HappyCow: A Vegan’s Best Friend

One of the things a person might miss most after deciding to go vegan is the convenience of going out to eat at a favorite restaurant or dropping by the grocery store to pick up your favorite snack on the way home. While your old favorite restaurant or grocery may not be vegan friendly, there are plenty of options for new favorites. You have to know how to find vegan options where ever you go. That’s where HappyCow comes in.

Eric Brent first envisioned HappyCow in 1997. An avid traveler, Brent has lived in, worked in, and visited well over 50 countries. As a vegan, however, it was always a struggle to find foods within his diet. In 1997, only one world guide to vegetarian and vegan restaurants existed; and there were no plans to update it further. It was around this time that Brent got the idea for HappyCow. Brent breathed life into his new project in November of 1999. Since that time, HappyCow has continued to flourish and simplify vegan eating worldwide.

The HappyCow app allows you access to a massive database of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants and stores from over 180 countries worldwide. Their simple icons make it easy to determine if an establishment is all vegan, all vegetarian, or offers vegetarian or vegan options. Members worldwide can post reviews and rate restaurants. You can also submit a request to add a restaurant or store if you discover a hidden gem that’s not yet on the app. After all, that is how the other listings got there in the first place.

Another significant benefit of the HappyCow app is community. The decision to go vegetarian or vegan can be a lonely one. It is not uncommon for friends or family to be less than supportive of your new lifestyle. After all, most of them have spent their entire life consuming meat and animal products. Acknowledging your new diet means they also have to consider their own choices, which is not always easy to do. Today, the HappyCow app has been downloaded over 2 million times. As a result, it connects you with countless like-minded individuals, both worldwide and in your local area. HappyCow may be the perfect place to find a mentor, support, or possibly even new friends if you are new to the plant-based journey.

HappyCow is a grassroots effort with no corporate sponsors. The company funnels all revenue generated by ads, sales, or gifts directly into the project to fund technical improvements and new features. The non-profit relies heavily on its users to add new listings and keep old listings updated with reviews or further information.

There are quite a few options if you want to become more involved with HappyCow’s efforts. The first step is the most obvious. Download the app. Once you’ve joined, you will be able to share your input, ideas, reviews, recipes, and more. Of course, you’ll want to share the app with friends who might like to participate. HappyCow also has flyers and stickers for distribution at local events, community bulletins, businesses, etc. Users can download brochures on the website happycow.net. Shop HappyCow’s Vegan Store on Amazon and wear your new gear proudly. You can also find a unique link to Amazon that allows HappyCow to receive about 5% from your purchases. That’s not a bad deal if you’re going to be shopping anyway.

If you are active in your community and on the HappyCow app and want to be even more involved, consider becoming a HappyCow ambassador. As a HappyCow ambassador, you will “represent your city and help travelers find great food .” Suppose you are passionate about growing the vegan movement in your community, knowledgeable of the plant-based options in your community, and regularly contribute to HappyCow. In that case, this may be appya significant next step for you.

Stay in touch on the HappyCow app and check in regularly on the website. HappyCow.net has plenty of tips, resources, and recipes available. You can also find a newsletter and a forum and chat board to search for topics you are interested in or start a new topic if you have further thoughts, ideas, or questions.

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