hi. interesting. maybe because of how ubiquitous meat here is! i've been a lacto-veg for 20 years, vegan for over a year and my convictions strengthened when i worked in china...because it was so difficult to maintain a proper vegan diet there! london's become more accommodating for vegans during the past 2 years or so...foodwise. i still have some trouble finding good vegan cosmetics here. animal aid online shop and planet organic are good options, you should check out their websites;-)
Yes I am here in London (W13) - I know it must be much harder to be in a small town/village somewhere!! But, I guess I am comparing it to LA (where I moved from) where it seemed much easier? Also, I am a relatively new vegan (3 mos) so probabaly am still just trying to muddle my way through....and my vegan cookbooks all seem to include ingredients I can't locate here?
Oh, yeah, I guess anywhere might seem hard compared to California. I've only just turned vegan at New Year, although I've been a vegetarian for 12 years, so I'm still figuring things out too, but I spent a long time researching, and getting acquainted with vegan ingredients. The huge Whole Foods Market on High Street Kensington is really close to you, you could probably find anything you needed there. It's pricey, obviously, so it's not part of my regular shopping routine. Actually, even Holland and Barretts, which is kind of a wishy washy excuse for a health food store, has a lot of stuff if you look really closely. Also I find Middle Eastern and Asian grocery stores invaluable. Is there anything in particular you can't find?
For restaurants, W13 is close to my favourite vegan restaurant, which is 222 Veggie Vegan. Mildred's in Soho is really good, although its vegetarian, not vegan, but it has good vegan options. I've taken die hard meat lovers to both those places and they've really liked it.
i agree, some ingredients are hard to find here...even kale. i mean, come on! it's only made its appearance in waitrose and sainsbury's recently. you should check out planet organic (online), detoxyourworld.com, naturallygreen.co.uk
i agree wth Kbear that local middle eastern shops can have some great stuff if you dig around. and you should check out the indian veggie markets in wembley - great choice in food and in ayurvedic cosmetics. though prices for south east asian stuff, like tofu, are pretty steep compared to korean or japanese markets there.
there's a new restaurant in soho, called Vantra. it's purely vegan and really really good. you've got the hare krishna vegetarian restaurant next door, but they use a lot of dairy. but they do have a little shop upstairs where you can find vegan cosmetics that are cheaper than in Holland and Barretts.
there aren't that many pure vegan restaurants here, but shopping for stuff can be fun. you don't have huge football field sized supermarkets on every corner, but at least you make good friends with your local area. and i think that's much better.
i posted some info on vegan cosmetics under Beauty some time ago if you want to have a look at some suggestions.
I've been Vegan/Macrobiotic for almost a year. We have one vegetarian restaurant near to me, that can cater for Vegans, other than that, thats it. I am struggling to find ingrediants in the shops and do most of my shopping online, which is ok, but not the same as actually seeing the products in real life!
Hi all. I live in the Midlands and understand the difficulties in finding ingredients and places to eat. We have a really good vegan restaurant here though so can always rely on that. It would be so nice to be able to find more ingredients so I can make more from vegan books but I really like the meals I can make so that keeps me going.
Jo, I agree with you about the supermarkets and their lack of imagination regarding produce. I'm orginally from Canada, and I'm always amazed that the small grocery stores in my one-horse Canadian hometown have more variety in the fruits and veggies section than a huge Tesco over here! But you can usually find loads of interesting greens at your local farmers market, including kale. Actually, I wrote a blog post about how much I love farmer's markets here, if anyone is interested. :)
Don't forget about Indian and Thai restaurants! They always have vegan options. You just have to watch out for ghee, yogurt, or fish sauce (Thai).