Proprietor Sally Hayes

Hello, I'm Sally Hayes and I run Tod Almighty.  I've started this blog because I want to offer some back-story on why we sell what we do, why we think some of our suppliers are brilliant, and ideas for living more sustainably.  I hope you enjoy reading it.  You can reply to any of the posts below (but replies are moderated to avoid spam) – I look forward to hearing from you!


Veganuary 2023 part 1

Are you thinking you might do Veganuary this year? You’re in good company…

Nearly 630,000 people signed up to Veganuary last year, not bad for an organisation set up only 8 years ago. It's an annual challenge run by a UK non-profit organisation that promotes and educates about veganism, for reasons of animal welfare, environmental concerns and for health. It has information, recipes, help and advice on its website to encourage people to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January, and beyond! As it says on its website (

"Our vision is simple: we want a vegan world. A world without animal farms and slaughterhouses. A world where food production does not decimate forests, pollute rivers and oceans, exacerbate climate change, and drive wild animal populations to extinction."

I did Veganuary back in 2016, when I had been slowly and reluctantly moving closer to veganism for about 10 years. I found it very helpful in that although I was nearly there anyway, it was a much easier to make a commitment just for a month rather than forever. And then I was so happy to be finally vegan that I never looked back! It was easier than I expected (although I was lucky there – I was running my own wholefood shop so I was able to try all the new stuff.) I missed cheese for a while but that faded quite quickly. Things have changed so much – I remember back in 2016 I had to be very careful using the 'V' word in the shop because I had so many people running out of the shop, apologising in embarrassment as they sincerely thought they couldn’t come into a vegan shop if they weren't vegan! One of the really good things about vegan food is that you don't have to be vegan to eat it! And most people realise that now – my customers in 2022 are mostly people who are happily 'not quite' vegans, but eat a mostly vegan diet. That's fine by me. But I do offer a 10% discount to those who go that extra distance and sign up to be 100% plant eaters – let us know if you have Vegan Society or Viva! membership cards.

I became a vegan mainly for animal welfare and environmental reasons, which have become even more desperate every year since then. This blog is written from my own perspective, and I do feel passionate about the issues involved, but it does seem that most scientists are agreeing with me now, which is a nice change. There are 3 main issues:

1) Animal welfare – The factory farming of animals, particularly pigs, chickens and cows, is in my opinion ethically indefensible. Modern farming practices take no regard for the animal's right to any sort of life, and often makes every moment of their lives a misery. The acceptance of the killing of baby animals as just part of farming practice is grotesque. A lot of people are so far removed from the real world of farming that they don't realise that eating animal products rather than their flesh is no better, and is sometimes even worse – millions of male chicks are killed on the day they hatch, dairy cows are continually impregnated and their male calves are shot at birth, if they are not being raised for meat. These dreadful modern 'plagues' we are having now come from mistreatment of animals – Covid from 'wet markets' in China, SARS from the eating of bushmeat, bird flu from intensive indoor rearing of poultry, swine flu from intensive rearing of pigs in crowded and unhygienic conditions, mad cow disease from feeding beef cattle ground up sheep brains (whoever thought that was a good idea?) No wonder we unleash awful diseases on the world which affect humans too.

2) Sustainability – Eating less meat and dairy is right up there with reducing use of fossil fuels as one of the key things we can do to limit global warming. Modern farming of cows and sheep releases huge amounts of methane (one of the most powerful warming pollutants) and nitrates into the environment. It also takes up an inordinate amount of room – if more people adopted a vegan diet there would be enough room in this country to feed ourselves and still have land spare which could be rewilded to fight the catastrophic mass extinctions that are starting to happen. Eating an organic diet is even better – fewer pesticides and other toxic chemicals ending up in food and the environment.

3) Health – It is now accepted that veganism is good for health: it can lead to weight loss, a lowering in cholesterol, it can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. There is plenty of calcium and iron in veg, especially green leafy vegetables. Lentils are high in protein, fibre and vitamins. Plant milks are often fortified with vitamins, so are other foods such as Engevita nutritional yeast enhanced with B12, and seeds such as Chia and Flaxseed are high in omega 3 fatty acids. However you can always take a supplement if you think you need to.

(continued in part 2)

View of the shop, full of vegan things!
View of the shop, full of vegan things!

