Vegan Blog - Life As A Vegan

Hi guys, Amy here!

I have been part of The Body Shop family since January 2018 and after two years as a veggie, I decided to take the plunge and go fully plant-based in April. Life as a vegan is different to say the least, many people ask how I do it, what I eat, what shops I buy at, etc. You may also ask why? Am I crazy, giving up cheese?! This is where I will try to provide insight into what it is to be a vegan. Enjoy!

7TH MARCH 2019

Hangovers and Holidays: the hardest things about going vegan

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When I turned vegan, I naturally thought it would be impossible. I had been gearing myself up to make the change for the best part of six months, and upon the approach of the Easter weekend in 2018, I decided that once the celebrations were over it would be time. The reason for this timing was because I didn’t want to have to reject gifts of chocolate from my extended family, for want of limiting awkwardness. Also, in honesty, I didn’t want to have to forgo the chocolate eggs; I could use Easter as my final hurrah. Despite this echoing feeling of dread when I thought about it too much, when April 9th came around (yes, it’s sad, but I still remember the date) I was surprised to find I wasn’t left with a sudden gaping hole in my life. For the next few weeks and months, people around me would ask how it was going, everyone seemed to share my previous notion that going vegan must be impossibly difficult. In the end, it was a lot less looming and scary than the world has it cracked up to be.

This is… until you experience a hangover.

When you go vegan, there are obviously drawbacks that eventually come crawling out of the woodwork, and unfortunately, experiencing a post-night-out comedown is one of them. The go-to option of a greasy pizza with extra cheese has suddenly dissolved and you are left with plain, stodgy carbs to compensate. Satisfying is not the word I would use. Let’s just say, chips from the kebab shop opposite the club are nothing if they are not cheesy. I may be preaching to a very specific audience here, but as a 23-year-old this is something that I know a whole generation of people would struggle with.

Another majorly taxing aspect of a plant-based lifestyle (and I am sure I am not alone in this), is being a vegan abroad. Here in the UK, we are accustomed to a wide variety of foods and don’t even think twice about it. For vegans this is paramount and makes for a very easy life. When you’re used to all this, you wouldn’t necessarily imagine it could be any different in other countries. This, my friends, is where you’re wrong. It takes a lot of planning and forethought to be a vegan abroad - that, or you will end up doing what I did last summer and spend an entire two weeks eating only crisps, bread and olive oil in Portugal. This is something that veggies may experience too, as many foreign cultures are traditionally meat-centric, but when you can’t even have ice cream to make up for it, it can seem a very cruel world.

Like I said earlier, most of being vegan is far more breezy than it seems. These are just two occasional incidents of inconvenience - for the most part, veganism remains very doable and even rewarding.

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11TH FEBRUARY 2019

Vegan Valentine’s: how to date plant-based

Amy Valentines Vegan Blog Post



As your vegan fairy godmother, I am here to try and lighten the load as Valentine’s Day approaches (ugh). Here are my best tips on how to date plant-based!


If you are a vegan…

How do you tell someone you’re dating that you don’t want to go to an uber-fancy restaurant for dinner because they probably won’t have anything meat & dairy free on their menu? It’s okay, you could try making a pilgrimage to one of the many critically-acclaimed vegan-only restaurants around the country. This can often mean a fun day out and yummy food rolled into one. Vegan cooking classes have taken the world by storm, and could also be a good way for you to spend time together and learn something fun and new. Then again, if your purse strings are still recovering from Christmas (which mine are) you can always try making something different at home - homemade pizzas are a fun one, and easy to make for any diet (this one would work for non-vegans too!).

Alternatively, how about making the date non-food-centric? Suggest going bowling, or making a blanket fort at home and enjoying a snuggly movie together. Think outside the box and just remember, your partner is into you and probably just wants to do something that will make you happy, so they won’t mind if you want to do something a little different.


If your date is a vegan…

Maybe you’re not the one who’s thrown a spanner in the works. Your beloved, whether they be a new flame or someone you’ve been with for years, has decided to go vegan this year and you haven’t had to dream up any date or gift idea thus far. Fear not, as I have stated before, chocolate is not off-limits as one might believe, and there are many places, even on the high street that do fancy chocolate for vegans. Have you considered a cosmetic gift? There are a growing collection of brands that offer great gift boxes containing a plethora of cruelty-free vegan goodies (including The Body Shop, though I don’t wanna brag).

When choosing a place to date, just try to be considerate of your partner’s needs. It’s always worth checking menus online, or even calling ahead to check if a place you like will do a vegan option. Your significant other will surely appreciate the sentiment, helping them to feel like less of a hassle while also scoring you major vegan brownie points. Result!

Just remember, vegan dating can be fun, contrary to popular belief! Relax and focus on the most important thing - love!

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17TH JANUARY 2019

Becoming Vegan: what I wish I had known

Vegan


1. Lots of well known brands do “accidentally” vegan products

It’s very easy as a vegan to just assume you can’t have anything that isn’t especially made for us. Finding out that there are many household snacks you know and love and won’t have to cull from your life is a feeling like no other, trust me. All it takes is a quick Google search and you will find many lists of products that you will still be able to eat. Hooray!

2. Oat milk is arguably the best alternative on the market

In my 2.5 years of not drinking cow’s milk, I can safely say I’ve tried every pseudo going. Through many phases of buying soy, cashew, coconut - you name it - I have come to make my decision. I would wholly swear by oat milk, purely for it’s mild flavour and creaminess.

