One of my favourite things about having this blog, is that I get to reach people. People I do not know, but get to connect with over something so important and personal.
I still don't understand HOW anyone finds my words helpful, but the fact they do, makes me very happy.
An email I got today inspired me to write as much of a reply as I could. Olivia got me at a good time. I've had a lovely long holiday in Cornwall, and am sitting on a seven-hour train journey home. It felt like a perfect time to thank her for her lovely words and, as much as I can, help her with this tricky situation....
Hmmmm tricky! I SO sympathise with Olivia. There are many people out there who want to change their lives, however big or small, but feel they cannot because of others. I've been there myself, not just with veganism.
I sat down on the train, to write Olivia as decent of a reply as I could, which I hope may be useful to anyone out there having the same concern. For any "intense" vegans out there, you may not like my reply - as I do not tell her "GO VEGAN NO MATTER WHAT!" because I'm not insane. I hope this is sound, USEFUL advice that can truly help you Olivia, and anyone else out there....
Also - I'm going to litter this post with AMAZING vegan food pictures - you know, any extra inspiration ;)
Thank you so much for your lovely message. It really made my day. I’m happy you found my website that inspiring.
I really sympathise with your situation. It’s very difficult to go against what our families do. Diet and most lifestyle choices really are quite personal things and we don’t want to feel like we are critiquing others by choosing a path different to them. Especially our parents! When I went vegan, there was definitely a difficult “patch” when my family didn’t understand what I was doing and had concerns. However, I must confess, I was 22 at the time, not 15 like you are - so it will likely be even more challenging for you.
My honest advice would be to sit down with your parents in a really calm, reasonable way and tell them that you’re thinking about giving up meat and animal products (or maybe just start with meat if that feels too scary?) and ask them how they would feel about that? Tell them it feels important for you to try because you feel vegetarianism might be the right way forward for you. You’ve done lots of research and know it’s a healthy way to live and would like to give it a try. I think having a sense of flexibility, calmness and kindness in the air, will get a better reaction than announcing you’re now vegan and they have to “like it or lump it” ;) I don’t think anything like that would ever get a good response!
I don’t know your parents, of course, so maybe tailor how you tell them to what you think will work best. But i imagine that most parents would want to feel they have some input into their children’s lives and they want to know you value their opinion.
Great question about what can curb their concerns. If you think their main concern will be your health, and not worrying that you’re rocking the boat (which was my situation) that’s great news. If you need evidence to show them how healthy veganism is, I recommend looking at www.vegsource.com and a great YouTube channel to look at is The Unnatural Vegan. She does an entire video on Vegan Nutrition which is very helpful and worth a watch :)
My personal advice on nutrition would be to just eat as much FRESH fruit and vegetables as you can, with some nuts and good starchy potatoes/sweet potatoes/parsnips in there. Obviously get in some vegan sweets and fun recipes (like burgers, pastas, etc) - but as long as you’re getting in some fresh stuff every day, you will be right as rain. I DO recommend supplementing vitamin B12, but primarily because all studies done on B12 suggest that almost every human on the planet is deficient and we should all be supplementing, due to the lack of nutrients left in our soil, but it can often get palmed off as a “vegan issue”, when the evidence proves otherwise.
As a last resort, I believe a really nice option for you could be to just do whatever you can at this time in your life. Maybe eat as little meat as you can at home, choose vegetarian or vegan when you go out with friends for meals, or when you cook for yourself, but don’t feel you have to rock the boat too much if you feel it will upset things too much? Then, when you move out, you are free to eat and do as you please! You can eat a fully vegan diet and feel the benefits for yourself, without the negativity of having to do it at home. Having said that, I hope, and do truly believe, that by finding this path and doing it in a very positive, happy way, you can bring some new information and inspiration into your parents' household. You can introduce new yummy vegan recipes, some very healthy choices, and best of all, that compassion for animals, which so many people are completely closed to until someone opens their eyes. You can do that for your parents, as I did mine.
My Mum is now a vegan and my Dad is a vegetarian, something I didn’t think would EVER happen when I made the decision to go vegan. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen in time. It’s amazing what a positive influence we can have on people without even knowing it.
I really hope that helps, Olivia.
Love and Sweet Potatoes!
- Hannah xx
I treated myself recently; what can I say? I deserve a treat. I've been working hard and felt it was time to look like I give a damn about what I put my possessions in.
Thus - my beautiful new vegan, cruelty free accessory! (That I just had to share with you all....)
It's getting easier to find vegan fashion; shoes, clothes and bags (thankfully!), but my biggest issue is still style. I find a lot of vegan brands don't match the sense of taste and style I want out of my clothing and accessories. Just because I'm vegan, doesn't mean I want to scream "HIPPY" with every stitch of clothing I wear.
I am so happy to have discovered Mechaly. I had never heard of this vegan company and don't know how that's possible (probably because I spend more time eating then shopping....) But they are fantastic; high quality, ethical, fashion forward; specialising in vegan leather, handbags, scull wallets, jewellery and more.
Mechaly was born out of the wish to blend social action with the love of fashion and style. Mechaly aims to address the obstacles and challenges facing cruelty against animals; inspired by people who lead busy lives and are looking for accessories that encompass style and comfort, while fulfilling a higher cause.
This is me to a T!
I am vegan, I care, I want to do the right thing and make the right choices. But, I'm also hectically busy and don't always have time to spend hours on the internet looking for the most ethical option. Here is one company, where you can guarantee style, ethics and ease!
Mechaly is all about design, fashion, the environment, social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, authenticity and, of course, being a voice for animals. The mission is to take animals out of the equation. HALLELUJAH!
Mechaly is proud to be certified vegan by Vegan.org and a PETA approved cruelty free & vegan brand.
I highly recommend taking a look around - www.mechaly.com
My bag is beautiful and screams quality. YAY VEGAN FASHION PROGRESSION!
I'm proud to say that if you want to treat yourself to a Mechaly beauty, I can offer you a discount code! Woo.
Enter - SHOP35 as a coupon code for 35% off your order and FREE SHIPPING within the US.
Thank you Mechaly. Keep up the amazing work.
As a little bonus, I wanted to include the Mechaly founding story...which is genuinely beautiful. As French designers operating out of Beverly Hills, I found their story beautiful and worth sharing :)
"You're probably wondering what the name "Mechaly" means. To us, Mechaly represents our Legacy; it is our Culture, Heritage, Family, and Tradition. Mechaly is the maiden name of our mothers.
"We have vivid childhood memories of our grandfather, Henry Mechaly, and the principles he instilled in us. As children, we would often visit our grandfathers’ farm where he taught us to respect all living beings! He taught us that life is precious and to cherish good health and each day that is given to us on this earth. Grandpa always believed in us and pushed us to pursue our dreams. The Mechaly brand commemorates the confidence & determination our grandfather instilled in his grandsons. Mechaly is also dedicated to all grandparents who believe in their grandchildren unconditionally."
Well - amen to that. Let's all keep working together to build a beautiful, compassionate, cruelty-free world.
So, I've got the secret guys. This is a big deal.
I haven't EVER bragged about converting before. It's something I've kept pretty tight-lipped about because I don't want to sound like a dick. BUT I have got a pretty decent track record of converting people and that's something to be proud of (perhaps even shout from the rooftops?!) If all vegans could successfully convert a few friends, we would be on a fast track to a much greener, healthier and more logical future!
My first conversion was my divine, beautiful, incredible mother. The greatest woman on the planet.
