Happy World Vegetarian Day! I’ve been requested to post about my eating habits before and today is the perfect opportunity to tell you about my weird diet, which is sort of loca-glegan (locavore, gluten-free, vegan). I want to make the point now that this may seem like a preachy post but presumably you have a passing interest in me to have arrived on the blog.

I’ve cut down this post a LOT as I was originally elaborating on my moral and ethical views and the views I take on animal rights in general. Instead I’ve focused on what I eat, why, and common arguments people present to me. My views apply to more than just food (I apply the same principles below to clothes, books etc) but I’ve tried to focus on the food to keep the post from being 7 pages long!

Firstly to clarify what I do not eat: I do not eat meat, eggs, dairy, soya, gluten, wheat, or some imported goods.*Honey agave nectar display oils jams preserves whole foods earth foods display interior kentish town

Loveheart rainbow rice pasta. (!!!!)


Moral ethics: I personally feel like humans, as the most intelligent species, have a duty to work out a way we can live in this beautiful and fragile ecosystem without destroying, or even disturbing, other species and the environment. The idea that because we are the most intelligent species we are entitled to use other species and the environment for pleasure and entertainment is, to me, like saying the biggest and strongest kid in the class is entitled to beat up all the other kids for pleasure and entertainment. That’s not a view I want to support or a world in which I want to be involved. One recent moral dilemma posed by meat which you may have missed is that scientists are very close to creating genetically modified animals who can’t feel pain. I don’t want to be part of or support an industry where this is a justifiable means to an end.

Environmental impact: Animal products and meat (aka, dead animals) obviously rot and have to be shipped in mad conditions across the world. Weirdly money plays a huge part; for example, in Japan, people are willing to pay more for authentic welsh lamb. All the lamb harvested in Wales has to be flown in huge freezer containers (massive use of energy both keeping the meat fresh and flying the plane, emitting fossil fuels) to Japan, whilst to meet demand in Wales (now free of lamb), cheaper lamb meat from New Zealand is flown in again using huge amounts of energy to keep the meat fresh and fly the plane. Transportation of meat in general is hugely detrimental to the environment as it has to be shipped so quickly (nearly always using fossil fuels) before it rots.

Huge amounts of grain, soy and water resources are given over to feed livestock in the meat, dairy and egg industry not to mention the huge land are used for livestock grazing (over 80% of agricultural land in the US). I think we can agree that’s a huge waste of natural resources.

Eggs/dairy: Just for a moment imagine a female human being kept constantly pregnant, removed from her offspring and force-fed hormones. To me it is gross and unnatural. These creatures end up exhausted, depressed and physically worn out. The quality of the milk is compromised and the animals are usually killed between the ages of 3-5 (in the wild cows have been recorded up to 30 years of age). Male chicks and calfs are killed instantly (usually in front of their mothers) as it’s costly to keep them and they won’t grow up to produce eggs or milk of their own. (Dairy cows are never used for meat or leather meaning that “waste” occurs in all industries). All the above practises occur in both free-range produce and battery-farmed produce. Organic produce is only sometimes free of hormones and the killing of male babies occurs there as well.

Meat: I wouldn’t eat a cat, I wouldn’t eat a swan, I wouldn’t eat a duck, a human, an elephant, a cow, a tiger, a fish. It is madness to me that anyone owning a pet can still eat meat I just can’t differentiate between species like that. Seriously, if you wouldn’t eat a horse how can you justify eating a cow?

World hunger: If we redistributed the resources to humans and also had 80% more space for growing vegetables and crops just imagine how much more food there would be! It is madness. Additionally, nearly half of the grain harvested globally is used to feed livestock (who take up over 40% of land globally). There have been numerous studies showing that a global adoption of veganism would produce a model where world hunger could be completely abolished.

My own allergies: I had a lot of problems with my voice beginning about two years ago and it became apparent that I am slightly allergic to both gluten, wheat and cows milk. I’m also slightly allergic to soya, which is annoying as tofu traditionally forms a large part of a vegan diet. I try not to have tofu more than once a week and never have straight soya chunks or soya milk.Olives deli fresh mediterranean kentish town

Milk alternatives in Holland & Barratt.


