by Bronwyn Slater
Going vegan has never been easier. It is now possible to buy vegan versions of every type of food you have been accustomed to eating – from cheese, cream, milk, eggs, yoghurt, ice-cream and chocolate to fake meats such as burgers, sausages, mince, bacon, roasts and slices. You can now find many of these vegan products on the shelves of supermarkets. Others you will find in health and wholefood shops, and also online. Tesco UK stock a large range of vegan products, as do Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl. In the US, Trajer Joe’s and Whole Foods Market have a huge range of vegan products, and you’ll also find vegan products in the other supermarket chains like Costco, Walmart and many others. There is really no excuse not to go vegan as you won’t need to miss out on any of your favourite foods. You can literally continue with your cooking as normal – substituting the vegan products for the animal-based ones.
For those who wish to eat a whole food plant-based diet there are plenty of recipes online which will allow you to create tasty dishes from scratch using vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
What about eating out in restaurants? For most cities you will more than likely be able to find a vegan guide to eating out which will list vegan-friendly eateries in that city. These are restaurants which provide at least one vegan starter and main course, or possibly more. The Happy Cow is a great website which has lists of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in cities worldwide. More and more restaurants are becoming aware of the need to provide vegan options and it is getting easier to eat out as a vegan. If you haven’t booked or researched in advance, the chef should be able to provide you with a vegan option or be able to ‘veganise’ one of the existing dishes. Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern restaurants are usually a good bet. Indian restaurants always have a good range of vegetarian options and can always provide vegan options, but watch out for ghee (clarified butter) in some of their sauces. Vegetable burritos and enchiladas (minus the sour cream and cheese) are options at Mexican restaurants. Falafel is usually vegan and Middle Eastern restaurants usually have lentil dishes, bread and hummus which should be suitable for vegans but you should always confirm with staff.
Veganism is not just a diet – it is a lifestyle. So, when buying clothes you should be careful to look at labels to make sure there is no wool, silk or leather in the garment. When buying shoes, make sure they don’t contain any leather or suede by checking the label. Good quality vegan shoes can be bought online.
When buying cosmetics, toiletries or cleaning products you should check the labels to make sure they are suitable for vegans and are not animal tested. Many brands are completely vegan, so if you stick to buying these you should be fine. The Vegan Society’s trademark symbol on a product means it is suitable for vegans and has not been tested on animals. The Leaping Bunny symbol indicates that the product has not been animal tested.
Here are some websites which help guide you on going vegan:
- Veganuary – Starter Guide
- Choose Life…Go Vegan
- How Do I Go Vegan
- Vegan Starter Kit
- Starter Kit from PCRM
- 21-Day Vegan Kickstart
- The Vegan Coach
- Challenge 22+
- International Vegan Association – vegan starter guide
- Be Fair Be Vegan – Starter Guide
Veganism is the future and going vegan is the right thing to do. More and more people are becoming aware of how animals suffer for our food, clothing and other products and veganism is spreading. As it does, new ranges of vegan products are popping up on the shelves. It has never been easier to go vegan, so why not start today? You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
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