We'd been selling vegan cookbooks for about a year and we just couldn't keep up with demand. Every week I had to replenish stock and seek out new titles. Then I noticed that staff were spending their entire lunch break queuing at Eat of Eden, our local vegan restaurant and customers would come in practicality high from their visit to Halo Burger in Pop Brixton ("You can't believe they're not meat!!!") 'Hmmm...what is this sorcery?' I wondered.
As is the way these days, you think of something and it magically pops up on your phone. So when an ad appeared for an app called 21 Day Vegan Kickstart, I thought 'Right - lets see what all the fuss is about.' So for 21 days I became A. Vegan.
Well, first my decades-long IBS magically cleared up within 48 hours. Literally. My already-OK skin just glowed, even though we were approaching winter. I lost a few pounds as well as my daily hot-buttered-toast-and-a-latte habit, and I actually started to look forward to my workouts because I had a lot more energy.
The quality of my sleep improved significantly. I've never had a problem sleeping - running a business leaves you knackered - but now I started to wake up feeling well-rested rather than wondering how many hours before I could go back to bed. Best of all, my overall mood got better. I noticed I was way less stressed and generally happier and calmer.
I wish I could say I did it for the animals but I did it for my health first. Having said that, I am developing a growing awareness of animal welfare issues, as I learn more about the vegan lifestyle.
WAS IT EASY?
Far easier than I thought it would be. After a few days, I was reading labels like a pro and I stopped following the recipes in the app and started 'veganising' my usual meals. I even persuaded my neighbourhood cafe to start offering non-dairy hot drinks (shout out to the Express Cafe in Market Row, Brixton). Plus, vegan options are EVERYWHERE now so its a lot easier to eat vegan on the go.
WHAT I LEARNED
Be organised and plan ahead or you just end up eating any rubbish that comes to hand or the same thing every day, and you get bored (and tired!)
Learn about nutrition and keep looking out for recipes so your diet is varied, interesting and nutritionally balanced. The posts and recipes on Instagram and You Tube tutorials are awesome for this.
Don't forget to take your B12.
SO DID I STAY VEGAN AFTER THE CHALLENGE?
Well, vegan-ish. Plants now make up 90% of my diet with the addition of a few (organic) eggs.
WOULD I RECOMMEND GOING VEGAN?
Yes, yes and yes!
We've a great selection of vegan books in our shop and on our website - and we're hosting a session on how to live a vegan lifestyle with award-winning vegan cook and author, Rachel Ama.