Initially I think she was concerned. There was an awkward phase where I would make a plate of vegetables for myself and give everyone else in the house salmon, you know, to keep the peace. But there were many evenings where I had to share information and talk about my feelings. Mum was there for me. She let me wail about the horrible truths swarming around my mind. My poor mother was forced to learn about meat and dairy because she was a phenomenal parent and there for her daughter in a confusing time.
I vaguely remember our first conversation about her stopping eating meat and then she went completely vegan.
I'm so lucky.
I got lucky with Mum because I wasn't very delicate in my first year of veganism. I was verging on Preachy. I wanted to tell everyone what was happening to chickens at that very second. "You need to know about the chicken beaks getting cut off!! Oh my god do you know what's happening to cute little piglets?!?"
I was traumatised to begin with. It's normal. It's understandable. Going vegan; you come out of the Matrix and take in the real world.
And the real world fucking sucks.
BUT, if you want to convert anyone, it's imperative to get out of this stage so you can talk to people without mentioning slaughter and veal and the like. Vegans should be normal people who just happen to not eat animals. Any ethical vegan understands how hard it is being constantly aware of the suffering happening every second, but, I promise, if you can manage to put this aside most of the time and enjoy your life; it will help save animals.
Most people aren't assholes who don't care about anything, they legitimately have reasons to not be vegan, which I've kindly listed below to debunk....
Why People DON'T Want to Go Vegan
1) Because they don't think there's anything wrong with eating meat
2) Because they love the way meat and cheese taste
3) Because they don't want to become a weird, crazy, preachy, asshole Vegan
4) Because they don't want to be a weak, anaemic pussy
5) Because they don't think veganism is necessary
6) Because they think it will take over their life
7) Because they think they should care more about children in Africa than animals
8) They knew someone who failed on a vegan diet
9) They still live at home and have someone else cooking for them
10) They think it will be expensive
11) They think it's too extreme
12) They're emotionless psychopaths
13) They have backyard hens
14) They believe they are sourcing ethical animal products
Have I missed anything? Probably.
When I enter a conversation with someone who is not vegan but wants to talk about it, either antagonistically or kindly, I first establish what of the above barriers stop them from being vegan. It's usually the first one. Even if they know about factory farming, they still think overall, eating meat is okay.
Once I've established the WHY, I figure out what they need to hear. Do they need evidence and research? Do they need compassion? Do they need good old logic and carefree chats? Trust me, there's something for everyone.
I'm going to start with a basic guide ... the following three things should be applied at all times (if you care about animals and want to save their lives anyway....)
I know this can be hard sometimes... I still struggle with it. Sometimes I want to yell at people for their ignorance, but it never works. Inner peace, confidence and relaxation truly is the best way. But, this comes with time.
One of the secrets to my converting is this relaxation. I don't wear veganism on my sleeve. It's a part of my life, it doesn't TAKE OVER my life.
Some meat eaters worry that being vegan would completely take over; take over their shopping, their relationships, their health! And this is simply not true. Maybe at the start, as making any change can be overwhelming, but in time, it's simply a choice in the moment. It's an immediate choice to put broccoli in your basket instead of beef or to say "hummus" in a restaurant instead of "halloumi".
In time, you'll honestly see it is that simple.
Be an example. Prove veganism doesn't take over your life. Have a colourful, varied existence! Talk about all kinds of things, not just food and animal rights. I'm sure we all know people who are obsessed with one cause or religion or diet... don't do this with veganism. Show that you are still the same person, just with different values and more awareness of the world around you.
Don't ALWAYS Talk About It
I set myself a fun experiment years ago - to never be the one to bring up veganism in a conversation UNLESS it's necessary.
It's necessary in obvious circumstances - someone offers me a biscuit, talking to a waiter or telling someone about myself. Apart from these circumstances, I try to never bring it up. That may ruffle some feathers, but it's my personal preference. I don't wear veganism on my sleeve and still; everyone who knows me knows that I'm a vegan.
It's INCREDIBLE how often I end up talking about it. I highly recommend trying this experiment for yourself. Try not bringing veganism up unless it's necessary and see if people start asking you more questions.
People ask me all the time why I went vegan, how I feel, what I eat for breakfast, what I think of various industries .... I truly believe this is because of my relaxed, carefree attitude. People know they won't be met with judgement, militant ideas or overwhelming passion. They will be met with logic, reason and relaxed conversation.
DO. NOT. FUCKING. PREACH!
1) Make non-vegans believe going vegan will turn them into assholes
2) Make non-vegans stubborn and more set in their animal-hurting ways
3) Make veganism seem like a cult or religion
4) Usually do not seem at peace with their decision. Which can look suspicious.
So, for all these reasons and more - try to just be comfortable, content and RELAXED about your vegan stance. It's far more infectious and assuring to any non-vegans out there.
I have an entire post about this you can read here - How To Spread The Vegan Word Without Being a Preachy Asshole. Please read! ;)
Make AMAZING Food!
The way to EVERYONE'S heart is through their stomaches. Make a feast, invite friends over, buy a bottle of organic vegan wine and show off how good this food can be.
It's a MYTH that vegan foods are deficient. it's a MYTH you cannot be an athlete and vegan. It's a MYTH you have to supplement protein and iron. Spend a bit of time researching and you will see that everything you need (apart from b12) is in plant foods and it's a BETTER source of your minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Also - the food can be fucking delicious. Even salad is delicious if it's made well. Focus on whole foods, eat enough, eat often, eat well. Be merry.
And yeah, get all your friends around for dinner to show them how good it can be. I have a post about this too ;) - Hosting the Perfect Vegan Dinner Party
Be the EVIDENCE. Be the Proof.
This is possibly the MOST IMPORTANT point.
Be a healthy vegan. Be an example. Have energy, eat enough, exercise, be happy ... If anyone tries to use any of the above arguments - the BEST way to combat it is if YOU are evidence their argument is wrong. I still have friends tell me they couldn't be healthy as a vegan when I am sitting right there at the same table; EVIDENCE that they can be.
I do not buy into any of this "one diet doesn't suit all" bollocks. That is utter crap. Yes, we all need different calories, yes we all need different amounts of protein and carbs and fats, that's fine, but it's NONSENSE and has been DISPROVEN by science countless times that human beings need meat or dairy.
ANYONE CAN BE VEGAN. Say it with me - ANYONE CAN BE VEGAN.
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes"
SNAP. Read the full shabang here - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864
And... Why? Why Convert?
So, why even write an article like this? Why convert people to something they don't want to do? Is veganism REALLY that important?
Animal enslavement is horrible; even meat eaters acknowledge this. Factory farms are inevitable while there is high demand for animal products and the animal's welfare will never be a priority in industrial-sized farms.
We MUST reduce demand. This is step one.
Eating animals is linked with various health issues, it's depleting the environment at an alarming rate and - IT'S CRUEL. Eating living, sentient, thinking, feeling, intelligent beings when we have ZERO need to is insane. It's insane, greedy and illogical.
Meat tastes good. We've always done it.
These aren't excuses. They are reasons why people do, but they do not stand up to:
Meat is bad for your health. Diabetes rates have increased 60% in the last decade. Our planet is dying and factory farming is the leading cause. Even Al Gore has gone vegan! Come the fuck on people. But, most importantly, breading innocent, intelligent animals, simply to cram them in tiny cages, stuff them with drugs and then cut them up into pieces so that human beings can eat chicken nuggets is insane.
Take your blinders off. Learn the truth and be appropriately horrified.
And, for any vegans reading - understand that your message is best delivered with positivity, understanding, compassion and relaxation.
Make delicious food, try not to preach your message; be a logical, healthy, happy vegan and watch your friends slowly ask you more and more questions. When I see someone doing something positive, I will naturally start to wonder about it. I will begin doing my own research and making up my own mind.
