My sister and I used to run an omnivorous restaurant. As two vegan girls it was difficult serving up meat dishes and we would forever be finding ways of enticing people into choosing vegan options unbeknownst to them! We started introducing vegan meals but never labelling them as such; sweet potato curry, vegetable lasagne, stuffed peppers and veggie burger towered high with homemade relish, avocado and alfalfa sprouts. Eventually we became so proud of our vegan creations becoming the most popular dishes on the menu that we started to tell people that they were actually vegan. People were genuinely taken aback and interested.
Whilst meat dishes and cream cakes were available, our most popular options were our locally infamous veggie burgers, falafel wraps and vegan carrot cake. People were ordering whole vegan carrot cakes to take to parties! We were bowled over with the response! We even made vegan scones and offered coconut cream to ‘ordinary people’ who lapped them up. Suddenly customers were asking if they could borrow vegan recipe books, how to 'veganise' their favourite dishes and they were bringing articles in from newspapers, magazines and books telling us how veganism had been 'proven' to assist in curing all manners of health concerns and diseases! One lady fighting a long-term illness started to genuinely take an active interest in veganism and would request that next week we veganise this or that dish. We were so proud to have been a part of that vegan revolution in a small town where many people had not heard of veganism before.
When people hear that you've adopted a vegan diet people invariably expect that you'll end up as a drawn, underweight, sallow looking slight of a person. So when in fact they see you transition into a glowing, healthy and fit person they want to know how you do it. How do you eat out? What can you eat? Where do you get your vitamins? What is veganism and how do you do it?!
The aim for us is not to convert anyone to 100% veganism from a meat eating or vegetarian diet. We'll leave that for you to decide later down the line. All we ask is that people be more open to introducing vegan dishes into their everyday life. If we had labelled the carrot cake as 'vegan' in our restaurant, the chances are that nobody would have ordered it. But by selling it as ordinary cake, it genuinely outsold all the other options available. Eventually we shifted the other cake recipes to be vegan aswell; the chocolate ganache torte, pear and almond tart and vanilla sponge all were re-invented. And suddenly cakes became the bestselling items on the menu. The results spoke for themselves; people actually preferred the vegan items than the dairy and egg ones. Even we could not believe it. As per the saying 'The proof is in the pudding'; for us, these moments inspired confidence in us that people were not against veganism. They were just unaware of what it was or how to incorporate it into their own meal planning.
Vegans refrain from eating any part of animals including animal derivatives such as gelatine, certain additives. Vegans don’t consume meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese and some refrain from eating honey. Veganism is a diet choice based on different reasons; for some it’s the ethics; we don’t want to harm animals for our own selfish reasons, for others it’s down to health reasons; people have done the research and decided that it’s a healthier option. Whatever the reason, veganism has been proven to have long term health benefits such as reduced risk of cancers, heart disease and diabetes just to name a few. Not only that, factory farming is extremely wasteful on the earth’s resources and it increases pollution and uses the majority of land and water resources which could be used to feed starving children in the world. There is no downside to veganism; possibly just the inconvenience of pre-planning meals and skipping treats that are laced with animal products but the good far outweighs the bad.
If you want to start making a conscious difference to nourishing your body, your soul and playing a vital part in the conservation of the world’s resources then give it a go; even just one meal per week to start. You won’t regret it.