We’ve all toyed with various diets – or the idea of them – throughout our lives, but what about vegan living? Have you ever considered abstaining from animal products all together?
Google has found Australia has the second highest number of "vegan" searches worldwide - the highest it has been in a decade. Similarly, popular food website, Zomato, found "vegan" is being searched on its site more than 1,100 times a day.
Australian cities, in particular, are leading the charge with vegan dining options sweeping menus in hatted restaurants and trendy neighbourhood cafes alike.
So why the sudden interest?
Naturopath and Founder of The Compassionate Road, Gemma Davis, explains people are going vegan for a number of reasons, but ethics plays a large part in the community.
Gemma says as much as 80 per cent of meat products now come from factory farms, where animals are often kept in cramped conditions and fed unnatural diets.
She also explains vegan diets are helpful in reducing the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
“The UN’s reports show that it is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all transport combined," Gemma explains.
"Raising animals for food is also responsible for 33 per cent of the world's total fresh water consumption and is the biggest land user, with livestock and livestock feed occupying over one-third of the earth's land.”
Finally, some prefer eating vegan for the health benefits. While vegan diets aren't recommended for everyone, a plant-based diet can certainly help if balance is maintained.
Gemma confirms a vegan diet is not going to be beneficial for your health if you cut out meat but continue to fill your diet with processed carbohydrates.
To get the necessary dose of protein and iron, vegans need to consume a diet rich in nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, as well as a range of vegetables and good fats.
So if you're considering jumping on the vegan bandwagon, here are some top places to get your fill:
While originally a Sydney-based eatery, Suzy Spoon's products are stocked and sold at various stores across Australia.
If you're in Sydney, you should check out this totally vegan pizzeria in trendy Newtown.
With two locations in Melbourne, Smith and Daughters is popular among locals and tourists. It uses faux meats and seafoods to recreate popular Spanish and Mexican-inspired meals.
Based in Perth, this cafe is completely vegetarian with a lot of vegan fare on offer. Those with a sweet tooth will also enjoy the stunning vegan cakes on offer.
Meat-eaters commonly mistake this joint for just your common, carnivore-friendly burger franchise. Little do they know it is entirely vegan. LOTF has franchises across NSW, Victoria and WA. Eat your heart out, veggos!
The Lost Boys cafe in Fortitude Valley is a favourite among the Brisbane vegetarian crowd. While not strictly vegan, you will have no problem finding substitutes and options for every appetite.
Expanding to two locations in Sydney this year, Sadhana Kitchen in Enmore and Bondi serves up colourful, plant-based dishes on its delicious seasonal menu. Best to visit for breakfast.
Lentil As Anything is a vegetarian (with vegan options) restaurants, where you "pay as you feel" - literally, pay what you think the meal deserves. While the Sydney branch sadly has been suffering because people aren't chipping in (shame on you! It's a not-for-profit!), the Melbourne eatery has been thriving for years with a fantastic menu and a loyal but always-growing clientele.