I've always loved and been around animals, and until two years ago I always loved meat and dairy products, especially eggs! One day while surfing the internet I read the question, why keep some animals as pets while eating others? It hit a chord, and almost overnight I decided to become vegetarian.
The words of Linda McCartney came to mind, never to eat anything with a face, and this is the principle I tried to live by. This is when you start reading labels. And this is when you realise that most processed foods contain animal derivatives. The more I informed myself, the more I discovered about animal exploitation, and the less I wanted to eat. Very soon afterwards, I became vegan.
Ditching cosmetics was easy; there are many very good, if not better, and easily available vegan alternatives. Ditching the leather handbags was very easy; there are many non-leather options – a good excuse to have more of them, more often! Shoes are still a bit of a challenge, but the range of vegan products is becoming increasingly varied.
Where I struggled was giving up cheese and eggs. For a while I only ate eggs from a friend who has her own hens, but eventually I managed to give that up, too. I’m also French and love my cheese; I had to think long and hard about how it got to my plate, and if I buy it and eat it, I have to accept that I am also an abuser of animals.
I am one of the bad examples who put on weight, because I was doing it all wrong. I am still working on that. Going vegan has enabled me to become aware of my food intolerances and to discover new flavours, ingredients and a whole new way of cooking.
Two years ago, people thought going vegan was extreme and were more ready to accept vegetarianism. But even now, it is becoming more and more accepted as the number of vegan restaurants and products continues to grow rapidly. I think I still have a lot to learn, and my advice to anyone considering going vegan would be to go at your own pace. Going vegan for a month is a great concept and after trying it, I don’t think anyone would go back to their old habits.