Apps as in ‘applications’ not ‘appetizers’ (although I prefer them to most things overall).
If you’re a new vegan (or even an old one), the constant influx of information can be pretty overwhelming. While I encourage you to get used to reading (and understanding!) your food labels, these apps can go a long way towards helping you begin your vegan journey, stay vegan while traveling and speed up the grocery shopping process. There are, of course, tons of other apps out there, but these are the ones I reach for regularly.
Full disclosure, I use an Android but I believe most if not all of these apps are available for Apple as well.
Four-Eyed Plant Eater
This app is a one-stop-shop chock full of helpful links and info to help get you started on your vegan journey with everything from starter guides ( like ‘Getting Started on a Plant-Based Diet’ from Forks and Knives) to Facebook Groups and Youtube Channels.
Out & About
Happy Cow (free & paid versions available)
Happy Cow has kept me from starving on many a trip. As a frequent traveler I don’t always have access to a kitchen, or to the produce and food options that I’m used to. Whenever I’m in a new city, here or abroad, this is the first app I open (because food=life and I’m usually hungry). Not all areas have the same level of support – meaning some don’t show as many options – but it’s a great place to start and seeing the reviews and comments as you browse really helps with making a selection and knowing what to order.
Vanilla Bean is very similar to Happy Cow. While there is some overlap between the two, I like having both on hand in case one doesn’t show many options or the information displayed for a restaurant is confusing. Vanilla offers more extensive filtering capabilities, as you can see below, and also offers listings for European eateries, eliminating language barriers on your next overseas vacation.
Is It Vegan?
Ever held up an entire supermarket aisle desperately attempting to google strange ingredients on the back of a jar of tomato sauce while fervently hoping that you don’t drop it? Say goodbye to supermarket angst. ‘Is it Vegan?’ will save you time and hassle with its nifty ability to scan a barcode and tell you right away if something is not vegan, questionable, or definitely vegan. This app is super easy to use and especially helpful for new vegans struggling with putting a pantry together.
Recipes & Nutrition
Before, during and after your transition it’s very common to miss familiar foods from your past that include non-vegan ingredients. But, never fear! This app will help you find subs for the ingredients to all your old favorites PLUS put you on some new and delicious recipes. With categories ranging from breakfast to dessert, a ‘veganpedia’, baking and protein calculator, this app has got all your basic needs (and then some!) covered.
Tasteful Vegan Recipes
Got a potluck coming up and need vegan recipe ideas? This app makes it super easy by sorting recipes into categories. Breakfast and desserts are two of the areas many struggle with out of the gate (how much oatmeal can one woman eat?!) but Tasteful takes out the guesswork and makes it simple to start cooking.
Gettin’ Yo Drink On (honorable mention)
I know many of you were shocked and crestfallen to discover that not all alcohol is vegan. Honestly, the more you start reading labels, the more you realize 1) how little we really know about our food and 2) there are animal bits in everything from toothpaste to orange juice.
However, all is not lost. Barnivore is not an app, but it IS an ever-expanding website database that has set out to contact as many distillers and manufacturers as possible and verify the ‘vegan-friendliness’ of their libations. The end result is an easy to use, potentially lifesaving resource. Don’t be discouraged if your favorite beverage isn’t listed. Barnivore is always accepting new information so as to keep the site as up-to-date as possible.
If you know of a great app that I missed please let me know! I’m always looking for new tools and resources to help myself and others along their vegan journey. In the meantime, happy eating, drinking, and recipe trying!