How to make life as a vegan at university easier
It doesn’t have to be expensive
With Veganism and Environmentalism on the rise in recent years, and a Waitrose survey in 2018 revealing that one third of all Brits don't eat meat or have reduced their meat consumption, I've put together a little step by step for us uni students on how to aim to have more vegan meals in our diet.
Sometimes, being vegan doesn't seem viable or sustainable for everyone but even just reducing meat and dairy consumption can help the environment, and this is the low-down to help you do so at uni!
1. Research, Research, Research
My number one rule for Veganism has to be researching what you're eating; without this it's easy to get into the habit of eating non-nutritious and carb-heavy meals all the time. This too can obviously happen as a meat eater but with little knowledge of vegan alternatives it's easy to fall into a rice, bread and pasta trap.
It's as easy as picking up a book in the Robbo or taking 10 minutes to have a good old Google and you will find hundreds of types of food and recipes which would work a treat. Educating and planning meals is the key to getting the nutrition and vitamins necessary for you.
2. Linda McCartney sausages
I know Newcastle wouldn't be same without its famous Greggs sausage rolls, and yes they do now sell vegan alternatives! However… if you're watching your waistline, Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages are a must. These are the best vegetarian sausages I've managed to find, they don't taste like meat as such but their individual flavour is still amazing in itself. Whereas two pork sausages on average are 250 calories, Linda's are only 130 with similar protein amounts… healthier and better for the environment!
3. Prepare shopping lists
As a uni student on a tight budget, shopping lists are an essential for everyone but when trying to be vegan it's even more necessary. I usually spend around £20 or less a week on food shopping all whilst getting enough protein and nutrients in my diet! Grainger Market is a great place to get cheap fruit and veg whilst helping the local community and keeping the budget to a minimum.
4. You don't have to like Tofu
Whilst personally, I love tofu, liking it is not a necessary condition for not eating meat. There are plenty of other alternatives which provide plenty enough protein in a sustainable and healthy way and are much easier to manage. The local Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose in Jes and town all stock plenty of other meat free alternatives that are still great for a balanced diet.
5. Follow vegan food accounts
I found following vegan food blogs/ recipe accounts on Instagram really helped me get food ideas that were simple and easy to make. @accidentallyveganuk is a great account to show how many of your already existing fave snacks are vegan and also shows new foods that are fresh on the market!
6. Your faves may already be vegan!
Following on from mentioning accidentallyveganuk… your fave foods may actually be vegan! From ginger nuts, fruit shortcakes, most crisps, pasta and sooo many others, eliminating non-vegan food from your diet isn't as daunting as it seems when you realise how much doesn't have dairy/meat in anyway!
7. Eating out doesn't have to be hard…
My recommendation is to look online for menus to see if they have any meals that are vegan or can be made vegan!! With Veganism on the rise most chain restaurants have an extensive range of meals and even most independent places do! My personal faves in Newcastle are Cafe 1901 in West Jesmond, Shijo in Haymarket/SU or Fat Hippo in town/West Jesmond which has the most amazing vegan burgers!! Spoons Five Bean Chilli is up there but since Five Swans has shut down… it can be a bit of a trek to the others.
8. It's okay to not be 100% vegan
With the terms such as "freegan" and "flexitarian" making the rounds, it's key to note being vegan doesn't necessarily mean having to be completely strict 100% of the time. I can't remember the last time I turned down munchies chips and gravy (deffo not vegan) but it doesn't mean what I'm doing isn't helping the environment. Whilst Veganism is mainstreaming significantly and restaurants are reflecting this; strict restrictions have the ability to hinder social experiments so my advice is if you want to cheat once in blue moon, just do it!