The beginner’s guide to veganism

Would you like to change your lifestyle to a more cruelty-free and ethical one but are unsure where to start, or what to look out for? If so, here is our beginner’s guide to veganism, which includes: meat and dairy alternatives, cruelty-free cleaning and cosmetics, vegan clothing and how to spot an accidentally vegan find.

Don’t compromise on taste with these vegan meat alternatives

So many vegan brands are launching incredible like-for-like meat alternatives that are becoming more mainstream and easier to purchase in supermarkets. 

Popular brands such as THIS, Oumph! and Squeaky Bean to name a few, are replicating common fridge staples such as streaky bacon, succulent sausages and ready-to-eat cold-cut meats - creating a fuss-free home cooking experience for every mealtime. Replicating the taste and texture of barbecued pork style cuts, Doner kebab strips, thick juicy burgers and more - filled with protein, B12 and iron, so you won’t miss out on a thing.

The vegan egg

In December 2020, Crackd released the long-awaited cold-pressed vegan liquid egg that mimics both the white and the yolk of an egg! A versatile vegan egg that you can scramble, create hearty filled omelettes and bake light, moist fluffy cakes and Yorkshire puddings with. In June of this year, Crackd partnered up with THIS and Applewood to release their ready-made quiches in 2 classic flavours at Tesco.

Dairy alternatives

The dairy alternative industry has come a long way. Soy milk, the original dairy alternative milk, hit the market in the mid-1980s. Since then, we have many plant milks to choose from on supermarket shelves such as oat, rice and coconut. Recently Oatly released their Oat Drink Barista Edition, which is the perfect milk for hot drinks as it’s specifically made to not curdle with boiling water. Creating creamy coffees as well as being great for baking, cooking and being enjoyed straight from the carton.

A variety of plant-based milks in bottles and their constituent ingredients laid out next to them

Mizina/Getty Images

How can I tell if a product is vegan?

An easy way to spot a vegan product is to look for the Vegan Trademark on the packaging. An absence of the Vegan Trademark doesn’t mean the product isn’t suitable for vegans, it just doesn’t have the official accreditation. Under current laws, products can be labelled ‘vegan’ and still have traces of animal products in them.

What are accidentally vegan products?

There are many accidentally vegan convenience foods on the shelves; some popular finds are Marmite, Oreo cookies, and a decent amount of Walkers crisps. Some things to look out for on the ingredients list include gelatine, flavourings, vitamin D and some E numbers. 

Where can I find vegan cosmetics, cleaning products and clothing?

Supermarkets and drug stores such as Marks and Spencer, Co-op and Superdrug have their own affordable line of cruelty-free and vegan products. Just look for the Leaping Bunny which is easily visible and the vegan label on the packaging.

Cruelty-free fashion is being popularised in high street stores and by high-end designers alike - opting for materials such as polyester, acrylic and polyurethane (PU) instead of animal wool and leathers.

A recent revelation currently sweeping the world of fashion are the vegan leathers that can be made from innovative and sustainable materials. The Vegan Leather Co. are home to luxury leather goods using natural materials like pineapple leaves and cactus leather that put animal skins to shame.

In 2011 animal lovers everywhere rejoiced as the iconic brand Dr. Martens launched its hard-wearing vegan line: releasing their sought-after boots, sandals and satchels in classic black and their famous cherry red vegan leather. Many reviews stated that the vegan leather doesn’t crease as deep as the animal equivalent and after five years of wearing, it is still going strong; proving that cruelty-free textiles are just as good, if not better!

Vegans have got to eat! So, if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to save 5 vegan chocolate bar brands to add to your shopping list and for something a little different, check out 7 unusual vegan milk alternatives worth trying.

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