Everything You Need To Know About The Growing Vegan Community In Saudi And The People Who Help Shape It
There's a small but growing community of vegans in Saudi Arabia that are truly doing their best to create a platform to unify other potential vegans in the Kingdom.
But, before we get carried away with learning about veganism, its community and how well the message is being carried out- let's first attempt to define it.
What is veganism?
Veganism is defined in a number of ways, perceived in a myriad of ways and either loved or hated in a million ways. Essentially, it is a type of diet (very much akin to the vegetarian one) except it excludes the consumption of all animal-derived ingredients.
So that means no meat, eggs or dairy products and sometimes even refined white sugar (due to its use of animal products.)
Some people take on a vegan diet for reasons such as either health, for the animals or the environment. The spread of veganism keeps growing around the world as something beyond just a 'trend', as has been the case in the Middle East and now gradually in Saudi too.
His Highness Prince Khaled Alwaleed bin Talal is one of the most prominent Saudi vegan activists in the region
He has been very vocal about his transition to veganism from a few years back, and he has even dedicated himself to thoroughly educating the masses on the effects of the meat industry regarding animal abuse, its environmental impact and of course, people's health.
His company, KBW Ventures, even commits to investing and funding companies that adhere with his aims towards sustainability and driving the future.
In the last year, it was announced that he'd help open up more vegan restaurants in the region. Many vegans around the world applaud the Prince for his continuous efforts in introducing and supporting the vegan industry in the area.
Sukkari Life is another influential vegan in the Saudi community who makes incredible YouTube videos sharing what she knows
Riyadh-based YouTuber, Sukkari Life (not actually her name), shares her plant-based and sustainable lifestyle through a series of vegan recipe videos, shopping for vegan food in Saudi and living a minimal to waste-free lifestyle.
The feedback on what she does shows just how eager the Saudi community is in bettering their lifestyles and leaving an impact for the world's future.
Arab News reports that many Saudis have even been converting to a vegan diet to reduce the risk of obesity, a growing high-risk across the Kingdom.
Al Maha Al Dossari of 'The Bedouin Vegan' has also contributed to encouraging and inspiring masses about the importance of veganism
Aldossary's journey began after a personal struggle that led to her discovering the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Today, she continues to use what she has learned to educate other Saudis who want to adapt the same lifestyle and she's doing an amazing job at it, with a blog called The Bedouin Vegan.
More restaurants in the Kingdom are realising the need to provide vegan options
With supply comes demand and you'd think in a culture that is built on families sharing meals with meat and rice, that Saudi wouldn't have vegan restaurants at all. But that's far from the truth, Jeddah and Riyadh have a couple of restaurants that cater to vegans in its communities.
It's quite exceptional to see the growth of more and more establishments considering some Saudis' desire for more plant-based dish options when dining out too, like Cafe Bateel, with their meat-less options for pasta, salad and even sandwiches.
We have to realise that all this takes time and it's a good thing we have people like those mentioned above to help the curious get answers and learn about the facts over the myths of being a vegan.