This article will help you with your food grocery list, and how to shop for Vegan Clothing.
Veganism is on the rise. Writing that sentence never fails to make vegans happy, let us tell you! Over the last few years, veganism has really exploded. Vegans of today who remember turning vegan even 10 years ago can barely believe how much things have changed for the better!
Veganism has never been so accessible, and just a simple scan around the aisles at your local grocery store can attest to this. However, for a newbie vegan, doing your first couple of vegan grocery shops, or looking for sustainable vegan clothing can be super overwhelming.
That’s where we come in. At Vegomm, we are super passionate about providing easy-to-follow guidance and help on becoming vegan. Whether you are a newbie vegan or you have been at it for years, our website aims to provide up-to-date information on all things vegan related.
In this article, we want to dedicate some time to help you figure out your vegan shopping list (whether it is your first one ever, or you are looking for inspiration). We will also be giving you a guide into the world of vegan fashion.
If you have ever considered becoming vegan and are looking for an insight into what your weekly grocery list could look like, if you are a newbie vegan looking for some guidance, or even if you are a long-time member of the vegan family looking for a bit of inspiration, this article has got your back!
So, grab your oat milk latte and Oreos, and settle in for our Ultimate Guide on How to Shop as a Vegan.
What Foods Can Vegans Eat Or Can’t Eat
Before we begin, we just wanted to let you know a little bit about how different it is these days to eat as a vegan.
Becoming a vegan in today’s era will always be that little bit easier than it was for vegans 10 or more years ago. The internet has become a lifeline for many vegans, introducing them to new vegan brands, ‘accidentally vegan’ products, and more inspiration for meals than you can handle!
In this first part of the article, we want to draw your attention to the types of foods that you can expect to cut out.
However, it is not all doom and gloom because we will also be suggesting some amazing vegan alternatives that you can use to replace these foods to ensure that you will never miss them.
All Meat Products
So, all meat products are off-limits.
This includes poultry, red meat, fish, game meat, and any other meat you can think of.
Now, if you have previously been a meat-eater, the thought of giving up some of your favourite meat products can feel like the biggest hurdle, and of course, since it is so key to the vegan diet, it is the first hurdle many people are met with.
Some of the favourite meat products that we often get asked about are bacon, boneless chicken fillets (you know the ones!), wings, and steak.
The good news is that whilst these are not vegan, there are certainly ways around this. You do not need to deprive yourself of these flavours because guess what? They are just that – flavours.
Turns out, the meat itself is pretty flavourless, and the reason these products are your favourites is more often than not down to the flavours used on them.
By this we mean, wings and ribs typically have a smoky BBQ flavoring. Your favorite steak is likely to be seasoned with salt, pepper, and steak sauce. Your roast chicken will have delicious herbs and spices to give it a great flavour.
Well, the good news is that these flavours can be easily replicated and used on non-animal products!
Yep, you read that correctly! Vegan bacon, vegan ribs, vegan wings, vegan tenders, and even vegan steak! These are typically made from plant-based sources such as soy, mushroom protein, pea protein, tempeh, seitan, and much more.
All Dairy Products
Of course, meat comes directly from the flesh of an animal, but as a vegan, you should also be avoiding products that come from an animal in other ways.
One of these things is milk. Milk is an ingredient in many of our favourite foods such as cheese, ice cream, chocolate, and so much more.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – how can I live without cheese, chocolate, and ice cream, right?
But we have some good news!
There are so many vegan alternatives to cow’s milk. This means that vegan versions of cheese, chocolate, and ice cream can be made.
These cows’ milk alternatives typically come from nuts, but can also be made from other surprising ingredients. Below we have listed all the different types of vegan milk that you can purchase.
- Oat milk
- Soya milk
- Hazelnut milk
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Hemp milk
- Cashew milk
- Rice milk
- Flax milk
- Pea protein milk
All of these products can be used in place of cow, sheep and goat milk for a variety of different purposes. The most common kinds of vegan milk include soy, almond, oat, and coconut.
