Reflections on becoming a vegan

By Clare Adamson (founder of The Village Vegan Markets, based in Cottenham)

I became vegan in 2018 for the same reason I became vegetarian 12 years earlier – my love for animals and the realisation that I no longer wanted or needed harm to occur for the sake of my tastebuds. This remains, however much more has come of my journey than I initially anticipated.

Starting my vegan journey opened my eyes to the damaging environmental impact we have on our surroundings and on other species, through food and by other means.

Resource use is a problem in a diet of excessive consumption of things like dairy, meat and fish. ‘ takes less land to grow food directly for humans, than to feed animals, which humans then eat. Just 1kg of chicken meat takes 3.2kg of crops to produce. By eating mostly plant-based food, we could feed more people – with all the calories and nutrition needed for a healthy diet – without destroying forests.’ (Greenpeace).

I am also now making more conscious decisions in the packaging and products I use, in and out of the kitchen. I am much better at cooking. This is likely down to the fact that I have been replicating a few meals I have always eaten. Sometimes you can buy readymade, but homemade is always my favourite. I can now whip up a pie, stew or a batch of cupcakes in no time at all.  

I’ve chosen veganism at a particularly good time. There are many options in restaurants, supermarkets and other resources that have made it all easy for me. My meals are still hearty and my baking is still loved by my Grandpa and the rest of my family. I learnt quickly that I didn’t have to ditch old recipe books, instead I replaced items e.g. cream to vegan cream. Top tip – when using a search engine for a specific meal, type in ‘simple’ or ‘low ingredient’ before your chosen option, it helped me a lot financially and with food waste!

I remember that we all start somewhere. There are many reasons people genuinely struggle with their diet (financial, issues with food and being nervous of doing things a new way, to name a few) so I believe that kindness and education is really important in all aspects of life, including introducing others to veganism. This is prominent to me as I am unsure if I would have transitioned to vegan without my vegan friends consistently being kind, showing me great food and sharing knowledge. I am passionate and will happily discuss my diet with people who are respectful. I remember I used to eat meat and dairy too but I am content I no longer do.

Veganism isn’t about being perfect. I already know there is no such thing as perfection. There are animal products hiding in lots of things, I’m just trying my best to avoid them. I am constantly learning and very importantly finding a lot to enjoy about this new lifestyle.