On Saturday, I went with two of my lovely vegan friends to the Edinburgh Vegan Festival and it was incredible. There was so much vegan food and products - vegan eggs that actually looked like eggs (crazy, I know), salted caramel filled donuts, cakes, 'meat', daim bars, chocolate, ice cream, cheese... the list goes on. It was vegan heaven.
This was the first time I had been to a vegan festival having only been vegan for around six months now. I've been to the vegan market in Edinburgh before and the vegan fete in Glasgow but the festival was on a whole other level. I really couldn't believe the amount of things on offer, there really was everything you could imagine. It was also so great to see some of my favourite vegan businesses and to discover new ones too.
It was so wonderful being somewhere where I could eat anything without having to ask any awkward questions. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many like-minded people and in such a happy and inspiring atmosphere. I think it's also one of the only times I have actually been really happy to see somewhere so busy. The only vegan friends I have are people I have met online so to actually be in a place where everyone understands and is passionate about this lifestyle was just great.
After a walk around the stalls, we headed into one of the talks that were on by a wonderful lady called Fiona Oakes. I'd never heard of Fiona before but wow is that woman incredible. She holds three world records for marathon running; runs an animal sanctuary for over 400 rescued animals that would otherwise likely have been killed; is a firefighter; and has been vegan since the age of six. She runs marathons to raise awareness of animal welfare and veganism and to prove that being vegan does not make you weak, which she does despite a knee injury. I was absolutely in awe listening to Fiona talk. She is such an incredible person and so, so inspiring. Everything she does is for the animals, she puts them above everything else and would do anything for them. If you haven't heard of Fiona before then I'd definitely recommend heading over to her website and reading a little about her, she is one vegan that everyone needs to know about and I am so pleased I had the opportunity to hear her speak.
For lunch, we got falafel wraps from Sharaf and they were so yummy! I love falafel wraps but this may have been one of the best I've had, the wrap was so thick and big, filled with salad, falafels, and sweet chilli sauce. So, so good! Sharaf makes packs of falafel mix that you can make at home by adding water but unlike some pre-packed foods they contained only natural ingredients that you recognise with no nasty additives. I'm not sure why I didn't buy a pack to take home, I think I was too excited by eating it then and there that it didn't even cross my mind. I'd definitely recommend it though if you see the mix in the shops.
And, of course, I got lots of treats to take home. A salted caramel donut and a chocolate bar from ConsiderIt Chocolate, a peanut butter cupcake from Missy's Vegan Cupcakes (aka, the best vegan cupcakes ever), a Shire Snax bar that tastes like Christmas, and an almond and raspberry brownie from All About Patisserie, which may be the best vegan brownie I have ever eaten. I definitely could have bought more but tried to control myself as best I could!
The festival was so wonderful and I felt so inspired walking away. I've said this before but going vegan is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made and events like this really do show how amazing it is to live this lifestyle and how easy it can be. So many people still think that being vegan is hard and that just couldn't be further from the truth, in this country anyway. There is pretty much nothing that you can't get a vegan version of, there's so much variety and incredibly delicious food out there. Thank you vegan festival for coming to Edinburgh and organising such a great event! I am already excited for next year.
Vegan. There's no excuse not to.