Vegan. Despite whatever reaction you had to that word, you can’t deny that more of the world is switching over to plant-based diets and a vegan lifestyle because of the undeniable, harmful effects the animal industry has on our world.
And if you’re one of those people who are making the switch, I know how overwhelming the transition can feel. When I first went vegan, a million thoughts were running through my head, especially as a nutrition nut: Where will I get my protein? (Seasoned vegans out there are eye-rolling at this question right now.) What about omega-3s? Am I ever going to feel satisfied with my meals?
If you’re considering going vegan and plant-based (or you’re transitioning right now), and these questions are also running through your head, you’ll want to stick around for this blog post. I’m sharing the top 7 apps for vegans and plant-based people this year in 2021 that can make the process much easier and less terrifying. These apps cover all sorts of topics necessary for you to get fully educated, from easy recipes to sample meal plans to vegan-friendly restaurants in your area to online communities you can join. So let’s dive in.
As someone who travels frequently, Happy Cow has made my life significantly easier. With this app, I can easily find vegan-friendly restaurants in cities where I’m a stranger.
Think of Happy Cow kind of like the vegan version of Yelp, complete with reviews, map views, photos, and community features. They also have a vast database with over 180 countries and over 120,000 restaurants logged into their system, so you’d most likely find a restaurant wherever you are in the world with at least some vegan options. Another benefit of this app is there’s an offline mode so you can access all the information you searched and not worry about constantly trying to find free Wi-Fi while you’re on the road.
The only downside I would have to say about Happy Cow is sometimes the listings are outdated because most of the reviews and listings are user-generated. But this also might differ from country to country. For example, I travel to Mexico often and restaurants are constantly opening and closing. So the actual issue is probably just a high business turnover rate in some countries, and the app just can’t keep up. So, it would be good practice to call restaurants ahead of time to confirm (or at least do a little more digging) before you go out.
The app is also a paid app, so if you’d rather save your dollars for an oat milk latte, A Billion Veg is a great, free alternative. It’s still building its database though, so it’s not as robust as Happy Cow right now. But they’re definitely on their way. Pro tip: You can also use Happy Cow’s free desktop version that has the same features.
When I first went vegan, I completely immersed myself in the movement trying to learn as much as possible. That’s when I learned that there’s a difference between plant-based and veganism. The former is a lifestyle based on health and the latter is a philosophy based on ethics. So now, I call myself a plant-based vegan because I feel my best when I’m eating a plant-based diet, and I deeply care about the ethical stance veganism stands for.
It turns out, there’s an entire group of physicians, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who feel the same. And they created a free app called the 21-Day Kickstart to educate those who want to go vegan for the animals and want to learn how to feed themselves properly as a plant-based person.
To me, the best thing about this app is that it’s an app created by health professionals. Not some woo-woo gurus, but actual physicians, dietitians, and other health professionals who specialize in plant-based diets. The app includes recipes and meal plans that are easy to follow (and approved by the dietitians on the committee), grocery list suggestions, and more.
Since it’s a fully guided challenge, it makes the transition from omnivore to herbivore more approachable and educational. I think a tremendous obstacle in the way of many people making the switch is that they don’t know where or how to start. This app fills that gap. Oh, and it’s free!
The only downsides I would say are the app can be glitchy sometimes and the recipes may be time-consuming for very busy people. If you’re one of these people who have a packed schedule, dedicating yourself to one or two days to batch cook and shop could help mitigate this issue.
Dr. Greger is a plant-based physician who created several free resources, like his app (Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen) and his website (NutritionFacts.org) to make plant-based nutrition information easily accessible to everyone. The reason I became such a fan is that he’s the quirkiest doctor I’ve listened to. And not going to lie, he makes learning about plant-based nutrition pretty entertaining.
What I love most about his app, Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, isn’t just that it’s free and created by a doctor, but the app also makes getting all your nutrients in a single day simple. He provides easy-to-interpret serving suggestions, and he doesn’t require you to use any measuring devices like measuring cups or calorie trackers. Overall, it’s a great starting point for those who don’t know what types of nutrients they should eat as a vegan.
What I don’t love about the app is that there aren’t any recipe suggestions and Dr. Greger only suggests very simple foods, which can make eating feel a little unexciting and mechanical. But I can understand why he did it: So people can learn about the fundamentals and then expand from there. But if you’re like me and you need your chocolate fix every day (or insert your favorite fun food there), just know this is a guideline and you can still include your favorite foods into your daily life.