You can also check our guide about vegan milk alternatives if you want to learn more about it.
All of these can typically be found in coffee shops and cafes as an alternative to dairy milk as they are great for baristas. This is because they heat well and mix well with espresso and other types of hot drinks.
Vegan cheese can be made using a variety of different plant milk from our list and mixed with other ingredients such as tapioca flour, sesame seeds (and many other seeds), and salt to solidify it and make it taste just like the real thing.
Of course, eggs are directly linked to animals, and for this reason, vegans avoid them.
Typically the eggs eaten by non-vegans are chicken eggs, duck eggs, and goose eggs.
Chicken eggs are most commonly used for a variety of different uses such as within cakes and other baked goods, in quiches, in omelets, in pancakes, and many other recipes.
Replacing eggs is a little more difficult, especially since it is very hard to replicate an egg and get it to taste the same.
However, strides are being made in the production of vegan food every day, and just recently there have been vegan egg replacements.
For example, companies such as Ogg have released vegan egg replacements made using aquafaba as an alternative. These give the same texture and properties as an egg, without the animal derivatives!
There are also many other substitutes you can use for eggs in other recipes. In cakes and other baked goods, for example, ingredients such as mashed banana, avocado, and apple sauce provide excellent alternatives as the main job of the egg is to bind the mixture together.
Yep, you read that correctly. Honey is also avoided by vegans.
That being said, there is much debate over this and many vegans make a personal choice to eat it or avoid it as they see fit.
Honey is not technically vegan as it is made by bees. However, it is more than this.
The methods used by humans to get honey are often very destructive and harmful to the bees.
As bees are already at risk of extinction, vegans typically choose not to add to this by avoiding the consumption of honey and anything that contains honey.
There is also an argument that honey is a food source for bees, and so, by humans taking that food source, we are depleting it for them, thus potentially endangering them even further.
OK, this is a weird one but bear with us…
In some countries, white sugar is made with bone char. Bone char helps to make the sugar whiter. Bone char is used in the refinement process of sugar.
Whilst sugar itself is plant-based, the fact that bone char is used means that the process to make the sugar involves animal products, thus rendering it unsuitable for vegans.
However, this is not the case everywhere in the world. Not every brand uses bone char for the colouring of sugar.
In fact, many sugar brands are choosing not to so as not to leave out many of their potential customers. Check each sugar brand carefully before buying, and look out for sugar that specifies that it is organic.
Organic sugar tends to be made without bone char. Some brands that are currently free of bone char, thus vegan include:
- Trader Joe’s
- In The Raw
- The Raw Cane
- Simply Balanced (Target)
- Michigan Sugar Company
- Big Tree Farms
This list is not exhaustive, but what we do recommend is that you check each brand carefully before buying. This is to ensure that any recipe and method changes that happen will not go unnoticed by yourself.
For example, just because a brand does not use bone char now, does not mean that they will continue this way forever.
Foods That Vegans Can Consume
Now, let’s look at all of the different foods that vegans can eat.
Because trust us, there are sooooo many.
You can eat all of the vegan-friendly foods to your heart’s content, especially since there are also many ‘accidentally vegan’ food products out there too (more on these later).
One of the biggest worries people have before becoming vegan is that they will have to cut out full food groups and will not get all of the nutrition that they need.
For example, many people worry that they will not get iron, vitamin B, and omega-3 as they have traditionally been associated with animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. However, this could not be further from the truth.
In this section of the article, I will be taking you through all of the foods that you can eat on a vegan diet. All of the foods that we will be listing will give you all of the nutrients you need to live a healthy lifestyle (as well as some yummy treats thrown in for good measure!).
This way you will have all the answers when someone opposes your vegan diet on the basis that “meat gives you iron”.