All my incredible friends who have gone vegan in the last few years made life-long, ethical changes and I can't see any going back. They went into it with sound mind, educated and carefree. This is much easier to achieve when you have a chilled-out vegan to inspire you.
That's what I have learned anyway ;) My mum is superior. Not all will be like her.
I'm a Barista. I make coffee for a living. I get it.
Years ago, it felt super cool to hate on soy milk. I remember getting the orders in for a "decaf, half shot, soy latte" and doing the eye-roll, the look to my co-workers, the whole performance that says: "one of THOSE customers, guys."
Then, I gosh-darn went out and turned vegan. What a stick-in-the-mud. I became the asshole who has the temerity to ask the Barista to use soy.
"Soy milk doesn't froth the same way," if I had a pound for every time some idiot told me that I'd be a millionaire. I'm telling you now - soy milk DOES whip the exact same way as normal milk. Of course it does. I do this every day of my life, so anyone who tries to argue, come show me in person.
When I go to cafes and I'm the person on the other side, "THAT customer", I can't help but laugh to myself. Mainly because I know what utter crap their eye rolls are based on. I'm telling you from the other side.
Your Barista Thinks -
A) You're just a bit difficult. We do deal with annoying requests every day. Stupid ones, often. So soy drinkers can get lumped in this category of just being "difficult"
B) You are a health nut. And coffee people don't always love health nuts. We like people who look after themselves, of course, and latch on to every ridiculous Guardian article proving "coffee drinkers live longer", but health nut? Who will ask about the gluten free bread, order a soy decaf flat white and then have a slab of chocolate cake for afters without a bat of the eye*? Yeah, you're hated.
C) Soy milk is just "bad". It's bad guys! It's shit. It gives men boobs and girls muscles.
D) Soy is so BAD for the environment guys. Stupid soy drinkers killing forests.
E) The big one. Soy is annoying. It's "hard to froth" and likely, I have to run to the shops to grab a carton because my employer doesn't have a stash easy to hand. He will buy three in the morning and after that, I have to go myself.
I can tell you know (and I'm the authority on all things.... har har) these are all UTTER BOLLOCKS. ABSOLUTE UTTER BOLLOCKS. I remember my judgements, I remember how i would feel about soy drinkers and treat them if they dared request I go all the way to the other fridge for a carton of health-nut milk.
Guys - I was WRONG. I was wrong and you know why? Because all of these arguments. Yes, all of them - incidentally promote milk. It's that simple. No matter what you think of soy milk - all of your anti-soy arguments (even that come from VEGANS!) are promoting the use of real milk.
Let me explain.
Nine out of ten coffee houses have milk or soy milk. And that’s only taking into account the ones with both! Some places still don’t have soy milk at all and out of the ones that stock both, I would say one in ten have a third alternative (usually Almond).
Almond milk is becoming increasingly popular, which is impressive, but it is still a rare find. In your average coffee house - there is milk or soy milk. End of story. Anyone who gives anti-soy arguments to your average person - is telling them to drink milk again. Even if that's not the intent, that will be the reality with the world we live in. All of the reasons that prompted them to give soy a try - usually because they’ve heard it’s healthier - will disappear and they will go back to milk again, which, in my eyes is a travesty. If they only have these two options and if they are not remotely interested in animal rights, all they will do is think "oh, okay, Milk is better for me, then" and give up on the dairy-free milk idea.
Milk is unsustainable, cruel, evil and abhorrent. We are in desperate times and need to get people off the stuff as fast as possible to save animals lives and save our planet. I’m not under any illusions that soy production is good guys, I’ve done my research and I know that soy production is down the crapper - but for anyone who doesn’t know WHY this is - please go to your nearest “Vegan 101” page and figure it out.
I wish there were enough vegans in the world drinking soy lattes to justify the amount of soy production. But of course, there is not. Soy is in EVERYTHING and it’s not good. It’s in our foods, its in magazine pages, it’s in drinks, it’s in cartons but mostly, it’s in animals stomachs, feeding them up with cheap shit that is not healthy for them in the slightest.
Do I think everyone in the world should be drinking soy milk? Of course not. I don’t think this is the answer at all - but I think it’s a better transition to get people off dairy. Get off dairy and find the best alternative that is farmed organically. There are PLENTY of organic, wholesome soy brands out there producing soy milk free of any nasty additives or preservatives (my pick here in Manchester is just soy beans, water and sweetened with apple juice… mmmm) and farmed sustainably.
Soy milk is like anything - there is corruption, there is shit, there are wankers, you need to DO YOUR RESEARCH and find the companies doing a good job and give them your money.
In my humble opinion, the priority needs to be getting people off milk and ending animal slavery. Everything about our food model needs work, it’s completely fucked. Soy included. But that does NOT mean we should just get back to torturing animals. NO. Fix one problem, then move on to fixing the next. In my opinion - animal slavery and torture is the biggest problem of our time and requires drastic action.
So, this morning, what inspired this post, was getting my morning coffee at 7am before embarking on my epic train journey to rehearsals. The two baristas started having a chat as she made my coffee; the girl announcing (I didn’t hear the context) “No, I don’t drink soy milk anymore.”
My heard did a little sad flop. What? What’s going on? Can I intervene? I listened intently and all I heard was muffled talk and laughter and I was imagining what they must be saying about soy milk. Memories. I felt sad; someone has almost made a brilliant change, but now, is not going to see it through. I may not be an activist who is breaking into animals cages (though I hope to one day!) but I am absolutely a day-to-day activist and if every vegan did this I think we would make some serious ripples. As she handed me my coffee a few minutes later I asked: “sorry, as a soy drinker, can I just ask why you’ve stopped drinking soy milk.” She replied: “oh, my partner has gallstones and the doctor said soy milk is a contributing factor.”
Okay, I wasn’t prepared for that.
“Really? Wow… I can’t see how that could be the case..” I fumbled, making mental notes to Google as soon as I got home. I know absolutely NOTHING about this, but my immediate thought was: “I know plenty of people who’ve had gallstones that don’t drink soy milk.” I voiced this to her and she agreed with me. We had a really nice conversation where I just expressed my confusion, as someone who ultimately believes soy to be a healthy alternative to milk and urged her to do her own research and not just take the doctors word for it.
Leaving the coffee shop, I felt a bit angry. THIS is what doctors are telling people with gallstones?? Oh my god. So now, this girl who needs to be healthier and heal, is going to start having cow milk over her cereal in the morning and milk in her coffee instead of the soy milk she’s been having. Well, awesome, that’s going to make her healthier.
I have a drastic idea for people in bad health. Are you ready? CUT THIS MILK SHIT. If soy milk doesn’t work for you - please don’t just run back to milk. A much better idea would be cutting a reliance on milk from your life. Cow milk is NEVER the answer. Yes, you heard me - NEVER. If you want a cup of tea, coffee, bowl of cereal or to bake a cake, that’s great, the vegan community have come up with many alternatives to milk, I’m sure ONE of these can work for you. You only have to like one. Soy milk seems to work well for most people and, again, if farmed organically is absolutely not going to do you any harm at all.
Let’s also remember that most of your “milk needs” - cereal, cake baking, coffee, tea - ARE NOT HEALTH FOODS. If you want to be in supreme health, you shouldn’t have any of these things in your life as it is. So, let’s not pretend soy is the only thing wrong with your morning bowl of cereal. The cereal is the problem with the cereal. Have fruit, have a smoothie if you want to be in the peak of health. If you’re not so worried about being in the peak of health; some porridge with water or dairy-free milk is great, avocado on toast is great, plenty of vegan breakfasts are great - here is a post full of them - but be realistic about what your ‘healthy choices’ are and always be logical.
