I’ve been vegan for about eight years now. My ‘why’ was purely a matter of someone telling me they were vegan, which planted a seed ~ I have always been veggie; I was brought up so, and had always supported animal rights since childhood. When I reflected after that conversation, I realised how readily available all the ingredients were, and how there wasn’t any real reason I wasn’t vegan. So I decided to change it, and that was that. Now it’s really important to me that my business is also vegan.
Veganuary is a month-long challenge, or pledge, to try veganism for the whole of January ~ run by the charity Veganuary. Take a look at their website to get information and support at giving the challenge a go this year! This seemed an apt time to reflect on my journey into veganism, and vegan business...
My journey was a little bumpy at the start ~ more below, along with my top tips ~ but it was relatively straightforward,. Veganism goes beyond diet for me. It’s about ethics, values, and spirituality. It’s about respecting all creatures, preventing harm and suffering, and in many ways, feminism. It is also a good move for the planet, and happens to be healthier.
The HOW ~ I ask myself a lot of questions before making decisions, and I ask a lot of questions from others before doing business with them. I do a lot of research, which obviously includes ingredients used in products, but extends a lot beyond this; I consider how responsibly resources have been sourced, any impact there may have been on habitat, and the ethics of any components to a product. I always make informed choices based on my ethics when choosing suppliers. My choices are based on ethics before profit. Wherever possible I support other vegan businesses; my business takings and profit are not spent on non-vegan products or services. I like the idea of the 'vegan pound' where we spend as much of our money as possible within vegan circles, keeping it ethical and 'clean' throughout its onward journey.
The WHAT it looks like - it means I only use vegan and cruelty-free products. I use vegan suppliers where possible or known, If it's not vegan, I don't use it. I maintain the high quality of treatments and services which is also part of my values system, but within the confines of keeping things vegan. In French there are two words, végétalien to mean people who don't eat animal products or derivatives, and vegan to mean people who live a vegan lifestyle, beyond food, in all aspects of their life, not using any product that has involved animal exploitation. I am vegan by British and French definition in my personal life, which is reflected in my business.
That's it in a nutshell. It's fairly simple; not always easy, and sometimes I have ideas I can't put into motion, or at least not as soon as I have them, because first I need to invest time in research, and even then, I may not find what I'm looking for... yet! My premise is that I do that hard work so you don't have to ~ you just need to turn up and be.
I am of course always open to discussions, suggestions, and being questioned. In fact in the section below you'll see that my latest giveaway is all about hearing from you!
My vegan journey...
As I love cooking, the change wasn’t daunting. I started with a lot of stir frys, which I’d always made vegan anyway, but this time with rice noodles. The biggest change for me was the amount of ice cream, milkshakes, and eggs I used to eat. A few quick wins I found were:
A few more complicated wins later on were:
I did find several things difficult. The dairy substitutes at the time just didn’t make the cut, but it was eggs I missed the most A month into my veganism, I was feeling really tired and craving eggs. I put this down to the amount of protein I was (not) eating, and increasing this surely did the trick. To start with, I made sure there was an element of protein in every meal, and after a while, I didn’t have to think about it anymore. At first I found most dairy substitutes really awful! This was partly because there was less available at the time, and partly because I was expecting like for like. I found an aftertaste with soy milk which I really didn’t like, and nothing at all would taste like cheese. In the end I avoided anything masquerading as cheese for a good six months, after which substitutes were useful for texture, and slowly started getting better on the market. In that time, I discovered rice milk, and eventually oat milk, which is now my go-to.
Author - Zoe Copeland, MFHT
With a background in education, sports coaching and mental health, Zoe began to explore more holistic avenues of helping people with a particular focus on where the mind and body meet. Zoe began her bodywork training in Sports Massage and has since studied other massage theories and techniques, as well as Reiki, to provide a holistic approach to each treatment. With specific training in women's health, trauma and scars, she has developed an intuitive practice which leaves you feeling a positive change in your body and mind after every appointment.