If you’ve considered going Vegan, you’re not alone as more than a third of us are or perhaps your trying Veganuary? There are lots of northern businesses offering plant-based products and Vegan alternatives.
Here our editor Sophie Mei Lan shares her Vegan journey and just some of the eco-friendly brands she discovered recently:
I have been a ‘fake’ Vegan, a ‘Fegan,’ for a few years, as I feared the repercussions of being ‘rude’ at a dinner event or I admit there are a few things I have been reluctant to ‘give up.’
But if I have found ‘going vegan’ a challenge as a lifelong Vegetarian, why are a so many of us considering going Vegan and thousands taking part in Veganuary?
The good news is there are more options than ever before from ethically sourced produce to Vegan sweet treats and meat alternatives.
At The Ridings Vegan fair recently I tasted locally made Vegan protein powder, Rocky Roads, Fair Trade tea, and purchased ethical beauty products.
Not only can Veganism be good for our gut health, animals and the environment but even just a plant-based meal a day can create a positive impact.
For many of us Vegans, our Veganism journey is more about eating and living more consciously. This is on the forefront of a lot of our brains following COP26. And you don’t need to go ‘full Vegan’ with what you eat to start to make reduce the negative effects of climate change.
There are pioneering social enterprises leading the way such as Eco Baby which prevents clothing and toys from going to landfill. As well as, Crafting for Good CIC which sells recycled craft supplies inside The Ridings Shopping Centre.
In West Yorkshire alone we are also perfectly positioned to eat home-grown or locally sourced produce. As a diverse county, we have our rich heritage of the Rhubarb Triangle as well as a range of independent suppliers and supportive communities.
ArrowFresh is a great example of this as they sell a range of independent suppliers’ produce as a collaborative affair, including delicious Vegan DoughBoy donuts.
Not to mention, all the cultural influences that feed how and what we eat, you can get a quick taste of this if you venture around Leeds Kirkgate or Morley Market. And whilst sadly our Wakefield Market has disappeared in recent times, The Ridings hosts a range of markets combining traditional grub and produce with trendy treats. Plus Made and Found in Yorkshire which is a collective gift shop proudly showcasing over 20 Yorkshire artisan sellers .
I, for one, was super excited to devour a Chinese Vegan chicken drumstick at the recent Vegan Fair, as I have been unable to go to Malaysia to see relatives due to the Pandemic, so I had been missing my delicious layers of beancurd wrapped around a stick and deep-fried. Yes you can eat Vegan junk food too!
It’s not long until my favourite food festival either, the Rhubarb Festival, which spreads throughout the city centre and into The Ridings. It attracts internationally renowned chefs and local talent such as Karen Wright from Great British Bake Off who will be in the Tree Bar showcasing some locally sourced recipes.
Karen even designed Vegan versions of hearty stews for me over on our Yorkshire Families blog.
There is now more choice than ever before when it comes to becoming Vegan or living more consciously and it doesn’t have to cost the earth either.
Whether you’re getting your groceries from Morrison’s, treats from Marks & Spencers or your local allotment and you can save money using the Too Good to Go app or shopping at a charity shop such as the British Heart Foundation and Wakefield Hospice. Plus any of the artisan fairs which are coming up.
When I am not in the city centre, I don’t even live in a trendy bourgeoisie neighbourhood of bearded craft ale drinkers, coffee houses, and whole foods shops selling Sushi, yet there are a range of local allotments, shops such as Polish Greengrocers and South Asian supermarkets, where I can buy my fresh produce, including Vegan goods.
Feature Photo by Gary Kenyon
Sophie Mei Lan