Be A Day-To-Day Activist
In conclusion I want to encourage three major points:
1) Don’t feel bad ordering soy in a cafe. The Baristas are probably more educated these days, but if they roll their eyes or give you a hard time, they’re just being dicks.
2) Soy > Cow Milk every time. If in doubt, just cut them both. EASY FUCKING PEASY
3) Be a day to day activist. Always ask people questions if they’re spouting weird logic. Don’t lecture them, ask them questions. Make people think for themselves. And always look for opportunities to be a vegan activist. They are all around you.
My last piece of advice? Have a juice in a cafe. Then all problems are solved ;)
Love and Sweet Potatoes,
This entire post is basically an excuse for food photos.
Although, it's true there are plenty of people who still, in 2015, cannot imagine what a vegan eats. And I get it. If you've never been exposed to a meat and dairy-free lifestyle, it can be overwhelming. What do you eat for breakfast? What do you eat when you want a treat? What do you eat EVER?!
I'm more than happy to answer these questions and show you a MASS of vegan food. Basically - what I've been eating over the last week.
I keep my food simple, healthy and as true to whole foods as possible. I want to be a vegan for the rest of my life and for that to happen, I cannot live on Linda McCartney sausages, however delicious they may be.
I've been very slowly shifting to a Raw Till 4 lifestyle recently, which I will write a full post about soon. For now that's not affecting my diet a whole lot, but there will be plenty of photos of bananas and potatoes, hope you don't get too bored.
If you want more inspiration, be sure to check out my: "Seven-Day Vegan Meal Plan Extravaganza Cleanse of Abundance and Deliciousness" which is great if you're just getting started on this lifestyle or aren't sure where to start.
Jumbo oats cooked slowly with organic soy milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon, finished off with sliced banana and flaked almonds.
I EFFING LOVE PORRIDGE.
When I'm running around "on the go" - I cannot go past Overnight Oats. I make them in the evenings after dinner, shake 'em up, pop 'em in the fridge and they're all ready to carry around the next day and eat at the first opportunity.
In my attempt to live more "Raw Till 4" - fruit for breakfast is ideal. And a lot of it.
Just mentioning here - the bananas below are not at ideal "ripeness". You want to eat them when they're a bit spotty.
For days when I'm craving it, you really cannot go past classic Avo on Toast. I mix in some lemon juice and a tiny bit of sea salt with my avocado.
These may not be the prettiest photos as the food in question has likely been rolling around in my bag all day, but here ya go! Seven Vegan Lunch Boxes!
(They're usually leftovers)
This right here is a great Raw Till 4 Lunch to be carrying around. I have a delicious salad plus some bananas to snack on and a giant bag of dates. God, I love abundant eating.
This was lunch out today at an amazing spot called Earth Cafe in Manchester.
The above dinner I cannot take credit for - but will happily promote! My partner is quite a cook and (thank God!) enjoys a wholefood, high-carbohydrate, vegetable-orientated feast as much as I do. You're looking at delicious tomato and celeriac soup with thyme and with it, crispy parsnip fries!
Above - Asian Rice Salad and a big Raw Green Salad (Spinach, asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, spring onion, toasted almonds, red pepper and lemon juice). One evening I had friends over for dinner and made these two along with my Vegan Potato Bake.
Happy, abundant table :)
Below - Crispy potato wedges with homemade hummus, Brown Rice and a simple tomato, mushroom, spinach and bean sauce.
Dinner below is oven baked Sweet Potato, a simple salad with Hummus and some of the best god-damn potatoes I've ever made. Boiled and then dressed with lemon juice, crushed garlic, fresh basil, spring onion and sea salt.
THE VEGGIE STACK!!!
I love this recipe. This time I added a side of parsnip fries and a pretty incredible salad.
Okay - one of the best things I've made in a while. And delightfully simple.
A Vegan Mezze! So easy to adapt to whatever you like and improvise as you go along. Mine had homemade Falafel, Pita breads, Sweet Potato wedges, grilled artichoke, Hummus, Guacamole and Salad.
When in doubt? Go for Jacket Potatoes! I love a simple Jacket Potato dinner. Serve with a giant salad and a stuffing to go inside.
Sautéed onion and garlic, chopped mushrooms, 2 tins of Organic crushed tomatoes, black beans, lentils, fresh basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Let the flavours all marinate together and leave on a low heat until ready to serve.
And Some Treats to Finish....
And, what's a week without some treats? Yesterday I made some pretty banging Banana bread and do enjoy a good Mocha when I'm writing in a cafe....
I have a recipe for this particular Banana bread here. Too good not to share ;)
And there you have it! A weeks worth of low cost; super simple, mostly High-Carb vegan meals.
For daily updates - I post in Instagram constantly. Yes, maybe a little too much.
Have a great weekend everyone,
Love and Sweet Potatoes!
Listen, I get it. If any of this applies to you – trust me you’re not alone.
When I began facing the realities of the world I live in and contemplating changing my entire life (to reflect a new set of ideas in conflict to everything I'd been told my entire life) it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.
I didn't want to seem like I was judging anyone. I didn't want my friends and family to see me as some "smug vegan" looking down on them and every meal they consumed. Nothing could be further from the truth and the idea anyone could think it affected me deeply.
I’ve always been a people-pleaser. I want to make people happy, cause as little damage as possible and make others lives easier, wherever I can. The ideas of which, work both brilliantly and ironically with concepts of veganism.
Veganism embodies doing our best; trying to screw up the planet as little possible, hurt the least amount of animals and be as good to our own bodies as we can. On the flip side, veganism can also mean segregating yourself from your friends, looking like a smug asshole, being difficult at parties and saying “no” to innocent looking things like cupcakes and mini-muffins. No one wants to be the dick in the office saying “no” to Stephie’s birthday cake. Whether you’re “dieting” or politely pointing out that the cake is made of pain and torture, no one wants to be that guy. And if you do? Well, you probably are a smug vegan.
I'm convinced a lifetime of people pleasing made it easier to be a likeable vegan. I've never wanted to rock the boat, stand out in a negative way or make people feel bad about themselves. Many vegans tend to push this idea they are "right" while others are "wrong" and wonder why no one wants to discuss veganism with them ever again!
I admit; I find pushy, judgmental vegans almost as annoying as meat eaters. Surely the end goal should be encouraging this lifestyle? Saving animals? Am I right or did I get lost along the way? Is the goal saving animals and the planet? Okay great, if we can agree on that, can we also agree that being aggressive and rude and preachy is NEVER going to convert ANYONE? I've never seen a successful execution of "I yell at you, tell you you're wrong and you want to be like me".
Being a Scary Vegan
Your approach will usually dictate how people react to you. If you go at someone, guns blazing, defenses up and ready for war, that's most likely what you will get back. Many vegans, I'm sure subconsciously, go at meat-eaters in this way. I've watched kind, loving people with the best intentions act in a way that will do NOTHING for their cause.
Who would want to join a group that seem defensive, angry and miserable? That's not appealing. I want to be part of a group who seem intelligent, well-read, logical and kind. If you are receiving negative reactions, try and assess if you are being overly intense or defensive when you talk about your lifestyle.
And I promise - I GET IT.
I get the passion. I get the anger. I get the frustration. It hits me hard. But, I reserve my anger for people who are cold and arguing their point absent of any compassion. Don’t go attacking any Tom, Dick and Harry for eating meat because chances are, they are either very minimally aware or haven’t had THEIR personal light bulb moment yet.
