Most of us grew up drinking cow’s milk in our morning cereal and never thinking twice about the effects of our sleepover’s pizza parties. The majority of the cultures around our world are carnivorous. So if you want to change paths and begin walking down the vegan road, it can be bumpy. And lonely.
No matter how long it’s been since you swore off hot dogs and leather boots, there’s an app to make your vegan lifestyle easy and full of community support.
With technology advancing at lightspeed, the veganism movement isn’t far behind. Five years ago, you would have been met with utter confusion when asking a restaurant server, “Can anything on your menu be made vegan?” Now (even in lots of small towns), you’re handed a super special vegan menu when you pop the question.
It’s gotten easier to participate in society while maintaining your vegan lifestyle. But does it feel easy to you? It’s okay if you just let out an emphatic, “No!” You could live in a less forward-thinking town than the vegan mecca of Oakland, California (where I sit writing this article).
But you’re committed to respecting animals regardless of where you’re reading this, so let’s make it easier for you!
Broken into stages, here are 6 categories of vegan lifestyle apps to download today.
Which vegan are you?
Stage 1: The “I Think I’m Going to Go Vegan” Vegan
You’ve heard of the word vegan and that a vegan diet can help you feel healthier. Maybe you’ve done a little research and learned about the impact meat production causes on our land and water resources. You’re curious to try out this whole “vegan” thing, but you don’t know where to start.
APP CATEGORY 1: RECIPES
The Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine includes Neal Barnard, M.D., author of many vegan diet books and a name to know in the Western Medicine world for vegans. Dr. Barnard and the committee created a 21-day program for vegan newbies or vegans looking for a clean eating reset without having to think up the recipes themselves. This app is your pocket guide to that program.
Are you a high maintenance vegan? I am. My body is intolerant of several fruits and spices, which means I have unique and mandatory recipe modifications that aren’t easy to find. Yummly refines your recipe search in an insanely easy user-friendly fashion. Create a profile with all the dietary requirements and cooking preferences you can imagine, and the pretty pictures will filter to reveal the top rated recipes from across the internet.
Oh She Glows gives you hundreds of recipes you can’t help but post on Instagram (#nofilter). They’re simple, vegan, and the results are love at first sight and bite. Search and sort by filters that matter, like freezer-friendly, kid-friendly, budget-friendly, season, and more. You’ll see why the cookbook just had to become an app for meal prep and cooking on the go!
If you can’t get enough recipe scrolling, Food Monster offers big numbers: 8,000+ vegan recipes, 600+ search filters, and 10+ new recipes every single day (in the paid version). The free version still gives you access to hundreds of recipes. It’s a scroller’s delight! Bookmark your favorite recipes and create your own meal plans right in the app, too.
The movie catapulted the vegan movement, and the app drops knowledge bombs in the form of recipes. Follow easy guides to plant-based, whole-food recipes compiled by 50 top vegan chefs. There are over 500 recipes on the app right now with new recipes added every week.
APP CATEGORY 2: SHOPPING
Have you heard people say being vegan is expensive? Well, it could be. But not because veggies cost more than meat! When you become vegan, you become aware of the quality of foods and other products that you’re putting inside or outside of your body and how they can heal or harm you. So, you start to prefer higher quality products across the board.
This is when Thrive Market becomes an invaluable resource - it offers Whole Foods-level products for your fridge, pantry and home… for less money. It only includes brands that have been vetted to check conscious consumerism boxes, too, like cruelty-free, fair-trade and organic. Get it on iTunes and Google Play.
A product can look vegan, but are you sure it is? Scan it’s barcode in this app and get an instant answer. You can also search for a product by name, or an ingredient in question, and the app will give you a report on its vegan or non-vegan nature. If you don’t want to spend hours at the grocery store carefully reading labels and Googling, get this app.
Not all wines are created equally. Did you know some wines are processed through bone marrow? Why though? This app pulls from the archives of Barnivore, the most recognized website for grouping alcoholic brands - wine, beer, and liquor included - as vegan or not. This app is handy when deciding between drinks on a menu or in the corner of Trader Joe’s!
Created by PETA, this app quickly tells you whether a brand or product tests on animals. Scan a product’s barcode or type in a store and learn if you do want to vote with your dollars by purchasing that product, or if another brand deserves the purchase instead.
Stage 2: The Homebody Vegan
You’ve lived the vegan life long enough to have a kitchen stocked with all the fruits, veggies, legumes and nutritional yeast your heart desires. You have your go-to meals and confidence to experiment. But - what do you do when your friends want to meet out for dinner?
APP CATEGORY 3: LOCAL RESTAURANTS
The struggle to find nearby vegan meal options dates back to the creation of Happy Cow in 1999. Thankfully, there are now thousands of options, all listed in this super easy-to-use app. Select the type of food you want, view photos and reviews by other vegans, and enjoy a meal that isn’t a side of french fries! Try it out while traveling internationally, too - it’s currently programmed for use in over 180 countries.
