TV Star of Hollyoaks, The Bill, EastEnders and the Musical Chicago, Stefan Booth talks to Anneka Svenska about going Vegan for Veganuary.
1) So Stefan, what made you decide to take the plunge and try veganism this 2015?
A good friend made the suggestion and I have been encouraged before by other friends to try it but couldn’t face the prospect of no meat in my diet! With Veganuary there is no pressure to cut it of my life completely but give it a really good shot at being totally vegan for 4 weeks. I’m very interested to see how my body reacts and what the alternatives are for a person with a diet like mine.
2) Can you tell me a bit more about your typical family diet and also the one you were raised on.
My family didn’t have much money when I was a child growing up so we ate a lot of stews, pulses and veg. Not very glamourous but I’d say my typical diet from my teens was balanced and reasonably healthy. The only difference to most was that I ate a lot of meat protein in my diet from my teens because of all the sport I was doing. I also grew up in the country and love how people can live off the land if they have that luxury.
My lifestyle is still pretty explosive through my work to exercise and I have heard a lot of arguments for and against the vegan diet regarding the energy from foods available. I can’t wait to find out for myself.
Also my wife Debbie used to be an anchor presenter on an alternative health food show in the USA. She already has a heads up on diet compared to the average brit and she introduced me to all kinds of weird and wonderful things from spirulina to probiotics.
3) Tell us more about the recent TV, Theatre and film you have been in?
Most recently you may have seen me as Greg in EastEnders, before this I was touring with Chicago across Europe and the UK as the undefeated lawyer Billy Flynn. Before then I have had roles in Hollyoaks as Jamie Nash and as the controversial Marc Rollins in The Bill. I have also appeared in Dancing on Ice, where I was personally mentored by Torvill and Dean and made it through the final finishing in second place.
4) Is it important to you as an actor to look and feel good?
It is important to take care of yourself yes. It’s an environment that requires all or nothing and staying ready for that can be quite stressful without the right discipline for some. I’m more interested in the long term health benefits from being vegan though.
5) Do you know any close friends or family who are already vegan?
Yes. My best friend from childhood has gone vegan and encouraged me to get an Angel juicer which has been great. It has replaced my morning fry up already. I can see a massive change in her lifestyle and she is very happy.
6) If you feel amazing at the end of Veganuary, do you think that you might change the way you approach your diet from now on?
The whole reason I am getting involved in this is to focus on being healthier from now on. My family too.
It’s also quite unnerving to see how animals are treated within the food chain when it comes to getting some of the basics like your milk and eggs. I’m sure it doesn’t stop there either. I’d much rather source my own food locally and ethically but sometimes thats just not an option.