It could even come from you.
I've been so surprised in the last four years who will come and ask questions. It has even been that same cold person convincing me "they don't care".
How To Encourage (and SEIZE) a "Light Bulb Moment"
My ethos (after the first few “scary vegan” months) has always been: positivity rules.
If someone asks “why are you vegan”, which can be a genuine question or someone trying to get a rise out of you, my response is always along the lines of: “it was the best decision I ever made” or “I did way too much research", which can prompt follow up questions depending on your delivery.
My veganism is a relatively new-found lifestyle, so I cannot and SHOULD NOT judge anyone who hasn't found the right trigger yet. Even if someone doesn't want to become a vegan, they will absolutely have a compassion trigger. Something that makes them understand, even if they don't want to commit.
You can show someone a million animal-cruelty videos and get nothing. Then, randomly, they can see a vegan cartoon or listen to a celebrity they respect and their blinders are ripped right off. I’ve heard so many examples of meat-eaters getting suddenly affected by something I never would have predicted.
We are all different. That’s the most beautiful and frustrating part of life. We are all going to care about different things. Your greatest power is that when someone has their light bulb moment, they may think of you, the closest vegan they know and make a point to talk to you. When this happens, try not to jump out of your skin in excitement, try play it cool, but it is the greatest feeling ever.
No pressure – but you are a part of something really important.
You are a part of trying to save animals, end factory farming, save the planet and get everyone a hell of a lot healthier. So, if you find yourself in a conversation with someone about veganism, whether it’s horrible and negative or whether it’s tiny amount of curiosity, try and be cool about it. Try and be as nice as possible so people don’t think they have to change their entire life or suddenly become a raging hippie to join the club.
You don’t’ have to do ANYTHING to join the club apart from buy different stuff, care about shit and not eat rotting corpses.
Sounds like a fantastic club to me.
1) Throw Vegan Dinner Parties
They work. Get friends around and cook them up a delicious, wholesome vegan feast! It doesn't need to be fancy or impressive, just yummy and abundant. Most people imagine vegan food is boring and will result in starvation. As long as you debunk those two things, you're onto a winner.
2) Show off Your Lunch Box
There's a great smug cloud that forms when your lunch looks like this while every one else is eating cold ham and cheese sandwiches..... muhahaha.
3) DON'T SHARE ANIMAL CRUELTY VIDEOS EVERY DAY
If you have the guts to post about animal cruelty in your news-feed - I salute you! Truly I do. I have my blog for that and keep my personal page pretty people-friendly. I applaud those who share important information and remind people what atrocities are happening BUT - I'm not sure about doing it every day. If you sandwich animal cruelty posts amongst a fairly normal, every-day Facebook profile (my friend Jasmine is a great example) I imagine you're more likely to impact people. You don't want to be "that friend I blocked" ;)
4) Take The Piss Now and Then
Most cool people take the piss out of themselves now and then. Vegans are cool. Vegans should take the piss out of themselves occasionally. End of story.
Overall - remember that being a VEGAN is an important, beautiful and incredible part of who you are, but it shouldn't make you feel alienated from everyone around you. Show your passion, show your brilliance, show your knowledge, but share it in a way that feels inclusive and kind.
Compassion is key. You don't want to give voice to the MOST frustrating vegan stereotype: "vegans care more about animals than people!" (even though it's kinda true sometimes...) har har.
Hey, who doesn't cry more when animals die in films than people? They're the INNOCENTS! We just have made that connection a little earlier than everyone else ;)
This morning I have a rare, amazing amount of time to sit and be with my own thoughts. In this scarce "down time" I love listening to podcasts, reading, writing (of course), but this morning I did something I do a shamefully small amount of - reading blogs.
I have a blog, so often feel guilty I don't spend more time reading other peoples' work and getting inspired. The truth is I barely have enough time to blog myself, let alone do any reading, but this morning I could and it was wonderful. I found a post from a non-vegan blogger about her thoughts on the "Raw Till 4" diet, which I happen to be quite a big fan of, despite not following it specifically.
Her post was well written and very inspiring, the major point being: don't expect any diet to cure you or make you a perfect person. Self love has to come from you and not from trying to achieve a perfect diet or lifestyle. I completely agree with this, but I also see these inspirational sentiments as counter-productive in some ways. Self improvement can and should AID self love. Becoming healthier should never be a bad thing, but there are always people who will abuse or misinterpret a healthy idea.
In my opinion, there is advice for those who may abuse a diet, who are suffering in some way, and then there is advice for everyone else! The logic that applies to one pool of people shouldn't be applied to the other, but SO often is. Don't shut yourself off to bettering yourself, or your diet, just because the diet may not work for everyone. If you are not recovering from any form of disordered eating, there is no reason to not try and eat as healthily as possible and certainly no negative of following a high-carb, vegan diet! The Raw Till 4 diet is not as extreme as you may think... It's not all Raw, for starters, but also it's about abundance, realistic living and keeping people VEGAN for life - not just for a six month cleanse.
Raw Till 4 was invented as a progression from the standard Raw diet because the amount of people who actually succeed and stay long term on all raw is painfully low. Raw Till 4 keeps the basic principals of staying high-carb, high calorie, high fruit, but allows cooked vegan food as well, which, we all know, isn't BAD for you! The Raw diet loses a lot of intelligent people when they try and say cooked vegetables are "toxic" or not optimum. In my opinion - what is optimum is a stress-free, healthy, sustainable lifestyle that people enjoy and can thrive on.
I have done nearly every diet out there. When I was trying to lose weight I did a week of soup, I've done juices, I've done Raw, I've done calorie counting.... It's very easy to let food rule your life. It takes over! The most intelligent and brilliant of women become compete illogical nut-jobs over food and it's staggering. I consider myself a relatively intelligent person, but there was a time when I was so ruled by my calories and my meal planning that I wouldn't eat, even if I was hungry, because it want "time" for my designated meal yet! As if my food planner has a better understanding of my body than I do?
Any diet or lifestyle that makes you ignore your own body? Not good. Far more toxic than a cooked mushroom.
What drives me crazy, now that I'm out the either side, following no food plan, just eating when I'm hungry, is seeing how many people don't know how to eat anymore.
I read articles, emails, messages or have real-life conversations with women that terrify me. So many people, not just women, don't know how to eat anymore because they've been following diets too long. The most basic of human needs has made into a minefield of misinformation and competition.
THIS diet is best! No this one is! Potatoes are bad! Potatoes are good! Coffee is acidic! Coffee drinkers live longer! Yogurt is a healthy snack! Yogurt is high in cholesterol! You should eat three times a day! You should eat six times a day! Eat no carbs at dinner! Eat nothing but carbs!
It's an absolute, fucking, ridiculous minefield.
Food is food. What is it's most basic purpose? What is food to you? My answer (now that I'm a bit more zen about it) is that it's fuel. Plain and simple. It's fuel for the most precious vehicle you have. Your amazing body that needs looking after and needs the best kind of fuel you can give it. What's good fuel? Well that's where the minefield begins, I suppose, but really - it's not hard to know some things. It's not hard to know we need a lot of fruits and vegetables. Can we agree on that? Vegan or not - fruits and vegetables are key. They contain nearly ALL of the vitamins and minerals your body requires to perform and thrive - that's fuel. Can we agree that deep fried shit isn't fuel? Please. Or even taste good enough to justify the shit-storm it's doing to your insides.
