Welcome back to the first Plant Journey Post of 2021! This time we are featuring Claire, who is 23 from Birmingham. Claire has a fantastic story about how she became vegan and how it exposed her to so many new cuisines!
Check out her plant journey below:
1. When did you start your plant-based journey and why?
I first realised eating animals was wrong when I was a child, but being vegetarian was inconvenient aged 10 and I didn't have the conviction to do it back then. I ignored the cognitive dissonance and later somewhat restricted my meat intake as a teenager. However, I still ate fish, chicken and beef up until my second year of university, when I went fully vegetarian at the age of 19 after doing some investigating into the meat industry. I’m not sure exactly what motivated me to, but I decided to watch some slaughterhouse videos on YouTube to see if I could stomach it. I thought that if I couldn’t watch it, I shouldn’t be eating meat. I realised that I wouldn’t be able to kill an animal myself, and that passing that responsibility onto someone else so I didn’t have to think about it wasn’t morally justifiable. I remember one video about a beautiful, completely white cow going to slaughter in particular. The betrayal in her eyes was so obvious and transparent: you couldn’t deny that she was desperately pleading for help. As the viewer, knowing the inevitability of her fate just made me burst into tears. I still tear up thinking about it. And she’s only one cow of billions. The numbers are absolutely staggering. We can’t even begin to fathom how many lives our consumption has claimed – it’s that huge.
One video led to another video, which led to another, until there was no denying the unnecessary cruelty of the meat industry and I knew there was no way to justify eating animals who don’t want to die. I went vegetarian that same night and never looked back.
I was vegetarian for about two years before I eventually went vegan for Veganuary 2019. While I was vegetarian, I knew I was being a hypocrite - condemning direct animal slaughter while still partaking in it indirectly and accepting animal suffering through the dairy and egg industries. I thought going vegan was too difficult, maybe a bit extreme, but now looking back I realise it's how we treat animals that is extreme and I wish I'd gone vegan sooner. Going vegan was much easier than I thought and has exposed me to so many new cuisines! My culinary skills have improved massively and I've tried so many ingredients that I never would have previously!
"I knew there was no way to justify eating animals who don’t want to die" - Claire
2. Is there a certain food you miss and what do you have as a plant-based alternative?
To be honest, no. There are so many amazing vegan alternatives out there now that there's basically nothing to miss! What I miss most, however, is the convenience of eating animal products. For example, I can easily make a vegan chocolate cake every bit as delicious as a non-vegan one, but if I fancy a piece of chocolate cake when I'm out and about, I might have difficulty finding a cafe serving one!
3. What’s your go-to easy dinner?
Teriyaki tofu with lots of vegetables and rice/noodles.
4. Who is your favourite/most inspiring plant-based account to follow?
They're both so creative and post straightforward, accessible plant based food!
5. Where do you see the future of Plant-Based eating?
I think plant based eating is the future. I think it will be the norm eventually, as the animal agriculture/dairy/egg industries are totally unsustainable for the environment and people are coming round to the cruelty side of things.
Hopefully, as demand increases and production expands, vegan companies can start lowering their prices to become more affordable and accessible to the general population. I think it's really important to put ethos over profit when encouraging people to switch to a more plant based diet.
6. Which EAT.PLNT meal would you like to try the most?
7. Do you have any advice you would like to give to those just starting a plant-based diet?
Firstly, do your research! Make sure you know about good sources of vitamins, protein and fats as vegan diets can be quite carb-heavy when you first start out. Watch documentaries on Netflix and YouTube and make sure the reasons why you want to take up a plant based diet are really clear in your mind. It can feel a bit overwhelming at first because it's such a huge learning curve, but don't worry - you'll get there! I'm still learning new things now after almost 2 years. And to that effect - don't worry if you make mistakes. We've all been there, scoffing down a packet of crisps only to discover there's milk powder in them. The world isn't designed to make going vegan easy, so making mistakes is unavoidable. Don't beat yourself up about it and think all is lost, because being vegan has done far more good for the planet and those we share it with than eating a bit of milk powder by accident has done bad.
Head to Claire's Instagram to see more tasty plant -based meals! https://www.instagram.com/pulsesandplants/
To see more Plant Journey's head to our Blog page! 🌱
Love the EAT.PLNT team,