I have answered a few interview questions so you lovely readers can get to know me a bit better. If you would like to know more, post your questions in the comments below.
What influenced your journey to veganism?
My journey to veganism started when I was about 8 years old and I decided to stop eating meat. I am pretty sure I was influenced by my mother who had a go at vegetarianism, and The Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian – we watched The Simpsons every night and Lisa was always my favourite character, and when she became a vegetarian it really hit home with me that eating animals just isn’t right. As for becoming a vegan, that happened during my first year of high school where I met an older girl who was a vegan, and that really opened my eyes – I began questioning why we drank cow’s milk and ate chicken’s eggs, suddenly it didn’t seem very natural at all!
What is your earliest memory of choosing a plant-based diet/lifestyle?
When I first became a vegetarian, I remember ordering lunch from the school canteen and realising I could no longer eat those popular chicken drumsticks or ham and pineapple mini pizzas. From then on I was pretty much limited to eating canned fruit salad for lunch on those days when I bought lunch!
So you have been a vegetarian/vegan for about 17 years now. What was it like to be a vegan during your childhood?
It was difficult at times. My parents/grandparents/relatives would sometimes serve meat or dairy products to me and it was hard to let them know that I couldn’t/wouldn’t eat what they had given me. I think there were a number of times where I burst into tears at the dining table! As I grew older, I learnt how to cook simple meals myself (baked beans on toast, pasta with a can of tomatoes and a can of beans) and cooked for myself about 3-4 nights a week as a teenager.
As a long time vegan, have you ever “slipped up”? Are you strictly vegan?
I was strictly vegan for a number of years but I will admit I “slipped up” and ate conventional foods occasionally during my teenage years. When you’re hungry and your friends are sitting around eating a meatlover’s pizza, it’s hard not to give in. However this phase didn’t last long and soon I found my strength again – I don’t think I could ever knowingly eat animal products these days. It’s not that I am “strict” (that seems like such a harsh word!) but yes, I eat a 100% vegan diet.
As a mother, do your children eat vegan foods or do they eat animal products also?
With my eldest son, who is now 5, I always intended to give him the choice, and let him be exposed to animal products by other family members. He claims that he “loves meat” but he is starting to develop a conscience of where meat actually comes from. My 2 year old son has been vegan since birth and I intend for him to stay on the vegan diet, but of course if he chooses to eat animals products later in life I can’t stop him. As I do majority of the cooking and grocery shopping in our household, our whole family eats vegan meals at home, but if we go out for a meal my husband and 5 year old will usually opt for a non-vegetarian meal.
What is your favourite go-to vegan meal?
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 1 zucchini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- About 350g passata or 1 x 400g tin of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- ¾ cup red lentils
- Thyme, salt and pepper to taste
- Spaghetti pasta
- Finely dice the onion and garlic.
- Grate the carrot and zucchini.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the vegetables, sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to the boil and add the spaghetti pasta.
- Cook pasta according to packet directions (about 10 minutes).
- Drain pasta, and serve with lentil bolognese on top.