Veganuary - Tips and Favourite Products for a Plant Base Lifestyle

"Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey - as well as products like leather and any tested on animals." Vegan Society

Veganuary is in full swing and there are exciting launches happening every where I turn and if you're on social media who knew a vegan sausage roll could cause so much drama (well done Greggs!). Generally I'll avoid officially labelling myself Vegan because my diet is complicated with allergies so I often refer to myself as a "non-meat eater".

If you ever thought having a Vegan or Plant Based lifestyle was difficult then why not reconsider because in the last few years the rise in options has been overwhelming. I now have a varied diet supplementing my vegetable intake with plant milks, ice creams, yoghurts, chocolate, cheese, burgers, pizza and so much more. I don't want to push Veganuary on you but if you are curious about a Vegan/Plant Based lifestyle stick with me as I'm going to share my favourite recipes and cupboard essentials.

Cupboard Staples
I will always have on hand the basics of grains, rice and pasta, tinned chickpeas, lentils, beans and tomatoes. Stir fry and pasta dishes are a quick and easy meals to create from scratch. There are lots of plant milks to chose from and I'm a fan of Almond and Soya milk. I opt for the UHT cartons as it tends to be cheaper and can stock up when on offer. I think you're not truly vegan unless your cupboards contains several tins of Nutritional Yeast (or Nooch as it is affectionately known) it looks like fish food but it's the key to creating cheese-like sauces with a depth of flavour. Crisps can be a little trickier to navigate as you'll find milk and meat in flavourings but there are options, it's also worth checking the Free From section at your store. For my lunch box I generally stick to Pom Bears or the own branded versions usually Tesco Bunny Bites.

Fridge/Freezer Staples
I recently switch my margarine from Pure to Vitalite. Pure was a staple for years but due to recipe change there have been complaints about the new flavour. Violife is my favourite cheese alternative (worth noting all own branded supermarket versions are made by Bute Island) and for yoghurts I opt for Alpro. Currently my favourite option for frozen products is Strong Roots and Fry's. Cooking from scratch is fun but sometimes we need ready meal options and there are ranges available at Waitrose, Sainsburys and Tesco. Everywhere seems to have been expanding product lines so I am sure more are on the way. Most standard condiments are vegan friendly but my favourite mayonnaise alternative is Veganise. I always have tofu on hand, it's excellent in stir frys and I love to make tofu scramble. On its own tofu is bland so the key is to marinate well but that's also what make it very versatile as it will take on the flavours in your dish.

Sweet Treats
I'm totally addicted to Vegan Almond Magnums but also enjoy Swedish Glace and the occasional Ben & Jerry (yes they have vegan options now). I try not to buy too many biscuits but my favourites are Oreos and Party Rings. For snacks on the go I opt for Liva's Kitchen and Nakd bars. When I'm after a chocolate hit my favourites are Ritter Sport Marzipan, Montezuma Sea Dog and Peanut butter truffle bites.

Inspirational Recipes/Cookbooks
If you need resources for recipes then I can recommend some Youtubers, check out Pick up Limes, Avantgarde Vegan, Rachel Ama, The Happy Pear, Madeleine Olivia, Edgy Veg, Sarah's Vegan Kitchen and Jess Beautician. I've a shelf full of cookbooks and would recommend Ms Cupcakes The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town (Mellissa Morgan) and Keep it Vegan & The New Vegan (Aine Carlin).

My go to recipes

Eating Out
Several years ago it felt like eating out was impossible but there are plenty of options and they are growing in popularity. My personal favourites are Zizzi and Wagamama but I think almost every high street chain restaurant has at least one vegan option. For sandwiches on the go you'll find options at Boots, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Starbucks, Costa and I'm sure many others.

I'd love to hear your vegan and plant based product suggestions? Do you have any tips to share for those staring out on their Veganuary journey? 

Sarah x