Vegetables & Fruit
First on our list just had to be vegetables and fruits. These will typically make up the bulk of your diet as a vegan. This is because there is not a single veggie or fruit that you need to avoid.
Not only that, but, as you know from the previous section, fruits and vegetables can also be used to make many vegan ‘meat’ and ‘dairy’ products.
The choice you have is huge and varied, and when you first become vegan you will be surprised at how many fruits and veggies exist that you have never even heard of before, let alone tried.
Wheat is yet another dietary staple that is totally fine for vegans to eat.
Wheat is not typically something that we enjoy eating right from the ground, of course.
However, what wheat does is make many of our favourite foods.
Wheat is used to make flour, and we all know what flour is used for – carbs! Bread, cereals, pasta, pizza, pastry, pies, muffins, cakes, and even beer!
Of course, this does not mean that all of the foods we just mentioned are vegan by default because of all the other ingredients that may be used to make them.
However, there are certainly ways that vegan versions of all foods can be made. Since wheat is vegan, you can even use wheat flour to make your own yummy vegan creations.
Say what now?
Legumes are the term given to plants that produce a pod. Inside these pods there are seeds.
The legumes are, in essence, these seeds.
Some of the most widely eaten legumes include beans (all types), peas, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, and even peanuts! Yep, that’s right….peanuts are a legume, not a nut!
Legumes also have the added benefit of being as good for us as they taste.
They are packed full of protein and fibre, which makes sense when you consider the fact that they are often used as an alternative to high-protein meats in the vegan diet.
Nuts are yet another fantastic option for vegans.
They can serve as a delicious snack full of healthy fats, or can even be used to create some of our favourite vegan drinks and meals.
As you know from our earlier section, nuts are often used to create a vegan milk drink.
Also, vegan nut roasts serve as an excellent alternative to roast meat, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
They can even be added into stir-fries, cakes, smoothies, and sprinkled onto cereals and yoghurt for a healthy and tasty difference in texture.
Nuts are also full of excellent nutrients, fats and omega-3 so you never have to worry about missing those things from your diet ever again! This is particularly good news for those new vegans who are worried about the nutrients they will be missing from meat.
Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are particularly good as not only do they provide you with protein and healthy fats, but they may also help to reduce cholesterol levels, add some fibre into your diet, and even help to replenish healthy gut bacteria.
Animal fat is often used to aid cooking, however, this is certainly not vegan.
Other healthier alternatives lie in vegetable oils.
Vegetable oil can be used for cooking, adding to recipes, and even as a flavouring for salad and stir-fries.
Most vegetable oils are totally vegan (although, exercise caution and double-check packaging to be sure).
Oils that you can use in your diet include:
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Peanut oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Avocado oil
- Rice bran oil
- …and many more
The one type of oil that is an exception to this is palm oil. Whilst palm oil technically contains no animal derivatives, the way that it is harvested has an extremely damaging effect on the environment and has actually caused the near extinction of certain animals.
For this reason, many vegans choose to totally avoid palm oil, as well as any products that contain it as an ingredient.
All Soy Products
Soy is one of the most widely used alternatives to meat and dairy. Soy can be formed into a plant-based meat substitute, and can also be used to create a ‘milk’ drink as an alternative for dairy milk from cows.
Soy products include vegan yoghurts, vegan cheese, vegan ‘chicken’ and other meat alternatives, vegan ice cream, vegan butter, and much more!
In fact, the vegan ‘meat’ business is booming, with new meat alternatives being developed constantly, made from soy and many other products.
Of course, if you wish you can also eat soybeans on their own as they provide lots of protein, healthy fat and fibre due to being a legume.
Soy, Oat, & Almond Milk
As already discussed earlier in the article, all types of non-dairy milk and milk drinks can be safely consumed on a vegan diet.
You can ask for them at coffee shops, use them at home in your own beverages, use them to make smoothies, pour them over your cereal, and even drink them right out of the carton (coconut milk tastes especially great!).
