On turning vegan

Asparagus, radishes and Jersey royal potatoes

People often ask me why I became vegan. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? I was curious too, which is one of the reasons I embraced this lifestyle.

Anyway, a plant-based diet is more popular than ever (there are now over half a million vegans in the UK) and I was really pleased to feature in an article about turning veggie in last Sunday’s Stella magazine.

Nicole Mowbray’s piece is a great endorsement for ditching the meat because not only is it easier than ever to be veggie, it’s also good news for your wallet and your waistline.

We all have different reasons for eating the way we do. Here’s what prompted me to make a change to my diet.

Until I hit thirty, I was a typical omnivore and would eat anything put in front of me. Having said that, I’d never eaten much dairy (unless you count chocolate), only had meat and fish when out at restaurants, and I’ve always loved my vegetables. Going vegan seemed like a no brainer. Initially, I did it to be healthier and to feel better about myself. I’d not long come out of a long-term relationship and felt that it was time to try something new.

Then I did some research and watched a few documentaries and realised that I had been turning a blind eye, not only to the cruelty of the meat industry, but also to the suffering of animals bred for eggs and dairy. That made me even more determined to take the vegan challenge.

That was a year ago and not a lot has changed. I still have a healthy appetite; I just eat differently now. My diet is pretty healthy but I’m definitely not part of the ‘clean’ eating brigade. I still drink wine and there’s plenty of vegan junk food out there.

I won’t pretend that the transition was easy (prepare to be tired and hungry for the first month) but your body soon gets used to your new diet and as long as you’re getting the right nutrients, you’ll be fine. I’ve had a couple of slip ups and once in a blue moon, I’ll have some local, sustainably caught fish (it’s the one thing I really miss) but otherwise I eat a completely plant based diet and I love it. Cooking as a vegan allows you to be a lot more creative with ingredients and flavours – I just wish more restaurants would realise this, although it is slowly getting better.

I think being vegetarian and vegan is more popular partly because we are a lot more conscious about animal welfare and mitigating climate change. Celebrities like Beyonce have normalised being vegan or vegetarian and ‘clean’ eating is prevalent thanks to social media sites like Instagram. People want to buy into a certain type of lifestyle and at the moment, it’s cool to eat your greens. Admittedly, this makes life easier for us veggies and vegans as supermarkets and restaurants are keen to cater for this demand, but I don’t think it’s a fad. As it becomes more mainstream, more people are realising that eating plants is healthier, cheaper and kinder to the planet.


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