Veganuary is just around the corner and thousands of people across the country are making a pledge not to consume animal products during the month of January. I took the challenge at the start of 2017 and have not looked back. I have shared some of the advantages I’ve personally found going vegan here, although many others will likely give other reasons for making the transition. Taking the step to cut meat, dairy and eggs out of my diet extended beyond that initial month and I’m about to reach the first anniversary of my veganism.
“For most, a love of animals is the catalyst. Some people want to feel better about themselves and the impact they make on the world. Others would like to set themselves a challenge, and many combine Veganuary with their ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and see trying vegan as the healthiest start to the year.”
This quote above is from the official Veganuary website. Whatever the reason for taking on the trial, there are a multitude of benefits in doing so and I wanted to share some helpful tips to aid those making the switch. As I have said before on the blog, if anyone wants to contact and ask specific questions I am more than happy to respond. There’s the Canny Food Twitter and Facebook pages, or you can send an email. More information can be found on the Contact page.
The very first vegan shop I did was a bit of a chore and I spent 90 minutes examining the back of packets to make sure sneaky dairy wasn’t in my crisps, etc. Below are some recommendations to make it easier when navigating the supermarket. You may also find these guides to vegan cheese, dairy-free Chocolate and some of our own weekly shop staples convenient during the month too.
Basic Shopping List
Engevita Nutritional Yeast (available from Holland & Barrett and other health food stores)- one of the best additions to your diet in terms of nutrition and taste. It provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and protein.
Dried Pasta- most supermarket brands are SFV
Tins of chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes- Great for making soups and stews. Check out this simple recipe for Chickpea Stew here.
Baked beans, tins of spaghetti
Linda McCartney Sausages, Hoisin Duck, Shredded Vegetarian Chicken
Quorn Vegan Fish Fingers, Pieces, Breaded Fillets- Look out for the green banner on the packet to avoid picking up their vegetarian options.
Tesco Free From Korma Sauce, Pesto, Cheese Sauce, Egg free Mayo- A supermarket that is taking the plant-based diet seriously and adding new products to their range frequently. Check out our review of the desserts, cheeses and other items here.
Oatly Plant Milk- the best dairy alternative I’ve found. A good shake and you’ll find it works well in coffee/tea/on cereal. I use unsweetened soya milk in cooking.
Pure Spread- Flora Freedom is also SFV, but I prefer Pure. It doesn’t quite live up to the saltiness of Lurpak, but it is easier on my conscience!
Frozen Veggie Mince and Meatballs- You will find these tasty alternatives in supermarkets like Tesco and Asda. Just make sure you check the ingredients to ensure there’s no egg white used. Most are soya-based and superior to the dried TVP you’ll find in health food stores. Farmfoods also does a range called Veggie Kitchen, and we’ve reviewed it here.
Cauldron Falafel– Team with mango chutney and look out for vegan-friendly bread (like these Spinach Wraps from Tesco) or cous cous for a speedy lunch.
Doughnuts- Some supermarkets like Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Asda have SFV goods like doughnuts in their bakeries. Ask to see the allergen books to check the ingredients as it can vary from store to store.
Tesco Bacon Rashers and Prawn Shells- Never seen a prawn or pig in their existence! Some snacks are surprisingly SFV. Don’t rule these out and check the packets 🙂
Bourbons, Party Rings, Fox’s Mini Cookies, Choc Chip and Oaty HobNobs, Tesco Plain Chocolate Digestives- Some biscuits you’ll find in the supermarket are vegan-friendly.
Bisto Original Gravy Granules- Supermarket own brands may also be vegan friendly. Sausage, mash and gravy for supper! You can also find vegetable stock cubes that are OK in store, but don’t presume all are suitable. I discovered in the early days that some had milk in. Kallo and some supermarket own brands are SFV.
Birds Custard Powder- Made with plant milk this is a great speedy dessert teamed with bananas. Yes, straight back to childhood 🙂
Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate- A good cupboard item to have when you’re craving something sweet.
You’ll be surprised to learn that items like some flavours of Super Noodles, some Cup-a-Soups, and some convenience foods in the supermarkets are vegan-friendly. I did a round up post which you can have a browse through here.
Ben & Jerry’s have a dairy free ice cream available in Tesco presently. Read our review here.
Don’t forget, you can find lots of SFV items in the fruit and vegetable aisle!
Most soft drinks are suitable for vegans apart from Diet Pepsi, Kia-Ora and Lilt. This is something to do with the colour stabilisers used in production.
I hope this has gone some way to show that it isn’t particularly difficult to make swaps for the items that find their way into your shopping trolley on a frequent basis. Some of those may already be vegan friendly. Not all supermarkets are good at labelling items suitable for vegetarians yet, never mind vegans. Look out for E numbers and vitamin D added that may make a product not suitable.
Thanks for reading,