Following a vegan diet has become pretty mainstream with many people now eating purely plant-based or at least dabbling with a flexitarian approach including some meat and dairy free days. Tasty vegan recipes are readily available (thank you Deliciously Ella!), there are meat-free and dairy-free substitutes for most things and virtually every cafe and restaurant can cater for vegan requirements. Not everyone views being vegan as a simple choice though, some still have lots of questions! In this post Roberta from Seeds for the Soul in Bruntsfield describes her experience as a vegan family, bringing up a young son and answering questions from people who are not so familiar with veganism.

Hello, my name is Roberta. I am mum to a three and a half year old boy, TJ, and am married to Thomas. Together we are a one very happy vegan family.

Many times, I get asked questions like: OMG your son is vegan? Or…aren’t you scared your son will get ill? What the hell do you eat, I could never survive without cheese! Don’t you think it’s too extreme?

To be honest these questions and comments make me smile. I understand that for many people veganism still seems too extreme, crazy or even scary but let me assure you there is nothing to be afraid of. We have been vegans for two and a half years now, and the only regret that I have is: why didn’t we do it earlier!

So what is it like to be a vegan family?

Well… it is very easy actually.

First let’s talk about food. What do you and your child eat is the most asked question of all. It’s actually very easy to make vegan food. You may be surprised to hear that you can make any non-vegan dish into vegan and I promise you it even tastes better, not to mention being healthier. I cook at home a lot: vegan eggs, pasta, pizza, shepherd’s pie just to name a few dishes. I also use lots of super foods like maca, raw cacao, hemp, spirulina, turmeric etc.

And if you want to eat out there are plenty places in Edinburgh. Did you know that Edinburgh is one of the most vegan friendly cities in the world? Yes that’s right! From 100% vegan, to vegetarian, to the many other places with good vegan options or even separate vegan menus. If you are lazy about cooking and want a take-out then check out Deliveroo, you will be surprised how many vegan options you can find on it.

You should also pop in to my café (Seeds for the Soul) to try my cakes. People are often surprised that they are vegan and yet they taste
just as good as non-vegan cakes!

What family activities in Edinburgh are Vegan?

We can do most of the fun things other families do! There are only few places we choose not to visit as it is against our ethics. These places are: the zoo, safari, aquarium or any other place that we believe exploits animals. There are plenty other places to go to and things to do so we don’t feel like we are missing out on anything!

As a family we love to go for walks in nature and Edinburgh is full of hidden gems like Blackford Hill, Hermitage of Braid, Craiglockhart Hill and many more. Let’s also not forget about all the parks, playgrounds and beautiful botanical gardens!

Editor: Katie and Thomas love it too!

My son, just like all other kids, loves soft play. Usually we go to Wonder World at the bottom of Leith Walk. If you get hungry, they have very nice vegan burgers on the menu! This was not a case few years ago, when I had to go to Tesco next door and get some snacks for us. This just shows that families were asking for vegan food and that demand is growing. My little one loves chips, don’t get me wrong I don’t allow him to eat them often, but when we go to soft play, he gets a portion of French fries and he is always so excited about it!

One of TJ’s favourite places in Edinburgh is Dynamic Earth, and to be honest me and my husband enjoy it too! He loves to watch movies in dome cinema, though he makes many comments and asks lots of funny questions, making other visitors laugh most of the time.

The other fun place to go to is the swimming pool. And there are plenty dotted around the city!

So, as you can see, being a vegan family in Edinburgh is easy. We have lots of choice for places to eat and we enjoy our family time just like other families do!

The Edinburgh Life With Kids team aren’t vegan although Caroline is vegetarian – so although we haven’t searched far and wide to bring you vegan options these are a few links we love (no affiliations, we just like them!)

The cafes:
Seeds for the Soul – highly recommend the falafel!

Cafe Milk – Not 100% vegan but they have some great options.

Hendersons of Edinburgh – an institution!

Vesta – Again, not 100% vegan but lots of options with some creative flavours. It’s also partnered with Social Bite, the social enterprise aiming to end homelessness in Scotland, so we love that. The drinks list is also excellent!

The blogs:
Deliciously Ella – now a global plant-powered phenomenon with multiple cookbooks, Ella Mills has inspired many to switch to a vegan diet.

Feeding Little Ones – Follow Jemma on her blog or over on Instagram for fabulous family friendly recipes, mostly vegan with some vegetarian. Jemma lives just outside Edinburgh so is a local girl. She also has the best tip for cooking broccoli!

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