Where can I find vegan food?

Once you’ve decided to become a vegan, the question remains, “where do I shop?”  Sure, you can shop in any grocery store and find some vegan items, but there are some that are more vegan-friendly than others.

Some of my favorites are:

Sprouts -- They have a wonderful bulk section where I buy my pumpkin seeds, brown rice, nuts, flour, etc.  They also have great deals on produce, although not all is organic.  They have double ad Wednesdays.
Vitamin Cottage -- Their prices are generally the lowest on non-sale items.  All their produce is organic, and they have a lot of sales that last an entire month.
Trader Joe’s -- There isn’t one near me, but I had the privilege of visiting one on my last trip to California -- fun atmosphere and a lot of their store branded items are better than the national brands.
Whole Foods Market -- Expensive, but you can’t beat the selection and the fresh food section.  They also cater in some locations.
Sunflower Market -- A lot like Sprouts, really -- I often confuse the two, actually!

You can also Google “natural grocery” and see what you can find in your area.

I generally go to Costco for my produce, King Soopers (Kroger) for my Smart Balance butter and NotBeef bouillon, and the other stores for whatever is on sale that week.

If you want to go out to eat, you do have options.  You can visit HappyCow.net and use their search tool for restaurants in your area that are vegan friendly.  They have an iPhone app (VegOut), too, that can help when you aren’t next to a computer.

There are a few iPhone apps that cater to vegans on the go trying to find options at fast food restaurants (VeganXPress for one).  I also found a blogger who had done her own research here.

Most of the time, restaurants will work with you.  Some of my favorite choices areP.F.Chang’s, August Moon, Mt. Fuji, Sweet Tomatoes, and Souper Salad.

There are also many online stores that sell specialty vegan foods.  Check out Vegan Essentials or Pangea for starters.

When I am invited somewhere that doesn’t have anything on the menu that will fill me up, I usually bring some vegan sour cream, vegan salad dressing and vegan butter in my purse (yes, I know that’s just weird) and I order a baked potato and a bare salad.  If I’m invited to someone’s house, I usually just offer to bring my own food.  My theory is, if the person who’s inviting me thinks that’s rude, then chances are they don’t know me well enough to invite me!