Growing up in Brazil, meat was a key part of my diet and the majority of meals centred around meat in some form. When I was at university I made with friends with a vegetarian who made me question eating meat for the first time.
My friend showed me information about cattle farming and how it was causing massive deforestation in my native Brazil. Being very concerned about environmental issues, and wanting to try and limit my environmental footprint, I decided to become vegetarian. Over the course of a year I slowly cut out all forms of meat and fish, until I was completely vegetarian. I became vegan after meeting my girlfriend; in our house we had no animal products and I started to realise that you don’t need any to have a delicious meal!
Many people say that being vegan is expensive but, having compared shopping budgets, I can say that I spend considerably less than my group of friends. I buy mainly seasonal and local produce, and limiting my consumption of processed products.
My favourite dish to make is a feijoada; I ‘veganized’ my grandma’s traditional recipe. This is a perfect dish for a Sunday afternoon or a big dinner party with friends. Day-to-day, I tend to cook using whatever vegetable is in season with lots of spices. I like to get creative in the kitchen! Paprika- roasted root veg, sesame oil stir fried tofu, home baked pizza topped with seitan and aubergine… The options are endless!!
My key tip for becoming vegan would be to take things at your own pace, after all it took me a year to become vegetarian and then another year to become vegan. Also remember that in Britain there are so many great vegan options in restaurants, and more and more vegan products in the shops. Being vegan is really not that hard any more!