I’ve been a vegan for over a decade now and it’s amazing the reaction people have when you talk to them about it.
There’s clearly been a trend for people joining the ‘club’ and I’m never sure if this is a good thing or not.
It’s brilliant to be able to walk into a restaurant and to be able to pick from a marked selection on the menu. To have more than one choice out of the thirty, has become a real treat. I used to walk in to any restaurant, knowing that I was going to have a stuffed pepper or the mushroom risotto.
Then you get the questions from the waiters or your new friends. They want to know why you’ve chosen to jump on the bandwagon and become a vegan. So you have to explain that you made the choice over ten years ago and that life has been better because of it. No matter how many times I tell the story, I will always get the same response; but don’t you just want a bacon sandwich?
The added volumes of sports stars who have adopted the plant-based diet, is really helping to promote the diet in terms of it’s health benefits. Yet somehow people still think that you can’t get all the vitamins and nutrients you need purely from plants. So I make them look at me. To look at the size of my body and then to tell me I’m suffering. I happen to be a fifteen-stone, six foot two inch, lump of a man. If you saw me on a rugby pitch, I would fit right in. I am definitely not going without.
But then you get the dreaded questions about cooking your food. I’ve never been fussy about my peppers being cooked on the same grill as a steak. I’ve never seen how it would affect me. But that is me and my diet.
I know a lot of vegans, who have a dietary need to avoid certain types of food, and they head to the restaurants where they know the chefs wear disposable nitrate gloves to handle meat, then change the gloves to handle the vegetables. They do this because it prevents cross-contamination. My friends chose these restaurants because they know they will be safe eating in them.
As a vegan, I’ve become very used to having to answer questions. I have also got a standard answer for all these questions, which tries to move the conversation on to other things. Yet somehow, people are interesting in what I eat.
I suppose that I should take it as a compliment. I’m not your typical vegan, in all honesty, I’m not your normal anything, but I am honest. There are downsides, mainly the lack of bacon sandwiches, but these are hugely outweighed by the hundreds of upsides and the knowledge of what my diet is doing for the planet as a whole.
So please feel free to ask me, but be ready for a long and full answer.