I have been following Gill aka @lifeveganstyle_ on Instagram for a while now and the reason we started to chat in comments and DMs is because she was looking into reducing her waste. At that time, apart from thinking she is super lovely I had no interested turning vegan at all. Although her feed is absolutely stunning and I could eat all her little squares up (including baby Arthur – sorry Gill, he is just so adorable) I only recently – since starting my #vegangoals – got so inspired about all the things she posts. I was excited when she agreed to answer my questions in such a sort notice. So if you are thinking of joining #veganuary like I do or generally tapping into veganism read the interview and get totally inspired…
When did you realize you wanted to be vegan?
I became interested in veganism first through Instagram in 2013. I saw a post about world animal day which struck a cord. I already enjoyed eating vegetarian food (but not completely). I tried going vegan for that day but found it quite tough as I wasn’t prepared. From that day I made an effort to try more vegan food. Come Lent the next year (not for religious purposes) but for the sake of a challenge, I decided to go vegan for forty days. I soon realised I would never return to eating animal products. It was not a challenge and actually really enjoyable. Becoming more informed of animal rights, health and environmental benefits it was a no brainer to stay vegan!
How did you find the transition? What were the hardest and easiest parts?
At first, my realisation of animal cruelty made me shocked and a bit of an angry vegan. The truth of it all was very confronting and I was a bit ashamed at how I had been eating my whole life. I also expected people to be non-receptive so I probably had a bit of an attitude myself. I’ve totally overcome that now and realise there is real value in gentle activism. No one likes an angry vegan! I guess the transition was over a few months so made it easier. I do remember crying on a flight in Thailand because they hadn’t a vegan option and I was so hungry and hungover.
The easiest parts of transition was making food at home and discovering yummy vegan food in London. London has so much to offer! You get into the swing of preparing for things like flights and eating out. Having signed up to the moral and ethics of veganism also – this was the easiest thing that held me. Veganism can be seen as a bit of a trend, but if you truly believe in animal rights and become informed, you will never look back.
What do you think the most positive result of veganism is?
Veganism comes with many positives. The most positive result of veganism is hands down a reduction in animal slaughter and cruelty. I do feel better in my own health and wellbeing since changing. And we can’t forget the environmental benefits. I guess it’s all circular and in the end, earth and its inhabitants will benefit.
I am not 100% vegan (yet) but still wanted to educate myself in how vegan’s adjust their lifestyle from the way majority of people in the Western World eats. What is one thing you wish people would know about being vegan?
People often see veganism as very extreme or very limiting. I wish people would see that eating vegan means eating in abundance. Plant based foods are so abundant and varied you could eat a different dish for every day of the year. Also to contrast the difference of extremities – what’s more extreme, eating baked potato or slaughtering animals? Many often believe eating animals is necessary to get protein which isn’t the case.
There is a stigma that comes with being vegan, people often say that people who are vegan are always trying to guilt those around them into becoming vegan. What would you say to people who poke fun at veganism?
I would say that the guilt often lies in the person themselves. People are aware that animals have feelings but choose to ignore it. Turning vegan brings a sense of realisation and shock, so often just speaking the truth, people don’t like it. I guess some vegans are just passionate about preventing such violence against animals and will call people out. It’s always helpful to have a healthy discussion with people who poke fun at it I guess.
You’re always posting different vegan meals on social media, and they all look really good! What is your go-to meal that you think even people who aren’t 100% vegan should try out if they are looking to go vegan?
My go to meal is definitely a daal! It’s so easy to whip up, often with what’s in your cupboard. It’s delicious, filling and warming.
What is people’s general reaction to you being vegan? Have there been times when it was difficult for you to explain it to someone because they were so against it?
Overall, people react with intrigue. They want to know how long I’ve been vegan, whether it’s an allergy or personal choice and whether it’s difficult. People genuinely seem interested.
The most difficult time I had to try and explain it was when I was on my nursing exchange in Cordoba, Spain. My Spanish isn’t the best so arguing with an old school doctor in my broken Spanish proved a little tricky, especially as I was a student nurse!
Generally, people get that animals feel pain and they should be treated better.
Do you think there will ever be a period of time where we see a majority of people going vegan?
Yes definitely. The current meat eating trend is no where near sustainable. I read somewhere in the last couple of years in the UK, veganism is up like 400%. People are paying more attention to their own health.
People go vegan for varied reasons – and for this it has a wide audience. Current trends will continue with so many people and restaraunts participating in Veganuary and world vegan month.
You became a mum recently to a cute little baby boy. Are you planning to raise him vegan? Do you think vegan diet has got all the nutrition a baby needs?
Thank you! Yes we will be raising our baby vegan. Plant based foods has all the nutrients he needs to thrive. I’m probably more mindful now than ever on nutrition so will ensure he gets all the goodness he needs to grow. He was born a healthy 9.9lb and continues to top the centile in growth so I’m guessing that’s indicative he is getting all is necessary.
Gill’s latest blog post is raising her children vegan. Feel free to take a look here. Such a great read.