We are now coming to the end of ‘Veganuary’, a month for people to try a vegan diet. But this 31 day pledge does not have to end on the 31st January.

local food column

Lancaster has a number of great local food businesses, cafes and community initiatives that make a vegan lifestyle in Lancaster relatively easy. Single Step offers a wide selection of vegan foods for example, as does Filbert’s Bakery, The Radish, The Whale Tail Café and Roots. Lancaster also has a ‘Vegan Feast’ event once a month at the Friends Meeting House where people bring a vegan dish to share. This is a great space to meet local vegans and learn more about a vegan lifestyle, and to taste a variety of vegan dishes.

There are also a number of online resources available to help make the transition to vegan easier; providing nutritional advice and recipe ideas.  See veganuary.com for example and cookingonabootstrap.com/category/vegan-2/.

For those who are unclear, a vegan diet is one based entirely on plant foods: vegetables, fruits, pulses, beans and grains. No animal products of any kind are eaten including meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy (milk and cheese) and honey. There are many reasons why people living in the UK may want to start a vegan diet, or at least think about reducing the amount of animal products they eat.  These range from health reasons, to animal rights and environmental reasons. A vegan diet can have a much lower environmental impact than an animal based diet, using natural resources more efficiently. For more information about the reasons for going vegan see veganuary.com.

Novice and even ‘experienced’ vegans may also want to consider how they can further sever ties with the unsustainable meat and dairy industry. A number of vegan ‘products’ are sold by companies who also sell meat and dairy, meaning that your money could still be supporting animal exploitation.

For example Alpro and its vegan milks are owned by the French multi-national Groupe Danone, who also sells Activa, Cow & Gate and Actimel. Linda McCartney is owned by Hain Cellestial whose brands include Ella’s Kitchen and Freebird. The vegan spread Vitalite, is owned by the dairy giant, Dairy Crest. And the vegan ice cream Swedish Glace is owned by Unilever who also sells Ben and Jerry’s, Knorr and Hellman’s. For more examples of vegan brands owned by non-vegan companies see Ethical Consumer’s website: www.ethicalconsumer.org

If you are interested in learning more about veganism, come and visit the vegan stall at Potato Day this Saturday 27th January from 11am – 3pm at the Friends Meeting House on Meeting House Lane.

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