Wendy and I have been friends for a long time after first meeting at a Viva! rally back in 2002 where we were both doing speeches for vegan charity Viva! live on stage at The Oval, London. Both being TV presenters, we thought it would be fun to make some vegan juice Vlogs together with a ‘twist’ for Veganuary and VegFestUK. And when I say ‘twist’ I mean a spot of rum or vodka.
It was such a fun day making these vegan cocktails videos and it’s great to illustrate that just because you are vegan, doesn’t mean you have to be a saint as well, so it’s great to show this dimension to smoothie making where fresh tropical fruits can be mixed with a spot of what you fancy in order to make a healthier version of a summer cocktail. Roll on summer!!!
Wendy was also kind enough to tell me a bit about the reasons behind her changing to a Vegan diet when she was very young.
- Wendy, when did you first decide to be a vegan and why?
I was 25 and saw some information from PETA about the horrors of the dairy industry. Funny how you can be blind to these things until someone shoves it under your nose! I had been a vegetarian from the age of 12 and all for moral, animal loving reasons – so with this new info I just had to turn vegan. I just went cold turkey – dropped all animal products from my diet and chucked out anything in my wardrobe that had ever had a face.
- Why do you think that it’s important to go full vegan rather than just vegetarian?
Being vegetarian is a fabulous start, but it’s important to know that animals who provide milk, wool and silk (for example) can suffer and be exploited terribly. I find it easier to turn my back on the lot of it! I am also really proud to be a Patron of The Vegan Society and The Vegetarian Society so I take my duties seriously!
- Are you vegan for health or ethical reasons?
Purely ethical – health benefits are great but a complete side issue for me.
- Do you find being vegan you have to think far more about your diet plan and vitamins?
Sadly I am rather lazy so tend not to give it a great deal of thought! I eat the right foods for a balanced diet but don’t think about it too much. I have been vegan for 22 years and am hardly fading away so I must be doing something right.
- Tell me more about your current TV work and what you have in the pipeline?
At the moment I am presenting a TV show on TLC called Crafty Beggars. I co-Present this with my good friend Julie Peasgood. We produce the show as well so it takes up a lot of our time… but we love it! We work closely with Hobbycraft (who sponsor the show) which, for enthusiastic crafters like us is like being a kid in a sweet shop!
- Tell us about your work with animals?
I support many animal welfare charities and as well as the ones I mentioned above I am proud to be a Patron of Viva!, The Born Free Foundation, The Humane Research Trust, Mane Chance Horse Sanctuary, Animal Lifeline and Chance Pixies (the last two are dog rescue centres). Animal rights are my biggest passion in life and I will help in whatever way I can. I am joining Anneka on a trip to Romania this spring in an effort to help some of the dogs out there. I find people like her truly inspirational!
- Are your family vegan?
No – which gives you some idea how hard it is for a lot of veggies to take that step. If I can’t persuade them, who can?! Having said that they have soya milk, soya desserts, soya meat substitutes and a whole host of other vegan foods as opposed to dairy based stuff.
- If you could say anything to those considering veganism to persuade them, what would it be?
If you’re considering it why not give it a go for a set amount of time and see how it works out? That’s why Veganuary is such a great idea! I’m confident you will feel better and not miss the dairy half as much as you think.