Our tips on becoming vegan and why animal wellbeing is so important to us
You only need to look at the designs in our jewellery collections to realise we love animals and find the natural world endlessly inspiring. And if you follow us on social media, you’ll know we have two dogs we’re very fond of. But our respect and regard for animals goes a lot deeper than that.
Two years ago we decided to go vegan and have since designed over ten special pieces for various charities that support vegan and animal rights causes.
This blog is all about why we’ve become increasingly passionate about veganism and animal wellbeing. If you’re thinking about becoming vegan yourself (but are worried you’ll miss cheese too much!); you’re looking for recommendations on books/documentaries about veganism, or you just want to know what our favourite vegan recipe is, read on. You'll find help, advice and the answers to all the FAQs we get about being vegan!
- Why stop eating meat?
Why eat something that you don't need to when it causes suffering? People argue that eating animal products is their choice, just like being vegan is our choice. So live and let live? But, when you eat meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, there is always a victim (in fact, there are billions of victims). Choosing to eat meat is not like choosing to wear your hair long or taking up the piano; there are consequences. Aside from that, there's obviously the huge negative impact these industries have on the environment.
Our dogs, Byron and Linus, started the decision process to become vegan for us. One of the main reasons we feel so attached to our dogs is that we realise they experience the same wide range of emotions we do. So, what about farmed animals? Don’t they have the same feelings and emotions as companion animals?
Our relationship with our dogs got us thinking more deeply about how farmed animals are treated. It’s VERY different from how we look after our pets. That didn’t sit right with us and made us question why we ate meat.
- How easy is it to switch to a vegan diet?
It was a gradual process for us. We went from buying organic meat, cheese, and eggs, to giving up meat entirely. Then we stopped eating fish, and finally became completely vegan.
Every time we gave something up, we discovered horrific stuff about the things we were still eating. Eggs seemed harmless at first, but actually buying eggs, even organic ones, supports the killing of billions of one-day-old male chicks (they are useless in the egg industry).
A chicken would never naturally produce 300 eggs a year (they'd only lay about 12!). The high yields are the result of selective breeding, causing suffering so we can enjoy something unnecessary. We were shocked to find out that most chickens experience painful fractures due to the high amount of calcium they lose when producing an egg a day.
Cheese seemed a hard one to give up as well, but once we had looked into how the dairy industry works, it became very easy and really didn't feel like a sacrifice. There’s so much cruelty: repeated artificial impregnation, removing calves from their mothers hours after birth (again, the male ones are being killed), and then, after exploiting the mother cows for about 5 years, sending them off for slaughter - cutting their life short by about 75%.
- Is being vegan ever challenging?
Surprisingly not at all. 10 or 20 years ago, it probably would have been more challenging. You might have had to go to health food shops for milk alternatives etc. But now it's so easy to buy vegan food, especially here in the UK. Dairy and meat alternatives are everywhere. All the big supermarkets have pretty extensive ranges. There are also lots more options now if you want to eat out. Since we’ve been vegan, our diet has been much more varied. We eat the rainbow instead of just meat and two veg.
- The most annoying things people say when they find out you are vegan:
"Everything has to die, you know," usually with a sympathetic smile on their face, as if that hadn't occurred to us. Our response to that is that we have no problem with animals killing other animals for food or tribespeople in Sudan killing a goat to feed their family. That's necessary.
What we have a problem with is when the killing isn’t necessary, and it causes tremendous suffering and ruins the planet at the same time. In the West, we are hugely privileged to be able to choose what we eat. Surely it makes sense to choose the thing with the smallest environmental footprint that causes the least suffering.
- Most missed food since becoming vegan?
Nothing! We can honestly say we don't miss anything.
- Why is being vegan so important in 2022?
We're approaching 8 billion people on the planet and facing so many problems as a species that it’s genuinely scary. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, overfishing, ocean acidification, deforestation, soil degradation, natural resource depletion, global warming, the list goes on...
It can feel futile trying to do anything, but we can still turn things around if we all start making changes swiftly. Veganism is the most significant change we can make right now in our personal lives, to massively improve so many of these problems.
- How can I make the switch to veganism?
Just dive in and give it a go. If you fall off the wagon, start again. Don't be too hard on yourself; nobody's perfect. Every time you take meat and dairy off the menu, you help the planet and reduce suffering. You don't have to give up your favourite meals either; just replace the meat/ dairy part with something plant-based.
- The best books/documentaries about veganism:
Earthling Ed’s book "This is Vegan Propaganda" covers everything. It's brilliant. If you’d prefer to watch something, both Cowspiracy and Seaspiracy on Netflix are really informative.
- Our favourite vegan food brands and restaurants:
We like Taste & Glory sausages and Squeaky Bean chorizo/pastrami/ham alternatives. What The Cluck chicken is really good. If you’re a chocoholic, you have to try Booja Booja vegan chocolates – amazing!
If we’re eating out, there’s a fantastic pizza place with an extensive vegan menu called PizzaFace in Worthing (they also have branches in Brighton) where we live. Pho in Brighton is a super tasty Vietnamese restaurant where everything is available with vegan options. We’d also recently visited Vantra, a vegan restaurant in London; it was well worth a visit.
- Our favourite vegan recipe:
Black bean burritos - Delicious, nutritious, and ready in 30 mins.
Chop 2 garlic cloves, 1 onion, 1 red pepper,
Add olive oil and cook in large pan for 5 minutes
Add smoked paprika, cumin, corriander, teaspoon each
Add pack of chopped sunblushed tomatoes with juices/oil.
Add tin of black beans, drained
Add tin of chopped tomatoes
Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened
Add juice of half lime
Add most of small bunch of coriander, chopped.
Stir. Move to table.
Serve with brown rice, lettuce, sliced avocado, chilli flakes or siracha and rest of fresh coriander.
Roll in warm, wholemeal flat bread and enjoy!