The campaign to encourage people to try vegan in January is now in its fifth year, and is all set to be bigger than ever with Veganuary predicting more than 150,000 people will go vegan for the month. Last year, there were 60,000 registered participants from 172 countries, and one local vegan and Veganuary supporter is Queen’s Park resident Nicole Whittle.

Nicole Whittle

Nicole Whittle

‘I had been vegetarian a year when I came across information about the milk and egg industries. I was stunned. I had no idea that there was so much suffering and death and I started considering a vegan diet. I thought it would be difficult but it really wasn’t. I just didn’t want to eat those foods anymore and I haven’t. That was just over ten years ago.’

For Nicole, it was a great decision. ‘Ditching dairy and eggs, and eating a lot of homemade vegetable dishes helped improve my skin and my fitness. I was still at school then, and even my PE teacher noticed a difference!’

And she’s found that the food is pretty good, too! In fact, she has named her four favourite London restaurants that will appeal to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike, and she particularly hopes that anyone taking part in Veganuary 2018 will try them out.

1. Restaurant: Pho - Order: Chả giò (starter)

‘This dish is made of crispy spring rolls served with lettuce and herbs to wrap and dip into the most incredible peanut sauce. This Vietnamese dish is incredible, especially for peanut butter lovers like myself. This starter is also a perfect sharer dish regardless of who you’re dining with. Pho is very vegan-friendly, with quite a few dishes across the menu being vegan or adaptable for vegans.’

2. Restaurant: Temple of Seitan - Order: Anything!

‘The hype is big for Temple of Seitan and for good reason too. It’s the perfect junk-food heaven for a vegan seeking out a replacement to fast-food outlets. Menu items include: hot wings, temple burger (crispy fillet, bacon, cheese, pickles, lettuce), popcorn bites and mac ‘n’ cheese. Perfect for when you’re sick of eating so much salad and veg and are looking for something a bit naughty. I love to take my non-vegan friends here, the last one raved ‘Oh my god, this is better than KFC’.’

3. Restaurant: Ethos - Order: Afternoon Tea

‘Ethos is located just off of Oxford Circus, making it the perfect place to pop into for afternoon tea after a spot of shopping. At £20 per person, you’d struggle to find better value elsewhere. You’ll be served a selection of sandwiches, cakes, scones and, of course, tea. The best part of the experience would easily be the freshly made jam and cashew cream – my sister and I were scraping the pots clean long after the scones were eaten. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with a forest theme, making it insta-perfect.’

4. Restaurant: Crosstown Doughnuts - Order: Vegan Chocolate Truffle Doughnut

‘Crosstown have locations in Victoria, Soho, Shoreditch, Camden and pop up in markets across the city, so you’re bound to come across them. This premium chocolate truffle doughnut is incredible. There’s a decadent chocolate truffle throughout and topped with the perfect amount of chocolate ganache. It’s deliciously dark and surprisingly not too sweet. If you’re missing doughnuts, this is the place to go. They also sell vegan vanilla and vegan cinnamon doughnuts.’

It is free to take part in Veganuary, and everyone who does so receives daily support emails that offer shopping lists, an eating out guide, nutrition advice, recipes, meal plans, and answers to common questions. They also receive social media support in a closed Facebook group where they can connect with other participants, and a free celebrity e-cookbook. There are competitions with great prizes and special offers throughout the month.

Nicole’s advice for anyone thinking about taking part in Veganuary is: Give it a go! A lot of us were once meat eaters and thought that going vegan would be too difficult. But look, we’ve given it a go and aren’t going back so there must be something beneficial about a vegan diet. Just keep in mind why you’re going vegan - be it health, animal rights, the environment or whatever. Any time you feel like giving in, remember what you’re doing it for.’

Nicole runs a vegan blog ( ) which focuses on a vegan lifestyle and an instagram (@veganmakeupuk) which shares vegan beauty products available in the UK. 

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