop most cancers: Why not?

“Study finds vegan blood is 8 times more effective at killing cancer cells.”

I didn’t know just what study to link that sentence to, but if you put that into a search engine, you get loads of results.

Finally, there’s help available here, from someone who has been through it:

Monday 20 March 2023


Sunday 1th March 2023
One more milestone reached, today - I've now completed 600,000 press ups - in just under five and a half years! Just 400,000 to go - and I've four and a half years in which to get them. I averaged 11,800 press ups a month over the past year, at this rate I'll finish my challenge sometime in my 89th year.

Tuesday 14 February 2023


(I have previously posted about intermittent fasting here and here. What follows is general - pretty comprehensive it seems to me - info about the benefits of fasting.)

[This person fasted when they caught covid] and it was gone completely in a couple days, absolutely nothing. [Study of one] Some of the many benefits of doing occasional extended fasting: Blood clotting is reduced and blood clots and arterial plaque are reabsorbed into the body. Blood pressure is quickly and dramatically lowered. 

Fribrosis/scarring is reversed over time and telomeres are lengthened, which also helps with lung fibrosis. 

Fasting increases nitric oxide.

Fasting stimulates phagocytosis, the ingestion of bacteria, plaques and viruses by the immune system. It will also remove any 'foreign material' that is not supposed to be there.

After 72 hours or more fasted, your body recycles large numbers of immune bodies and creates new ones, rejuvenating your entire immune system. 

Vitamin D plasma levels are increased, and vitamin D in turn increases autophagy.

Fasting increases anti-aging Yamanaka factors!

Fasts from 36-96 h actually INCREASE metabolic rate due to norepinephrine release! 

Weight loss from fasting only loses10% lean tissue and 90% fat compared to the typical 25% lean tissue and 75% fat lost when calorically restricting for long periods. The hunger hormone ghrelin lowers with extended fasting and rises from dieting. 

Blood sugar and insulin are lowered, allowing white blood cells to move more freely throughout the body and do their job. Ideal blood sugar is around 80. Some viruses activate glycolosis (the release of sugar in the body) and clinically it has been shown that decreasing glucose metabolism in the body weakens the influenza virus.

Thymus is regenerated, which suppresses aging and renews the immune system. 

When you move out of MTOR your body shuts down the building blocks of the cell which are used to produce organelles and proteins. This means the mechanisms needed by viruses to replicate are by and large unavailable when you are in a deeply fasted state.

What breaks a fast? Anything with protein or carbohydrates in it will break a fast, though if the amount is tiny you will go back into ketosis very quickly. Most teas and herbs are OK. Most supplements and meds will either break ketosis directly or contain a filler that will. Many medications are dangerous to take while fasting so you may have to talk to your dr. about discontinuing them during a fast.

Fasts of several days will not affect short term female fertility and may increase long term fertility, especially in women with PCOS.

Does fasting lower testosterone? No, it raises it when the fast is broken by increasing lutenizing hormone and helps build muscle by increasing insulin sensitivity!

The hormone Leptin is an immunomodulator that keeps the body from attacking itself and obesity causes leptin resistance. Fasting very quickly reduces leptin resistance and leptin levels and one day of fasting can cut your leptin levels in half and gets your immune system working properly again!

Does the body preferentially prefer glucose as a fuel? No, your body always runs mainly on fat except for brief periods of very intense exercise. Your brain also prefers to burn ketones at a rate of around 2.5 to 1 when they are available in equal quantity to glucose.

Fasting stimulates the AMPK complex and activates autophagy. Autophagy (literally self eating) will cause cells to recycle foreign matter such as viruses and kill cancerous and senescent cells. AMPK does many helpful things in the body including activating the body's antioxidant defenses. 

Deep ketosis virtually eliminates chronic inflammation in the body. This can offset the life threatening symptoms of viral pneumonia which effectively kills you through inflammation. This also creates BHB ketones in your body, which also help your immune system and anti-oxidative system, especially in the brain. Ketones also provide an additional energy source during infection, which is critical when trying to fight off a bug. In fact you can have as much as three times the total energy available in your blood when you are in deep ketosis, or even more.