Oh She Glows is a recipe app and probably the most aesthetically pleasing app on this list. This plant-based recipe app is full of delicious and exciting recipes (accompanied by gorgeous, mouth-watering photos), tons of filters to customize what types of recipes offline abilities, note-taking tools, nutrition information, and popular recipes that other users are enjoying in case you’re feeling overwhelmed. Overall, it’s a super comprehensive app and I challenge anyone to say being vegan is boring after looking at the recipes on there.
The biggest con I would say is that it’s a paid app, but it’s not a hefty price considering how many features come with it. Another thing to consider is that the creator of the app, Angela Liddon, also has a blog. And many avid followers claim the app gets put on the back burner and she doesn’t update it as much as her blog.
So my suggestion? If you carry your phone with you everywhere and use it for research more than your laptop, then the app is worth the $5. Other than that, it may be beneficial to follow Angela to see if you enjoy her recipes, and then download the app for convenience whenever you’re ready.
For anyone who enjoys an ice-cold glass of beer or fresh wine glass here and there (or every night, like me), you’ll be happy to know there’s an app out there that tells you which alcohol brands are vegan called BevVeg.
Figuring out which products are vegan can be an enormous struggle because a lot of alcohol brands just aren’t upfront about their vegan friendliness. I definitely still struggle with this aspect of veganism. So this app is awesome to have to quickly check if you’re about to purchase vegan-friendly alcohol.
Just be aware that the content is all user-generated, so the listings may not be 100% accurate, 100% of the time. So, some extra research wouldn’t hurt. But don’t forget to give yourself grace if you end up purchasing alcohol that turns out not to be vegan. Being vegan isn’t about being perfect — it’s simply doing the best you can with the knowledge you have and the situation that you’re in.
By this point, you’re probably thinking, “These apps are useful to learn more about the movement, nutrition, and restaurants in the world, but what about the community? None of my friends are vegan and I don’t want to do this alone.” I understand where you’re coming from. Being vegan is difficult in a world dominated by non-vegans. Luckily, there’s an app available where you can connect with other vegans all over the world called Vegan Amino!
Vegan Amino lets you connect with other vegans from all around the world, so you can ask questions and learn from other newbies and more experienced plant-based people alike. It’s also kind of like a “master app” since it contains all the features of the previously mentioned apps. For example, it includes a vegan encyclopedia that contains nutrition information, restaurant suggestions, recipes, and blog posts all about veganism.
The con I would say is that since it’s all user-generated content, and not created by health professionals or experts, the information you find here may not be accurate. People can also easily bring their strong opinions into conversations, which may make newbie vegans feel intimidated or discouraged. But overall, this app is an amazing way to find a community of like-minded people.
And if you’re ready to take it to the next level and find someone you can share your passion for veganism with, check out the Vegan dating (and friends) app, Veggly.
We talked a lot about apps for finding vegan food, making plant-based meals, and how to connect with the community because that’s where most of us spend our time. But as you know, veganism also goes beyond food.
Being a vegan means committing yourself to reduce animal suffering in all aspects of life possible. This, yes, includes food choices. But it also includes the makeup products you use, home goods you buy, clothes you wear, etc. It’s pretty overwhelming at first because there are so many products that you don’t realize aren’t vegan, which is why it’s important to recognize this transition is a process. No one is expecting you to go completely vegan overnight and throw away everything you own. In fact, that’s worse for the environment. Instead, we just need to educate ourselves so we can make future decisions that align more with our goals.
This is also where apps, like Cruelty Cutter, come in handy and can help us in this learning process.
Cruelty Cutter makes this aspect of veganism a bit easier because it’s an app that you can use to scan unique items, from food to cleaning products to makeup brands to clothing brands, and it’ll tell you if it’s vegan or not. Just know that sometimes the app glitches and some items aren’t verified in the system. So take this more as a stepping stone for your own research.
Now that you’ve got the tools to help you build your veganism journey, do you feel more confident making the switch? Remember that these are just suggestions, so you may vibe with some and not so much with others. Your vegan journey will look so different from the person next to you, so feel free to experiment and figure out what works with your lifestyle!
Also, let me know if I missed any apps that you’ve used that have helped you in your transition in the comments!