You may also find that dairy free milk alternatives are an ingredient in many of your favorite snacks.
The thing that comes to mind for many new vegans is chocolate. For any chocoholics out there it can be hard to imagine a life without it.
Luckily, because of dairy free drinks and other vegan products, many brands now have excellent vegan versions of all of your favorite chocolate. For example, popular chocolate brand Galaxy has a full vegan range that they constantly add to!
Example shopping list
Planning your first vegan shopping list can feel like one of the most confusing things you have ever done. Luckily for you, we are here to guide you through your first ever vegan shopping trip with a handy list.
We think that the easiest way to approach your first shop as a vegan is to organise what you need to buy into sections. For this reason, we have decided to tackle the fridge, pantry, and freezer separately, making your shopping trip as easy as can be.
Your fridge will house all of your perishable staples that will need to be bought on a weekly (or fortnightly basis). The items on this list will form one of the biggest parts of your new vegan diet.
- Baby corn
- Vegan yoghurts
- Vegan cheese
- Stir fry vegetables
- Meat-free ‘pepperoni’
- Vegan milk
- Meat-free ‘ham’
- Meat-free ‘chicken’
- Facon (this is meat-free ‘bacon’)
In the pantry section, you will find foods that have a longer shelf life and so can be kept in your cupboards, pantry or even out on the worktops. These will be one of the biggest parts of your diet, alongside those items under the ‘Fridge’ section.
- Sweet potato
- Vegetable Oils
- Baked beans (check out which baked beans are vegan)
- Spaghetti hoops
- Kidney beans
- Haricot beans
- Black beans
- Oats and any other vegan cereals you fancy
- Any tinned vegetables you may want
It is a great idea to stock your freezer full of easy cook meals, vegan meat alternatives, and frozen fruits and veggies. This means that you will always have a back u supply and something to rely on when you have those days where you can’t find the motivation to cook.
- Frozen peas
- Frozen broccoli
- Frozen berries
- Any other frozen fruit and veggies you enjoy
- Meat-free alternatives to mince, chicken pieces, burgers, and even chicken nuggets! *
- Vegan ready meals (check the label carefully, just because there is no meat does not mean it is vegan)
- Vegan ice cream (there are so many vegan ice cream options from well-known brands such as Ben and Jerry’s)
*(Consider brands like Quorn, Linda McCartney, and even supermarkets’ own brands, but be careful to check that they are definitely vegan as some vegetarian products have eggs!)
Just because you are vegan, doesn’t mean you have to avoid all of your favourite snack foods.
There are some excellent vegan versions of most snacks and even some ‘accidentally vegan’ snacks out there that may surprise you!
- Cookies and biscuits: McVities Original and Chocolate Chip HobNobs, Ginger Nuts, and Fruit Shortcakes. Original Oreos are also free of any animal-derived products and so are technically vegan, Fox’s Party Rings, Bourbon Biscuits from most brands and supermarkets (check the label first), Lotus Biscoff Biscuits and so many more!
- Crisps: Doritos Lightly Salted and Chili Heatwave, Pringles (various flavours including Texas BBQ and Paprika), Walkers Sunbites, Walkers Prawn Cocktail, Walkers Ready Salted, Chipsticks, all flavours of Hippeas crisps, and even some Kettle Chips (check the packaging first).
- Surprising treats: Bird’s Custard (as long as you make it with a plant-based milk alternative), Mr Kipling Treacle Tart and Apple & Blackcurrant Pie, various Pot Noodle flavours (including Beef and Tomato!), Co-Op Jam Doughnuts, Jus Rol pastries (various types but check first!), all Thatchers ciders, Peroni, Guinness, Budweiser, Corona, Weston’s, and many different supermarket branded wines! (Check out some of our favourite vegan sweets).
How To Shop For Vegan Foods
Now that you know all about how to shop for vegan foods, it is time to put what you’ve learned into real life. In this section, we are going to be taking you through the processes involved in shopping for vegan foods.