It increases mitochondrial function and repairs mitichondrial DNA, leading to improved ATP production and oxygen efficiency and thereby making cells better able to fight off infection. Increased mitochondrial function also has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism and cancer prevention!

When you fast, this stimulates apoptosis in senescent or genetically damaged cells. This kills these cells off completely. Senescent cells are responsible for the effects of aging and are the root cause of the development of cancer. If it were possible to destroy them all it would completely stop aging and cancer. That is not possible but fasting can help limit these effects by killing off many of the affected cells and limiting the future effects of aging.

Fasting also releases BDNF and NGF in the blood which stimulates new nerve and brain cell growth, helping a great deal with diseases like MS, peripheral neuropathy and Alzheimers.

In fact, the biochemical regulator of BDNF production is beta-hydroxybutyrate, which is the same ketone the body produces to nourish the brain while fasting.

Fasting also increases telomere length, negating some of the effects of aging at a cellular level.

A fasting mimicking diet for 3-5 days in a row also provides many of the same benefits as water fasting. FMD usually has 200-800 calories, under 18 g of protein and under 18 g of carb.

Exogenous ketones can aid with fasting, making it easier in healthy people and allowing some people with specific issues to fast in spite of them without worrying as much about hypoglycemia.

Children, pregnant or nursing women should not fast for periods longer than 16 hours. People with pancreatic tumors or certain forms of hypoglycemia generally cannot fast at all. Type 1 diabetics can also fast but it is more complicated and should be approached with caution as it could lead to ketoacidosis. Those with Addison's disease may also be unable to fast without liberal use of exogenous ketones, depending on severity. If you experience extreme symptoms of some kind, especially dizziness then simply break the fast and seek advice.


This list compiled over years of research by the user known as Pottenger's Human on youtube but feel free to copy and paste this anywhere you like, no accreditation needed!

My channel which will always contain an updated version of this list of fasting benefits on the community tab. I also have playlists on fasting and health topics.

Monday 27 September 2021


Sunday 3rd October 2021

And so it begins...7.55am - just 50k to go!

Well, we did it! The three of us - GS Alfie, son Ben, and myself - set off at 7.55 yesterday morning, and arrived back at 7.25 yesterday evening. So 11 hours 30; actual walking time was 9.38. We had 3 pitstops, one in a rural cafe, one at a local shop in one of the villages we walked though, and the main one, just after the halfway point, back at my son's house, where we changed into some dry clothing.

Conditions were OK - it was a bit chilly early on, around 10C, and it was overcast - pretty good really. 

12.44 - it had been raining for over 2 hours at this point and the previously very dry trails were beginning to show puddles here and there.

But it didn't stay that way! The forecast said to expect rain about 11am, but it began to rain about 10 - nothing heavy, but it was steady. The forecast I had seen showed green patches of rain over the Chilterns throughout the day - with the green turning to purple, which indicated heavier rain, for most of it. And so it proved. As soon as it began to rain I donned my poncho - hoping to keep my rucksack dry, and that worked, after a fashion. The rain steadily grew heavier, in line with the forecast. It wasn't comfortable, but there was nothing for it but to plough on. I have a mantra I bring out on these occasions, gleaned from one of the Rich Roll podcasts - "Being comfortable with being uncomfortable."

One of the joys of that first couple of hours was that we had wonderful views of loads of Red Kites, soaring and swooping around us - sometimes just overhead. When the main diet here in the SW is the odd buzzard, this was a treat indeed!

I learned a few things about endurance events, and myself, yesterday. One of them was that once it had been raining steadily for a longish period - say over an hour - rain became the norm, and it no longer bothered us. We all agreed on this. Another was that once my feet were wet - and this was inevitable, since the puddles eventually became too big to avoid - some time after the squelching had gone, my feet began to feel warm and dry again. They weren't, of course, but they felt OK. This was more noticeable with my Asics road trainers than with my Inov8 trail shoes. I had started off wearing my trail shoes, went to change socks at the halfway point, but didn't want to put dry socks into wet shoes - so I rather stupidly put on my dry trainers - which became soaked within 10 minutes of getting back on track!

14.32 - by now we'd got used to the rain, and just accepted it.

