Vegan food is not mysterious. We eat food; except ours don’t contain animal flesh or secretions.
“How do I know what’s vegan in the shops?”
Obviously much of the fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, greens, beans and legumes, nuts and whole grains.
For pre-packaged foods:
Join the Facebook group Vegan Supermarket Finds UK to see new/upcoming vegan foods hitting our chain stores.
Search the website My Vegan Supermarket to find vegan foods at all the big supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi, Waitrose, M&S etc
Check out the fantastic Vegan Womble – this site is a treasure trove of accidentally vegan goodies available in the UK- from chocolates, fizzy drinks, savoury snacks and everything in between.
Some ingredients on processed food products may contain animal ingredients hidden under the name of an E-number or another confusing name. Luckily lots of supermarkets and companies are labelling vegan-suitable products as such on the packaging, but it might not always be obvious and sometimes, a product might be vegan and not be labelled as such. See Veganuary’s guide on how to understand food labels and Double Check Vegan’s searchable tool for looking up individual products.
“Do I need to learn how to cook on a vegan diet?”
No, there’s many vegan ready-meals and convenience foods out there – burgers, hotdogs, curries, casseroles, pies, pasties, soups etc, you can absolutely get by – but honestly, the best food is the unprocessed home-prepared stuff. Once again, we urge you to read up on nutrition and recommend Dr. Gregor’s Daily Dozen app to make sure you have a well-rounded diet.
Luckily, even wholesome food tastes amazing! All of us should ideally have some idea how to prepare food, even if it’s learning how to make basic versions of pasta dishes, curries, soups, casseroles. It quickly becomes second nature- and works out cheaper, can be healthier (if sticking to a variety of whole foods) and opens up a new world of food to try.
Check out food bloggers, vloggers and chefs/authors: Bosh TV, Vegan Richa, Healthy Happy Life, Sweet Potato Soul, Minimalist Baker, Oh She Glows, Chef Akhi and The Vegan 8. Plus, all the big recipe sites, BBC Food, All Recipes and many others carry vegan recipes.
Don’t be shy about asking in vegan Facebook groups for products/recipe ideas.
There is so much out there!
“What about clothing?”
As well as not eating animal products, we don’t wear them either – leather, suede, fur, sheepskin, wool and silk all come at a cost – the exploitation and loss of life of sentient beings.
There are lots of alternatives to these – both synthetic and natural – which are available from high street stores, with more specialist stores available online.
The easiest way to find out if a shoe is vegan, is to first to check the labelling to make sure no part of the shoe contains leather/suede or other animal parts, and then search for the brand online/on social media to see if they use animal glue.
Sometimes real animal fur is mislabelled as faux/synthetic fur. You can watch a video on how to tell the difference.
“What about toiletries/personal care products?”
Some non-food products can contain animal products, or be manufactured by a company who tests on animals.
Luckily there are plenty of vegan and cruelty-free options available on the high street. Plus other brands available online.
Note: If a cosmetics company says that they do not test on animals except ‘when required to by law’ – they ARE testing on animals. This is because China requires cosmetics testing by law, and some brands think that this is okay, and go ahead with it rather than listening to their customers and going/staying cruelty-free.
“What about medicine?”
See the Vegan Society’s statement on this.
“What about other animals – such as those in pet shops, circuses, aquariums, racing horses/dogs, working animals, zoos, pony-painting, urban farms and animal centres?”
There isn’t a nice way to use any animal.
No matter where you are in the world, no matter how ‘qualified’ the person is who you speak to – if there is a business involving animals- the animals are being exploited. Even if they tell you the animals are ‘happy’ (such as exotic animals), or that they’re ‘required’ (such as working animals) or that they’re there as part of conservation/breeding projects (such as animals in zoos) – their freedom has been taken and their lives are usually unhappy and unnatural ones. For more information, see Freedom for Animals.
There are a few genuine vegan sanctuaries in the UK, who are home to animals rescued from the animal industries. These are registered charities who have created safe havens for our fellow animals.