Veganuary 2021 had a record number of people pledging to go vegan for a month. Over 500,000 sign ups in the UK shows that more and more people are willing to give a plant based diet and cruelty free lifestyle a go. To help you continue, or even start, your vegan journey I have rounded up some of my favourite vegan products to help you adapt your lifestyle. From food deliveries, wine and even hair wax, there’s more and more vegan products coming on the market that are just as good, if not better, than the not so environmentally friendly rivals.
While we’re still in lockdown it can be hard to keep to a vegan diet if you’re not the most confident cook. Thankfully more and more takeaways now have vegan options but it can be hard to find something that has that ‘home cooked meal’ kind of feel. But one company who has managed to perfect this is Sam’s Home Service, a Manchester based food delivery service that has some delicious vegan options on their extensive menu. I was treated to Sam’s Deluxe Butterbean, Kale and Sweet Potato Vegan Oven Bake as well as some Triple Cooked Chop House Chips. The bake may look small for two people, but it’s packed with a rich flavour and a wonderful texture that leaves you scraping up every last bit. The triple cooked chips are a real indulgence that you just can’t seem to do at home or get at this level of fresh from a takeaway. There are also starters such as a warm Puy lentil salad and delicious Pumpkin and Sage Gnocchi Dumplings with Braised Kale & Jerusalem Artichoke. All meals are very simple to cook and most just require reheating in the oven or microwave.
If you have had enough of home cooked meals and being indoors and simply long for alfresco tapas style lunches then simply must place an order for a vegan grazing board from Delicario. Delicario have the perfect antipasti selection to graze on, full of exciting natural flavour combinations including Courgette and Sicilian Caper Cream, Aubergine Caponata, Ascolana olives from Marche and Piedmont artichokes. Serve with a drizzle of unrivalled Carta d’Oro Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Genoa and crisp Pane Carasau. All their vegan products are from small sustainable family producers such as Nonno Andrea from the Treviso region in northern Italy and Olive Gregori in Marche, Italy. This was such a wonderful selection and a real treat for lunch throughout the week.
You could of course enjoy some nibbles in the evening with a nice bottle of wine not surprisingly vegan wines are becoming increasingly popular. Wine generally goes through a process called “fining”, which is a kind of filtration, and several different animal-derived products may be used to carry out the process.The good news is that there are vegan-friendly methods of fining wine, which do not affect the quality or flavour in any way.
The Wine Society has always stocked a great number of wines which are produced without the use of any animal-derived products and in response to the growing numbers of members wishing to buy vegan-friendly wine, the range has increased substantially to over 200 wines to choose from. I chose The Society’s Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch, from South Africa which has a wonderful depth of flavour at a great price. This Chenin is full to the taste with rounded flavours of greengage, grapefruit, melon and apricot notes and a gentle acidic finish. I also enjoyed The Society’s Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2018 from the beautiful Cascinone vineyard in Piedmont. Bursting with ripe juicy red fruit this medium-bodied Italian red has had time in large old oak casks softening the tannins. Many think that barbera is one of the grapes that most suits tomato sauces and so I’d recommend this with a hearty bowl of pasta in a rich sauce or a nice casserole with ripe tomatoes and mediterranean vegetables.
Now we have lunch, dinner and the wine sorted, how about something sweet? I’d always found vegan sweets, chocolates and desserts hard to come by and would often end up disappointed and be tempted by something not so vegan friendly. Then I was introduced to Farhi who have some of the most beautiful and delicious products I’ve had in a long time. I immensely enjoyed their stuffed dates which I included in my Valentine’s Gift Guide which are also vegan but this time I wanted to highlight the Assorted Pâte De Fruit in a Gift Pack. Now I’ll tell you now these are seriously sweet and you can’t have more than a couple at once, which is fantastic for me and my waistline! The pack contains a delicious selection of delicate fruit squares containing 70% fruit including strawberry, apricot, raspberry, lemon and pear. This pack lasted us ages and they’d be the perfect gift for someone with children who are always after a sugary treat!
Now sweets are very nice when you fancy a bit of indulgence but if you’re anything like me then the one thing you crave more than anything on a vegan diet is chocolate! So for this I turned to Honeybuns who have created The Ultimate Chocolate Lovers Cake Tin, a gorgeous keepsake gift tin filled with a selection of vegan chocolate cakes. It also comes with a Rhubarb & Rose soy candle from Dorset based The Rhubarb Candle Co. and honestly I can’t put into words how absolutely lovely it smells. This selection of eight delectable gluten free cakes are also plant based and registered with the Vegan Society, consisting of oaty dark chocolate bars with coconut, dark chocolate brownies and millionaire’s slices. They are safe to freeze if you fancy keeping them for a while longer but honestly once you taste them they won’t last long. Deliciously indulgent!
And finally for something completely different and not nearly as enjoyable as chocolate . . . Waxing.
Us ladies are always on the lookout for ways to banish unwanted hair but many products on the market either contain ingredients that derive from animals or are tested on animals, and let’s be honest, nobody wants that! Although I’m all for women choosing to let their body hair grow and wear it with pride, I personally like to remove everything below the eyebrows so I tried out Sugar Coated Full body hair removal kit. Suitable for all parts of the body and all skin and hair types the sugar based wax is completely water soluble and biodegradable. Even the strips can be washed and reused and the packaging is fully recyclable. Being a bit of a wimp I’m always very reluctant to rip that first one off but to be honest it was nowhere near as bad as I thought and I managed to do both my legs without a single tear. The process is easy and skin feels beautifully soft and smooth after use. I highly recommend this.
With more and more vegan products being introduced every year, and even luxury brands coming up with cruelty free options of their own, there’s never been a better time to go vegan. Give it a try, even if only for a few days a month.