Choosing the right gift for your vegan friend or a loved one isn't always easy. If you know any vegans, you'll understand firsthand that they have a zero-tolerance rule to any animal products at all.
With this in mind, it's essential to respect their views when buying them a vegan foodie gift, even though it can make the entire process very challenging.
While it's getting better through time, it's still not always straightforward buying vegan products in a supermarket or on the high street. No matter what you decide to buy your vegan pal, we've compiled some suggestions to help you out. But first and foremost, let’s take a further look into veganism and what it means.
Vegan food is anything edible that excludes meat, poultry products and dairy products (this also includes food that doesn't have any animal extracts or ingredients in it or that has been processed by using animal derivatives).
Vegans only eat plant products, and nowadays, food vendors have developed vegan variations of different foods such as cheese and fake meat alternatives to meet the growing demand for vegetarian and organic meal options.
Food outlets have also adopted the ever-increasing trend of vegetarianism and many nowadays run as either fully vegan food outlets or have sections that solely serve vegan meals.
Of course, cutting processed sugars and other harmful fats from your diet can have incredible benefits. Many vegans adopt this type of diet for ethical reasons, environmental benefits or even health concerns.
Veganism helps to reduce weight and control blood sugar levels, and vegans also have a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegans, which is due to their high intake of dietary fibre food components.
There are several other benefits attached to veganism, but much like anything in life, there are some disadvantages. Eating only plant-based meals could result in serious nutrient deficiencies in the body.
It is crucial to have a balance of good fats and other fibres to avoid deficiencies. Taking supplements can help the normal function of your body, especially if you're vegan, but may not always help 100%.
Vegan food gifts can be found in a supermarket or food shops across the UK. Online shops such as Amazon, for example, have vegan gift categories that offer a selection of ethical gifts from bamboo toothbrushes to delicious vegan snacks and everything in between.
Get your vegan friend a 'free from' hamper. These are packs made up of a range of ingredients and usually come with instructions on how to make your own vegan meal or desserts and even include snacks inside.
This is a perfect idea for vegan beginners who don’t know to prepare basic (and even some of the more complex) vegan meals at home. We're sure that they will thank you for a delicious hamper and for acknowledging their vegan status with a gift as good as this.
Vegan chocolate is readily available in supermarkets nationwide. Dark chocolate with no dairy or gluten is ideal for those with a vegan diet. Vegan chocolate is processed without adding any dairy products to it including milk and refined sugar, so is perfect for those who would rather their chocolate without.
Most vegan chocolate has more than 70% cacao inside and should also contain eschews palms or purely extracted cacao butter.
Raw chocolate is a gift idea for vegans or those who are lactose intolerant. No dairy products are added to this type of chocolate during the manufacturing process.
Made from coconut sugar, raw chocolate is also processed under low temperatures ensuring that all the beneficial nutrients such as flavonoids are preserved during the processing.
Raw chocolate acts as a source for vital nutrients including iron, manganese, and magnesium necessary for the production of energy in the body. It’s a truly great gift for those vegan chocolate lovers.
Celebrating a loved one’s birthday or your anniversary who just so happens to be vegan? Get them a vegan cake! After all, who doesn't love cake? Vegan cakes are free from any animal or poultry products.
Vegan cakes, however, still have high sugar content, and this means they're not always necessarily a ‘healthier’ option.
In this case, refined sugar is substituted with granulated sugar in equal measures. Maple syrup is another alternative used instead of pure sugar.
Vegans love their sweets as much as non-vegans. A packet of vegan sweets with no animal products is a fantastic gift for a vegan friend or spouse. However, most sweets in the market are not 100% free from animal products.
Most contain trace amounts of dairy or poultry products, including gelatin, which gives the sweets their pleasing chewiness.
Gelatin is obtained from the connective tissues of animals, so to ensure that what you get at the store is vegan, check the ingredients listed out on the packaging for gelatin and E120 (which is carmine-a colourant obtained from insects).
There are also loads of non-food items that you can easily get in supermarkets and high-street stores. Some great gift ideas include natural kitchen utensils that are made purely from wood and free from plastic.
Other ideas include vegan candles, make-up sets, body washes and toiletries, and handbags or unisex bags that are made from hemp and other organic materials.
Is honey vegan? In a nutshell, no. Honey is made by bees for the human population and the bees themselves (they use the honey as food for the winter season).
On the other hand, all tea is vegan as well as coffee except kopi luwak or civet coffee. 100% Organic loose leaf tea is a common vegan gift idea, especially as it comes in a range of delicious flavours.
The main focus of a brand shouldn't be to just make money from its customers. All companies have a social responsibility to commit itself to protect the environment by producing plastic-free products that are safe for humans, animals and the ecosystem in the long run.
Of course, this isn't always feasible. But there are loads of options out there when it comes to buying a vegan gift for your friend or loved one, so make their day today, and why not even try some of the vegan products mentioned above yourself?
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