This is the first post in an occasional series – to which we would welcome any contributions – about everyday vegans; the ordinary people driving the current wave of enthusiasm for a plant-based diet.
What leads people to choose this path and what are their experiences of living in an omnivore world?
For many of us, going vegan changes the way we look at the world and the people around us. I vividly remember the total disconnection from society that I felt during my first shopping trips after changing from a lifetime of vegetarianism to a vegan diet. As I wandered round looking at the lists of ingredients on potential purchases, it sometimes seemed like everything contained whey or milk powder. I suddently felt like a stranger in the shops I’d spent my life buying from.
So how is it for other vegans? Is there always a eureka moment, or for some people is it a gentle drift into a plant-based diet? What’s it like living in a non-vegan household – not something I’ve had to face, but for some people this can be a massive issue? Do we naturally have more in common with fellow herbivores? Do we really try and convert everyone we meet, or blurt out the word “vegan” within the first five minutes of encountering anyone new?
Artist Alex, above, was the first to respond to my internet plea for volunteers to kick off our new series. Here’s his take on being an everday vegan.
I’m a 36 years old male, born in Jamaica. I’ve lived in Barbados and the Bahamas and am currently living in south Florida.
In my work I mainly paint colourful pictures of fish; I’m a surfer and love the sea.
I became vegan 12 years ago and am the only vegan in my family. I do activist work with Anonymous for the Voiceless and also I also participate in protests.
I think the best way to help someone become a vegan is to share the horrific videos of the meat industry. I know that having seen these films myself, I will never go back to eating meat.
I think everyone will be vegan in the future – maybe in the next 30 years from now that will happen. I eat very healthily – mostly non-GMO and organic foods, and I shop at a place called Nutrition Smart. Avocados, quinoa and lentils form the basis of my diet.
I live with my girlfriend, who is also vegan; she became vegan after meeting me. I became vegan after watching the horrific videos on YouTube of the meat industry.
I believe that most people don’t see a problem with eating meat because they are conditioned to eat meat because of society and all of the meat commercials on TV making it look okay. But it’s not.
You can find more about Alex at his website.
If you are interested in sharing your thoughts in our Everyday Vegans slot, please get in touch and we’ll let you know what to do.