Use this app to quickly find plant-based food options in restaurants all over the UK or Ireland, with major cities around the US, Germany, and France also included. You can even narrow your restaurant selection to foods that are organic, local, raw, and/or gluten-free. The app allows users to suggest their own finds that may not yet be included, so you can contribute to the community (which always feels good). Get it on iTunes and Google Play.
When your road trip with your friends doesn’t give time for a sit-down restaurant, it could mean you just don’t eat until you reach your destination. This app shows you vegan options available in fast-food restaurants across the US and some european countries. See a bullet-point list of your vegan menu options while you wait in the drive-through line, thus eradicating the long-winded back-and-forth between you and the cashier over what options are vegan and if they sure it’s vegan and wouldn’t mind double-checking.
Stage 3: The Traveling Vegan
You stay up late the night before your flight prepping overnight oats, sandwiches and pastas, and you solemnly down a green smoothie the next morning knowing it’ll be your last legitimately nutritious drink until you’re back home.
Do you dread traveling to other countries because of the gambling struggle that is explaining that you want food without ANY animal products? Do you keep meal bars in your bag at all times because you’ve found yourself in a city or country without any vegan options in sight?
APP CATEGORY 4: TRAVEL
Fumbled sign language to tell people you don’t eat anything that comes from an animal will still result in chunks of hot dog in your beans (speaking from experience). Translate your important dietary requests into the local language with Gonutss. This app has some handy bonus features, like a protein calculator, baking calculator, and quick and easy recipes. Get it on iTunes or Google Play.
Airport layovers are a drag. And they’re miserable if you’re a hungry vegan. Air Vegan shows you where you can find plant-based options in the airport you’re wandering around aimlessly in. More international airports are being added to the list, too! No more $15 sugary trail mix!
This is another translator app, but with built-in statements so you can quickly select what you need to say, what language you need to say it in, and then just show your phone to the inquiring local. The app also includes drawn icons to further explain your message.
Stage 4. The Butterfly Vegan
Being the only vegan at the table can get old, even disheartening. If you feel like you’re on a solo crusade and could use a morale boost, or you’ve just perfected a new recipe but don’t have an excited friend to share it with, it’s time to get social and find your people.
APP CATEGORY 5: SOCIAL
Our cultures have become solitary in nature. It’s hard to meet people after high school or college ends. Meetup is one of the fastest ways to help you find your people. Type in your zip code, select your interests (like vegan food and drink or animal activism), and scroll all the vegan groups near you. Why not create your own vegan meetup while you’re at it?
Chat rooms, quizzes, polls, recipes… Amino for Veganism is “the first & largest online platform for vegans and those interested in veganism”. It’s a smorgasbord of information and discussion, like a Reddit written entirely by vegans.
Look to the Explore section, click Groups, and type “vegan” in the search bar. You’ll be blown away by all the active Facebook groups that have gathered! There’s “Vegan Humor”, “Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting”, “Vegan Revolution”, even “Vegan V’s. Meat Eaters (Open Debates)”. Find groups in your area, join the discussions that most interest you, and feel awesome about contributing to a group that cares about all beings like you do.
Stage 5: The Informant Vegan
The more one learns about the traumas the animals and earth endure for the sake of a burger or purse, the less excuses there are to not be an activist. Does this mean you picket your street corner every day with images of the brutal facts of slaughterhouses? Maybe!
Here are some other ways to do your part for the innocent creatures whose voices are ignored. Educate yourself and stay updated with these apps.
APP CATEGORY 6: NEWS & TAKING ACTION
PETA’s full name is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It’s in the name - this is your greatest resource for the latest news on animal rights and taking action to support urgent petitions by a few thumb taps on your phone. The PETA app makes it incredibly easy to add your voice to the movement and help save the animals.
Peta2 is the cool teenager to the adult PETA. Sign petitions, stay updated on urgent news and victories, and earn points toward free Peta2 merch every time you take action in the app. This app also includes the ability to directly call businesses, through the app, and tell them to change their animal-cruelty practices.
Is there a specific animal that you’re determined to help save? Select or add it to Cruelty Cutter’s list of registered concerns, and grow a movement that tells the businesses harming that animal of the people’s opposition to their cruel practices. Scan a product to see if it’s been tested on animals. If it has, “bite back” by sharing your finding to that company’s social media pages. Bonus: each time you take action, you earn “Doggie Dollars” which are redeemable toward cruelty-free products.
Our tech era is being put to use for the vegan movement in mind-blowing ways. Tech doesn't have to be isolating; it can be your greatest tool! I hope the apps listed above spark a more empowered, creative, connected, and excited vegan journey ahead.
What other vegan apps do you swear by? Share with our community in the comments below!
All photos courtesy of Unsplash.com
Article by Sloane Gerritzen
Sloane is a freelance writer, yogi and vegan from the PNW who is technically based in Berkeley, California, but is really based wherever she can fly, backpack or off-road to. She helps compassionate people and businesses share their story better so you can find them, join them, and we can all move our world forward with love. Learn more about Sloane at SloaneGerritzen.com.