JEDDAH: The biggest gathering for vegans in Jeddah took place at the LuLu Hypermarket recently — and the event revealed the growing number of Saudi vegans.
The event did not just showcase vegan food. May Shibah, who owns an all-vegan makeup store called Ithmed Makeup — which means fine powder from the Kohl stone — said that being vegan was not only about diet but lifestyle as well.
“I turned to alternative medicine and natural ingredients. Being vegan isn’t specific to food, it has a hand in cosmetics too.”
“Every product I use, from shampoo to makeup, has only natural ingredients. The ingredients at Ithmed Makeup include fruits, vegetables, natural oils and minerals, no lead or other unsafe ingredients that could harm our bodies,” she told Arab News. Commenting on brands that test on animals, Shibah said: “To torture an animal to simply beautify myself — and this product is actually harming me in the end — is absurd.”
“Modern life has made our lives so fast-paced, and brought with it things that are supposed to help us, but instead have had a negative impact on our health. We must return to nature and the simple way of living. This will have a positive effect on our psychological and physical well-being. Even our environment will turn back to normal.”
Leena Saleh, owner of Orchid Sweets, said that her vegan sister had inspired her. “There were things she couldn’t eat at gatherings so I made desserts that cater to her diet. She felt deprived of desserts, and it made her happy I looked into vegan desserts,” she told Arab News.
There has been a significant rise in the number of Saudi vegans, she said.
“Whenever I go to the supermarket, all the plant-based items are finished. Especially plant milk such as almond milk and coconut milk. I’m actually happy to see this.”
“I wasn’t expecting to see this number of people here today, I was genuinely surprised. I wasn’t expecting to find this many people interested in the vegan diet, and I’m so happy to see such awareness,” she said.
Vegan Dinosaur’s founder, Mansour Barri, said that he was very pleased with the event.
“There were so many booths participating, and our items sold out quickly. I wasn’t expecting such a number of attendees, not even half,” he told Arab News.
“I’m not surprised when I hear that someone is vegan anymore. People who aren’t vegan also supported us.”
The marketing director of LuLu Hypermarket in the western region, Hatem Al-Obaidi, said that the market created the event specially for vegans.
“We welcome all segments of society; the different nationalities within our community, local and international festivals take place all year around. Today, ‘Hello Vegan’ took place in Jeddah for the second time. This event took place in different branches in the Kingdom. We are raising awareness about healthy food and healthier alternatives.”