Next up in my ‘Being Vegan’ series is an interview with my vegan bestie Helen, who is one of the reasons I decided to run Vegan Month! I used to think Helen was that awkward friend to cook for. What can she eat? Do I need to cook something totally different? But in fact Helen isn’t the awkward one, I’m just uneducated on veganism, so i set out to learn more!
I asked Helen the same questions that I asked Holly from Little Blog of Vegan and here’s how she responded!
- How long have you been vegan
- Did you go vegan right away or were you vegetarian first?
I was veggie first. I respect people who can go vegan overnight, but it did take me a few months to quit cheese and dairy chocolate!
- What are your reasons for being vegan?
Since I was a kid I’ve always been really passionate about protecting the environment. I watched a documentary called Cowspiracy which shed light on how the meat industry is more harmful to the environment than transport. I was so shocked that this stuff isn’t taught in schools and it made me want to research more to find out what else I didn’t know.
That’s when I looked into animal welfare and watched UK meat farming footage on YouTube. Finally, I came across the health prospects. What The Health recently came out on Netflix and I recommend it to everyone! You don’t have to change your diet – but it gives you the knowledge that a lot of people in society don’t want you to have.
- What are your greatest struggles with being vegan?
My family were on board with me being veggie, but when I told them I am vegan they thought it was weird. Maybe it’s a generational thing – veganism was almost unheard of when my mum was my age. I got a lot of “why can’t you just be veggie?” “How are you going to afford it?” “You’re just being picky”, and it took a while for them to understand. They are all supportive now though.
- What do you miss most since turning vegan?
This sounds a bit deep but I miss being unaware of everything I’ve learned. The phrase “ignorance is bliss” works here – veganism is an ugly truth and watching documentaries like Earthlings is very distressing. Food-wise, I don’t miss anything. I feel very lucky being vegan in 2017, you can get vegan versions of almost everything from Tesco’s, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
- What is your favourite meal to cook?
I love cooking lentil bolognese because it’s easy and the lentils create a hearty, meaty texture.
- Which chain restaurants cater most for your lifestyle?
Zizzi has a delicious vegan menu with dairy free cheese pizza. Las Igunanas, Wagamamas and Pizza Express are also great options!
- Where is your favourite vegan specialist place to eat out?
There’s a 100% vegan pizza restaurant in Fulham, London called PickyWops. It was created by Italian pizza chefs who recently went vegan and the pizza is like nothing I have ever had before. Last time I had a pizza with smoked “cheese”, walnuts and baked pears. Sounds weird but it was 10/10!
- Any words of advice for people wanting to turn vegan?
Don’t be hard on yourself. If you have slip ups it’s okay. Just know why you’re doing it, do your research and have fun learning new things.
- What question(s) do you get asked all the time that you wish you weren’t asked?
“Where do you get your protein?”
“Are you still vegan?” – erm It’s not a New Years resolution!!
“Can I eat this in front of you?” Of course! Do whatever makes you happy, I would never judge anyone -3 years ago I was eating meat and dairy. Everyone is doing their own thing and that’s cool.
- What do people assume about veganism that isn’t true?
That we just eat green things. Don’t get me wrong, my diet is healthier now because I’m replacing meat with veggies/grains e.g. lentils instead of meat in bolognese and chickpeas instead of chicken in curry, but I also eat junk food. Last weekend I went to London and ate vegan fried chicken, mac and cheese, kebabs and donuts. Being vegan doesn’t mean you’re super healthy!
Helen and her boyfriend Alex are HUGE lovers of food and despite both being vegan they still manage to find the best MUNCH! You can follow their food antics on Instagram –@ConsciousMunch