Don’t humans need protein to live? That’s true, but we do not need animal protein to live. In fact many prominent dieticians and physicians advocate a plant-based diet.

Isn’t it unhealthy? There have been multiple studies into a vegan diet, all of which have concluded that properly planned vegan diets are actually more healthy. In the USA it’s often one of the first things to be prescribed for all kinds of health problems. We live longer, have lower BMIs, higher physical fitness, lower cholesterol, fewer cases of diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer and prostate cancer and lower blood pressure.

Isn’t it expensive? No! Go into any restaurant: I guarantee the veggie option is cheaper than the meat one (your veggie friends will testify to this). Also, with home shopping, removing anything which is from a dead animal and therefore rots mean food keeps a lot longer; vegetables have a longer shelf life than cheese and meat, and ingredients such as rice and lentils last for AGES.

It’s just for teenage girls and ageing hippies. Well I’m essentially both those things, but these people aren’t.

I saw a documentary about meat, yeah it is gross isn’t it. But then I got drunk and wanted a kebab/I went veggie for a bit but I love McDonalds too much! People say this kind of thing to me all the time! I can’t help but get frustrated what do you want me to respond with? “Have more commitment”? I’m not going to be rude!

But how is you, one person, being vegan going to change anything? My Dad is fond of this one. He frequently tells me that me being vegan isn’t going to change the country. True. But you have to be the change you WANT to see. If me being vegan makes just one person think about it and become vegan, that’s double the number there was if I hadn’t done anything.

Isn’t it really hard to cut all that out? It’s not as hard as you might think if you cut things out bit by bit. The first time I attempted being vegan I just chopped out everything I ate and that was really difficult. Cutting out certain food groups bit by bit is easier and finding alternatives you like as you go along is far more manageable. Also, find other veggies or vegans to chat too as they will have encountered it all before. You can e-mail me if you like!

You’re making it hard for anybody to cook for you. Ah, guilt-tripping. I get this ALL THE TIME and I never, ever, ever expect anybody to cook for me or cater to me. If I’m going to a dinner party or a barbecue or anything I will ALWAYS offer to bring my own food. Since my red-meat free childhood (when every birthday party seemed to be a minefield of pepperoni pizza and sausage rolls) I’ve learnt how easy it is to say “It’s ok, I’m not hungry right now thanks” which spares the guilt of the host and doesn’t cause a fuss.

Tomato and avocado on gluten free bread.

fruit display kentish town tufnell park local fruits vegan vegetarian

The main problem with living in the UK is that the UK is obsessed with wheat, dairy and meat. Vegans fare better in nearly every other country for example, in Indian cuisine (lots of lentils, chick peas, spinach, potatoes, rice), South-East Asian cuisine (rice, vegetables, wheat noodles – no good for me but vegans are ok, miso, tofu), Arabic cuisine (chickpeas, tahini, aubergines, peanuts, flat breads), Mexican (beans, rice, corn bread, vegetables) etc etc. The UK, Italy and France seem to be the worst places to eat because so much of the speciality involves, cheese, wheat, dairy and meat.

When I first went vegan it required lots of checking of labels as “dried milk whey”, “lactose”, “egg white”, “dairy solids”, “soy solids”, “barley”, “gluten solids”, “wheat flour” etc are all hidden in the most unlikely of foodstuffs. Additionally lots of beer and wine is brewed using isinglass (fish bladder) which apart from being gross is obviously not vegan. I now have a massive list of places I can eat and recipes I can cook particularly based around the cuisines mentioned above. (If you’d be interested in some recipes or a restaurant guide then let me know!)

Being allergic to soya, wheat and gluten doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to follow a vegan diet but it is very hard and whenever I get sick or am travelling and not cooking for myself I tend to fluctuate a bit with soya, wheat and gluten (if I’m not near a performance) or occasionally goats milk as described above. To clarify: vegans don’t eat animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) but are fine with wheat, gluten and soya. I’ve not met anybody following the exact same diet as me, but since following my strange diet plan I’ve found the actress Zooey Deschanel who has the same problem of being vegan and allergic to many food groups.

