A series in which ordinary people talk about living a plant-based life
Our latest contributor, Heather, became a vegan as a result of conducting some health-related research – and coincidentally coming across photos showing the horrific reality of the dairy industry
I’m Heather, I’m 30 and I live in the North of Scotland with my husband and our five-month-old daughter. I’m currently on maternity leave from my job as a visual merchandiser. In the future, I’m hoping to make art or food my main source of income.
Growing up I never felt good about eating meat. I cried my eyes out when I first learnt what meat actually was. As a teenager I was vegetarian for a couple of years. But I gave it up, something I’m pretty ashamed of now.
I have polycystic ovary syndrome and originally started looking into plant-based diets when I learnt they could help ease my symptoms and boost my fertility. Then, that same week, a vegan friend posted graphic photos of what happens within the dairy industry. Me and my husband went vegan practically overnight. It was a nice coincidence that it happened to be in Veganuary, and this month it’s been two years.
I love healthy food but I also love cake and burgers. I find a lot of enjoyment in food in general. I could never go back to eating or using animal products now. It’s not an option.
In terms of a balanced diet, I make sure I’m getting a little bit of everything, but I eat a good variety so I don’t feel I need to focus on it too much. Since I’m breastfeeding I do take some extra vitamins, as is recommended for anyone breastfeeding.
I’ve been lucky in that I have a few vegans in my life. I worked with some vegans, and before lockdown we were regulars in Bonobo café. A couple who we’re close friends with recently went vegan too. Also a close family friend and my mum have recently transitioned.
And I’m in a lot of vegan groups online. It’s good to have a network of people with similar lifestyles. I definitely feel I have more in common with vegans than the majority of other people who don’t believe plant-based is the way forward. Veganism pops up in most parts of life in some shape or form.
I do want to be involved in vegan activism, but at the moment that’s limited to online. I’m hoping to change that once my daughter is a little older.
Jokes about vegans… you know, that vegans can’t go five minutes without mentioning the fact or they explode… are annoying mainly because of their unoriginality and inaccuracy. I’m usually outed by someone else, or because I’ve been asked about something.
As to the future of the meat and dairy industries, unfortunately I do believe they have one. I don’t think they’ll ever be completely gone.
I think different things work for everyone. Some people need to see the reality of what goes on and others are put off because they think we eat weird food. Through my social media I try to show both that vegan food is just normal good food, and what happens in the industries.
The horror-show videos of the reality of meat definitely have their place and they do convert some people, but they’re a tool to use carefully. I don’t share videos; I try to share the information.
More and more people are going vegan and I’m really hopeful. I’m glad my daughter is growing up in a world where it’s easy to do.
To me, veganism is just about being as good a person as I can. I don’t want to be the reason for unnecessary suffering.