It’s time to talk about the ‘V’ word…Veganism.
Veganism is one of the leading social movements that has gained phenomenal traction over the last couple of years, driven by a perfect storm of people’s growing concern over animal welfare, the environmental impact of meat and dairy, and a burgeoning interest in personal health. According to The Vegan Society, vegans and vegetarians look set to make up a quarter of the British population in 2025, and flexitarians just under half of all UK consumers.
A 2019 Imperial College study demonstrated that your diet is where you can make the biggest difference to reduce your detrimental impact on the Earth, followed by travel and heating, and given the urgency of the current climate crisis, many people are increasingly turning to plant-based food.
However, it can be daunting to know where to begin, particularly when faced with a whole array of ingredients you’ve never used before – where can you buy jackfruit?! Or, perhaps you feel like nothing else can replace the taste of the meat on your plate and the milk in your tea. Going vegan is a huge step-change for a lot of people, which is why an increasing number of companies promote the idea of going ‘vegan-ish’ and make small changes to your diet to slowly increase the amount of plant-based foods you eat.
We’re a diverse mix of carnivores, vegans, vegetarians and veganish-ers at Seedrs, so we asked our employees for their top tips for going vegan or veganish. Here’s what they shared:
1. Oat milk for the win
“When I took part in Veganuary last year, the thing I was most worried about giving up was milk in my tea, until someone recommended oat milk (specifically Oatly Barista), as it’s just as creamy and doesn’t go into weird bits in the water, and I’ve never gone back to cows milk since.”
“Oat milk is the creamiest alternative, especially Oatly Barista which works really well in lattes and cappuccinos. If you’re looking for a ‘skimmed’ alternative, go for unsweetened almond milk.”
“Always shake your oat milk before pouring it, or it tends to separate (which is completely normal)!”
2. Look for insta-piration
“I’ve found that following a range of tasty Instagram accounts such as Healthy Living James, Clumsy Vegan, Ugly Vegan and Vegan Bowls etc. has really got me into it. Every time I open the app, I’m likely to see a brand new recipe.”
3. More things are vegan than you might think
“Sainsbury’s bacon rasher crisps, chicken pot noodles, (nearly) all dried pasta, pizza bases, garlic bread (store dependent) are all vegan.”
“Oreo’s are vegan (albeit they might have cross-contact with milk in the factory), as are a lot of well-known favourites such as McVite’s Ginger Nuts, Rich Tea Biscuits and Fox’s Party Rings to name a few!”
4. Not all vegan cheeses are created equal
“Cream cheeses are usually the best at coming close to the real deal, but some alternatives for hard cheese can be a bit icky. Violife and Applewood smoked cheese both have brilliant melts and are great for toasties and sauces.”
5. The secret to an eggy taste
“When making tofu scramble or carbonara (or basically anything eggy) Kala Namak, aka Indian black salt, is really brilliant at mimicking the taste – use sparingly but make sure you add it as a seasoning at the end; otherwise, the heat will burn off the eggy taste.”
6. Use an app to scan your products
“Is It Vegan? App lets you scan products to confirm ingredients.”
7. Your new go-to coffee chains
“Costa and Pret won’t charge you extra for non-dairy milk, so head there to get your caffeine fix.”
8. Skip the meat aisle and head to the butchers
“If you don’t want to give up meat fully, start buying from a local independent butcher, where you can be more confident that you’re choosing genuinely free-range animals fed a natural diet and farmed more sustainably. I don’t eat any meat from supermarkets, only if I get it specifically from a butcher, which means I end up eating two portions of meat per week max.”
9. Fake it until you make it
“A LOT of the copy-cat vegan alternatives offered by brands are genuinely indistinguishable from the real thing – for example, Hellman’s vegan mayo, vegan Magnum ice creams and vegan spread.”
“When a recipe asks for double cream, use Elmlea plant double cream (whips up just as it should) or soak and blend cashews to make a creamy curry sauce.”
10. Meaty veg
“Meaty veg like mushrooms and aubergine are great for mimicking the texture of meat. There are several varieties of each which you can flavour differently to achieve a similar taste – for pulled pork, shred king oyster mushrooms and cook in lots of smoked paprika.”
11. Embrace the knowledge at your fingertips
“There are so many apps and websites to help you, for example, https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-apps/ will provide you with an abundance of vegan restaurants, products, and cruelty-free beauty and makeup easier than ever before.”
“Happy Cow is a good directory for vegan/veggie eateries if you want to eat out but aren’t sure what options there are locally.”
12. Go at your own pace
“Most importantly, go at your own pace. Some people go vegan overnight; some people are happy being veganish and making small changes to their diet.”
“If you’re aiming to go completely vegan, don’t worry if you make a mistake – just try your best. If you slip up on a night out or accidentally eat some honey, it’s not the end of the world; you’re still working towards making a difference!”
We will soon be partnering with Allplants to help them raise the capital they need to make more people vegan-ish. To find out more, pre-register your interest in investing.