Today we meet Stephanie, one of our shop team and chat to her about all things vegan. Stephanie was inspired to adopt a vegan lifestyle by Veganuary so if you are thinking of making the switch, read on........
How long have you been vegan?
I have been vegan for nearly 4 years now, and flipped between a vegetarian/pescatarian since I was 7.
Why did you become a vegan?
Eating meat has never sat right with me in my head, as soon as I understood what I was seeing on my plate used to be a living animal I stopped eating it. It was around the time I was adamant a cow had smiled at me, so that was obviously the tipping point. In my late teens, I knew subconsciously if I were to look into the dairy and egg industries I would stop eating those products too. I thought (falsely) that you can’t be healthy and vegan for a good few years. Then one January, I was making long commutes on the London Underground, and there were posters all around for Veganuary with shocking facts about the dairy industry. I couldn’t ignore it then. I initially made only small changes as I had a busy few months approaching so choose to wait and dedicate more time to it when I was able to. This helped me to do a healthy balanced switch rather than grabbing convenience foods.
Advice for someone who is thinking of adopting a vegan lifestyle?
Don’t think about it as a black and white switch. There is social pressure to live a complete vegan lifestyle instantly, and there will always be people ready to point you out for making a mistake or choosing to have a piece of non-vegan cake. Whilst a complete switch may suit and be great for some people, I think it can alienate others. If you want it, any change is positive change. Start with every other day cooking only vegan meals, or find alternative milks the next week.
Also at first I found it took up so much time! ..Learning new methods of cooking your favourite meals, reading labels, checking you're eating enough food and getting all the essential vitamins in your diet. Mock meats are fun but rather focus on whole foods. Your body will be happier. Give yourself the time.
More advice - I got quite down on the world when I did start researching the impacts of the dairy and egg industries. I struggled to process the mass exploitation and ecological foot print. So be kind to yourself and inspire people don’t fight them.
Favourite products from Village Greens?
Everything!! The plain handmade houmous in the deli (from Amato) is ridiculously moreish. It’s garlicy and fresh and lovely. And even though it’s debatably the wrong time of year, we have just started stocking a new oat-based icecream from Hopewall Farm and Dairy (they make it using fresh Oato milk, which we also sell, in glass bottles). It’s super creamy and I’m currently working my way though a raspberry ripple tub with absolutely no help required.
Photo credit: amatoproducts.co.uk
Can you share a simple vegan recipe?
I’ve spent a long time working on the road away from home so I am the master at quick vegan meals. Mush an avocado through pasta and add some spinach and tomatoes. Sprinkle with nooch (nutritional yeast). Garnish as desired. I’d go for black pepper and kimchi.
For breakfast, cherry Bakewell overnight oats. Oats, chia seeds, dairy-free milk to cover it, tiny bit of vanilla essence, sprinkle of cinnamon, frozen cherries. Stir together and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning dollop some almond butter on and you're good to go.
(Small print - fresh cherries pictured are not in season now but photo looks gorgeous!)
Huge thanks for Stephanie for her advice and recommendations and don't forget if you need any help just ask!