3. A lot of alcohol is not vegan… queue the tears

It took me a while to realise it but, heartbreakingly, more often than not wines, beers and even cocktails are not vegan. Not only because of the ingredients, but often brewing/distilling methods are not vegan either. More sellers are starting to offer labelled bottles to distinguish the ok from the not ok. Be sure to check your favourites against Barnivore’s comprehensive list of vegan options (and keep your fingers crossed).

4. There’s no need to throw out your leather boots

Albeit I never did this, but people around me (even non-vegans) love to imply that I’m not dedicated because I still wear leather and silk. These are garments that I have had for many years, some of which I also got second hand. It may seem tenuous, but in my opinion to throw out completely good wears is somewhat wasteful. Yeah, I know it may look cool to go all anarchist and burn the animal products in protest, but really in 2018 there’s no need to make more waste. As long as you aren’t buying into the industry anymore, you can wear what you feel comfortable with.

5. Variety is going to be your new best friend, so it’s time to embrace it

When meal-time rolls around, it can be tough for anyone to dream up something to make. As you can imagine, this is never truer than for a vegan. Whilst there's some great meat replacements and simple pasta dishes available for us, don't forget to stay open-minded and tell yourself to try new things. The world of veganism can be, contrary to what many think, an exciting culinary experience - you just have to embrace the adventure.


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28TH DECEMBER 2018

New Vegans, Do Not Fear!
What to expect if you are taking on Veganuary this year

Veganuary


So, this is it. Veganuary is fast approaching and you’re feeling the urge to challenge yourself this new year. There are certain hesitations in your mind, that much is for sure. How will I cope without my weekly Sunday roast to keep me going through this bleak time of year? What will I eat when I’m out with my friends? How will I live without cheese? Do not fear, I will try and impart the little wisdom I have gained as an experienced vegan to prepare you for the coming month.

Firstly, you are going to miss cheese. This was the hardest thing of all for me to let go of - worse than chocolate, worse than ice cream, worse than poached eggs. The initial grief of this is only temporary, though, and it is important to focus on the bigger picture. Remind yourself of what you are doing this for, mental preparation is the best thing I can prescribe for these feelings of dread; give yourself some notice that you want to cut things out, and maybe try to do it gradually. Going cold turkey (if you’ll pardon the pun) is hardcore and can often lead to a more spontaneous attitude, meaning that you might quit just as quickly as you began.

The next point I’ll make is a pretty important one. It’s about the way other people will perceive your choice to go plant-based. While you’re probably sitting there thinking this is a choice you can make for yourself, so why should anyone else care, you’re likely to be surprised by some of the reactions you are going to get. People - and I am quite possibly talking about some of your family members here - are probably going to weigh in on this decision, regardless of how much they know about veganism. The whole lifestyle has become a buzzword due to its recent spike in popularity, and thus everyone now has an opinion on it.

Be prepared to take things they say with a pinch of salt, but don’t feel intimidated. Remember that it is your choice and a worthwhile thing to be vocal about. Importantly, you may need to consider how you approach the subject in conversation. It’s no secret that vegans tend to have a bad rep for being preachy about their views. This stems from a passionate, albeit sometimes frustrated, belief in the cause, but in reality it is best for all vegan-kind if you are a little less heated when talking about your lifestyle choices. Try and engage in the conversation with people who may be more open minded.

Lastly, you’ve gotta keep in mind that you are doing this for YOU. Whether you are in it for the long haul or just testing the water next month, it’s good to be prepared and I’m almost sure the aforementioned will resonate with a lot of you after 31 days as a herbivore.

Good luck and stay strong!


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7TH DECEMBER 2018

Got a vegan for Christmas?

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This festive period, you'll probably have everyone and their mother to stay. This probably comes with a hard-to-beat to do list that crops up every Christmas.

This year, this list could quite possibly include one extra thing. Queue the dramatic sound effect.
A vegan is coming...

To boil it down to brussel sprouts, vegans are people who choose not to use, consume or buy any animal derived products, or products that bring harm to animals, as well as meat and leather.

There are many things I am already mentally preparing myself for, like forgoing melted camembert dips and having to triple check whether there is something I can eat on the menu at the Christmas work meal. However, if you are hosting for someone like me, providing a vegan Christmas meal will be a lot easier than you think. I have some pointers that might help you and your turkey-friendly guest during the most wonderful time of the year.


1. Choice is key

More and more supermarkets and food manufacturers are labelling their products as vegan now – often with the Vegan Society symbol or just a green “vegan” label. If you want to be especially thorough, which I would usually advise, it’s always best to have a quick skim of the ingredients to check that you’re good to go.

The other option is consider baking alternatives at home. There are many easy recipes for vegan puddings, pastries and Yorkshires online.

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2. Be considerate at dinner time

Though, you don’t need to tiptoe around us by any means. You can always ask your guest if they would be offended by you serving meat at the table; chances are they won’t be - most people were omnivorous at one time or another.

Meat touching potatoes is almost always a no-no, so think about keeping veg separate so everyone can enjoy them. Probably best to avoid a Joey-from-Friends Thanksgiving moment too - not playing with carcasses is advised for all guest’s sakes.

3. Stay open minded

While we don’t need to talk about it 24/7, most vegans will appreciate genuine interest from people who aren’t wise to the lifestyle. They understand that a lot of people still don’t really know what a vegan is, but if you’re going to ask, please remain impartial while receiving an answer. Lastly, please no jokes about bacon or pigs-in-blanket - trust me, we’ve heard them all before.

Obviously, every vegan is unique like a handmade festive jumper. This won’t apply to everyone and some people are more sensitive than others, but the majority of us will be elated to know, being prepared with the above, that you’ve considered them in this busy, food-centric time of year.


Happy holidays and enjoy!
Amy

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