‘As a ve­gan, I was clue­less about what I could eat’

Ve­g­an­ism and in­dul­gence are not things you’d nec­es­sar­ily as­so­ciate with one another, but former Made In Chelsea star and in­flu­encer Lucy Watson is try­ing to change that

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - FOOD -

Lucy Watson grew up feed­ing the ducks on her par­ents’ farm and be­came veg­e­tar­ian aged six, then switched to ve­g­an­ism two years ago, but got bored of be­ing stuck in a cy­cle of just eat­ing sal­ads and soups. “I was a bit clue­less about what I could eat,” she ad­mits, “and I did miss in­dulging my­self.”

Hence why she’s put to­gether her cook­book, Feed Me Ve­gan, to help make other peo­ples’ “jour­ney to be­ing ve­gan a lit­tle less daunt­ing”, and prove that “food can still be amaz­ing, even if it’s ve­gan”.

Think cru­elty-free mac and cheese, banof­fee pie, cho­co­late fudge cake, chilli, cheese­burg­ers and carbonara — yes, re­ally.

“This sounds silly, but I didn’t re­ally re­alise cows didn’t pro­duce milk nat­u­rally,” says the 27-yearold, on what trig­gered her shift to ve­g­an­ism. “I for­got the fact they had to have a baby, and one day it hit me: What hap­pens to that baby? What hap­pens to the calf ? Be­cause if we’re us­ing all the milk, the baby won’t sur­vive.

“It was a weird re­al­i­sa­tion — I think it was af­ter I watched [Net­flix doc­u­men­tary] Cowspiracy, I re­searched it. I re­mem­ber say­ing to my boyfriend, ‘I think they kill the calf ’. He was like, ‘No, no def­i­nitely not, they don’t’, but I re­searched it and some­times it is the case.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t con­trib­ute to that’.”

Cut­ting out dairy, she says, wasn’t a chal­lenge in it­self: “I don’t miss the food at all, it would ac­tu­ally make me feel a bit sick if I ate it now.”

How­ever, she does oc­ca­sion­ally miss the ease of be­ing able to walk into a res­tau­rant and or­der any­thing off the menu with­out hav­ing to go through the rig­ma­role of ex­plain­ing ve­g­an­ism to a be­mused waiter. But aware­ness has mas­sively im­proved, even in the cou­ple of years since she made the switch.

In fact, it’s a grow­ing trend — be­tween 2006-2016, the num­ber of ve­g­ans in Bri­tain in­creased by 360%, and Lucy reck­ons ve­g­an­ism “will even­tu­ally be­come main­stream”.

Partly be­cause “the planet can’t cope with the pres­sure we’re putting on it”, and partly be­cause “we all have com­pas­sion within us”, she says. “I think even­tu­ally, peo­ple will re­alise that ve­g­an­ism is the only com­pas­sion­ate op­tion,” Lucy adds pas­sion­ately.

“Even­tu­ally they’ll change laws around the sit­u­a­tion, and it will be­come a lot harder to ac­cess non-ve­gan prod­ucts.

“I hope to see it in this life­time, and if not, I’d hope to leave be­hind some sort of in­flu­ence.” Feed Me Ve­gan by Lucy Watson, pho­tog­ra­phy Mike English, is avail­able now, pub­lished by Sphere, priced £16.99

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