Alex – Everyday Vegans
Alex raises two young boys on a (mainly whole foods) vegan diet with her husband in a very vegan-friendly city in the UK. She has been vegan since shortly after the birth of her first son, 3.5 years ago and previously worked in Museum Collections Management. She enjoys trips to local vegan eateries, making toys out of cardboard boxes, changing diapers & walks along the beach at the end of her road. She is passionate about animal rights and has volunteered for and fundraises for various animals charities and sanctuaries. Alex is another one of our ‘everyday vegans.’
We talked to Alex about her journey- the difficult parts, the heartwarming parts, and the tasty parts!
Why are you vegan?
The short answer is I don’t want to support avoidable animal abuse.
Finding veganism was a culmination of months of learning and change in myself as an individual. It was an awakening and is now in every element of my life: my food, clothes, cosmetics, holiday choices, shopping habits, charity donations and is constantly on my mind! I have learned how a seemingly simple act of eating a cheese pizza has such wider reaching effects.
Summing up this knowledge in a handy catchphrase is impossible, however, as helpful as that would be.
Defining events that led me to veganism certainly include having a wonderfully patient, compassionate vegan best friend as well forcing myself to watch undercover slaughterhouse, factory farming, and fur farming videos. I couldn’t hide behind the bliss of ignorance once faced with undeniable facts and images.
Reading extracts of ‘Confessions of An Ex-Slaughterman’ still haunts me.
Volunteering for an animal rights charity (In Defense of Animals) in a capacity which I can only refer to as answering an animal abuse hotline, really cemented my views on animal rights and veganism.
What are some of your experiences, both positive and negative, that you would attribute to your vegan lifestyle?
Physically, my skin has improved and many seasonal symptoms such as rashes and minor hives, have disappeared since going vegan. I also used to have smelly feet(!!!)
I love being asked for recipes or when someone is so proud that they tried or loved a vegan dish. I also find people love to talk about and show off pictures of animals they live with! I am very lucky to be surrounded by supportive and interested people both in my family and the city I live in.
Through learning about nutrition in order to adapt our diet to a new style of eating, we have become much healthier
and informed about our food. After shopping, our refrigerator looks like a garden, rather than a morgue & generally we feel in much better everyday health.
Activities based around animal entertainment can be difficult. It is very frustrating when friends or family boast about or share photos of trips to the zoo, aquarium or animal sports events like racing. It feels like they can get their heads around us not eating animals but they are unable to question other scenarios they are indoctrinated to. Some of the most traumatic animal behavior I have witnessed is linked to imprisonment in entertainment and I cannot bear being unable to persuade people to boycott these events, on behalf of those animals trapped. The fact that most people are so adamant these events actually do good as they have never thought to research any further than the company’s own website, is very frustrating. Being a voice for the voiceless is so important to me and when someone I know visits these places, I feel I have failed them.
It can also be hard to accept that people you love or need in your life support animal abuse, whether that be eating or being entertained by them. I remain hopeful that as I & my husband did, others can learn and change their habits
How has being vegan changed you?
My whole outlook on life and awareness of the world around me changed for the better. It has opened me up to environmentalism, fitness, and compassion. I am a much happier person as a vegan and feel that I can have some impact as an individual on the planet. My love for animals has evolved to respecting them as beings here for their own purpose.
I feel liberated and truly in charge of myself. The way I eat and now live is through choice, not habit or tradition – something which I could never have differentiated previously.
I have always enjoyed cooking but now I have a much better understanding of nutrition and the importance of diet to health, which has impacted my cooking
and how I feel about feeding my children.
What’s your favorite food?
Joint favorite foods are nice cream and homemade seitan.
What’s your go-to dish to impress non-vegans with?
What are your views on raising vegan children?
It is 100% the right thing to do. I have never doubted raising my own children vegan. In choosing so, I have found a wonderful, supportive community as well. It feels like the most logical approach: when my sons see animals, they squeal in delight, they don’t try to kill and eat them! I understand the concerns some people have but feel it is due to their lack of knowledge on the subject and fear of the unknown and not based on any actual fact. Hopefully, in raising healthy
, happy, compassionate children, my family can work to remove some of the stigma surrounding vegan families.
What are your top 3 tips for transitioning to veganism?
Start small, replacing a few products and meals until you are confident to sustain yourself. Don’t give up on tofu! It is more than worth it once you find a way to cook it you like. Even if you don’t like something the first time you try it, keep going as your taste buds will change as animal lives are saved. There are vegan versions of almost everything now so there’s no missing out.
Remember the animals!
Stay connected with animal sanctuaries and animal rights organizations. Remember why their lives are so important to save. I hate watching graphic imagery
but I feel it a matter of respect to the poor animal that was unjustly killed or abused to hear and share their story.
Read up about nutrition and plant sources of the various nutrients we need. Use reliable sources like The Vegan Society and Nutritionfacts.org. You will master it very quickly and soon be making delicious meals.
What animal do you most identify with and why?
Raju, the elephant who cried tears when rescued by Animal SOS in India from his owner who used him as a begging tool.
His freedom to their sanctuary played a huge part in my turning vegan. To see such ‘human’ emotions in this beautiful animal and how much he could recover with some affection and care brought home the truth that animals and humans feel equally.
Also, I have a big nose and a great memory(!)
Do you think it is ever too late to go vegan?
Absolutely not. Even if you are on your death bed and chose a vegan last meal, you might have an impact on someone else who in turn going vegan would save countless animals from the horror of the food industry.