This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley

Vegan – a single word that can have people sighing, raising their eyebrows, turning away in disgust, or much, much worse. Many assume vegans are skinny, pale, unhealthy and unwashed but take a look at Brad Pitt, Beyonce, Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton & David Haye – all vegans and all excelling in their chosen careers which they wouldn’t be able to do if they had a poor diet.

But, no matter what your opinion, the fact that can’t be denied is that choosing to be a vegan – and therefore, having a plant based diet – is now much more mainstream, much more normal and much more do-able than it’s ever been. But what about if you are in Fethiye; is it difficult, is it easy, is it impossible? Well, let’s find out…

The vegan community in Fethiye

Firstly, I would like to say that I am not a vegan, I’m not even close. I eat meat most days and dairy every day, I can’t even function without a milky mug of Yorkshire first thing in the morning. But after some enquiries I’ve discovered that there is actually quite a large vegan community in the area.

Digging deeper, and with lots of help from some of the local vegan community, for which I am hugely grateful, I’ve discovered that Migros and Metro are coming round to the idea and offering vegan alternatives such as vegan kofte, vegan cheese (needs work I’m told!), vegan mayonnaise, vegan butter, tofu and various milk alternatives to name just a few. Living or holidaying here means we’ve also got the huge benefit of having a fruit and veg market somewhere in the region practically every day of the week.

The Aware Co., based in Yaniklar, holds regular vegan events where you can try vegan foods, ask questions and pick up recipes. A recent event saw vegans and non vegans trying curry, leek pie, pate, enchiladas, energy bites and much more, with attendees coming away surprised at the choices available to them whilst probably being thankful that they didn’t have to spend the evening munching on a lettuce leaf.

Meat or Two Veg?
Vegan evening at The Aware Co. in Yanıklar

Where can vegans eat out locally?

Motif Restaurant in Çalış is one of the front runners when it comes to offering vegan food as part of its menu. I spoke to Nichola from Motif who said “Motif is a Turkish restaurant and as you might expect is, apart from salads and mezze, predominantly a meat, with a few fish dishes, restaurant. However, being aware that there is a growing interest in and commitment to veganism worldwide, in consultation with some of our vegetarian customers and the Fethiye Vegan Facebook group members, we decided to create a separate vegan menu to make it easier to identify the options available. There isn’t a huge selection but it does make it easier for vegans and vegetarians to identify what we offer without having to trawl through the standard menu”.

GoGo The Eatery, also in Çalış is also starting to offer a vegan selection which they plan to expand on and they are open to ideas on what vegans and vegetarians would like to see on a standard menu.  

Meat or Two Veg?
Sian and friends enjoying a vegan breakfast at GoGo The Eatery

Many restaurants in the wider Fethiye area are more than happy to adapt any meal to suit, all you have to do is ask. 

If you fancy dipping your toe into the water and taking your first steps towards a plant based diet whilst in Fethiye why not join the Fethiye Vegans Facebook page where current members are more than happy to answer any questions and often arrange get togethers and events (no brainwashing or militant behavior allowed!).

Vegan dishes at home?

There’s also plenty of vegan recipes out there with Deliciously Ella, The Avant-Garde Vegan & Rachel Ama coming highly recommended.

YouTube is also a mine of information. If you are interested in how a plant based diet might improve your health (give or take a Vitamin B12 tablet here or there) I’d recommend watching ‘What The Health’.

If you are more interested in the theories behind how a plant based diet may improve our environment then ‘Cowspiracy’ is worth a watch. And if you want to cower behind your sofa for 1hr 53mins and 27secs and never intend to even look at a cow ever again then try ‘Earthlings’ but it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

But if veganism isn’t something that interests you then that’s fine – you have to live the lifestyle that suits you. Just don’t be too harsh on those that do choose to go vegan.

And me? Well, I’m not planning on jumping out of bed tomorrow morning and running down the street naked screaming ‘I’M A VEGAN’ – after all that won’t only scare the neighbours and get me arrested, but its also rather chilly in the mornings at the moment. BUT I am going to give a bit more thought to the foods I eat and replace some meat and dairy items with vegan alternatives. After all, I’m a huge cat and dog lover so shouldn’t I be more caring about other animals too?

Featured photograph courtesy of Motif Restaurant.

Sian Midgley moved to Fethiye from the UK in 2013. She’s previously been involved with 3Cs, Animal Aid (now Hayed) and the Çatalarık Kedi Evi. Now she jointly runs the Sustainable Living in Fethiye Facebook page where people ask questions and give advice on how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.Having discovered a love of the outdoors in recent years, more often than not, you’ll find her cycling or walking around the local villages or participating in various fitness classes. In her downtime, she likes nothing more than to be at home with her three pets, including her 4 year-old rescue dog who she openly admits is the love of her life.