Vegan

Does the sound of sauteed spinach or roast fennel send your senses into overdrive? Are you concerned about the effect of the meat industry on the environment, or motivated to adopt a vegan lifestyle because of your love for animals? If so, welcome to the club!

Recent statistics from app-based destination guide, HappyCow, indicate that Berlin is officially the most versatile city for vegans in Europe, followed by Amsterdam – which is a short 35-minute drive from Haarlem. However, if you are concerned about your carbon footprint, keep it local and enjoy the fantastic Haarlem-cooked cuisine. It’s 100% meat free, motored by the slow food, a zero-kilometre concept that is the buzzword in many of the world’s leading restaurants. Indeed, if you are a vegan and you have just moved to Haarlem, you will soon find that you are spoiled for choice in terms of tantalizing meat-free gourmet delights.

Havens for veggie lovers in Haarlem

How does starting the day with a chia-chocolate parfait or a mile-high stack of banoffee pancakes sound? By Lima is the place where you will find this and a whole lot more… everything from a freshly squeezed glass of apple, red beet, and ginger juice, to a hearty feta salad, crisp vegan croquettes, or satisfying dishes such as goat’s cheese and beet relish with biscuits, baba ganoush, or a spicy carrot-lentil hummus. A word of warning: By Lima also serves the odd meat dish, but rest assured, there is a truly wide array of vegan and vegetarian offerings.

Also rating highly among fervent foodies is Specktakel, which also serves meat dishes but which has dedicated menus for vegans including temptations such as Chinese omelette with white asparagus, beetroot carpaccio, vegan teriyaki sticks, edamame beans, and a lovely arugula pesto gnocchi. Yet another classic is Hofje Zonder Zorgen, serving up a plethora of salads, soup, and omelettes, in additional to toasty bread topped with slices of everything from avocado, tomato, and cream cheese, right through to buffalo mozzarella and homemade pesto.

Can a vegan diet keep you slim?

If all the reasons mentioned above don’t convince you to give an all-veggie diet a chance, a recent study indicating that it is the ideal way to go for weight loss may convince you. The study, published in The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences, concluded that a strict vegan diet is more effective for weight loss than a vegetarian diet or those including fish or red meat. Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that those on a vegetarian eating plan lost nearly twice as much weight as those on a standard weight loss diet.

Veganism sounds right up the street of the slim Dutch, the only EU country that won’t be obese by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. In 2030, the Dutch obesity rate will be just 8.5%, compared to 50% in countries like Ireland. Part of the reason is the Netherlands’ obsession with cycling; the other is a growing awareness of the importance of a healthy diet. Despite the promising predictions, we can improve our statistics, since around half of all adults are still overweight.

If you feel like venturing forth into a vegan or vegetarian paradise, Amsterdam may just be an ideal choice. However, in Haarlem, there are so many restaurants that place vegetables at the centre of their menu. Check out our suggested list of restaurants or take it further, drafting a list of your own and sharing it on social media, for all your friends to see how appealing and healthful a vegetable-based diet can be.

Jane Sandwood

Jane Sandwood

Jane grew up in Kent and has spent most of her career working in international trade before starting a family. By wanting to spend more time with her young children she found herself moving into working from home then freelance writing. Now she's campaigning to help end isolation; especially for older adults who have lost their old support structures.
Jane Sandwood