Today we bring you blog post #3 in our ‘Healthy Living In Edinburgh‘ series.
I’m really enjoying writing these blog posts so far. Not only have we been receiving lots of positive feedback but it’s also been great connecting with other local businesses who are also helping to promote a healthier Edinburgh.
For number 3 in the series I’ll be sharing my experience treating myself to lunch at Hendersons vegan restaurant on Thistle Street.
Shamefully, despite walking past Hendersons on an almost daily basis, this was my first visit.
It’s literally a 5 minute walk from our private personal training studio headquarters on Jamaica Street so it was about time I stopped in!
That being said, it will most definitely be the first visit of many.
As I’m about to share with you, I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch and will certainly be visiting more regularly in the future.
Introduction To Hendersons
Founded in 1962, Hendersons specialises in providing contemporary vegetarian and vegan foods that have been locally sourced using fresh, organic ingredients.
Hendersons has become a well known place for health ethusiasts in Edinburgh looking for tasty and delicious vegetarian and vegan options.
As it turns out, Hendersons also boasts the UK’s longest running Vegetarian restaurant at their Hanover St. headquarters!
Although I frequently walk past Hendersons Deli & Salad Bar on Hanover Street, I never fully appreciated there was a lot more to Hendersons than meets the eye.
After deciding I was going to stop in for lunch and feature Hendersons in our Health Living series, I did some further research to learn more about the business.
I discovered their impressive history (which you can read about here) and learned about the multiple awards they have received.
I also learned about their on-going success and expansion which has now resulted in having 4 ‘entities’ across the city centre, which all come together under the Hendersons umbrella:
- The Hendersons Shop & Deli on Hanover St.
- The Vegetarian Salad Bar restaurant, also on Hanover St directly underneath the shop and deli.
- The Vegan Restaurant (which I visited) just round the corner on Thistle St, and lastly…
- The Vegetarian Cafe & Deli just a short hop over town on Holyrood Road.
For the last few years I’ve become increasingly aware of the benefits of plant based eating and following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
However, after much research and uncertainty, it’s only really been this year I’ve become more open minded about the vegetarian and vegan way of life and began to change my eating habits.
With that in mind, it was the perfect time to pop in to Hendersons Vegan Restaurant for lunch.
My Vegan Lunch At Hendersons
Clearly a popular place with locals and tourists alike at lunch time, I was fortunate enough to get the last available table.
The staff were welcoming and friendly and happy to explain more about the menu and options available after I asked about a few things.
The restaurant itself is fairly small, but there are plenty of tables and it didn’t feel crowded whatsoever despite being full.
It was warm, welcoming, relaxed and had a good vibe about it – a nice place to be in.
As I began reading the menu I was pleasantly surprised at the diverse and delicious sounding dishes available.
I decided I was going to have a starter and a main, and after some deliberation I opted for the ‘Freekeh Salad‘ as my starter:
Mouth watering, right??
Honestly, it was every bit as delicious as it looks. Needles to say it didn’t take me long to finish the entire bowl. 😉
It had Kale, Butternut Squash, Pear, Red Grapes and was topped with Almond Flakes.
And as if that wasn’t good enough, there was a Cumin-Maple dressing running through the salad which just delightful and really completed the full taste experience.
I often assumed without some form of meat I’d be left feeling unsatisfied and still hungry. However, the salad was actually more filling and satisfying than anticipated.
Maybe I’d been thinking of vegetarian and vegan eating in the wrong way all this time…
Vegetarian and Vegan Eating
It’s places like Hendersons and the food they offer that has really opened my eyes to the wide range of delicious choices available to vegetarian and vegan eaters. It’s not all just plates of vegetables as die-hard meat eaters often assume!
As mentioned above, it’s really only been this year I’ve properly started making some changes to my eating habits and becoming more open minded to plant based eating.
Truthfully, there’s an ever increasing body of evidence and research highlighting the benefits of following a more plant based approach to nutrition that’s too prevalent to ignore any longer.
I’m massively passionate about health and living in the healthiest body I can.
If changing my eating habits to a more plant-based approach can help me achieve that, I’m certainly open to trying it.
