Veganism used to be pretty niche, but these days, everyone’s giving plant-based a go. From big brands to supermarkets, the range of vegan products available in mainstream stores has exploded in the last couple of years, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
Whether you’re looking to take part in Veganuary, plan to change your diet for good or just want to give plant-based eating a go a couple of days a week, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite products and recipes to help you get started.
You don’t have to change where you shop
Every supermarket seems to be jumping on the back of the growing vegan trend, especially at the beginning of the year. M&S, Co-op and Asda have all recently launched plant-based ready meals ranges and all the big-name retailers have vegan-friendly snacks and ingredients you can pick up on your way home from lectures.
Make sure you check the back of pack ingredients list as while many shops add a ‘vegan’ label to the front of pack, others don’t, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t vegan. Check the back of pack ingredients list and if you spot eggs, milk, whey and casein then it isn’t vegan. But you’ll be surprised how many products are - including some flavours of Pringles and even Oreos*!
You can still eat out and order in
Loads of high street chains now offer a vegan option, so do your homework before you book a table or order a takeaway. Pizza Express, Zizzi and Pizza Hut all do vegan options, as do Wagamama, Subway, Greggs and even Nando’s. There are all kinds of new independent takeaways and cafes opening up to, from vegan fish and chips, to Indian street food and even vegan junk food and doughnuts.
You can just tweak your favourite recipes
Cooking vegan meals doesn’t have to be complicated - you can still eat your favourites with a few simple swaps. Try vegan sausages in a breakfast butty, or veggie mince in place of beef. Love cheesy pasta but without the dairy? Glassworks resident and vegan blogger Harriet recommends nutritional yeast, which gives meals a cheesy flavour without the actual cheese. Or try grating a vegan cheese alternative like Violife over baked potatoes or in a toastie. You can read more of her top tips here
But remember to look after and listen to your body
Going vegan isn’t just about removing meat and dairy from your diet - you need to make sure you’re getting the right balance of macros (carbs, fats and proteins) and vitamins and minerals, otherwise you might find you feel tired or even unwell. You can get protein from tofu, lentils, chickpeas and mushrooms - see some of Harriet’s suggestions here and quinoa, rice and udon noodles are a great way to bulk out veg-only meals. If you’re finding going vegan full-time hard, try switching ingredients gradually or doing a few days a week until it becomes part of your routine.
Some brands, including Oreos, are made in factories where milk is handled so they will list it as a potential ingredient. So, if you’re doing Veganuary for the sake of your health and the planet, it’s up to you how strict you are.