Veganuary 2023 part 2

(continued from part 1)

New Vegans

Years ago getting hold of vegan food was very hard, and there wasn't much choice. Nowadays there is vast and growing array of tasty food to choose from – to suit all budgets.

Veganise your diet

The simplest way to stick your toe in the water is just to replace your usual favourite menu items with a vegan equivalent – burgers, pizzas, sausages, mince, bacon, cheese, pies and pasties, cakes and biscuits. At the shop we are happy to advise which of these you might like to try – some recent meat replacements are really astonishingly good! As for milk, we do a large range of plant milks to suit all tastes. Personally I like the Oato oat milk which we have delivered in glass bottles from the local milkman – British grown oats, barrista, glass refillable and reusable bottles so NO PLASTIC and much more sustainable. We also like Naturli 'Do NOT call me M_lk' which has the equivalent nutritional profile to semi skimmed milk, and their butter is JUST like dairy butter, good for cooking as well as spreading on toast. Oatly and Sojade are also good milks. Vegan cheese has improved vastly over the last 10 years, Patifu tofu pates are great for sandwiches, so is hummus or sliced meat replacements, and egg free mayo is very nice. Then, when you are relaxed a bit and know that you won’t starve, you can start developing a range of healthy, easy meals that you enjoy.

Budget meals

Everybody is short of money nowadays and being vegan doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money on food. Lentils are nutritious and cheap – try adding beluga lentils to TVP mince for delicious and nutritious shepherds pie, red lentils for soups and veggy stews, green lentils for a lasagne, chana dahls for curries. You can use chickpeas in risottos, nuts in salads etc, both a good source of protein. Surprisingly, some dishes like lasagne and trifle are actually really easy to veganise, with a little help like vegan jelly and vegan cheese sauce. There are lots of helpful recipes online e.g. at or 

Tips on cooking and baking

It's easy to make cakes without eggs by adding either an egg replacement or some ground flaxseed, a little vinegar and extra baking powder. You can have fun trying new things like scrambled eggs and cheesecake made with silken tofu, kebabs using veg and assorted firm tofu, even meringues with aqua faba. Yoghurt – if soya yoghurt doesn't appeal try coconut (delicious) or Nush (almond yoghurt with fruit, and totally delicious, and no added sugar). New products are coming out all the time (mostly naughty stuff), like 'Shicken' Korma curry or Tikka kebabs, or Coconut Collaborative 'Wonderfully whippable' Double Cream.


These are not necessarily 'wholefoods' but are much better than the dairy equivalent and make it a lot easier to stay on the straight and narrow if it tastes so good! Booja booja ice cream, made from cashews, is totally scrummy, and there's a huge range of vegan chocolate available nowadays some organic, some fairtrade, some palm oil free. We also sell hot pasties cooked fresh every day in the shop which are very popular with diehard vegans and carnivores alike.


The main thing I want to say in this blog is that going vegan is an all round GOOD THING and if you fancy giving it a go, then doing Veganuary is a good time to start. It's much easier and more enjoyable than it used to be given the huge variety and availability of vegan food nowadays, it's good for you, good for the planet and good for the animals. And we at Tod Almighty are happy to help you in that endeavour in any way we can.

Local links:

Three Valley Vegans (local group supporting all who want to move towards a vegan lifestyle)

Muse Music (vegan cafe and record shop in Hebden)

Yakumama (excellent mainly vegan restaurant in Tod)

Nelson's (vegan restaurant and wine bar in Hebden)

Why we all need to eat less meat

To stop climate change we need to act quickly, we have very little time left, it may already be too late. It’s distressing to read or think about this, but please keep going, there’s a nugget of hope coming up. We need to stop burning coal which puts large amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a gas that causes the atmosphere to heat up and which stays up there for a thousand years or so. However, coal doesn’t only pollute the air with carbon dioxide, it also emits many other noxious gases, one of which is sulphur dioxide, which actually has a slightly cooling effect on the atmosphere. Sulphur dioxide, however, only stays in the atmosphere for 20 years. So, if we stopped burning coal today, in 20 years time the sulphur dioxide will stop doing its cooling job but the carbon will still be there warming things up, making it impossible to prevent runaway catastrophic climate change which will probably end the world as we want to know it.

