UPDATE (December 2017): This list was originally compiled in September 2015. The whole world was watching Cowspiracy and finding themselves inspired to learn more about going vegan! I put together this list of primarily Instagram accounts to help out, and they’re all still pretty accurate! I’ve updated the post title to more accurately reflect the content, but the content is still all there.
ORIGINAL POST: In the past week, I’ve received a LOT more requests and questions than usual regarding a transition to a vegan/cruelty-free life. Most of the recent messages came after I encouraged my followers to watch Cowspiracy, a documentary that makes a strong case for abstaining from animal products to help combat climate change and environmental destruction. When I decided to go vegan about eight years ago, I was completely lost and had no idea where to look for information and inspiration. As a result, it took me a long long time to discover vegan restaurants, cosmetics, fashion, etc. Honestly, I don’t think I even knew vegan shoe companies actually existed! So, to help those currently trying to make more compassionate, healthy, environmentally conscious choices, I put together this list of chefs, food products, fashion lines, and lifestyle bloggers. I discovered and follow most of these people and businesses on Instagram, so I recommend following them there for continuous motivation! Big thanks to Molly Tuttle of Fashion Veggie for sending me her own version of this list, which helped me get started!
Chefs and Food Bloggers:
Some of these are professional chefs, some are casual cooks, but all inspire me to attempt new dishes, experiment with new techniques, and explore new ingredients! This is the longest list of the guide because, well, I love food.
Remember, everyone has different taste in foods, regardless of whether or not animal products are used. I recommend trying a wide variety of products to see what you like! For example, there are some products on this list I’m not crazy about, but I’ve included them because other people I know love them. If I rave about a certain product and you don’t like it, I hope that won’t turn you off all vegan foods!
Depending on where you live, many of these products may be in your local Whole Foods or even more traditional grocery stores. If you’re in an area with fewer options, I highly recommend ordering online from veganessentials.com or rabbitfoodgrocery.com!
@hamptoncreek (Switching from egg-based mayonnaise to their product, Just Mayo, will be the easiest dietary change you make!)
@gardein (I love pretty much everything they make, but I especially recommend the mini chick’n sandwiches, the fishless filets ((especially with Follow Your Heart tartar sauce)), and the chipotle lime chick’n strips)
@followyourheart (They make some of the best vegan cheese slices! I shred their mozzarella block when I make pizza. I recommend avoiding their “vegan gourmet” products as this was an old product line and isn’t nearly as impressive as the new stuff)
@fieldroast (Great sausages, and they make the other best vegan cheese slices! The cheese slices are under the name “Chao”, but are made by the Field Roast)
I haven’t included independent restaurants with one or two locations, because that would take another entire blog post! These are businesses with more than a few locations; check their websites to see if there’s one near you! The non-vegan restaurants are included to help people who don’t live in areas with an abundance of plant-based options.
Fortunately, there are SO many cruelty-free, vegan options out there. Too many to list here! So I’ve only mentioned products I’ve personally tried and loved. For more ideas, check out the beauty bloggers listed above!
@oseamalibu (I 100% stand behind this company; when I’m good about my skincare routine using their products, the results are incredible)
@olivineatelier (Indescribably lovely perfume! I recommend ordering the sample pack so you can choose your favorite scent before committing to a scent)
@petitvour (Monthly delivery of cosmetic samples; love this company and the woman who runs it!)
Lily Lolo (Not 100% vegan, but all not tested on animals. I use their vegan mascara and I love it)
These are some of the most influential films that have shaped the way I view animal advocacy, health, and environmentalism. I recommend following them on social media, because once the viewing is over, you’ll continue to learn and be inspired!
Even if you’re feeling newly inspired to make big changes in your life due to a documentary, book, or transformative experience, that feeling has the potential to fade, especially when you’re faced with cravings, nostalgia, challenges from friends/family, etc. Following these individuals and organizations that work every day to expose and combat animal exploitation will help keep you strong!
This section is for people/pages that didn’t really fit neatly into any of the other categories, but who I look up to and am inspired by! People are only included here if they speak/post frequently about issues that will be relevant to new and curious animal advocates (by which I mean, please don’t be offended if you’re vegan and not listed here!)