Can we agree that chocolate and chips and candy and shitty refined sugar is bad for you? Good. Can we agree fast food is bad? Okay good - thanks. Let's strip things right back to basics and help everyone remember how to eat again. Of course some people want to eat what is optimum, I consider myself one of them, but overthinking food can be dangerous. Your relationship with food should be a relaxed, educated and personal one. You should eat what YOU want assuming it's coming from an educated place. You should know about what is bad and what is good, but never at the expense of your peace of mind or other areas of your life. At the end of the day, it is just food.
I now also would argue that, in our day and age, food is a responsibility. The food you eat says something about what you stand for. What your vote is. What your place is in the world. When you buy cheap meat, you are voting. You are paying people to breed and lock up innocent, thinking and feeling animals, pump them full of hormones and slaughter them. That's what you are voting for. I love to be the one to tell you - that ain't good for you, it ain't good for the animals and it's certainly not good for our world. It's kind of a lose-lose situation. You get sick, animals are being murdered and our food system falls further down the crapper. It's all so illogical my fingers hurt trying to get the words out because I can't rant as much as I want to. Can you hear me yelling through your screen? USE YOUR VOTE! Don't be a mindless idiot who thinks what they do doesn't matter. It does.
You matter. What you DO matters. If you are lucky enough to have money to buy groceries, if you're lucky enough to be reading this post on some kind of computer, perhaps you're drinking a coffee or relaxing at home or distracting yourself from work, you are someone who can make GOOD choices. People may disagree about what they want to eat, they may disagree on what matters - but there are some things we all must agree on. We must agree that consumers have power - consumers influence industries. While you pay for shit - you will get shit. While you feed shit companies, they will grow. Why NOT feed good, ethical, sustainable companies? Companies that care about the environment, companies that are vegan, companies with a sustainable and moral ethos? Buy local, minimise imports, cut out needless animal suffering and support brands that don't exploit people and operate out of horrific sweat shops. Open your computer, spend a few hours educating yourself and get invested. It really isn't much more expensive and even if it is - it matters! You can make it work if you choose. I am the poorest person I know and I make it work.
Make food more than just "will this make me fat?" "How many calories are in this?". Yawn. Make food really matter. For something other than yourself.
I find it empowering to see my actions as a part of something bigger.... If more people were capable of this we may actually have a chance to turn things around.
If you can feel good about the food you eat, on a level that's deeper than your own body, you will have an overwhelmingly more positive relationship with it. You will grow and be more informed and, dare I say, more enlightened?
And, if you don't care about any of the ethical stuff, but just came to this post for some dieting advice, then I would say - eat when your hungry, stop when you're full and eat food you know isn't crap.
No shit - that's honestly what hit home for me. As long as the food I'm eating is GOOD (which, in my case means plant based, high carbohydrate vegan) then I just eat when my body wants food. When it feels full, I stop.
This approach has been working very well for the last four years and I know, 100%, I am forever out of illogical dieting hell.
Please use your money to vote. Please use your food to make ethical choices. Please see yourself as a part of the big picture.
Unlike deep fried food, It's a win-win situation.
I'm lucky to know a lot of wise and amazing people.
My mother is a constant source of inspiration; the most brilliant and accomplished woman I know. She can solve any problem and never fails to make me feel empowered. My Father overflows with wisdom from a phenomenal amount of life experience and is always there if I need his advice or help. I'm currently living with my best friend Dan and he is the smartest, wisest, most compassionate person you'll ever be lucky enough to enter a conversation with. Finally, I have a network of incredible girlfriends and when we get together to unpack each others lives, it's brilliant and complex and inspiring. I want to record everything we say for posts just like these.
My loved ones are constantly helping me. I take little pieces of them all when I need help, a pep-talk or just to feel better as I go about my day. (Especially needed now I live in another country!) I think, thanks to all their wonderful advice over the years and my own life experience, I'm finally starting to understand how to make the most out of life. How to ENJOY it. How to CONQUER it.
It's an amazing feeling.
So, here is a little summary of some of the BEST advice I've received. Some from myself, some from others, some from midnight revelations....
All of which help me on a day-to-day basis.
YOU Are In the Drivers Seat - Don't be a Passenger.
How empowering to just accept the reality that we are in control of our lives? 100%.
That may sound simplistic, but I like to not over-complicate things. Over-complicating can be detrimental, especially when talking about a very simple fact. YOU are the only person who has to live your life. If you're not happy with something, you CAN change it. If you are feeling overworked, you CAN take something off your plate. If you don't like your relationship, you CAN leave it. If you are bored, you CAN find something that excites you. I know life isn't simple, but for the most part - we don't do things because we can't be bothered, or we think it's too hard, or we are worrying about others, or we are simply afraid....
Fear has a lot to answer for.
I find personal control empowering, especially when I'm not happy with decisions I've made. It means I can look at my involvement getting there, instead of just feeling like a victim and being unhappy with my circumstances.
I'll never forget the Skype session when Dan explained this concept to me. He said: "Hannah, on some level, you've chosen this. You WANT to do this, even if it's subconscious ... It's okay to not be happy right now, or regret making that choice, but don't act like you're trapped. You're not. Just start making new choices...."
And he was right. As soon as I realized I didn't want to be doing that anymore - I made new decisions, that eventually took me on a new path. It wasn't overnight, but I did it.
Because I'm in the drivers seat.
Commit to Your Feelings
My Mother always taught me gratitude.
We are some of the luckiest people in the world and we should always be aware of that.
I'm conscious every day to keep my "problems" in perspective. If my "problem" is that I've double booked myself, or I'm having a bad day at work or I'm worried I've pissed someone off, it's a pretty good life, isn't it? My problems aren't how I'm going to feed myself, or how I'm going to leave my abusive relationship or how I'm going to look after my children. I am grateful every single day.
My Mum is so selfless that when she's having a bad day, she will fob it off because "we are so lucky" and it doesn't compare to the suffering of others. I love this amazing woman. What a role model, huh? On these days I'll make her a cup of tea, hold her hand and then say, "Mother, just because people are worse off, doesn't mean you don't deserve to feel upset sometimes, or hard done by."
By denying feelings it makes them harder to get over. It's okay to have bad days and to be upset and give time to our emotions.
We are all human! As long as we spend most of our time being grateful, I think we certainly are entitled to the odd bad day. Better that then let it build up into something far worse. You are not ungrateful for all your blessings if you have a bad day or want to have a cry. I love having a cry!
At least a cup of tea and a hug can solve most of our bad days. Let's be grateful for that.
Self Sabotage is a Safety Net
How terrifying to be confident. To just be really super confident and happy with yourself? Isn't it easier to fail yourself before others can?
I am guilty of this. If everything feels like it's going well and I have no problems, sometimes I'll just create one. I'll start worrying about my body, something that hasn't happened yet, something that MAY happen, money... Things I wouldn't even be thinking of if I had an ACTUAL issue to focus on.
I self sabotage.
I know I can do something, I know I can nail this audition, I know I can talk to that guy, know I can wear that dress ... but I'll talk myself down or make myself feel bad and, essentially, take myself out of the running.
And I finally know why. Thanks to great advice ;)
Because if I was just "happy" with everything: I had my dream body, was the best actress in the world, had flawless confidence, money to burn.... and I STILL failed... I STILL didn't make it ..... Then what do I have to blame? What can I blame if I never become a successful actor? What can I blame if I never fall in love?
Well... nothing. How much easier it is to have a scapegoat. How much easier it would be to say: well, I'm a bit chubby, so I'm not gonna be famous. Or - well, I missed a lot of auditions, so maybe one of those was the big one.
Imagine not having ANYTHING to blame? That's scary.
We need to stop self-sabotaging and let go of the scapegoats. By putting them in front of us, they will become more and more real.
