Name: Steph | Location: Surrey, UK but soon to be Nottingham! | Twitter: thezombiesaid | Instagram: thezombiesaid | Website: The Zombie Said
About Me: I’m a cruelty free and vegan blogger with a love of food, fitness and sci-fi! My life basically consists of waiting for my next meal and the next installment of Star Wars, with the occasional lil’ travel adventures thrown in here and there.
Favourite Animal: Manta rays, octopuses and elephants. And cats, of course!
When did you go vegan?
Officially, I think around September 2015, but I had already begun the transition and stopped eating animal products a couple of months before I finally adopted the label.
Why did you go vegan?
I’d been buying only cruelty free cosmetics etc. for several years already, and going vegan seemed like the next logical step in my cruelty free journey. As a feminist and someone who tries to be a compassionate person, I decided I didn’t want to be a part of an industry that’s destroying our planet, harming animals, disenfranchising vulnerable humans and making people sick any longer. The best way for me personally to make a difference was to simply opt out, and to try and spread a positive message that others can do the same.
What really sealed the deal for me though, were the environmental aspects of veganism I learned about after watching Cowspiracy and reading Farmageddon. I’m vegan for the animals too, but as a huge lover of the natural world, planet Earth and the cosmos in general it was eye-opening and horrifying to learn that animal agriculture is decimating the only home we have, that few people seem to realise this and that even fewer seem to care enough to make a change.
Some of Carl Sagan’s famous quotes about Earth resonate with me and my love of space and astronomy, but the sentiment is one that’s also at the core of my veganism:
“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
What have you found challenging/difficult?
I haven’t really found many things particularly challenging; I love cooking and I love pretty much all foods, so the diet itself, being healthy and eating a variety of things has never been an issue for me.
The only difficult thing I can think of is probably navigating veganism with family, friends, colleagues etc. who are perhaps a bit more ignorant and resistant to it. There’ve been a few occasions where I’ve been left with little to no food at get-togethers, and where my dietary requirements have been an afterthought viewed with a bit of a ‘she’s just being fussy and difficult’ undertone. Plus the silly comments about protein and being healthy etc. at work in particular… Funnily enough, my partner’s parents are a former nurse and a GP and, other than my own mum, have been the most supportive and often comment on how healthy and radiant I look since going vegan!
What product most surprised you when you found out it wasn’t Vegan/Cruelty free?
Muesli! I’d been using the same muesli I always had for a few months before I finally checked the ingredients and was baffled to discover that whey powder was in it and many other cheap muesli. Why add milk powder when it’s just going to be served with milk anyway!?
If you could say anything to your previous non-Vegan-self what would it be?
Open your mind and stop hanging onto the stereotypes. Despite only having had negative interactions with a handful ~militant vegans~ online years and years ago, I fully believed that veganism was stupid and 100% full of assholes, and that from an intersectional feminist perspective they had no grasp of reality or respect for others’ circumstances that might prevent them from going vegan. Sure, there are vegans who are also dicks and there’s a huge problem with things like fatphobia in veganism, but that’s the case for every movement, and I’m happy to say now that my previous misinformed perceptions were wrong!
What are your favourite Vegan restaurants/cafes/shops?
Zizzi and Yo Sushi are my favourite chains to eat at, plus I love Itadaki Zen (all vegan Japanese) and Yorica! (100% allergen free, vegan ice cream parlour) in London, and Annie’s Burger Shack (omni but they veganize the entire menu) in Nottingham.
What is your favourite/best Vegan documentary/book/Instagram account/blog/YouTuber?
My favourite documentary and book I mentioned above: Cowspiracy and Farmageddon, both about the environmental aspects of animal ag. I have a tonne of favourite vegan bloggers, but Nadia of Not So Quiet Grrl, Sarah of The V Nice Life and recently vegan Tara of Cattitude & Co. are a few! My most-watched vegan Youtubers at the moment are probably Kiera Rose and Naturally Stefanie.
Which well-known vegans would you have at your fantasy dinner party and what 3 course meal would you serve?
Honestly? I have no idea – I’m not much of a famous-people person and don’t really know who is and isn’t vegan!
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about going vegan?
Take it slow and cut yourself some slack. There’s no need to become vegan overnight, and you can go at your own pace and make whatever small changes you need to make as and when you can.
Please can you show us a picture of the inside of your fridge/cupboards?
There’s a couple of non-vegan bits and bobs in here as my partner isn’t 100% plant-based 24/7, but here you go! This isn’t even our entire food collection, there’s more on all the counters, on a little wire trolley and in boxes all over the kitchen..!
Any further comments or anecdotes to share:
Right now I’m pretty into fitness and getting into weight-lifting, and my current goal is to join the ranks of the badasses smashing the stereotype the vegans are all weak and malnourished. I’m already the strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, and all on a balanced, plant-based diet with plenty of treats. A lil’ tip for any fitness lovers who are vegan or considering veganism: soya protein powder tastes kind of like pancake mix so stick some maple syrup in your shakes and enjoy!
Thank you so much for taking part in my interview series, Steph!
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