15.34 - Glad to get out of these wet shorts! And, taking note of Paul Millson's advice to keep warm, I donned a pair of joggers and an extra fleece which I'd been carrying in my rucksack. So the poncho worked on my top half, at least.  

Knowing that vegan food would possibly be hard to find on the route, I had brought with me a couple of Gregg's vegan sausage rolls, and 4 pre-cooked Richmond meat-free sausages, plus, as a treat, a dozen dates stuffed with marzipan. I planned on having one of these every hour. In the event I had more than enough, and came home with 5 of the dates still uneaten. Not being a fan of hydrating with water, I took along a 1ltr flask with black coffee, and again, I still had half a mug left.

My son had the difficult task of guiding us around the route he had chosen, using a combination of his iPhone and Garmin watch. The rain was so persistent and heavy that he had trouble accessing the phone at times. But he kept us on track for the whole 50k - with about 75% trails and 25% roadwork.

I have to pay tribute to Alfie, who suffered a groin strain when he slipped early on - and he developed the odd blister  But he never complained, and just got on with it. I saw a quote from Bob Unsworth, on The Ultra Challenge Club FB page, which I've relayed to Alfie: "Doing it without the adrenaline buzz of an event makes it that much more impressive.”

We did 48k in daylight - just the final 2 in darkness where we needed our head torches. In fact, as the light dwindled, so did the rain, finally. Just as we arrived home! Bloody typical! 😃😃

19.26 - 3 smiling faces! And why wouldn't we be happy - we'd just smashed 50k in nine and a half hours in the pouring rain, and we only had hot showers, warm, dry clothing and hot or cold drinks and a takeaway in front of us!

I can't begin to convey the feeling of satisfaction - along with some euphoria - that we all felt, as we finished. It had been a wonderful day, with some real highs, and one or two - very short in duration - lows, it must be said. But the opportunity to test ourselves, in our loved ones company, was something really special. A day I will savour for a long time - an occasion to remember, indeed!

A huge thanks to my supporters - the animals at Pear Tree Farm Sanctuary will also thank you. There's still time to donate - you'll find a link a little further down this blog. 

These are the reason I'm fundraising - these guys will get to live out their whole lives in peace and freedom. Surrounded by nothing but love! But it costs money for feed, vets bills, etc. So any pennies you can spare will be hugely appreciated - and put to good use!

I'll post their names, as soon as I find out from Bex at Pear Tree farm.

One last thought about my ultra adventures - and my ambition is to do 50 of these before my 100th birthday - or three a year: We can all do more than we think we can! In fact, we can all do much more than we think we can!

(As a treat for reading this far, I give you my chocolate cake recipe, down the side of this post - you'll be glad you did! An 8" cake, with only 5 ingredients and costing around 40p! What's not to like?)

Monday 27th September 2021

I've been holding off posting this update, since my son was unable to arrange childcare for the Chiltern 50 ultra and we were casting around for something to take its place. So, we've had to go to plan B. We still intend to do a 50k - but this time a Virtual one - and plumped for the Virtual Challenge Trek to Kilimanjaro - 50k exactly,  over the Chilterns - this coming weekend. And we're to be joined by my grandson, Alfie! But my fundraiser for Pear Tree Farm Sanctuary (link below)is still ongoing - I'm hoping to run it until the week ending 10th October.

My training is going well - walking about 70+km a week, ATM. And, whisper it quietly, I actually did some run/walk this morning, only for about a mile, but it's a start!

22nd August 2021

There's no doubt about it, at least in my experience, ultra marathons are addictive! My friend Alex, who also did the South West Coast 2 Coast last month - his first ultra - is now actively planning to do 10 ultras throughout 2022! And my son, Ben, who also did the ultra with me, took less than a week afterwards to start looking at his next ultra - the Chiltern 50. Then I started thinking about it, and decided - just yesterday - that I would like to do it with him.

Fundraising: When I did my 100k challenge last year, Dean Farm Sanctuary was the beneficiary; For the SWC2C challenge, Viva! benefited. I figure these two charities represent two sides of the same coin. So this time I'm going for another sanctuary - Pear Tree Farm Animal Sanctuary.

