How easy is it to be a vegan in Dubai?

How easy is it to be a vegan in Dubai?

Two UAE-based bloggers share their stories

Like many others, I too turned to a plant-based diet after watching documentaries like What the Health, Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives and Earthlings.

I've been in Dubai since 2012 and it is easier for me to be vegan today than it was being a vegetarian when I first moved here. When I first became vegan, I thought it was going to be hard, yet, restaurants everywhere are introducing options. I'm proud of the plant-based approach in the UAE and of new concepts and brands like Freakin' Healthy and Life'n One (to name a few). Even grocery shopping has become less complicated! Vegan products are easily identifiable, properly labelled, and more accessible.

I know that veganism is often perceived as an expensive lifestyle, but I disagree. Vegans are already buying the same products, minus the animal products and meat. With that alone, the bill sits friendlier on the wallet. I do acknowledge that restaurants tend to overprice vegan options, but I've had a Dh150 burrata so that claim is not vegan-exclusive. Some of the most affordable foods are vegan: beans, legumes, rice, fruits and vegetables.

Through being vegan, I came across amazing friends, some of whom have become family. We have a vegan community where people gather around good food, share experiences and give advice on leading a vegan lifestyle.
My lifestyle translated to my work too. I work in a food distribution company and recently began sourcing vegan products and ingredients and introducing them to local restaurants, hotels and cafes.

I'll end this column with some advice: be aware of your impact on what is around you; no matter how small, take steps to leave a positive mark on planet Earth.

- Jad Asaad
Is an 'avocado addict', vegan and influencer. Follow him on Instagram @jadocado tips on sustainable living
I grew up in a home where everything was stuffed and carved. but it was my daughter who opened my eyes to a vegan lifestyle. While most kids refuse to eat their greens, mine just refused meat and fish and preferred fruits and veggies over the rest. I believe in freestyle parenting so I researched it and, to my surprise, discovered quite a lot of reason to turn to a plant-based lifestyle. We've both been vegan for a year now, and it's been a great learning curve.
Luckily, Dubai has plenty of brands and stores often have massive discounts (so you can stock up). The first thing we did was replace milk: oat milk for my chai and almond milk for her cereal. The Organic Foods and Café is a place I visit often when they have sales. Kibsons (an online store), Park n Shop, Carrefour, Spinneys and Lulu all have a dairy-free range too. It breaks the myth that turning vegan is expensive. I also cook at home a lot as children like to eat what they are familiar with. Here are some alternatives I use:

1. For crepes and pancakes, I use an egg replacer or flaxseed, which also adds additional nutrients to the dish.
2. Scrambled tofu with avocado on toast is another breakfast hit that's simple to put together too.
3. Bakes and pastas are made with dairy-free alternatives.
4. Lentils and greens are a large part of our diet and, being Indian, the array of dishes one can prepare is vast.
5. Vegan ice creams and sorbets are available all over.
There are plenty of eateries that offer a vegan dining experience. Some of my favourites are Brambles (in Barsha), Soul Sante (in Dubai Marina) and Life n One. Last, but not least, Dubai also has options such as meal prep boxes. A company called Let's Cook is a good place to start.

- Alison
Is a vegan single mum, e-commerce entrepreneur and blogger behind Follow her on Instagram @PinksmyInk

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