Out and about

When you’re out for the day are you a “conscious consumer” when considering where to eat that meal, or drink that cup of coffee? Some general principles I try to follow are to look for non-chain, independent shops, ideally those that show that they serve Fairtrade, Organic, local and seasonal produce.

It’s also important to think about where you’re spending the day, especially if there are costs involved. What are the ethics of theme parks when compared to a National Trust property? Can you find exciting things to do which help to preserve natural habitats and re-connect you with the great outdoors – the added bonus is these things are often free!

If you are able to plan ahead some useful web-sites are:

Coffee shops

Cosy Coffee Shops – helping you to find independent speciality coffee shops since 2006. They have visited almost 150 and identify their favourites on a useful map.

If you’re in one of the big cities you might find there is a guide specifically for you: Coffee Birmingham or the London Coffee Guide.

Restaurants and cafes

Look for a restaurant displaying a badge from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Sustainability is about restaurants managing the social and environmental impact of their operations. Committing to sustainability means that restaurants can make a huge difference on issues such as climate change, animal welfare and food waste. You can search their directory here.

The Soil Association has a guide to eating out, highlighting restaurants and venues with the Food for Life Catering Mark or organic certification. There are also details of its Out to Lunch campaign, investigating the food that’s being served to children.

Happy Cow – the healthy eating guide covering restaurants around the world. There’s a free app available for iphone and android too so you can search while you’re out and about. In Leeds, for example, 23 restaurants are listed, with reviews from customers. Restaurants listed are not exclusively vegetarian but include those who are veggie-friendly so great if you’re going with a mixed group.

Veggieheaventhe oldest running review website for vegetarian restaurants and vegan restaurants worldwide. Currently reviewing 4,815 vegan and vegetarian restaurants worldwide. There are 7 restaurants shown for Leeds, displayed on a helpful map.

Veggie Places – a worldwide guide for vegetarian, vegan and veggie-friendly restaurants, cafes, hotels, guest houses, pubs and shops. They identify restaurants and hotels that make a genuine effort to cater well for vegetarians. There are currently 2,664 vegetarian restaurants and hotels listed, together with 4,143 reviews.

Vegetarian Visitor –  annually updated and award-winning UK vegetarian guide to accommodation, B&B, guest houses, hotels, pubs cafes, vegetarian restaurants that take catering for vegetarians and vegans  seriously. I don’t find the web-site very easy to search but there should be good information if you persevere!

If you’ve got any further suggestions please let me know.

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