INTERVIEW WITH JOANNE PEGGIE

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Name: Joanne Peggie

Location: Edinburgh

Instagram name: @thepeggies

About Me: I live in Edinburgh with my husband, Dave, and our 2 Maine Coon kitty cats, Griffin and Cleo. I love old black and white movies (anything Fred & Ginger, James Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Capra, Hitchcock, Universal Monsters or a good (bad) monster B-Movie), listening to records on our old Dansette, going to the odd gig, pottering about in the garden and growing our own veggies, watching the birds, exploring new places, epic train journeys, and being in the middle of nowhere up a hill or in a forest. Oh and eating, I love eating!

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Favourite Animal: Well being vegan I love them all equally, obviously! But if you’re going to push me then cats, cats, cats – domestic and wild. I’ve always been in awe of how majestic, beautiful and powerful lions, tigers and leopards are.

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I also love birds though and now that I have a garden I could watch them all day everyday if I had the chance. Oh and I love foxes and squirrels and cows with their huge eyes and goats with their crazy antics and… I could go on!

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When did you go vegan?

I finally took the plunge in January 2009 (having been vegetarian for about 12 years before that and pescetarian for another 2 or 3 years before that).

Why did you go vegan?

I’d been vegetarian for a long time already and I never really thought I’d take the next step to be honest. I’d always been a ‘strict’ vegetarian anyway and had stopped wearing leather as soon as I’d made that decision but I honestly told myself that dairy and eggs didn’t result in deaths and that being a vegetarian was enough. I have more vivid memories of my reasons for giving up meat in the first place – I was shown a video in school of how chickens are slaughtered and I went home that day and told my Mum I didn’t want to eat meat anymore and that was that.

So yeah, I can’t really remember what brought it on, but for some reason I started investigating again and particularly looking into what actually goes on in the dairy and egg industries and the penny finally dropped that I was still playing a part in these horrendous cruelties. And again, that was that, my husband (then boyfriend) and I both decided that vegan was the only way to go and we’ve never looked back.

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What have you found challenging/difficult?

Dealing with having my eyes open to the cruelty in the world. Once you become aware there’s no going back and that can be hard at times. I’m doing my part in avoiding what I can, but it still makes me feel sick to know about what goes on on a daily basis. I’m the classic vegan (I think) in that even in films or TV programmes, I can deal with something bad happening to a person, but pleeease don’t hurt that cat or dog or horse or hamster!

The only other thing is sometimes the frustration of being surrounded by people who don’t see it; people who are otherwise good and lovely, people who are friends or family, but for whatever reason they’re just happy continuing on that path of consuming animals. I guess I just find it hard to comprehend and to rationalise this sometimes and even harder to separate these two sides of someone you care about. Thank goodness my husband and I have always been on the same page!

Now, the eating part of being vegan, that is not difficult or challenging at all and it’s just getting easier all the time!

What product most surprised you when you found out it wasn’t Vegan/Cruelty free?

Hmm I’m not sure to be honest, if anything I’m loving this new phase of being constantly surprised by things that are vegan. It’s amazing at the moment.

Maybe milk powder, as that seems to turn up in the unlikeliest of places – seeing it in salt and vinegar crisps was a shocker at the beginning of my vegan years.

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If you could say anything to your previous non-Vegan-self what would it be?

Do it sooner!

And that vegans aren’t weird or extreme. There’s something seriously wrong when living a cruelty free life can be considered extreme.

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What are your favourite Vegan restaurants/cafes/shops?

Edinburgh is coming along amazingly at the moment, we now have a fully vegetarian and vegan pizza place (Nova Pizza) and there’s also a bar called Paradise Palms which only serves vegetarian/vegan food by The Lucky Pig. I love the good (and giant) food that you get from the Auld Hoose and also the Brass Monkey, and Roseleaf does a mean vegan breakfast. David Bann is nice for something that bit more special.

Glasgow is another top city for us vegans and my favourites there at the moment are places like The Flying Duck and Mono.

I have been lucky enough to eat in some amazing places in other countries too – Blossoms (NYC), Bye & Bye (Portland, Oregon), Fast Rabbit and Chaostheorie (Berlin) are just some of my favourites!

What is your favourite/best Vegan documentary/book/Instagram account/blog/YouTuber?

I have to admit that I can’t bring myself to watch any of the documentaries. I know that people constantly refer to Earthlings and I’m sure it’s amazing, but I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I’m too soft and it upsets me way too much. I do have Cowspiracy on my list though and am hoping I can manage that one at some point.

On Instagram I love accounts like @boochaces, @goatsofanarchy and @farmsanctuary for the amazing work that they’re doing in rescuing so many lives. They’re also showing people that these ‘meat’ animals have individual personalities and that they play and feel fear and form relationships not only with their human guardians but also with animals of other species. I think this part of what they’re doing is honestly invaluable in moving things forward and opening people’s eyes who haven’t taken that step yet.

@accidentallyvegan is another good one for the surprising foods that you’d often never think to even look at.

I’m also really enjoying the Vegan Life magazine – it’s so nice to be able to buy a magazine and have all of the articles (food, fashion, news etc.) be relevant to me.

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Which well-known vegans would you have at your fantasy dinner party and what 3 course meal would you serve?

Do you know what, I really don’t know who is and isn’t vegan out there anymore so I’m not sure. Maybe I’d invite the people behind the Instagram accounts I mentioned above as they’d all deserve an afternoon of being looked after.

I think I’d go casual with it (unclassy?) and would make it an afternoon gathering and go buffet style with homemade sausage rolls, quiches, sandwiches (triangle obviously), my husband makes a mean calzone so I’d have some mini versions of those and also some things on sticks (by ‘things’ I mean cheeze, hotdogs, pickled onions, pineapple and by ‘sticks’ I mean cocktail sticks. Child’s birthday party style!). And it goes without saying that there’d be an assortment of cupcakes, brownies and cheesecakes out there too.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about going vegan?

Do your research, look into what goes on in the world of ‘food’ and know your reasons for going vegan. That alone will get you through everything else, honestly! A hungry hour at an airport, that little extra walk to find some amazing vegan food, or that conversation with a work colleague won’t matter when you’re strong in your reasons and are aware of the cruelty that you’re doing this to avoid. I am 100% vegan for the animals and I have never looked back. Just do it!

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Please can you show us a picture of the inside of your fridge/cupboards?

I would love to say that this is always how our cupboards look, but the reality is that we made an extra effort to do a proper big shop before taking these photos! So even if you’re disorganised like us, you too can still be vegan! Haha

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