Veganuary – A Student Survival Guide To Vegan London

2nd January 2017 Leigh Horan London Life

Image of vegan protestors

This month, thousands of people will take part in Veganuary, a movement that takes place every January, whereby people pledge to live as vegans for the entirety of the month. This means that they agree to live without consuming meat, dairy and eggs. Some people choose to also avoid honey, whilst those who wish to incorporate a stricter strain of veganism in their lives will avoid wearing leather, various wools, silk and the use of self-care items such as body washes and makeups that are tested on or contain animal derivatives.

If you’re looking to sign up to this movement too, you may be wondering how exactly you’ll eat during this time, where you can shop and how to approach veganism. Thankfully, there are many vegans already living, eating and working in and around London, meaning you won’t find it difficult at all. For a quick guide to being vegan in London, look no further.

Why veganism?

People become vegans for many reasons, and whether you’re trying veganism in January for ethical, economic or health reasons, know that you’re making a genuine positive impact on the world around you by doing so. The vegan lifestyle is not as difficult as it may first appear to be, which is what Veganuary will prove to you if you weren’t already vegan.

Image of a cow

Where to eat in London

A vegan diet can be quite constraining, especially if you’re used to usually being able to eat everything. You’ll now have to keep an eye out for milk, cream, butter, cheese, whey, whey protein, honey, beeswax, eggs, powdered eggs and yoghurt being surreptitiously slipped into your foods. Most vegetarian options are, rather lazily, simply a main with an egg or cheese as its focus. Thankfully, however, the vegan diet is becoming more popular, so there is a wealth of independent and chain restaurants that can provide suitable food.

Independents in London

Independent eateries supplying vegan grub are spread all over the capital, with more than a few having almost cultish status. Places that you should keep an eye out for include Manna, Tiosk, Oi Hanoi, Andu Café, Gujarati Rasoi, NAMA, 222 Veggie Vegan, Ms Cupcake, Wild Food Café and Vegan Hippo. For a bigger list look here. http://vegan.london/

Image of vegan food

Chains in London

London boasts a lot of chain restaurants, all the better to feed the crowds of people in the city. Some have a vegan menu or vegan options, or can even veganise certain options for you. If the sides on a meat option sound like they would be suitable, don’t be afraid to ask if the meal would be otherwise vegan and, if so, could you order without the meat? You’ll soon learn that you can bend a menu to suit your needs.

For the top chains to look out for for a guaranteed good eat, try Zizzis’ who have a vegan menu including pizza with vegan cheese, Pizza Express, who will add vegan cheese to your pizza if you bring your own, Las Iguanas who have tasty vegan options, Carluccio’s vegan options, JD Wetherspoon’s who have a strong vegan selection and even Toby Carvery who have amazing vegan mains for you to choose from. Wagamama’s and Yo Sushi also have great vegan menus, just ask your waiter for a copy!

Where to shop in London

Lots of big chain supermarkets stock vegan substitutes for meat and cheese, which you may be missing if this is something you’re used to having in your diet. This year Sainsbury’s launched their own dairy free cheese range called ‘Gary’, which has a range of cheeses that you can incorporate into meals or simply eat on their own. Quorn, the meat substitute brand, have this year begun making vegan chicken nuggets, as well as some other options of imitation meats.

You may wish to experiment with different milks, such as coconut, almond, hazelnut and soya. If, however, your reasons for trying veganism have a lot to do with saving money, then we would recommend sticking with soya milk and trying the sweetened versions available from Tesco or Aldi as these are cheaper.

Image of soy milk, sauce and tofu

Smaller stores such as Holland & Barrett stock fantastic burger options, as well as different brands of imitation meats and cheeses, and their own brand ‘pork’ pies, pasties and sandwiches. Great for if you need to grab something quick on the go. They also stock invaluable vegan multivitamins which will keep your B12 levels shipshape. Many health stores will also stock such things as nutritional yeast, which is great if you want to make a vegan mac ‘n’ cheese.

What you’ll soon come to realise is that veganism is much easier than it appears and you may want to incorporate it into your life completely once January has ended. Whatever your decision, being part of Veganuary means you’re making a massively positive impact, both for yourself and for the rest of the planet.

If you’re taking part in Veganuary this year let us know in the comments section.

Leigh Horan

Leigh Horan

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