The ultra takes place on the 25th of September, so we have 5 weeks to prepare. I thought long and hard about funding it - it costs £130 to self-fund, but only £10 if I was to fund-raise for a charity. This would require me to raise £395 - over 5 weeks I thought this would be doable. But the problem with that is that half of the money has to be with the charity 3 weeks before the ultra.

So I've got 2 weeks to raise £200. 

Please donate if you are able to - but if you're a bit short this month, I would appreciate it if you would share this among your friends. :)

Here's my Facebook fundraiser.

And I'm just about to start a fundraiser with, recommended by Money Saving Expert, they take no commission - every penny goes to the charity - for those not on Facebook.

Monday 6 September 2021


Tuesday 27th July 2021

Well, I did it! Or at least I completed 70km out of the full 102km. I'll come on to why I had to drop out in a moment, but I want to start at the beginning. But first, I should like to thank everyone who donated to Viva! both on Just Giving, and on Facebook Donate. I finished up raising around £1700 which is absolutely amazing! Thank you, each and everyone of you!😍😍

Here's an article that I wrote an article for the Vegan Runners Newsletter, about the whole adventure - and it was an adventure, it was a complete blast!

Sunday 5 September 2021


This was first posted in 2013 and started out as a weekly menu, but I've since added to it. I need to update this, since I try to follow Dr Greger's Daily Dozen, and my lunch routine has changed considerably.)

Porridge – made with water - is probably the healthiest breakfast. Combine it with blueberries, strawberries or whatever suits your fancy.  I like mine with blackstrap molasses – although I no longer draw faces and yachts on the porridge as I did with treacle when I was younger! (Still do with the grandchildren on occasion! :-) )

My wife has hers with sultanas (soaked overnight) and banana. (Ugh!)

I only have porridge about once a week - my usual breakfast used to be spicy fruit naan, slathered with mashed banana.

However, since I'm rarely hungry in the morning, I skip breakfast these days, except for the once a week porridge when my wife and I have a Sunday lie-in.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

HEALTHY - and I mean healthy and guilt free — flapjacks:

200g chopped dates

200g banana

200g rolled oats

50g peanut butter

Turn oven on to 180C/350F

Soften the dates with the water - I microwave them for 2 minutes.

Add the banana and mix into a paste - I used a hand-held blender for this

Add the oatmeal and the peanut butter - I get mine from our zero waste shop, just pure peanuts

Mix together into a stiff, but very sticky, dough, using a table knife

Place the dough onto a baking paper lined oven tray and press down evenly to your chosen thickness - 5mm or 1/4”. Wet your knife or spoon, whatever you’re using for this.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the temp down to 150C/300F for a further 15 minutes.

TBH, I was trying to get them to crisp up a little at this stage, but they still remained a bit soggy - but with a chewy texture. 

I also did some in the frying pan over a very low heat. Place spoonfuls of the mixture around the pan, press them flat with the back of a wet spoon. Turn over after 5 minutes. Keep turning over until you think they’re done. 


Think I’ll add some cocoa powder next time. And you could add sultanas/seeds to this, no problem. I reckon a pocketful of these would keep you going for a few hours, at least!

23/7/21 - for my latest version, which I took on the ultra,  I added:

1 dsp cocoa powder

125g sultanas


Thursday 27 May 2021


My new, personalised leaflets:

These came courtesy of The Everyday Activity Shop and are a great conversation starter. 
I've been giving these out to everyone I meet.

Tuesday 25th May 2021
Gave out a couple of dozen leaflets to a gang of construction workers who regularly gave me encouragement when I swing past their building site whilst doing my training. Also on offer was a piece of my chocolate cake, just to show how tasty vegan food can be:

One of the guys, who'd seen me coming, had a load of spare change to give me, so another £2.80 goes into the pot.

