About Me: Happiest in my pyjamas, least happy when it’s too hot. I am perpetually too warm. Unable to confirm or deny accusations that I use my small stature to get stuff out of people. I’ve recently set up a blog with Lewis, where we look into loads of different aspects of vegan and ethical lifestyle: www.prettygoodldn.com
Favourite Animal: Fluctuates pretty regularly, if I’m honest, but current front runners are red pandas, honey badgers, and pallas cats. I think otters will always feature somewhere up there for me too. Basically, I like a good face and lots of character.
When did you go vegan?
1st January 2014 – initially it was a Veganuary experiment, prompted by the fact that I was moving in with my boyfriend (Lewis) who has been vegan for years.
Why did you go vegan?
I knew it would be easier to share cooking and shopping if we ate all the same stuff. I decided to go all in on Veganuary and do loads of learning – I watched some documentaries (Vegucated, Forks over Knives) and read some stuff, and before the first couple of weeks were done I was ready to call it permanent. Once I’d opened my eyes to the practices I knew, in the back of my mind, were part and parcel of animal agriculture in the modern world, there was no turning back. On top of that, it’s been hugely beneficial for my health, and particularly for my IBS.
There’s something so liberating about eating delicious food without that very tiny voice at the back of your head nudging you about how much that tasty snack cost the earth.
What have you found challenging/difficult?
Work lunches can be difficult – I sometimes entertain clients in the office or at a restaurant over lunch, and it can be difficult to juggle professionalism with my dietary needs!
Coming from a rural background, I’ve also found the (mostly well meaning) jibes from friends and acquaintances hard to swallow. My family, thankfully, have been really good (they love an excuse to find a new recipe, lucky for me!), and one of my sisters has recently also gone vegan, which is so great, particularly as she’s a chef and makes *amazing* food.
What product most surprised you when you found out it wasn’t Vegan/Cruelty free?
Well, I’m currently on my high horse about Ecover adding whey to their washing up liquid, but beyond that, I think it’s the secret milk powder or whey in everything that really gets me. I hate getting through an ingredients list and then the second to last ingredient is whey (I wish we could rename it WHY to adequately reflect my feelings on this).
If you could say anything to your previous non-Vegan-self what would it be?
Quit stalling, you’re smarter than this. Bacon is not an interest, cheese is not a hobby.
What are your favourite Vegan restaurants/cafes/shops?
I absolutely love FED by Water in Dalston. Everything I’ve had there has been so delicious, and the service is so friendly it feels like visiting family for dinner.
Cookies and Scream in Camden is completely amazing – I have to have a word with myself whenever we go so I don’t just get one of everything. It’s so indulgent and they manage the little space so well, I can never believe how much stuff they fit in there (2pm = donuts o’clock forever).
I also really like Third Estate for non-food items – they do great clothes, shoes and accessories from vegan and eco-friendly brands, and they don’t mind you browsing around in there for ages.
What is your favourite/best Vegan documentary/book/Instagram account/blog/YouTuber?
I really love @guacandroll and @yesitsallvegan for making simple every day dishes which also look incredibly delicious, and for making veganism feel really accessible and inclusive. I also love @london_afro_vegan because her online presence is so warm and personable, and she really keeps an eye on making things simple and affordable, which really takes away some of the barriers to going vegan.
I loved Vegucated and Forks over Knives for helping me make that transition permanent, by just presenting facts without all the doom and judgement that I see in some other documentaries and resources.
Which well-known vegans would you have at your fantasy dinner party and what 3 course meal would you serve?
Hmm, I’m not very good at well-known vegans to be honest! I have always thought Woody Harrelson seems like a total dude though, so let’s have him over for a bit.
I reckon the starter would need to be quite light to leave room for the other courses – maybe some buffalo cauliflower? Main would have to be Sudanese falafel with spicy peanut sauce and all the trimmings. Dessert would be my signature chocolate brownies and hot fudge sauce.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about going vegan?
Face up to whatever it is that’s holding you back. If you’re worried about missing your favourite foods, look at what alternatives there are, or watch a documentary to remind yourself why it’s important and what you’d be putting before your own taste and convenience.
if you’re worried about the reaction of friends or family and want a bit of support, join Instagram! I have found so many lovely and supportive vegans on Instagram who post delicious looking food and are pretty much always willing to share recipes or tips if you get stuck (for me, facebook groups don’t really offer this, they’re usually full of chest-beating Level 5,000 vegans who want to call you out for failing to hold your breath when you walk past McDonalds, but each to their own I guess).
Please can you show us a picture of the inside of your fridge/cupboards?
This is my happy place – I love it when my cupboards are full. If you ever want to get a yes out of me for something, ask me just after I’ve put away my grocery shopping.
Any further comments or anecdotes to share:
Infamously amongst my friends, two weeks before I met Lewis for the first time I had said that my only dating dealbreaker was that I could never, ever go out with a vegan. I’d signed up to that whole BACON IS LIFE, VEGANS ARE WEIRD thing my whole life and never questioned it because, looking back, I didn’t want to have to face up to my own accountability about what I choose to put in my mouth. I didn’t want to concede that my I <3 Bacon fridge magnet really should have said ‘I condone needless harm against others’ and ‘I have little to no regard for the environment’. As much as there’s the whole ‘I’ll miss cheese! how will I eat out?!’ thing, once you take even the first steps, it’s the easiest change you’ll ever make.
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