It's Okay To Be Selfish
You will be the best "you" for everyone else around you, when you are well, happy, content, energized and looked after. No question.
Being selfish is NOT a bad thing.
It means you are investing in yourself so you can give more to those in your life. Be better for everyone who is relying on you, who enjoys your company, who needs your help. You can only do these things if you're looked after yourself.
Be selfish. Take time for yourself. Put yourself first. Ironically - it's quite selfless.
No One Is Watching You
(Just a quick hilarious note - I love this photo I took in a coffee-shop of this woman, looking so peaceful and zen. She was in her own little world and it inspired me. I wanted to use it for this point - but it's ironically called "No One is Watching You".... even though I was doing just that. Hehe. Okay, hilarious point made, now on with the wisdom!)
Are you doing anything for other people? Are you still in a degree you don't want to do because you're afraid of what people will think? Are you still in a relationship because you don't want to seem like a failure? Are you not doing what you want to do because you're afraid of judgement?
I'm sorry to sound harsh... but NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE. If anyone truly cares - it should only be caring that you are happy. Anyone who wants you to do something that is stressful or negative or unsatisfying - are not worth bothering about.
If you are someone who compares your life to others, making assumptions based on news-feeds and engagement rings and happy selfies, I promise - those people are probably comparing their lives to yours and likely not as happy as they seem. The grass is always greener. One person's success is another person's failure. Everyone is (and should be!) too bogged down in their own worries to think about your life.
My friends and I all lead completely different lives. If I chose to - I could get upset thinking: "gosh, I'm just an unpaid actress, still making coffees, living alone ... all my friends have partners and are thinking about buying houses and making so much more money than I am.... " BLAH BLAH BLAH. But what is the point of that? Who knows? Maybe those amazing successful women envy parts of my life that I happen to treasure? Like my freedom, my creativity, my travel? I have DESIGNED my life to be exactly what I want at this point in time. Just as they all have. We all love these differences; it's what gives us our dynamic, our perspective and our empowering conversations! We all come from different perspectives and priorities.
Take inspiration from others, but never comparison. And remember you are in the drivers seat ..... do what YOU truly want to. Whether that's being the President, a Teacher or running a little cafe. People only want you to be happy.
(In my opinion) we only live once. So don't do it for anyone else.
Don't Question What Makes You Happy
I'm through with sweating the small stuff. I'm through with questioning why a Soy Mocha, a few hours and my laptop makes me happy. I'm through with questioning why I don't enjoy wearing make up. I'm through with questioning why I so much prefer to have a night in with friends rather than going out and get smashed.
I know what makes me happy.... IT MAKES ME HAPPY. So, why stress about it?
If you have things that make you happy, provided they don't hurt others, why stress about it? Why question it or worry about it? If having a glass of wine with your friends makes you happy, don't stress about it. If being a waitress makes you happy, don't worry you have to do anything more than just that! If sitting in a coffee-shop makes you happy, don't stress you should be out walking or doing more with your time.
All we really want is happiness. If you're enjoying something - you are succeeding where most of us are searching.
Kick back, relax.... don't question what makes you happy. Whether it's a job, a person, a past-time, an activity.
These days, I cannot complain in the slightest. I'm as happy as a clam.
You may remember a while ago I was feeling a bit low. I'm a creative person and absolutely nothing creative was happening in my life. For anyone reading who paints, writes, performs or plays... you'll know what I'm talking about. If you cannot spend much time doing the thing you love - you start to feel it draining your soul a little.
Thankfully, that is no longer the case! I put it out into the universe "MAKE ME BUSY!", got my butt in gear, went to a million auditions and happily I am insanely busy again. I'm rehearsing with a wonderful new theatre company called 1956 Theatre on some brilliant new plays and have some other projects on the go!
This Sunday I'm doing a day of filming for a music video and I'm even playing Linda Lovelace in a new play being performed in November. I may include some photos in this post if I'm feeling bold ;)
What I'm trying to say is - I'm bloody busy again. Busy, busy and I love it. The down side is, it's harder to set an entire day aside to make food and do amazing food photography and have my blog being at the standard I like... but that will not last long, I promise!
What I love about these times, is that I am not living in the "ideal" way of making every single meal I eat, having enough money to buy the best kinds of food or even sleeping enough, if I'm honest. I am working less to make time for rehearsal, which makes me pretty broke and means a lot of food I'm eating is cheap, convenient and a bit samey. My Instagram has never been so bloody boring. Follow me anyway!! ;)
So many people seem to think being vegan is more expensive. Is it BALLS! I have to laugh when I hear these things. Being vegan is no more expensive than any other diet or lifestyle - you are just choosing to spend money on one thing instead of another. In what universe are mushrooms more expensive than chicken? Sure if you want to buy mountains of organic fresh fruit and veg every day, that's expensive, but when you're a struggling actress like myself, this just will not be the case.
So, how do I do it? How am I still eating, sleeping, walking, talking and thriving as a broke, penniless vegan actress? Well, here are the secrets....
Thank God For Oats
And on the seventh day.... God created Oats.
Because he was awesome and he didn't want us to eat the animals. And he knew one day we would have to pay for everything and Oats would always stay cheap.
I'm not religious. But whoever did discover Oats - thank you. You have saved my life. The best, best, best thing about Oats is that they are HEALTHY AND CHEAP. Healthy and CHEAP! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm not-too-ashamed to admit that I'm literally eating Porridge or Overnight Oats nearly every day at the moment.... some evenings, if I'm exhausted and haven't eaten enough in the day, I may even make myself a late night bowl of porridge and sit, relaxing for a little bit.
I always have Oats in my flat. The most convenient way to have them at the moment is Overnight Oats, so I can just eat them on the go!
God Also Created Bananas
I am so sorry, I don't know why I keep talking about God .. but it seems appropriate to praise something holy for Bananas.
Again - healthy and cheap! Massive staple in my life. Bananas don't have to be bought Organic because they have a nice, thick skin and you can buy them in bulk, fairly cheaply and leave them to ripen. I usually include some banana in my oats and have bananas handy as a snack during rehearsal too.
HIGH CALORIE SNACKS
It's so important to get the bang for your buck when you have very few bucks.
For rehearsals - I've been snacking on dates and figs to get me through, as I know they will give me enough energy to get through till dinner time and I won't feel remotely deprived! This tiny bag of figs (only 250g) is a whopping 1000 calories (THAT'S A GOOD THING.) Some people may hear that and freak out - but I promise - if you're a vegan and an ACTIVE vegan and if you're eating mostly fruit and veg - you want massive calories. You need to feel energized and good.
Figs ain't gonna make you fat ;)
Free Transport :)
Have you met my beautiful new bike? Her name is Goldie and she means I now spend ZERO on transport. This has completely changed my life. Goldie means I'm accidentally exercising, am covered in bruises and spending even less money.
Simple is GOOD
Don't be afraid of simple food... especially if you're broke! As long as what you're putting in is good and healthy and you're eating until you're satisfied, don't get weighed down thinking you need Quinoa every day or green super drinks or anything else fancy. These things are obviously good, but it's unrealistic to set such high expectations for yourself every single day. If I can only afford potatoes, then I will eat an epic meal of potatoes and that's okay! Try and get some salad in, but don't stress about what's on your plate if the basics are healthy. Stress can be just as harmful as dairy ;)
Some people live on chip sandwiches and coca-cola. If you're eating fresh vegetables, you're already doing a lot better than most of the population!