Wednesday 26th May 2021
Good start to the day with a phone consultation with a physio. After taking my history, and hearing about my challenge, he said he would mail me some knee strengthening exercises. I told him I attribute my physical fitness to plant-based nutrition, and he told me he was interested in veganism, but was very nervous about it. So I told him I would send him some links which would allay his fears.
Later, whilst shopping in Taunton, I came across a young guy who told me he liked my VEGAN AF beanie. So I asked him if he was vegan - which he was, as was his partner. Lovely couple, Taylor and Lily. They'd both been vegan for about 5 years. Taylor had experience of Cubes of Truth in Sydney, and had met James Aspey. So he's going to look up AV: Taunton on Facebook, and maybe join us on the streets. Turned out he was also a runner, on and off, but his brother was a serious runner who had recently done the Somerset 6 peaks challenge, which I've not heard of, and I'm unable to find anything about it. We are both fans of David Goggins, so we swapped a few stories and quotes about him. 
Later I asked a young checkout guy if he had any friends - he had three or four, he said. "Thought about it yourself?" I asked. He hadn't, but he took a leaflet and promised to check out all the links.


[This was written back in March, last year, just before the first lockdown. The material I use has changed, but the method - seizing every opportunity to start a conversation - hasn't. ]

3rd March 2020
Scroll down a bit for my latest outreach efforts - also known as the latest episode of, 'Never leave home without some AV cards.]

Casual outreach - and organised animal rights activism
When shopping, I try and head for a young checkout operator, and I ask them if they have any vegan friends. Generally, the answer is "Yes." I then produce a card and ask them to pass it along to their friend(s), pointing out the AV Taunton link - "We're always looking for new people to join us." Then I ask them if they’ve thought of going vegan themselves - and often the answer is they’ve thought about it a bit. So I quickly go through a couple of links on the card, on the back of which I’ve written “The Game Changers” NETFLIX, and I tell them to watch that.
I've now started asking older checkout operators if they have any vegans in their family - same conversation ensues, although not so often.
If I see anyone pick up a vegan item in a supermarket, I'll start a conversation - often starting off by saying, "Oh, I haven't tried that, what's it like? Are you vegan yourself?" And away we go. Or I'll check out someone's items on the conveyor belt at the checkout.
I've been known to ask a group of obviously fit young lads about their fitness - then it's "Have you watched The Game Changers? It's about these elite athletes who are all going vegan and finding their performance is enhanced - not just their performance on the playing field!" Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. 😎
I'm a bit more circumspect when it comes to young women, although there was a girl on a train not long ago, carrying a hockey stick, and carrying a sports bag. I asked her if she'd heard about a plant-based diet improving sports performances. She was very interested and promised to look into it.
If you've read all this waffle, you're probably wondering where you can get hold of these AV cards I keep handing out. The best way is to join your local AV Chapter on Facebook. We're AV Taunton - and come along to one of our Cube of Truth demonstrations, where we try to educate the public about the horrors of animal farming, asking them to go vegan. It is, without doubt, the most painless way into activism. YOU are in control of how much you want to participate. Standing there, behind a mask, supporting a TV, with a sling over your shoulders (doesn't weigh much, and you can keep your hands warm in your pockets), you're part of a static display which attracts passers-by. When you've had enough and you want a break, someone will swap you out, and you can hang around and shadow an experienced outreacher talking to someone. ONLY when you feel comfortable - and this is at your own pace - do you begin to do some outreach. Often, what happens is that you'll be standing there behind the mask, you'll hear one of the outreachers make a point, and you'll think to yourself, "I could have said that", and slowly, your confidence grows. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Becoming active for the animals is the quickest and best way to increase your circle of vegan friends. I began my AV activism knowing perhaps half a dozen other vegans - now I have scores of ARA friends, all over the SW. People I'm proud to stand alongside and fight for the animals with and call my dear friends - my second family, in fact. And the satisfaction, and fulfilment that you feel after a Cube is immense. I spoke to about 7 people in Bath today, who all said they would check out the links on the card with a view to going vegan. I doubt this will happen straight away with all of them, but, seeds have been planted - and with one couple, who said they would support each other, I'm pretty confident that they will make the change.
As vegans, we all have the benefit of going to sleep with a clear conscience. But just being vegan is a non-action - it's like being a non-sexist, or a non-racist, it should be the default position - you're merely not contributing to the violence towards animals. As an Animal Rights Activist, you also have the benefit of knowing you're doing something good for the animals - and you're on the right side of history!💚💪💚