We want to begin by reassuring you that, as daunting as it seems, after your first couple of shops you will be wondering why you were so worried. It will begin to feel just like any other food shop – because guess what? It is.
Plan Your Shopping List Ahead
Before you even get out of your front door it is important to plan your shopping list. This will stop you from feeling flustered in the shop and picking up random things.
Have a look through our vegan-friendly lists earlier in the article to see what sorts of foods sound good to you, and also, whether you already have some in your cupboard (we bet you do!).
When you know what you already have you can begin writing down some basics that you will need such as your staple pantry produce and any fresh fruits and veggies you want for the week ahead.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
It is also a good idea to have at least a rough idea of the meals you want to eat in the coming weeks.
To do this we highly recommend looking through some vegan recipes online or in cookbooks and seeing what looks good.
You can then use the ingredients list on those recipes to form a part of your shopping list.
You do not have to plan every single meal, but it may be a good idea to plan your dinner for each day.
To help you do this week after week, you can save recipes as you find them for the future. By this we mean, whenever you find a recipe you like you can keep it in a notebook or folder online and come back to it time and time again.
This is probably one of the most exciting things about becoming vegan. You get to try all of these new recipes that you have never even heard of before, as well as finding ways to adapt your old favourite non-vegan meals.
ALWAYS Check The Ingredient List At The Back Of The Package
Armed with your shopping list, it is now time to step foot into the shop, reusable carrier bags in hand! Our main piece of advice, e
specially when you are just beginning your vegan journey, would be to slow down.
Do not rush through the shop and start placing random items in the trolley.
Instead, follow your list carefully and check every single product.
A simple scan of the ingredients list will tell you all you need to know about whether a product is vegan or not.
Of course, there are some things that you will be certain about such s fruit, vegetables, and legumes. However, it is good practice to check the back of pre packed goods every time, especially since recipes change so often!
This will ensure you do not unknowingly pick up and then consume something that is not vegan. This actually happens more than you may think, too! Brands change recipes and improve them constantly.
Sadly, this means that some of your current favourite ‘accidentally vegan’ goodies may not stay vegan forever!
Wondering if a product is vegan?
If You’re A Beginner – Start By Going For The Safe Foods First
It is good practice to start with the foods that you are certain of, such as fruits, vegetables, pasta, and rice.
You should also be safe with bread and legumes.
If you start to feel very overwhelmed by packaged products just grab your basics, to begin with, and slowly venture into the world of packaged goods.
You do not need these snacks and conveniences to get by, but they can help in the future.
Pick A Favorite Supermarket That’s More Vegan Friendly
When you first start your vegan journey it is a good idea to shop around. Visit different supermarkets each week so that you can get a feel for the sorts of products they have on offer, and for what prices.
Ideally, you will want your vegan food shopping to be as affordable as your non-vegan one was, but also that you are not limited in terms of choice.
You will soon find that you have a favourite supermarket providing an excellent range of vegan foods at competitive prices. When you find your holy grail supermarket you can continue shopping there all the time.
How To Shop For Vegan Clothing
Another important aspect of your vegan lifestyle is the clothes that you choose to wear. When you first consider clothes it can be difficult to think of how you can incorporate veganism into fashion.
However, when you consider the materials that clothes are often made from, you can begin to understand why certain types of clothes may not be vegan.
Some non-vegan clothes materials include:
- Fur of any kind
- Some velvet
Sure, there are vegan versions of most of these using non-animal materials, but even then, it is still important to be cautious. This is because many ‘vegan’ clothes are not actually vegan!
When Shopping For ‘Leather Looking’ Clothes Always Double Check Whether Its Made From Animals
One thing to keep in mind is the fact that oftentimes when you are looking for ‘leather-look’ clothes, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between real and fake.
There have been instances where people have bought ‘fake leather’ that has turned out to be real leather derived from animals!
