I’ve always wanted to try a plant-based diet; however, I just never got around to it. I was either not ready to commit to the vegan lifestyle or I was just not too keen to give up certain foods like cheese, seafood, and chocolate.
Before I started the vegan challenge, I was somewhat worried about the limited options that I will have, since my main source of protein usually comes from meat and I’m not a huge fan of legumes. Plus I would have to give up chocolate!
Living in Lebanon, we have endless dining options – Lebanese outings are focused on eating,with food being the center of attention. But what about vegan-friendly options in Lebanon?
Lebanon has a HUGE range of local vegan-friendly products as well as restaurants spread vastly across the country. The Mediterranean diet already has a certain focus on vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dishes such as hummus, baba ghanouj, balila, dolma leaves and salads including tabbouleh, fattoush, rocca and thyme, etc. Even the traditional Lebanese dishes like fasolia w riz (beans stew and rice) and cousa mehshe (stuffed zucchini) have meatless versions.
Veganism in Lebanon shouldn’t be an issue. And it really wasn’t (for me anyway)!
My Personal Experience following the Vegan Challenge
The vegan challenge actually wasn’t too difficult. The first few days were a bit challenging as I was still getting use to the idea of not going for that chocolate cake mocking me from the kitchen counter.
Stay away from the cake.
Some of the benefits I experienced following the vegan lifestyle for the past 10 days were improved digestion, increased energy, and slightly clearer skin. I think I also lost 1kg (around 2lbs); I don’t weigh myself, but I feel much lighter. Maybe that would be due to the lack of chocolate cake in my tummy.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds have become my best friends. You know who also joined my circle of friends?
Here are some of My Favourite Vegan Products in Lebanon!
Rodrigue’s Vegan Bites
Chakala has become my trusty go-to snack whenever that chocolate craving kicks in. Even now that my vegan challenge is over, I am still eating this stuff straight out of the jar. It’s seriously addictive. – “Eat different.”
Almond cheese was my savior for that cheese-less pizza topping. Don’t feeling like making a pizza? Order a vegetarian pizza from the local pizza place without cheese; make sure the dough doesn’t have eggs or dairy though. Mix almond cheese with some olive oil and top that pizza. Yum!
Bites of Delight
Bites of Delight are the perfect guilt-free biscuits served with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. They’re gluten-free, dairy-free and preservative-free and they were a godsend throughout my 10-day vegan challenge! These delightful bites come in vanilla, anise, and chocolate flavours and I recommend them all. Bites of Delight also created a new line of savoury olive and thyme sticks that are crunchy and just perfect paired with that almond cheese dip or as they are (non-vegan option: try them with labne!).
Bites of Delight are sold at Lebanese supermarkets including O&C, Spinney’s, and many specialty health stores.
Super Healthy Homemade
I am in love with Super Healthy Homemade pistachio thyme crackers by super mom, Nisrine! These crackers are a great and filling snack as is or paired with that delicious almond cheese from Rodrigue’s Bites. She does a chocolate non-vegan version which I got to try once I finished my challenge, and it was awesome.
You can sometimes find Super Healthy Homemade in Souk el Tayeb from 9am-12pm on Saturdays in Beirut Souks where you can taste her scrumptious products before you buy them all! You can also find them at other specialty health stores in Lebanon such as A New Earth Store.
The Village Nut
The Village Nut is your go-to local supplier for homemade almond milk, coconut milk, coconut yogurt, and stone-ground nut butters. Most nut butters are made using machines with sharp blades which cause nutrient destruction due to the friction and heat. Stone grinding involves large granite wheels which grind the nut butter slowly allowing those heart-healthy nutrients to remain intact! I loved the sunflower butter and almond butter with chia seeds.
You can find The Village Nut products at A New Earth Store in Ashrafieh or pre-order a couple days in advance from The Olive Tree, Live Organic, and Rita’s Health Store.
J Jar Homemade
Jessy Jarjoura, Personal Trainer and student at the The Institute of Holistic Nutrition, established J Jar Homemade a few years back when the only peanut butters available in the stores were ridden the preservatives, hydrogenated fats, and sugar. Jessy makes healthy, nutritious nut butters as well as pesto sauce made with either basil or kale (hold the cheese!). Simple ingredients, same great taste.
You can find J Jar Homemade products at O&C Market or order them from Jessica herself.
CaliFood distributes a distinctive range of vegan and non-vegan products including grains, seeds, cereals, gluten free and soya lines, and more! You can find CaliFood products in many supermarkets around Lebanon.
Check out the Acai Bowl recipe I made using chia seeds from CaliFood and unsweetened almond milk from The Village Nut!
I wrote a fully detailed review of the flavours available in Lebanon a couple months back: Purefit.
My experience with Succo Juicery started on Day 1 of the vegan challenge. The Lemon Grass Matcha juice tastes like a sour lemonade minus the added sugar! The juices at Succo Juicery were so good, I actually ordered them again on non-cleanse days as well.
I have good new for you: You can STILL have chocolate bars and chocolate truffles. Even if you’re vegan! I fell in love with the entire line of Eshmoon’s chocolate products, dedicating an entire article to the brand: Eshmoon.
The Olive Tree
I got to sample a selection of items from The Olive Tree Restaurant. Their “Mooless Burger” is absolutely delicious. However, it does fall apart easily. They also offer a daily dish of the day from Monday to Saturday.
The breakfast menu items are a must. Meatless Lahm Baajine (meat-less meat pies) made with soya mince was my favourite followed by Tofu Cheese, Zaatar and Rice Labneh. They were so tasty and shockingly satisfying! I need to learn how to make these at home.
In celebration of the successful completion of my vegan challenge, I’ve teamed up with some of my new friends mentioned above who offer vegan products in Lebanon! We put together an awesome giveaway for my readers which you will absolutely love whether you are vegan, vegan-curious or just like food! Check out the details on how to win on Instagram– trust me, you WANT to win this box of yummies!
**** COMPETITION CLOSED ****
IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT MY VEGAN CHALLENGE AND EVEN MORE PRODUCT REVIEWS! <3
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