Being vegan for the past five years and vegetarian since the age of 5 it’s safe to say that my health-conscious lifestyle and refined palate has pointed me ever closer to veganism since I was just a tot. Whilst I’ve never enjoyed the taste or texture of meat, fish or eggs I did used to love drinking wine, nibbling on chocolate straight from the fridge, drenching my spaghetti in cheese and bingeing on ice cream to accompany many a chick-flick before turning vegan. The hardest thing for me to give up was my treats rather than meat; but thankfully I don’t have to now that I’ve discovered GreenBay!
Strolling through London this past sunny summer weekend I happened to come across GreenBay which is London’s very first 100% vegan supermarket packed full of an astounding variety of vegan cheeses, meats, chocolate and so much more available both in-store and online. Naturally I couldn’t resist taking a basket and perusing the aisles as where I live there is sadly very little available for us vegans – in cafes, restaurants or supermarkets alike- and so to find an entire supermarket loaded with everything that I could enjoy was groundbreaking. Most supermarkets have adopted a ‘free-from’ section in recent years, and bless them they try to cater to special dietary requirements but there’s still a very long way to go. Whilst vegan falls within the ‘free-from’ category which typically consists of a couple of small shelves at the back of the store, the majority of the items within it are usually gluten free, wheat free, egg free and just a couple of dairy free options which aren’t always appealing or essential or desirable.
Whilst hardcore vegans are clued up about the thousands of tiny pop up stalls, stores and websites stocking vegan-friendly toothpaste, wine, beauty products and snacks it’s incredibly rare to find it all under one roof, easy accessible and ready for inspection as we’ve all had the horror of ordering something online only for it to be nothing like what we were expecting when it turns up. To be able to walk the aisles of the supermarket, read nutritional contents, recipes, smell fragrances and flavours was pure heaven and I found so many products and brands from across the world that I never knew existed – it totally took the leg work and research out of living as a vegan. There is the most incredible selection of canned goods, grains, pulses, snacks, cosmetics, alcohol, cereals, tea and coffees, pet products, cheese, egg and meat-free alternatives which is going to take me months to get through the entire basket I came home with but I’m so excited.
Many of my friends ask me for advice and recipes from my vegan lifestyle as they see it as a way to inject health and nutrition into their daily routine, whether it’s cutting down on meat and dairy with a high-protein low-fat alternative, consuming more fruit and vegetables or going a week meat-free to see how they like it, I always enjoy sharing tips, tricks and recipes on my latest finds. It’s also a luxury for me to be able to stock up on fresh, organic vegan soups in my pantry for times when I’m rushing around with the children and haven’t had the chance to meal prep or prepare a dinner for myself from scratch. With a dried goods section, fridges and freezers there’s something for every taste and culture and I think you’ll be hard pushed to tell the difference between the majority of the vegan alternatives – aside from the whopping saving on calories and fats of course!
My advice to anybody looking to experiment with veganism is to start small and make one health-conscious change a week such as switching cows milk for almond or oat milk in cereals, try nut butter for toast and sandwiches, meat free burgers with mashed potato and vegan gravy for dinner, dairy free chocolate bars and brownies for pudding, coconut ice-cream on a summers day, vegan sauces over pasta for quick and easy meals and dried fruits, nuts and seeds to top your porridge. Whether you gradually reduce your meat intake or go cold-turkey you’ll never know how much you’ll love it until you try. With very reasonably priced goods and nationwide next-day delivery that is free for orders over £55.00 the only thing that you’ve got to lose is your your waistline!