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What is a Vegan Lifestyle?

Choosing a vegan lifestyle means avoiding the use of animals for food, clothing or for any other purpose. People may choose a vegan diet for lots of reasons, including respecting animals, reducing their impact on the environment and wanting to have a healthy and nutritious diet.

Read on if you want to find out more about how we can help you find the products you need to follow a vegan diet.

One of the first things you will find useful is to get into the habit of reading the labels on everything, from food to body care to household products. This will help you to choose suitable products and also keep you informed on exactly what's in the products you're buying.

We wanted to make life easier for our vegan customers, so we have organised suitable products that we sell into our vegan shop. You can order most of these online with delivery to your door - with more items available to click and collect from our Edinburgh stores.

Bulk Buy Vegan Whole Foods Online

You can buy quality vegan wholefoods online to be delivered to your door in bulk wholesale quantities. It is a great way to save money. The more you buy, the less you pay per 100g. Visit our Wholesale Page and choose from the widest range of the healthiest foods.

Why Choose This Lifestyle?

Living this way appeals for many reasons, lots of which fit in with common values that we may already hold:love the bunny, be vegan

  • Wanting to be kind to animals
  • Not wanting animals to suffer to produce our food
  • Believing that killing is wrong
  • Reducing the environmental impact of our chosen lifestyle
  • Recognising the need for there to be enough food for everyone on the planet
  • Wanting to have a healthy and nutritious diet

What Can I Eat?

Vegan Bruschetta All kinds of foods!

Such as curries, pizza, casseroles, lasagne, soups, risottos, spicy bean chilli, stir-fries, falafel, samosas, bhajis, stews, paella, dhal, toad in the hole, pasta and pesto, quiche, pancakes, tagines, tortilla wraps, chocolate chip cookies, jacket potatoes, cannelloni, noodle soup, stuffed pasta shells, spicy potato wedges, fruit crumble and custard, gnocchi, tagliatelle, salads, shortbread, spring rolls, panini, spaghetti bolognese, sushi, mezze…

All of these dishes and many more can be made using entirely plant-based ingredients and no ingredients derived from animals.

Dietary Benefits

Well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living at all ages and stages of life.

Well-planned diets correspond with many current healthy eating guidelines, such as:

  • eating more fruit and vegetables
  • eating more wholegrains
  • eating more fibre
  • eating less saturated fat

Well-planned diets can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke.

It is important that a vegan diet is "well-planned" because the fact that food is suitable doesn't automatically make it healthy.

White bread, chips and fizzy drinks might be suitable, but they are not well-planned, in the same way as a diet of burgers and cakes wouldn't be well-planned either.

Find lots of options for your well-planned menu and buy vegan food online for delivery to your door from Real Foods.

Here are Real Foods suggestions as to what a well planned vegan diet might include:

Fresh fruit and vegetables

A well-balanced diet should include a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, to provide many important nutrients.

We always have a great variety of organic fresh fruit and vegetables at Real Foods - see what we have available today here.

Food cupboard essentials

There is a wide variety of foods that may be included in your vegan diet, incorporating recipes from around the world.

What isn't included is anything taken from animals, such as meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, honey - and any products derived from those products.

Useful food cupboard essentials for vegans include:

  • Grains (and pseudo grains) such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and wheat
  • Pulses – beans, peas and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Preserved fruit and vegetables – including dried, fermented and pickled
  • Herbs and spices

Browse our range of vegan food cupboard essentials here.

Vegan snacks and confectionery

Sometimes everyone needs a treat. Nowadays there is a wide range of suitable snacks and confectionery available, from chocolate truffles to tortilla chips.

Some non-vegan ingredients to keep an eye out for in snacks and confectionery include gelatine (often found in sweets) and lactose (often found in crisps).

If you're looking for a tasty treat, we have lots to choose from here.


One of the first switches that people often make when moving to a vegan diet is from dairy milk to an alternative.

You can find a wide range of alternatives to dairy milk at Real Foods, including drinks made from oats, rice, almond, peas, soya, coconut and even potato.

We also have all kinds of suitable hot drinks, including vegan hot chocolate!

Beer and wine can sometimes be filtered ("fined") using animal products, so won't always be vegan. Beer can also sometimes contain lactose (from milk). This isn't always clear from product labels, although you can often find this information online. You can find the range of vegan alcoholic drinks we sell here.

Vegan vitamins and supplements

At Real Foods we stock a wide range of suitable supplements, including vitamins and minerals.

When following a vegan diet you might want to consider supplementing some nutrients, such as vitamin B12.

What About Non-Food Goods?

Shoes and clothes are fairly easy:

Mainly it means avoiding leather, wool, silk and fur so most clothes are vegan.

Leather shoes are still common, but there are also plenty of vegan shoes available too.

For toiletries, make-up and household goods, you must develop a habit of reading the labels! Be aware that 'Not tested on animals' does not mean 'No animal products in the ingredients'.

Beauty and bodycare

Finding vegan beauty and bodycare can sometimes require a little bit more research than finding vegan food and drink, but there are lots of great products available.

Some non-vegan bodycare ingredients to look out for include bees wax and lanolin. Suitable beauty and bodycare products must also not be tested on animals.

Browse our range of vegan beauty and bodycare products here.

Vegan soap from Suma

Getting Started

Perhaps you would like to become vegan but cannot afford to replace everything you have that has been made using animal products. Don't let that stop you!

What you do with your existing products is up to you. The main thing is that you do not choose to buy new non-vegan products once you have chosen this lifestyle.

With toiletries, cosmetics and household products, the easiest thing is to identify which vegan brands you're going to replace them with before they run out and you have no way of washing your clothes/yourself, and either replace them as they run out or just buy a batch of new stuff in one go.

Get ideas of what you can buy, browsing our vegan online shop.