Without Coral, her support and vegan roasts I don’t think I could have managed! See what she has to say about veganism.
How long have you been vegan?
I’ve been vegan since 4th November 2011. I was vegetarian for 10 years previous to that.
What do you do?
I’m currently a student, although not for much longer. I’m very excited to get out there and start working for a living.
What is your favourite recipe?
I could have answered this question in a flash before I became vegan, but the funny thing about changing your diet like this is that you become so much more into food and cooking and finding amazing recipes. It’s a hard one, but I’d have to say my vegan chocolate cupcakes. I’m not much of a sweet tooth but these babies are just too good. People are always surprised that they’re vegan!
What response are you usually greeted with when people find out you are vegan?
‘I couldn’t do it’ and ‘I’d miss cheese/ice-cream/bacon’ are probably the two most common responses. Quite a lot of people ask me why as well. I’m often met with suspicion and I’ll occasionally get someone being quite aggressive about it. If my diet bothers you, that’s your problem, not mine.
What inspired you to become a vegan and how do you maintain the lifestyle? (e.g how do you cope with going out to eat? Family dinners?)
I originally became a vegetarian because I worked with animals a lot and it’s amazing how even something as little and as seemingly unintelligent as a Madagascan hissing cockroach can have a personality. The social complexities of chickens for instance are just amazing to me. If you’ve never spent time getting to actually know an animal then you’re missing out. I didn’t want to eat something that had a personality.
I always knew that there were animal rights issues within the dairy and egg industries, but I always avoided looking into it because I was afraid of what I’d find. It was a selfish choice and I wish I’d made myself do it sooner. The male chicks and the male calves are surplus in these industries and by supporting them you are accountable for a hell of a lot of death and misery. And don’t even get me started on what I think of the meat industry as a whole. There’s just too much cruelty there to comment on now.
Maintaining the lifestyle…that’s a funny question because I don’t feel that I have to maintain anything. It comes so naturally now that it requires very little effort. At first it was a bit annoying having to read all the labels on things, but after a couple of months you get to know what you can and can’t have. The funny thing is that I just don’t miss the foods I used to eat. You could wave a piece of smelly cheese under my nose and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid now.
Going out to eat and family dinners are often interesting occasions. Most restaurants will accommodate you. Sometimes if I know I’m going somewhere I’ll ring ahead and warn them of my dietary requirements and I’ve found that everyone has been more than willing to provide something vegan so far. If I haven’t had time to plan ahead then I’ll go for chips and salad or ask what can be made vegan. It’s not hard for them to hold the cheese on a lot of vegetarian dishes.
Family dinners are great because I’ll always bring something delicious and vegan along with me, and my eating habits are usually a conversation starter. Dinner talk revolves around veganism and if I can plant a seed in someone’s mind then that’s great. Those chocolate cupcakes that I mentioned earlier are always fun for challenging people’s perceptions of what I eat.
Anything else you would like to add that I might have missed asking?
I read up on veganism a lot before I decided to do it and I kept hearing amazing testimonials that seemed way too good to be true. I was pleasantly surprised when they turned out to be right. I’ve got so much more energy, I sleep better, my nails are stronger, I’m actually happier and this may be too much information but I no longer get period pains. The benefits are unreal. Knowing that I’m living a lifestyle that relies on zero deaths and will drastically lower my chances of getting diabetes, heart disease or cancer makes me feel very content. Vegan life is good.
No, no…thank you!