I hope you found this post interesting and if not, then don’t fear we shall return to sparkly shoes and animal-print dresses in the next post! If you’d like to find out more please feel free to drop me an e-mail, leave a comment or have a click through some of these: A report from The GuardianThe Vegan Society, a guide on going Vegetarian or Vegan from PETA and this interesting documentary on BBC R4 about Rethinking Veganism and you can follow me on twitter/bloglovin/facebook.

bread bread gluten wheat local turkish bread display

James in a food shop

pancakes bread and bean fruit compote yoghurt sugar

*I used to be militant in avoiding anything imported and but it is incredibly hard to sustain when applying this philosophy to every item you encounter, so I now mostly try with food and luxury items (clothes, home decor etc). The technical term for this foodwise is locavore and I would say I mostly adhere to local things wherever I can especially with food, vegetables. I also never knowingly buy new clothing that’s been imported (goodbye, high street) because I don’t want to contribute to the demand for importing clothes, but if it’s in a charity shop for example then I’m not directly contributing to importing those items and I feel ok about that.


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James and the Giant Tortoise (caption of the century)IMG_6619a IMG_6630a
We spent our last afternoon in Mauritius at Casela Nature & Leisure Park. I have very conflicting feelings about animals being kept in captivity.  Whilst breeding programmes and the opportunity to study endangered species can be good, captivity is stressful for the animals and can cause all kinds of medical problems: particularly animals originally from hotter or colder environments. However, how can zoos afford to run conservation programmes without funding from ticket sales? Additionally some zoos provide shelter for rehabilitated animals who have left horrific lives performing in shows and have no chance of readjusting to the wild.

Though very few of the animals we saw at Casela are indigenous to Mauritius, the climate and habitat are identical to their home environment and they have a lot of space where natural activities (digging, burrowing etc) are encouraged unlike in some zoos. On safari (pictures below) we saw so many animals including a baby ostrich. The first tortoise we met had hijacked the food laid out for the ostriches; you can see them watching him confusedly but he seemed pretty happy! Bonus animals were the incredibly shy black pigs; they’re very endangered due to wild boar consumption.

In the nature park (pictures above) there were many species of bird wandering around free of cages. James and I shared a tender moment with the beautiful giant tortoises who are now endangered; when I first visited Mauritius at the age of 18 months these animals were still native and we have numerous photos of me playing with them, so it was bittersweet to see them. We also saw a tiny baby macaque (about the size of my hand) being cuddled and passed around the elders and the adorable lovebirds huddled together. My favourite new friend was this lemur. I scratched her back through the railings and she immediately turned round and spread herself out to be stroked, just like a cat.

What are your thoughts on animals in captivity?IMG_6791a IMG_6718a IMG_6700a IMG_6702a IMG_6775a IMG_6798a IMG_6800a IMG_6730a Casela Nature Leisure Park Laila Woozeer Mauritius 2013 animals safari wildlife



I live in a countryside area of north Surrey by a river, and regularly encounter foxes, badgers, swans, geese and ducks. James is very much a badger guy but I am particularly fond of the foxes: the beautiful colour of their fur, the elegant way they move and their crafty reputation. I smile whenever I drive past them. At the moment there’s lots of young foxes in the streets near my house, sometimes when I head home I catch them playing.

I am upset whenever I see a dead fox on the road – up to 50% of the UK fox population are killed by cars! They are not vermin and pose very little threat to humans, and frequent calls to instigate a fox cull are spurred on by sensationalist and impartial media reports. Did you know for every one attack on humans by a fox, there are over 5,000 from domestic (i.e. trained) dogs?


So here is my fox t-shirt – I bought this from Aubin & Wills (as well as a matching fox mug) shortly before they closed in January and everything was about 85% off (hallelujah). I made the skirt with my Mum: the fabric is covered in African animals and was originally bought by my Grandma in 1960s Ethiopia! (and some bows here). Lastly my new necklace is from my recent trip to Liverpool, found in Little Red Vintage.

Do you have a favourite fox? I’m partial to Mr Tod from the Beatrix Potter books as well as the Janacek opera The Cunning Little Vixen (incidentally that animated version is amazing) and whatever the fox in Farthing Wood was called. Possibly he was just called Fox. For more on foxes read here.


Image  (Credit PETA)