This renders it not vegan since leather is made from the hides of cows.
Often, these cows have already been slaughtered for the meat industry, and so, by purchasing leather you are supporting the meat industry by default.
There are some leather brands that only use the hides of cows that have died of natural circumstances, however, it is very difficult to prove this and be sure. For this reason, vegans avoid all leather.
There are, of course, many vegan leather alternatives out there, and many brands such as Dr Martens (the shoe brand), do this well, making shoes that look like the real deal but are totally cruelty free.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between real and fake leather, but one of the most obvious things is the smell. Real leather has a super distinct smell, and so if your ‘non-leather’ product smells leather, it is likely to be unsuitable for vegans.
Watch Out For Fur Clothing
Another thing that you should be wary of is faux-fur.
This is because it can be very difficult to differentiate between real and faux fur.
Real fur is certainly not vegan as it is literally taken from an animal.
Quite often, the fur is still attached to the animal’s skin.
The types of animals most often used in this way for their fur include:
- …and many more!
Their fur then gets turned into fashion items such as coats, scarves, and even pom-poms for hats, keyrings, and blankets.
The easiest way to tell fake and real fur apart is by looking underneath the fur. Real fur will be on a stretched out piece of thin leather (this is essentially their skin). Fake fur will either be stuck or stitched to a fabric backing.
Some vegan faux fur products we love
Watch Out For Clothing Containing Wool,Shearling, Cashmere, and Angora
You also need to watch out for some of the popular materials used for knitted and fluffy garments. These include wool, cashmere, shearling and angora. The reason for this is because wool is the hair from a lamb or sheep, while shearling is the skin of a lamb with the fleece still attached.
Angora is the wool of a rabbit, and cashmere is hair from the Cashmere goat. As you can see, all of these materials come directly from the animal, and so they are not vegan. Instead, seek out vegan wool products for the same effect but without the cruelty!
Watch Out For Silk & Down Feathers In Clothing & Bedding
Two surprising fabrics that should be avoided include silk and feather down.
Silk is the fibre that silkworms weave to make their cocoons—it’s sometimes used to make shirts and dresses.
Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin, and down stolen from geese and ducks hide in some puffy jackets, pillows, and bedding.
Other feathers are also used to decorate clothing and accessories.
The methods used to get these materials, especially feathers, can be particularly cruel. Even if the birds do not die from the retrieval of their feathers, they often get plucked right off them in a process that is very painful.
Luckily, when it comes to all of the materials discussed above, there are some excellent vegan alternatives using man-made and plant based fibres. They can give you the same look and feel like the real thing, but be totally cruelty free! It’s a win-win situation.
General Rule – Look For The PETA-Approved Vegan Logo On Whatever You’re Shopping For
The best advice that we can give you to ensure that you are definitely picking up products (whether they be food products, clothing, cosmetics, and even cleaning products) is to check for some certification on them.
Many vegan and animal friendly companies have their own logo that can be placed on products to ensure consumers that they are certified vegan, cruelty-free, and non-animal tested.
Different logos include:
- The PETA-Approved Vegan Logo
- The Leaping Bunny Logo
- A statement saying ‘Vegan Friendly’
- A logo from the Vegan Society
- A statement or logo to say it is Cruelty Free
If you are still unsure of the vegan status of a particular product or clothing item, you can just leave it for now and research it when you get home.
Different stores may also be able to provide you with information about the vegan or cruelty free status of their products, especially cosmetics companies, clothing companies, and independent food shops.
There you have it! Your ultimate guide on how to Shop as a Vegan. We are sure that you cannot wait to get out and start your first food shop, with your newly written shopping list in hand.
We highly recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference, especially if you are just starting out on your vegan journey.
Above all, enjoy it! Try not to go too hard on yourself – everyone makes mistakes when they first become vegan, we’re only human after all! The main thing is that you are trying!
Thank you for reading our article!