If You Need Fast Food - There ARE Good Options
Sometimes when finishing late - cooking an epic dinner just isn't an option, sadly. Rest assured - I would SO MUCH RATHER cook every single meal I eat, as you all know, but this isn't a bad back-up-plan is it? I am lucky to live in a big city that has options like this, so hopefully you have things similar. There are a few amazing "fast food" Falafel joints in Manchester and they make epic salads like this for a mere 4 pounds. Nod bad, hey?
I am Happy
Always the most important thing, of course :)
If you are happy and doing what you want to do, then you will always make it work. Being vegan makes me happy, eating vegan food makes me healthy and I will never compromise on those things, no matter how broke I am. Nearly everywhere you go for a "quick" option, you can find SOMETHING vegan and chances are it'll be better for you than the non-vegan versions!
Here's a sneaky rehearsal shot ... because I'm feeling generous.... ;)
Published by Chic Vegan - 27/08/14
I have been vegan now for over three years. It was nearly an overnight process and I have never once looked back.
No exaggeration – I went from eating rare steak one day to being disgusted by it the next. Vegan followed vegetarian after a mere few months.
I like to say “the switch flipped”. I’ve heard many vegans and vegetarians talk about a similar moment. Suddenly you just feel like your blinders are ripped off, your switch is flipped and you cannot look at the world the same way.
You are awake. Lame I know, but that’s just how it feels.
But, I don’t really want to talk about how I BECAME vegan, what I want to talk about is living as a vegan. Day-to-day life, the moments, happenings and realities of shirking animal products from your diet.
Do you suddenly become some kind of alien? Does your life flip upside-down? Are restaurants a thing of the past and you are destined to live as a social outcast for the rest of your days?
In case you can’t see where I’m going with this – NO. That is absolutely not the case.
In my (limited) experience lots of people opt out of going vegan out of some fear their life is going to change and become more complicated. I hear a lot of “I couldn’t live without cheese” or “I couldn’t afford to be vegan” or “I wouldn’t know what to cook” or, my favorite: “I just can’t be bothered.”
I once felt all of these things…. the idea of going vegan seemed like an epic mountain to climb and nearly impossible to imagine. What I want to write today is an honest, if slightly gushing, “ode to veganism” about how much it has changed my life for the better. I want to talk about how my life is so much richer because of this choice I made and how, it’s actually insanely easy. Don’t opt out…. don’t opt out of the greatest pleasure you will ever take on.
I am Voting
The main thing I notice about my life now – is that I stand for something. Even just by waking up in the morning and going to bed in the evening. Every day COUNTS, every day is a protest, a vote, a stance for something I really, truly believe in and I think nearly everyone does on some level. Living my life as a vegan means that just by getting up, walking around and eating food, doing what everyone does every day, I am making these actions count for something. I am buying bananas instead of chicken thighs, cabbage instead of rib eye, parsnips instead of sausages and with each of these “votes” – I am sending a message that I want money filtered into the creation of organic fresh fruits and vegetables and not dead animals. I know it’s airy-fairy to think that one person makes a difference, but I think we all do in some way. But more on that later
I am Healthy
It’s amazing and rewarding that I get to be living proof human beings don’t need animal products. I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing vegans brag about how great they feel – but I just have to do it quickly. Since giving up meat and dairy, I feel truly like the best version of myself. All the energy that my body was using to break-down and digest animal flesh, is now just being used to LIVE. I wake up in the morning and (most days!) I want to just get up out of bed, I enjoy every mouthful of food I eat, I rarely get tired, I never get sick, I have an abundance of energy… and if you think I’m exaggerating or bragging, just ask anyone who knows me in real life. I genuinely feel happy and healthy all of the time. Of course, we all have low days, but they are incredibly rare and usually with just cause. Obviously – veganism isn’t a magical cure for everything – but it’s pretty damn close!
I Love Eating and Have a Good Relationship with Food
I didn’t used to love and trust food the way I do now. I don’t mind admitting that. From growing up chubby and not really understanding how to eat and be healthy – it’s insane to me that I now can eat whatever I want, as much of it as I want and not fear any serious weight gain. I love eating healthy food, I love creating vegan feasts, I love playing with my diet and experimenting. I love trying raw food diets, I love eating until I feel completely full and satisfied! You really can’t eat cheese until you’re full and satisfied without worrying about the insane amount of calories and fat you’ve eaten, right?! But you genuinely can do that with whole vegan foods and you’re only putting more and more goodness into your beautiful body. It’s the most wonderful, amazing and logical win-win scenario ever.
I See the World Differently - with No blinders
This point is a little controversial… but hey, isn’t everything these days? Basically – since going vegan I feel like I am walking around looking at everything completely differently and I like that. I can’t look at a fridge full of flavored milks before wondering how people don’t think more about how much milk there is in the world. I watch children drinking hot chocolates with marshmallows and I think about what they are really eating and putting into their bodies…. I hear people talking in every day conversations and saying things that are so contradictory and hypocritical. I work in my hospitality job and see the wastage of food and I can’t be casual about it….
It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s the burden of knowledge. But I’d certainly rather know than turn a blind eye.
I Am Doing the Best I Can
Being vegan isn’t about being perfect. This is a very common misconception about veganism. Being vegan is about doing the LEAST amount of harm possible. Not killing unnecessarily. Not causing unnecessary pain. Valuing life. Doing the absolute best you can in a world that is not doing too well. In this modern time, it’s nearly impossible to lead a fully ethical life and not hurt any living creatures – but veganism cuts out SO MUCH of it. Of course we know that basic farming hurts animals, I know that housemates are going to kill spiders, I know that every cup of coffee I drink maybe has some trail to something unethical, I know that my life isn’t perfect. I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m trying to do the best I can and that is a good feeling.
And – it’s NOT HARD. It’s not hard to say “hold the cheese”, it’s not hard to eat delicious potatoes and hummus and fruits and things, it’s not hard to Google “vegan chocolate cake recipe” and put in some oil instead of eggs. These things are NOT hard. It’s easy. It’s an easy, effortless way to make an enormous difference and that is a bloody good feeling.
I am Learning, Growing and Challenging Myself Every Day
One of the best things that can ever happen to you – is finding out something you believed in, or something you thought was true – absolutely isn’t. Having your beliefs challenged, tested and losing faith or keeping it. The day I realized I had been wrong my entire life about eating meat, that it’s actually not okay and I didn’t understand anything about the way it came to my plate, was an incredible and powerful day. I had to sit down and figure out who I was and what I believed in. I never thought there was anything wrong with eating meat. I thought cows were made to be milked. I thought eggs were healthy and chickens just laid them for us to eat. Having these beliefs blown out of the water is a powerful thing and empowers you to question everything.
This goes for veganism as well. I question my veganism nearly every single day. I believe in it so strongly that, having already had everything I believe in debunked, I know to question this too. Mainly because veganism is still in SUCH a minority and I can’t understand why. I don’t want to live in a bubble and I never want to be ignorant, so I continue to research and I continue to question. I want to be informed. And every time I question, every time I do some research or every time I watch a video of an “ex-vegan” – I come back to the same conclusions. I do my research, I think about how I feel, I think about animal products, I think about industries and I come back to the same beautiful, educated resolve: I am a vegan. This makes sense to me. This is the best thing I’ve ever done and I only ever question it when people tell me to.
I have stopped questioning veganism. I embrace it with all my heart because it has given me so much. It’s made me fit and healthy. It’s made me bright and positive. It’s given me compassion for animals that I really have never had. It’s made me think about the kind of person I want to be, the kind of children I want to raise and the kind of influence I want to have. It’s given me amazing health, new friends, new perspective (and new kitchen supplies!)
I owe a lot to veganism and only wish I’d been a vegan sooner. But then, of course, I wouldn’t have had this amazing journey.
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