Ok, I probably do. Not that that pizza doesn’t look delicious, but because there is so much more to be said that a photo can’t convey (at least not with my photographic skills).
Having failed many a time at both meditation and making my own pizza, I am delighted to have found a delicious and nutritious shortcut to Higher Karma. Topped with asparagus, artichokes, roasted peppers, olives, tomatoes, spinach and pine nuts, this pizza – painstakingly chosen out of the numerous equally tantalising options on the Karma Free Pizza Company menu – was pretty much made for me. Well, I know it wasn’t, but it may as well have been – I’m not sure I could have designed a more perfect combination for my tastes myself.
So where to start?
Ok, first, delicious pizza. Truly and honestly, with no hidden agenda other than the desire to see vegan pizza and ethical companies dominate the world. I have always been an advocate of eating from non-vegan establishments, to demonstrate that it is possible and to help raise awareness, and also because too often vegan eateries are a bit out of my everyday budget. But I have never been satisfied with vegan pizzas. The closest I have come to enjoying a vegan pizza has been ordering Domino’s pizzas without the cheese – as they are so greasy and doughy, they don’t really suffer from the lack of cheese, whereas although I obviously prefer traditional thin-crust authentic pizza, I am often disappointed with what turns out to be a slap of crispbread with some tasteless toppings scattered on top. Not the case here: the dough was thin yet tenderly chewy – if that phrase doesn’t make much sense, just imagine the perfect pizza dough and you’re pretty much there. The toppings were generous but not overdone, in each mouthful you could taste your chosen combination of toppings alongside the rich tomato sauce, accompanied by just a slight cheesy twang. I didn’t know pizzas could be so perfectly constructed.
Well, they’re cheap. I would pay a lot more for this meal. However, the fact that I don’t have to means I can go more often – which is win-win really! I like winning, and in certain situations I like knowing that other people are winning too.
Those sorts of situations normally involve good people and ethical companies. Cha-ching! Now people say I smile a lot but I met my match in Karma Free – friendly, happy, genuine, attentive service. I was even offered a top-up of green tea, boosting the value for money of my excellent meal further.
And it’s not just a one-off. Although I had heard of the Karma Free Pizza Company before, the reason I chose to go at this particular time was because I saw their appeal on Facebook and Twitter to provide hot pizza for free to people sleeping rough.
All too often people forget that veganism is not just about compassion to other animal species, but also to our fellow humans. I was just so touched by this, that I vowed I would help support the business – even if it was just a thinly disguised excuse to eat pizza!
Oh and as if all that wasn’t already sounding good enough, it’s not just the pizza that’s good.
Ben and I shared some seasoned wedges with vegan mayonnaise as a starter/side. Again, I didn’t quite realise that wedges could be that good. Crispy and just oily enough on the outside, tender and mealy on the inside, mayo light and creamy. Again, can’t fault it!
So how does this fit in with fitness and healthy eating? Well first let me argue that it’s not all about being fit and healthy all the time. But if you are going to worry about it, this makes the perfect cheat meal. Instead of going and getting the greasiest, junkiest (vegan) food you can find, why not have something that provides all of the satisfaction of taste and carbs, but with the added benefit of organic, freshly-prepared ingredients, home-cooked, with a variety of fresh vegetables of all nutritional properties – toppings include avocado, spinach, tofu, asparagus, chili… plenty to slip into your nutrition plan! Instead of going all out with wedges like Ben and I did (your S&C coach and personal trainer setting the example as always) you could opt for one of the frankly tempting salads. And have a green tea with your meal! Though even if you were to go a little more wild with a soft drink, ease your conscience in the knowledge that there are organic and natural options there too.
If there was one concern left on your mind it might be the travel. For those of you who don’t live in London, or anywhere near London, alright. You’re off the hook. But if you live anywhere in London, you can either take the Metropolitan Line or the Piccadilly Line to Rayners Lane which looks far away but really once you’re on the Tube it’s really not much more of an effort to sit there for a little longer. Then once you get off it’s literally about a 2 minute walk straight down a main road.
I would just like to reiterate that I have no affiliation with the Karma Free Pizza Company, and will not gain anything from this favourable review. I just feel so passionately about small businesses doing something good – as I said, being vegan isn’t all about the animals! I also firmly believe that fitness enthusiasts should know about slightly-less-unhealthy cheat options or slightly-more-delicious healthy options, and I know the vegan world always loves to get its hands on good pizza. And everyone in London likes cheap food. (and if you still don’t believe me, check out Mitsu and Sasha’s review, these TripAdvisor reviews, or this collection of reviews on Veggie Heaven)
So the bottom line is, no excuses. Get yourself to Karma Free Pizza one way or another. You know I hate excuses!