1. Can you tell us what the most significant contributing factor was, in your decision to go vegan?
Thanks to my flower power, peace-lovin’ parents I was raised vegetarian from birth, so it’s always been natural for me to try to avoid causing harm.
Or so I thought…
I had no idea how much harm there was in the dairy and egg industries until the demonstrations against live exports happened. Watching beautiful animals be transported to their imprisonment and ‘eventual’ death made the link between my milky tea and beloved Brie and the horrifically cruel way we treat calves all too real.
That’s why I went vegan and that’s what’s kept me vegan too.
2. How long have you been vegan? Did you transition slowly or fairly quickly?
I’ve been vegan for 20 years now and I transitioned over the space of a couple of weeks. My original plan was to eat vegan in the house and vegetarian when I was out and about and then gradually move to fully vegan… but obviously my conscious had other ideas about the pace of the transition! I just couldn’t stomach the product of such cruelty any longer.
3. Whats your current favourite vegan dish?
Ooooh, I looove food so it’s so hard to choose! I especially love Southern Indian food, so maybe Masala dosa – a huge lentil pancake filled with spicy potato and vegetables and served with delicious chutneys and pickles. Food of the Gods!
I also love baking and eating cakes and my current challenge is making them as healthy and whole food as possible. So far my experiments are yielding pretty yummy results!
4. Best vegan restaurant/cafe where you live?
Sadly we don’t have any vegan places close by however we have a fairly large number of local vegans and between us we’ve managed to encourage the cafes and restaurants here to become surprisingly vegan-friendly! For example, a local tea room always has a vegan club sandwich and choice of vegan cakes on offer!
5. Best vegan restaurant/cafe youíve ever been to?
I don’t think I’ve ever met one I don’t like! My fave is probably Vanilla Black in Primrose Hill though that’s partly because it was a special evening spent with my late father (who was also vegan).
6. Where do you get things like shoes and bags? Is it difficult?
I often buy bags in Accessorise and shoes from all kinds of places. It’s been so long since I’ve bought animal products that I don’t really think of it as difficult these days… leather etc are invisible to me!
7. Are you on a tight food budget? Is a vegan lifestyle affordable for you personally?
My husband would like me to shop on a much tighter budget than I do! Food is one of our largest expenses because I prioritise my family and friends eating as well and as ethically as possible – and also because I love to cook and host. My favourite way to spend time is lounging in the garden sharing delicious vegan food with family and friends.
8. What do you tend to eat as staples on a daily basis and why?
I follow the lovely Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen so my staples tend to be the foods that allow me to tick off that Dozen and therefore get maximum nutrients. It’s mostly pretty simple things such as masses of fresh fruit and veg, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Oh and a vampire’s worst nightmare – we get through around a bulb of garlic a day!
9. What are you favourite vegan make-up brands?
Make-up wise I buy from Barry M, Lush, B from Superdrug and the Body Shop (just need to check which items are vegan, not all are).
When it comes to toiletries I’m a simple girl – I use olive oil and lavender oil for removing my makeup and for moisturising my face and body, and magnesium oil for deodorant.
10. Favourite vegan wardrobe item?
All of my wardrobe is vegan so it’s hard to choose! I’m particularly partial to anything with a floral or bird print and I have many dresses that reflect that love!
11. Have you convinced any friends or family to join you yet, and have those around you been generally supportive of your veganism?
Hell yeah! My entire family – father, mother, step-father and sister – all went vegan a week after I did! I’ve lost count of the number of friends who have gone veggie or vegan. I now have two mini-vegans: my passionately vegan children who have eaten this way since birth. My children’s friends and their parents have particularly wowed me – they’ve all bent over backwards to accommodate my children, including providing vegan cakes at parties!
Quite honestly, I have only had amazingly positive and supportive experiences from everyone I’ve met.
12. You have companion animals. What do you feel they teach you about animals, their place in the world and how humans view animals?
We have two rescue dogs and a rescue cat and I’m so appreciative of the unconditional love and joy they bring to our lives.
That said, in an ideal world all animals would be free to live wild and free, so in trying to meet my three furry companions’ needs I’m also reminded that we humans are animals too and have our own animal needs – something so obvious but so easily forgotten.
Just like a poor beagle locked in a lab cage, we too suffer the more we’re taken from our natural environment and disconnected from nature, community, fresh foods and all of the other things that we need to thrive.
I hope that one day all animals (including humans) will be free!
13. Do you see a vegan world in the future?
Yes, I think it’s possible. Especially if my six year old daughter has anything to do with it!
14. Finally, can you sum up in one sentence why you donít think we should use animals?
It seems to me that the kinder we are to everything around us, the happier we all are. Win/win.