So, what do we do? There is a way out. If we all adopted a diet where we ate a lot less meat and dairy the resulting reduction in methane being emitted would balance out the reduction in sulphur in the atmosphere, meaning that we might just manage to avoid the “catastrophic” bit I mentioned earlier. It would also free up land to use to grow plants for us to eat – eating a plant based diet is SO much better for the environment and uses SO much less land than meat and dairy that there would be enough land to be completely self sufficient in food grown in this country, AND to leave plenty of land left over for rewilding – to prevent the mass extinctions otherwise certain to happen in the natural world and to enhance our own quality of life and wellbeing.

So, I’ve decided to offer a 10% reduction to all card carrying members of The Vegan Society on production of their membership card, on all spends of £20 or more. This isn’t because I hate non vegans, in fact they are my favourite customers as I am all about encouraging people to move away from meat and dairy. But I now accept that our backs are up against the wall, there is no more time to waste waiting for politicians to do something. We all need to eat less meat – if you're starting to do that then Tod Almighty can help you to find plenty of delicious plant-based food. And if you are able to commit to a completely plant-based diet then I’m very happy to be able to give you a small thankyou. On behalf of my children and grandchildren.



Our new kraft brown paper bags
Our new kraft brown paper bags

Graham in the cellar doing the job he loves
Graham in the cellar doing the job he loves

BAGS – pros and cons

As you might know or expect from a refill shop, we are all about reducing plastic waste. So we don’t sell plastic bags and try to avoid plastic as much as we can. We buy almost all our wholefoods in bulk and sell them either from the dispensers into our customers’ own containers, or we bag them up ourselves into paper or cellophane bags.

Now, we’re no experts, but we know that the “which bag is best” question is full of controversy and very complicated! As far as using resources go, plastic bags are by far the most environmentally friendly, believe it or not – they are usually made from waste products of the oil industry, they are tough and strong, lightweight, waterproof, and are able to be used repeatedly. The trouble with them is that very indestructability – they take hundreds of years to break down in the environment and then they end up as microplastics which are about the worst thing we are littering the earth with. They are technically able to be recycled but in practice rarely are. And we use hundreds of billions of them every year! So in my opinion we should just stop using them, full stop.

But what about cellophane bags? They are made from plant starch – usually either wood, potato or corn. They take more resources to make but at least they are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Up until now we have been using them in the shop for bagged up salads, muesli, nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc, in fact for most of our wholefoods. We like them as they are transparent so you can see what is inside, waterproof, relatively tough and fairly cheap (nowhere near as cheap as plastic, of course!) The trouble with them is that unless you have a really good hot home compost bin they take a very long time to decompose. So most people put them in the “general rubbish” which means they end up in landfill. They could theoretically go into the council’s food waste recycling bins but they look too much like plastic bags so the councils won’t accept them. And in landfill they act like food waste in that as they break down they give off methane gas, one of the major greenhouse gases.

What about cotton or jute? We do sell recycled fair trade cotton string bags, jute strong shopping bags, and small cotton bags for veg and dry wholefoods. These have by far the heaviest environmental footprint in terms of resources to produce them, but can be used hundreds of times (as long as you remember to bring them with you!)  But they are not much good for us bagging up stock in the stop. And they are expensive.

So that leaves paper. Paper bags use a lot more resources to make them than plastic – they come from trees, which are cut down in order to make the paper, they are heavy and not very strong so it is more difficult (but not impossible) to reuse them. They aren’t suitable for anything that is wet or has oil or juice on it, and they aren’t transparent so you can’t see what’s inside. However, even bearing all that in mind I still think they are the best option of all the bags as they are both compostable, biodegradable AND can be endlessly and easily recycled, which has the capacity to seriously increase their efficiency. 

So, all this is building up to an announcement from Tod Almighty about our bagging up – we have now vastly increased our use of paper bags rather than cellophane – Tadaa! – see photo. The bags we are using are the type known as “kraft” which are unbleached brown block bottomed paper bags, reasonably strong, and we make sure they are appropriately labelled. There always will be some items of stock that will have to continue being bagged up into cellophane but we are reducing them down as much as we can.

By the way, by FAR the best way of doing your shopping of course is to bring your own containers and REFILL them – thereby avoiding packaging altogether! We support the #justonebottle campaign which has been set up to publicise and encourage refilling. We love it when our customers do that but we are aware that it isn’t always possible. And we want our customers to have the opportunity to eat the decent healthy organic wholefoods that are inside the bags, however they get them home.

Life, for most of us, is a compromise. I don’t really believe in perfection. But I do think we owe it to the earth and everything in it to try to do what we can to reduce our impact on it.


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