If, like me, you’re always eating out, either because you’re a social butterfly or you’re regularly on the road for work, finding places to eat as a vegan can be difficult. I spent many hours Googling vegan or vegan friendly restaurants before I’d go somewhere new and consulting Facebook group member for ideas. Until the day someone introduced me to Happy Cow and it changed my life. And it will change yours, too!

According to their website, “HappyCow was founded in 1999 as a public service to assist travelers and people everywhere find plant-based / vegan options and healthy food. We are vegan-run, from a vegan perspective, and staffed by vegans and vegetarians. Today, our online community has grown to include members from around the world who are passionate about the vegan lifestyle as a healthy, compassionate, and environmentally sustainable way of living. More than simply a restaurant and health food store guide, HappyCow is an ever-evolving online hub that serves millions worldwide each month.”

Available via their website (which features blog articles, recipes and more of a community feeling) and the app Happy Cow is your gateway to vegan indulgence.

Download the app now… right now. You can view restaurants the are local to you offering a vegan or vegetarian only menu. For times where you’re out with a mix of vegans, veggies and meat-eaters and want more than one salad a la ‘hold the cheese and dressing’ option, you can filter by vegan friendly options.

The ‘Stores + more’ filter is a real gem and shows local bakeries, stores with vegan options, markets and vegan caterers near by. I have discovered so many local eateries I never knew existed before!

This even gives you details on the local ole high street favourite WHSmith’s vegan options so you’ll never have to go hungry or put up with an apple and packet of crisps again!

Similar to TripAdvisor, you can read and add customer reviews and pictures – this is particularly useful for assessing veg friendly places as some places’ vegan options leave a lot to be desired.

(The review left by the overly tanned looking lady is me!)

If you spot a new vegan or veg friendly place, you can submit this too and help out your fellow compassionates (is that even a word?!). Happy Cow’s criteria is a little detailed, as it so rightly should be, and they will not accept veg friendly places which offer veal and foie grois on the menu.

And finally, if you’re lucky enough to be travelling or holidaying, you can research places before you go away and save good finds under ‘Trips’. I was recently in Madrid, a place where even the guide book said vegans will struggle and yet on Happy Cow there are 27 vegan only restaurants in the city centre. Filter in the veggie and vegan friendly places and you have an enormous amount of choice!

Using Happy Cow I even discovered Urban Orchard in Madrid – a small, one man cafe making healthy vegan food using the freshest ingredients bought from the indoor market which houses said cafe. As a tourist, I would never have accidentally stumbled on this treasure!

In summary, Happy Cow has eradicated hours of tedious research, means I no longer go hungry wherever I am and has helped me discover local places I’ve never heard of.

If you have recently downloaded Happy Cow or regularly use the app, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!

Much love, Samara xx

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