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Veganism Golden Times by Mohamed Hindawy

Last Updated: April 14, 2024

Are you a vegan advocate in an unlikely place? Did you face adversities and almost gave up on your cause? Do you have a story to tell? Leafy Souls would like to hear from you. We would like to share your story and celebrate the ups and downs of veganism with you. Please do send us an email at  magazine@leafysouls.com. We’re all ears. 

Are we entering a golden ear for veganism worldwide? Well, this week we are welcoming Mohamed Hindawy, also known asMr. Vegan.me, to give his view from the United Arab Emirates. He was our Vegan-preneur for February 2021 where he shared not only his vegan journey but also how it was a challenge to set up his vegan business in UAE. This month, he is going to share with us, on this guest blog post, his insights on how veganism evolved in the UAE.

Veganism Golden Times by Mohamed Hindawy

The following are some of the admiral facts supporting the evolution of veganism to reach its golden times in 2021 in the UAE:

a) Vegan Cheese: we had one non-vegan lady (unlicensed) making vegan cheese for an absurd price of over AED 300 (USD 82). Now, we have over ten 100% vegan companies, based in the UAE, that make fresh and shelf-life vegan cheese;

b) Protein Supplements: we had only had a handful of vegan protein supplements from companies that were not even 100% vegan. Now we have over ten brands from 100% vegan businesses like mine atmrvegan.me. I am currently collaborating with the first UAE-based 100% locally produced vegan supplement;

c) Vegan Restaurants: before, the only vegan options we had at restaurants were in the sides' sections of menus. Now we have numerous 100% vegan restaurants. Gypsy Dubai is the first to lead, inspire and help other vegan businesses to open up. It expanded to cover the first 100% vegan pizza and sushi food items in the UAE. In addition, the owner also started Bare Foods, the first UAE-based vegan manufacturing company. Not to mention that the owner is a genius and one sexy individual, though I might be biased.

Veganity is another vegan restaurant in the UAE. The restaurant was due to be awarded a Guinness Book of Records title of the World's Biggest Vegan Menu. An attempt that was bottled by COVID-9. The owners have been in the run-in for years now and have been featured at a Bassem Youssef event, called Ask Bassem, the region's biggest vegan icon where over 150 vegan athletes and media usually attend.

Then we have one of the most striving 100% vegan businesses, Soul Sante. A place that is driven by a health enthusiast. This is reflected in documenting the macros of every single item on the menu. Someone who leads her business with integrity and firm belief in veganism.

Before, having gatherings at a butcher shop was used as an inside joke by vegans. Now, most butcher shops and restaurants have vegan items. The number of vegans has increased to the point that the businesses that don't believe in it like butcheries and sushi spots now must have vegan options or they miss out.

d) Vegan Milk: seven years ago when I went vegan, the idea of making milk out of nuts was met with questioning and laughter. We went from that to having some vegan options like Alpro at AED 25 to 35 (7 to 10 USD). Now, a high-quality protein vegan peas milk, like Mypikoo, could be found at an affordable AED 12-14.

This year, 2021, has also witnessed several vegan companies offering fresh vegan milk (stop calling it nut milk, even I laugh). It is also worth mentioning that all big coffee shops have numerous vegan milk options to add to your coffee and smoothies.

We have also noticed the unfortunate/fortunate takeover of vegan brands, like Alpro, by dairy companies. Unfortunately, a vegan business would sell out on its principles. Yet, it's fortunate to see vegan businesses threaten the dairy industry to the point that they can only but acquire it.

e) Vegan Ice-cream: the idea of vegan ice cream was obscure for years. As Joe Rogan said, "There is nothing like vegan ice cream. You need cream in it." Turns out he was wrong on a lot of matters related to veganism. From Oatly to Brooklyn Creamery, to the UAE produced Bare Foods delicious ice cream. It is not a diamond in the rough anymore.

f) Vegan Education: seven years ago, the only vegan information dissemination we had was through Instagram. Following random strangers across the world to learn more about veganism. Then we went from that to documentaries like Dominion, Earthling, Forks over Knives, the inaccurate Game Changers, What the Health, Cowspiracy, and now Seaspiracy.

Not only that we have educational vegan shows and documentaries in English. We have the legendary surgeon, political satirist, comedian, author, TV host, and personal role model Dr. Bassem Youssef. He has a TV and Youtube shows, Plantbtv and Ask Bassem, in Arabic. The shows tackle regional questions and issues. We finally have a vegan icon bringing light to veganism in the region and involves bodybuilders to boxers, BJJ practitioners to Yoga instructors, etc.

Saying I don't know what's veganism or I don't know how to go vegan is no longer acceptable. We have so many educational sources in both Arabic and English.

The Downside

The downside, unfortunately, is revealing that vegans are no exception to any rules. We are all human beings. The same issues we have with non-vegan businesses, we also have with vegan ones.

a) Hatred Over Support: unsustainable vegan restaurants hating and shaming successful vegan restaurants and businesses. For example, there was a business run by a vegan salsa dancer. It wasn't licensed and dared to attack Veganity. They were called out for selling dense calorie foods, when they clearly stated their intent is enjoyable food like burgers, sausages, cakes, etc. This, unfortunately, continues to be the case for the unsustainable businesses towards the successful ones.

b) PETA Hypocrisy: PETA never announced that they have awards for vegan businesses. However, the vegan community woke up to the complete money-grabbing hypocrisy of PETA UAE awarding Papa Johns with a PETA award for adding vegan items to its menu. They intentionally awarded a business that continues to exploit animals around the world adamantly, instead of awarding vegan businesses. Real Vegans as the owner of Gypsy and Veganity collaborated unofficially in building Veganity's menu in return for selling coffee at their place. That's the example we should be following, not money nor awards, just pure support for the vegan lifestyle.

*Disclaimer: Views expressed on this guest blog post are of the author and not of Leafy Souls. Our guest blog post is a place for less heard voices to share their views on veganism and Leafy Souls will not be held responsible for the content of this guest author’s blog post.

About the author, Leafy Souls


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