Reducing our plastic usage and recycling are a fantastic way to start making a positive impact, but the planet’s consumption of meat is having one of the largest effects on the planet and our oceans.
If you’re thinking of going vegan or simply want to reduce your meat consumption, you’ll be pleased to hear that it can actually be easier than expected, as Edinburgh is a very vegan/vegetarian-friendly city! Like many other big cities in the UK, Edinburgh is thriving with plant-based options in eateries and shops – even Greggs have introduced vegan sausage rolls to help ease any morning cravings after a night out!
Going vegan isn’t the only option though – you can build up to it over time, or even just try out more plant-based meals every so often. Check out the recipes below from two of our student Societies – Edinburgh University Vegetarian and Vegan Society and Student Voice for Animal Rights. The recipes made from seasonal foods have all been tried out by them – vegan students on a budget – many a time. Below you'll also find advice on building a vegan-friendly cupboard, food shop suggestions, as well as some Edinburgh restaurants that serve delicious plant-based foods!
Producing meat accounts for 18% of global greenhouse gas emission. To put that into perspective, exhaust emissions from road, rail, air, and marine transportation account for 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The environmental cost does not stop there – 91% of the Amazon destruction can be attributed to animal agriculture. It is conservatively estimated that 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1lb of beef, 1,000 gallons of water for one gallon of milk. Overall, animal agriculture is believed to be responsible for 20%-33% of all freshwater consumption in the world today.
If you’d like to find out more about plant-based diets and meet fellow students who are passionate about this cause, Student Voice for Animal Rights and the Vegetarian and Vegan Society are two friendly student-led communities who are always open to welcoming new members. Check out their pages or drop them a line if you’d like to join or simply find out more about them!
Ready to give plant-based foods a go? To keep the cost down and make sure you’ve always got the basics at hand, we’d suggest that you buy these ingredients in bulk every now and then:
• Olive oil
• Vegetable oil (e.g. rapeseed, sunflower)
• Various nuts
• Various seeds
• Dried fruit
• Various spices (e.g. cumin, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, garam masala, turmeric)
• Nutritional yeast
• Grains (e.g. barley, bulgur, couscous)
• Beans, chickpeas, and lentils
• Tinned tomatoes
• Soy sauce
• Salt and pepper
• Chili powder or flakes
• Ground flax seeds
• Date syrup (much cheaper than maple syrup!)
• Cocoa powder
• Nut butter
Edinburgh has plenty of big supermarkets and smaller shops to get your groceries and cooking ingredients from. Below are just a few suggestions to get you started!
For most of your essential food shopping you can try:
In case you need harder to find ingredients, check out:
• New Leaf Co-op
• Dig In
• Jordan Valley
• Holland & Barrett
• Hanover Healthfoods
If you want to treat yourself, these places offer vegan/vegetarian-friendly options to suit all tastes:
• Beetroot Sauvage
• Chocolate Tree
• David Bann
• Forest Café
• Henderson’s (various locations)
• Holy Cow
• Hula Juice Café
• Humpit (in Potterrow!)
• Karma Kebab
• Paradise Palms
• Seeds For the Soul
• The Auld Hoose
• The New Amphion (In Teviot!)
One of the best things for not only the environment, but for our health too, is to eat in season. By eating seasonally we not only support local farmers who choose to farm more sustainably, we are also preserving the environment, as land isn’t forced to produce in an unnatural cycle. Eating seasonally ensures our food is fresher and that less transport is needed.
You can check out some exciting recipes below to help you on your way – just click on each season button to discover more!
Looking for more tips and advice on ethical and sustainable food? Check out the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability's guide on 5 Steps to Good Food.