I guess like many ‘high protein obsessed’ eaters these days, it can be a bit of a daunting prospect dropping all the meat and poultry in favour of more plant based options.
There’s a lot of uncertainty around meeting protein consumption, ensuring you’re getting sufficient nutrients and getting at least some saturated fat which, despite what the mainstream media will have you believe, is important for balanced health.
Regardless of my own thoughts, my research has shown me some of the top athlethes in the world are vegetarian or vegan – you can read about that here.
Research has also shown me you can get all the nutrition you need from a plant based approach to nutrition, along with some supplements to ensure all your needs are met.
Now I’m not declaring myself as a full blown vegan (yet).
I’m just holding my hands up and admitting that he way I thought about nutrition previously may not have been the best for optimal health.
These were just some of the musings I had in the short break between my starter and my main.
I’ll come back to these in just one minute, but first…
My Main Course
After my refreshing salad for starter, I opted for the vegan haggis for my main course:
Whilst I’m not entirely sure what the Haggis was made of (probably Hendersons top secret recipe!), it came with steamed and pickled turnip, cabbage and tarragon whiskey sauce.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve used the word ‘delicious’ in this blog now, but again it really was. And again I was pleasantly surprised in the taste and satiety of the meal.
Much like the salad, it didn’t last long and I finished every last mouthful.
I never realised how creative you could get with food, putting together a tasty a meat-free alternative to a traditionally meat-containing dish.
That concluded my meal at Hendersons. I sat for a while longer to let my stomach settle and reflect some more on my meal.
I paid my bill and left with a pleasant farewell from the staff.
Whilst the food certainly isn’t cheap, I believe it is fairly priced. I am more than happy to pay a premium for locally sourced, organic and in-season produce over cheaper non-organic and nutritionally poor alternatives.
I look forward to going back soon and tasting some of the other dishes on the menu.
In closing, I was very impressed with my lunch at Hendersons Vegan restaurant.
It has helped me learn more about what’s possible with vegetarian and vegan eating and how healthy and exciting it can be.
And while I’m not quite ready to call myself a devout vegetarian or vegan just yet, I have began greatly reducing my intake of meat and poultry and favouring more plant based protein sources such as those listed here.
I believe whether you change your eating approach for health or moral reasons (or both), following a more plant-based approach to nutrition has many other beneficial health benefits as well.
By eating consciously and being more mindful about what you’re eating (by following a vegetarian or vegan diet for example) it’s more likely you’ll make other health promoting changes as well. I know I certainly have…
As well as making the changes detailed above, I’ve simultaneously eliminated (as much as possible) dairy, processed food and caffeine while increasing my intake of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha tea.
The result? I’ve felt the most energised and ‘light’ I have in years and find myself far less stressed or anxious.
I’m excited to continue making changes to achieve ever better health and this will undoubtedly begin to permeate into the work we do with all our clients here at Luke Bremner Fitness.
I look forward to sharing more with you about this journey to optimal health in upcoming blogs and videos.
You can find Hendersons throughout Edinburgh at the following locations:
Hendersons Vegan Restaurant
25c Thistle St,
T: 0131 225 2605
E: [email protected]
Hendersons Shop & Deli
94 Hanover St,
T: 0131 225 6694
E: [email protected]
Hendersons Salad Table
94 Hanover St,
T: 0131 225 2131
E: [email protected]
Hendersons Vegetarian Cafe and Deli
67 Holyrood Rd,
T: 0131 557 1606
E: [email protected]
Alternatively, there is collective information about Hendersons and all 4 of their locations on their website at www.hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk
I really hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at Hendersons. As coaches at Luke Bremner Fitness, we’re always aiming to improve our knowledge around all things health to better help our clients lose weight and live healthier, happier lives. To find out more about what we do and how we can help you improve your health, you can book in for your free consultation by clicking here.
We’ll be back next month with part 4 in our Healthy Living In Edinburgh series. Got feedback on any of the first 3 posts? We’d love to hear from you.
We’re also happy to accept recommendations for future posts in the series. Simply contact us and let us know if you’d like to be featured or can recommend a health-based business in Edinburgh that might.
Previous Posts In The Series: