Vegan in Scotland?

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I recently met my blogger buddy, Mike and his wife Florence for coffee while they were visiting Florence’s family in Pasadena. It was fun talking with them because they live such an exciting life as world travelers. They refer to themselves as The Six Monthers because they move to a new country every six months.

Toward the end of our meeting, Mike said, “I didn’t even get to quiz you about being vegan.”

I was surprised; I didn’t even know he was veg-curious. We decided to meet again to discuss my diet. A few days after our second meeting, Mike sent me an email telling me that he and Florence had decided to adopt a plant-based diet. I was thrilled and wrote a post about it.

Mike and Florence have since moved to Scotland. This worried me. Since it’s a country that’s known for eating square sausage, haggis (a pudding made out of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs) and a beef dish called potted hough, I didn’t think it was the best place for plant-based newbies.

Thankfully, I was wrong! After getting settled in Scotland, Florence sent me an email telling me how easy it was to eat plant-based there. I was intrigued so I asked her to tell me more. Here’s what she said:

Florence Shares about Being Vegan in Scotland

Every restaurant here in Scotland has at least one meal that is either totally vegan or vegetarian. This may have resulted from Mad Cow disease scare a few years ago. Restaurants also have a lot of gluten-free foods.

One of our favorite places in all of Birmingham is Café Soya. Over half their menu is vegan and wow, is it good! I ordered rice and flattened soya made to look and taste like chicken. It was heavenly and guilt-free. Mike had the tofu noodle soup.

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Café Soya, Birmingham

A lot of the items packaged in the grocery store are marked as vegan as well. In fact the foods here are color coded so that you can easily find items that are vegan (green, of course) or GF (yellow) or filled with mayonnaise. (Good heavens they love their mayo here!).

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Grocery store with vegan and gluten-free items clearly marked

Talk about excited. Mike and I even found Roots & Fruits, an awesome vegan and vegetarian store while walking around Glasgow. We loved the name as well.

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Roots & Fruits vegetarian grocery store, Glasgow

Roots & Fruits has a large selection of fresh made artisan breads and lots of nuts and other items that are natural. One of my favorites is these bars made of cranberries, macadamias and dark chocolate and nothing else. They are called Eat Natural. People eat a lot of oats here and oat cakes are commonly used as crackers. 

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Fresh baked breads and other healthy goodies at Fruits & Roots

All in all trying to live life as a vegan in Scotland is not as hard as one would think. However, we both love cheese, and with so many good cheeses available here, giving up cheese is the biggest challenge for us.  However, I love hummus, and there are at least five flavors of hummus readily available. So I am making do with carrots and hummus when the urge for cheese strikes.  Now if we could just find a good cup of coffee!

Just after Florence sent me this write-up, I found out that Mike was hired by Touristar TV to write about Croatia. So now Mike and Florence are off to Croatia and I’ll be interested to hear how easy it is to eat plant-based there.

Image courtesy of Scottish Gifts for U.

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About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Daily Life, Plant-Based Diet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Vegan in Scotland?

  1. Mike Lince says:

    We appreciate your friendship and we love your blog. Thank your for sharing our story, Celeste.
    – Mike and Florence, The Six Monthers 🙂

    • Hey Mike and Florence! You guys are awesome, and you’re educating me and my readers about what it’s like to eat vegan in other parts of the world. This is great info for those of us who like to travel. Who knows, maybe Paul and I will go to Scotland one day. To be honest, I never thought about going there until I started reading your posts about it. But now I’m intrigued! I am curious about one thing, however. How the heck are you guys getting by without good coffee! Celeste 🙂

      • Mike Lince says:

        You need not worry, Celeste. There is a coffee shop franchise here in the UK called Costa, and there is a shop right on the corner from our building. I already have a club card! 🙂

  2. Awesome meetup story and I like their name! We are also world travelers, too 🙂

    • And also live in a country between 1 – 3 months. 🙂

      • Thanks for your comments Rika! You are a traveling fool girlfriend, and your blog rocks!! For anyone reading this post who doesn’t know Rika from veganmiam, go check her blog out! She’s a globe-trotting vegan who has written about veg-matters from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. In addition to her travel posts, she’s got fabulous recipes!! Celeste 🙂

    • Oh thanks Cowgirl! Hopefully Florence will read your comment because she deserves the credit for this post. I’m hoping that Mike and Florence will be willing to share their vegan experiences on my blog for all of the countries they go to. They’ll be like my foreign correspondents. Celeste 🙂

      • We’d love to be guest bloggers for you Celeste. The wonderful people in Croatia have already asked me if I had any dietary restrictions and wow, did I give them an earful. We’ll keep you posted on our Croatia adventure and we’re not done yet here in Scotland.

        BTW – they do have vegetarian haggis here. For some reason however we still can’t bring ourselves to order it – I think its the word haggis. 🙂

        We’ll be in touch. Hugs from us both.

        Florence & Mike

    • That’s wonderful Florence!! Well then you and Mike are officially hired as my foreign correspondents! I can’t wait to hear about Croatia – should be interesting. And I’m with you, I don’t think I’d do vegan haggis either. Why bother? Safe travels girlfriend!! Celeste 🙂

  3. Sharing this with my awesome Scottish blogger buddy, Lorna :-). Interesting – and way to go Scotland!

  4. carmen says:

    Loved reading this!! We lived in Scotland in 1993/1994 near Edinburgh. At the time, we were vegetarians, so we ate cheese (it was very hard to give up the taste of cheese like Florence mentioned), however, hummus is delicious and nutritious, and I don’t miss cheese anymore. The mega-suffering that goes into producing dairy products just isn’t worth a grilled cheese sandwich.

    With compassion,
    ❤ carmen

    • Dairy was hard for me to give up too! I used to eat cheese every day – I just loved the stuff. I also drank way too many mocha latte’s and ate too much ice cream. It was hard to give all that up, but only at first. I don’t desire dairy products at all anymore. You get used to and grow to like eating vegan after awhile. And not only are the cows suffering less because of my choices, but I’m healthier and thinner as well. As far as I’m concerned, giving up dairy is a win, win, win!! Thanks so much for your comment Carmen! Celeste 🙂

  5. I visited my mom ^ (carmen) when she and my dad were in Scotland and I bought vegetarian haggis! It was delicious. I love Scotland (my dad was born there). Such a beautiful place and such warm, generous people. Your friends’ letter is great. I wonder if they can find the famous vegan Scottish cheese in a health food store there (It’s called Sheese: http://www.buteisland.com/) before they go to Croatia. Finding a good substitute would certainly make it easier to give up cheese!

    • Hey Jean! Every time I think of you I tell myself that I’ve got to write that post about Plum Bistro. Oh well – I’ll get to it. Anyway, I hope Florence reads your comment and gets some vegetarian haggis and Sheese. Thanks for sharing about those! And thanks so much for your comment and all of your support Jean – I appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

      • Don’t feel guilty! It took me a while to write my post! I’m just glad to have met you! Thanks for passing along the vegetarian haggis and Sheese info! The haggis might have even been vegan. It was a delicious medley of veggies and spices in a plastic bag (instead of a sheep’s stomach).

    • Just read your Plum Bistro post – loved it!!

  6. This made me proud of my country. 🙂 I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that veggie options are becoming far more prominent on previously meat-heavy menus. More and more I’m seeing vegan alternatives as well, and gluten-free food, too. I think Scotland’s doing quite well on changing its eating habits, I’m not entirely sure what’s brought it on but I assume it’s customer demand and a general increase in people’s interest in eating healthy fare. I’ve been enjoying vegetarian haggis for years and think it’s a very tasty dish – much better than the meat one, in my opinion.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I’ve never been to Scotland, but from reading the experiences Mike and Florence are having there, I’d love to visit one day. And from what you’ve shared, I’ll have to taste vegan haggis when I go! It does appear that Scotland has been much more responsive in providing vegan and allergy-friendly fare than the US. Sure, you can get some great vegan food if you happen to live in one of the vegan hot spots in the US like Los Angeles or Portland, but most cities are not especially vegan-friendly. Are you vegan or vegetarian? Have a wonderful week!! Celeste 🙂

      • I hope you get to visit one day and try the tasty veggie haggis. I’m mostly vegetarian (occasional fish) but I often choose vegan. I don’t know if I could ever give up dairy altogether, it would be a tough challenge. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the changes Scotland’s been making in food provision, it’s great to have a healthy choice when you go out for a meal. I haven’t seen much for raw foodists, although there are a few select establishments here and there that cater for them.

    • I was surprised that Scotland was so vegan-friendly too!! That’s so great! It’s also wonderful to hear that you’re mostly vegetarian! And believe me, I completely understand your feelings about giving up dairy. I would have laughed two years ago if someone told me I’d be vegan one day – I used to love cheese and ice cream so much! Giving it up was hard at first, but I actually prefer eating vegan now. Since you eat vegan often, I’m sure you’re aware of how delicious it can be. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you stop by again! Celeste 🙂

  7. jen says:

    I love veg haggis! It’s a staple dinner in this Scottish household but I would definitely have to think twice about the “real” thing 🙂

    • Hey Jen! I’ve never had veg haggis or the “real” thing! I don’t even know where I could get it in the US. I guess I’ll just have to go on vacation in Scotland one of these days. Thanks for reading and for your comment – I appreciate it!! Celeste 🙂

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