Lucy's Friendly Foods

Long term vegetarian Cordon Bleu trained mum of two navigates the world of allergies. All recipes are vegetarian, most are vegan and free of nuts

What's your favorite vegan or vegetarian friendly product?

I'd say soya products for us and yogurts in particular - a great pudding that gives a boost of calcium and they're readily available. Dairy-free ice cream (especially Swedish Glace in the UK) is a great alternative to a dairy version - and everyone likes ice cream!

What's the biggest misconception people have about being a vegan or vegetarian?

I think the biggest misconception is that you are 'missing out' and as such don't really enjoy food or creative cooking. Many people seem to think a meal without a lump of animal protein isn't a 'proper meal' and therefore can't be as enjoyable. I've been a vegetarian since 1995 but people still ask me if it's forever, and 'what do you eat!'
The reality is that as a vegetarian or vegan you have to be so much more inventive with your cooking, with your eyes open to new flavour combinations and unusual ingredients. It's exciting!

What's your best tip for families who want to start living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?

My best tip would be to understand your dietary needs, if you are vegan you definitely need to make sure your family is getting enough calcium through enriched products. Also that no organic product is enriched with calcium because no organic calcium has ever been sourced.
I would also advise not to replace meat with 'fake meats', instead be bold and interesting and use pulses and vegetables to base your meals around.